Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The End Of A Year & Start Of Another

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and got thoroughly spoilt, and were able to get some time to yourself to stitch, we had a lovely time.
This will be my last post before 2009 ends, and what a year it's been! I thought I'd take the time to write about what 2009 has meant for me, both in my personal life and with my stitching. It's going to be a LONG post so please feel free to skip to the stitchy bits if you wish lol.
This year I've adjusted to life as a stay at home mum and after what was a very anxious first few months it's turned out really well. We've had to change a lot of things and make sacrifices, but I can honestly say our little family is so much happier and healthier for me being at home. We have decided that as long as we can manage on DH's salary and as long as Erin still needs and wants me around all the time I'm going to stay home. It's so good not to have to worry about childcare in the school holidays, getting time off work when she's sick or attending school events with her, to name but a few.
As I didn't want my brain to go to mush however I've done two courses during the year, one which has lead to me doing what's called Reading Friends in Erin's school a couple of hours a week. I go into school and read one to one with a child for 10 weeks, and it's been shown in most cases to greatly improve a child's reading age and social skills. I really love doing this, it's great seeing each child improve with their reading and come out of their shell over the 10 weeks. This then lead me to helping out at various activities within school and then doing a course called Helping In Schools in the early summer which is the equivalent of an NVQ Teaching Assistant's course. I have to say the first few weeks were a nightmare. I really doubted that I could do the work as it was extremely hard going and required a lot of hours put into it, and spent many a tearful moment, but I promised myself I wouldn't quit and once I got over halfway it became easier just knowing the finish line was in sight. I'm really pleased to say that the result I got was the top level, Level 3, which is the same as an NVQ3! Since then I've also been volunteering in a Year 1 class at school one morning a week as a Teaching Assistant, which has been a real eye opener lol! I am now SO much more aware of things like equal opportunities and inclusion within school and how children of the same age differ so much in their academic abilities and social skills! My respect for teachers who have to deal with this has gone up massively. I don't know that I'd want to be a Teaching Assistant as a permanent job, but I feel I've really widened my horizons and gained so much experience this year.
On a health front, on 27th July DH and I took Erin swimming and while we were there I saw an offer for a gym membership trial. As some of you know I'm a big girl, have been for years and have lost and gained a few pounds here and there through all that time, but never really made any real progress and was actually at almost my highest weight. Anyway, I don't know what made me do it but that day I decided to give the trial a go and just see what happened. I planned on trying to go to the gym approx 3 times a week for the 6 week trial and to try to eat healthier during that time and see what happened. In that 6 weeks I lost almost a stone in weight! So while I was riding high on my success I took out a 12 month membership and since then I average 5/6 workouts a week including step classes, cardio, weight training and swimming, and I'm ecstatic to report that as of today I've lost 50lbs (3st 8lbs) in 5 months!!! As well as the gym I'm eating healthier than I have in years and enjoying it, not feeling permanently deprived like I used to on various diets, and my fitness and energy levels are sooo much better. I actually get restless and edgy when I can't go for my daily workout lol! I still have a long way to go, but this is the first year in many many years that I can get to New Year's Eve and not have to make a desparate resolution to lose weight in the new year, only to give up a couple of weeks later. I'm now confident that no matter how long it takes I'll reach my goal and more importantly, enjoy the journey as well. 2010 is looking very bright!
And finally onto stitching! Although 2009 hasn't been a great year for that, looking back I can sort of understand that, with everything else changing so much in my life, my stitching mojo was bound to get a bit of a hammering. I had a few months when I barely picked up a needle, but I'm really happy to say that this past month or so I've been stitching far more regularly and enjoying every minute which is the main thing. I ended up having 14 finishes, 2 of those large, and made a little progress on several wips. Most recently I stitching an xmas ornament for my friend Amy (no blog), a scissor fob for Sally for her birthday and an ornament for our tree on DH's orders lol.

The ornament is a freebie I found on the web somewhere, I'm sorry I can't give credit where it's due as I can't find it again now, but it was seeing several finishes of it on other blogs which made me want to stitch it in the first place. The scissor fob is from the Prairie Schooler Christmas Alphabet and the strawberry emery is an Anita's Little Stitches design called Joy.
This past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like to stitch in 2010 and so began my rotation thoughts yet again lol. After much smoke coming out of my ears I think I have finally come up with something I'm really happy with.
1. Mon/Tue - Small/Medium - Lizzie Kate's ABC Christmas. Began this on 10th Dec and really enjoying it. It's my first time stitching 1x2 on 40ct and I love it!

2. Wed/Thur - HAED SAL with Sally - SK Moon Fantasy/Cabin In The Woods. Planning on stitching on MF 3 weeks each month and CITW the 4th. Have a vague hope I might actually finish MF in 2010!

3. Fri/Sat - BAP - Nouveau Encore Designs Personalised Sampler. When I realised that 2010 is the start of a new decade I decided I had to have a new start on 1st Jan and it had to be a special one, so this is it. I had it designed at the end of 2008, so I figure it's time I made a start on it. My fabric is prepared and on the qsnaps (25ct bone lugana) and I will be stitching it 1x1 with HDF Garnet which is mine and Erin's birthstone as well so I thought apt.
4. Sun - UFO Night with Sally - Celtic Autumn alternative colours. I'm afraid I have several ufo's yet can't part with them. I love them all, just don't want to stitch on them lol. So I decided to grit my teeth and stitch on them just one night a week and see if I can make any progress. Sally is very good and only has one ufo so I bullied (cajoled lol) her into joining me for a while.
I'm hoping to put a few more stitches into Moon Fantasy before the year ends, but I took pics of them all today so I could show you all where I'm at with them, and it will be good for me to look back with a starting point. There is of course no pic of the personalised sampler yet as it's just a blank piece of fabbie lol!
I think I'd better finish here for now as this has turned into a VERY long post, didn't realise I had so much to say and show lol. All that's left to say now is I hope that you have a very happy New Year and that 2010 is your best yet.