Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pete's had some really good job news, we're both really excited. A company has seen his CV, and have put him forward for an awesome job. It's in North London, has a company car, and pays above what we need with a 25% bonus on top. Also, it's an Australian finance company, so there may(and I say this very tentatively), be a chance to re-locate a long way in the future. The position is similar to an Area Manager(what he does now), travelling to sites to do training, and sorting staffing issues. It sounds promising. Also, if he gets a company car I can have his car. I'll be mobile, at last!

Ryan is coming home tomorrow. He told Pete he'd had a long think about his behaviour while he's been away, and he can see his destructive behaviour and wants to change it. Lets hope this is a new start for him. I don't want him to make the same mistakes his Mum has in life. She's not a popular person, even her own Mother and Sister can't stand her. She told him he's been an angel this week, he was a little shit when he lived with her, so it shows her we're doing a good job parenting him.

Work was good today, I've been busy booking theatre trips and holidays. I'm very lucky to have such a fun job. The kids are back to school on Tuesday and Wednesday. I love the summer holidays so I'm sad it's over, it's back to the daily routine.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Grief sets in...

Isn't is supposed to get better, not worse? I'm finding myself missing Nan more and more each day.

Pete does a half day on Wednesday, so he got home at 1pm, we all had lunch, then he wanted to go upstairs on the PC. I took Isobel upstairs with me and we all laid down for a bit. Me and Ibby fell asleep for a bit. I had a dream that we were having a birthday party for one of the kids round at Nan's flat. We always used to do that, Isobel's was the last one in May. The dream had nothing specific in it, we were all just sat around opening presents, eating and laughing. I woke up really sad that we'll never do it again. I'll never walk through that door and see her sitting in her chair again.
I'm dreading Christmas this year, it's going to be so hard. I know she'd want us to enjoy it, but how can we? She was such a massive part of it, it'll just be empty.

I do feel like I'm grieving naturally, which is a good thing. I'm not bottling it up, or ignoring it(which I do so well normally). I'm known as the Ice Maiden amongst friends. Nothing chips at my armour. But this all feels right. When we had to get rid of Fraser(our dog) last November, it really hit me hard. I still can't look at photos of him, it upsets me too much. My emotions just shut down whenever I think about him, it hurts too much. So for me, this process right now is good and healthy, even though it feels awful.

Isobel with Nan last Christmas;

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I just had a chat with Ryan, he seems happy enough and they are spoiling him(as they do). That's their way of parenting, "If we buy him enough toys/clothes/games, he'll be a good honest Christian and he'll love us and Jehovah." Bollocks to that. :-D

Pete is at football training and Taylor is staying at Georgies, so I'm home alone. Isobel is here, but she's tucked up in bed so doesn't count. I might have a glass of wine.

Didn't do much today, I finished off arranging the wardrobe spaces and hanging up all the clothes. It was thrilling. I watched Finding Nemo(again!)with Isobel. She is starting to memorise the lines now, it's very cute.

I think we've decided what to do with the bedrooms in this house. Once we've bought this place, we're splitting the boys bedroom into two smaller rooms. One will be more of a den really. Taylor would love it, it'll be very cave-like, but Isobel will probably end up in there with a Junior size bed. I know this is very sad, but here is my first plan. I've since drawn up a proper one with measurements and in scale, but it's not on the PC. I just want this done NOW. I can't wait another six months.

Our original plan was to split the living room, but Pete doesn't want to. Plus, the walk in cupboard in their room, that runs parallel to it, already has a door in place, making it an easier building job. I'm thinking of building it myself, as I'm not a complete beginner with woodwork. I've helped build stables and aviaries from scratch, so why not a partition wall? We know this extra room won't be a 'legal' bedroom, and the wall doesn't load bear. It's literally a screen. It won't increase value(it'll probably decrease it as we'll lose a double room), but the kids need separate rooms desperately. Their age gaps are just too big to share.

Monday, August 28, 2006

We've finally heard from Ryan. It sounds as if he's OK, so panic over, for now anyway.
We went to Wat Tyler today, a country park near us. It's named after the famous leader of the Peasants Revolt in the 1300's. We went in the Motorboat Museum, and had a go on the model boats:

Then I took Taylor and Isobel on the miniature railway. Isobel loved it!

