Thursday, 26 February 2015

Poor old Tom

After school today (Thursday 26th February), I took Tom to our local dentist, so they could pull out two of his top molars.
He was pretty laid back about it, and we didn't have to wait long before going in. He had four injections which he found really painful, and then the dentist got on with loosening his teeth and pulling them out. I couldn't watch for that part!

Here are his lovely, massive molars, which he got to bring home!!

He has some impressive looking holes in his head now! (And you can see the bar which got fitted between his back teeth on Tuesday.)

After the dentist, I took Tom to Tesco to buy him some Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and some soup of his choice - the dentist said just soft food for today! He's not made any fuss at all, but now, a couple of hours on, his mouth is really hurting, and he's a bit upset. Paracetamol, and the ice cream will hopefully cheer him up a little now.

The rest of today: I did the early morning Seminary run, went for a 3k jog on the treadmill after the school run, and then had a phone meeting with Emma Corre for a couple of hours to plan some more of camp for this summer. Lucy stayed home today to work on a Biology project.

Jo Blackhurst popped round for a bit (and had a run on the treadmill too!), then I went back to Jo's for lunch. Made a couple of Thank You cards in the afternoon.

Scott has been in Watford today, visiting another college and comparing systems and finances etc. It sounded reasonably useful. We're all staying in tonight. Jack's not going to Air Cadets as he usually does on a Thursday night, because he's feeling a bit rubbish with a cold.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Half-Term Holiday etc.

We had quite a quiet week for the Half-Term holiday - we didn't really leave the house! It was great!

Tuesday 17th February was Pancake Day, so we made pancakes for tea...



I like having fruit pancakes (like Granny Flinn used to make), with apple, banana, and orange (plus whipped cream and warmed up syrup!)

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I spent the mornings painting the cabin (it seems like it will need about FOUR coats of paint!!), and Lucy and Tom helped at various times too. I would then go on a 3k run on the treadmill. The kids did quite a bit of running too in the holidays, and Tom and Harry spent hours on the trampoline (as well as the X-Box!)

We didn't really hear much from Jack up in Yorkshire with John and Hannah, but this picture appeared on Facebook one day!!


On Thursday night I ended up going out to the Chapel to have my Temple Recommend interview with President Clayton. He'd scheduled a long appointment, so we could also have a talk about my calling and how I'm doing. I was grateful for it, and we had a really good talk. Scott had had to work late, but came just as I was finishing with President Clayton, for his Recommend interview too. President Hirst was up at the Chapel as well, so we talked for ages too.

On Saturday 21st February, I spent some of the day preparing a Young Women lesson for the next day. Harry got taken to the Ramsey Pantomime in the afternoon, with Henry Wakefield.

On Sunday 22nd, we went to church in the afternoon, for Northampton Ward Conference. I had a meeting with the new Young Womens Presidency, then taught my lesson, which didn't really go anything like how I planned, but still went well I think. Afterwards we had a meeting of the Ward Council and Stake Presidency. 
The whole family came to Northampton, because the Hirsts had invited us to dinner afterwards. We had a lovely meal, and the kids all just went off and played while the adults chatted.
We left in time to go and collect Jack from Peterborough station at 9.15pm. I was really happy to have him back again!

Jack had had a really good week, going to a Stake Youth Fireside, Youth, a Stake swimming gala (he didn't compete, but did loads of diving, including off the 5 metre board), doing computer drawings, tiling a roof, going to some big indoor water place with flumes and stuff, and babysitting the twins and Asher while John and Hannah went to the cinema. I asked him what he had learnt (as well as the actual work experience) and he said in particular that he doesn't need screens. (Yay!!)

On Monday morning (23rd February), I went visiting teaching to Becki Cain in the morning, then went to Harry's school after lunch to pick up Harry, Oliver and Holly (from his class), to take them to a technology afternoon at Lucy, Jack and Tom's school. I stayed with them for the afternoon, and they had a lovely time! There were three kids there from each of the local primary schools, including Ethan Cryer.
The technology teacher was Mr. Austin - Tom's form tutor. He was really good with the kids, as were some boys from Jack's year who were also helping out. The kids all made a metal paper weight thing, which they had to drill, file, smooth off, punch with numbers, make a screw thread, and assemble.

Here's Harry operating the metal drill.


