June 06, 2010

I suck at blogging...

You'd think that with me being a writer and all, I'd be pretty good at blogging... well, YOU'RE WRONG!

The big problems in remembering to log in here. Oh, well...

Anyway, big news - we're moving back to Bermuda this August! DH has been offered a new position at the hospital in Bermuda, and our house is in the selling stages, so we're off! We've already started packing, but I'm sure it's still going to feel like a mad rush when the time comes.

I finish work at the end of this month, so that'll still give me a month with the boys at school. So, hopefully, I'll actually be able to accomplish something during those mornings.

I'll also be busy teaching a Chinese club at Tommy's school for the rest of this term (starting Thursday!). The school was accepted into an exchange programme and has been paired with a school in Chengdu. His headmistress recently came back from visiting their school, and I believe teachers from their school are due to visit Crofton sometime in the next school year. Hopefully, we'll be able to find someone to teach the class/club next year.

Well, that's all for this very brief installment - oh, except for that since we're moving back to Bermuda, the BERMUDA SCRAPPER IS BACK! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for postings!

January 21, 2010

I'm so proud of my Tommy!

Reflecting on the crisis in Haiti, my Tommy got the idea to have a non-uniform day at school in order to raise funds for Haiti! He went to his headmistress, who liked the idea and talked it over with the teachers in their staff meeting, and then announced it to the school in assembly today, giving credit to my Tommy!

He's everyone's hero now - because what kid doesn't like to not have to wear a uniform to school! And lots of his friends have promised to bring in donations.

To top it all off, my Tommy wants to take £20 of his own money tomorrow to donate towards the fundraising! His daddy and I will have to talk about if we'll let him take that much of his own - we'll certainly be giving him some, too, but I'm just too proud of him! He says: "I just want to help the people in Haiti!"

January 02, 2010

Happy New Year! Welcome 2010!

Another year has gone by - definitely a busy one, for sure - and a new year has come!

So much has happened since last January, that I can scarce remember all that happened! We've had so many blessings through the last 12 months, including visits from my mom, Rosemary, from Australia last April/May, and a visit from my dad, Gerry, and step-mom, Michelle, from Bermuda over the Christmas holiday. And last June, we had a mini family reunion when my sister, Rebecca, and her hubby, Mark, finally tied the knot, allowing me to return to Bermuda and see so many missed friends and family, including my brother, Matt, his wife, Brenda, and to meet my niece, Lexi, for the very first time!

Tommy turned seven, graduated from Crofton Infant School and moved on up to Crofton Junior School, where he is excelling, especially in history and the continued study of life during World War Two. He started swimming lessons and karate, and has reached the level of yellow belt. He hopes to reach orange belt in the next several months, at which time his daddy, Andrew, has promised to join him at his karate classes.

We've seen amazing growth in Jonathan over the last year, especially. When we first moved to the UK 18 months ago, or thereabouts, he was still only two, but this last November, he celebrated his fourth birthday! All glimpses of babyhood are now gone entirely, and his speech develops in leaps and bounds every day. Last January, he started attending school half-days, first at Fitzwilliam Primary, and then moved to Crofton Infant School this past September. He is still mad about Thomas the Tank Engine, Lightning McQueen, Buzz Lightyear and Woody the Cowboy.

Andrew continues working hard at St. James in Leeds. It is certainly a challenging post, especially as he has to deal with far more paperwork and has far less patient interaction all the time. He also sometimes takes on extra hours in other departments and hospitals in the Leeds district.

We were privileged to enjoy the trip of a lifetime this last November - the same weekend as Jonny's birthday, in fact - to Disneyland Resort Paris! I, very surprisingly, won a trip with Ford, which included 2 nights accommodation, 2-day park hoppers for all of us, £140 in travel expenses and €200 in Disney Vouchers to spend in the parks, as well as access to a private, after-hours party at Walt Disney Studios! The boys were over the moon, and Andrew and I were certainly enthralled, as well, enjoying the rides and meeting the likes of Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Aladdin, Sulley (Monsters Inc.) and Jessie (Toy Story 2), as well as seeing Goofy, Winnie the Pooh and Woody, among so many others.

What am I up to? Well, the last few months have had their challenges for me, including knee surgery and a two-week stay in the hospital for kidney stones, which kind of pulled me out of the thick of things for a while. Hopefully, though, with a new year, I'll be able to resume volunteering with the Parents and Friends Association at the Infant School, as well as make it to a few more community meetings. I do continue to write as a neighbourhood correspondant for the Hemsworth Express, a volunteer job that keeps my finger in the ink.