We went to the adventure playground too, Isobel is fearless. She climbs up vertical ladders, jumps off ledges, slides down the big slides. I have to watch her like a hawk.

I didn't get this video today, this was taken in the Spring at the same park. Going there today reminded me of it. It cracks me up.

Job search

Random picture time; this is Pete at two years old. Doesn't Isobel look just like him?

I finished Pete's CV last night and applied for about 12 jobs for him. I hope he gets something he's going to enjoy. He'll be in a new job by November, he always finds it easy to get a new job, it's just he never likes what he gets. He hates his current job, and he's only been there a year. Oh well, fingers crossed!

I popped into a community art gallery run by two artist friends of mine(they teach the art classes at my work as a sideline to their 'real' art), and they've asked me to exhibit some of my work. I'll have to get some pieces together by Wednesday though, as the gallery is closing and moving in 6 weeks, and I want a run of at least 5 weeks.

Pete sent Ryan a text yesterday evening, and he still hasn't replied(it's lunchtime now). I've just sent him another one about 20 minutes ago, still no reply. I'm sure he's just having a lot of fun, but we all know how volatile his Mum is. I hope he's not in trouble.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

We were supposed to be going clubbing on Friday night. We dropped the kids off, and decided on going out for an Indian meal instead. It was very nice and we really enjoyed having a bit of couple time. It doesn't happen much since Ryan came.

Speaking of Ryan, Pete dropped him off at the station to meet his Mum on Friday and he really didn't want to go. He had a bit of a panic attack in the car and nearly changed his mind. Pete has since spoken to him and they've spent hundreds of pounds on him and he is now quite happy to be there. Funny how the old pound sign works magic on him. This now means that we are going to have a 12 year old with an attitude when he comes back to our frugal lifestyle. Isn't it also funny how Sian owes us a year of backpay maintenance money, but pleads poverty whenever asked about it? I wonder how she's afforded to buy Ryan £200 computer consoles and bags of new clothes at the drop of a hat. Must be divine intervention from that false god of hers.

I got my hair cut yesterday after waiting for two years. It feels so nice to finally get rid of the split ends and get the fringe I wanted.

Friday, August 25, 2006

My goodness I had a bad day yesterday. Nothing was right, everybody pissed me off and I just wanted to be left alone. Work was upsetting because everyone reminded me of Nan, when I got home the house looked like a bomb had gone off, and I had Ryan's clothes to wash and dry and it was pissing down.
Pete told me to just go to bed, so at 10pm, I did! I feel much happier today. The world is not conspiring against me.

We have no children tonight. Do we go clubbing in London and spend a fortune, or do we have a nice romantic Italian meal? Answers on a postcard please.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Well, Ryan is off to his Mum's for a few days. She'll either shower him with gifts because she knows money makes his world go round, so he'll come back to our poor lifestyle with an attitude problem, and we'll end up kicking him out. Or, she'll be mean to him and brainwash him, so psychologically he'll take a huge step back, and we'll be back to square one. We can't win either way. Fun times. She's collecting him at 12 noon tomorrow.

The house was a tip when I got home tonight, as per the norm, and now I've got the hump. Honestly, why can't they pick up after themselves? It's not fucking rocket science.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The new Goldfish

Taylor had swimming again today, he has two more lessons to go. Pete will have to take him tomorrow, he'll love that!

Taylor bought a new goldfish today with his pocket money. One of his fish, Bruce, died a few months back and he was distraught. We still had Chimbonda(don't ask, he's named after a footballer), but he was looking pretty lonely. I introduce to you...


