Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Christmas and End of Year Review

I had hoped to pop by sooner than this but we have been beset with a further virus and the children have been poorly.  Not sick enough to be bedridden, Thank God but sick enough to be waking throughout the night, thus leaving folk exhausted for days thereafter.  Despite this we have had a quiet yet enjoyable time together as a family as the following pictures will testify:

We missed mass on Christmas day as Pip had been awake in the night coughing incessantly.  She came into our bed around two having sailed past her stocking on the door! and did not settle again until half five, needless to say we were very tired.  So after breakfast and before opening the presents we prayed the joyful mysteries of the rosary and read a Christmas story.

 Still putting her birthday candles to good use!

Waiting patiently for Christmas lunch ~ Benedict at this point is looking a bit peaky and within a matter of hours was coughing and sneezing and feeling very unwell.

After lunch they opened a very special present from a lovely man who had a great love of kids but sadly had none of his own:

 Dear Uncle Bernard ~ he has been greatly missed this Christmas and there have been many times when Dave and I have shed tears at his parting.  It was decided that the children in particular would benefit from this interesting parcel as he had mentioned in the summer how much they would enjoy playing with it:

Sara and I had enormous fun road testing it a few days earlier and I'm looking forward to trying out the wii-fit games!

The just dance stuff looks pretty good too!

On the 27th we had a visit from our daughter Sara and Tom her beau and together they brought some wonderful news:

The rubber band is a stop gap until they can shop for an ENGAGEMENT RING!  Tom proposed on Christmas Day and in true family style popped the question on a local promenade near the beach and produced an elastic band to seal the event.  Apparently his Dad did the same and his Mum still has that elastic band in her jewellery box!

On the 29th we had a visit from Dave's brother, his fiancĂ©e and her dad on route from Cumbria to Somerset.  Their visit was much appreciated and Uncle Andrew had great fun helping Pip play on the Wii :

Today Debs and I took the kids to the super bowl and a great time was had by all and surprisingly there were no disasters!  Jack and Lewis came home with us and the kids worked in pairs on minecraft and wii-sports.  Most of the time I am pretty cautious about screen time but it was obvious that there was a lot of communication going on between all parties concerned and they were a delight to have around.  This evening the downstairs of the house has had a jolly good clean to welcome in the New Year and in a short while Dave and I will watch an Agatha Christie Poirot starring David Suchet, to welcome in 2014.

I am hoping that this forthcoming year will be a little bit less stressful than the last!  This has not been the best of years and my lack of posting in this space was a testament of that fact. The birth of Gracie was undoubtedly the highlight of the year but the darkness lingered and what with my Dad's major health scare, an MS flare up for Dave and ongoing diabetic concerns, it all became too much and my own mental health suffered in a big way.  Determined to deal with the issues at hand in late September the following strategies were implemented:

Dave bought me a SAD light box and it has been used daily, just being in the light especially on a very grey day has made such a difference to my moods.

I started using the exercise bike on a daily basis, some days I have to pass because of tiredness through lack of sleep or family interruptions but on the whole I have been faithful to this regime ~ I now clock up 13 km in just under half an hour and my heart gets a really good work out in that time!   I can tell the difference if I have not exercised for a few days as my mood dips, I am more irascible and the stomach pains return.

I have tried to take my camera for a walk, this has not been as successful as Pip was away from school for most of December due to sickness and so my time was spent mostly within the home.  Despite this I once again took part in the December Photo Project, using my iphone as my camera for this event ~ it was a cinch uploading from the phone straight onto the facebook page.

I have a few extra things I would like to implement this forthcoming year, but I am very wary in sharing them ... look what happened when I posted about home schooling the kids and Pip ended up in regular state provision!  If I manage to stick at them, then I'll hopefully share them in this space next year!

New Year Blessings To You x 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Five Today

Five years ago today this wonderfully funny, feisty, female entered our lives and we love her dearly:

 X Marks the spot!  We are sat at the place of her birth, at that exact time 8:35am. She was not however born on top of an Amazon box!

