Monday, 30 March 2009

The Trouble With My Eggs

My friend Michelle very stupidly, err, I mean kindly looked after the children on Saturday while Andy and I went about the business of sorting out new mobile phones, picking up furniture from IKEA, booking carpet salesmen to come and visit the house........ No mean task when there's four of them munching their way through your larder!

But not only is Michelle a fantastic friend who's supported me and my husband through our separation and subsequent reconciliation, she has also usurped me on the egg cooking front. Not only are her dippy eggs better than mine, according to Eleanor, but Madeleine has now declared my fried eggs aren't up to scratch either as Michelle's are 'fluffier'.

So, if anyone knows how to 'fluff up' a fried egg. Please let me know. Cheers!

The Food Chain According to Sam

Last week I randomly decided to book today off work. It's not something I usually do as all my leave is earmarked for school holidays.

But boy! I'm glad I booked the day off. After spending Thursday and Friday laid up AGAIN with this mystery virus and then spending the weekend carrying out long awaited plans, all hoping I wouldn't crash again, I'm finding spending a day at home all the more deserved.

The sun's out, the day is beautiful and Sam's happily playing with his toy guns (yes, I do let him play with toy guns). The study has been cleared and hoovered, some minor shopping has been completed and it's soon lunchtime.

Talking of food, the reason for my post.

In the car this morning (you'll learn over time that a lot of conversations with my children happen in the car), Sam asked where food came from. The exchange was short but another of those gems of childhood wisdom I just had to capture. After explaining how food grows in this country and how it also grows in other countries he concluded that it was all far more simple than that.

"Some food grows in the mud. Some food comes from animals. But no food we eat comes from elephants."

Sometimes it's just easier to smile, nod and carry on driving.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Theology for Toddlers

I've often commented on this blog about the relentless questioning that comes from my eldest son Joshua, and I've often commented that in this respect he's very much like me. We both question everything and we both like answers to those questions. At times, those answers are great in order to solve a problem and sometimes they're great as they give fuel to a further question. At times it drives others mad!

Today, however, I was met with questioning from another source. My three year old son, Samuel. He is currently fascinated by the existence of God and has, in my opinion, offered up some pretty plausible queries regarding God, His purpose, His will, His residence and His presence.

He started by asking where God was. That was easy - Heaven. He followed this by asking where Heaven was, so the optimum answer to any child for this one is up in the sky. But then Sam asked that if God was in Heaven, how could He be all around us? How could He be on Earth AND in Heaven? Try explaining that to a three year old. The best I could come up with was that He lived in Heaven, but could see us and loved us and in that way He was with us - like when Mummies and Daddies are at work, but they think about their children while they're there and still love them and care for them, but are not actually with them physically. He kind of got this. He totally understood that God is invisible but then went on to ask whether it's because He wore a cloak like Harry Potter! It's funny, but extremely clever of him to use that comparison to understand the seemingly impossible.

Then he asked when we were allowed to go to Heaven. I wasn't comfortable telling a three year old that entry to Heaven was upon death. So I told him that God takes us when He wants us to be there. Sam's response to this was that God would have to come down to Earth to collect us and decided that He'd need a space ship, a space suit (complete with helmet so He could breathe), and time to pack our stuff because if we didn't take food and drink to Heaven we'd die. I was amazed at the imagery my three year old son was conjuring up in his attempt to understand the complexities of spirituality, Christianity and faith. THREE YEARS OLD!!!

The presence of aliens was then explored. Did God let aliens into Heaven? We discussed whether aliens were real or just pretend and he concluded that aliens were real but they lived on another planet and only people from Earth were allowed into Heaven.

God is also in charge of us was another conclusion he reached, along with the query that if God was in charge of all of us, who was in charge of God?

It was at this point that another of his fascinations came into view - the woods. The conversation, as with all youngsters ended abruptly and moved to another question - can you find crocodiles in the woods?