Fitzwilliam has certainly made some changes for the better. Andrew says that part of it has to do with me taking a stand, but for sure, the increased involvement of several in the neighbourhood, as well as heightened attention from the local policing teams, is what has made the difference. When the new Neighbourhood Policing Pledge and Neigbourhood Policing Teams were launched around a year ago, little Fitzwilliam was placed high on the list as a top priority for dealing with the trouble anti-social behaviour we had been facing, however, in the last couple of months, thanks to a quieting down of these issues, we are no longer a priority! GOOD NEWS, I think!

We're looking forward to 2010, with blessings already on the horizon, including the arrival of a neice, courtesy of Rebecca and Mark, and twin nephews, courtesy of Matt & Brenda, due to all arrive at the beginning of March, as well as a visit by Andrew's sister, Pat, from Bermuda this spring as well. We're also continuing to pray that God will see fit to sell our house here in Fitzwilliam, and show us the direction he wants our family to go.

God's blessings on all of you this year!

November 08, 2009

The Cleaning, Again...

I was looking for a poem to put up on the wall, that would hopefully remind my boys about tidying up after themselves, but I just couldn't find anything quite right. So, instead, I wrote my own!

Feel free to use it for your own personal use, credited to myself, Sara Westhead.

If you would like to use it for commercial use, please contact me.


The Cleaning... Again

I've tidied the kitchen,
I've tidied the chairs,
I've even managed to tidy the stairs.

I've sorted and stored
I've polished and swept
And even cleaned up after the pets.

I've washed and I've wiped,
I've made everything clean,
But someone, somewhere, is terribly mean.

You see, after all my hard work was done,
And I went to bed after the sun,
When I awoke it was terribly clear
That all my hard work had just disappeared.

The toys were all back,
And the dishes were, too.
It seems I have gremlins,
Perhaps one or two.

My boys are both at it,
And yet, once again,
I'll be starting the cleaning all over again.

by Sara Westhead

September 18, 2009

The Boys are back at school!

Yeah!!! Tommy started 2 weeks ago, and Jonny went back this past Monday.

Both are in new schools. Tommy graduated to Crofton Junior School, and Jonathan is finally old enough to attend Crofton Infant School, where Tommy went last year.

Tommy was a bit hesitant about going back. He claims school is "boring," but loves the fact that they are studying World War 2 again, and have gardening every Thursday afternoon. So, in fact, he is really enjoying it after all.

Jonathan, however, is in seventh heaven! He was so excited to start on Monday, and had to get into his uniform extra early. When the two of us were chatting on Monday night, I asked him if he was excited to go back to school the next day. He gave me this funny grin, complete with tongue sticking out, and then said "Again? Back again??? YES!!!" He still attends half days.

That leaves me with afternoons free. If you can call it free! I've been running around like a mad woman, as usual... We're hosting a Ladies' Craft Morning at church next Saturday, and I'm teaching a craft and giving my testimony. We're going to be making mantle Christmas decorations - 4 paper-covered chipboard sheets, tied together with ribbon, that spell out - NOEL.

I've picked out this gorgeous paper from Papermania - their Joyeux Noël set, designed by Stephanie Dyment, and I've picked out semi-sheer red and gold ribbons. Should be absolutely gorgeous!

I may also do a Christmas card design, to share as well.

July 10, 2009

Tomorrow is the day! 2009 MS Wheel & Walk, Roundhay Park, Leeds

Tomorrow is the day! My Tommy and I are walking 4.2 kms (2.6 miles) to raise funds for MS! My dad and uncle have already been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and my cousin is in the process of being diagnosed, after years of thinking she had fibromyalgia. Scary!

The walk was all my son's idea. Tommy is 7 and is extremely close to my dad. He doesn't understand MS, but he knows that it has made his Pop-pop very sick in a very short time, and he wants to find a cure.

Please be thinking of us tomorrow morning. The walk begins at 9:30am UK time, which is 4:30am EST. I've not been doing too well with my FM lately, either, so it will be a physically challenging walk, in addition to the emotional challenges the walk is bringing. Also, please be praying for good weather. Yes, we're in England, and yes, we're in Yorkshire, but we've had a lot of rain this past week, with more scheduled for the weekend. Please pray the rain will hold off until everyone has completed their walks!

For more information on the walk, as well as the UK National MS Society, click here: Wheel & Walk Roundhay

We've just been desperately trying to get the word out to increase awareness of MS, and we've managed to get stories in one of the Bermuda newspapers and in our local paper, the Hemsworth & South Emsall Express:

Here's the link to the Hemsworth Express:
Fitzwilliam's Tommy is in step to help granddad

And here's the one in the Royal Gazette:
Bermudians taking part in UK Multiple Sclerosis Walk

We're so excited about the walk. We've currently raised about £170 (about U$275), but our goal is to raise £250 (about US$400). If you would like to support us, even if it is for just a couple of pounds or dollars (£1 = US$1.60, approximately), we would be just thrilled. Thanks to the MS Society, we've been able to set up our own online fundraising site, where you can make a donation using your credit card or PayPal, making it easy to give. You can visit our site at Tommy's MS Walk.

