Saturday, 30 December 2017

Birthday :: Christmas

Well, I managed to fall off the DPP wagon, I think the first time ever!  My heart wasn't really in it this year but then had a wobble and thought why not.  However as in all things, life had a different plan. And in between Ben being sick, Dave having a worrying MS wobble and me trying to do "all the things", it was no surprise that I flopped at the last hurdle :-)  Still that is OK and we have had a good holiday week.

Pip's Ninth Birthday

Pip celebrated her ninth birthday last Saturday.  As usual the day was spent with her best buddy Beth and they had fun making their own crackers, decorating cupcakes and generally hanging out with the toys and games.

 The birthday table all set and no I didn't manage to get to bed before the time my waters went (midnight).  In fact Dave and I finally crawled up the stairs around half past one!  The evening involved failed gingerbread houses and Christmas tree shenanigans as in "where on earth is it going to go?!!"

 8:39am and x marks the spot, birth time and place.

 The Christmas Tree all decked in its finery.  We have decided that next year the tree will be up and decorated on Gaudete Sunday.  It is too much organising a birthday event and tree decorating all within a 24 hour window.

 Decorating a cupcake requires a whole heap of concentration ;-)

  The birthday girl declared that the day was "the best day ever."  Who needs a full night's sleep anyway? ;-)

Christmas Eve

The day never changes and yet every year somehow I am always chasing my tail.  My oft repeated phrase is, " the only year that I was organised was the year that I was expecting Pip."  In that year all the presents were bought and wrapped by the October half term break and the Christmas cards written and sent by the first week in December.  I had to be organised, there was a baby on the way and ever since I have had a birthday to shop and plan for, two days before another big event!

This year I had a plan but the trouble with plans is that they often go awry.  My plan was to knit Christmas presents thoughout the year and so in the first week of January the wool and patterns were chosen for Kathryn, Sara and Tom.  What on earth could go wrong ... how about a new job, a health relapse that spanned eight weeks and the boy starting college!  In between all of that said boy begged for more handknitted socks and so I cast on "on all the things."

 My rather untidy bedroom with half wrapped presents, clean laundry and my knitting nook on the floor.

 A well deserved tea break and a few squares of mint chocolate.

 Ben knew about the Christmas socks as he caught me working on them and I couldn't keep a straight face when quizzed.  However he did not know about the purple, black and orange striped pair and I was chuffed to have kept these a secret.

These were my Dad's long overdue birthday socks.  I had already knit one pair and totally messed up with the sizing, as in they fit me! He was gifted these on Christmas day and they fit really well I am pleased to say.

 This wrapping paper represents the true spirit of Christmas. 

 In my lack of organisation, I realised late on Christmas Eve afternoon that I did not have enough paper.  I could not face the mayhem of the larger shops and so opted to visit a local Spar shop.  Hardly surprising they had ran out of wrapping paper but thankfully did have some plain parcel paper instead.  I was just about to pick up some sheets when a lady came up to me and said that she had some spare rolls of paper if that would help.  She lived nearby so we agreed to meet at the corner of her road.  She handed me the paper and I handed over a small box of chocolates as a thankyou.  I told her that what she did was the true spirit of Christmas.  I gave her a hug in thanks and wished her a Happy Christmas.  That lady really made my day.

Ben wearing his Christmas socks on Christmas day morning and they are still on his feet by the end of the week.  I have insisted that he at least change his socks for the New Year!

Christmas Day
We had arranged to spend the day with Kath and Mary-Grace.  The plan was to have lunch and a light tea at her house and both sets of Grandparents would visit at some point in the afternoon.  The extra special event was a last minute decision  to attend our home parish church for Christmas day mass.  My mum and dad certainly had a welcome surprise that day :-)
The crib on the right hand side of the altar at church.
 Smile please, in between the washing up and serving of the meal!
The meal, assorted vegetables, cashew nut roast and ham cooked by my dad.
 Sitting on one of Mary's toddler seats eating a rather delicious home made blackberry and apple crumble.
 Dad and Daughter

 One of the Christmas handknits a diamond cable jumper cowl neck jumper dress for Kath.  She sent me a picture of her wearing it on Boxing Day and she looked lovely in it.

