Trying to calm down over the madness of a week of Christmas parties, a City Centre Pantomime and generalised busyness!!
Doing normal things like Jigsaws- including this beauty picked up from the charity shop- for a certain Tinkerbell fan.....
Legoing (is that a verb??- definately soo in my household).....and Bear Grylls- this is Bear Grylls train- complete with his camera crew on way to one of his survival specials ( a great favourrite on DVD at the moment- especially when Daddy then takes them out of a Bear day- loose survival/backswoods skilss!)
And then Christmas came and went - wont go down in history as the worlds best but equally wasnt horrendous.....lessons to be learnt- probably principally by me! Have spent quite a lot of time considering this over last day or so- and realised that it is probably my baggage leading to it and thus things need to change.... with think on doing the thing you want/need/ wear/read approach next year and pare back.........
Anyway then we get to the period between Christmas and New Year- dont know why but I see it as a dark period.....but also a time for contemplation and introspection- looking both forward and back and thinking how I/we want 2013 to look for this household.
This year I finally put my foot down and said no more chocolate calendars from us- they do get one from their grandparents and one is enough!! For the last couple of years I have done an activity pocket calendar - with a new activity each day- and this has been far more popular. A mixture of crafty kits, baking, the odd DVD, decoration making and colouring our own Christmas cards to family. The above Hama Beads are a real success- they have always like the Hama but these represent a real move on for all of them in complexity- and they do really enjoy them too! The yellow star in the liddle is TPs contribution (4!) The big Santa and tree are SJs and the angel heart from FI.
Christmas Snap bracelets- from Baker Ross. Fun but not desperately sturdy- but still fun!
Lovely colouring in Christmas Cards from Usbourne- really nice- will buy these again- really nice quality card and print- with some colour already on them- all three have enjoyed doing these. Lots of handwriting practice going inside too!
Otherwise we are getting into the manically busy party week- three Christmas parties on Wednesday, one on Thursday, Pantomime on Thursday.
Took the eldest two to see the Nutcracker last week- live at the Royal Opera House- but beamed to our local cinema- SJ had the option and chose to come along. Was really beautiful and they both did really well as it was still going at 10pm. The average age of the audience was over 50s- and I go a few compliments!
The foodie photos are a recent mini project on good food v. occasional food ( I try to talk as occasional food rather than 'bad' food- as everything is about balance. I don't want them to think they cant ever have a burger- a quality one that is!). The one above is SJs 'occasionals' one- love the shaping and the presence of the alcohol - which he had fairly balanced views on.
This one is FIs good food- of course I questioned the 'burger' on the good side- but when I looked closer it was a huge field mushroom- yum!
SJ is into his paperfolding crafts in a big way- just wish they werent so bulky and delicate- very hard with a rampant four year old in the house!
One of the reasons I am not blogging so- is that I have recommenced study.......a Masters in Neonataology....stretching the brain but hard on the life balance......means that when I am at the main PC (where I prefer to blog) I am dealing with the guilt of not working my way through the mass of articles I need to be reading...
Another insidious creeping slow phenomenon that has slowly crept into the house this year has been Scouting......am not sure why I am surprised as it was a big part of my life when I grew up...
FI attended her first Beaver Sleepover this weekend and had a fabulous time- lots of activities and crafting.... a very late night... a visit from Santa- and almost falling asleep on her fathers chest on return (our little sling babe)
And in the meantime I got a lovely 24 hours with SJ- as Nanny had swept TP off to her palce for the weekend.....
So SJ and I went to the cinema (Rise of the Guardians- very good), did a little shopping, planned and cooked a special meal together, had a bath with a bath bomb (height of extravagance and luxury!!) and snuggled on the sofa- very decadent and what I wish I could offer each child individually on a regular basis!
We are currently working our way through 'Children on the Oregon Trail'- lovely story but the chapters are really long....FI has fallen by the wayside but SJ is enjoying it. Am thinking of moving onto a Laura Ingall-Wilder next- perhaps the Little House in Big Woods as Christmas is approaching?
