Thursday, 30 September 2010

You are my sunshine...

So a lot of people like to blame America for things that they really aren't at fault for, this is not one of those occasions! You'all have stolen the SUN! I landed in CO last night at 6pm local time after 9 hours of flying towards the sun... She was teasing us just above the horizon, and as we flew "back in time" she continued to taunt us. Low and bright, with a fiery glare.

I don't feel England has seen much Sun this summer, so we aren't exactly on good terms. I think the 9 hours of banter through the oblique crack in the window blind next to MY seat (just my luck) really did result in a excellent resolve. We began our decent into Denver CO approaching her slipping into her Pj's. As our plane banked to line up to land, the ground, without warning, went from flat to the most exquisite peaks and She tucked herself to bed behind the Rocky's.

With a sleeping toddler on one arm and a gyrating 10month old on my lap, I knew that the moment should not be spent wrecklessly in mourning my camera being out of reach. So I put my head back and soaked up her last, consoling magenta rays - a scene that with forever compensate every grey English summer day that ever has been, or will be.

And then this morning, she graciously stretched and rose up to greet us on our way back from our 4.30am Walmart trip (kids body clocks were set to mid-day) and then she hung around all day. She didn't sneak off for a rest or respite, oh no, she just generously baked us all day long.

Now with her warm kiss upon my shoulders I head to bed for the first time in 48hrs.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Hi everyone  - it seems my blog has lost its marbles (or maybe I have)  - only posted 1/3 of my post today and I am waiting for computer brain Mike to get home to fix it :(

Just so you know, I know!


The Nursery - before and after!

Moving as often as we have has caused chaos in our lives. Once I was pregnant and morning sick, the next time I had a three month old and a two year old. Things have gone slowly.

This is when the nursery was just Levi's bedroom. 

A month or two after this Pooka grew out of his bedside crib and we needed to move him into a cot. Levi was not yet two. Given his obsession with "his" baby we decided to buy two cotbeds (large cots that covert to mini beds) to kee

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

OK, so I lied - Forgive me?

Today Im supposed to be posting my crumble recipe. It just seems like sacrilege to do it without any pictures of the delicious warm pud, of which there are presently none.

The plan was to make it last night, be we've all caught a cold. All three of my boys are sleeping, and Im here with my head held low, full of shame, to say I just CANT do it. It deserves justice. It deserves pictures!

SO Im saving it for another day! What I can tell you all is that I've kept to my word in another case - the nursery! I have finally listed a lot of the baby things we arent using anymore.

I did it with such a heavy heart - I felt like I was discarding some special part of their babyhood, which has flashed by in what feels like a second. Then I shook myself back into reality and remembered that they are just things! Things, which if I sell, will enable me to shop and complete my nursery! And if I sell enough they may even mean I get to tag San Fran onto the end of my US trip!

Can you believe I join most of you in your time zone just next week? We will share the same sunshine for the first time since I join you all. Isnt that a thought?

Hope you are having fantastic days - Im still in flannel pj's drinking tea, wishing away our germs (and the HUGE mound of laundry).

Much Love

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Autumn Apples

Along with the crisp, sweet, pink fruit come fresh mornings and a lazy sun. It doesnt bother to hang around as long these days, shows up late and tucks itself away beyond the pink horizon for an early night.

 We all know too well that its only just the start of its laziness.

But while the last few weeks of sunshine allow us to cloud gaze on our backs in our gardens, before we head in for a warming supper where we've traded berry jellies for fresh apple crumble with warm cream, lets really enjoy and savour the season at hand. Spice up your menu's. Sponge up the season's best.

Tomorrow I'll post my favourite crumble recipe, is SUPER simple and utterly delicious. The perfect way to use up the apples falling in you back garden (or your neighbours, or just from the market!).

Friday, 17 September 2010

Some days things end up where they shouldnt be. Washing up doesn't get done, the dog misses out on her walk. Some days we have to get through without any milk in the fridge, without any apples in the fruit bowl. 

Some days things just dont run to plan. The washing line suns a painting and a teddy wet from "swimming" in the dog's water bowl, rather than clean laundry.

Today is one of those days! Isnt it great that tomorrow is still coming?


Most days I read my American Friends blogs with envy. Farms, barns, sunshine, school buses...  This week I've been planning a tea for 500. A traditional English Afternoon Tea.

Im heading it up and I've been a LOT crazy the past few days, hence the lack of posts!