I also had a really good chat with one of the Deputy Heads who had dropped by. She recognised me as having other kids in the school, and we talked a bit about Scott's job (her competitor!), and marketing etc, plus about travelling. She seemed keen to join us on our travels!
It was a great afternoon anyway, and I dropped the kids back at school in time for home time.

On Monday evening, I went back to the school again for Lucy's Parents' Evening. I met with all but one of her teachers. They all like her and think she is working well. We had some discussion about odd bits that she needs to work on to improve her grades. On the whole, I'm pretty impressed with the teachers. I feel so sorry for Lucy having all the A/S Level stress to deal with now for the rest of the year.
She is doing English (working at an A/B), History (fluctuating between A/C), Politics (working at an A) and Biology (working at C/B). She's thinking she will probably drop the English after the A/S's.

On Tuesday 24th February, I picked up Tom from school in the morning, and we went to Peterborough for another Orthodontist appointment. He was missing one of the blue rubber bands between his teeth, which he thinks he swallowed the day before!
This time they glued metal bands to his upper back molars, and attached a kind of bar between them. They gave me letter to give to our Dentist, who now needs to pull out two of Tom's top molars. This will give all his crowded teeth room to grow and spread out a bit, then he has to go back to the Orthodontist in about 9 months.
I dropped the letter off at the Dentist's on the way to taking Tom back to school, and they rang me later in the afternoon and made an appointment to have Tom's teeth pulled out tomorrow (Thursday 26th).
Jack had an after-school detention (for forgetting one of his books on Monday!) and then we went up to church for Seminary, Activity Night and Youth.
Also yesterday, I had a nice email from a lady I don't know:
''I see your Stamps of Life cards and think that you make the best cards of the whole design team!  They are so creative and simply make me happy!  Because of that, I want to thank you!  God bless you!!''

Today (Wednesday 25th February), I made some cookies and gift boxes in the morning (after giving Donna some job interview practise in her car after she dropped me home from school. She had an interview for an administrative job later in the morning, but wasn't all that bothered about getting it!)
I then went to Visiting Teach three ladies over in March (who the cookies were for.)

This afternoon, we had a Tesco delivery (which I did online at about 11.30pm last night!), Lucy's friend Georgia came over and stayed for dinner, our Home Teachers came over, and Scott and Jack went Home Teaching in March.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Second Week in February - A Treadmill and Valentines Day

On Monday 9th February, I went to an open afternoon at Harry's school, where he showed me his books and things he's been making. The timing worked out well, because we were allowed to take the kids home early, so we left to pick up Lucy from her school, and went straight over to the hospital in time for Lucy's three-monthly Diabetes appointment. We poured over her figures, which hopefully haven't been too awful, though we will know better when we get her HbA1C blood test result back.

On Tuesday 10th, we had the usual evening of Seminary, Youth, and for Harry it was Activity Night, where he had a good time doing a bridge building challenge.

On Wednesday 11th, Lucy had the day off school - she's felt ill on and off for a couple of weeks now. I had asked her doctor at the hospital if this has any relation to the Diabetes, but he said it wasn't directly related. Being tired (which can happen because of her Diabetes, plus everything else) can affect her though.
I took Tom to Peterborough for another Orthodontist appointment, where he got metal bands glued to his lower back molars. We got him some wax, to cover the sticking out metal bits which rub a bit on his cheeks. 
After school I went to Harry's parents evening, and Mr. Dickenson said he is doing fine. He is especially good at maths and science - working well above expected levels, and though his literacy is fine, he's less interested and rushes it a bit. The thing that made me most happy though, was that in effect, Mr. Dickenson said Harry has become more teachable - more willing to listen and take advise about how to do things.

On the evening of Thrusday 12th, I drove with Carys to our Stake youth meeting in Northampton. Lucy had been ill off school again (lots of headaches and a cold), and I was not feeling brilliant either, and didn't in the least bit feel like going all the way to Northampton.
It turned out to be a really good evening though. Sue Purcell did a presentation for some of the evening on encouraging the youth to do Indexing (entering names and info from photographs of old records onto the computer, so the info is available for doing Family History research.) I really felt the spirit of it, and felt enthusiastic about my calling, plus it was our first meeting as new youth presidencies, who I think are going to work out well. We chatted a while after the meeting too, and got home about midnight.

