Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Summer Wish

My youngest rarely asks for anything. He gets drowned out by his older rambunctious, attention-grabbing brother. He flies through life under the radar, happily playing by himself  and neither tattle-tailing or aggressively seeking the limelight. I look at him sometimes and hate that this is how things are. I was also the 2nd child and remember how it feels when you are that age and somewhat left to your own devices.  I don't mean that the 2nd child is neglected in any way, they just don't have the same bright spotlight shone on them all the time and so learn to be a little more self reliant.
Last week Danny had a school trip to a local garden and he loved it. He's asked me several times since, and made me promise, that we'll go back to visit there this summer as a family. In true Daniel style, he hasn't asked me to take him, he's asked if we can enjoy the day as a family
What a great little fella he is.

Daniel on his school trip

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Great Outdoors

Boy Scouts has probably been one of the best things we've ever done. It's hard work (Craig is committee chair and I'm communications chair), but it means we get to spend a lot of time together as a family, usually outside.

I see Facebook posts come across my feed sometimes about the horrendous lives of youth today, spending all their time indoors playing videos games and being lazy and not knowing where a carrot comes from,  but I don't think that's necessarily true. My kids and my friends' kids are always outside, messing about in the woods, making dens, playing Nerf wars or hanging on the monkey bars. I think kids want to be outside, some of them just don't get that opportunity.

So we've had a few weeks of outdoorsy stuff; soccer, zoo trips, horse riding, fishing and hiking. I have also finally got round to banning electronics Monday-Thursday since school work has ramped up so much.The school work and testing is far far too much for elementary school children.  Teachers and parents alike say it - so who is making these terrible decisions to test the hell out of these kids? Whoever they are, they are destroying our young people's creativity and fun. Okay, off my soap box.

Here's to a summer filled with more of these types of things.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ormskirk Grammar School Memories

An old secondary (high) school friend sent me a Facebook friend request last week, the first friend to reach out, actually.  I HATED high school and never kept in contact with anyone after I left in 1985 aged 16. I went to college and made fantastic friends there and of course I'm in the USA now.

I did wonder about some of the girls at Ormskirk Grammar School as they were such good fun, but I had no idea how to find them since they were probably married and had new surnames.  Enter my old mate, Shelly, who sent the request. Shelly had a baby while she was at school and named him Jack - one of the reasons I loved the name and chose it for my son.  Friending Shelly has quickly spiraled into befriending many of the others, which has been really great.

The reason I hated the school, which was supposedly the best, was because I started in the top class and 5 years later was in the bottom class.  You might say that was my fault, that I was a terrible student. But my later college career would suggest otherwise. The reason I bombed from the top of the pile to the bottom in 5 short years was the appalling teachers and their total lack of interest in students. They were snobby, cruel, and so horrible we found it funny and had nicknames for them all. Their teaching strategy was "if you don't understand the subject, sit at the back and keep quiet".
As I said, vile, appalling teachers.

The school was recently demolished, which gives me no sadness at all.  But I do feel nostalgic and miss these girls. I miss my old self too. I'd give a million dollars to go back and enjoy this first photo all over again, just for 10 minutes.

Me (2nd from left). We were watching a school rugby match and convinced a local reporter to take our picture.
One of the lads is giving the middle finger! Something English boys never did in the 80s! Very strange. 
End of year party with chocolate cake
I'm back middle/right. Shelly is on the left (my right). 

Peg Bags

I made these as Christmas presents for people and forgot to post about it. I love oil cloth!
And I wish I had a clothes line outside. There is nothing better than fresh bed sheets dried on a line in the sunshine...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Always listen to Tipsy Pamela

A week or so ago, after a couple of glasses of wine, I wrote a little note to myself and snuck it into my bag and went to bed. I completely forgot about it until last night, so went to get it.

It said "Stop being a martyr and then being angry at everyone"

It's not exactly Shakespeare is it, but it perfectly captures where I am in life right now. I've worn myself ragged by doing stuff for other people and yet I keep doing it. At home I have a spouse who's incredibly supportive and two kids who are more than capable of doing more. So I need to heed this advice.

And I'm quite impressed with myself for giving me the advice and the kick up the bum I needed. Tipsy Pamela knows what's going on, obviously.

Made a Big Dent on Projects

We've lived in this house for eleven years this summer, but it still feels quite new so I try and convince myself that updates are not needed. Why paint something we just did last year for heavens sake!  Turns out it was about 8 years ago. So it's time to redecorate and freshen things up and fix things and replace doors eaten by dogs many years ago.  But UGH, the "honey do" list had grown so big that I've been ignoring it. Plus, you know, we have a LIFE.  Do I want to spend time painting doors or hiking with the kids or escaping to Savor for a pint with a friend??

As weather and (bad) luck would have it, we ended up spending ALL weekend inside, cranking out the list. When it's 28 degrees outside and your youngest is a sick as a dog that happens. Plus, soccer was cancelled. As a bonus, I have spent the entire time in pajamas and not showered for two days.

So, this weekend we made huge strides on the bedroom and bathroom make-overs (yes, we are renovating two rooms at the same time, because we aren't stressed enough obviously). We caught up on housework, got Leanne & Dean's flights booked (hurrah!), and I made some progress on the TWO quilts I'm making. TWO. I am definitely batshit crazy. In my defense, I can't work on Danny's till I get some material I ordered from Spoonflower, so I started one for Leanne.

I also got to FaceTime my mate Sue and be extra specially nice to Daniel in his hour of need. It's no fun seeing your kid with a fever and struggling to breath.

So here's a few pictures of the weekend....

Living room - new curtains, lick of paint and a damn good tidy. It'll look like it's usual pigsty by tomorrow.

Replaced door frame and door after Ben ate half of it several years ago.
It's amazing what you can live with if you try hard enough. Notice yellow color on walls? See below.

New door, new color, new bath sealer. Bathroom looks so much better :) 

I'm not posting bedroom "before" and "after" pictures quite yet - I've got a few more things to do before it's done.

We are also painting all the nasty brown chipboard doors white (well very light gray). I HATE those dark brown cheap crappy doors.  It doesn't help when your youngest peels the wood off and draws on it....
Wood filler and a paint job might help....

And here's my scrappy quilts.
The top one is for Leanne (just 2 blocks made so far)  and the other for Daniel (8 made so far). Leanne wanted purple and silver theme, Danny wanted a "sea" theme. I didn't want to make Daniel's babyish as I want him to enjoy it for years, so I avoided any cartoon sea creatures. I can't wait to get the new fabric I ordered, which includes a pop art (Andy Warhol-ish) shark print and a sea monster print with his two absolute favorites - Dunkleosteus and Megalodon.

I might be mad doing two of these but I LOVE quilting. It's my form of meditation.

Leanne's quilt - 2 of 30 blocks done. The fox fabric is to die for and I couldn't resist it. Yes I covet fabric. 
Danny's quilt. Only 2 shown here, but I've done 8 blocks so far.