What has the last decade brought into my life and given me to be thankful for? In the last ten years I have become comfortable with who I am, I have realised I will never be a size 6 supermodel and have also discovered that I don't want to be.

I have discovered that being a mother is a hard job but oh so worthwhile. I have learned that I have the patience of a saint and yet at the same time a hair trigger temper. I have learned I am weak and fragile but that even at the hardest times in my life I have a inner core of strength and that although I may bend I am like a Willow and I flex with the pain and straighten up stronger than ever.

I have been to the edge of death and come back with the understanding that life is to be LIVED and not just SURVIVED.

I have met and made some amazing friends and I have walked away from relationships that were not healthy for me and did not enhance my life and understood at last that doing that is okay!

I have met and married the man I want to spend the rest of my life with when I had believed that I was beyond such a depth of feeling and I have seen my sons grow from toddlers to teenagers and relish the glimpses of the men I can see them becoming and I feel proud at the job I have done. My sons will be men in the real sense of the word, good, kind, honourable and loving. No mother can ask for more than that.

To My Husband I say:

My husband, my lover, my friend
When I watch you sleep I give thanks for you each day.
I give thanks for the comfort I feel when I see you caring for our home.
I give thanks for the person you are.
I give thanks for the trust that lives between us
I give thanks for your attention to the details that matter the most

For all that we know and all that we have yet to learn together, for the sadness, for the joys yet to come, I give thanks.

To my friends i say:

If your dreams get broken somehow I'll remind you that you belong,
If you need someplace to hide, you can hold my hand for a while.
If your sky begins to fall, I'll stay with you until you smile.
If someone breaks your heart, together we'll unbreak it.
When you feel sad inside, I'll show you, you're not alone.
If you get lost out there, I'll come and take you home.
When nothing seems to be going right and you need a friend...
I'll stay.

I wish you all a Wonderful New Years Eve and hope your lives are blessed with love and laughter in 2010.

Be Blessed.

Do you ever get the feeling that you need to be slapped upside the head because your brain just isn't functioning the way it should? Yeah me too... usually for a week a month!

Things started off well as well, after 3 days of the boys guests being with us, I admit it was good fun, specially Charlotte, she had us in stitches most of the time, still it is quite nice for the house to empty out a bit... after all Conor will just disappear back into his bedroom only to appear with demands for food so technically 4 of us here really will feel like 2.

Anyhoo, we are determined to get work underway on my workshop, at the moment it's a very big space just piled high with boxes of stuff, lots and lots of stuff, not even sure of what stuff is in the boxes, all we know is... it belongs to us and came from our last house, we will have to go through it all at some point. But it's not getting touched until the new year. Just realised that's only 2 days away.

So today we had appointments with 3 different conversion companies... first one turned up, he was brilliant, very knowledgeable, we were well impressed. Second one I screwed up just slightly, got my times wrong and we were searching for shirts in TK Max when I get an irate phonecall from the younger progeny informing me that I'm an idiot, gee thanks for the vote of confidence son. So we attempt to race home to see the poor salesman only to get stuck in a 20 minute tailback... leftovers from an earlier ugly accident on the A45.

I felt terribly guilty for making the poor man wait but his quote was way out there pricewise, not gonna happen unless I want the workshop wallpapered in gold leaf! And no... I don't!

Appointment number 3 didn't show up at all... so he won't be getting the job then. So now it's decision decision time... altogether we have had 4 quotes... still waiting for the numbers on 1 of them... but 2 were very similar and then there was the gold leaf quote... so it will be decision decision time... So far my money is with contestant number one from this morning.

I had to share the video below, Daniel, the older of my contributions to the continuation of the species (don't ask which species). Does this impression of a completely mad American Preacher who absolutely hates President Obama, makes me crack up everytime he does it... so in order to entertain his beloved mummy, Danny does the impression a lot. Enjoy peeps.

This whole Christmas malarky is such hard work. I thought we were done, after 3 consecutive nights of visiting Tesco's I finally thought were were done and could chill out and not have to leave the house again. Last night it struck us that one of the gifts we've bought for Conor is a boxset of Scrubs DVD's (obviously the daily repeats of Scrubs on Paramount every single day isn't enough for him???) so he would need a DVD player... ok, no problem, we have one or two spare ones of those knocking around from my work. But no chance... drag out two of them and neither is working.


So of course this means another trip out to find a DVD player but looking at the sky it was a case of, if we don't go now we're not going because that sky is full of snow just waiting to come down.

We jump in the car and head off towards Northampton braving the ultra icy roads, yes there were wheel spins and sliding involved, which Pie seemed to enjoy and made me want to slam on the invisible emergency brakes in the passenger side of the car... you know what I mean, we all do it!