 One of Mary's gifts was twin hatchimals, you had to rub its body to activate it hatching.  Sara many years ago had a Ferby, it drove us mad with the constant chattering!

 Looking pleased with her present although I do wonder if those creatures were in fact meant for someone slightly bigger ...

 ... looking equally pleased ;-)

 One of the highlights was watching the kids interact with their grandparents.  Family, a God given gift that money cannot buy.
If you have got to the bottom of this post then BRAVO!!  Go and make yourself a well earned cup of your favourite brew.
If you want to read about another set of gifts that you will definitely not find under the Christmas tree, then you might like to read my Christmas post over on the Mindfulness Website:
I hope that you have had a blessed Christmas and that God's blessing will be upon you in a very special way this forthcoming New Year.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

DPP Day Eleven And Twelve

Day Eleven ~ Wrapping

 Dave took charge in organising some of the present wrapping.  Yesterday was a really weird day.  Benedict's cough virus took hold and he spent most of the day coughing and spluttering in bed.  Thankfully his blood sugars have remained reasonable and for that I am grateful.

I also had an emergency dental treatment.  I chipped a hole in a tooth as a result of inadvertently biting onto a date stone!  The dental surgery were great in fitting me in last minute, what was not great was the adrenaline in the injection.  I had forgotten to mention that I react really badly to adrenaline and so spent the rest of the day feeling quite unwell.  A note has now been placed on my file for future reference.

Day Twelve ~ The Cat In The Bath

 Poppy was pretty epic this morning!  We all totally love that cat ;-)


Sunday, 10 December 2017

DPP :: All The Days!

Day Six ~ St Nicholas Day

Day Seven ~ Mum and Son Time

 A well deserved treat after a full day of maths and English including a comprehension test.  Regardless of the result, this was his first time in sitting a test and he is still smiling :-)

Day Eight ~ The First Batch Of Mince Pies

 Our home school friends came for lunch on Friday and so it was an excuse to indulge in some festive baking!

Day Nine ~ Flakes Of Snow

It didn't last but it kept the kids happy watching it fall.

Day Ten ~ Happy Feet

A coffee treat with my very dear long standing friend (of 34 years!) and avid reader of this blog.  As always Rondie, you never fail to cheer my spirits and it was just lovely to give you a great big hug :-)  Hope you have found somewhere nice to house the cyclamen x 

There is still ice on the ground and the temperature did not rise above 1C today.  It is Benedict's last week at college but he is currently dealing with a nasty cough and sore throat, so we will see how things pan out.  Although the college routine is great at setting the tone for the day, I will be glad not to have the commute over the next few weeks.  The challenge will be to keep my body clock in order otherwise I will be in a "pickle" come the New Year :-)

Happy Second Sunday Of Advent x 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

DPP Day Five: Decoration Woes

Missing a day already!  Never mind such is life ;-)  

 This girl - soon to be nine and all the changes that brings!  Life can be hard when you are at an in-between phase, feeling all the feelings and not quite big enough to strike out on your own.

She was frustrated that we do not have any Christmas decorations up and yet thet world and his wife seems to "party on dude!!"  And she also was priceless when she saw a mother and child carrying a "Santa Stop Here Sign"

Pip:  " Poor kid, they haven't even realised that it is their mum and dad that give the presents!"
Me:  " Oh that's interesting!  How did you reach that conclusion?"
Pip:  " Oh well, I didn't want to disappoint you but that letter from St Nicholas last year had writing that looked suspiciously like yours!"
Me:  "Well tomorrow is St Nicholas Day, so it will be interesting then to see what happens :-)"

I couldn't help but chuckle to myself.  Benedict was two years older than her before he finally asked me about Santa Claus.  As my nanna would have said, " That girl has been here before!"    

