Monday, 6 December 2010

Manifesto for JYC

This is the most important part of Journal Your Christmas for me as it sets the scene and reminds us of why we are doing what we're doing.  Shimelle's gave us a wonderful manifesto to use if we wanted and I liked it so I put it on the inside cover and made a seperate page for my own manifesto of sorts.  Its really just journalling (is it ever JUST journalling?!) about why I want to record the season but its great to open the album and remind yourself of the importance of it all.  I dont know if it is the change in medication (first one had too many side effects) but the second one is not working yet and I'm feeling a bit of pressure to complete this journal in case it is the only chance I get.  How crazy is that?!  I guess there's just been a fair amount of bad news about recently and sometimes the preciousness of life is at the forefront of my mind.  But what they heck, if it helps me craft then its okay right?!  I'm feeling VERY miserable today with a sore throat, cough and head cold that have really knocked me for 6.  The snow days last week have also delayed all the school events so this week is proving to be very busy and hard work already!  Louis will only get more and more tired so we are watching TV after school to try and enforce some chill out time! I've also cleared my craft table so I can wrap all the presents in an orderly fashion (seriously, anal?  Moi?)  Once its done, I can crack on with JYC and I cant wait!

So without further ado, here are the Manifesto pages.

Thanks for looking, bye for now xx

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Snow days and Journal Your Christmas album

Oh my goodness it has been cold and snowy here!

 It is unusual for us to get any snow at all really and if we do then it tends to be February or so.  We saw it affecting the rest of the country and thought we would avoid it but Wednesday night it came down hard!  It was the most snow I remember having in this country and of course it meant the inevitable snow days from school and work.

 Sadly for us, with today's technology, the Husband was still able to work from home after a brief play in the thick snow with Louis.  It wasn't sticky enough to make a snowman so they just played snowballs.

Isabella and I went out for a few minutes but she suffers so badly with her circulation that we didn't last long.  Plus it was up to her thighs and she was so padded with clothing that she kept falling over and couldn't get up!

Our house is on a slope and we are right on the peak of that slope which causes us no end of problems when the weather is cold.  It is now Saturday and even with lots of digging and gritting yesterday, heavy rain overnight, and lots of scraping and gritting again today, it was still an ordeal to get the car out and up the road.  Thankfully we made it though and managed to get to the supermarket and have a much needed change of scenery.

On the first snow day, I had some sort of unexpected guests call in, in the form of 2 mums from school and their 4 boys.  I had just put Isabella down for a nap and made Louis comfy with his CDs so I could study so it was bad timing but actually they all played really nicely and it was good to chat to some new mums from school.  I was so embarrassed though as the house was a mess and I looked awful so I set about cleaning the very next morning ;-)

With both of the children at home all the time, and everyone in the house feeling poorly and trapped, I havent made much headway with Journal Your Christmas but I do have my album cover to share.

Hopefully I should have a couple of pages to share tomorrow but for now I need to clear a space so that I can get some wrapping done.  I'm so excited, I just love this season, and each year it gets better and better!

Bye for now xx

Monday, 25 October 2010

True Stories

I know I havent finished Learn Something New Everyday, but today sees the start of Shimelle's new class True Stories.  I can already see links between this and my other current course with Open University - Creative Writing.  I have notebooks at the ready as I am trying to do most of these things in pen for a number of reasons.

If you want to know more about True Stories, take a look at this video, so cute!

Hopefully I can get the last few pages of LSNED completed in the next few days too but time seems to be on warp speed right now.

On non-crafting matters, I have taken the decision to try some medication for my mood swings and depression so we shall see what happens.  It is going to be on one of my lessons for September as I really didnt want to go down this road but sometimes we need to do something for the greater good, dont we?  And ultimately I can stop feeling so overwhelmed with life then I will get much more out of it and enjoy the things I take on like my writing courses!  We shall see.

Bye for now.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Addicted to Shimelle.... (photo heavy!)

Good grief the time does fly when you have a little one at school!  Louis had his first assembly today which was a Harvest Festival celebration and I was so proud of him.  He grinned all the way through and blew me kisses and was clearly proud of his paper-crafted efforts (I dont think he gets those skills from me!!)

Anyway, the time just seems to whizz past at the moment so I've only done another 4 pages of LSNED, all out of date order, but just done by whichever photo came first in the pile.

So with the prompts for LSNED finished, I started to think about Journal Your Christmas and Jane and I sorted out a few bits of our Christmas stash (and I bought a few more...)  I just hoped that I would be able to complete this LSNED first.  But wait!!  Shimelle then threw in another class called True Stories which starts on 25th October and lasts for 3 weeks.  I didnt even consider it, I just signed up, I love these classes so much.  The downside is that I have taken on far too much at an already crazy time of year but the upside is that it will enhance the Open University creative writing course and that you dont have to scrap every day, you can just use the prompts when you feel like.