Scrolling through my phone pictures today to show our interior designer at the venue what flowers we have bought for the tea, I came across some beautiful shots - the memory of taking them had long since seeped through the cracks of short term memory and TO DO list.

I took these on a walk around Hampton Court Palace - two miles from our front door and free to get into. A gentle reminder to me of how much I adore England.

Its easy to forget what a privilege it is to live in a country with such rich history and beauty on your doorstep. It's such a beautiful thing to see England again through fresh eyes, like I did the very first time I arrived on this fair, green land.

It sat right in my soul that I should be in awe of the fact that I get to walk through King Henry the 8th's formal gardens. With my Dog. For free. And that I should be overwhelmed to tears by the floral perfume of exquisite English roses, who have no equal in scent and beauty. Their perfume so strong that it lingers in your hair for a while after your walk.

I love England and, one day, when you visit - I'd LOVE to show you why.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Boys' Room & Renting Rant

Renting has just got to be the thing that most regularly upsets my apple cart. I'll be strolling along nicely, packing away laundry, reading to my babies in their bedroom, i'll look up at the wall and BANG! I want to paint, desperately. Its not that its horrendous as it is, its neutral in fact - but in my opinion 70% of what makes a room look great,the thing that pulls it out of the average and really just sets it apart and a thing of beauty in my heart, is what on those walls! Colour, pictures, mirrors, bunting, photos... you get the picture.

Cushions for the boys's room. One for Levi's bed, one for Ash's cot - bargain from Primark £6 ($9).

Where we live, in the UK, you cant even knock a picture hook into the wall of a rented home. You can paint subject to landlords permission, but hey - Mike is right, why add value to their property for the sake of 12 months living in a slightly different shade of cream.

I had an overwhelming conviction washing over me this past week about how fortunate we are to have what we have, I felt guilty that my heart has been so full of discontentment. I have made excuses to get myself out of doing WHAT I CAN. Yeah, ok so it may not be IDEAL and perfect, but I've GOT to learn to work with what I have. I used to be VERY good at that - Im not sure what happened. Im no longer going to put projects off until I can make my "dream room" happen. Im going to find balance.

The boys' new bookshelf/toy shelves for their room. £5.50 ($8) off ebay, collected from under a mile away this morning, currently sitting in the hall. 

Im going to do the most I can do with what I have, spend only what I need to on the practical things and a few fun pieces, repurpose what I have around that I dont use and SELL everything else. Ok well, not everything. But there are lots of things I have around that have SOME value that is not being realised. Lots of baby things we no longer have a purpose for.

So Im starting the boys' room. I'll be stealing from the grocery budget left overs and the change Mike leaves lying around the house to do some charity shop bargain hunting. Im going to try and sell more than I spend on ebay this month...

AND im going to be happy with it!

Friday, 10 September 2010

The house is still standing...

I asked for prayer - well begged really - a couple of days ago as fires approached my sister's boyfriend's family home in Colorado. One thing I have learned from this, people, is that firefighters are serious heros. Not just kinda maybe heros, but hardcore men who wont just risk their lives to safe you life - they'll risk their lives to save your possessions!

The Faul's home.

Engines parked in their driveway.

More than 20 firefighters were assigned to the few houses on this road - they guarded them day and night. Without exaggeration 100's if loads of slurry and fire retardant were dumped on this neighbourhood, thousands of man hour and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to protect these families and their homes.

Fire retardant on the windows

The bomber and lots of slurry dust on the house

Apparently the firefighters even went into the house to remove gas cylinders and anything combustable, and upon doing so noticed that the freezer had defrosted onto the floor (as there's been no electricity for days) and they found towels and CLEANED UP THE WATER so that there was no damage done to the wooden floors. Like HELLO? How amazingly above and beyond is THAT?

Not even 100ft off the ground, with sleep declines and inclines. Incredible pilots. 

Charred forest in the back, middle and foreground taken from the house. 

Taken from one of the rooms windows

Sunshine Canyon, where 29 homes were lost, as seen from the house. 

Please continue to pray for protection over the homes that are still standing - apparently two further fires started out of nowhere yesterday close to the house. They are not out of danger yet. Also prayer for those families who have lost their precious homes would be so appreciated - the Faul's home has been spared for now but having come face to face with the reality of loosing ones home has given us fresh eyes of compassion for those who have suffered such an immeasurable loss.

These skies were completely free of cloud - the shadow of smoke cast over the people of Boulder. Please cover them in prayer over the next few days!

*All photos on this page are property and under copyright of Ivan Faul.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pray that fire out!

