Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye 2008...And Good Riddance!

To say this year has been a rubbish one has to be an understatement! And do you know what, I don't think it's just me: not sure there's many out there that have had a good year.

It's been the year of shock departures: firstly in April we lost our good friend Eric suddenly and we still miss him as much as we did back on that day. An old friend of the family, Pete, then passed away suddenly in May; leaving my dad without his best friend and Pete's family (who have been friends of our family and one-time neighbours for over 25 years now) with a huge loss to deal with.

Then there's the finances; the whole country (and indeed most of the world) has gone t*ts up cash wise, and no-one saw it coming. One of my favourite quotes of the year was by our very own Betty, Her Majesty, when she asked some financial bod "So, did no-one actually see this coming then?". If the Head Of State has to ask, then there's no hope for us!

As a result of this 'credit crunch', Rob was made redundant at the beginning of November after only changing jobs in May.

And then there's the little fiasco that has taken up most of the end of the year. The events at the beginning of October have knocked us for six, and changed my life forever. To be hit with one life-threatening event is unfortunate, but 2 within a month is just taking the p***!

However, 2008 hasn't been a complete write off. I've made some fabulous new friends; especially all my new GUCH mates and of course my new scrapping buddy and all time life-saver, Lauren! I've also met up with old friends (hi Jen!) and hope to see a lot more of them in '09! And all those friends that have come through for me in the last few months; well, I'm so grateful to have friends like you! My children have got even more beautiful and amazing; and this Christmas was that bit more special with them after thinking it might never happen.

But, we enter 2009 on a positive note. First of all, it ain't 2008! Secondly, there's so much to look forward to. The big event of '09 is the wedding of these 2:
which means that I finally get to see my kids do this:
And I get to do this:
LOL, love that picture!

And then there's my lovely cousin Laura's wedding of the big white variety, which means I get to wear one of these:

OK Laura, I'm only kidding...but there will be a hat of some variety!

Then there's seeing the fabulous Metallica not once but twice in February! Metal!!

There's also my degree to (hopefully) complete.

So, it just leaves me to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I'm going to be spending it having a few shandies and a curry with the lovely Ally Andbag and Stevie Sandwich (a child free night, woohoo!). I hope everyone has a wonderful time and 2009 brings lots of luck and happiness!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Christmas Pics

Just a few pics from our Christmas week. Would go into detail but we got Guitar Hero for Christmas and I now have to spend every waking minute trying to kick Rob's behind on it, so no time for the usual rambling post!!

In a nutshell, a good time was had by all:

Grandad gets ready for the feast.

Pressies Round 1.

Family Girls' Night Out.

Pressies Round 2.

Xander and his big boy bike.

Xander and his Bob The Builder house.

Rob and his big bird (first one to comment gets a cyber slap!).

Eeeh, she's her mother's daughter. Shove it in girl!

Nope, after all this waiting we're never getting her off that DS.
Dance Spiderboy!

Who on earth is this motley looking crew?!

A bit of Mario karting with Uncle D.

Who forgot to order the Christmas Cheer then?!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Finally...The Christmas Crafts!

Finally! I get to post the Christmas presents I've been working on for the past few weeks!

It all started when my crafty mentor Marie sent me a text back in October when I was still in hospital. She sent me a picture of a little Saturday night project of this. Oh my god, I have to make one! So the lovely Marie, taking pity on my sorry poorly sick state, showed me how it was done.

So, what to make me thinks. I decided to start with some fairly generic ones, so made a couple of Christmas dolls:

And for a little personal touch, personalised a la Toy Story:

OK, so they turned out alright, maybe I'll be a bit more adventurous. So, I decided to go off pattern with the hairstyles and clothes and make a princess doll for my little buddy Elise:

She even sported a little bracelet made by my crafty daughter:

So, I'm now thinking that I am worthy of Marie's example and attempt to do some actual characters. I ask my cousin Laura what's Evie's favourite character...Peppa Pig she says! Hmmm, maybe actually making the head into a pig is a tad too adventurous! OK, so what's her 2nd favourite? Dora The Explorer...voila!!

