The Kids (Sept 2016)

So, it’s been a while since I’ve written about the children and their school lives.

Matthew is now in Year 8, the second year of secondary school and fast approaching his 13th birthday. He enjoys Maths, Science, Cooking and PE. He is still not confident with his writing and does not enjoy English but gets through it all ok. He is back on the School football team this year as a Goalkeeper.

James is now in Year 3 of primary school. The school is now an Academy and everything I’ve seen from the changes they’ve made to the school from the staffing, the security, the building – right through to the attitude and feel of the school – has been nothing but positive so far. The school felt incredibly stale in recent months. The teachers had no passion and drive and with 4 of them leaving at the end of summer term, we were more than ready for new teachers and teaching assistants. This has made a huge impact on young James. He is now happy to go to school, he looks forward to lessons and learning every day. He runs in the door with a smile on his face and is currently enjoying his work. His new teacher is a really good influence on him, he is inspired and trying really hard. With that comes the realisation that he can do things that he always struggled with before a little bit easier than he found it before. With that comes confidence and the eagerness to try and learn more. So far, it’s all a win win situation. He’s still behind most of his classmates, still struggles with reading BUT he’s trying so hard and getting better all the time, Year 3 could really be the making of James.

Liam has recently turned 7. That means we have another 5 weeks of having two 7 year olds in the house that aren’t twins.  Liam is now in Year 2 and has the dreaded SAT tests this year to test the school, teachers and kids just where they are under government guidelines in the education tables. I think it’s too much on kids. James really struggled with these but Liam is soaring ahead at the moment. He’s on one of the top tables for Maths, Science and English but struggles with his writing just like his brothers. His reading is ahead and his spellings are pretty good. If only he would spend more time doing them then I’m sure he’d get really good marks at that too. He just sticks with the ones he knows for now and doesn’t work so hard with the learning aspect of spellings. Still, he’s only just turned 7 so I’m not going to turn all pushy parent on him just yet. He has always wanted to learn and thanks to his teacher last year he found his confidence and “happy space” a fair bit before James and has excelled since. This is why I’m hopeful James’s new teacher will take him further this year. Thankfully, Liam has the same teacher this year so I am really confident that he will continue to shine and be encouraged by what he is doing.

As the kids are getting older, I find myself looking back at the old baby photos and enjoying them as babies. I don’t get the yearning for any more.

I love my boys to bits and after the baby and toddler stages, it becomes such a joy to watch your children grow and develop mentally and emotionally. They are such real little people now with beliefs, with opinions, with ideas and dreams and it’s amazing to see them all so different from the others. They are very individual with different strengths and different interests. They really do have so much going on in their little lives that I am just proud to be part of it all.

The baby years are short, the toddler years are short, the school years – well they seem to be flying by too.

I can’t miss my “babies” when I am so in awe and adoration of the children they are right now.

They are strong, happy, compassionate, kind, sharing towards each other. Always help each other. Try to cheer one another up. Try to assist the others. And they are all the best of mates.

I really can’t ask for anything more than that.

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Valentines Day – My Take

This weekend, Valentines Day to be precise,  I am saying goodbye to long hair. I like playing with my hair but I also hate it that way too. It’s a distraction. It gets in my way. It’s long but not that long. It feels like it’s forever in an in-between state of nothing in particular. This weekend  I am going for it and getting a restyle.

THIS:
Short-Hairstyles-For-Women-With-Round-Faces-Layered-HaircutPretty cool cut huh?

I’ll know it’s been done. My hair is dark at the moment but attacking it with scissors will thin it out and make it look lighter again and maybe for summer I’d go blond again but for now, I just need a new look and to feel a little less frumpy and to get my style back.

Yes, I will pay more attention to my hair, I will straighten it, pin it, clip it again. Why have long hair just to bung it into a pony tail day after day.

It looks easy enough to handle and with my naturally wavy hair there will be enough volume and it will work both wavy and straightened.

Not only is Saturday hair day but Valentines Day.

What am I doing? No idea.

Kids are at mums for a weekend sleepover. Hubby is working.

A bit of preening, shopping (maybe a little bit of lingerie – wink wink – a girl needs to feel good) and  cooking something good should be enough to impress the husband and for me to feel I’ve made an effort. I don’t know what to cook as yet but something in the slow cooker tastes magnificent but takes little effort. You can enjoy the evening and just serve it when it’s done without all the slaving in the kitchen.

As much as I love the concept of Valentines Day, it falls flat. We, as a couple, don’t believe in making a big deal of it. You don’t need very expensive presents to say you value someone. A takeaway dinner so I don’t have to cook does that for me. That’s thoughtful. However, I do feel I should make an effort for HIM since he works hard and does little things for me (ie, takeaways, weekends away) so I like to do something back.