The fires raging through Boulder CO have taken many homes already, and its now heading straight for my sisters boyfriends family home. They grew up there and all of their possessions are there - they have been unable to fetch anything. There are currently firefighters around their home, please pray that God surrounds it with angels and miraculously spares it.

Its a beautiful home full of their memories.  Here is is covered in winter whites... Im supposed to be going to visit her here in three weeks - lets pray I have somewhere to go!


Every girl needs a black book - or in my case, a black board!

Some of you sweet peeps are paper peeps. You love to write everything down in your planner that lasts a whole year, without getting regularly lost, destroyed or defaced by your toddler. You love to feel the ball of your pen scratching over the paper as you tick off a task completed; to add appointments and birthdays into your special book weeks, sometimes months, in advance, before you flip back to tomorrows date and add the few things you need to pick up from the shop, and a reminder to stop in at the post office.

Then there are those of you who have joined the revolution against paper. A paperless age where the iPhone and Blackberry are king, where you sync your calendar wirelessly to you computer each day. You add tasks on the go, sometimes straight from that email or text. You have a task list and a grocery list on the go constantly, updating it as you go. It automatically emails you things you already knew. Who needs a memory in the 21st century anyway?

Then there is me. I LOVE pen on paper. I love to make notes as I go. I love my iPhone. As much as I would love to lean towards being either a paper peep or a techno peep, I just cant do it. My yearly planners generally dont see it through the first month - between my mindlessness and my two year olds obsession with all things "paper and pen", my beloved moleskin all to often falls into the hands of our in house vandal. "Keep it out of his reach!" you say... "Teach him its yours!" you jeer! Well, both points taken into account - its no good to me out of HIS reach - it'd have to be behind a 6inch steel safe door to keep him from finding it (then there is always the business of remembering which "safe place" I used THIS time... ) and onto the teach him its mine thing, well, I could do that. Only, it would cost the vandalism of many a planner, transferring the remaining discernible information (if the book was ever found that is) into a new one only to never have it where I need it incase he gets it. You get the picture Im sure.

Then there is my iPhone. OK so yeah, Im lame. Im at the point where I feel that the quality of my life would be significantly lower without it. Email, facebook, ebay, the weather, the news, my budget, my camera - not to mention the fact that this remarkable device also houses this smart bit of kit that allows you to make a telephone call! But the calander function on it is abhorrent. You cant just write on the line, next to the time that you want, what you wanna do. You cant use the useless times of day line like 2am - 6am and 8pm-12pm lines to write grocery lists and doodle while you're on hold. Oh sorry, is that really only me? It just doesnt cut it.

SO the solution you ask? Fair enough, im blabbling on and on... An old frame (which I once had a plan for) some MDF from the hardware store, and a tin of blackboard paint. A (beautiful) black board.

Out of reach - check!
Storage facility for writing implement (I use the moulded frame hold my chalk!) - check!
Close to the place I generally realise mid way through a nappy change that Im out of wipes (my kitchen floor) - check!
Not a huge expense incase I fail dismally to use it - check!

So heres what I did.

I spray painted this frame I found at a charity shop some years ago on my grass LAST summer. The stencil it created lasted all through the summer, I was impressed as I was disturbed. I then realised that having a mirror cut in the UK is WAY more expensive that buying the whole shibang. What to do: Store it for a year in the shed and move house twice until chipped and vintage looking (or just knock it about a bit to chip off some paint, very easy to achieve if you didnt bother to use a primer).

Decide on a whim to buy some MDF, blackboard paint and the cheapest paintbrush in the shop so as to render it disposible (even the most frugal of you would agree if you have ever used blackboard paint before - TOXIC). Budget £5 ($7.50)

Come home with your two little ones in the rain and paint one coat of  blackboard paint onto your MDF while spoon feeding your 9month old intermittently  (while he sits facing the rain in front of the open double doors to the garden, so as to be well ventilated!). Encourage your two year old to sit tight at his table and eat his peas. All of this must be completed wearing a pretty white blouse!

Leave your first coat to air-dry while you bathe your babies, and once they are settled in their beds return to the supper dishes not forgetting to bring your hair dryer down to the kitchen from upstairs en route back from the boys' room. Use the hairdryer to help the paint drying along... We all have a limit to our patience - save yours for your children and husband - trust me on this one. Keep weeeellll ventilated!

Remove your brush from the ziplock bag you used to stop the paint drying on your brush while you were getting on with life and slap on a second coat. Make tea and watch paint dry for a little - contemplate supper dishes. Help the drying along again. Do dishes.

