I am a bad mother – officially!!

As some of you may or may not know I have two beautiful children.  I have a gorgeous daughter who is 8 and a wonderful son who is 10.  You may also be aware that my son has autism.  It is not too severe, he is communicative and I thank God every day that he is.  But he still has his problems, and as we are a family his problems become our problems.

So why am I a bad mother?  Because I think sometimes I a make his problems worse.  I get distracted and tired and angry and frustrated and anxious and sad.  And all of these emotions, when coupled with my sons problems mean that I do things for an easy life that I shouldn’t.

Today the kids are going on a school trip to the theatre to watch Shakespeare for Kids – Romeo and Juliette.  They came home with a letter saying they could take a drink (non-fizzy) and a packet of sweets with them.  Now, I was pretty good with the drink, they both chose a bottle of flat Vimto.  But the sweets caused a huge problem.  My gorgeous daughter dutifully chose a nice reasonable sized packet of strawberry shoe laces.  Not to big and not too small.  Job done.  But my son point blank refused to look at any of the small sweets and was instead fixed immovably in front of the huge packets that you share as a family in front of the TV.  For ten minutes I tried to persuade and cajole him into going for something along the size of his sisters packet.  He was not budging.  Then he started with the tears.  When they arrive you know the next step is going to be him flinging himself on the floor and rolling around making silly noises.  I just couldn’t face it at half past 8 in the morning in the local Spar.  So I gave in.  The cardinal sin.  I let him chose a big bag of Tangfastics.  And how did I justify this lack of parenting skills?  I told him he had to share them with his sister.  Bah, like that is gonna happen.

Chip, chip, chip he goes at my authority…..

Where have I been?

It has been about two weeks since I last blogged.  Every time I sit down to write something then another task has got in the way.  So what has filled my time?  I took part in my first BNS and BNR on Etsy.  For those who haven’t taken part in one yet your shop is featured and if a shop buys from you depending upon if it is an R (replace) or S (stay) they then take your slot or get one in the next round.  They are very addictive and great fun!

I have been busy stocking my shop full of goodies.  I now have the grand total of 35 items listed.  My plan is to reach 50 by the end of half term which gives me three weeks.

So what have I added? A range of sports inspired mug hugs knitted to order in team colours of your choice, this is the large striped version, but I also make one with smaller stripes.With the London 2012 olympics and Euro 2012 coming up these will make great gifts for any sports fans.  I also made one in red, white and blue stripes if you were feeling really patriotic!!

I have been busy practising my skills on the sewing machine with some fabric key rings and brooches.

I have also been making a range of key rings and brooches in felt and hand sewn.  And some are all about getting ready for St Paddy’s Day

I have enjoyed making some patriotic inspired bunting.  This one was with the forces in mind, or any family where the Dad works away, like mine.  I have also made some patriotic bunting in squares and rectangles.  Ideal for the upcoming Jubilee.  I can just see us all now enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the street with our neighbours with my bunting flapping in the gentle breeze 🙂

I must admit, though, that despite not having sold one single valentines related item I am going to list one last thing.  And then I am moving on.

Spring is beckoning, and with it Easter and Mother’s Day.  Some lovely new bright and cheerful colours.  So this will be listed today and then no more hearts for a while!!

Kitchen Envy

I am currently sat at the desk with the phone on speaker and I am completely fed up.  My printer has gone doolally and need support.  But while I am waiting I have five minutes to share a funny story with you.

In my last blog I posted pictures of my kitchen and I had a few lovely comments from people saying they had kitchen envy.  So just to stir those feelings up again here is my gorgeous kitchen.

As you can see, I work at the kitchen table )

Anyway all these wonderful comments reminded me of something that happened a couple of years back.

I was enjoying a nice quiet, relaxing Saturday afternoon at home when the doorbell went.  Stood there was a woman I went to uni with, her husband and small daughter.  I had not seen her in a few years.  “We were just passing” she says.  Bearing in mind she lives about a two hour drive away I found that a little strange but nevertheless welcomed them in and made them comfortable with teas and toys for the little one.  After half an hour they got up to leave and as they were gathering their bits the husband went into my hallway with his camera.  Well, my face must have been a sight because he informed me his parents were building their own home and Amanda had said how lovely my stairs were.  They wanted a picture so they could have a staircase made just like mine!!! You could have floored me.  They took their pics and I haven’t seen or heard from them since.  And here is the infamous staircase.

Busy, busy, busy….

This post is kind of dedicated to my husband, although I doubt if he will ever end up reading it.  I am currently off work with stress and depression.  Long story and I won’t bore you with the details.  However, I would like to ask a question – how on EARTH does any one EVER find the time to do a full time job?!?!?!