I met Shimelle at Scrap-A-Mia in May and with the release of the date and venue for next year, I am really really hoping she is there again.  Her class was crazy fast and it was the first one so we really hit the ground running.  Here is what we ended up with (and which I just finished this week, finally putting the rings on!)

It truly is my papercrafting, and my wonderful family, that get me through the dark days and I have now had to accept that I will need some help in the form of medication.  The PMT mood swings have been so severe that I just couldnt continue without at least trying it as I have done so much myself already (like altering sleep patterns and getting fresh air and exercise).  I've been taking the meds now for 4 days and they are making me feel sick, dizzy and heavy headed but it should pass.  If you've got any tips for beating depression, black moods, PMT etc, then I'd love to hear them!  I'll let you know how I get on.

Bye for now xx

Monday, 27 September 2010

12 years of wedded bliss.....

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful weekend we've just had.  It was our 12th wedding anniversary and my mum offered to look after the children overnight which was incredibly generous and a total out of blue surprise.  I had my hair cut Saturday morning and then my mum came over so we could start our weekend away.  We popped into Winchester for lunch and it was so lovely and sunny but cold, a perfect autumn day.  I went into a shop I thought sold paper-crafting stuff but it was mostly painting and drawing products.. until I went downstairs.  However I didn't see anything that I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere, or anything that I felt I just had to have, so for once in my life, I came away empty handed!  We went to a fusion place for lunch and had Thai green curry and a Malaysian prawn dish - both very nice.  Then I treated myself to some new slippers in M&S with suitably hard soles for the bashing I will give them.  We also treated ourselves to some chocs from Thorntons - oh yes I was blowing my diet big style this weekend!

We headed out to our lovely hotel, Lainston House, just outside Winchester centre.

It has lovely grounds which would have been nice to wander in but we were in the mood for sitting about, drinking tea, and reading..nothing more.

 Our room was fabulous....

It was an attic room so the light and therefore photos, were a bit dark, but you get the idea.  

 There was a buzzy bee Do Not Disturb sign (it tells people to buzz off!) - how cute is that?!

The food was expensive and wasn't of the level we expected.  It was still wonderful but we've had tasting menus in the past which were stunning and obviously very filling but without the delicious rolls I probably wouldnt have felt that I had eaten such a huge meal.

But of course, these things never last and we were soon back at home.  The children had been totally fine without us which was such a relief and only Isabella had her tights on back to front!  We were so pleased to see them and spent the rest of the day catching up on cuddles and having a lovely walk in the cold sunshine.  A wonderful time that we will cherish forever.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Some layouts to share.

When I get behind on things I easily start to feel overwhelmed so I am my own worst enemy in signing up for something that ideally needs to be every day!  I'm enjoying LSNED but I'm finding that I'm struggling for photos a fair bit, sometimes because I couldnt take a pic due to circumstances (i.e. like today in an exercise class) and sometimes because the lesson isnt one that calls for a photo at the time, if that makes sense.  I've therefore ended up with a few layouts now that dont have a photo.  This feels very very weird and a bit frivolous - imagine, a whole page dedicated to a minor memory that doesnt show something real for future generations to discover!  

The lesson for 8th September (sshhh I'm pretending its not 23rd already...) was about how much I loved swimming again and in particular the freedom and "me-time" and I actually did more lengths than I thought I'd manage.  Obviously a pool isnt a great place to take a camera - the water is one problem but the issues surrounding public photography are quite another!  This day though I did see a man jump out and realise his mobile was in his pocket!!

For 9th I cheated a bit and scrapped a photo I took on Louis' first day (7th).  He is so confident that he pottered into school and then his classroom by himself and yet here we are 2 weeks later and most of the other children are still being taken in, often right into the classroom still.  I dont know where he gets it from but I am really pleased that my boy is so confident and takes so many of the big things in his stride.

10th September was also a bit of a cheat.  Its a slow realisation rather than a lesson really and I was saving it for a "slow" day.  I guess its a lesson that every parent learns or perhaps even every adult with an ounce of creativity.  There is just not enough time in the day to do the things I need to do, let alone the things I want to do.  I used to wonder what people meant by "running a house" - its not a business or some grand production after all, but in many ways it is!  The perils that befall the disorganised housewife or mother dont bear thinking about.  And time for all the study I want to do?  Well having just asked to defer my Writing course, that'll be a no.  And as for all the creative things I want to erm.. create?  Well you can see for yourself how successful (or not!) that is!

