Viva voce

I love this boy!

He’s kind …

… he’s caring …

… he’s fun …

… he gives me beautiful flowers …

… he makes silly faces …

… he cooks yummy food …

… he makes me laugh …

… he has the best smile …

… he’s very generous …

… he’s my hubby …

… and today my castle and knight loving husband becomes a doctor!!!

In exactly an hour, L has his Viva, which is where two examiners, who have read his PhD thesis, question him about his work and he gets to defend what he’s written and discuss his findings with them.

At this point, the examiners will give L corrections to complete (it could be grammar, it could be the layout of a table, it could be the wording of some of his findings). He will be given a couple of months to do this work and will have the graduation ceremony in January.

Despite the formalities to follow, as of 4pm or so this afternoon, L will officially be a Doctor of Nero Psychology!!

Please do pray for him, as this is a massive and crucial part of the completion of the last five year’s work. I know L is nervous and I surely know I’m nervous for him!!

I’ve only just started to get used to us being Mr and Mrs … now we’ll be Dr and Mrs … ahhhh!!! πŸ˜‰

I’m so proud of my hubby!!! πŸ˜€

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Is it possible to be too proud of your husband?

… I don’t think so! ‘Cause he deserves it more than 100%!! So here I am, a very proud wife, glowing in L’s amazing achievement!! πŸ˜€

A little side-note – sorry for my absence – my laptop has been playing up and, until this evening, decided it wanted to retire … but it’s back fighting strong – I’m just too much of an attraction you see!! πŸ˜‰

So what is L’s amazing achievement?

On Tuesday afternoon, my hubby handed in his phd thesis!! Wow! After 5 years hard work and then having to write his whole thesis in just a year and a half, he is all written up, printed, bound and handed in!!

He dedicated his phd to me – ME!!! I couldn’t have felt more special, more privileged so very lucky to be HIS wife, so very proud of all his hard work, determination and commitment then I did right then! πŸ˜€

While we waited for the print shop to bind the three copies of L’s thesis, we sat on the grass in the sun while L ate his crunchy, beany, full-of-veggies wrap, then lay on our backs, marvelling at the blue sky, the green, green trees and the sun which burst through the leaves above us.

We watched the clouds floating by and L tried to get me to see the elephant he saw, but I thought the octopus was more obvious …

The grass was fresh and green and soft underneath us … yeah, ok, it did make us get damp bums after half an hour, but hey, lying on the grass in the sun felt good while it lasted! πŸ™‚

The sunlight pouring through the tree above us was beautiful, hopeful, inspiring, calming, peaceful, freeing. Like my husband feels now he is finished with his phd (minus viva) – FREE!!!

Just as we are all free in and through Jesus our Saviour. And one thing is for sure, Luke (and myself!) couldn’t have made it this far without Him!!

GO HUBBY!!!

Summer thoughts!

Yup, I do think it’ summer now! Ok, so I know that it’s not officially summer until … is it the 21st of June?! Never mind what the date is, for me, summer has started today! πŸ™‚ The spring flowers have all gone, it’s fairly warm (for England guys, so I’m talking 13-20C/55-60F! πŸ˜› ) most of the time and the cruncher for me – I’m done with studying until October!! Whoop whoop! πŸ˜€

That nicely explains my sporadic posting on here and why it’s been at least a week since I last wrote anything at all – I was working on my end-of-module-assesment: a big essay that has to be printed multiple times and sent with special signed forms to The Open University’s head office – aah!! For the previous four essays, I have submitted them online and my tutor ha marked them, but this final one is marked by external markers. Also, the marks I got on the previous essays counted a different percent each time, to make up a core for all of them, but this final essay count all by itself, so if I don’t pass this one, I have to do the whole module again … but it’s ok, ’cause that won’t be happening, I’ll be fine!! πŸ˜› I got that in the post today and should get my module results by August, so now, no more school till my next module starts in October – definitely summer!!! πŸ™‚