Sunday, 3 December 2017

DPP Day Three: Sock Knitting For Dad

Well after the debacle of knitting socks but in the wrong size since they fit me!  I have almost finished a long overdue pair of birthday socks for my dad, Yay :-)  Dad, I hope you will be happy with your socks and that they keep your feet toasty warm this winter :-)


DPP Day Two: Spa Day With Kathryn

I had a wobble about doing the December Photo Project this year hence no first of December!  I do sometimes wonder about the real value of social media and a life lived online.  This has really come home since I began my work managing The mindfulness for Christians Website  and I have seen first hand how social media has impacted on my day to day mental health. However, I also know that the internet is a force for good.  I have made some really lovely and caring friendships online and I know that my family and one friend in particular always enjoy reading and seeing what we have been up to.  So without further ado here is the first installment of this year's DPP:

 Yesterday Kathryn and I had a spa day.  Not only was it a welcome break for us all but most importantly it was the first time ever that we had done anything together!  I still cannot believe it, that Kath has reached the age of 30 before we have had one on one time.  It's at times like this that I really realise how much sickness and disability has over shadowed our lives.

Mary-Grace had a fab time with Grandpa, Ben and Pip whilst we enjoyed a jacuzzi, sauna, scrummy lunch and some beauty treatments.

If you are looking for self care suggestions as a way of coping with the holiday season, then my recent blog post over on the mindfulness website, might just help: 

Advent Blessings x 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Check Mate

We had a visit from MG and Kath today. The kids had fun playing all sorts of games but MG's favourite was a chess game with Grandpa :-) 


Friday, 17 November 2017

Film Fun

Quite unusually for us we have managed two trips to the cinema in the past fortnight.  Dave and I went to see this film:

I must admit I am a David Suchet 'Poirot' fan and so it was interesting to see Kenneth Branagh portray his interpretation of the detective.  It was a stellar cast and we were not disappointed.  The cinematography was astounding and Dave had loads of fun viewing it all from a railway civil engineering perspective :-)

Today we took the kids to see this film:

   We enjoyed the first film and were not disappointed second time round.  This film is a real family winner and raised loads of laughs, Pip is quite raucous once she gets going ;-)

Both films are worthy of a viewing.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Picture Post

Visiting Sara and Tom:

Black And White

Garden Work

Field Trip

 Searching for clues.

 Waving in the breeze.

 "You can't find me!"

A red robbin bobbing along :-)

 An unusual sight ~ the lesser spotted siblings actually working on an art project as a result of said field trip!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Finally Catching Up

We were doing quite well until my Dad had another heart attack just over three weeks ago!  It all ended well and with the help from a pacemaker he seems to be doing just fine :-)

Dad being in hospital did mean some extra running around in the first few days and so for once, I decided to be eminently sensible and rest for the remainder of the week.

We have managed to keep on with basic homeschooling of English and Maths, thanks to Dave pretty much running the show at this end!  My health has not been great and with that and my job, I'm often run ragged by the end of the day :-) 

It has been a half term break in these parts, so we celebrated All Hallows Eve with some friends, had a visit from another family on the Wednesday and then pootled around at home in between. I managed to catch up with some outstanding work this morning and have rejigged my work hours to prevent having to work on a weekend.  Home schooling and content writing naturally use a lot of brain energy, so I'm grateful for the knitting projects that sit by my chair.  

As always I'm ever hopeful that I can pop by here on a more regular basis.  Whatever you are doing and wherever you may be, I hope you have a lovely weekend xx

 Little Miss Happy!  After years of buying milk in plastic cartons we have finally found a replacement milkman.  Pip was so excited to collect the milk from the doorstep, she has never seen milk in glass bottles :-)

 Dave has been taking part in a black and white photography project and uploading his pictures on faceache.  This is one of my favourites :-)

All Hallows' Eve

 Saint Paschal Baylon helping in the kitchen ;-)

 St Michael watching over the proceedings.

 A Saintly Tea.

 St Kateri Tekewitha

 Son and Mum

Back Row: St John The Baptist, St Paschal Baylon, St Brigid
Middle Row:  St Nicholas, St Michael, St Olaf, St Elizabeth of Hungary, St Kateri
Front Row:  The Infant of Prague

 St Paschal and St Brigid