Force the MDF you inevitably cut 2mm too wide (youre likely to have done this with a paper scalpel and a steel ruler while you kids ran around you in the hall) into the frame. Pop in some tacs and HANG that baby.

Stand back and admire.

For me a place for the chalk was really important - what goods a board without it ey? Well, if you do this make sure your frame has a lip that holds your chalk in place.

Whaaat? Oh, yeah. That. I hear you, this still doesnt solve the problem of keeping you list WITH you. Having it at the shop when you need it without having to RE WRITE or type it all into a list. To solve this problem, we simply take a picture. Your "mobile blackboard". Finding a way of reminding myself to do this BEFORE I go shopping - well, we are still working on that! But LOOK - things are getting crossed off!

Im far from perfect. So very, very far from perfect. But this silly project has changed my life. After two years of remembering every few months how much I love tobasco, and then forgetting to buy it, I now have TWO bottles in my cupboard (they were on sale).

Be warned - people will find themselves compelled to draw things on your board. 

Im thinking of making one just for notes for hubby, and one day when I OWN my house im going to paint a WHOLE kitchen wall ... you guessed it - BLACK!

Who needs a book, anyway?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Pray with us for Lucas Fisher

He's here. She did it! The drugs managed to keep her labour slow until some time shy of 5am and in 15 minutes from the get go he was born. Chels was blessed with some cuddles and then off he went to NICU to have some oxygen and to get warm.

When he was examined by the paediatrician they realised that his little oesophagus has not joined to his tummy but rather to his trachea, and that his bottom hole has no opening. He has been stablised and transferred to a children's hospital nearby where he will be seeing specialists and will need surgery.

He is nearly 7 weeks early and weighing 2.1kg (or 4.6lbs) and while has was breathing on his own today he has been put on a ventilator to transport him and keep him stable.

Please keep this precious family in your prayers - they have a long and uncertain road ahead of them and they will need to love of The Father now more than ever. I will update here as I get news.

Much Love

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A Shower of LOVE

Im not a "one best friend forever" kinda gal. I tend to have one best friend from each phase of my life, and these friendships - by the grace of God - have endured time (some over a decade, and im only 24!), distance and the different paths we've followed. They deserve a post of their own.

This post is about one of my nearest and dearest. Mrs Chelsea Fisher. We met properly just before her wedding in 2007, she was in our church and her parents needed a place to stay when they came from Australia for her big day. We had a spare room so they stayed with us. Regrettably her mum fell terribly ill just weeks before her wedding - her Mum's life was spared by the grace of God and the whole experience together with her wedding planning, dress fittings and hospital visits was the fast track foundation to the amazing friendship we have shared ever since.

Wasn't she a beautiful bride???

Chels with Levi, pregnant with Zach.

I had the amazing privilege of being in the delivery room when her first son, Zach was born. She looked after my Levi when I had Asher, and she and Tom became Asher's God parents.

Chels and Tom with Zach - minutes old.

Chels with our Asher - her Godson.

I am now sitting here with Zach asleep upstairs while she is in hospital in premature labour with her second son. We are trusting that the grace of our amazing Father and Creator that has seen us through so much with such steadfast faithfulness that he will be born perfect. He is coming seven weeks early.

Her shower was last night - Im still reeling in shock that we managed to surprise her, just before Baby2 decided to surprise us! 20 ladies for a sit down supper - relaxing out of the presence of our many beautiful children to celebrate one outstanding friend.

Me, a lot sleep deprived with greasy hair. I warned you all you'd get the whole truth from me!

The set up team, minus JoJo who left after doing all the manual labour before the cameras came out.

My Hubby - dont know another man who would do as much as he did these past few days for anyone. He rearranged the contents of my house at my every whim and desire, picked up the autumn leaves from the grass by hand, singlehandedly built the marquee, served us our meal, washed up starter disher from 20 ladies before I even got to serving the main... Im sure you get the idea... He is SUPERMAN :-) Or as Jules says - A tricorn - tree times rarer a man than a unicorn!

The photos dont do it justice!

She is the kind of girl who will be a best friend to many.

Sitting down for some supper.

Some of the beautiful gifts.

She is an incredible mother, wife and daughter of God.

Our ladies

Please join along side us in lifting her, her husband and their unborn son up in prayer!

Me, Chels, Tans and Shells after the shower was all done.

The time here is 23.16GMT on Sunday evening and I have just heard that she is still having contractions but they are giving her medication to allow baby's lungs to develop. Please hold her up in prayer!

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