A momentous occasion has taken place for FI- taking her RAD Primary Exam this week and thus moving out of her class into Grade 1- a very big rite of passage as these girls seem now very grown up! It also means new uniform (very exciting), another pair of shoes and losing the little girl skirt and going to plain leotard. But she LOVES it and I am very happy with the school that we chose for her- Miss D expects an appropriate level of concentration for age, is kind but firm and they love her! The RAD syllabus uses a lovely selection of music on a broad base- from tastefully arranged nursery ryhmes/songs to classic and folk pieces- not just classic ballet music.
A demonstration of part of the new uniform- we have been slowly accumulating this from a mix of places- with some interesting experiences enroute! Demonstrated is the character set- a flowing circular black ribboned skirt and black shoes (with suede undersides!) for Hungarian/Spanish type dancing. The move up a class has also promoted her in her contemporary dancing too- from pure tap dancing to tap and jazz (more shoes!) apparently- and apparently takes the level up again......(shes just JUST six)- but she is sooo excited.......
Collaging- photo does really do justice- more intricate than they look- a many staged picture- as things sem to be as we move forwards.
She is also making huge leapos forwardf in her reading at the moment- from taking an age to understand the th/sh/ch concept to zipping through 'ight' and magic 'e'. We are heavily into the land of Mr Pink-Whistle at the moment- good old Enid Blyton!
Well....some children learn maths and some learn critical thinking....but how many people have brick laying on their curriculum??? He loved it- dirt, goo, power tools, permanence- at least he wont be complaining when I need to thin out this project!! And the front of the house is moving forward (we have been getting rid of concrete jungle to have proper parking spaces and then a garden)- the garden bit is heading ready for grass- we cant make up our minds whether we need topsoil or to nutrify our broken up clay and rake and go for seed. Just need the wall from us to next door doing (next door is a builder and want to do that bit himself- obviously doesnt want our free albout near it!!)
A Halloween spider from my little man- very proud! They seem to have gone a little Halloween mad this year- not sure why- maybe just a little more aware of things outside the house? So we have done Pumpkins and pumpkin bunting and mosaic pictures and mobiles and bats and colourings..... and best of all....Halloween Camp (with Scouts/Cubs) -which all of them went to (which you are lumbered with when your parents are both the Cub leaders)- however TP thought it was marvellous and the bigger kids were fab with him- he was soooo spoiled even at the point where he was hung from a tree in his climbing harness and left to dangle!! Lots of party games and fun- a little (well actually quite a bit!) of 'candy' but not a trick or treat in sight- a few skeletons and lots of party food. Otherwise they got to have goes at Archery, Climbing and Abseiling, Black Hole Tunneling and SJ got a little go at Rifle shooting- which he was quite impressed with.
Not much sleep was had by all (including the Leaders)- 1 x vomiting cub at 0300 and most still awake at midnight on the first night and 2300 the second....
But the memories that are being laid down for all ( I look back very fondly on my Scouting/Guiding days).
A momentous occasion for FI- being invested as a Beaver. She was VERY proud of herself- and theres just something about the 'my uniform is drowning me- cos mummy insisted on buying it sooo big' look (I know most mums get that with the school uniform thing- but I never have- for obvious reasons!). They have been out and busy working at their allotment, going on hikes and having an Italian night complete with spaghetti modelling (cooked!!)
We have been doing a little work with SJ on his handwriting and presentation. Thus we have visited some poetry - copying out and decorating. This has proved to be very popular!! with FI getting in on the act too- so we have had poems about bats, autumn and witches.
Last weekend evolved into having a Superhero theme since we found a "I'm a Superhero Kit" belonging to TP at the back of a cupboard- complete with his cape, wristlets and mask. Ended up spending the weekend producing further accessories for all- lots of 'flying' around the house- a little kickboxing needed to be discouraged. Then we all sat down and watched Superman III together- so deliciously dated and corny (isnt it funny watching things you grew up with, again with your adult eyes!) and the best bit I got to crochet a few squares for my blanket pile (almost halfway there with 200 squares)
Now we have moved onto Halloween activities as the outside seems to be saturated with it and we are off to Cub camp next weekend which has a Halloween theme- hence two Vampire capes and a witches outfit are currently hanging in the wardrobe....
