Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Danny at 8

He's eight! How did that happen.

He's a tall, skinny, picky eater whirlwind. He dresses himself, and always chooses his own things. So independent.

Loves Loves Loves Pokemon. Likes Nerf guns and other toys....But LOVES Pokemon. Knows them all, knows all the cards, the characters, the points, the powers, the evolved characters. All he wanted for birthdays and Christmas's the last 18 months has been Pokemon.

He's an awesome roller skater, runner, and soccer player. He refuses to ride a bike, eat an egg/meat/salad/veggies/beans/soup and any other food he doesn't like the look of. He's the same with clothes. Who knew there was so much vetting as to the virtues of certain underpants. 

He takes his own sweet goddamn time. I once called him "Danny 20" because it takes him 20 minutes just to move but then immediately stopped as I know kids become what they are called (crap parenting moment). But good grief he's slow to get going.

His heart is HUGE. He has empathy. He notices things I never notice.

My hope for Danny this year is for him to love himself more, to stop saying negative things to himself. To step it up a bit with the chores and try a bit harder with reading & writing. 
But mostly, to continue being himself and to have fun with his friends. He has a good soul this one. A really good soul.  Love you Danny x

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Fierce and Strong Nana

I had a conversation with my mum at the weekend about women in my family. I'm going to be "marching" soon and wanted to know if my Nana was a suffragette. Since women didn't get to vote in the England till 1928 I thought she might have been an activist. I had visions of her as a trail blazer and a feminist because I know that she was strong as nails.  Turns out she was both of those things (and much more) but didn't march.

She was the mum of 7 kids and beloved by all. My Granddad was a horseman in World War 1 and had the most terrible experience that left him shell shocked and never the same (if you have watched "War Horse" you will know what he endured). He died just before I was born, in 1969.

Smithy Lane - the road my Nana & The Mission is on
My Nana was amazing. She brought up seven kids and did so during great hardship. She cooked food over the fire (imagine, no oven), hand washed everything, grew vegetables and fruit in the garden. She worked hard. I remember her house clearly - a semi-detached house on Smithy Lane that was always safe & felt like home when you visited.

Even though I was young when she died I remember a few things:

  • Putting on a singing & dancing show in her back garden to the family with my cousin Julie and charging everyone 50p to watch.
  • Going to The Mission (named The Good Shepherd in this Google map image) next door to her house each Sunday, for Sunday School. That place was our family church and I spent most of my childhood at services or at fetes or decorating the harvest window. 
  • My Nana teaching me how to fold and criss-cross paper so that it burned slowly in the fireplace.
  • Nana letting me borrow a craft book on the day that she died.  
  • The terrifying, awful night time phone call, informing my mum that her mum had died in a car crash.
  • Her funeral
She died in a car accident when I was 9 and I wished I had known her more.

I was wondering what I should put on my sign at the march but I just got my answer. I'm going to celebrate this kick-ass, strong, kind Nana of mine. 

Nana, Uncle Harry, Auntie May, Auntie Ada & my mum


Nana & mum

My Beautiful Nana

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Girl at The Dollar Store

Last week I ran to a dollar store to pick up some supplies for our NYE party. It was bitterly cold and windy. Jack tagged along, hoping to score some sweets or other booty, like he does every time I go shopping.

As we left the shop I noticed a young lady of about 20 yrs, with a toddler and about 20 shopping bags at her feet. She was on her phone and looked upset. The toddler was sniffling and looked cold and miserable. I looked at her and knew I had to help, so when she got off the phone I asked if she needed a ride somewhere. She was so relieved and thankful that she nearly cried. We drove them home to a run-down apartment block with boarded up windows in a rough part of town and we helped carry her groceries up to the 3rd floor.  She had just moved to town from the country and didn't know anyone other than her husband, who was at work. She had walked over 2 miles on a bitterly cold day with her 16 month old daughter to buy food. She's living in a dump and my heart ached for her when I said goodbye & drove away.

On the way home Jack was pretty quiet and thoughtful, which is completely out of character for my chatterbox. We talked about how fortunate we are as a family to have each other, to be safe and warm and have food. Even though he helps me feed the homeless each month I think it's the first time he's truly seen how some families live and how hard they have it. At aged 10 I'm fairly sure he isn't going to lose much sleep over it, since children generally have no concept of empathy or needs beyond their own. But I'm hopeful that he has an understanding at least of how fortunate he is and how to treat other people, given the chance.

I haven't shared this story with anyone other than Craig because it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn. But I want to share it now because I want to let people know that showing kindness and love to someone less fortunate can be a beautiful thing, and not something to be fearful of.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

My 100 Day Challenge: 5K and 30 lbs.

I saw a couple of great videos recently of a girl doing a 100 days challenge to lose weight and man determined to be flexible enough to touch his toes.

It got me thinking that I'd like to do something to keep me motivated in the next 100 days. I'm not in the mood for Weight Watchers or yoga or the gym. But I do want to do something for my health and well-being for 100 days.

100 days puts me at mid-April. There's a local 5K I'm going to do at that time and I'd also like to be 30 lbs lighter. That's my goal.

I'm not weighing or measuring myself right now as I think that might dishearten me.  I think I know what I weigh, so let's leave it at that.

Day 4: So far this week I have eaten somewhat healthily and not had alcohol. I'm also walking again. A colleague showed me how to walk through several buildings at work so I don't have to venture outside in the snow (and likely break my arm again). I'd like to hit 10,000 steps/day again.

So that's it. Let's see if I can keep motivated!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Year, New Resolutions

We hosted a New Year's Eve party last night with school friends. These "Ladies of the PTA" are my go-to ladies for advice, support, therapy and of course fun. We had waaaaay too much fun last night but I have no regrets.

I'm not going to lie, I'm glad to see the end of 2016. It can kiss my ass.

There were some high points, like our trip to Canada with Leanne and the boys and then my trip to England in November where I got to see my family and my mate Sue. And I got to spend more time with my cousin Kay, who is like my soul sister. The boys had a good year and we're all healthy and comfortable and safe, which is the main thing in life. But there was just too much sadness and despair.  My dad had a big operation and my uncle was diagnosed with mesothelioma. I lost my friend Darian at just 47 years old.  The loss of all the famous people was upsetting too of course but the big crapfest of the year was the election. It's going to take me a long time to get my faith back in humanity after so many people voted for the orange idiot. I do feel a lot better than I did in November but still, so long 2016, you are banished from memory!

Onward and upward to 2017!  My resolutions for this year are:

1. To look after myself!! To lose weight and get healthy. This will include walking a lot more, which my dog Ben will also benefit from. Buy nice clothes for myself, have more baths, stop letting some people control me (the same people do this, over and over. This year it stops). To spend more time in the garden and more time reading.

2. To have a fantastic trip to England with my neighbors.

3. To send less time looking at my phone.

4. To get our pop-up camper out ASAP and get camping!

5. To laugh more. Because my mood sets the mood for the house and if I'm pissed off and stressed so is everyone else. I used to think that the saying "If mum's not happy, no one's happy" meant that everyone had to keep mum happy. But it's actually the other way around. If I'm not happy, I have the power to make everyone else unhappy too. So happiness starts with me. Back to point 1.

6. To blog more.