And now here it gets confusing!  I was waiting on a couple of photos and I wanted to get on and create (as it was my Tuesday Crop with J) so I've gotten out of order a bit.  The layout for 15th was not a very positive one.  I feel like I have been getting back on an even keel in the last couple of weeks but on this day, completely out of the blue, I lost it again, big time.  Isabella was supposed to be having a sleep and as Louis has been so tired, he was having an afternoon nap too.  I was shattered and thought I'd get some chilling time even if I couldnt sleep myself.  But my daughter had other ideas and wouldnt sleep, I tried to cuddle her to sleep on the sofa as I had done months ago every day, but she kicked and screamed instead.  I saw my precious gap in the day drifting away and before I knew it, I was a sobbing wreck.  Strangely it kept Isabella quiet for a while though while my whole body shook beneath her.  But an hour later and it was as if it had never happened.  I hate PND and what it does to me and my family.  This day I learned that I still have a long way to go.

But to finish on a positive, this is the layout I did for Kirsty Wiseman's Wednesday Challenge.  I won the "out of the hat" (or bra in her case!) prize draw so I am looking forward to receiving some lovely lickable ribbons very soon.  And I've been feeling really great with all the extra exercise, so things are definitely on the up!

Bye for now xx

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Well how far behind am I now?! Hey ho, I never did think I would keep up, even with Louis starting school. Yes, that's right, my little boy, my baby, is all growed up and a real school boy now. At the moment he is just doing mornings and as he is one of the younger ones it means he is one of the last to go for lunches and then full days. Some of the parents have opted to send their young children full time earlier than scheduled but I have no great desire to do this and he is so tired anyway, despite his full day experiences at pre-school. So of course I had to scrap a photo of him in his uniform. I dont know who was more proud, him or us. I did this layout as part of LSNED as I was helping him to hang up his uniform for the first time at the end of the day. I thought it was fitting to remember such an event and to focus on the learning for him.
As expected, he loved his first day and took it all in his stride without seeming to notice this momentous occasion. He went in as if he had been there for years and in fact he went into school by himself from the Thursday morning after starting on the Tuesday. He has now done 2 weeks and is still one of only a very small handful of children going in by themselves. We dont know where he gets his confidence from.

I also wanted to do a "proper" layout and by that I mean a more standard size and with more freedom than the parameters I had set myself (isnt hindsight a wonderful thing...) I got the chance to do a bigger layout this week using a sketch and product list set by Kirsty Wiseman on her, what now seems to be regular, Wednesday night challenge. At 8pm she sets the challenge and sometimes does a live Ustream so we can watch her scrap too and chat on-line with other people doing the challenge. At 10pm the challenge ends and we post up photos of what we have done. We can replace the photos the next day once we have taken a better version in daylight.
Its so fab on a number of levels - I found it inspiring and challenging as is made me fit parameters but meant that some of the "I could use this or this, here or here" was removed which made it much less overwhelming. The feedback from the other participants was fantastic too - everyone was very positive and encouraging and there was a great sense of belonging. It was lovely to scrap with others in what can be a very singular activity.

So, once I have tidied up the resultant mess in the craft room, I will try and catch up a bit more on the LSNED!

Bye for now.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

2 layouts in one day!!

Well I managed to get a bit of crafting done today and it was quick and dirty as they say. I veered from my chosen stash a bit because the AC papers, stickers and badge were just perfect to go with the robot toy.
On Monday we went to my mum's for the day for the last time for a while. We had gotten used to going once a week for a few hours so they could play with someone else for a while and give me a break. With DS going to school only in the morning for a few weeks, we wont have time to get there and back. It will be strange for all of us not to see each other so regularly. I never used to be close to my mum and I cant say that I like all of her traits but we have definitely gotten closer since I had the children. I think it happens to many girls who suddenly realise how much their own mum's went through but for me it was more that I started spending more time with my mum once I got hit with the PND. We're scarily similar and that's not always great as some of the things I dont like about my mum, I can see in myself! I thought I knew my mum inside and out but she blew me away on Monday. She offered to babysit for our anniversary in a couple of weeks which was a surprise in itself as her childcare offers are few and far between. But what really knocked me off my feet was that she wants to stay at our house for the night so we can stay in a hotel! This is seriously such a surprise as all 6 of our parents / step-parents are getting on or are not "child-friendly" etc so we thought any chance of a night away was a LOOOOONG way off yet. We're still deciding if its a good idea or not as both children are not brilliant sleepers but then neither is my mum so it's probably okay. We think we might also have inlisted the help of my neice to take over some of the effort in the afternoon so we can stay out for lunch too. DH is excitedly looking at hotels and restaurants and I'm biting my fingers about the kids not being looked after properly!

So with that in mind, my lesson for Monday 6th was that people can surprise you even when you think you know them well. Thanks Mum!

Bye for now xx

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Ear Ear!

So, Sunday, and what a funny day that turned out to be.... We had decided to get up early-ish and head off to a huge car boot sale as the weather was fine. I was on the lookout for aged sheet music and some paper draws to split up my scraps but we ended up with a pile of Enid Blyton books and a Maisy jigsaw. DS learnt the value of money when he handed over his 20p without asking how much they wanted for something he had just grabbed out of a box of toys. He then wanted a load of other stuff and of course had no money (we wernt being stingy, 20p was all he had left after getting other stuff already). Luckily for all of us, his grabbed find was actually quite cool and he spent ages disconnecting and reconnecting the little robot parts.