We called him that as he looks like he's got a black wig on his head. Chimbonda is impressed, he keeps trying to kiss Combover. Sorry about the awful picture, fish aren't the easiest things to photograph.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sleepovers & Swimming

The boys both had a friend over each last night. Taylor's best friend is called Georgie. He's a shy little thing, and he doesn't ever stay away from home, so it was a recipe for disaster really. He had tea with us, then at about 11pm he started crying and I had to walk him home. Taylor has stayed round his house loads of times, so I guess it'll have to be a one sided sleepover arrangement for now until Georgie gets a bit older.
Sam, Ryan's friend, is the complete opposite. He virtually lives at our house, but Ryan never gets an invite back. He's only stayed a few times, but I know they have huge family issues right now with money and bailiffs and other nasty stuff. I guess they'd rather keep it to themselves.
Sam came swimming with us this morning. Taylor had a swimming lesson, so I took Bel, Ryan and Sam into the big pool and Taylor joined us after his lesson. The big slide at the pool lets little ones on with their parents, so Isobel made me do a good workout of up the stairs/down the slide/up the stairs/down the slide. I was exhausted by the end of it.
We had a visit from the Council today, with the paperwork for our mortgage. I can't wait to buy this place, just so I can put a new kitchen in, do the garden and build the extra room downstairs. Lara came over and the kids watched Nemo(again!). We took these cute pictures.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another weekend over

Friday night was spent watching Big Brother, which Pete won (yay!!). I finally voted for him right at the end. Then, after drinking half a bottle of wine, which isn't a lot to me, I decided to cut Taylor's hair. It isn't the first time I've performed a drunken haircut, so I felt confident! We've been growing it ready for a mohawk, it was finally long enough on top, SO...


Of course, it'll have to come off before school goes back in September, but we can enjoy it for the holidays.

Saturday, Taylor had football training, then Pete and Ryan went to the Southend game while I prepared for a BBQ. Everyone came over, it ended up going on until 3am as my neighbors came round. We had a good night! Sunday I got up for football(both Ryan's & Pete's) and had a good gossip with Jane on the sidelines. We popped round Mum's for tea, Pete fell asleep(lightweight!), and I helped Mum to upload her new MP3 player. She's new to the whole technological age, bless her!

At about 10pm, Alan our neighbor knocked on the door with a SCARY hairdo. Wendy, his missus, was bleaching her hair and she thought it'd be funny to run her bleach-laden hands through his tousled locks. He'd ended up looking like Chris Evans. I had to shave it all off down to a number one, and he still had ginger patches. It was freaking hilarious! Thing is, Alan loves a practical joke so I reckon Wendy had better sleep with one eye open. He is sooo going to get her back.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Brotherly love...

I'm very proud of my son today. About an hour ago we were offered two free tickets to a Southend United game by our next door neighbor. This wouldn't be a problem, it was a lovely gesture, except for the fact that we have two boys. Someone will have to miss out.

We decided to toss a coin. I expected Ryan to win the toss. He didn't. Taylor was going to the game with his Dad. After dinner Ryan quietly slipped upstairs for a cry, Taylor followed, then ten minutes later he told Pete that Ryan could have his ticket. When we asked him why he said he didn't want to see Ryan upset, and he wanted him to go instead. Ryan has promised to buy him a present with his pocket money next week to say thanks. I hope this has taught Ryan a lesson. For the last two years he has terrorised Taylor, made him feel like a complete idiot, yet Taylor still adores him. It was just a really selfless and kind thing to do. We've done a good job with that boy. :-)

In other news, we both took Isobel to baby group today, it's probably the one and only time we'll ever take her together as I work on Fridays normally. It was lovely to see Alan, the Minister from the church who run the group. He's an awesome man. If we were ever to join a church(unlikely), his would be the one we'd choose.

Big Brother final tonight...I have no idea who to vote for. I was like this last year, dithering at the last minute. I've adored Pete all the way through, but this week he's become a sly, sneaky little coward. I have about 30 minutes to decide.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nan's birthday

It was Nanny Farm's birthday yesterday, so we went to the cemetery to lay some fresh flowers down. I bought some nice yellow daisies and some yellow and red carnations. I picked some wild plums there with the kids, they're gorgeous and very sweet. I'm hoping to make some plum jam tomorrow. There is nothing I love more than cooking with wild food. I picked some huge mutant blackberries a few days ago in Portsmouth and made a crumble with them yesterday too. I'm just looking forward to Autumn now and the wild mushrooms that come with it.