So, a few new stuff to do here: short hair, iron-on logo on the t-shirts; shorts; socks; those huge brown eyes. However, she turned out not too bad (though remembering to take a pic on the camera instead of on my phone at night might have helped! ):

Finally came a doll for Emily; and who else but Miley Cyrus (ie: Hannah Montana actress). Emily showed me a picture and instructed me to get it made and get it off to Santa double quick! I must admit, she is my favourite:

It was a bit of a 'make it and see' job on Miley's boots as I only had a pattern for shoes, but they turned out OK:

I really really enjoyed making these and am actually quite sad now they're done. Maybe I might make a few more in the future. Thanks to Marie for sharing this idea with me; if anyone doesn't frequent her blog then I'd definately recommend going over there and having a look at her dolls, they're fab!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Monday, 22 December 2008

The Purple Handed Woman!

To say I'm a bit of a rarity seems to be a huge understatemnet these days!
Last Monday, I noticed that my left hand was a different colour to my right, with a nice purple hue to it. Hmmm, strange me thinks, maybe I slept funny? 4 hours later and it's still purple, not normal I'm thinking. Tuesday, same thing. Wednesday same thing again but this was accompanied by a day long dizzy spell. As I'd been getting a few chest pains too, I emailed my cardiac nurse. Er, can you pop into clinic tomorrow? was her reply.
1 week before Xmas...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
So, off I troop to my second home on Thursday, only to be descended on by 2 cardiologists and a vascular registrar. Straight down to chest x-ray for me which showed that the pneumonia is still lingering (apparently it takes 3 months to clear, yeah, thanks for telling me that before now) which accounts for the chest pains. It also showed that thankfully, the stent is still sat in place and hasn't gone for a wander; phew!
There's talk of admitting me for more invasive, you'll have to drag me to a ward kicking and screaming says I. There's a little girl that has been promised 1 mummy at home for Christmas, and she's bloody well getting it! Thankfully, I won that argument!
So, they sit down with me and my cardio shakes his head and says 'I'm so sorry Louise, this very rarely happens...but I think we're all starting to realise that normal never really applies to you!' Yup doc, this one of a kind thing is starting to wear a little thin now!
So, it would turn out that, when they put the stent in, they had to cover up the entrance to the main blood vessel that supplies the left arm. What happens in 'normal' people is the smaller blood vessels around it compenasate and grow to supply the arm and there's usually not a problem. But, you've guessed it, not in my case!
So, I now have a purple arm; good for party tricks I suppose. The good news is that they don't need to do anything now; it may just be that it stays as it is and they can leave it alone.
So, to recap: I have a rare complication to the operation that was done to correct the rare side effect of the first operation that was done to correct the rare condition that I was born with! Is anyone keeping up with all this, because I'm starting to struggle now!!

Friday, 19 December 2008

So What's The Problem With Green All Of A Sudden?

With it being the last day of school, I needed to make Emily something to take in for her teachers. Foolproof year after year, mini Christmas pudding chocolates; I've made them year on year and they never fail to please.

So, off I troop to Asda with my list of ingredients: chocolate, check; nuts, check; glace cherries, check; angelica, er...hello, angelica? Nope, not a sniff of angelica down the baking aisle. OK, so maybe there's not must call for little pieces of green jellified sugar anymore; I know, I'll go buy some green sweets instead. After all, they're only to make teeny tiny holly leaves for the top of the Xmas puddings: sweet aisle - nowt, not a green sweet in sight! But surely kids like eating green things (Emily certainly seems to like to every time she gets on stage at Christmas plays!).

Not to worry, we have a cupboard full of sweets at home, I'll just improvise when I get home. So, puddings are made and chilling in the fridge, chocolate's all ready to be melted, cherries are diced into mini cherry shapes and into the sweet cupboard I go - no green sweets! What?!! Aha, I spy a tube of fruit pastilles - off comes the wrapper and I empty out the sweets - there's 1 green one! I look at the 52 sweets I've just made, each needing 2 leaves: hmmm, 1 fruit pastille cut into 104? I'm guessing that ain't going to work...