I wasnt feeling that great though as I had had a silly accident earlier in the day involving a cotton bud and a rampaging 4 year old. I ended up having to go to A&E at Winchester and then onto ENT in Southampton General as it was originally thought that I had perforated my ear drum. Thankfully it wasnt but we had wasted much of the day and it was very late and we ended up having to eat sausages in the hospital canteen. After my Thai meal the night before, there wasnt much hope of a loss at Slimming World on Monday. I'd never really realised how massive Southampton General is. DS thought he was in a shopping mall rather than a hospital and it is a bit like that with a jewellers and a Burger King (in a hospital?! I ask you!)
So my lessons for today (other than not using cotton buds...) are that some places can feel huge even when you are grown up, and a box of rubbish can sometimes contain great treasure if you are 4 years old.

I also learnt something about myself the night before too. Saturday evening I was feeling fractious and anxious as I have done for a while now. I suddenly looked in the fridge and saw lots of stuff that needed throwing out as I hadnt used things in time and forgotten things were there. We had little food in the house that you could make a meal with and yet we'd been shopping every couple of days over the summer. I suddenly realised how out of routine I had become over the holidays and how much that had unsettled me. We had gotten into such a great routine during the summer term and it had all gone out of the window as certain things were just not possible for one reason or another and those changes impacted on others etc etc etc. I ended up spending a fortune at the supermarket to restock the cupboards and organise a plan of meals for the week and to try and stop running out of key things. The lack of exercise had gotten under my skin too (the class schedule kept changing, I couldnt get a creche place etc) and all in all I had been waiting for September to come so that I could get back into a routine. I always knew routine was important for me but I never realised how much that impacted on my fragile head space and how it affected everything else. It made me realise how much I have to do to try and keep to a routine no matter what. So here's to routine and getting back into the swing of things and not feeling so out of control next time the holidays come around!

Bye for now.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Beaulieu-ful lesson.

Goodness me is it really Tuesday already?! Its been a rather bizzare few days (involving a hospital visit and a first day at school no less), hence no daily blogging but I've been keeping a note of my lessons for LSNED.

On Friday I was toying with the idea of going to a charity music festival and was having a bad day, feeling anxious etc but by the end of the day I had talked myself into going (partly with the courage gained from another LSNED-er, Laura) and found someone to come and hold my hand etc. However Saturday we discovered that it was an afternoon and evening thing rather than the daytime thing we had planned. Then DH called from work to say he had left his phone at home and could I drop it in (its hard to be Duty Officer when nobody can contact you although it may have made for a quieter day for him!) So as we were going to Beaulieu anyway, we decided to stay. It worked better all round for us, and my niece having to get back for her dog, and it was a lovely day there. K hasnt been to Beaulieu since she was little so all the Top Gear stuff was new for her. A lot of it was new for me too as it had been improved a fair bit since I went in when it first opened. Of course there are more vehicles there too as there have been 2 more series since then. I was just thinking how lovely it was that no matter how many times we come, there is always something new to see or to speak to DS about as he becomes more interested and understands more about everything. We decided to do the Millpond Walk and part way around we came across the 2 Jack Frost sculptures from the recent exhibition.
Apparently, the future Lord Montagu, Ralph (pronounced Raif), had been really taken with them and decided to keep them. Out of the many many sculptures on display, I had really loved these two as well, so I was delighted to see them nestled among the trees, hiding from the hoardes and seen only by those who take the time to walk by the river. A little later on, I was amazed again at something new when I took a different path through the domas area. I had always assumed it went round and met up with the path we normally took and it sort of did but it also led to a dead end that contained the areas of the old abbey infirmary. 6 years I have bimbled about these beautiful grounds and yet I still come across bits I've never seen before. It was a bit like the accidental detour we took a few months ago and ended up having a ride on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!!
So my lesson for Saturday is that treading a slightly different path can reveal unexpected pleasures - so try and do it more often.
Right, I'll stop there as Photoshop is playing silly buggers and I cant find the pics of Chitty that I wanted..
Bye for now xx

Friday, 3 September 2010

Trying to learn to be different...

I had some company in the form of my best scrapping buddy while I thinkered with this but she missed the disasters of me trying to mix the right paint colour with old dried up paint and then having to heat emboss over the top to "calm" the colour down.... Lesson 1 - Keep the main thing, the main thing. Concentrate and things wont go so wrong, I know this, but I find it so hard to focus on one thing at a time.

I was also reminded today of how personally I take things and how I just need to let them go, especially when they are innacurate. Lesson 2 - holding on to negative thoughts can really ruin your day, ONLY if you let it!