I’m going to be treating myself to some fun times … tomorrow afternoon I’m having coffee with a friend and we’re going to be working on our patchwork projects – I’m doing a quilt for L and I’s bed, which is based around autumn, our favourite season and S is working on a wonderfully fun and brightly coloured blanket for her grandson … on Friday I’ll be chilling out with my friend R … on Saturday some friends of ours are holding their first BBQ of the summer! … I’m going to get back into doing some baking, something I haven’t done in ages … some friends and I are going to watch ‘Wives and Daughters’, bit by bit, over the next couple of Thursday evenings (can’t wait!) … two lovely friends are getting married in August, which will be a wonderful celebration! … I’m going to have some friends over myself for some fun times …

It’s not going to be a particularly slow summer, as I’m going to be going to an intensive summer program from June to September and I’m thrilled that I’m going to be starting training to be on the Youth Offending Team Panel – a wonderful project that I could talk about for hours … but I won’t right now!! πŸ˜› Also, L is in his final weeks of his PhD, so is working long hours to get his thesis ready for his hand-in date at the end of June, so that adds some interest to life … !! πŸ™‚ I have some reading to do between now and October, as the module I will be starting is 60 credits, including 12 hours placement time a week and then I will be starting another 60 credit course in February, which is all research, so my load next winter/spring/summer is going to be quite intense … in preparation, I’m going to be doing (uh-huh, I really will do it …) lots of reading for the module which starts next February, as I already have the materials for that …

However, despite these busy things, I have decided that I’m going to have some fun this summer!! So it’s gonna happen baby! πŸ˜€

The fun has already started!! Although I didn’t think it was going to be fun when I was preparing to start …

In preparation for what I knew was going to be two weeks of essay-focused-exausted-can’t-do-the-normal-functioning-me, every mealtime I made massive portions (ok, so this isn’t actually so abnormal, as having learnt to cook on 6-or-more-healthy-appitite-scales, I have extreme difficulty getting the amounts right for just 1 or 2 …) and froze at least 4 or 5 portions in readiness for my essay-hibernation. It has been truly wonderful for the last 2 weeks, to be able to pull a box out of the freezer, bang it in the microwave for 10 minutes, and serve up a home cooked meal – ohhh the bliss! Some of them needed pasta or rice cooked to go with the frozen portions, but the last number of days before my deadline, I always re-heated the meals which already had the pasta or couscous in them!! πŸ˜›

ecause of this blissful help, I haven’t done much grocery shopping or cooking over the past number of weeks, but now my essay is handed in and L is craving fresh vegetables (that’s my boy! πŸ˜€ ) it was time to roll up my sleeves, start to tackle the inevitable mountain of washing-up that accumulates when L and I are both stressed out with our studies, and get to work cooking up some yumminess!! Never mind the number of veggies crammed into a portion of butternut couscous or spicy sausage pasta, not to mention the beans and pulses … there is nothing to compare to a mound of freshly cooked, steaming, crunchy, green brocoli goodness!! Don’t forget the meat-content on the plate as well of course!! πŸ˜›

I had 0.0% desrire to do some washing up. I had 0.0% desire to create even more washing up by cooking a meal from scratch. After all, there were still many portions of dinner in the freezer … but I set to work, did (some of) the washing up and got out my chopping board and my favourite knife – the really massive one that dessimates carrots and garlic in seconds! πŸ™‚

Ahhh, I have missed my cooking! The almost-theraputic feeling of peeling the carrots (yes, even my Bolognese doesn’t escape my veggie-obsession!) … the delicious crunch of the onions being chopped … the sizzle of the mince being added to the pan … the tang of the chopped tomatoes … the yummy bubbling noises as the pan of herbie-goodness sits and bubbles on the hob … yes, absolutely – I am addicted to cooking!! πŸ˜›

I peeled, sliced, fried, stirred and simmered up some beef Bolognese, whisked up some white sauce, chopped and buttered up some garlic bread, steamed some brocoli, esembled an overly large lasagna and served my hubby up with his first freshly cooked meal in a couple of weeks!