On Friday 13th (ha!) Jo Blackhurst came round all morning, to make a birthday card for her Mother-in-law. I worked on Valentines cards for the kids, but the phone didn't stop ringing all morning! I had a good chat with my new counsellor Emma Corre, a couple of solicitors rang (following up on enquiries Scott has been making about house buying), Dave Page rang, to say he has been called back onto the Bishopric, and asking for ideas of activities to do with the youth in his ward, and Sue Purcell rang, to say how good the meeting was last night, and how well she thought I ran the meeting, and what a good job we are doing - which was just lovely!!
After lunch, the treadmill, which we ordered at the beginning of January FINALLY ARRIVED! It was in the most massive and heavy box ever. The two delivery men could hardly carry it. They left it on its side in the garage, like this.

Jo helped me to move a bin of wheat bags out the garage, so we could lay the box flat, then she headed home. I hadn't planned on doing any more with the treadmill, but I just gradually unpacked all the bits, and figured out that I could wheel the base back out of the garage, to get the packaging out from under it, then I wheeled it back in and gradually built it. I got it all done (very proud of myself) not long before the school run, so I ran a kilometre as quickly as I could, and then went straight on the school run, totally done in!
I was so excited for everyone to get home and try it! Everyone was really happy, and took it in turns to run for the rest of the evening. I set up Scott's iPad, with weights attached to the case lid, so that it can rest securely over the top of the treadmill console. I did some more running while watching The Great British Bake-off on iPlayer!

In the evening, I took Lucy and a few of her friends over to another friend's, and then we got some take-out for the boys, then a Chinese for ourselves later on. 

Saturday 14th - Valentines Day! My cards for the kids, and Scott.


Flowers (and chocolates) from Scott, but better than that, he was just great all weekend - I felt pretty rubbish all weekend, and he kept on top of the kitchen, went to Tesco, got the Chinese, took Jack on Sunday and made life as easy as possible for me.

While I'm taking flower pictures, I just wanted to add these pictures of my orchid. It's years old, and this year has produced more flowers than ever! (Probably because I moved it from the piano to the window sill.) Really enjoying it! It's the only house plant I've ever been able to keep alive for more than a month or two.

The kids did more running on Saturday, and we did homemade pizzas for lunch. In the afternoon, Scott went to the baptism of two new converts, and I set off later with all the kids to meet him at church, drop off Harry and Tom, pick up the Amos boys, and then Tamisa Martin, to travel to Watford for a Multi-Stake Valentines Dance.
The Dance at Watford was quite good - lots of people there. I spent the evening chatting with youth leaders, parents and keeping an eye on the youth - chatting with a couple of them who seemed a bit on their own. Lucy spent some of the time in the car though, because she was just tired and not very in the mood. She was pleased to see some EFY friends though, and did have a slow dance. Jack asked some 17 year old girl to dance too!
After dropping four other kids home, and stopping off a couple of times for one of them to go to the toilet (!), we finally got home after 12.30am.

On Sunday 15th February (feeling like the walking dead!!) we got Jack packed for going to John and Hannah's house that afternoon, for a week of Work Experience with John. (Jack will miss his Work Experience week, because it's the week we go to America.)
On the way to church, we stopped off at the Gliding Club for a while, so that Jack could take part in a photo shoot for a local paper or something! He hasn't even started gliding yet, but hopefully will after Easter.

Church was good, I enjoyed all the talks and lessons, but afterwards was just totally dead, and went to bed (though not to sleep, because the boys were making such a racket building a den!)
Scott took Jack to Peterborough train station, where he got a direct train to Leeds, with John picking him up the other end.

In the evening, I got lds.org accounts set up for Harry and Tom, and started doing some Indexing with them. They both quite enjoyed it, and said they'll do some every Sunday. Scott and I also did some.
Jack rang later, to say he'd had a great time at a Stake Youth Fireside, and playing with Asher, then Snapchatted me, to show me the Jammie Dodger biscuits they'd made!

And today (Monday 16th February) - first day of the Half-Term holidays! So far I've just been clearing up the wreckage of the weekend, taken delivery of a box of organic veg from my friend Lauren, have a Tesco delivery coming later, and the Elders coming for dinner.

Our treadmill record so far...

Monday, 9 February 2015

First week in February

For Family Home Evening on Monday 2nd February, I got the 72 Hour Kits out of the garage, so we could update them. And they really did need updating!! This is the T-shirt that was amongst the spare clothing for Harry! (Aged 2-3!) He wasn't very impressed!
The food was out of date too, and I was talking about how there is a technique to open tins without a tin opener, by rubbing the rim on some stone. Jack went outside to give it a go with one of the old tins, and discovered it was snowing!

