Thursday, 30 September 2010

Past couple of weeks

I'm not in a blog writing mood, but I haven't been for the last couple of weeks really, and I don't want a hole in the blog, as this will be printed as a book at the end of the year for a family record.

Last week was getting back into the swing of things week, with school clubs starting up, and Harry staying at school for lunches. Harry has been very tired and quite hard work at times.
I found last week hard - still not feeling well, and very tired. I think my Grandma being ill has got me down, and knowing that Mum and Dad are having to go through everything with her too. Grandma also had to move into a nursing home last week, as she now needs more care than her residential home could provide. The medicine she is taking for pain is sometimes making her confused, and Mum told me today, that Grandma is worrying about who will look after my kids, and their cousins, because she thinks all us grandkids are dead. She also thinks my Dad is a spirit and can walk through walls, and that Ken, my Dad's friend came and did her toenails! (That one made me and Mum laugh!)
A friend came over on Friday, and that cheered me up a bit, and on Saturday we went as a family to the church Helping Hands day - where we spent a couple of hours clearing polystyrene from a country park (I think it had blown over from a nearby building site), and clearing some woodland. About 200 people turned up to help - pretty good.
On Saturday afternoon Scott went to the gym (he has joined again, and now goes a couple of days before work), then took all the kids to the driving range to whack golf balls around. He then rang up to say he was going to Tesco with them, and giving them each £2 to buy their tea. It was interesting to see what they got, and how they had clubbed together and gone halves on things etc. I was grateful to Scott: didn't have to make tea, the kids had fun and learnt more about money/balanced diet etc, and I got the chance to finish off my talk for giving at church the next day.
Last Sunday I gave my talk and felt horribly nervous and sick. It went OK though I think. The kids also gave talks/read scriptures in Primary, and did OK too.
After church we had some friends over on the spur on the moment, and it was good just chatting and relaxing. Definitely what I needed anyway, in spite of clearing up after roast dinner for eleven! I love my dishwasher!
On Monday it was Harry's first full day in school. A few of us Mums with our youngest kids starting school, went to a beautiful historic town nearby, and wandered round the shops (I bought a pair of bright red shoes) and had a very nice meal. Again, it was just good being with friends and relaxing a bit. I seem to have somewhere got in the habit of being stressed, and it is time to unlearn it.
This week Scott is having a ridiculously busy time at work, with three separate lots of auditors/inspectors coming in including OFSTED, reports that he has had to prepare for them, extra meetings after work each night, oh, and the small matter of him taking over as Principal of the college next week, while still carrying on as Finance Director (...and Bishop!) It's a good job he is better than me at managing stress! I think he's pretty great!
On Monday evening Scott's Mum and Dad came round for a visit, which was lovely. We observed that Lucy is now definitely taller than Nanny!! This led to everyone getting their heights recorded on the door in the hallway. All the kids have grown between 1 and 2 inches since this February. (And strangely enough, I seem to have grown too - about 1cm. We have recorded the heights pretty accurately; is height growth at my age even possible??)
It must be all the healthy soup we keep eating!
(I had made this on Monday. I was following the soup recipe I usually use, but was missing two of the main ingredients, so substituted/added loads of totally different stuff. I liked how it looked. Lucy said it tasted 'interesting', but the boys and I really enjoyed it! The courgette came out of our garden, and the pepper, carrot and tomato came out of my friend Susannah's.)
On Tuesday I spent all day at church with lots of other people, working on our quilts which we are donating to a local care home which mainly looks after Alzheimer sufferers. The two I did can be seen here.
Yesterday was my first ever full day at home with all the kids at school! I spent an exciting day ironing and food shopping!
I have been to bed at 9.30pm the last two nights, totally exhausted. I now need to make an effort to get back to normal, sleep properly and be relaxed and cheerful.

Monday, 20 September 2010


On Saturday it was our turn to clean the chapel, along with the Conways and Willises. We took lunch with us, and as soon as we were done, headed to a country park that we'd not been to before. We were well impressed with the play park! We were so hoping Scott would fall in! I was all ready to capture it on camera...
Look at the cool climbing frame in the background!
The kids really enjoyed these water chutes.
We walked round one of the lakes and came across an assault course.
The kids did not exactly excel at the net scramble thing...
This was Harry's favourite bit.
Like this one I snapped of Lucy. She is looking really grown up.
I have a feeling we will be coming here again.

Week before last

The first week with all the kids at school was a bit quieter, with me just collecting Harry at lunchtimes. Harry went to a friend's house one day, and so I went to Scott's work at lunch, and we went out for a meal. Very nice! I told Scott we can do that every day when Harry is at school full time...
Lucy took this picture of me one day, because she said I looked very 'Mum'-like. On Saturday 11th September, we went to Lincolnshire to the Bleakleys, to celebrate Holly's 40th birthday, and have a house warming party. The kids played outside the whole time - jumping off the tree house onto the trampoline. (It's seems a lot higher when you're up there - I know because I tried it. Probably wouldn't do it again with a skirt on though.) Lucy and Abigail were happy to be re-united!
We all had a lovely time anyway - good food and good company.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Harry's First Day at School