The biggest problem about Valentines Day is that it’s SOOOOOOOOOOOO tacky.

Presents, especially those for men are expensive or shit.

“Sorry love, I couldn’t afford an ipad/the new Hugo Boss Special Edition/racing car driving experience/hot air balloon trip for you so I got some overpriced chocolates that probably are over-rated and an ugly teddy toy thing you won’t appreciate cos a) It’s cheap and ugly and b) You are a grown man”

It doesn’t work does it?

We can’t really go out as hubby has a 5am start the next morning ready for work. Even then, a night in a restaurant with set menu’s, set prices and average food doesn’t win it for me. We’ll probably have a nice night in with a movie and an early night as that’s how our weekend tends to roll.

That’s Right, NO Fifty Shades of Porn for us at our local cinema.

2015, the year porn became main stream. I know there’s a bit of a love story in there somewhere but it wasn’t THAT part of the tale that sold the books.

I really want to watch Gone Girl. That perfect tale of why you should NEVER fuck around behind your slightly unhinged wife’s back. Haha, Perfect Valentines viewing which is intriguing, exciting, thrilling and for the husband that hasn’t read the book will have him thinking “What really goes on in my wifes head? Is this a threat? Is she plotting something all the time I’m at work?”

As for me, I don’t expect presents. I prefer a card (if he remembers) just to say he thought about it. Men aren’t the most forward thinking when it comes to romance unless prompted. I love my hubby as he is so it’s not a relationship maker or breaker.

Back when I was working as a waitress, Valentines night or Valentines weekend was always great to work. Despite being single or frustrated at the now ex boyfriends pityful efforts, it was always entertaining. There would always be a couple that would be constantly sniding at one another. This would end in an argument and one or both would storm off at the end of the night. This normally resulted in a good tip spurned on by the embarrassment of the payee, normally the male, who just wanted to be out of there as soon as they could be and couldn’t be bothered to wait for the tip. THAT couple either went home to some amazing sex or just had their last Valentine meal together.

Things.

1. It’s the last day of the school holidays. For the first time ever I feel a bit more sad than relieved.

2. Yes, I am an evil mother for admitting that.

3. This year the kids have been that little bit easier to deal with. Matthew is maturing and his behaviour is improving by the month and the other 2 are that much bigger and more able to amuse themselves. I’m less of a slave to all 3 as Matthew wants to help and does regularly. Matthew helps the little ones with so much, it’s lovely.

4. I must be at the “peak” of my cycle. I’ve been a bit broody this week. I can tell the difference between “peak” cycle and “due on” time by whether I’m obsessed with babies (peak) or if it’s the opposite and AF is due when I get really obsessive about my hair and feel the urge to get it all chopped off.

5. Of course, broodiness also comes with letting my baby’s go. Baby-est boy is off to full time school tomorrow. I’m a bit emotional for that.

6. I realised just how anxious and sad I am about it when I had a bit of a nightmare about it all the other night. It started off taking the boys to school but upon collection time Liam was not there. I was hysterical outside the school doors sobbing, “Where’s my baby? You’ve taken my baby! I want my baby back!” I don’t think I need to go very far into my side interest of dream interpretation of what that meant!

7. My husbands grandparents are going to be going into assisted living quarters. It’s not a residential home, but they have their own apartment including lounge, kitchen, shower room and bedroom and all the benefits of a residential home with bills paid, entertainment, cleaning done,  meals three times a day and a whole new host of friends. Hubby’s Grandads health has taken a turn for the worst in the past few weeks and though he’s not suffering too badly he’s in his 90’s and they both realise that life is getting tough for them in their bungalow and that they may be best to accept that whatever time they have left, they will be better with less work and stress and to actually relax and enjoy life.

8. Back to the good stuff, it’s birthday month. I love September. 3 birthdays in the house within a week is expensive for family but alot of fun for us. 🙂

9. I spent the morning cleaning out all my kitchen cupboards and doing a major declutter. I filled 2 big black binbags of old food we won’t finish, old utensils, old blenders, cracked serving plates. Ya know, the stuff that gets pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten about? All that has gone. I then gave the cupboards a good clean as you tend to get grease splats no matter how much you wash things up and then re-sorted the cup/glass cupboard, the beverage cupboard and all the plates which had double up as a cereal EVERYWHERE cupboard. The mini boxes of cereal were everywhere, old boxes of cereal that we’d started and didn’t like but still stayed there were binned. I’ve decluttered 2 boxes of “bits” that didn’t have a real home, done the washing, thrown out the dead flowers.I feel I’ve got a lot done today.

