On Thursday 15th I met up with Rachel Lamin in Wild Frost, and we bumped into Anna and Cecily there! I did more studying, then in the evening picked up Jo Blackhurst and went to the Relief Society Christmas meal at church, which was lovely! I had hot drinks back at Jo's afterwards.
Friday 16th was Tom's 14th birthday! I went to Wild Frost again, this time with Anna, Cecily and Alethea Nugent, which was very pleasant! I also bumped into Val Reinlo and Sylvia Lemon, and had long chats. I was on-call for 24 hours on Friday.
Tom had asked for a doughnut cake for his birthday, and Chili Express for tea, so nice and easy! We all watched a Harry Potter film.
Scott opening a corked bottle of Shloer from one of his workmates.
I also received this message from my friend who works at the homeless shelter, and read it to the kids.
My new cordless Vax vacuum cleaner came, and I vacuumed the whole house. It's not as powerful as our Dyson, but so much easier to just get out for a quick use. The house has been so much cleaner looking since we got it, because now I use it nearly every day!
Scott took Harry to the cinema to see the new Star Wars film, and I went to Richard and Jo's to decorate their Christmas cake. I picked their daughter Anya up from her friends house on the way. Jo and I had fun doing the cake. Richard had a friend over and got fish and chips for us all for tea, and I stayed ages chatting.
Lucy went to a Christmas party in the evening held by her friend Marco's parents.
In the morning Lucy and I picked up the Young Women and drove to Somersham to meet up with Leah and go carol singing at an old people's home. It was slightly embarrassing, as the staff weren't particularly welcoming, but it was fine, and some of the old people really enjoyed it, and I enjoyed re-reading the words of the hymns.
Scott had been called as the Ward Mission Leader last week at church, and this week I was called to be a Relief Society teacher, which is great!
At the end of sacrament meeting, it was the Primary Nativity. What a palava it was to get ready for! Harry was supposed to be Herod (!), but Anna had rung in the morning asking if Harry would be Joseph (Joseph - Levi Cryer - was ill), and if Tom would be Herod. I said yes, but when I told the boys, neither of them wanted to. I plead with them, and Harry finally agreed, but Tom was adamant! I was pretty cheesed off that he wouldn't help. Anna and I decided that Elder Blad could do it (failing that, Scott could)! So at church, we told Elder Blad and I gave him my dressing gown, a cloak and the crown that Harry and I had made for Harry! It was pretty funny!
Just before all the kids were about to go into the chapel, Harry got nervous and said 'I look like an idiot!!' I replied 'You all look like idiots, just get on with it!' I think only Harry and Elder Blad heard, and he was chuckling away. What a to-do!
I taught Nursery for the last time, then we had Tithing Settlement. Straight after church we had YSA FHE. The Elders came too, and had a meeting with Scott later.
Jack had done to Bishop's house for dinner and he bought Jack home, then gave Scott and I our setting apart blessings.
Tuesday 20th December was the Harry's last day at school. I went down to the Fire station to meet up with Dan Thacker who went over some stuff with me like the Tirfor Winch, to get signed off in advance of my 12 month mark. It was really useful. I started feeling pretty ill though with a cold, which I had for the rest of the week.
On Wednesday 21st, we had all the Youth over to bake loads of cookies and treats for people in our Ward. Lucy was in charge, and later David Cain and Bishop turned up. It was very pleasant organised chaos! I felt dreadful with my cold though!
The boys starting on making the gift tags.
Josh Cain's 'no spoon' method!
Bishop, David Cain and Lucy took everyone off to deliver the goodies, while Tom and I went to the hospital for another appointment at the fracture clinic. We sat with Lisa Schiavo, who we bumped into in the waiting area.
A passing nurse told me off for taking this photo of Tom's latest X-ray! Tom's collar bone is still pretty lumpy looking, but he doesn't have any pain, and the doctor discharged him, saying that the collar bone would most likely continue to settle.
On Friday 23rd December, I did lots of cleaning, washing, shopping, cut Jack's hair, made Caramel and delivered presents to Donna, Rachel and Jo, stopping off to chat with them all.
I did some more tidying and shopping on Christmas Eve, and delivered our neighbours' presents, going in to chat with them too.
In the morning (after giving my chin a good scratch with my nail - I took this photo to send to Donna, because she'd just done the same thing to her nose!), we went to McDonalds for breakfast.