*Sigh of contentment*

Some of the projects I am really excited about working on this summer are:

My Patchwork Quilt: I originally started this projecy before L and I got engaged, as it was going to be a single quilt for L for that next Christmas … but then we were planning our wedding, so I decided to make it double-sized and finish it in time for The Big Day … well, any of you who have ever planned their own wedding or helped a friend plan their’s knows that, along with trying to hold down a new job, organize moving a fiance who has lived in the same room for six years and pack up your own stuff and decorate a friend’s wedding cake … exactly, just not realistic! πŸ˜› So I’m further along then when I started … but I want to make some real progress over the summer!

My Scrapbook: I love taking photos (as you’ve probably realised by now! πŸ˜› ) and when L and I started going out, I was doing a-photo-every-day-for-a-year project, which although, I had to let go over time, provided a good excuse for taking photos of L and I and what we did together … πŸ™‚ I very much value photos and memories and love scrapbooking, so I started making a scrapbook of all the things that L and I did together and the fun photos we took of ourselves! It has been so much fun, but I have many, many photos still waiting to be transformed into pages! I am definitely looking forward to working on this lots over the summer! πŸ™‚

Model Painting: Uh-huh, most of you are going to think me geeky and very sad, but I enjoy painting L’s Warhammer models, because I love painting, creating and crafty things, and L can’t see enough of the detail, so I do the majority of it – and really enjoy it! He has a lot of black-plastic or silver-metal models which he uses in his games with friends, but he would love to have painted … this was one of my birthday presents to him in March (don’t worry, I gave him some others that he didn’t have to wait for ages to actually get!!), to paint a lot more of his armies. Although I have not had the time or energy to do any painting in a long while, I am looking forward to getting stuck in to painting this summer! πŸ˜€

Some not-so-fun-but-still-want-to-get-done projects:

Sorting the Study: For the last couple of months, apart from being tied up with my degree and other unavoidable things, I have no known whether or not we would be moving in September, so every time I have thought about unpacking the last few boxes, throwing out as much paper as I can and properly organizing the study, I have had the thought in the back of my mind that it’s probably not worth it – I’ll just have to pack it all back into boxes again and move – yet again (the longest I have been living in one place over the last 3 years is 10 months!) – so I might as well leave it where it is, right? Now I know that we’re not going to have to move and I’m going to get to spend lots more time in my lovely home!! πŸ˜€ So … study/mess/boxes/disorganization – here I come!! I can’t wait! πŸ™‚

Hanging Pictures and Photos: I go for lots of pictures, photos and quotes all over the walls – my room in my last shared-house was quite a mosaic! My hubby goes for a few well-chosen pictures and photos, with mainly clean, blank walls – L had six pictures/photos on the wall of his room, that was at least twice the size of mine! We have to come to a compromise in the middle … !! πŸ˜€ L is happy and I am happy with the number of pictures covering (not so much!) the walls of our living/dinning/kitchen room, the hall is decent, but needs a few wedding and family photos, but the study and bedroom boast just one picture between them!! Oh no! What will I do?!? Lol πŸ˜€ There is a pile of pictures and photos-in-frames on the floor in our bedroom and you better take note people – that pile is going to be getting smaller in the next couple of weeks!!! πŸ˜€

Getting to The Bottom of My Laundry Basket: ‘Nuff said! πŸ˜›

Cleaning the Corners of My Bedroom and Organizing the Bookshelves: You know the corners between you bedside-table and the wall? That space just behind the chair where you put your day-clothes-at-night and the-ones-that-haven’t-made-it-to-the-laundry-basket-yet? The little line of floorboards between your bedside and the bookcase? Yup, I want those dust-free! πŸ™‚