So in order to capture this significant moment, I thought I'd go out and take snaps of my son with his bubble sword, letting things float away so to speak. Except that I go to turn my camera on and there is nothing. No battery. No battery, no camera, no photos of my lessons *sigh* Lesson 3 - remember not to leave the camera switched on or it wont be ready to use when you next need it.

I thought I could take a picture of my camera when it was charged though, then I thought it through.... taking a picture of my camera using my camera? Yeah, good luck with that!

So all in all not a great day. Although DD slepth through again (YAY!) and we had a busy day so not much idle time, I felt awful all day. Once all our visitors had left (my old Homestart volunteer came in the afternoon) I became so anxious at being on my own with the children. I really wanted to go to a charity music festival tomorrow with them but its a totally new thing and I'm terrified. I cant even decide what I'm terrified about so I cant deal with it. Oh well, we shall see how we feel in the morning. I may take heart from my some of my fellow Shimelle classmates and "Be Brave" and see what happens.

I think I'll treat myself to a Curly Wurly now :-)

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Welcome to the first day of September and the first day of SOFA (September Operation Fat Arse) and the first day of LSNED (Learn Something New Everyday). I was so excited to get my parcel of goodies from Shimelle this morning after the computer hiccup!  And this meant that I could finally attach the front cover I had been working on. I decided to cut up the jeans I've just slimmed out of and use the denim to cover the chipboard part of the AC album. I wanted to put a pocket on but because of the lack of space I intend to put it on the back and sadly my pockets are too big so I'm using one from DS's jeans that he's just gone through the leg of. We seem to have gone through a few pairs of jeans this month!
I messed about with flocking and rub-ons but it just wasnt looking right. I spent ages making a tag but again, something wasnt right. Finally I realised it was the shade of pink and I made an unprecidented decision to scrap those bits. I'm much happier with the replacement parts and I love the finished look. I was a bit annoyed with myself though that I hadnt used the planned Tim Holtz hinge, lock and key die cuts that I found once I had finished! Ooops!
So, other than learning what was in my goody box, on a brief visit to the local park, I learned that my DD can now open the gates and escape into the main park out of the play area. Hhhmmm..... guess I'm going to have to keep a more watchful eye on her there as well as everywhere else!
Events elsewhere have been rather up and down as usual. On the very very plus side, DD slept through, in her own bed, without being fed, till 6.20am!!!! This is a miracle and has never happened before. It looks like my sleeping on her floor for a few nights and the work we did over the weekend has really helped but we dont expect it to be all plain sailing now. She grumbled a fair bit during the night so I was still disturbed but this is a great start. She was no more tired than usual although we had had a busy day at the zoo with friends. We'd only planned to stay half the day because I was supposed to be helping a friend in need but the logistics of getting 5 children in one car proved too much. My friend is my very best scrapping buddy and has been having an awful time recently and it looks set to continue so I'm sending her lots of positive vibes. I wish I could do more to help but sometimes it is actually difficult to marry up the assistance you are able to provide, with the needs of the recipient. But we will continue to try!
So now I am off to scrap that not-so-great photo of DD escaping from the playground and hope for a better night's sleep!
TFL! xx

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Woo hoo! Today I bought some clothes (in a sale, 25% off) in a size 16! I havent bought 16 anythings for a while apart from the jeans that meant so much just before our holiday. This was a different shop though and I feel that is significant :-) Although I've had good weeks and challenging weeks with Slimming World, I've stuck at this far longer than I've ever stuck at any kind of diet. I wish I could stick at the exercise a bit more but I noticed on our travels today that our local leisure centre has an offer on so who knows? I think paying up front for something, like I have with Slimming World, definitely keeps you motivated, that and buying new knickers because your old ones keep falling down!

I also think my crafting is really helping me as it means I'm snacking less in the evening and I'm busy reading other blogs etc in preparation for the new class. Its only a couple of days now till Learn Something New Every Day and I'm really looking forward to it and hoping to really acheive something at the end which should really help my mind set. My friend J and I bought the kit that went with the class and it was limited to 40 by the supplies Shimelle had. It seemed like everyone had gotten theirs and I was one of the first to order, I thought. Shimelle, as always, was on the ball, and between us we realised there had been a glitch in the system. I had paid and had a receipt and she had the receipt for the money but no order. I was devastated - how silly over something so trivial, but that is what PND does to you. I so wanted the kit that would be full of things I wouldnt have chosen on my own, things to take me out of my comfort zone, things that went together that I would NEVER have put together, things I cant buy in my local stores etc. Anyway, she cobbled together an order which pretty much matches everyone else's and so I have to be patient as it wont come till Tuesday which is just a day before the class starts. I've got loads of stuff, I dont NEED anymore but I really wanted them and so I want to wait and use what's in the kit for this project. In the meantime I am trying to design a front page in my head and find the bits I need so I can make up a project basket and get cracking when it arrives. J and I also ordered some amazing dies in a sale which will help us no end with our projects. Her was called Flirt and has lots of girly bits in and mine was Relax with lots of holiday type things in like sand castles and flip flops. They had an alphabet in each one as well which is of a decent size and would have been very expensive on its own. I think I have spent rather too much on crafting items recently so I am now adding a stash diet to my food diet!