Well- off we went back to Scotland but for a very different kind of holiday. A 'chain' Holiday Park whereby we stayed half board and had a huge fun pool onsite. We planned just to spend time swimming as a family and letting the kids try out some new activities. Hence the inflatable 'Skidoos' above- that TP was technically too small for- but absolutely loved.
The half board was basic but hot and plentiful and the kids loved the luxury of selecting what they wanted and I loved the luxury of not cooking or planning menus/picturing the contents of my fridge for a week.
We still had one day out and found a lovely Country Park near Kilmarnock where there was a farm trail and a pets corner, a small Armoury (with dressing up) and a fabulous Ford which ALL the boys of my family loved. We spent ages with this lovely horse and its donkey companions. The grass in the field was a little sparse but outside was some luxurient juicy long grass that they were delighted to hand feed from the childen- friends for life.
I think the highlight of SJs week- the Water Walkez- except he didnt feel he got a long enough go (am not sure that any length of time would have been 'long enough')- certainly something they dont get to do everyday. Also did Fencing, Handpaddlers, Archery, Football and SJ had a go on his first powered Go Kart (which he pronounced AWESOME)- a very big treat.
All in all a nice week- but am not sure we will repeat in the same way.....
Anyway back home and trying to get back into a bit of a routine- we have been reading a lot together- BeastQuest, Mr Majeika, Naughty Little Sister and soem fairy ballerina books for FI. Lots of Lego- TP is having real Eureka moments on his instruction following skills.
Have been swapping over summer to winter clothes (always a bigger job than I expect) and trying to be a little more hard hearted about what is not likely to fit next year. Trying to thin out a little ( as always it seems).....
Gosh- am not sure what happened- was in such a blogging routine (good) and then it slightly fell apart. A few computer glitches which seem to have made it incredibly hard to find my pictures, let alone upload them- which turned that bit into a fight followed by a general feeling that we didnt seem to be up to much- living/existing.. lots of rushing...yet seeming to stand still...piles of stuff not moving....tasks to be done hanging over me....apathy
Then a holiday... broke the routine and was a nice distraction but still didnt move things forward and a funny stretch at work- very bitty and bobby....
Anyway- might leave it there for today- have took photos off phone- so need to sort then will do a proper post tomorrow...
My goodness- young man- you were a shock to the system....10 months of waiting and worry about your arrival and not much planning on the 'what came next' bit!! It would appear that you have survived your uninitiated parents steep learning curve (but then most firstborns do!- somehow).
You even survived the cloth nappies-even if you did have bad nappy days (soooo cute!!!)
You even survived (just about) the siblings we have inflicted upon you. In fact you are pretty wonderful with little ones (even if you do make their mummies horrified- who is this boy playing with my precious child- is it possible that he is an innocent young man who is actually fascinated by babies- never!)
Soo excited about moving into cubs and going to camp. Loves lego and K'nex. Fascinated by WWII and ships. Loves stories and snuggling. Loves colouring and making models.
I seem to have forgotten to photo everything in sight the last couple of weeks- hence a photoless post!
We/I have been doing lots of planning of where we are going next- am planning a real push on getting SJ to read clocks and master time telling (before he goes to Cub camp!)- he has been fine with hours and half hours for a while but we just never seem to have moved it on..
TP has got his first 'workbook' which he is just soooo excited about- bless him- a little pen control stuff (which hes actually quite good at anyway), a few stickers and a little copying.
FI seems finally to have mastered th/sh/ch (ish)- so I would like to mover her forward a little with this. She remains very good at number work and seems to prefer this- actually liking to do little 'tests' (she calls them).
We are planning a theme of the American West and Pioneers this term. SJ has been reading a book about Cowboys and the Wagon trains- hence the interest. I have in mind that we will read Children on the Oregon Trail (classic from my childhood), maybe one of the Little House in Big Woods set (hmmm -whether to start with LH in BW or to select from further on the series) and probably Twist of Gold (Michael Morpugo). We shall probably celebrate Thanksgiving and do lots of Fall crafts- as well as some Cowboy and Native American stuff.... I feel a few pots of Boston Beans coming on.....