Sorting our stuff out. (The two blanketed areas are Harry and Tom's dens from the day before.)

At the discovery of snow, we all headed straight outside! Including Lucy in her pyjamas...

Tom skateboarding down the middle of the road, Harry wearing Jack's discarded 72 hour kit clothing, no coat and a giant furry monkey hat, and Lucy still in her pyjamas.

We then went for a walk around the block (Lucy got dressed and Harry got a coat), and I rolled a snowman the whole way round. It was hard work, because the snow wasn't exactly very deep!
At one point the kids and Scott wrote 'LDS FHE' in massive letters on the road. This was a cool Family Home Evening!!


Back at the house, Lucy and Scott built a wall across the driveway, and then claimed they were now snowed in and wouldn't be able to make it school or work the next day...



I think it stopped snowing at about 10pm, so the snow didn't get very deep. It was pretty the next morning though.

On Tuesday 3rd, I had to pick Tom up from school after his first lesson, because he had an orthodontic appointment in Peterborough again. We had a bit of time to kill before setting off, so I got my camera and we drove back to his school to take some photos.





Tom ready to set off for his appointment!

We were only at the orthodontist for about 2 minutes again, though it was good - we'd got there half an hour early (I'd allowed extra time for the snow, plus we didn't get lost this time), but they fitted us in straight away.
Tom had four blue elastic bands fitted between his back teeth. This is to create some space between them, so they can fit a bar in, which will stop his back teeth migrating into the gaps they will make by pulling four of his teeth out. His new canine teeth have no space whatsoever to move into at the moment.
I took Tom back to school after lunch.

On Wednesday 4th, after school, I took Lucy for her annual Eye Screen appointment. They take photographs of her retinas to look at the blood vessels there, and see if they are coming damaged with the Diabetes. The doctor tried to take the photos without giving her eyedrops that make her pupils dilate, but it wasn't very successful, so she had the drops, and we went back to the waiting room and had a nice chat with the other Diabetes patients. They all had Type 2 Diabetes though, and were interested and sympathetic to learn about Lucy's Type 1.

In the evening, I picked up Rachel Lamin, Kat Hutchins and Jo Blackhurst on my way to a Relief Society meeting, where we had a cookery class from Peter Robertson, who's a chef. It was good!! We learnt loads of good tips, and got to try all the things he made.

I spent Thursday 5th shopping, baking refreshments, and finishing preparing my presentation for the Stake Auxiliary Training Meeting at Northampton that night. I get quite nervous when I have to present. 
I also took some pictures of birds which came to eat the out-of-date digestive biscuits from our 72 hour kits! Harry is in charge of breaking them up and putting them out for the birds.

Becki Cain gave me lift to the Auxiliary Training Meeting, and I thought the evening went OK. President Clayton from the Stake Presidency sent a lovely email the next day to say how well he thought it went, which was reassuring.

With the stress of the meeting over, I decided to have nice crafting day on Friday 6th! I got a parcel in the morning of craft products from the company in America who I design for. I'm still doing my 'no-spending-on-myself-till-May' thing, so it's very nice to get free stuff! I had $70 I could 'spend' in their shop, in payment for two articles I'll be writing for their blog later this year. One of the things I chose was this hydrangea die cutter, so I enjoyed making this card among other things.

On Friday afternoon, Scott left work early, and picked up Robin in Nottingham, John in Yorkshire, and then headed to Jonathan Devine's house. Jon drove them all to Scotland. They stayed in a hotel, and spent Saturday skiing at Glen Coe. Scott didn't take any pictures - this is one of John's. 
He had a pretty good time!
He went to church yesterday with John and Robin in Yorkshire, dropped Robin home, and drove round Nottingham a bit to get a feel for good places to potentially buy a house for Lucy, if she becomes a student there. 
He got home at about 5.30pm on Sunday afternoon, we had roast dinner, then he had a Young Men's Presidency meeting at our house in the evening.

The kids and I had quite a quiet day on Saturday. I made some dough and tomato sauce, and for tea we each made our own pizzas! They were gorgeous!! We polished off the lot!


Also on Saturday 7th, my Mum rang to tell me that Uncle Paul (Dad's younger brother) died earlier in the day, aged 63. He was in hospital, and his kidneys were in a bad way, but he died of a heart attack. Uncle Paul emigrated to America in 1986. This picture was taken the day before he left.