Isn't it wonderful how our children's minds work? Isn't it fantastic that we have the ability to help form their opinions and enter into their worlds momentarily to share their fascination, unravel their confusion and be three years old, just for a few minutes?

It's times like this I really treasure being a mother. It's times like this I wish I could snap my fingers and hold time still, just for a few moments to capture the wonder of my little boy and his amazing mind. It's times like this I don't want him to grow up, but I know he has to and I know that if he continues to be the little treasure he is now, he'll be like his brother - always questioning, always asking, always learning and growing to be a remarkable young man. I thank God for the gift of my children and I thank Him for the joy they bring me.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Fickleness of Friendship

My life took a major turn last year and it's only now that I'm beginning to clear my head and see beyond the limits of my front door and my own insecurities. For a while now I have hidden beneath a blanket of doom and misery and despite putting a brave face on with the people I know, I have come to realise exactly who my friends are, who supports me, who has let me down and who will be featured in my life from now on.

A long time ago, many years in fact, I was given some very simple, but life changing advice. I was part of a church youth group and out of all the girls, I was probably the most rebellious. I never got into real trouble, but I was cheeky, too wise for my years and not afraid to stand my ground and question authority. I was never disrespectful, but I liked to have explanations for what was required of me and answers to my questions. I had a spark and a feistiness that somehow endeared me to the leadership team and the older members of the group. Probably because they thought I needed the most guidance!! I had spirit and individuality and this set me apart from my peers.

At times, when my feistiness was heightening I would be invited out 'for a pizza' with a particular person who had a knack of getting beyond my outer layer and understanding me for the person I was, not the person I wanted people to see. It is still a long standing joke with one of my best friends that whenever I got invited out 'for a pizza', I was in for a mentoring session, a few words of advice and a calming influential talk.

During one of these particular pizza sessions I was going through a bad patch with my peer group. A group of girls I was friendly with, and one in particular, was being nasty to me. No real reason, but teenage bitchiness going a bit too far. This friend noticed that I was miserable and took me aside, popped me under his wing and gave me what he thought was good advice. I was 14 at the time and I have NEVER forgotten it. At the time I took it on board like any other mid-teenager listening to an elder - listen intently, nod in the right places and get out of there as quick as possible. But to this day I remember that evening as though it were last night and I thank him so often in my mind for sharing it with me as it has really made me sort the wheat from the chaff in my life. It was simple advice and plain common sense really.

I had held on to 'friendships' for a long time. I don't like letting people down and I don't like to be let down, so I would continue to make efforts in relationships where I was the person doing all the running. I would go for months on end accommodating others and getting nothing in return and looking back now I see it for what it was - being used.

I was advised to look at each friendship I had individually. Not to associate a particular person with a gang or crowd, but to look at them on a one to one basis. What was it I liked about that person? What didn't I like? What had I done for them? What had they done for me? When did they want me around? When did I want them around? And so on. When I had analysed those answers I was then advised to ask myself whether having them around was good for me and enriching the person I was, or whether the association was damaging me and preventing me from moving on to the next stage in my life - whatever that stage was destined to be. I was advised that if I wanted to get on in life then I couldn't allow people to hold me back just because I felt that sentimentality and loyalty to their feelings was worth more than my own development and happiness. True friends would encourage me, support me and move up with me. Friends who were damaging would hold me back and prevent me from moving on, either out of jealousy or immaturity. I was advised to see friendships for what they were and for what they truly stood for.

It may seem harsh advice and some people would argue that friendships survive the test of time and that this person was manipulating my way of thinking, but that couldn't be further from the truth. This advice came from a man who was brought up by devout Christian parents, who had a loving and secure home. They were and still are wonderfully warm, welcoming and loving people and they have passed these traits down to their son - a friend I have not seen for a while now due to him living and working in Hong Kong. I miss my 'out for a pizza' sessions with him. When he's back in England we still go 'out for a pizza' and he still looks out for me and gives me advice - some of it welcome, some of it not so much so.