I used to leave the house with kids in tow no later than 7.30 every week day morning, drop them at the childminders, and go off to school.  I would put in a full day there, pick the kids up around 5, come home and cook dinner, do the packed lunches, go to the gym, do the washing, bath and put the kids to bed and then at around 9 settle down for 2 hours of planning and marking.  No wonder I kinda went off the rails a bit.  Anyway, now I am ‘sitting around on my arse all day doing nothing’ my lovely husband keeps finding me things to ‘keep me busy’!  So thoughtful of him.  He works away and only comes home for about 10 days at a time.  We were lucky enough for him to be home over Christmas and New Year.  But as always when he left he also left a trail of destruction through the house like a tornado!  The day before he left he decided to wax all my wooden worktops in the kitchen.  This was how my kitchen looked the morning he left for work  and this is how it is meant to look  Not content with making the kitchen impossible to work in he also decided that I needed to do some tidying up after him in the bedroom too 

My days are still filled with the normal house and kids stuff, but now that I am off work I have just a small amount of time for myself.  I took up knitting again because I found it relaxing and I hadn’t had much of that recently.  I also started learning new skills, making things with felt and on the sewing machine.  I love it.  But since opening my shop, All Needles Great and Small on Etsy, all this crafting is kinda turning into a day job.  So when I am in the middle of networking on the Craftbritannia forum, or Twitter I see this as a serious use of my time.  Buying supplies is time consuming too but well worth it because I want to make sure I am spending what little money I have on good things.

One item I have bought recently is felt.  I have enjoyed making a couple of little bits with it before and decided to try my hand at bigger things.  I bought some gorgeous felt squares from Lupin, http://www.etsy.com/shop/lupin and have made some gorgeous items with it already.  These are two of my favourites  This red cushion is in my shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/90028867/red-and-white-valentines-ring-cushion and has been included in an amazing 3 treasuries 🙂

Also this week I was able to list a pink version   in my shop http://www.etsy.com/listing/90364450/pink-and-white-valentines-heart-shaped 

Both of these deserve a big thank you to Lupin for the quality of her gorgeous felt 🙂

I have been busy making a fairy for our Craftbritannia Sales Fairy swap.  Sorry, no pictures yet as she is not allowed to be revealed until after the big event.  I made my first ever cushion cover on the sewing machine, nothing amazing I know but a big event for me.

However, I would have to say that the highlight of my week was receiving a special order card from Storey shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/Storeyshop for my husband for our anniversary/valentines.  A few years back there was an advert on the TV for some frozen chips and two girls were eating them and comparing two things and saying which they liked best.  As one girl asked the other “Daddy or chips” the Dad pinched a chip off her plate and so she replied “chips”.  Now you may or may not remember the advert but it is a bit of a longstanding joke in our house that my husband’s passion for golf comes first on the list way above the kids or me.  So I asked Helen to make me a card with the line I often ask him “Wifey or Golf” on the front.  And here it is  Thank you so much Helen, I will let you know his reaction when it finally arrives with him in the Middle East 🙂

So as I contemplate a return to the day job I would like to ask – how do you organise your time?

What’s in a name?

So today is my 36th birthday, and as I am sure is very normal with most adults I have been doing a little pondering.  For a start, what made my parents choose the name Emma Jane for me?  Many years ago I was talking to my mum about it and she said it was chosen because it was her nan’s favourite name and as she wasn’t very well or expected to live much longer I was named for her.  Fair enough.  But it was a VERY popular name in the 70s.  There were 3 of us in my year alone, and we lived on a small Island of the south coast of Hampshire.  I am sure you all know an Emma Jane or an Emma Louise.  For many years my best friend was Emma Louise.

So that made me think about the changing trends of naming children.  Babies used to be named for members of the Royal family.  Lots of Henrys, Elizabeths, Victorias and Edwards.  Being a common or popular name didn’t put parents off and they didn’t try to come up with interesting spelling variations because they loved a name but didn’t want their child to be like all the others.  One of my friends I went to university with had a boy last year.  I have not spoken to her for a long time but she posted pictures on Facebook of little Jorge.  Now, am I supposed to call him George or pronounce it like the Spanish ‘Horhay’?  Many children are growing up with the names of celebrities or fad names.  I have taught so many Baileys, Jordans, Britneys and such.  And believe me, they aren’t always the gender you would expect them to be!

