Monday, 27 February 2012

So far today...

Hurray! I'm caught up again with the blog.
We had an early start this morning, as Harry was ill - really burning up, then being sick. We're sitting here watching Fantastic Mr. Fox at the moment. Poor little thing.
Also today, Mum and Dad start their Temple Mission at Preston Temple! They will be there for 2 weeks out of every 8, sharing a flat with 3 other couples on a 2 week rota.
We are really proud of them and hope it is a wonderful experience. For anyone who doesn't know much about the Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, here's a {talk} which explains a bit about what they are for.
(This photo of Preston Temple was taken a few years ago, on John and Hannah's wedding day - it is where they were married for eternity.)

The last week

I think everyone was ready for the start of school, including me, and I enjoyed a fairly quiet week. 
Scott has been pretty busy with work though - he has been overseeing the production of an advert which he commissioned a film company to make for the college, amongst other things. He was also 'quoted' in the local paper this week, for something to do a free transport scheme he has come up with. 

Went to March for Visiting Teaching on Tuesday, and we had pancakes for tea as it was Pancake Day. In the evening I went with Lucy to the 'New Beginnings' Evening at church, where we not very successfully released a fire lantern (It was rather windy, and just blew into the car park!)
I spent an unexpected day with my friend Donna on Wednesday - went and got a cooked breakfast, and had a good talking session.
On Thursday I went with Jo on the guided bus for an unplanned day to Cambridge, and we did some clothes shopping and had lunch. I've been selling a load of stuff on ebay in the past few weeks, and didn't mind spending some money.
Harry made himself this chart recently. I hadn't suggested he do it or anything, nor said anything in particular about his eating, so it was quite funny that he came up with it by himself.
On Friday 24th, it was very nice, as Harry asked me what I wanted for breakfast (Shredded Wheat), and when I came downstairs, he had layed this out for me!
Also on Friday I felt a bit guilty as I was invited out for another unplanned lunch with Zoe and Rachel from school!
In the evening, we had quite an eventful time. Harry and Tom went to their school discos, and Lucy, Jack and I went first to pick up the three Amos kids, then to Northampton for our first official Youth Choir practise. I was a bit worried about how it would go, but it turned out great! There wasn't too bad a turn out, and I think we all really enjoyed learning the songs. We have a proper choir leader and pianist, and so I got to be in the choir.
On the drive home, we had got about 5 minutes out of Northampton when the car lost all power and just stopped on the dual carriage way. I got everyone out, and put all the car lights on so it would be visible, then put out our emergency triangle, and rang Scott to check on our breakdown cover. I was told the breakdown truck would be about an hour coming, so we got our emergency blanket and torch out, and made ourselves comfy in a kind of prickly ditch as far from the roadside as possible. I started to worry a bit when the battery began to die on the car and its lights faded. We were on a very dark, and busy bit of road. I attached my florescent jacket to the back of the car to try and make it it a bit more visible, but luckily just then a Police car stopped behind us, and not long after that our breakdown truck turned up. The guy just loaded the car on the truck then drove to a safer lay-by to take a look at it. He thought it was something to do with the alternator, and ended up driving us all the way back home to our local garage. He was a nice guy and we chatted all the way back, and he dropped us at the end of our road after dropping the car off. Daniel Amos came and picked up his kids from the garage. As we were walking home, Lucy said she hadn't imagined that we would be walked down the road after midnight! It all felt like quite an adventure, and I was pleased to have got use out of our emergency car stuff!

We had a lovely lazy Saturday, making cards and soup and freshly ground wholewheat bread with the kids...
We had a tea party, with peppermint tea in my mismatched teapot. Lovely!
In the evening, we left Lucy to babysit for the first time properly, while Scott and I went back to Northampton for a church dinner and dance. It's not really Scott's thing, but we enjoyed chatting with friends, and a hog-roast, and a couple of slow dances. Clare Garrick got me up to dance at one point, then the DJ announced that the next song was for Helen Cryer, and played 'Dancing Queen'. How embarrassing having everyone looking at me while I had to dance to it!! Thanks for that Clare!
We got back at about midnight, and all was well with the kids. We'd already got Harry to bed before we left and the others just went to bed as normal.

We all went to church in Huntingdon yesterday - Scott getting a lift with the Hubbards, so the rest of us could fit in Scott's car. I had a long and useful meeting with David Cain, and Jack got 'set apart' by Bishop for his first ever calling as Deacon Quorum President. I was also informed that Scott has volunteered me and him to be in a Dragon Boat racing team in the summer along with some others from church, for a charity thing!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Half Term Holidays

Monday. The first day of the half-term holidays we all just wanted to spend a quiet day by ourselves at home, doing the usual kind of stuff, such as...
Making a huge web out of sellotape all over the living room, to hang toy cars from...
 Fitting Harry into a cardboard box...
 Doing Yoga on  the Wii, with a cardboard box on your head....
 Leaving little messages for people.... (This one from Harry)

