On 1st September, I started reading a book called 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying', and it completely inspired me to have a major clear-out! It wasn't just a case of looking in cupboards and throwing a few things away, but the approach is to take everything out, and only put the things back that bring you a 'spark of joy'. It sounds totally soppy, but actually it's completely changed how I look at possessions, and 6 months down the line, I'm still using the principles, and the house is so much more pleasurable to use, and has been easier to keep tidy. I also sold a huge amount of craft stuff on ebay.
This was the pile of discarded things by 2nd September, but over the coming days, there was very much more. I reckon I've cleared out about 1/3 of our possessions!
I put something about it on Facebook, and for a couple of weeks it had quite a knock-on effect - various people tagged me in stuff, showing what they too had started clearing out! It was great fun!
This is how it's suggested you fold clothing. I adopted it for my trousers/shorts drawer, and it has never got messy once since! (Actually, I became more ruthless after this picture was taken, and have got rid of more things now.) It has become a pleasure choosing clothes and putting them away again, because I like what I have, and there is more space for everything.
Also on the 1st September, Lucy and her school friends Katie and Ellie, flew to Sardinia to stay with Gi, a girl who had studied at their school for their first year of A Levels.
Gi's family were wonderful to the girls! Lots of family members live near each other in the same area, and they let the girls have use of one of the houses to themselves.
They slept on the beach one night!
Lucy had an idyllic time, and basically wanted to live there forever!
On Monday 5th September, Tom and Harry went back to school. Tom's now in Year 9 and Harry's in Year 6. Tom's school has bought back wearing a blazer and tie, which I think look lovely!
Also on Tuesday 6th September, I asked Harry if he'd chop up the old shoes racks etc, which were still on the patio, and burn them. He got stuck right in!
7th September. Muscley Harry!
9th September. Harry had burnt all the old shoe racks, and had such a good time that he and Tom started chopping up stuff from the scrap wood pile behind the cabin and burning that too.
A new pudding from Pinterest - croissants and blueberries baked in a cream cheese custard - yum!
On Thursday 8th September, Lucy came home from Sardinia full of life, and Harry walked home from school on his own for the first time ever. He's been walking to school for a term or so, with me collecting him, but he also wanted to walk home on his own. I felt a bit nervous, but he's been fine, and it's been great doing no more school run! I don't miss it at all!
On Saturday 10th September, I drove Lucy, Jack, and Joel and Scott Garrick to a youth dance in Cambridge. I had a good night chatting with other parents, and we stopped for McDonalds on the way home. It's the first time we'd been to McDonalds since it was refurbished, and the boys tried out the new gadgets!
On Sunday 11th, I started my new assignment at church in Nursery. There is only one child to look after.
We went for a lovely sunny evening walk across the fields when the YSA came over for FHE.
Followed by supper and games.
Lucy still hadn't sent her mission application forms off yet. We ended up taking another picture of her for the forms.
On Wednesday 14th, Harry went on a school trip to Grafham Water for two nights (the Hewsons kindly took him and picked him up for me, with their son Sam), and Lucy and I went shopping in Peterborough.
Awesome matching knitwear in TK Maxx!
From 16th-18th September, Scott and Lucy were at a YSA Convention in Northampton. Scott and the YSA Committee organised the whole thing, and it was pretty stressful for them!! People didn't do what they said they were going to do, they were worried about the number of people registering and if they should cancel it, and Scott perhaps didn't quite anticipate the level of organisation required etc.
I helped out with some specific bits - getting stuff for the dance, giving advice on the logistics (having organised youth conventions myself), getting various bits etc.
Anyway, it turned out to be a wonderful weekend, and Scott was really happy with how it went. They didn't have huge numbers of people come, but those who came really enjoyed it.
Making fudge tart and butter beer with Harry on Saturday 17th.
On Monday 19th, I'd gone in to work on my own to practice putting on Breathing Apparatus and starting it up, in order to get faster and more confident at it.
Wednesday 21st September - Peterborough with Donna!
In the evening I drove over to Ely for a Ladders and Working at Height training course, which was good.
On 23rd September, we had the Powers over for dinner - a new missionary couple who have been called to work with the YSA. Scott met them at the convention and I told him to invite them over, so we can get to know them and share ideas.
On Saturday 24th, Lucy, Harry and I went to the church farms for a Ward walk/run.
Here's Harry to the left of the picture, doing the run!
Lucy and a couple of the Young Women, Elder Rix and Elder Wen.
We had a very pleasant breakfast and chat afterwards.
Malachi Lilley had brought his little electric motorbike along, which Harry and I both had a go on!
On Sunday 25th, I taught the Relief Society lesson, and Mum, Dad, and Robin and Niki's family came to church and then back for dinner, which was lovely!
Robin was telling some story, and I just loved the boys' faces!
On Monday 26th, I had a phone call from Tom's school saying that he'd had an accident playing rugby, and could I please come and take him to hospital because they thought he might have broken his shoulder. I rang Tony my Watch Commander and booked off-call, then picked Tom up. He was in a huge amount of pain, was very pale and thought he was going to be sick. We managed to get him in the car, then I drove extremely carefully to hospital. He felt every single bump - it was horrible!
I was able to park outside A&E, and once inside we didn't have to wait long till Tom was sent for an x-ray. I took him in a wheel-chair. After that it wasn't long again till a doctor saw him. Nothing was broken, but he had torn ligaments which attach his collar bone to his shoulder, so his collar bone was sticking up at a funny angle! He was told to stay off school for a good week, keep it in a sling, then we'd go back and see if it would need a plate inserting, while it heals.
On 27th September, David Cain invited me and Lucy over to his house, because his brother Mark was over from New Zealand, picking up his son Oliver who just completed his mission in Manchester.
I worked with Mark on the Stake Youth committee and we got on well, before his family emigrated to New Zealand a couple of years ago. It was great to see them and catch up a bit!
Thursday 29th September. Tom's shoulder was still sore, but painkillers helped a bit and over the days it gradually got less painful. I took Lucy and Tom to the library, which they managed to create great entertainment out of!