A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Day

Last night I was taking what is seemingly becoming the norm around here now which is my hourly long bath; after I had done the usual, made a few calls, sipped my wine, paid the bills etc all the while topping myself up with hot water,I got to thinking about the year gone by, and the year yet to come.

For many of our close friends and family, it has been a wonderful year if only for the reason they have been given one of God's greatest blessings: a baby. In comparison to everything else that might be going wrong, how can a family be kept down in the doldrums when they have such a beautiful gift amongst them.
Yet for so many I realize that it hasn't been a particularly great year especially when it comes to health and losing loved ones. For myself, the past year has been one of the best yet, but in some ways one of the hardest. For Andy and I as a couple, it has probably been one of our best. Financially we have been hit in the solar plexus and it seems as if we are still trying to get our breath back, and will be for some time, however aside from our finances we've had a pretty good year.

It is when I think of those of you who have had to say good-bye to a loved one that I am able to take deep breaths and get on with life when I think of the one agonizing issue I had to confront this year. I choose for a number of reasons not to write about this issue on my blog, nor anywhere else that is accessible by the public. I realize there are many other blogs out there devoted to just this exact subject and although some might find them helpful, I try and not visit them often as it results in a number of mixed emotions and at this point in time I believe that the best thing I can do for myself is just get on with it. I don't want to go through life angry; I had resigned myself to the fact that I will probably have to go through life sad, at least deep down, but that is something I just don't want to do either.

So as the last eve of the year is upon us, the one where people often scramble to come up with resolutions that most don't even intend to keep, I have decided to promise myself one thing, and I must see it through: This year I'm going to do all I can to accept that while some dreams certainly do come true, others don't and that we can't always have what we want, no matter how the heart longs for it; that life really could be so much worse.

I hope that the end of 2009 gives you all something good to reflect back on and that 2010 brings with it all the love you need and the strength to pursue your dreams.

Because when you look at the bigger picture, life is good.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Crackers

Our champion 'ball-roller' having a hot-chocolate break after a few hours of baking.

Christmas this year seemed to have approached at an astonishing speed and the week before found me scrambling to do that bit of last minute prep that so many people had sorted out a lot sooner than me. Connor and I had done a fair bit of baking but
my Christmas shopping didn't actually get finalized until Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve is and always has been my favourite part of Christmas. This year was no exception and was actually lovely and quiet, just visiting with family and friends and of course Andy and I went out for my favourite, Pad Thai. Christmas morning found us having a lovely breakfast of Champagne and Orange Juice accompanied by omelette's before the crowd of relatives descended on our doorstep for what turned out to be a food fuelled and fun-packed afternoon and evening. We ended our Christmas night by playing Pictionary and Cranium. I didn't think it could get any louder than it did that night - until Boxing Day night, when twice the amount of booze was flowing.

I have eaten way too much, managed to fall once (hard) and not take nearly enough exercise. To top it all off I haven't had a BM in days (yes, you just heard me right - this is my blog and if I want to say that I will). So needless to say I'm not feeling very comfortable.Yesterday I thought a good-work out and lots of coffee would sort me out, but as my back and knee are giving me gyp, the work-out wasn't so successful and nothing else is working. So I assume this feeling of being a bloated cow will have to continue on for slightly longer.

The last two days have been spent very peacefully with just Andy and I hanging out with Molly, walking and trying to recover from a very crazy three days. Game-playing with the Allenby's is quite an event and can leave you reeling for hours; I thought my family were competitive and cut-throat at board games! The last few days have got me thinking that one of these days I'd love to have a showdown between the Allenby's and McDonald's at one of these games. I would have to give Molly plenty of time to take cover though.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Memories

This weekend we managed to get the tree (cut fresh from a farm about 20 minutes down the road) and I have to admit, it is the most perfect tree. EVER. Six feet tall, full and so fresh you can smell it as soon as you walk in the living room. So the house is now decked and I can't help but get nostalgic about Christmas traditions - new and old. I stumbled across this meme and in my attempt to blog more (I hope you've noticed) I thought I'd give it a go.

