Wednesday, 18 May 2011

May so far

The weather has been so gorgeous these past weeks, and the countryside around here has been glorious. I think May is my favourite month. The oil seed rape has looked unbelievably yellow, with fields that wouldn't normally stand out being highlighted on the patchwork landscape. The bottom of the garden was positively glowing the other evening.
These photos don't do justice, but will be a reminder for me at least.The kids have been getting back into the routine of school, and I have been quite busy with church stuff, with meetings in Northampton and Milton Keynes, and sorting out things for 50 of us to do on the girl's week long camp this summer! We also had an evening in Northampton with the younger girls, this past Friday, where we decorated cupcakes which I'd made, and delivered them to various people. It's a lot of work, but I really do like spending time with Stake people and the girls.
Scott has now finished his PTLLS course, including doing his 'micro-teach', and so will be qualified to teach evening classes!

Also, last Wednesday (14th May), we made progress on our driveway!
My nice guide-line beforehand:By 8.30am, a JCB was making short work of our 9 INCH THICK (slightly excessive!) concrete driveway. Harry had picked the flowers (weeds) that were going to be destroyed, to take for his school friend Holly. (We tied them up with ribbon, and Holly was most happy about receiving them!)20 tonnes of concrete removed. View out the garage!And another 20 tonnes of soil taken away.Then 20 tonnes dumped back on! Mum and Dad came down on Monday, and Dad started levelling it ready for Scott to flatten it, then Dad is coming while we are away to do the sand layer, and lay the bricks! I am so excited to not have a scummy front garden!

My Birthday Weekend

At the end of the Easter Holidays I wanted to get into cupcake decorating, so bought some bits and bobs and had fun playing around. I made these for a joint birthday party for myself and Clare, on Friday 29th April. We didn't see the royal wedding that day - I was a bit put off with all the huge fuss beforehand, and we actually ended up watching Freaky Friday as a family! Clare and myself at our party! We had a great evening with several church girls - who finally went home at about 1am!On Saturday 30th, we went to the church BBQ in the afternoon, and had a lovely time chatting with friends in the sun. Our ward has grown even bigger, and we now have part of another branch too. Scott went on an impromptu trip to the cinema with some of the guys in the evening.
The next day, Juli, Chris and kids came to church, and then back to ours for dinner after. It was so good to see them, and the kids were all great and just went off and played all afternoon!

Bank Holiday Monday was my 36th birthday, and after opening some lovely pressies we decided to go off to Belton House.We headed to the park first (of course), and had a go on the miniature train......followed by a lovely walk round the grounds.In the middle of the maze:So another lovely interlude before returning to a more normal routine.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Easter Holidays

Been too busy to blog! Need to catch up a bit at a time...
The first week of the Easter Holidays, Lucy spent a couple of days at the Bleakley's house. The boys amused themself in the garden mainly.The Wednesday that Lucy came back I had arranged to take the kids to a Countryside Classroom activity a few miles away. I'd forgotton that my car was in the garage, so we got the Ordinance Survey map out and planned a route to get there on footpaths, by bike. Lucy was late back and the poor girl had about 30 seconds to dump her stuff, change her shoes and get on a bike!

The activities at the centre were good - all related to bees - honey tasting, a bee trail, making pipe-cleaner bees etc, but we also had fun on the way! The footpath looked like it ran out at one point, with a farm at the end, and keep out signs and a big dog. It turned out to still be the footpath, and so we rode through as fast as possible. The farm dog ended up following us the whole way to the activity centre though. It was a right danger on the road, racing cars etc, and then at the centre it ran round like a loony - even inside the building. Everyone thought it was our dog till we explained, and someone from the centre rang up the farm and asked someone to pick the dog up. (Which they did - not very good naturedly - said we must have fed it or something - ha!)

The kids did really well with the cycling - it was quite a long and bumpy way. It was nice to be out in the middle of nowhere though, and reminded me a bit of cycling around in France. We cracked open some early Easter eggs to celebrate our return! The next evening we travelled to Mum and Dad's and stayed there the night before going to Alton Towers. Scott had organised it, and I wasn't especially looking forwards to it - expecting queues and lots of hanging around. We got there as soon as the doors opened at 9, and went straight in and got to go on a few of the big rides almost straight away. Scott and Lucy went on Oblivion first of all... here they are at the top about to drop!Lucy and Scott on Air (They were stuck hanging like this for about 10 minutes near the end!)The boys loved all the water rides, and we got well and truly soaked and dried off in one of the little blow-dry cubicle things. We worried about taking Harry on the run-away train roller coaster, but he absolutely loved it and went on about four times altogether!We went on just about every ride in the whole place between us, and only had to queue for 10-15 minutes at its busiest. Some of the rides we could even stay on twice in a row. Everyone had a fabulous day and we stayed till everything was shutting down!
Two days later (17th April) I went with the kids back to Nottingham for 3 days, to stay with Mum and Dad. It was nice just hanging around - the kids got to watch telly for the first time in ages (though Lucy was singularly unimpressed!) and I chatted with Mum a lot. Dad and I also took the kids to a nearby windmill and park.Lucy and I went on this thing, and Dad spun us round so fast, I seriously thought it might cause some internal damage somehow, but neither Lucy and I could even get a word out to say stop! The boys were a bit mardy later on and so I drove everyone home to our house an hour or two earlier than planned. The next day, I was hoping that Scott would be able to get home from work in time for me to get down to Watford for a meeting with Elder Causse. Scott was working down that way himself for the day, but luckily his meeting finished early and he got back up in time for me to get a lift down with some other people from our ward. A lovely meal had been prepared for us, and then we were able to be taught and trained by Elder Causse, a really lovely and humble man.
The day after that (21st April) Scott had the day off, and we decided to head down to Essex to see Scott's cousin Keely and her family. Had a lovely time chatting in the sun in their back garden while all 10 kids played happily. After that we headed to Scott's parents', and did the same again! Lovely day.

On the 22nd, we headed off to the gorgeous town of Stamford, and had a picnic with Shane and Dawn and everyone. Another perfect weather day - I have just loved this early summer we've had all Easter - we lazed around, played cricket, fed ducks etc. Perfect.In the evening the missionaries came for tea too. Luckily I was in a prepared mood that day, and had all the food for everything under control! The next day, the day before Easter, we had all our Easter egg hunts etc. I like to do the chocolatey side of Easter the day before, so we can think about what Easter actually means by Easter Sunday. Lots of fun, especially when the kids and I did Scott's hunt!
Scott had clues hidden in the playhouse, in the sugarbowl, on the extension roof, blue-tacked to the back of the post box down the road, and his chocolate was hidden in a plastic bag buried in the vegetable bed.
The kids made some of their own eggs too... We spent Easter by ourselves, and then the kids had two more days of holiday before going back to school. The last day seemed like hard work, and I was thoroughly fed up of sweeping up mud, as the boys spent a lot of the holiday digging in the empty vegetable beds which we had weeded over. It was a really good holiday, but I was definitely ready for them to go back! Mind you, the boys only had two days back, and Lucy only one, before we had the long bank holiday weekend for the royal wedding.