Thanks in advance for thinking of us, praying for us and lending your support!

July 03, 2009

Why can't I find a blog update reminder...

With all the junk emails I get, including reminders for silly stuff, I wish I could get my blog to send me a note about needing to be updated! LOL! Oh, well... To be dependent on my feeble memory...

I had a fantastic time visiting the family in Bermuda. It was my first holiday without Andrew or the kids since, well, before Andrew! It was nice to not have to worry about my two little munchkins, taking them to school, getting them to karate, and so on. Time was mine to do as I wished, to see friends, to sleep in, to go out.

Rebecca was a GORGEOUS bride and the wedding went just beautifully. The girls looked wonderful and the wedding was a blast. Of course, there were lots of other events leading up to the big day, which was on June 6. On the Sunday before, we had a surprise shower for her, organized by her bridesmaids. On the Monday, was my SIL Brenda's 30th birthday, so we organized a BBQ for her, complete with cupcakes. Wednesday night was out to Harbour Nights, and on Thursday evening, I went out with all the girls for a bit of a night on the town. Friday was the rehearsal and Mark's parents put on a fantastic dinner afterwards.

The trip was also marred with some sadness, as we lost a dear member of our Bermuda church family while I was there. Uncle Mac, James MacMaster, passed away after a road traffic collision, but thankfully I could attend the funeral while I was still home. How wonderful that the Gospel could be preached fully at the service!


The trip back to Bermuda was challenging, to say the least. On top of a Tube strike in London, some adverse weather prevented the flight from London from landing in Bermuda. Instead, it was diverted to Boston for refueling, where it then returned to Bermuda. As a result, the flight returning to London couldn't take off until around 1:30am, around 5hrs late. And because of continued bad weather, we didn't land in London until around 12:30pm, UK time!

That, of course, would have resulted in my missing my train from London up to Wakefield. Thankfully, British Airways was able to fly me on to Manchester, which was the closest they could get me to home. Unfortunately, THAT flight was also delayed, causing me to miss the fast train from Manchester to Leeds. Then there was the flooding on the tracks in Sheffield, which caused some more delays. So, instead of arriving in Wakefield a little after 3pm, I didn't get in until 7:30pm... And all to no husband at home!


Andrew had a bit of a scuffle with our cat, Slinky, which resulted in Slinky - my giant ball of fluff - biting him and putting Andrew into the hospital for FOUR days! He finally got to come home on the Saturday - the same day as Tommy's 7th birthday party!

Yes, you heard me... Tommy is SEVEN!!! I know, where does time go??? He had a great little party with a military theme set at Pontefract Castle. Thankfully, Andrew's sister, Lynn, and brother, Nigel, were able to stay and help, as Andrew was at home, resting.

So, Andrew's been home from work, all this time. He went to the physiotherapist again today, who wanted him to stay home a further 2 weeks, but enough was enough. He managed to get an appointment with a GP this afternoon, who finally signed the form allowing him to return to work as of Monday, on a somewhat limited duty. I don't think Andrew could handle any more time off work... I don't think I could, either! LOL!!!


Anyway, I had an awesome phone call today... About 2 months ago, one of the UK crafting magazines I read had a contest to design a card featuring the Forever Friends bears, by Hallmark. I put two different cards together, then started asking everyone which card they preferred. I finally sent one of them in, and today, got a phone call that I am one of the winners!

I have one a night at the Ramada Inn in Bradford, complete with dinner and breakfast, then a tour of the Hallmark studios the next morning, a goody bag and a crafting session with some of the Forever Friends artists and Creativity! Magazine's own craft guru, Claire Curd. While there, the overall winner will be awarded a signed original painting of one of the Forever Friends bears!

I am just over the moon! I simply can't believe it!!!! My boys are all jealous, and want to know if they can come with mommy for the night, but NO WAY! This is my time! Now to find a sitter for them on Monday, while Daddy is at work...


Now, looking to the very near future, next Saturday, July 11, Tommy and I will be getting up bright and early and heading to Roundhay Park in Leeds to participate in National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Wheel & Walk. Starting at 9:30am, we will be walking 4.2kms (about 3 miles, or so) to raise funds for MS, and in honour of my dad, Gerry, as well as my Uncle George, and friends with MS in Bermuda.

So far, we've raised about £110, but we'd love to raise a lot more! We're even going to be featured in an article in the Hemsworth Express this Thursday!

If you would like to sponsor us, you can visit our website at Tommy's MS Walk. Thanks in advance!!!