10. September is going to be a good dieting month. I can feel it in my bones! School holidays are the toughest time ever and I’ve managed to lose a grand total of wait for it ….. 3LBS in 6 WEEKS. Yes, it’s horrific. However in my defence, I’ve had a holiday, a wedding anniversary weekend away, meals out and my weight has been up and down. I NEED my routine back, I need a pattern to my life. I need the kids out the house, If they don’t eat biscuits, I don’t eat biscuits. It’s all SO simple deep down. Holidays make me weak but I am full of positivity and will do so much better this month.

11. On the plus side I went clothes shopping recently. A new coat is 2 sizes smaller than my last, I am down 1 size in jeans, 2 in stretch trousers and down a whole cup size in my new bras. Something is working.

12. I want to lose at least 6lbs by my birthday. Hoping 3 of those will be gone next week as I am determined to get that 1stone award this week. I’m very very determined. I just need to remain focussed and strong. I can do it.

Summer Nature or Hints of Autumn?

IMG_20140727_115524343
The scene behind my house on Sunday morning.

On certain walks over the past few days I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of red berries on the trees.

The odd leaf falls to the ground.

The farmers are reaping the fields collecting the wheat with their combine harvesters, tractors and their trailers.

Since the fields have been cut down I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my hay fever so I no longer feel like my sinuses hate me and that heavy head feeling, sniffy nose and general run down feeling has lightened immensely so I can enjoy the great outdoors without a daily pill before I start my day.

I’ve always considered blackberries to be an autumn fruit yet found these on the local countryside walk. However, I thought I would do a little research and discovered that there are two varities of blackberries that grow in the UK. European and North American. This means in the UK we can have blackberries come to fruit from as early as June right up to the frosts of November. The North American breed ripens first (sun loving) and create the bigger juicier variety of blackberries with the European blackberries surviving lower temperatures making them seasonal later and longer but less sweet. So it’s true, you do learn something new every day.

IMG_20140727_120551715
Ripening blackberries. North American variety.

We’ve already had our first holiday casualty. Matthew split his toe open in the garden walking into an uneven piece of concrete after being on the trampoline barefoot. Alot of blood, a mums panic of “do we need a hospital trip here?” toned down to use of an antiseptic wipe and a couple of plasters later, I think he now understands why Mum insists on socks on whilst on the trampoline and shoes and socks on in the garden at all times. He’s now hopping about a fair bit. Despite my initial panic (I’ve never seen a foot dripping blood like that or soak a tissue so much before) I got him to sit down, elevate his leg and just try to stem the blood flow. Where does this Mum’s common sense in a crisis come from? But once I could see the injury and saw it was just a big slit, I realised that though it looked fairly deep, there wouldn’t actually be alot the hospital A&E department could do other than bandage it up and wait for it to heal itself. It’s right on the edge of his big toe so wouldn’t be possible to stitch and the steri strips would be hard to fix so I just went into nurse mode, cleaned it up and covered it myself. Voila! Mum can nurse!

Also, I have begun my back to school shopping. Hot on the heels of not crying when Liam left nursery, I thought I would strike out with the uniform before it made me too emotional. I have the boys shirts, trousers, PE tops so far. They have jumpers and book bags so I feel like I am storming through. These are the things that tend to run out in our sizes far too quick for my liking.

James is really into books right now. He’s taking part in the local library 6 weeks reading challenge. For the first time, this year he is actually reading his own books. We are currently halfway through a Meg and Mog book. He’s getting really confident with certain words and sounds out a lot of others. But I have seen so much progress over the last 8 months in his abilities.

We are under care of the local Child Development Centre as James has always struggled with certain things and looks like he has a weakness in his muscle tone so we have been doing a number of exercises as recommended by the Occupational Therapist and he has really developed there too. He’s storming through. All I can ask and all I can expect a 6 year old to do in Year 1 is to try his hardest to see what he can do.

Liam, well, he is just Liam. Such a little character into absolutely everything whose sole love in life is jacket potatoes.

Matthew will be going back to school and going through his last year of primary school. This is shocking! How can my baby boy be getting ready for the second stage of his education!? It doesn’t seem possible he will be 11 years old in the new year.

I must not wish away these holidays. We are having a lovely time so far.

 

 

His Place.

Hubby has spent the whole morning sorting out the shed.

To be fair, the past two years has seen our shed actually being the overflow for “the cupboard under the stairs” where homeless clutter, junk and things we might need one day goes for months until it’s found. That pile of things we might need one day ends up being taken to the skip. So much for keeping it in case we need it. With decluttering you need to be forceful. If it’s in the shed for up to two years, we’ve obviously managed without it, we haven’t missed it and if we have we’ve highly likely bought something else to replace it.