But he's helped me to realise that sometimes it's not a bad thing to put an end to something that has clearly faded. To sever a tie with somebody who maybe once was good for me, but is now proving to be more damaging to who I truly am. I'm now not afraid to end some 'friendships' that have been lies for years. I'm not afraid to turn my back on people who have talked about me behind my back, lied about me and assumed a piousness they are not in a position to possess. Some of them know how I feel about them and don't seem to care. That's their privilege. Others don't know that I'm severing ties and to be honest I'm not bothering to tell them. They too can let it fade, or if they're curious they're more than welcome to ask me why I've cooled off and I'll happily tell them. Not in any way malicious, but more an explanation of how I feel they have no place in my life now.

And the people who have been true friends know who they are. They have shown loyalty, open mindedness, fairness, support and love through my darkest days these last four months and I love them and treasure them more than they know. If that means reducing my true friends down to just four or five people, then I'm happy to do it.

New Beginnings

I've been through a LOT of rubbish in the last 3-4 months. Rubbish that has culimated from going through sheer hell for the last 3-4 years.

But I'm coming through it now. Decisions have been made. Friendships have been severed (or what I thought were friendships) and bridges are being built and strengthened where they need to be.

I'm moving in different circles and surrounding myself with people who count and who care.

I feel good about it.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

A Tax Too Far

Forget global warming.

I don't even care if fuel prices double again.

I can cope with the soul destroying credit crunch.

I can even forego a pair of shoes.

Actually, no, I can't.

But a tax on chocolate!!!

That's just cruel.

I may be gone a while - I feel a warlike effort to stock up on cocoa based essentials overcoming me.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

My children are clever

Their teachers all told me tonight.

I know they are.

I'm their mother.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Front garden

Calling the front patch of land outside my house a garden is really using a bit of poetic licence. It's barely more than a postage stamp. But, saying that, it sorely needed attention. The wicker hanging baskets were worn out and last year's summer flowers were dead, jaded and overhanging. The side of the path had a trench dug out in preparation for widening the path, the pots were full of unattended bulbs left to dry from last year... and so on......

Soo... take one best friend, some willing children, a bit of graft and a few yards of weed fabric....

Just the Scottish pebbles to buy now to cover the fabric area, some pruning of the rose is required and let nature do its job with the bulbs and seeds the children planted in the small path border.

Planting narcissus and freesia bulbs and love in the mist seeds

Attempting to lift and separate the roots of the grass that's reshooted this year.

Oooh!!!! How did they get there?!!!!

Taking the thinking beyond

Joshua is a thinker. He thinks about everything.

He gets it from me.

Today his gem of wisdom was the suggestion that there should be a comparison site on the web to compare comparison sites.

For once, he left me without the ability to comment.

I often wonder where he gets his ideas from, but then I remember.

He gets it from me.


For the past two days I've been laid up with some mystery virus. It started Sunday night while I was ironing. I felt absolutely fine and then WHAM!!!, felt faint, woozy and started to lose my balance. For a few seconds I thought maybe I'd had the steam setting on for a bit too long and was simply overcome with the humidity, but after a few minutes with the feeling not subsiding I had to admit defeat and give up.

Yesterday morning I woke up and ached all over. Even the tops of my feet hurt and the back of my hands, my back was excruciating and the backs of my shoulders felt like somebody had held ice-blocks over them all night. Coupled with two bouts of vomiting it culminated in me ringing my husband to come over from his place to take the children to school as I couldn't stand for long.

I honestly can't remember the last time I was knocked off my feet like this. For years I have NEVER slept through the day but yesterday I was exhausted by 10.00am and ended up back in bed, only to find the next thing I knew, it was 4.00pm.

Today, having another day off work the virus has only 50% left me. I say 50% because today the bottom half of my body is fine, but the top half is stiff. So stiff, that when I went out for a bit of fresh air today I had trouble bending down to do my shoes up. If you're ever been eight months pregnant and remember that inability to bend, you'll know what I mean. Tie that in with feeling like somebody has trampolined on your stomach and punched you in the spine and you're halfway to understanding the discomfort I'm in at the minute.