The 6th September was Harry's first official day at school. He was quite happy to go, and I was quite happy to have him go! He has had two full years at playgroup, and is very ready for school now, I think. Of everything, this first picture below makes me the saddest - his little hands clutching his P.E. kit, and his tiny school uniform - he looks so young!
He is also a holy terror at times though, and I have long looked forwards to this day! (Sadly I didn't get to enjoy my freedom as much as anticipated... went back to bed feeling awful - developed a rotton cold and chest infection over the next few days - thanks to me freezing in the tent! My half marathon set for Sunday 12th Sept. was most definitely off the agenda...)Tom and Harry waiting while I put my shoes on. (All my kids are always ready well before me.)Having a little chat.
Harry was pretty eager.
I finally had a play with my Photoshop Elements! I really need to sit down and study it properly some time. I like this picture though. I love it that they hold hands.
The boys looking slightly more reluctant to go to school, here. (No idea what they were actually doing...)And Harry looking deceivingly angelic! (Though that is a bit unfair of me - he is often a wonderfully sweet child too... him stroking my face and kissing my cheeks and forehead is one of my most favourite things in the world...) He is only doing half days for the first 3 weeks.
I picked him up after his first morning, and the only information I got was that his Year 6 reading friend is a girl... but that she is nice. (Every new child is assigned an older child to help them when they first get into school each day - choose a book etc. - it's really nice - they do this for a whole year.) Harry seems pretty happy anyway, and talks about who's house he can go round to play with from his class, more than anything else. I think he likes school!

Friday, 17 September 2010

A Trip to Yorkshire

Well two weekends ago, I headed up to Yorkshire with the kids (Scott didn't come - couldn't really miss church again in our ward) and a car full of stuff. We left on Friday evening, and went to my sister-in-law Hannah's parent's house. They were having a family reunion, and Eve & Isaac Ashworth and boys (who we stayed with when we were stuck in America) were coming too, and I was keen to see them again.
We put our tent up on the front lawn at about 10pm - thankfully my brother John got an extension cable and a standard lamp from the house, so we could sort of see what we were doing... got our lilos blown up and everything ship shape!
Had a nice time chatting with everyone, and got myself and the kids to bed at about midnight - John had decided to put up a tent too, (it looked like it would sleep about 50 people!), for him and all the older boys, including Jack.
Oh my goodness - I've had worse nights, but I'd have to go back 20-odd years!! The church bells play a tune every hour through the night, plus mark the half hour, and I was freezing. The kids had their quilts and sleeping bags so were fine, but I just had a sleeping bag. I could just feel myself getting ill again.
I had bought my camping stove and stuff for a cooked breakfast, but we were invited to eat with the Smiths and had a huge breakfast with everyone else.
The boys playing football.
Lucy, with the very high up tree house.
Lucy and I took a walk into town in the morning, and met up with Hannah and lots of the rest of her family.
John playing Catan... again.
Everyone at the reunion. (I pinched this picture from Eve, but did take it!) My sister-in-law is one of 11 kids, and they also have lots of cousins - Eve being one of them.
We all headed across the fields and had a picnic.
I especially liked meeting one of Hannah's cousins, Ellie. We chatted a bit and got on well.
We played with the parachute, played a game of (sort of) rounders, frisbee, and watched some brilliant model helicopters and aeroplanes.
Lucy playing Cat & Mouse with Lydia underneath!
Took Harry for a walk around the trees for a bit to calm him down. He got upset - not coping very well with the late night.
Harry and John watching the model helicopter. Enjoyed chatting with John on the walk back.
That evening was interesting!
Everyone went to a concert that Hannah's Dad was part of organising - with Rick Astley, Bananarama, E17 etc! while Hannah's sister, Leah and I looked after various kids that were staying there. We cleared up, made tea for everyone, then Leah got the baby to sleep, and I tried to get all the kids ready for bed. By the time we were done, it was dark, and we still had to get the chickens in their coop. Leah and I wandered round everywhere (and it's not a small garden, and has woody bits!) with torches trying to find them, with no luck, and Jack and a new friend he made, were looking for them too, and got lost themselves... Anyway, we eventually got everyone to sleep, Helen (Leah's Mum) popped back for a bit, and said the chickens were already in their coop - in a bit we couldn't see, and then Leah and I had a really nice time chatting about all sorts of stuff, over hot chocolate. I've never really spoken to her before, and I'm glad we had the chance to babysit and get to know each other better!
Some of the kids watching a film before bed.
Good morning campers!
Had a much better sleep on night #2... extra blanket and sleeping in a hoodie helped! (Plus total exhaustion...)
On Sunday we all went to church (it's great because the Smith's live in walking distance from the chapel!), then afterwards got things ready for an engagement party feast. (For another of Hannah's cousins.) While we were waiting for some guests to arrive, we had a sing-song in the music room, and listened to some fab musical items by various talented members of the family.(I pinched this picture from Eve!)
Some of the boys hanging out, playing Catan.
Harry and one of his new buddies.
I did the packing in easy bits throughout the afternoon, and Lucy, and Hannah's brother Simon helped me take down the tent. We then headed off home so the kids could get to bed at a decent time, loaded up with salmon sandwiches and cupcakes from Helen, Hannah's Mum. Really enjoyed the day, and had fun being temporarily adopted into the Smith family!