And yet more money was spent this weekend on shoes for the children, many of which had to go back as they were on the wrong hanging pegs but at least they both have slippers, wellies, trainers and "proper" shoes. We still have to get DS his plimsolls for school, third time lucky, but he is pretty much all set to begin one his first big adventures of life. I've starting dreaming about it and not being ready for it but I think that is more me not being ready because I havent labelled his uniform yet! I suppose I had better make a start on that now... I'll just have a read of some LSNED posts first... ;-)

Bye for now xx

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Well where has this week gone?! Blown away in the rain and wind I think. Goodness its been chilly here on the south coast and as unlike an August summer holiday as I have ever known. I've actually gone to bed in my pyjamas and kept them on all night which I rarely do, even in winter!

Its been a week of ups and downs really as the post natal depression makes itself known in its various guises. I do wonder, at what point does PND become "normal" depression (if that's not a contradiction in terms..) I dont suppose it much matters, the treatment is pretty much the same, although perhaps more difficult to manage with small children around! Rest and taking things easy? Yeah right! I know exercise is really important but I find that so hard to fit in too. We were just getting to the stage of getting into a pattern with the right classes at the right time and with DD being settled in the creche there but the along came the summer holidays. Some of the classes have changed and of course getting a place in the creche is hard, especially with 2 children to think about instead of 1. I really wanted to start the C25k programme (Couch to 5km) and I thought I might try and get up early one morning to start but of course on the day I wanted to begin, DD had a bad night and I was exhausted and desperate for that extra half an hour. Which of course, made me feel awful.

We've had a few play dates, soome spontaneous and driven from desperation but all welcome. It never fails to amaze me how different we can be as parents, even among very good friends, and yet the children all do much the same things! I know5-6 people with boys of a very similar age to DS and we all vary along the strictness line and all have different circumstances regarding siblings, child care etc and yet they all want to roll about fighting, find weapons in the unlikeliest of objects, and laugh uproariously at the word "poo".

So is it a boy thing or will DD do the same? I'm also constantly amazed by how I can look back at DS's toddler years and realise how easy he was. DD does all the things that at the time I smugly said DS never did. When friends told me about flour strewn around the kitchen and toilets blocked with loo roll, I thought I was doing something right in my parenting because he never did that. Then along came my perfect and easy going baby girl, who morphed into a devious, stroppy little diva who races about the house causing trouble as if she's got a firework in her knickers. As an example, I was cleaning the sink so she decided to empty some porridge oats on the floor. I went off to get the mini-hoover and she made good her entrance into the sink cupboard which was un-latched while I cleaned. I removed the cleaning fluid from her hands and hoovered the porridge. I then went to put the hoover back and by the time I returned from the end of the kitchen, she had spread porridge over the floor again.

I had no choice but to throw a trantrum right there and then, so I did! LOL!

Bye for now. x

Sunday, 22 August 2010

I've mentioned Shimelle a few times.. here is a link to her blog. :-)

Time for Thai

I've been feeling so rotten recently, really down in the dumps, and oh so tired. We know that a major part of my depression is sleep deprivation but we cant seem to find a way to deal with it without making things much worse! This week has also been so miserable with the weather unable to stay dry for long so getting out and about is tricky. We renewed our passes for Marwell Zoo but having gotten stuck there in the rain last week, its not something I want to repeat. You can dodge into the dry between showers but when its drizzling all day its pretty miserable and its not fair on Isabella who is tucked under her rain cover in the buggy, unable to see much at all. Friday was a particularly bad day as we were due to meet some friends at the zoo but this is one of the contacts I have lost through losing my phone. I was concious of the meeting date coming and going and being unable to firm up plans etc. I had decided to go to the zoo anyway and hope we met them there but the weather was just too grim. I had the day stretching before me with no plans and not much chance to get out and about. The previous night had been awful with trying to get DD to go back to sleep without being fed and even DD had woken up in the night. It had also taken me ages to go to sleep in the first place as I've been so tight chested this week and I couldnt stop coughing. Thankfull, DH slept through much of the goings on so it doesnt interfere with his day too much.

I consoled myself with purchasing some more craft stuff and probably would have cheered up if the items had been delivered within the hour. Never mind, I will lots of gorgeous yumminess to look forward to next week. I signed up for Shimelle's September on-line scrapbooking class which she does every year. Its called Learn Something New Every Day and is a daily scrapping prompt about the here and now and taking stock of where you are at a time when lots of people are "going back to school" after the holidays. As it happens I am, as I have signed on for another Open University course which starts in October but I should get something to work on sometime in September. This one is about creative writing and is only a 10 pointer so I should be able to cope - I hope!