So, routing through the baking cupboard, I find a bottle of green food colouring! Woohoo! And, a bag of mini marshmallows! Double woohoo! So, after chopping each mini marshmallow into 8, out comes the pastry brush and on goes the green!
At this point, the phone goes, it's Kay:

K - "Hi, what are you up to?"
L - "I'm painting marshmallows green"
K - "Er, sorry?"
L - "I told you, I'm painting marshmallows green"

The only words I heard then inbetween the laughter were on the lines of 'saddo', 'what would Nigella say?' etc etc. Anyway, for Kay's benefit, here's the proof that yes, her friend is the sort of sad cow that will paint 104 individual marshmallow pieces green:

However, they were worth it in the end:

Kay, bet my green marshmallows aren't so funny when you want to test one are they?!

In other crafty related news, I've done a bit of scrapbooking this week. I just had to scrap the snow pictures from the other week and after a bit of blog hopping, came across this sketch which worked perfectly!

Right, better toodle, have a busy weekend and believe it or not, even more marshmallows to dye green!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Here Comes Xander Claus!

The day Xander was born, Rob went home and told Emily she had a little brother called Xander. She went into school and told everyone she had a little brother called Santa! But, maybe she had something there...

Today was Xander's toddler group Christmas party and it was fancy dress; he decided to go as the big guy himself:

Also there were his Christmas helpers: The Christmas Fairy (aka Poppy!):

and The Christmas Elf (aka Kyran!):

First up, Santa and the Xmas Fairy checked the Naughty & Nice lists:

And Santa personally checked the presents:

Then a pre-sleigh ride snack:
Oi! Who's this imposter:
As every year, it was a lovely party and the kids had so much fun! Look out for Xander out on his sleigh next Wednesday night! ;)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

What Christmas Is All About

This picture just sums up perfectly what Christmas is all about, especially this year for me after everything's that happened.
Last week, my best buddy Ally Andbag came down with hubby Stevie Sandwich (nope, still no idea!) and my little buddy Elise (we really need an appropriate nickname for her!). The tree was up, we had a roast dinner whilst listening to Xmas carols, then went off to the German market for hotdogs and hot chocolate! It was lovely and just summed up everything that's good about Christmas.
Have lots of meetings coming up with friends and family and I'm really looking forward to spending some time with them!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Somebody Get RADA On The Phone!

This morning was Emily's Christmas Play, in which my darling daughter had the starring role of Whoops-A-Daisy Angel (may have mentioned that once or twice before!!).

She was FANTASTIC!! She was nice and clear, remembered all her lines and made the audience laugh with her funny whoops-a-daisy expressions! She looked great too, even if I do say so myself (skirt made by moi one teatime last week!).

Anyway, we weren't allowed to take pictures in the performance and there was strictly no video, so here's some pics of our very own Miss Whoops-A-Daisy after the show, before she got mobbed by her fans (erm, I'm not even kidding either!)

Now, where did I put RADA's number....

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Decorator For Hire!

This weekend saw the official 'trimming up' of the Gillard household. We decided it wasn't even worth fighting with the kids over who did the tree, so we left the munchkins to it. They got in the festive mood straight away:

And then Emily set to putting up the decs:

She actually did quite a good job! However, her brother's method of tree decorating was a tad unorthodox!

If in doubt just wang them at the tree instead!

Emily and I have also been busy with Christmassy crafts. We made some ornaments for the tree (with expert sequin sewing from Emily!):

She made Christmas crackers for our Christmas dinner:

And I made a garland for the fire place:

So come on, who wants to hire Xander to decorate their tree? He gets it done very quick but I can't guarantee your baubles will all be in one piece by the end of it!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Frosty The Snow(wo)man!

I don't think my kids have ever seen 'proper' snow; I know Xander certainly hasn't. So when a couple of inches of the white stuff dumped itself on us in the early hours, there was a lot of excitement all around! There was even more when Emily's school made it onto that magical list on the radio: 'schools shut due to snow'.

I have never known her get dressed so quick, it should snow every day! So, by 9am we had a couple of very giddy kids out in the back garden:

Of course, the first order of business was to build a snowman, which Emily got started on straight away:

With a bit of help from Daddy (not that he needed much persuaion!):

Xander helped pat down this strange white wet stuff that had appeared in his garden:

Poor Frosty nearly ended up without a nose:

But eventually, Frosty was complete and was renamed Mrs Frosty due to her girly hat and scarf:

And then, what snowy day would complete without the obligatory snowball fight:

Which Xander thought was hilarious:

Anyway, everyone's now back inside, drinking hot chocolate and watching the snow melt. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!