Dad will travel over for the funeral, though his passport has run out (he was going to renew it before going to France in the summer), so he'll have to get that sorted out first.
I put a post on Facebook about Uncle Paul, and I'm glad I did, as I don't think anyone else has, so there will be old friends of his who wouldn't know otherwise. There have been some nice messages and memories of him left on the Facebook post.

I love this picture of Dad, Uncle Paul and Uncle Bruce.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Sewing, Snow and Stake Conference

Not too much going on this week - was pretty on top of things house-wise, enough so that I even got round to some sewing. On Wednesday 28th January, I made a pencil case for Lucy - she's wanted one for ages, and I made one similar to my blue type-writer one. We both got a ridiculous amount of pleasure from our matching pencil cases!

I also made a door-stop thing for our bedroom door. The door bangs against its frame if there is any breeze, so Scott always has a sock on the floor, in the gap to stop it banging. I like this more than a sock, anyway!

My Facebook status on Friday 30th January: 'Jack just pointed out at dinner that he can get married this year!!! After I recovered from choking, Lucy said she can vote this year, Tom reminded me he'll be a teenager this year, and Harry said ''And Mum and Dad will die this year, of old age.'' Feeling slightly traumatised!'

There's been plenty of snow elsewhere in the country this week, and we kept hoping it would snow properly here. We had a tiny smattering, mid-week, and someone put this picture on Facebook, which made me laugh!

Finally on Saturday (31st Jan) it snowed a bit more heavily, and actually settled a bit.

Harry watching the snow.

It settled enough for Tom and Harry to have a bit of a snowball fight (and Tom managed to give me a face full of snow, with one well aimed shot bouncing off the garage roof and up through the open window where I was taking photos from!)

Harry having a great time trying to get me!
It started raining after not long though, and pretty soon the snow had all gone.

On Saturday afternoon, Scott went to Northampton for the Priesthood session of Stake Conference, and I set off a couple of hours later, as I had a meeting there at 4pm. We just saw each other for a few minutes in Northampton before he headed home.

I had a meeting with all the Auxiliary Presidencies, Stake Presidency and Mission President, and I really felt the spirit of what was discussed, and a growing determination to do better in my responsibilities. We had some lovely food provided for us afterwards, and then had the evening session of Conference, followed by some soup, and chance for socialising with everyone. I had good chats with a lot of people, and I love realising just how many people in the Stake I have become good friends with over the past four years of having a Stake calling. I drove back with Dawn Cryer afterwards.

The next day (Sunday 1st February) was the Sunday session of conference, and I headed to Northampton again with Lucy, Jack and Tom, so we could sing in the Stake Youth Choir. We were there for 9.15am, so we could have a run-through of our songs with the rest of the youth beforehand.
There was a bit of kerfuffle about the arrangements for the choir going up to the front to sing, and our choir leader got a bit upset about it, but it all ended up working out fine, and I think the youth did well. I sat with the youth, and we had the first four rows on both sides of the chapel completely crammed with youth! They were really good through-out, and I felt proud of them.

Also, Lucy had a speaking assignment in Stake Conference. She has been pretty ill this week, missing Thursday and Friday of school. She's had a bad headache which painkillers haven't shifted, and her blood sugars have kept being really high. She finally got her talk written on Saturday evening, and she did a good job with it. I hadn't read it beforehand, so it was lovely to listen to her. It's also not every kid who prepares their own talk, and gives it to probably about 700 people!

Also in conference, Karen Brock, my 1st Counsellor was released, as was Paul Krawczyk, the Stake Young Men's President. I felt really emotional, as our team has been really close and worked so well together, and I did cry a little. I got a new Counsellor though - Emma Corre, who I'm excited to work with.
After conference, the Stake Presidency gave the setting apart blessings, and my Counsellors received wonderful blessings. I didn't need to be set apart again, but I did feel like I would like a blessing too, so President Hirst gave me one, and it was a powerful experience, and served to deepen my convictions of my role, and how I can develop it. We got home at about 3pm. As we were driving home, Lucy just came out with ''I love being a Mormon! I mean I like the spiritual side of it, but I also like being with a load of people who're nice, and just like me for who I am.'' Happy days!

In the afternoon, I had a sleep, as I felt totally wrecked, and we had a nice quiet evening, with me reading a whole book to Harry and Tom again, and our 'screen-free' Sunday going well once more.