So I have a few new things coming up which should hopefully inject some positive energy into the house. I say house because now and then DH feels down too but rarely does it happen at the same time as me. Yesterday was the first time that I can remember it happening. The day started badly with DD in our bed again, DS waking early and stropping about having to go back to bed etc. He was then a toad all day which really didnt help matters. We ventured out to Romsey Rapids for the first time and it was brilliant. DD is such a natural swimmer, maybe it was the water birth, that it wont be long before she can swim a bit. She and I got out before the boys and I had to hide my mobile from her while I was in my swim suit. Of course I forgot that I done that and left the phone in the changing rooms and didnt realise until we were home. We decided that as we both needed cheering up, DH would go back and get it in the early evening and go past the fantastic Thai takeaway on the way home. It was just what we needed. Lots of spice, a wonderful green curry, and a tummy ache from eating so much. I also sneaked a baklava from Waitrose which was yummy too. DS slept through until 7am and DD, although she ended up in our bed, slept till 8am! So even though DH is at work and my morning play date cancelled, I felt a bit better about things generally. I SO need to get my mojo back but we are starting today with lots of playing and getting the children to help with the housework. I dont think I will make my target of a 2lb loss this week but I hope I can get that mojo back again too. Its all linked and it needs little changes in the right direction but we will get there.

Bye for now xx

Friday, 20 August 2010

Recovering from the holiday

Holidays are supposed to make you feel rested aren't they? Except they dont really when you have children do they! Between the children needing entertaining and feeding etc and then being so wakeful and fractious in the night, it didnt really deliver what we hoped, especially in my fragile frame of mind. However a few minor things happened to make things a bit more difficult too. My watch decided that it had just had too much steam in it and so it stopped working. Then I realised at the end of the holiday that I hadnt seen my mobile for a while. We searched for days but it was too late to ring the phone as it had run out of batteries. We thought it would turn up once we had packed or gotten home and done the washing but no joy. Then, on top of that, we got halfway home to find that my handbag was still under MIL's handbag on the chair in their hall. Let me tell you it is very hard to do anything with no purse, no cheque book or credit cards, and no phone or watch to arrange things with people who DO have money. I couldnt start the shopping at the supermarket (I got half an hours head start without the children) because I didnt have a coin to get a trolley and I couldnt call DH to ask him to collect me sooner and I had no idea how much longer I would have to wait for him. Eventually I bought a new watch, put it on, it didnt work. Went somewhere else, got another one, it also didnt work. Eventually got one that worked. Got given a fabulous new phone and sim card etc and I was incredibly grateful but it was just too much to accept and I knew I wouldnt have time to work out how to use it. Eventually I got a new phone that I could use and was actually better than the one I had lost and DH managed to get access to my very old phone to get some of the numbers I had lost. Sadly I lost a few contacts that I only had on the lost phone and it means I cant contact them to firm up arrangements for meeting over the summer holidays. I just hope they forgive me when I see them back at school in September.

By far the worst things that happened when we got home though was we lost our beloved cat, Emmie. DH and the kids collected her from the cattery (her first ever cattery stay) and we knew that she wasnt right when she arrived home. She seemed to be struggling to breathe so we whipped her into the vets and they drained off a load of fluid from her lungs. It wasnt sounding like there would be an easy reason why this was happening but they kept her in and did some tests etc. She came home overnight but was clearly very unwell again the next day so we decided that we ought to have her put down. The vet had been advising this from the off but we didnt want to say goodbye without good reason. Nobody, including the vet, could have predicted how quickly she would become so poorly again so I rushed back from my mum's to be with her at the end. While I was talking to her, telling her she didnt have to struggle anymore, so much of what I was saying struck a chord with me. I have never ever felt suicidal and I dont think I actually feel that now but I can see, for the first time in my life why people can get to this stage. In all my depressive episodes, I have never felt as black as I do now. Its nothing to do with the cat, although we will miss her, I wont miss having a cat. Its also nothing to do with losing a phone or a watch or a purse, just that these things all seem much bigger than they really are when stuck in that black cloud.