I mean, a broken kettle, a hoover that doesn’t suck up like it should. Why do we keep these things in junk limbo. That space between being no good but we are still reluctant to take it on a dump run. What if one day our good hoover stop working and the one that isn’t perfect is better than nothing? What were we thinking? If the new nice spangly hoover breaks we’ll do what we did when this one let us down. Go out and buy a new one.

We are using this as a good little practice and making the time to make a little money if we can. We’re saying goodbye to the middle boys toddler bed. A Little Tykes blue racer car bed.

We have no babies or toddlers in the house so it’s fitting we should start removing such items from storage. Stair gates, booster seats, old beds and my God, the BOOKS we have. We just don’t use them. The kids love the local library so the few hundred we have acquired over 10.5 years of having children are just filling cupboards going to waste so I am donating them to local childminders and I’m tempted to ask if the school would let me do a book sale outside nursery/reception. All proceeds going to me!

So hubby is now on the dump run and feeling proud of the new clean shed. The lawn mower is now easy to get to, Matthew’s bike is visible, tools are in the tool boxes, we know where the pet carriers are should we ever need one, the rubbish gone and all shelves are manly boxed up to the rafters.

Just as a room should be.

All New 50 Things All About Me

1. I was born September 1980, in the English town of Colchester.

2. I am an oldest child.

3. I have 1 younger brother.

4. I left school having passed all my GCSE’s – Except latin. I couldn’t be bothered in the exam.

5.My first boyfriend was when I was 14, he was 16 and a bit of a bad boy at school.

6. My first serious boyfriend was a truck driver.

7. I married on September 8th 2003, a year to the day I began dating my fiance.

8. Matthew was born January 2004.

9. It was a tempestuous relationship to put it nicely.

10. After several years on off I filed for divorce in June 2006.

11. I met my husband C, in November 2007.

12. A week later we had our first date and were inseparable from then on.

13. 6 weeks after we started dating, he stayed with me and Matthew after Christmas and never went home.

14. January 2008 my divorce became official.

15. I could no longer tease C that he only wanted me as he had a thing for married women. 😉

16. In February 2008 I fell pregnant. Sudden but a blessing.

17. James was born in November 2008.

18. We must have all had a great Christmas because I unexpectedly found myself pregnant again in the new year.

19.We thought we’d make it official and got engaged July 2009.

20. Liam arrived September 2009.

21. In May 2010 we upped and left Colchester for a new life in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.

22. We had our perfect home, perfect family and just had one more thing to complete life.

23. We married in August 2010 back in our hometown of Colchester. We’d already booked everything before we moved house.

24. For our honeymoon we left the kids with family and went to Cornwall for a week. It was lovely.

25. Since the chaos of all those years, I hit 30 in September 2010 and life since then has been much calmer.

26. C is a type 1 diabetic so I cook alot from scratch. Good job I love to cook.

27. Before I had the kids I had a variety of jobs.

28. I worked in a shoe shop for work experience and then carried on as a Saturday assistant. It was my first paid job.

29. I then worked in a papershop near my school.

30. I was going to go to college to study social studies, philosophy and religious studies to get a pathway into social care.

31. I was also accepted on a childcare course as an apprenticeship.

32. I was so used to getting money for work and working alot between exams and the time I got my exam results, I turned them both down and got an office job instead.

33. I hated that office job.

34. Do I regret turning down the courses? Yes and no. I’d love to have further qualifications under my belt but I am a strong believer in we shape our own destinies. If I hadn’t taken the path I did when I did, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I so should have done philosophy!

35. After the office I worked in a dental surgery as a trainee nurse and receptionist.

36. Then I worked in a restaurant as a waitress.

37. In the same restaurant I trained as a chef.

38. Eventually I became trainee manager.

39. After 3 years I left as I grew tired of the long shifts and weekends.

40. I still look upon that as a job that shaped me as a young adult.

41. I had so much fun working there, I really developed as a person in those few years.

42.  I then worked in an elderly ladies home as a cook.

43. My last job before having kids was working in my local newsagent and off license. Again this was a great place where I felt as though I was being paid for making friends.

44. The only thing in my life that I would improve would be my weight.  I’d like to be a healthy weight. I’ve never been a “normal” size.

45. Despite living with 4 males, I’m quite girly. I think I need to be.

46. I LOVE shoes.

47. I LOVE flowers.

48. I LOVE walking.

49. I am into amateur photography. Nothing too flash, I just like to capture the beauty around me.

50. Where do I want to be 10 years in the future? Hopefully pretty much where I am now, life is brilliant these days and I don’t take a day for granted.