(My boys loading up the perfect tree)

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Ummm I'm not a lover of either - the sound of Egg Nog just puts me off but I would love to try it as its supposed to be creamy and delicious.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Children or not, the presents are wrapped - even the ones in the stockings. Its always been done at my childhood home and its a tradition I will continue with.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
As much as I love coloured lights - they look so pretty, we have white on our tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but if I had some I would

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Two weeks before Christmas. With a real tree you don't want to do it much before then.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Although its not really a dish, the tray of pickles, cheese and meat my dad always had waiting for us on Christmas Eve after we got back from church. I believe my sister still carries on this tradition in her own home.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Oh my, where to start? I loved how in the dark of a very early Christmas morning one of my siblings would shake me awake. We always had to wait till everyone was up to start opening presents, but I loved it. I can't believe there are households where the kids just open their gifts as they wake up at different times. Of course Christmas Eve is and always has been my favourite time although it got a little harder for me after we lost Nanny - such a big part of Christmas Eve was going over to see her.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Probably the year my sister figured out the Santa in the mall was my dad, even though I was oblivious - by this time I was also starting to notice that Santa's writing strongly resembled that of my parents. However I continued to hold out hope for years after and was kind of sad the year my mom asked me if I would like to help her wrap the gifts for my siblings (there was always a ton of wrapping!)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
White lights, sliver and crystal beads; the decorations are all silver, black or white.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it!! Wish there was more than just a 1% chance of it happening in North East England :)

12. Can you ice skate?
Of course I can! But not well.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
From my very young years: My big yellow barbie van (dad and I spent ages putting that beauty together on Christmas Day) As a grown up? Anything people have obviously put a lot of thought into.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Spending time with family - unfortunately my own family is very far away.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Anything chocolate. Sorry but I can't stand Christmas Pudding - such an English tradition and one I wish I could partake in.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Since I've moved here - going to pick out the tree with the boys. I like how Andy and I usually go out for a quiet meal on Christmas Eve. And I've carried on the family tradition of opening a present on Christmas Eve.

17. What tops your tree?
A star.

18. Which do you prefer: Giving or Receiving?
Giving, especially when I know its the perfect gift for that someone.

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
I can take or leave them - unless you are talking about Candy Cane ice-cream which I might as well forget about as you can't get it here.

20 Favorite Christmas Movie(s)?
Elf, Love Actually, The Family Stone, The Holiday. I really need to watch Miracle on 34th Street the whole way through one of these years!

21. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
O Holy Night... I can still remember the man that sang it at the Christmas Eve Mass one year. It was so haunting and beautiful. I've yet to hear anyone sing it like he did.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

If I don't feel it, I can fake it!

Last Friday the girls and I went to spend the day at the Lincoln Christmas Market. We'd made sure to book in at a hotel so we could all enjoy a glass (or two) of the mulled wine and German beer. I had no idea that champagne would be on offer and we certainly indulged; why not? Its Christmas and the four of us were together, in the bright sunshine at the Lincoln Christmas Market, within the castle grounds - how cool is that. You just don't get that option back home! I especially loved how all the stall holders were dressed in clothes that would have been worn a few hundred years ago. It was truly a magical day and I took great delight in nearly everything we encountered that day.

On Sunday our dear friends Sophia and Paul came to visit us with their daughter and I honestly could not get enough of this beautiful little girl:

I honestly have to say, its been nearly a week and I'm still thinking of our day spent with one of the most adorable, sweet natured babies I have ever known. I asked her parents if they would consider making one for me - I'd happily take her but they seem to have already grown rather fond of her.

Today we go to pick out our Christmas tree. This afternoon will be spent getting the house decked out and possibly I will do some baking. I'm going to take my best crack at finding all the Christmas Cheer that I can. And failing that, there is always a toddle of Bailey's to help me along :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Its a little stressed at our house today...


I've come across other bloggers who have participated in this 'challenge'

The purpose is to list 10 things that make you happy and then pass it on to ten people in the blogging community. I've taken it upon myself to follow suit however I won't be tagging anyone; You all know who you are and one thing that would make me happy is knowing the little things that make you happy :)

With Christmas coming and my emotions being all over the place, I thought I'd take a stab at it so I could focus that much more closely on the good aspects of life and this upcoming season.