And now we have been back a couple of weeks and I am still feeling incredibly weighed down. There just doesnt seem any point in anything. Joy is pretty shortlived and I seem to spend all my time trying to escape from the children or the washing or the cooking. When I think about going back to work, all I can see are the problems of drop off times, finding someone suitable, finding someone to fit in with job hours, that horrid settling in phase. In the end I dont do anything because it seems like too much trouble and I am back to the beginning again. I know it will be different when both are children are at school and preschool but it feels such a long way off and I dont want to wish their early years away because they are too important. Talk about going around in circles! Maybe it is time for a scrapbook layout about this dilemma? I think my crafting and my DH are the only thing keeping me going at the moment. And no, the rain isnt helping. Its times like this that I really miss my old Homestart group :-(

Bye for now.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Okay, for the final installment of pictures from my weekend of cyber cropping, we have another photo challenge. This one was to photograph something from nature so here we have Louis with his favourite pass-time of watching ladybirds wriggle over his fingers. Another photo challenge was to take a picture of your crafting space late into the weekend of the challenge, when there was likely to be a little bit of a... ahem.. mess. I'm so glad that I have a great space to work in as I just didnt have chance to put things away again. I've cleared up again now (otherwise Jane wouldnt have anywhere to sit when she comes for our weekly crop) but it was fun to look at all the different bits and pieces I'd used over the last few days.
And for the final picture from the weekend's activity, again a layout based on a sketch. I've been wanting to use this gorgeous Dear Lizzy bunting paper since I bought it at the Stitch and Craft show in Olympia in March. It was one of those papers that I fell in love with and HAD to have but found it really difficult to use. I took a risk with it here but I like it. And look, there is that yummy pink music paper again :-) Only the best for my beautiful baby girl.

So now that the crop is over, I can try and do an update on the goings on of last week... maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Cyber Crop!

I am trying to update my blog, so much has happened in the last couple of weeks and not much of it great, however something which IS great right now is that I'm taking part in a Cyper Crop. It sounds mad and it is! The wonderful Shimelle Laine (has set numerous challenges over the weekend and we have to use these hourly (if you want) prompts to create something based on her post. Its a fun way to light your creative fires and has inspired me to scrapbook at a faster rate than normal as there is a dealine of Tuesday morning!

Here is the first one I have done and the challenge for this one was to use circles....

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Beautiful Wales

Well we made it back from holiday in one piece. We had a lovely time although the children were quite unsettled in various ways.
DS was excited the whole time due to the presence of Grandma and the beach etc so he was up early and was wakeful in the night and general a pain due to being tired etc. DD was producing 2 molars and was sharing our room so she was also wakeful in the night and up early. I hoped it would be a wonderful restful holiday and in the main it was but I was still worn out due to constant broken sleep which was worse than being at home! DH and I managed a couple of evenings out for dinner and we explored what steps we could take to make things better / different for me. I always feel like I am treading water or biding my time for something but I dont know what that is! I'd still like to do a PGCE one day so maybe I feel like I cant move on until then, until the children are in full time school. I keep thinking about getting a childminder or something but the logistics of the part time course make it almost impossible to deal with.

As well as our meals out, we enjoyed making sandcastles etc on the beach and enjoyed watching the children exploring the sand and playing in the water. We saw such an improvement in DS's confidence - he even fell out of the dinghy at one point and came up smiling! DD was much like DS in his first toddling year there - running in and out of the water, not really sure if the liked it or not but seeming not to mind the cold. Both of them loved exploring the rock pools and DS was brilliant at spotting and catching crabs and tiny fish for his bucket.
His favourite phrase was "DD, you can collect a selection of shells" so that he could collect important things (living!) and he could pinch her shells to decorate his castles. He was very fond of telling Daddy to get on with the building while he found stuff for the interior design - how like his mother he is, all about the embellishment!

We made a familiar journey to Folly Farm which is much improved since last year and as usual we could have been there for days. It is ideal for DS's age group with all the play areas etc and thankfully as much inside as out! We also ventured to Oakwood but were really disappointed. The really big new rollercoaster was out of action as it kept getting stuck at the top and they had to lift people out, the huge water ride wasnt open until 2pm each day, the 3rd of the big rides wasnt very good (one of those bouncing things), which only left Megaphobia as one of the Big 4 worth going on. It is brilliant, all made of wood, very fast with lots of drops - just what we like. The park itself though was unkempt, the staff were grumpy and untidy, and there really wasnt enough stuff there to keep you busy all day unless you repeated rides. Also the food was shocking in comparison to the huge portions of loveliness at Folly Farm. We also managed to squeeze in a visit to Cardigan Island Farm Park which is beautiful and a great place to spot seals. Sadly they are still fighting a plan to have open access to their land and its been going on for 4 years now.

So, all in all, the weather wasnt brilliant, the children werent brilliant, but we had a lovely time. I miss the white washed and old stone cottages and the lovely lilting accents, I miss the daily walk down to the tiny village centre to get the paper and fresh bread, and I miss the fabulous wholefood shop that sells my favourite Japanese Rice Cakes (by Clearspring) and sells herbs and spices by the teaspoon. I managed to find a lovely herbalist there who gave me some fabulous tea to help me sleep. Just wondering about feeding it to the children... ;-)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Well I finally did it. I started a blog. I wanted to record my weight loss journey and my daily battle to get mentally fit so here I am. I also want to share my crafting obsession and record the joyful and not so joyful moments with my children.

Wish me luck, I'm going in!