A bit of a mad crafting day for us- tissue paper pictures, key rings, paper plate animals and toilet roll monkeys, Mike the Knights castle, scratch art windmills and finally colouring pictures of Santa and his reindeer (???- well I had made the statement that summer was over and autumn starting!).
Spent the day out yesterday with friends from my original antenatal classes- all the kids bemoaning going back to school today (we have just learnt to smile sympathetically rather than comment)- my kids came to me last night and said "Mummy we really like being HE"- bless........(I'll remember that!). I nearly cried last night at the thought of my four year old being bundled off today- feet forced into nasty school shoes and grey trousers.....thanks goodness we knew the options.....Instead he is off to Playgroup for a couple of hours
A typical free morning in our household- representing probably 80% of time! SJ doing lego- he loves building boats- Victory, Galleons, War ships, container ships, aircraft carriers...... this became a huge sailing ship with triple mast.... whilst listening to audio stories.... Black Beauty, Robin Hood... this morning Barefoot Pirate stories.... Grace O Malley etc
Whereas FI struggles to amuse herself, tends to flop around in everyones way, follow me to the point of tripping me up...... "Can I do something WITH you mummy" And most of the time that is OK-except the odd moment it would be nice to.......
Anyway the last Angelina cross stitch is complete (only three weeks late for her birthday) and framed- ready to go over her bed...
Am starting a Christmas sampler now and need to ponder on an Autumn season swap.
Apparently this is me!!! A smily fat sheep. The yellow lamb is FI suckling (her words)- somewhat out of date!! The boys are the other two lambs....
Anyway the house is peaceful at the moment as M has taken the children away to camp with his best friend for a few days. I have had a day to myself and am then at work so didnt go..... Have done a lot of pottering, sorting various bits, taking a huge bag to the charity shop, sorting things to hand to relatives with younger children, sorting our craft drawers and being totally horrified by the amount of crafty kits I have squirreled away, mounting a cross stitch done for FIs birthday and trying to complete the second one in progress.
Am feeling very in limbo at the present- classic post illness blah I guess...lack of direction- need to sort out a priority list, need to move house forward and slowly accepting that we probably need to move a child out of the dormitory to allow them all to spread out a little, need to meet outside commitments, need to plan....need to stop wallowing......
You are growing up so fast- so very fast and time is rushing past us. You love choosing outfits and accessories and shoes and were soo excited to receive your first make up (nail varnish!) for your birthday. You love typical little girl things- ballet, dancing, pink, princess & fairy, sparkle, colouring and anything pretty. Yet you are really looking forward to joining Beavers and relish getting muddy and wet. Spending DIY time with Daddy in the garage.
You know your own mind and are very strongwilled (just like mummy), stubborn (just like mummy)- I can see that we are going to have fun over the next few years- as long as there is a mixture of fun- with the other fun!
Reading Thomas at around 10 months- always a contradiction!
Have to admit this year we are having a little bit of a hermit like summer- just happy being at home or locally at the moment. This last couple of weeks we have dipped in and out of the Olympics- certainly the more eye-catching sports anyway. They have also enjoyed seeing the landmarks that we saw on our visit last year on the TV- especially the rings suspended from Tower Bridge ( I think SJ watched the Opening Ceremony about five times!)
Anyway- this led to the desire to build London in Lego- so we have FIs Big Ben (very multi-coloured), SJs Tower of London- complete with the White Tower in its original colour and a rippling flag (Union Jack was impossible -so we decided to go with correct colours only) and a horse and carriage. At one point we also had HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge as well- but I didnt quite manage to get them in photos.
