Monday, 29 April 2013

It's done!

For quite some time now, Seth and I knew that I wouldn't be going back to work. In fact, it was always the plan that once we had a baby, I would be a stay at home Mum. Of course, that was the ideal for us but we had to work a few things out (money!) to make sure we would manage it. Even though we knew that I wouldn't be going back, I hadn't actually handed in my notice. I don't know why really. I think it's because, while I was just on maternity leave, it was still MY job and my place of work and in a way I kind of liked that, it felt like I had a foot in both camps.

Last week, I decided to finally bite the bullet. I went into work to meet with my boss. I know I could have just written a letter or sent an email to tell her I wasn't going back, but I didn't want to do that. It seems so impersonal, especially considering the fact that my boss has literally been the most amazing boss ever. She was always so supportive right throughout my pregnancy and she has become a good friend. She knew I was pregnant before my family even did (I had a couple of bleeds early on in the pregnancy and needed some time off work). So, last week, Caleb and I went into work to meet with her. When I told her that I had decided not to come back, she was so lovely about it. She said that she had wondered if I would or not and that she doesn't blame me for wanting to stay with Caleb. After that was done, we went for lunch, along with my other colleague and friend, Kerstin, who is also a great friend.

So, there we go! I am now officially a stay at home Mum. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to work at such a great place and to make such lovely friends.

This was my building. My office was in the middle of it, overlooking the courtyard.

 But now, I am even more grateful for my new job role. I feel really blessed that we are able to manage on just Seth's income. It is going to be tight and we probably will struggle, but we are both really glad that we have made the decision for me to be with this little one full time. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Yes, I like scrabble so much that it warrants its own post and I am not ashamed of this fact!

I think my earliest memory of playing scrabble would be when I was a lot younger and we would all be playing it as a family. I would always be on Mum's team, which essentially meant that I sat there looking at her letters and didn't really do much else because I was just that rubbish. However, over time I actually got to play without being on Mum's team.When I was living at home, most Sunday evenings would consist of a game of scrabble with Mum and Laura. A lot of the time one of us would be repeating (okay, mainly me) "don't go in my place, don't go in my place" as we (I) would see an ideal place to put the amazing word I had. When I got married, Seth and I continued this tradition of Sunday night scrabble. We don't play every Sunday evening, but often on a Sunday once Caleb is in bed and all the washing up is done, we'll get out the scrabble board and play.

Playing with Seth is always entertaining. I have never known someone who can take so long to play a word. Which brings me to the scrabble game a couple of weeks ago. Seth was able to get all of his letters out, which I know this because I looked at his letters. He wouldn't let me say where he could get them out and with what word, so I stayed quiet. For a little while, then I told him where and with what word. It was on a triple word score as well (goodness only knows why I was helping him when I wanted to win!). However, Seth hates it when I help and so after a few seconds of deliberating, he decided that he wouldn't play his word there. There was also another place where he could get all of his letters out. Again, I told him, but didn't tell him where. He took HALF AN HOUR to figure out where it was he could play and with what word. We were really laughing about it and I haven't let him live it down!

Last week we played scrabble and I got the Z quite early on in the game. I couldn't play "zoo" (let's face it, everyone thinks of "zoo" first if they get the Z!) as I didn't have any O's. I did, however, have FREEZIN. Seth had a G. I was pretty pleased when he decided to use the G in a place where I could get all of my letters out.

I got 92 points! I may have done a little celebratory dance. How many of you are actually checking that it does actually add up to 92 right now? 

So, this post is pretty much me celebrating doing well in a game of scrabble. Praise me.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Seth's week off!

Seth had Easter week off work and it was amazing! He works so hard and because of that, often we don't get to spend more than an hour together a day, so Caleb and I were both very excited to have him all to ourselves for a WHOLE WEEK!

We didn't really do anything huge during that week. On one of the days, we went into London to play. It was such a beautiful, sunny day. I love London in the sun, it makes walking around so much nicer. And we did walk everywhere! It's so much easier than struggling up and down stairs of underground stations with a pram. Caleb was awake and alert the entire time we were there, he was taking it all in. For some of the time, he was in his baby sling which he loves as it meant he could look around more. He only fell asleep when we were walking home from the train station.

Being as though Seth has been so busy with everything lately, not much decorating has been done in the house, so the rest of the week was spent painting Caleb's room. Caleb was kicked out of his room and he was sleeping in the lounge for a few days. We would put him on our bed to go to sleep and then when we went to bed, we would transfer him to his cot in the lounge. In case you were wondering. Which you probably weren't. Anyway.... Seth wouldn't let me help paint as my wrists were still recovering, so once Caleb was in bed, I would sit in there with Seth and keep him company. He would be painting until around 1am so we were just chatting for hours, it was lovely! He ran out of paint with only a tiny bit of wall left, which was a bit annoying so we went out to buy more so that he could finish the job. He also sanded down all of the walls before he painted them to make them smooth. There was dust everywhere, but I was just amused by the fact that Seth had grey hair as a result!