Tuesday - Valentines Day. Scott and I had exchanged Valentines cards the night before (we are rubbish at keeping things from each other...) His to me was a very interesting handmade pink creation with an aeroplane, and the number 16 on it (apparently this is our 16th Valentines day together), and mine had the wonderful quote 'I can't believe how much I'm not sick of you' on it. Are we romantic or what?!
The kids and I cleaned up the whole house in the morning, then Mum and Dad came and spent the rest of the day with us. Here we are at lunch, with Mum and Dad both making some kind of interesting 'cheerful cheesy Grandparent' face!!
I'd been a bit stressed in the morning, but gradually unwound, and we had a nice day. I was really happy too, with a dress which mum had altered for me, by adding sleeves to it.
Here's Mum having a not too successful go on my roller/stomach-work-out machine thing... had a right laugh!
In the evening, I took Lucy and Jack up to church to Youth, where Abi Bleakley was also being dropped off, and then coming back with us to stay for a couple of days.

Wednesday. Had a fairly quiet day at home. Lucy and Abi made their now traditional pancakes for us all, and worked on Lucy's camp scrapbook. We watched girly films in the evening.

Thursday. What a day. The kids amused themselves in the morning, while I made some cupcakes for refreshments for a Disabilities Seminar I had organised for that evening. (I love this new cupcake carrier I got!)
In the afternoon though, we had to drive to a shopping centre in Spalding to meet up with Holly Bleakley, to drop off Abi. It should have taken an hour maximum, but we had an 'exciting' journey there which took over TWO HOURS... My satnav was in Scott's car, so I planned out a route that looked best on the map, but turned out not to be, and with Lucy and Abi navigating from the back seat, we somehow ended up in the middle of nowhere, on THE bumpiest road I've ever driven on. After getting back to a main road and realising we had spent about an hour going in a massive circle, (and me having a serious sense of humour loss) and then having to follow diversion signs after another road was shut, we finally made it. I was just SO cheesed off at the wasted time!! It would have been quicker to just take Abi all the way home!
Once at the shopping place, we at least managed to get Jack and Harry new trainers, and Harry a Children's World Atlas which he adores (though narrowing down his choice to that book, in 'The Works' was a bit torturous...) By that time we were starving, and I realised I would not have time to start cooking when I got in, because of the Seminar, so I took the kids to Frankie and Benny's for tea. We then got lost on the way home again, but it only took just over an hour this time, though I had not planned on driving right through the the centre of Peterborough (nor on having to pull over right near the Cathedral to let Harry out to do a wee in a bush next to the pavement!) I also had to have Lucy take mobile phone calls for me to sort some stuff out for the evening.
Anyway, we made it home, with 5 minutes to spare for me to get ready before Rebecca Cain came and picked me up for the Disability Seminar. It was really good, and Rebecca and I also had a really good chat (sitting outside our house in her car till about midnight!)

Friday. Scott had the day off, and all I can say is thank goodness, as I had gradually got more and more tired as the week went on, and the kids got more and more boisterous and silly.

Saturday. I took Harry to a swimming party at lunch time, and went in the pool to help out - spent the time dragging a big float loaded up with kids around the pool, so they could go and splash another float full of kids. Very noisy and fun!
In the evening I drove Mick and Jo Waters to Northampton, so we could attend a Worldwide Leadership Training meeting. I really enjoyed it, and got quite a bit of inspiration from it, both for the Young Women's programme and personally. The motorway was shut again on the way home, so we followed the diversion signs this time (I didn't trust that I could replicate the way I went the time before!)

Sunday. On Sunday Scott took the boys to Huntingdon, and Jack gave his first ever Sacrament Meeting talk, on Honesty. I went with Lucy to Northampton again for their Ward Conference. I taught the Young Women lesson. Lucy and I stayed for ages afterwards so that she could hang out with some of her friends. I made myself popular by handing out Jelly Beans to all the youth, which were left over from my visual aid from the lesson.
When we got home we heard the news that Jack has been called to the Deacon Quorum President, at church. I am really happy for him, and felt the 'realness' and responsibility of this for him, if he approaches it in the right way. At the Leadership Training meeting, it was said that our youth should be encouraged to have more responsibility for the people their own age, and I felt deeply that our youth are capable of this, and that it will train them to be great leaders in the future.

Just stuff

Also on Friday 10th February, I hosted book club. I spent some of the day making the biggest mess known to man making cupcakes, for the refreshments. On the afternoon school run, a couple of the mums said how the book wasn't that great - there wasn't much to discuss, so why didn't I do a cupcake decorating class instead? We ended up having a fun evening, with some mums just hanging out chatting, and a few others really getting stuck into decorating!
 Some of my cupcakes.
On Saturday 11th, I travelled to Northampton with Lucy, and we helped set up for a Multi-Stake Valentines Dance. Once the setting up was done, Lucy and I went off to KFC to grab some food, only to come back to the church and be ambushed by a bunch of boys with snow balls. I got totally soaked!! Had a right laugh though. The dance went OK... here are some of the pictures that Kristine Chatterton took at a photo booth she had set up in the foyer.
Lucy and some of her best friends from around the stake.
Nichola and Lucy being serenaded by Ben
 Rachel and I messing around.
We got back pretty late after clearing up and everything, and also the motorway was shut, so we took a very circuitous (and completely made-up-as-we-went-a-long/just-plain-lost) route home. (Though our way actually turned out to be faster than going the official diversion way!)