So here goes - 10 things that make me happy:

1. Being snuggled up in bed on a lazy Sunday morning reading with Molly curled up at my feet.
2. Pad Thai (especially since I don't get it enough!)
3. Babies - any babies but especially the sweet adorable ones who like to be cuddled (even if it kind of makes me sad at the same time)
4. Travelling with my husband
5. Being with my family back home.
6. When the boys ask me to bake for them.
7. Bacon sandwiches (I know!!!)
8. Long walks with Andy, Molly and co.
9. When I've had a kick-ass work out
10. Meeting the girls for coffee

Monday, December 07, 2009

I Owe it to Myself

Well, I have to be honest with you about something. If you go to my gym, you will probably notice one thing. I haven't been there.

I haven't come down with a terrible bout of illness, I haven't been too busy to make time for it. I've just not been there.

Granted last week my insufferable back was acting up, but that doesn't excuse my not finding the time to get there on the five other days of the week.

I tried on a top yesterday that when I first bought it back in the beginning of this year, was a bit tight under the arms. I managed to have said top fitting me quite nicely by the spring. Yesterday, it felt a little bit snug again. One week away from the gym and this is what I'm faced with? Life is hard sometimes (but of course we knew that already).

So my goals for this week are:

A) Eat less
B) Drink less alcholic beverages
C) Work out at least 3 times.

That's not aiming too high at all.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Path Not Taken

I honestly really want to know (and this is not a ploy to see how much readership I have as I’m pretty certain it’s a remarkably low number) how many of you spend time thinking of the roads you’ve chosen to walk throughout your life compared to the road you could be walking right now but aren’t because you decided (maybe at the last minute) to change direction.

I tend to think of things like this sporadically and have done so all my adult life really. It could be a direct reflection of the fact that I am a procrastinator who has a tough time just deciding what shoes I want to wear in the morning and still wonders if she should have went with the little red heels despite being two hours out the door after choosing the comfortable black flats. I don’t often spend a lot of time emulating on past decisions that have brought me to the place where I am because I’m mostly fulfilled (because I don't think anyone is really living a life where they have absolutely everything they ever dreamed of). But sometimes I wonder if there really is a parallel universe out there, where I’m living a completely different life from this one and if in that life I am content, or even happy, or if in fact its all gone completely wrong.

For instance:

What if I had stayed with my first serious boyfriend, a guy who I loved in a shockingly unbalanced way. Neither one of us was what you would call temperate in the relationship which proved at times to be so tumultuous it resulted in the very best of my 20 year old self being drained of all reason. I had to make a lot of tough choices in that relationship, some which come back to haunt me even now, 16 years later. But I wonder if we would have been able to work past our issues, grow into the reasonably mature adults we are now? Probably not. We just didn’t work together and because I at least had the ability to see this, I ended it. But say we had ended up together and were still together - how would I cope with living with a man who has just been handed a death sentence? I’m sad for this man, sad that he is dying when after spending the last 15 years trying to sort out his life, of finally settling down and getting married and having two sons he has found himself knocking on death’s door. But at the same time I’m relieved that I’m not with him, relieved that I didn’t have to live a life of struggles and hardship, only to have him die on me.

I sometimes think of the life I might be living if I hadn’t decided to move to England. It’s hard to comprehend at times, it really is. Because I don’t think I could be any more content. Although I miss my family, I know its not forever and I have to take advantage of living this experience while it lasts. If I had gone down another road with the man I debated marrying prior to Andy, we might have three children by now and live in a house by the sea, but nothing could make up for the fact that his family were just a group of self-centred assholes and having children within this family wouldn’t make up for it. (When you marry someone, you marry their family – my husband learned that the hard way during his first marriage.) I’ve instead chose to live my life with a man who came with a ready-made family - a family who accepted me immediately and whom I love and respect more than anything and whom I know give me that love and respect straight back.

I know I’m not out there living in another dimension, happier than I am now. Life has lead me to where I am and it’s a path I would turn around and take again if given the chance. It’s not always been easy but I don’t believe it’s the easy road that necessarily leads you to the best places.