As I said, my wrists were still recovering, which meant that even though Seth was on holiday for that week, it was also a bit of a holiday for me too as he didn't let me do anything around the house, he did all the cooking, washing up, preparing Caleb's food, it was great. Here we are all hanging out in the kitchen while he was making mashed apples for Caleb.

Like I said, we didn't do anything major that week at all, but it was so lovely to just all be together. I love my little family!

Thursday, 11 April 2013


As you have seen, if you have been reading this blog, I had my grade 8 piano exam a couple of weeks ago. I honestly came out of it, not knowing how I had done. I'll tell you my whole piano playing story so if you can't be bothered to read it, skip to the end to find out how I did!

It was in the new year of 2012 when I decided that I wanted piano lessons to try and get to a higher grade than grade 2, which is what I had attained when I was around 11! Even though I was about 12 when I gave up having lessons, I still carried on and really enjoyed playing and composing (I have written the accompaniment and parts for a few choral pieces which you can see here). I had thought about having lessons again for a while before I mentioned it to Seth. He, being the ever-supportive husband, encouraged me to look into it. I was very lucky to be working at Goldsmiths, University of London which has an incredible music department and I started to have piano lessons with Coady Green, a phenomenal pianist who has performed globally. He is a fantastic teacher and just what I needed, I think. I didn't want a teacher who would tell me I had played something brilliantly if it was in fact, pretty rubbish but by the same token, I didn't want a teacher who was so harsh that he made me wonder why I was bothering. Coady was always really encouraging and helped me to develop hugely. I don't think I would have managed to do nearly so well if it wasn't for him.

Practising wasn't always easy. I was so used to having a piano to play when I lived at home, it was something that I just took foregranted. Laura and I would often take turns to play and Mum would sit there with her eyes closed, enjoying listening to us. The often repeated phrase in our home was, "oh, play that one again, you know I love that one!". Seth and I didn't have a piano, so I was practising on a keyboard for a long time. Well, for most of the time I was having lessons, I was practising on the keyboard. Although it was a pretty good one, it's just not the same as practising on a piano. For one thing, you can't really get a feel for the dynamics as there are none. Also, I was missing a couple of octaves, which meant that I didn't always have all of the notes that I needed to be able to practise properly. It was after I came home from a piano lesson crying because I thought that there was no way I could pass this exam that Seth suggested we start looking for secondhand pianos. I searched on ebay but was unsuccessful with every bid I made. At this point, we thought it might be an idea to actually measure the width of the corridor and stairway of our first floor flat. It turns out that there is no way that we would have managed to get a piano into our flat, so at that point, I was so glad I hadn't managed to get a piano! We did however, manage to get a yamaha clavinova secondhand. I love it, it's amazing! It made such a difference being able to practise on that.

Long story short (or shorter than it could have been, had I carried on. Be grateful, people!), I found out on 25th March that I had failed the exam. Just kidding. You probably knew that though because that was a pretty long build up just to tell you that I had failed, right? I passed! And I got a merit! 125 out of 150 marks! Even though I had made some mistakes in the exam, I still did enough to pass (plus I was praying pretty hard so I think that helped too!). I am so happy! It's not that I think I'm amazing or anything, but it just proved to me that if I work hard at something that I really want, then I can achieve it. And I really wanted this. Strangely, even more than I wanted to succeed and do well in my degree. I think it's because I felt so passionate about this, I love playing the piano so much and because of that, it makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.

And just because I like blog posts with pictures, here is one of me with my favourite pianist, Ludovico Einaudi, taken a few years ago at his concert in Cambridge.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Saturday with friends

So, I am a little bit behind on the old blogging as I am writing about a couple of Saturdays ago now!

Recently, the majority of our Saturdays have consisted of Seth studying. We try to play a little bit as well, but he is doing a part time Masters degree and he had exams coming up the the week after I had my piano exam. They are ridiculously hard and complicated exams (my sister Laura saw his coursework on the computer once and thought that it was an error code as it was just a jumble of numbers and symbols that neither of us understood. Well, we understood the numbers, we can count. We just didn't understand them in that context!) and so he had to spend a lot of time putting in the work. It was really nice to have a free Saturday and to be able to spend it with our friends, Laura and Simon.

On a freezing cold Saturday, what is there to possibly do? Oh yeah, that's right. Crazy golf. In the snow. As you do. In all fairness, it wasn't actually snowing when we started to play, the snow came later. It didn't diminish our fun though, we all had a great time! We played on the crazy golf course at Bluewater and a lot of the holes are very close to water so we (well, mainly I) was celebrating the fact that none of our golf balls ended up in the water! It was a very close game, all of us seem to be as brilliant / shocking as each other. Caleb must have been having a great time, he fell asleep.