The next morning I had a talk to give in Huntingdon ward.

Tom and Harry

On Wednesday 8th February, I went to Kettering in the evening for a meeting with the Young Women Committee, which I felt was very productive.

The next day I went to Tom and Harry's Parents' Evenings. 
Harry's teacher said I am to tell him he is doing very well. She said he is still very talented in his artwork, and that this has spread to his computer skills, with him doing beautiful drawings on there too. She was surprised to hear that he doesn't really go on the computer at home. His reading and work is fine, though he sometimes gets silly, and is a bit led by others in the class when they are being silly. She says he does try to listen to her though.
Tom's teacher said that he is working at a very high level, and she has used his work as an example. She said he is also a lovely boy, and a role model to the other pupils. She said she will listen out for the name of Tom in the future, and be able to say 'I taught him'. I asked if his homework with still OK, because I have no input into it whatsoever, and she said it is fine, and that I should just carry on doing what I am doing.
So, we were pretty proud of them both.

On Friday 10th, it a was non-school uniform day for Harry and Tom, and we woke up to snow, and had a lovely time walking to school in it.
 The boys checking out some animal prints.
 The boys with Ethan, their friend from down the road.
The next morning there was an amazing frost on everything, which had formed into tiny feathers. The trees all were beautiful.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Snow and Bobbie's Blessing

Sunday 5th February was quite an eventful day! 
It had started snowing the night before (had my first snowball fight of the year with Lucy and Peter Waters, as they were dropping her off after an evening at the Wades house!) In the morning we had about 4 inches, and the kids went out for a quick play in the back garden. We had to set off by 8.30am though to travel to Lincoln for church, where Katy and Dan's baby Roberta was being blessed.
The roads were not too bad, and once on the motorway they were pretty much clear.
At church we enjoyed hearing Dan give the blessing, and it was great seeing all the family! All of us siblings were there and Mum and Dad. After church, a friend took some photos of the whole family in the snow, and naturally after that we had a massive snowball fight! Fabulous fun!!
We went back to Katy and Dan's afterwards. Here is my lot looking like a right rabble!
Good grub!
I had a nice time chatting to Katy's friend, Carrie-Anne, who made this super cake. She has started her own business, and I enjoyed picking her brains about different cake making stuff.
Later on some of us went for a walk around Lincoln. It was absolutely beautiful in the snow. It felt really magical.
The archway over the road is Roman.
The moon over Lincoln Cathedral.
We played in the front of the Cathedral for a while - I love how the spot lights lit up the snowballs!
Lucy and I as giant shadows.
At church, Scott had got a message to say that the Fireside in Northampton that night which I was going to, had been cancelled because of the snow. I was disappointed to miss it, especially as the roads seemed OK, but it meant we got to spend longer at Katy and Dan's, which I really enjoyed.

End Jan / Beginning of Feb

Towards the end of January, on 25th, we all went to the dentist. Scott went in last, and afterwards said that the dentist told him how well mannered and well behaved our children were! I was probably more pleased about that than the fact everyone's teeth are fine. I think this is the first time Harry has had his teeth looked at without a major fuss. Hurray!

This is Harry's bed after I told him to 'go and hang your school uniform up' one day... Not quite what I had in mind.
I enjoyed book club at Katy Turner's on 25th too - Anna gave me a lift, and there was a great turn out and great refreshments. The next night I went to Susannah's house for a pampered Chef Party.

On the weekend of 28th and 29th, it was Stake Conference. I travelled with Mick and Jo on the Saturday night, and we went out with quite a few other friends for a meal beforehand. I got a lot form the talks, then it was good to chat with people afterwards. Hannah's Mum and Dad and some family were there too.
On the Sunday it was really good to see Clive and Catherine Jolliffe again after their time as Mission President and wife in New Zealand. I also thoroughly enjoyed their talks too.

At the beginning of February, we changed some of the furniture around in the house. We had been looking at a house for sale nearby, and were seriously considering the idea of moving. Scott worked through all the figures, but we ended up feeling unhappy about the debt we would take on, which would be fine for now, but maybe not in the future. So we had a change around, and had a good look at house ideas on Pinterest, and decided we would like to pursue some ideas - possibly a conservatory and extension.
Anyway, I'm happy that I have a sewing space again - I pinched the desk I used to have as a teenager, back from Jack, and we finally put away the 'temporary' plastic table!
On Friday 3rd, I had a lovely evening with some of the school Mums. Ruth Gooch invited us over for dinner, and her husband Toby cooked for us. It was just such a nice evening - good food and conversation.