Driving down the A45 was the weirdest experience the freezing mist was so thick on either side of the road that you couldn't see anything so it was quite surreal, just this wall of white on either side. I wish there had been time to stop and take pictures but not this time.

The traffic in and around Northampton was fairly heavy but we managed to find our way to Curry's and grab a decent DVD player. Conor was pleased as punch when we got in.

But even this purchase didn't top our shopping spree at Matalan last night and his new "manternity" pants. But they are a whole other story!
My stepchildren arrived yesterday, my husband Pie did the long journey to pick them up from their mum, we've been really looking forward to seeing them and all the mad rush to sort out the dining room has really been so that we can enjoy a family dinner on Christmas Day.

Because I'd hurt my back I was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard in setting up the tree and doing the decorations, so my role has been entirely a supervisory one. That and taking the pictures. It's only to be expected that we wouldn't be able to lay our hands on the Christmas decorations in the mountain of packing boxes... go figure. So Pie scooted off to Tesco to pick up some decorations and lights.

Bit of bonus that the decorations are already on sale and half price. kerching!

So it wasn't a huge financial burden to get some temporary ones for this year.

Elizabeth and Adam seemed to get really excited at putting up the tree with Pie, there was lots of squealing and laughter. So here we are all ready for Christmas, only a few days to go.

Benjie seemed quite unimpressed that his favourite spot in the front room had been taken by a Christmas Tree but he quickly seemed to decide that he wouldn't mind being a present and spent most of the day asleep under it.
I may be singing that right now but in a few days if it continues to be this cold no doubt I will be a lot less keen on snow. but for a first snow in a new home it is kind of exciting.

When we went to bed on Thursday night it was cold but clear but overnight it snowed quite heavily and we woke up to a thick blanket of pristine snow.

As our road is a bit of a deadend so there is no chance of a gritter coming down here the road has become a bit of a skating rink.

Something tells me we won't be in a huge rush to go out and fight our way up the icy road.

But we are very fortunate to have a lot of open land right next to the house and I really enjoyed taking a little walk with my camera to take some pictures of the views. I could hear lots of laughter from somewhere over the hill but it was too cold to go investigating. The sky does still look like it has more snow to let out in these pictures.

I saw some people heading off onto the snowy fields with their dogs. I did consider taking the cats for a walk but it was just a fleeting thought, I can't see any of our moggies actually taking too well to being put on a lead. Although it might be worth a laugh giving it a go... watch this space on that one.

This picture if of a dandelion that is still hanging in there trying to survive in the snow. You can even see the petals still hiding.

If the snow lasts a few days I think I will have to take some more walks and see if I can find some more subjects to photograph.

Having looked at the weather forecast although we are likely to keep the very cold weather there is no more snow expected... I bet the kids are hoping the snow hangs around to make it a white Christmas.

The funniest bit of the day was us discovering that Benjie is able to climb under the side gate... although we only found that out when we went to bring him in from his run around the garden only to discover that he wasn't in the back garden and was lolopping around the drive in the front of the house.

We were almost minus one house bunny!
We moved in to our new house on the 4th December and since then it's been nonstop, I managed to get Pie's office decorated in about 3 days (go me!) although I have to admit it looked a lot better before he chucked, what looks to me, like a load of junk in there... but hey ho, not my room. I did what I set out to do and created a nice workspace for him.

Hopefully it will be my turn soon. Once Christmas is over with hopefully I will be getting the garage converted into a craft room... I can't wait, my own space at last where I can paint and sew and create to my hearts content. However at the moment it just looks like a store room. Boo Hiss!

When we first came and looked at the house we completely ignored the decor, all those things can be changed after all but having moved in and looked around my first thought was... why????

I love colour but I definitely cannot live with bright orange walls and a puce green toilet (no I am not joking)

Doesn't look as orange here as it is on the wall, trust me. It's orange !!!!

This week it has all been about painting, walls rather than dolls or silk, the through lounge is lovely and big and we thought at first we might put the wall back up between the two to give two separate rooms, but having been here for a week we have grown to quite like the sense of space and openness so we're going to leave it the way it is and just have a two tone effect to the painting to show the difference in the rooms.

I'm covering up the orange wordwork with crisp white gloss, I really like the contrast with the new paintwork. It may be a bit old fashioned and usually I quite like a matt finish to my glosswork but on this occasion I think it really calls for a gloss.

I think it gives a really nice contrast against the Sweet Caramel coloured walls.

Dulux Sweet Caramel in Matt

With luck the dining room will be done in time for Christmas, which will be great as we will have a house full of children. So now it's time to unpack lots of boxes and put things on the shelves in the newly painted dining room.

Benjie the rabbit is desperate to help although how he is going to reach any shelves to put things on is beyond me. Still at least he's cute.

Benjie Boobs - decorating assistant

And the old curtains are coming in useful as protection for the carpets during the decorating process.