But even through the pain, it's wonderful when your three year old son comes up to you, presses his nose right against yours and says, "Me and Daddy are looking after you today because you're poorly, but I'm doing it more because you're my Mummy".

What better care could I ask for?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Honesty Answered

Again, another one doing the rounds.

The following questions were honestly answered by Eleanor, aged 5 (nearly 6!)

1.What is something Mummy always says to you?
That you're a scrumptious girl.

2. What makes Mummy happy?
Me saying that you're a baked potato. (This is in reference to the fact that I give off a load of body heat and snuggling up to me in the morning is one of her favourite things to do and she calls me her baked potato).

3. What makes Mummy sad?
Not doing what I'm told.

4. How does your Mummy make you laugh?
Me doing this kind of funny face (she proceeds to pull one)

5. What did your Mummy like to do when she was a child?
Get a book and just write a diary and do lots of writing.

6. How old is your Mummy?

7. How tall is your Mummy?
I don't know.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Watch TV - (yeah, like I get time to do that!!)

9. What does your Mummy do when you're not around?
Have fun (really? Must be someone else's Mum!!)

10. If your Mummy becomes famous, what will it be for?

11. What is your Mummy really good at?
Ironing (that's the sum of my talents)

12. What is your Mummy not very good at?

13. What does your Mummy do for her job?
Do loads and loads and loads and loads of work.

14. What is your Mummy's favorite food?
I think tomato and lettuce.

15. What makes you proud of your Mummy?
She always takes me on nice walks.

16. If your Mummy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Peter Pan (she did offer Captain Hook first much to my horror)

17. What do you and your Mummy do together?
Go out for lovely walks

18. How are you and your Mummy the same?
We both play on the computer.

19. How are you and your Mummy different?
We have different hair colour, you've got earrings and I haven't and I've got glasses and you haven't.

20. How do you know your Mummy loves you?
Because you always keep care of me and never stop caring for me.

21. Where is your Mummy's favourite place to go?
To the park.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Yo-yo Mamma

Ever get those times as a parent when you feel you're just on a piece of elastic pinging between school, work and home and children's venues?

Today's that day.

Leave the house - boing - arrive at school - boing - drop Sam at Mum's - boing - arrive at work - boing - pick Sam up from nursery - boing - pick older two up from school - boing - back home - boing - pick Eleanor up from school trip - boing - back home - boing - take Maddie to Brownies - boing - back home - boing - collect Maddie from Brownies - boing - back home.

Boing, boing, boing, boing, boing.....

Thursday, 5 March 2009


Even the thought of the hairy little suckers sets the hair on my arms erect. I hate them with a passion. They freak me out. BIG TIME. Just seeing one of those things in my house sets my palms sweaty, I stop dead in my tracks and usually panic.

Up until now I've never had to deal with them. Until last night.

Sat boldly on my kitchen floor was one about the size of a milk bottle top. To me that's huge. That's the difference between being a bit wary and totally freaked out. This was freak out proportion. Big, fat hairy and in possession of all his eight legs.

But not for long. After evacuating the area of children and children's friends over for tea, I found the shoe and with one might swat spidey became splatty. The little fiend had enough of a body to spread between my shoe and the floor. Then there was the equally gross job of mopping him up. Serves him right for coming in my kitchen uninvited.

I've often wondered what their purpose is. At work I was reassured they're good because they catch flies. That argument holds no weight for me as I have a can of Raid under the sink. Therefore no need for spiders. But then apparently, spiders are more environmentally friendly. Again, no weight to that, as me hyperventilating when the spider is present depletes the planet of much needed oxygen.

Then there's the theory I was offered last night that they're less calorific than a tic-tac but have more protein!! Who thinks of these things? What wierdo worked that out? Who tested it?

And spiders have eight legs.


I'm a working mother and I've only been given two arms - where's the justice in that?