We were all in a great Christmas Eve mood!
Scott left wrapping my Christmas presents (the only ones he has to do) till the last minute, and there was no Christmas wrapping paper left at home or in Tesco! He came home with this paper instead!
Everything all ready on Christmas Eve for Christmas Day! We were having everyone come to us this year, as I was on-call for 48 hours over Christmas and Boxing Day, then my usual hours after that. I felt pretty laid back about everything, and didn't get too stressed with any of the preparations.
On Christmas Day, we had the first part of the morning to ourselves, opening stockings first (there were some little notes in my stocking too!), then opening presents after reading some scriptures.
Certain persons had been stealing their Dad's favourite chocolate cereal and decided to replace it!
I got Lucy a slow cooker for Christmas to take on her mission! Not sure if it will be practical for her to take it, but we was delighted non the less! (Wearing Harry/Elder Blad's Herod crown...)
Lucy got Tom a roll of bubble wrap, just for him to pop! I like his enthusiasm!
We had a nice time opening everything (I'd bought myself - from Scott - a lovely leather satchel, some Burt's Bees toiletries and some bluetooth headphones, which I was excited about using!)
Tom and Jack had asked for money, but I'd got Harry some Technical Lego sets from ebay.
The rest of the family then went to church for an hour's service. I couldn't go, being on call, so I just enjoyed myself pottering round and clearing up.
I'd put on a slow cooker with beef and had recently bought another slow cooker, which I did a turkey in. I'd cheated and made life easy for myself by buying pre-prepared roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. Dinner was good though!
The Elders headed off later, and Katy, Dan and their kids arrived! We had more present opening, and just had a lovely time hanging out.
Dad opening his 'Tank Experience' present from Katy!
Tom popular with the younger kids, as ever!
We had tea, Robin and Niki left, then I took Dad, Katy, Dan and kids down to the fire station because they wanted to have a tour!
Back at home I painted fingernails, and we spent more time just messing around! It was great!
Scott's family were arriving in the afternoon - Shane, Dawn and kids, Meg, Dave, Gill and Bryn. Luckily I'd planned to do a buffet, so Scott could just get everything out. By the time they came I was feeling well enough to come down and lie on the chaise longue, and we had a really nice time.
At one point we were talking about films, and Kirsten said she hadn't seen the 'Now You See Me' films (I'd got Lucy the 2nd one for Christmas), so she and Ethan stayed after everyone else left, and we had a Now You See Me film marathon, whilst eating nice food! It was great!
In spite of the vertigo, I felt like we had a really brilliant Christmas!
On Wednesday 28th December I used my day off-call to take Katie O'Grady and Lucy to St. Ives. It was the most beautiful day, and we hit the Boots half-price sale first, then all found some great bargains in the charity shops. I bought a copy of 'I Capture the Castle' for Katie, and some books for myself, the girls bought some clothes, but the best bargain of the day was a brand new Hobbs skirt I bought for £5.50, with a price label still on it for £99. It was a light coloured pencil skirt, which is exactly what I'd been after, and it fit perfectly! After retracing our steps for a while looking for my lost leather glove (Katie eventually discovered it poking out my coat sleeve!), we had lunch in a cafe next to the river. It was just heavenly!
We didn't do anything for New Year's Eve (I was on-call for 48 hours again, and Scott took the boys golfing in the day), except for Lucy who drove herself and Heather, who'd driven from Northampton, to the train station, and went to London for the big Hyde Park Chapel YSA dance. She had a pretty good time and met up with lots of different people she knew, from our Stake, from the Cryer family and from FSY etc.
This is a picture of some of the guys from Northampton Stake who are leaving to serve missions in the first part of 2017! (Miles Firstbrook to Scotland/Ireland, Ryan Goodwin to Greece, Rhianna Smith to Russia and Daisy Campbell to the Phillipines. We also have Bethany Hough, Alex Bourne - both to England, and Alice Freeman - Berlin, all leaving in early 2017 too! Plus Myste Boardman recently left for Australia, Luke Amos and Ryan Garrick to England and Bekkah Amos to Greece. I feel quite emotional when I think about it. I know all these kids quite well, being the Stake Young Women President for almost all their time in Youth. I'm so proud of them, and I love what a wonderful support they are to each other!)
Lucy and some of her Cryer family 2nd cousins!
Lucy and some of the other Northampton girls.