  Yes, I am looking very tired, notice those bags or should I say suitcases under the eyes!!  This little one has been crawling into our bed most nights and since it is definitely not a three person bed, I have decamped to a cold bed in her room!

We have had a lovely day, a little friend from school came to play and have lunch.  Pip was really pleased with her Hello Kitty scooter from us and she had great fun with the marble run too. 

The tree is up, most of the presents are wrapped and the food shopping was sorted late last week.  With a bit of luck we'll make some mince pies tomorrow and hopefully attend the Christmas Eve 7pm service at church.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A late seven days posting!

Last week flew by and I had every good intention of popping in but life took over!  Despite tackling more coughs, colds, sore throats and continued hypos, we managed an interesting and varied week:

On Tuesday I was up early enough to catch an amazing sunrise from the loft.

In the afternoon we saw A Christmas Carol with our local home ed group, there were twenty eight of us in all:

After tea Benedict completed his story about the challenges of being a snowman and decorated the front cover of his book. 

Pip also worked on her own snowman craft with a little help from Sara:

 "Please Miss!"

 A silly moment.

Frosty Finished.

On Wednesday whilst Pip was at school and other family members were at Uncle Bernard's funeral, Benedict and I had a Christmas treat at Barton Grange:

 A lovely Christmas dinner complete with gluten free gravy and stuffing!

Angry Birds Star Wars reading.

On Thursday we collected the travelling nativity from school and read the Christmas story and said prayers for a pastor in need:

We also had a broken night with Pip, the first of many this past week:

On Friday Pip had her usual art lesson with Erika and I made peppermint bark in the afternoon:

On Saturday I spent the morning pyjama baking and these goodies plus the peppermint were enjoyed by all at our last make and cake of the year.

  Typical, I had decided against taking the big camera and swapped phones with Dave so I had no camera on hand to take pictures of our gathering, which was in a friend's kitchen as our usual venue had been double booked.  There was such a lovely atmosphere all of us crafting around the kitchen table.

On Sunday we had a planned visit from our friends in Walton - le - Dale and unexpected one from Dave's brother and his partner and Aunty Monica, they were on there way South having spent some time with family post funeral:

 Catherine, Aunty Monica and Andy.

Dave and Aunty Monica.

So I think that is me up to date!  Typically, Dave and I have been up since 5am coughing and spluttering and would you believe it, Pip has slept in!  It is 7:15 as I write and she is normally the early bird at 6am.  I'll leave you with some funny shots I found on my phone camera, I don't think Pip realised she had the camera switched on:

Monday, 9 December 2013

DPP :: Catching Up

I have been very good and managed to upload a shot for each day, straight onto the DPP Facebook page, so it's just a case of popping in here to update. albeit a little late!

We have had  grey weather at this end and as a result of that and ongoing coughs and colds, we were confined to barracks over the weekend.  We did however manage to venture forth to Silverdale for more wood and also offloaded several bags of items for the charity shop, as well as recycling at the tip:

Pip helping with the wood.

Toasty warm room on a cold winter's night.

On Sunday we sadly missed mass as I had been up late yet again with Benedict and woke with a trapped nerve in my back and neck, ouch!  So we read from our advent books, lit some candles and quietly worked at the table in the morning:

 The Kings are waiting in the wings.


Working on a Strega Nona picture, I showed her how to trace an outline and then she worked on filling in with colour. 

 The afternoon was filled with cooking and washing up a never ending supply of pots and pans.  We attempted to play a monopoly game but the kids were way to restless and it was big cheers all round when it was time to watch another Katie Morag episode!  I was quite relieved when bedtime rolled around last night!

Today we have actually had a major achievement and some work has been completed in the learning zone!  Benedict worked really hard with a story prompt and has produced some great work as a result.  We used mind mapping to brain dump ideas and then a graphic illustration to help him plan the story in greater detail.  He narrated the story to me and then set about copying out the first paragraph shown below:

 Planning Sheets.

Opening Paragraph.

I am off now to tidy up and make tea, toodle - pip!