When we got back to ours, we had Chinese and chatted a lot. It seems that Laura and I have very similar taste in films and she pretty much owns my entire chick flick collection, which I take as verification that I have exceptionally brilliant taste! We then played "Articulate". We played couples against couples, which in hindsight wasn't the best idea as they completely slaughtered us. They didn't rub our faces in it though which was very kind of them :).

Laura is also a fellow blogger and has an excellent blog, Girl in Flight, so have a look!

Things have been so busy with us recently, as I'm sure it gets for everyone, so it was really nice to be able to enjoy a Saturday playing!

Friday, 5 April 2013

It doesn't happen often.... fact, it hasn't happened since Caleb was born, but today I actually had a lay in! A mother to a son of 8 months shouldn't be able to have such things surely?! The reason for this is that Seth is off work this week, which I am thrilled about. He works crazily hard at his job, for his Masters degree and in his church assignments and so it is lovely this week that he isn't working or studying and Caleb and I get him all to ourselves!

This morning was really great, I actually slept in until 10am! I am pretty fortunate in that I am a very heavy sleeper. Unfortunately for Seth, he isn't, which means that when Caleb cries in the night, by the time I have even woken up, Seth will have gone in to see him, comfort him and will be back in bed. Apparently he did this at around 4 this morning and I took my turn at 7.30. I know, you're probably thinking that I'm a terrible mother for not getting up with Caleb there and then but he was happy enough at that point and if I can buy a few extra moments in bed, then I will :).

Seth and I didn't get to bed until around 2.30 this morning as he is painting Caleb's bedroom at the moment and he was on a roll and didn't want to stop. We were both pretty wrecked, but this morning, Seth got up with Caleb. When I began to get up as well, he told me he had it covered and to go back to sleep. It would have been rude of me not to comply with his wishes so I did as I was told! Seth took care of everything, he bathed, dressed and fed Caleb, put on a load of washing and was washing up by the time I got out of bed. It felt so luxurious to actually be able to sleep in, it was brilliant! I once read somewhere whilst a lot of wives and mothers love to receive flowers from their husbands (I like that too - lilies are my favourites. Seth bought me some a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I am spoiled), there comes a time when it means just as much, if not more to have a husband that will encourage the wife to relax while he looks after the children and takes care of various household jobs. I agree with that! And I feel very blessed to not only have a great husband, but for Caleb to have such a great Dad too.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Jess and her mission call

I mentioned in my previous post that I was going to talk about the reason for my trip to Norwich in this post, so here it is!

My nineteen year old niece, Jessica decided to serve an 18 month mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (You can find out more about what we believe here and here). She submitted her papers and she found out that she would be receiving her assignment at around the time I was having my injection. Mum was planning on being there for when Jess opened her mission call, but of course, if she were down with me, she wouldn't be able to do that. We decided that we would skype Jess so that we would be able to be there that way but then I thought that being as though Mum was with me to help look after Caleb, etc, while my wrist healed, there was no reason that we couldn't be in Norwich for that time instead of here. So on Thursday morning we loaded up the car (you really can't travel lightly with a baby, or if you can, I really haven't figured out how to do that!) and after my injection we headed to Norwich so that we could both be there, just in case her mission call came. As we were driving up we got a text from my sister, Lin (Jess's Mum) to inform us that Jess's mission call had come. We were pretty excited about it! Laura had been on holiday in Portugal but had flown back that day and was also travelling to Norwich to be there. It's pretty much a usual thing for the family to gather to be there for the mission call opening, it's really exciting to find out where the person will be going.

On Thursday evening, we all gathered at Lin and Steve's house. Jess's sister, Rach lives down near Bath with her husband and so she couldn't be there; neither could Tor (my other niece and Jess's cousin - she's at university in Hawaii - alright for some!) so they both skyped in to be there. It was so exciting to watch Jess open her mission call - there is a video of it but it is on facebook and I have absolutely no idea how to save it and upload it to here, being the technophobe that I am! So if you're my friend on facebook, I am tagged in it and you can see it. Watch it, because my description of it really does not do it justice! Here is a screen shot that Tor took of Jess at some point during the proceedings!

See the little Tor in the corner too?

To begin with, my nephew Sam read out the list of guesses as to where the family thought she might be called to serve. Most of the guesses were for the Scotland Ireland mission, I think one guess was the Leeds mission, one was Mauritius, one was Temple Square. (I guessed Scotland Ireland). Jess opened her call and read it aloud to us..... she is called to serve in the Utah Salt Lake City mission. We are all so happy for her and proud of her. I remember around 9 years ago when we all gathered around to be there for Laura to open her mission call before she went on her mission to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Jess would have only been 10 at that time, so for me it felt a little surreal that it was now Jess in exactly the same situation! She is such an amazing girl and I know she will be a fantastic missionary.