The bookshelves … well, I guess this is a bit of my OCD-tendancies coming out, but I do love a well-organised and at-least-in-some-individual-way-logical book shelf!! Mine is neither of those things. At the time, my objective was to empty the pile of boxes that has books in them onto the shelves as quickly as possible … just as they came out … not worrying about subject … We decided that we wanted the top shelf of our biggest bookcase to be for out recipe books, but as they are substance/type/cuisine completely mixed up, that is as far as the order goes!! A Warhammer novel sits beside ‘A Case For Christ’, which is cheek-to-cheek with ‘Physicology of Behaviour’ (an old textbook of L’s), next to two copies of ‘Boundaries’ (we haven’t eliminated the doubles from our separate books yet!), followed by something like ‘Children Who Kill’ or ‘People Skills’ (both to do with my degree/career interests, just to avoid confusion!! πŸ˜› ). So by the end of them summer, I want groups, categories, subject areas – you name the order, it’s going to be found on my bookshelves!! πŸ˜›

Kitchen Streamlining: I love my kitchen! I love having my very own kitchen, filled with my own pots and pans, hosting my own (ok, so it is included in our rented flat, but still!) fridge/freezer, with cupboards full of my own Tupperware and food stuffs! I love being the one who gets to decide what goes where and how my beautiful spice rack (a perfect, big, wooden, sanded, varnished spice rack which was hand-made by my youngest sister, T, especially for me, for a wedding present – it is one of my most treasured possessions!!) is organised!! However, it is a teeny-tiny kitchen area, with just one half-sized draw and limited cupboard and worktop space, so over the summer, I aim to re-organize my kitchen as needed, so that it is using every bit of space to the best possible advantage and maybe get some sort of kitchen organiser/extra storage space up, which doesn’t permanently mess up the walls … hmm ….

So here you go guys, you have lots to ask me about over the next months and if I don’t write about some of these projects and how they are going – tell me and bother me until I get some of them done!! πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, I’m going to be enjoying my new-found sense of freedom, the sunshine, the warm weather, the fresh breezes and lots of lovely long walks – oh yes, and sleep! Lots and lots of sleep!!! πŸ˜€

What are your plans for the summer? Do you have any projects that you are looking forward to working on? Are you going to be able to get away on holiday/vacation with your family or friends?

I was going to include a bunch of photos that I’ve taken over the last couple of week, but sadly, my computer is playing up and won’t let me view or upload any photos – boooo!! 😦 Oh well, you’ll just have to put up with words! πŸ˜› Next time …

Blah

You know that feeling you get when you’ve taken a nap (which maybe turned out to be a little longer than you intended …?!) and you’ve been so soundly asleep that you wake up not knowing exactly where you are and what day it is?

I hate that feeling.

For me it is almost always accompanied by an overwhelming desire to burst into tears – at nothing in particular and nine distinct things all at once.

Yes, I hate that feeling.

I sit up slowly and rub my bleary eyes. I blink in a decidedly stupid way and look around me as if this is the first time I’ve seen my well-known living room.

Dozens of tiny fragments of thoughts, dreams, events from earlier this day and events from years ago float through my mind.

I grab desperately at one of them.

I’m 17, wearing an old blue sweater and worrying about whether or not I’m going to pass my driving test.

No, that’s the wrong one.

My brain goes into super-fast shuffle mode. Anyone else ever get dizzy by looking inside their own brain?

STOP.

I’m 24, married, this is my home, I just finished writing an essay and slept for too long.

That’s better, that one fits.

I really hate that feeling.

My body functions reasonably effectively for a number of hours, which it apparently decided upon without consulting me first. Then it just stops.

Whatever I’m doing – washing up, studying, writing, walking, filling out an application form, grocery shopping – I become overwhelmed with tiredness.

My eyes begin to droop. My brain goes fuzzy and stops processing information correctly. My limbs go unbearably heavy and my head aches to be laid down, as if my body hadn’t had sight of a bed in weeks.

I go into what L. has christened my “confused” mode. I have been known to set out to buy mince and tomatoes to make chilli for supper, and come back with cheese and some malteasers for a surprise for my husband … but no mince or tomatoes. Somehow my husband isn’t so excited about the malteasers when faced with cobble-food for supper … after I’ve had a nap.