And of course education comes in somewhere....the children didnt understand the reasoning why the runners had their staggered run positions in the longer sprints- so daddy drew a circuit and they measured in string to see that the lengths were actually the same- dependent on where you were on the circuit..... of course it was then highjacked and turned into an Olympic arena complete with pole vault and disk
Hmmmm- well the photos don't necessarily ring true with a claim to be green? - one might say? This little load represent £50 spent with Approved Foods- a company that deals with rejected food products- either nonperishables past sell bys, outdated packaging or packaging with old prices/special offer prices printed on it- for example the Sharwoods Red Curry Paste (green packet at front of above)- 12 for 1p (particularly spectacular- not everything quite that cheap!!)- fruit scone mix- 3 for 99p. Of course some would say that it takes no time to measure out flour and sugar- but at the stage mine are at- it is the difference between being able to do something with only loose supervision ie whilst I am cooking tea versus a frazzled shrieking mummy- ie better to be able to produce somthing other than the continuous promise of 'maybe tomorrow.....'
Of course the real point I am trying to make is that in saving money here- it allows us to spend elsewhere. The credit crunch and rising food prices have forced us to revisit some of the choices we have made- to choose the areas we want to prioritise, those we do if we can and those which have had to fall by the wayside.
Anyway our current priorities are enviromentally friendly (so eco cleaning/laundry products), green energy, seasonal (thus low food miles), high welfare and fairtrade. Unfortunately organic has gone- unless there really is only pence difference.
Then, as far as possible and practical reducing and reusing- buying used clothing- especially childrens- although in boys stuff there isnt always a lot around, books etc- as well as trying to pass on things we no longer use
Who can comprehend how time flies?? How that little bundle of personality!!! turned into a handsome young boy- who will so soon be a young man...
You slotted right into the centre of the family and are so different from those before- yet so much that same. You are growing up fast and your language and observation of life around you are so apt (we need to work on tact and appropriateness this year!!)
Sooooo not ready for school even though your little peers are being marched off en masse.
I want the next year to be full of outdoor play, mud and experiments, finger painting, glue and creations, walking under trees and through leaves, puddle jumping and hot chocolates afterwards in dressing gowns. I will read you the Thomas story book (have just realised you don't know who Skarloey is).... but maybe it would be nice if you occasionally listened in a swimming lesson!
Have been trying to a bit of finishing off- here is our updated SJ Blob (not the best photo though!) with our multiple body systems that have been discussed, drawn and placed- most of them have involved some physical experimentation as well as, in some, some practical experimentation too. I think they have certainly retained a fair amount- recently applied when an elderly aunt fell and broke her hip and they had a good understandiung of the ball and socket joint principle!
When I say 'winding up' I refer to the fact that I produce a yearly report for each of them (not yet TP as he isn't official school age yet) based on an academic year- this goes in hand with a daily record of activities that we complete. Neither of these claim to be comprehensive- soo much happens that isnt quantifiable or remembered- like discusions and debates on daily life, questions about news items/radio discussion. They merely serve to be some kind of memory jog for myself - both as a record of our days and in the event that we need to produce LA evidence in the future (currently unknowns!!)
Last week of term always feels a little rushed and mixed feelings- acceptance that everywhere will be crowded (HE is soo selfish sometimes!!)
TPs playgroup trip- the good thing about being Chairperson (Registered Ofsted person- teeheehee- always makes me giggle) is that you can influence things...One of my good changes has been to move the summer trip away from doing glorified soft play trip with expensive coaches- to using our local campsite and having a Forest School type day- the kids love it- the parents seem a little more hmmmmm- (but then they are a bit hmmm all the time). They cooked marshmellows on the fire and saw popcorn popping, ate their playgroup grown new potatos, went bug hunting (and muddly bog hopping), decorated insect houses and did sports day races
Unfortunately the flip side of being Chairperson is that I got a message yesterday saying that our venue had been broken into and both the laptops and digital camera had been stolen, two high security filing cabinets trashed and some of our other cupboards raided..... the second time in the last 18 months...... and a member of staff has given notice of retirement which means I need to employ someone new.....
Hmmm- as this is TPs last year of Playgroup- his 'extra' one- he will be the oldest as all the rest are now rushed off to school I think it may be time to gently start drawing back