My own children have rather normal names, Callum and Caitlin.  But even they cause problems.  I cannot tell you the number of different ways people have tried to spell Caitlin.  And if someone is writing Callum’s name down, for example at the gym to book him into a class, I tell the receptionist “with two L’s”, which always earns me a blank stare!  Now, I will admit to being pretty pants in the naming my children department.  When Callum was born I was a little fazed by the whole experience to say the least.  I had gone into labour on the Friday evening, been sent home from hospital twice and finally he was born at 11.11 on the Sunday.  Aptly enough it was Father’s Day.  My husband and my sister had been there and Callum was her suggestion.  We both liked it and so he was named.  Two years later his sister arrived.  This time poor hubby was stuck in the middle east so my mum was with me.  I didn’t want to name the baby until her Dad came home so for 6 days the poor little mite was called ‘The Baby’ and had FI (Female Infant) Sadler on her hospital tags.  When Phil finally made it home we were so guilty at not having given her a name we did the only thing that any parent would have done – we picked the name that was sitting right next to Callum in the Baby Name book!  We are such bad parents 😦

So does your name have any bearing on your future life or personality?  I think not.  My name means universally loved and comes from the old German meaning nurse, if the coaster someone once bought me is anything to go by!  Ha, I couldn’t be a worse nurse if I tried.  Hate the sight of blood and am shockingly bad at sympathy when it comes to illness.  Ask my poor mum who’s spine has been slowly crumbling over the last 10 years.  But if you have a problem, then the sympathy seems to come much easier.  I am very good at listening to Naughty Husband problems.  And my kids?  Well Callum means peace.  ROFL!!   Put him in the United Nations and the world wouldn’t last 5 minutes.  Kiss your loved ones goodbye now.  Callum does have a very keen sense of what is right, wrong and fair.  But it always involves him getting the best deal and sod everyone else.  Autistic children don’t do empathy.  And apparently Caitlin means pure!  Pure what?  Is she gonna grow up to be a nun and save the world?  She is already a ladies man so I doubt that very much.  Gonna have to watch her very carefully when she is a teenager.  Maybe pure torture to her parents.

I will leave you with a little thought on naming pets.  I have a very wicked sense of humour when it comes to naming my pets.  Four years ago we bought a gorgeous pedigree British short hair cat.  I wanted to call him Speed Bump, but when the kids found out what it means I was overruled.  He is Kitty Wan Kenobi, as in Obi Wan Kenobi, but we just call him Kenobi.  We live in a popular dog walking area, and I certainly get a few funny looks from people walking past when I am calling him in at night!!

Kenobi looking cute

Last year we bought two rainbow crabs.  One is named Edward as in Scissorhands.  Quite tame for the kids.  But I found it a little more difficult to explain to the children why the other was called Herpes.  Lets hope it is a while before they understand that one!

Hello world!

A Big Hello To Anyone Who May Be Reading This!!

First of all let me introduce myself.  My name is Emma, a very common name for a person of my age, which happens to be changing tomorrow!  I am currently 35, so I am sure you can do the maths involved!  How would I describe myself?  Well first of all I guess I am a mother.  I have two beautiful children.  My son is called Callum and he is 10.  He has autism which can make life challenging at times, but he has such an amazing heart that you cannot help but love him.

My daughter is called Caitlin and she is 8.  Her major flaw is that she is the messiest and slowest person that I know, but she is so amazing you can forgive her that!  If you want her to tell you something be prepared to be in for the long haul as she will never use 10 word when 100 will do!! 🙂 

Secondly I guess I would describe myself as a wife.  I have been married for 13 years in just over a week, but it barely seems possible.  I told my husband last week that come the end of February I will have been with him longer than I was without him before we met.  18 years gone in the blink of an eye.  Where does the time go?

I guess next I would have to tell you about my career.  I am a primary school teacher, currently placed in Y6.  It is a tough year for the teachers, but I suspect even tougher for the children.  If my son’s rapidly deteriorating behaviour is anything to go by.  SATs, hormones, choosing secondary school, the wait to find out if you got in and then at the end of all that the wrench when you have to say goodbye to some good friends that you have known since 3 years old, possibly for the last time ever.  It is no wonder that the last day of the summer holidays ends up as a crying fest, and I can assure you the teachers end up joining in too!!

My big passion is for making things.  My nana taught me to knit when I was a little girl.  I remember I would do a row and then hand my work back to her to do a row because I didn’t know how to ‘go backwards’.  Clever nana tricked me and did two rows – strange the things that astound a child and even stranger that this has stayed with me for all those years.  I get very bored easily and so most of my work is very eclectic.  You will find me trying my hand at all sorts of different things.  My mind is constantly buzzing with different ideas.  My husband just bought me the most gorgeous electronic sewing machine for Christmas.  And so now I need to learn how to use it!!  I have made a start but it is gonna take a long time before I can produce anything to be really proud of.