Yes, as embarrassing as I sometimes get having to admit it, that is exactly what I have to do. Have a nap. Yes, I did say I was 24, not 75. I simply have to realise that that is what my body needs and the only thing my body needs. Strong coffee only delays the inevitable by half an hour or so.

If I don’t have 1-2 naps a day, pretty much when my body demands them, I don’t get anything else accomplished successfully … except for buying random items of food or sending the wrong texts to the wrong people …

I have been known to come home in my lunch hour in order to have a 30 minute nap.

It is one of those things in life to which you can only adapt. Fighting it or pretending it doesn’t exist is absolutely pointless.

I’m generally getting better at keeping them within a strict time limit … but today was not one of those days.

I’d only allowed myself 5 minutes sleep earlier and was then fully tied up with finishing and submitting my essay. I was mentally and physically exhausted and needed that sleep.

So I slept.

And woke up an hour and a half later …

Not knowing exactly who I was or where I was.

Without a doubt, I hate that feeling.

On muffins and procrastinating …

I really did intend to bake muffins yesterday … it’s just that I had a lot of studying to do too … and it’s amazing how attractive housework can seem when you have something else you’re meant to be doing … but to start with the muffins …

I love baking of all kinds and baking muffins is a particular hobby of mine – unsuprisingly one that my husband, L, supports enthusiastically! πŸ™‚ Most of the time I use my dearly loved muffin cookbook, which has many different muffin recipes in it – lots of which I still haven’t tested.

I love this book!

I tend to fall back on the tried and tested fravourites – Lemon, Summer Fruit, White Chocolate, Apple Spice, Carrot – and although I have baked a number of other kinds, and some which I have re-invented for myself, these are the ones I always return to and the ones which the main muffin-consumer likes the best! πŸ™‚ Cocoa Courgette (Zuchini) muffins have never been attempted (yuk!) and Butterscotch Crunch have been baked and got a thumbs-down. For Christmas my mother-in-law gave me a cookery book called “The Humingbird Bakery Cookbook”, which is full of beautiful pictures and yummy-sounding recipes – I’m looking forward to trying some of these out!

This time I went for Lemon muffins, as I haven’t baked those in a while. I love the coming together of the dry and wet ingredients and seeing them bind together into a batter.

Hmm, ok, so maybe it doesn’t look so attractive right now!
Filling up the muffin cases
When I was little I used to send ages staring in through the oven door whenever my Mum was cooking or baking!
Making the frosting to go on top
Mmmmm, I love the look and smell of freshly-baked muffins!
I love how glace icing looks so glossy!
And finally the finished product – which made for a very happy husband when he got home last night!

Hmm, now I’ve baked the muffins, which I really HAD to do anyway … ok, so some studying …

... oh, I really should put some laundry in ...

… study, study, must study …

... oh, the floors all need sweeping ...

… now, to get back to my studying …

... and then fold the dry laundry - now there is a sight that brings joy to my heart! πŸ™‚

… just a little more studying …

... time to scrub the bathroom ... and wash the floor ...

… then have a shower … take the glass recycling to the recycling place … grocery shop for the weekend … and then L gets home!! I really DID get a good amount of studying done, inbetween all the housework that “desperately” needed doing!! πŸ™‚ The house smelt wonderfully clean and I had the windows open while I swept, for the first time this year, so it felt wonderfully spring-like!

"Why are you taking a photo of me doing the washing up?!"

The perfect end to the day was my husband singing funny songs while he did the washing up and I cooked supper. Every Friday evening is what we call “Date Night”, which is the evening during the week where we don’t go to see friends and don’t have any friends over – it’s time just for the two us, where we get to eat out or have yummy food at home, enjoy a bottle of wine together and do whatever we like to enjoy each other’s comany. Which last night meant sitting on the sofa relaxing and having a hug, while listening to music and sipping our wine! It was a wonderfully relaxing evening and one of those times when you wish you could make time stand still for a little while. Ahh! πŸ™‚

nomm, nomm, nomm!!