I didn't take any pictures at the grave(thought it was a bit weird), but we went on to Eastbrookend Country Park afterwards with the kids. This place is really special to me. When I was pregnant with Taylor, I used to live just around the corner and I came here a lot. It's a haven in the city, with skylarks soaring and the breeze rattling through the Poplar trees(my favourite sound ever). I made some very big decisions about the path my life was going to take, and ultimately I decided to not have an abortion and keep Taylor while sat up there. It was a really spiritual experience, very life defining, and I'll never forget it. I'm thankful for the inspiration the place gave me 8 years ago. Pete knows how I feel about the place and he takes us all up there at least once a year.
I've wrote a few poems that convey the feeling pretty well, I'll have to dig them out later.

Anyway, we went to the fields over the back of the park so Pete and the boys could have a kick about. I took some nice pictures of Isobel, and we scrubbed about in the dirt for a while, both trying to catch grasshoppers.

It was a lovely relaxing day in the fresh air, I feel refreshed now.

Happy Birthday Nan, I hope you had fun with Grandad. :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Shame about the dirty face in this one...

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Beautiful girl...

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Isobel and Frankie(I think!)

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Isobel at Auntie Nell's

We visited Auntie Nell's for a cuppa and some cakes. She's such a sweet old thing when I'm there, but by all accounts shes a cantankerous old thing usually. The whole family dreads visiting her. Posted by Picasa

Ryan & Isobel at Lou's

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Then(are you bored yet?), we went to the New Forest for a picnic. The boys and Pete played cricket(again!), and Isobel chased the ponies around.

Lou took Pete and I out to the pub on Friday as she'd got a babysitter for all 5 kids(brave girls), and Neil met up with us too. That was fun, and it was lovely to get away from the kids for a few hours. We don't usually spend this long together.

We spent the next few days with family really, as the funds had finally run out. No more days out for us! We went to the beach and arcades a few times, but the weather had turned by this time, so it got pretty boring.

Isobel had great fun playing with Frankie and Lewis(don't ask me which one is which, they're so identical even Lou can't always tell them apart!). They all played so nicely all week, no fighting at all.

I think that's about it, except for a few more photos of Isobel that Pete's Dad took(see above).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We visited a huge pine forest, which was beautiful and eerie. I took some video of the wind sighing through the trees as I never wanted to forget the sound of it. I'm sure we were the only people there, it was just so wild.

The boys played cricket for a bit, then we cooked dinner out in the wild for a change(and had a hot chocolate afterwards for extra warmth). The Park Ranger came along to lock up, and as we were still munching, he very kindly gave us the padlock and asked us to lock the gate when we left.

Taylor had a stomach bug late that evening(which I think he caught from the water at Lulworth the day before), so we were all sat around all day the next day hoping for him to get better. Eventually, he sprung up right as rain at about 3pm(as he usually does), by which time the rest of us were climbing the walls and itching to get out. We drove around looking for this place:

However, when we realised we had to pay £11 entry fee just to see a lake we turned around and went back again!

Durdle door

We visited a place called Durdle Door, what a cool name! We parked up, and then left Pete in the car with Isobel as she was asleep. The boys and I walked to the edge of the cliff and saw this:

What a beautiful view! It was like being in a foreign country. We walked down a VERY steep hill, passing by people with pushchairs, who obviously weren't thinking about that journey back up. The first bay we saw was Man 'o War Bay, which was just stunning. There were lots of kids in dingy boats and people snorkeling:

Just over the ridge was Durdle Door, and it was better than I'd imagined. I just wanted to jump in. We couldn't go down to the beach, as Pete's parking ticket was about to run out and we still had the long hike back, but I've vowed to go back once Isobel is older(minus the pushchair!).

To save time, we decided to hike up an unmarked path which was more or less vertical, with me in flip flops. That was a laugh! I had to grab handfuls of grass to haul my arse up, I nearly had a seizure by the time I reached the top. The boys thought it was hilarious.

On the beach at Lulworth...

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The boys outside the waterpark...

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Isobel at the waterpark...

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Me with Isobel & Taylor after the donkey ride...

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