Last week, as we were preparing for guests I asked my rather changeable three year old if she would be behaving herself today. She looked at me with a genuinely thoughtful expression on her face, raised an eyebrow and shrugged her shoulders, both hands in the air, as she replied, ‘Mmm, maybe!’. I grinned, she grinned, took my face in her hands and asked me if I knew she loved me. Yes. She kissed me with a wet slobbery kiss and ran of. All was well in her world. She loved. She was loved. And she had managed, quite respectfully, to get out of any sort of promise of good behaviour in the coming hours. She was an angel whilst our guests were here, but just in case, she had made sure I had lower rather than higher expectations of her. No pressure that way. Even writing this, I am grinning again at the audacity of my three year old who insists on going through life her way. Like mother, like daughter. Ever since Christmas, this has been a common sight in our household: For their Christmas presents Gary bought the girls a collection of old-fashioned Christian romance novels which they are thoroughly enjoying! I anticipate seeing T13 taking up the same position glued to his new to him series of books by Anthony Horowitz, of which each of his siblings bought two for his birthday. A6 has also started reading books in earnest. She has found reading terribly hard but I have roped my mum and Gary in to help and the poor girl is now working away at three different sets of books. ‘Poor’ is a misnomer because the more she reads, the more she is able to read and consequently enjoy. This week she has read over ten simple books. I’m a very happy mummy! L12 continues to thoroughly enjoy her loom band creations. She is now proficient enough that she simply asks what we want her to make and off she goes to make it. She no longer needs the YouTube videos or the instructions. Just recently I asked if she would make me a family of penguins for the little ones to play with during their Antarctica unit study and this is what she came up with: Whilst L has been loom banding away her twin, C, has started up her singing lessons again. She has her next exam coming up in March and so will be spending the next few months preparing for it. C12 has a beautiful voice and she is chuffed to have her next exam so soon. She is also working on the second chapter of her latest murder mystery and I am really looking forward to seeing where she goes with it. T13 has been resurrecting an old hobby, Rocketry. We are currently starting up a Contenders of the Faith club and as he was looking through the book he came across the rocketry badge. He decided to take a stroll over to the nearby meadow and set one off:
We have been attacking our latest nature study/ gardening project with a ferocity which has startled even Gary: I am not known for my green fingers but I have been getting as stuck in as the rest. I have had a few mishaps but Gary is vastly impressed with my enthusiasm, if not my practical application of that enthusiasm. Our first major chore has been to saw the wood pile to sizes T can chop, hence the ear defenders. I will be covering more about our whole garden project next week. We have big plans for our hens which includes the possibility of getting a cockerel and 8 more hens. We really, really enjoy the hens and their quirky little personalities, not to mention the rather fantabulous eggs we get. When we garden we let both the hens and the dog come out and join us. Oscar (our lab) is mildly scared of the hens whilst they completely ignore him, pecking around as he if did not exist. Poor Oscar, in the hierarchy of our pets he is right at the bottom of the pecking order. The cats are very much at the top! Because we are serious about this gardening project and because I found I was able to garden far more pleasantly with gloves on, we bought some gloves for the younger two. The older three will be getting some next month. We always enjoy a trip to the garden center and I loved their winter display which included a family of polar bears. It fitted in so well with our polar regions study I persuaded the children to pose for a photo (my son was less than impressed, it being a garden center and all!): As soon as we arrived home, we went on out into the garden again. The little girls were so excited about their gloves and of course had to wear them straight away: The picture at the end is of B3 showing me how she could whistle, which she did very well! Every Tuesday we get together with another home school family. It has been such a blessing for my guys to build friendships with other children who are just like them. My friend has seven children and it is a squeeze in our little cottage, but as you can see it doesn’t stop them having fun! Here they are playing musical statues in our living room: I have been trying to get up earlier just recently. Ever since the operation I seem to be needing a lot more sleep, and sleeping in until past 9. I’m slightly horrified by that, so I’m doing my best to wake up earlier and then stay awake long enough to actually physically remove my body from my bed. Everyone is doing their bit. Gary wakes me with a cup of tea at 5.30. I usually take a few sips and fall back into a deep slumber. A few weeks ago I was woken by my six-year-old and to her amusement I had fallen asleep sat up in bed with my cup of tea in my hands. So my son took action. He dug out my old alarm clock which I used to use when I was a nurse and he set it for 6am. So if I fell back to sleep after Gary had poked me awake, I would be reminded half an hour later of my quest to get out of bed. I found the off button remarkably quickly, turned it off and went back to sleep. He then set it for 6am and 630am (it has two alarms, darn it). The hope was that I would be so fed up with noise and things waking me up I would admit defeat and get out of bed. Nope. So now I have various alarms, adults and children all telling me to get out of bed. Sigh.
Midst all the efforts to get me up was my son’s thirteenth birthday. I wrote all about T13 on his twelfth birthday (reposted yesterday). Not much has changed except much to his delight his voice is now deeper than Gary’s, he is now taller than Gary and he now has bigger feet than Gary. Suffice it to say Gary is feeling a bit maligned at the moment. T13 had already had his chosen special treat, which was to take a friend to see The Hobbit at the cinema, however, we still wanted to mark the day. He chose his meals for the day: Pancakes for breakfast, chocolate spread sandwiches for lunch and an Ulster fry for dinner. His Grandfather was very proud. Speaking of which, to his pleasure his Granny and Grandad from Ireland flew over the day before. He was so excited. He had already asked his Granny next door to go with us to the RHS gardens at Wisley. He was in near Heaven when he realised he would also be able to take his other Granny and only Grandad:
Whilst we were there I managed to snap a picture of the three generations of men in the family (to go with my female version of the same: There are two things T13 has desired for as long as I can remember. One is a bike which he wants to use as part of his car washing business, and the other is an SLR camera. He knows we are unable to get him either. We save up £100 to spend on each child’s birthday. This includes presents, wrapping paper, card, birthday cake, treats and any birthday party or event they wish to have. They know this is how it is and there was no way T13 felt we would be able to buy him either one of his desires. But God is able to give far more than our own limited expectations and just a couple of weeks ago a work friend of Gary’s happened to mention he had an almost new bike which he didn’t want any more. He had removed the seat and the brakes to put on his new bike. Did Gary know anyone for whom this bike might be useful? Gary, of course, requested it for T. Then he asked another friend if he would help him to fix it up to make it usable. Last week we spent some of that £100 on a new seat and brakes and presented T with it on Thursday. He was just a little bit delighted: We also bought him a set of Mine Craft manuals. His siblings bought him a couple of books each from the Anthony Horowitz series he loves, and we completed the series. I also gifted him with a hug in a mug. This is more than a mug for his tea. It will be kept in our dresser and he will bring it out when he needs some time with me. It will be our secret message that he needs to talk. I am very blessed with a son who is incredibly open with me, but I know it is during the teenage years this may lessen. However, I want him to know that I am available whenever he needs me, if he ever does need to chat or in deed have a big hug from his ol’ mum: As swimming with Granny has stopped in the mornings due to Granny’s bad back, our plan (if I can get myself up in time) is to go for a nature walk. We are terribly blessed where we live with a common, woods, park, ponds and a meadow all within walking distance of our home: In under an hour we are able to take in all of these, get some fresh air and exercise as well as check up on our friends at the pond: We are hoping that this walk along with our time in the garden each day will give my three teens or near teens the fresh air and exercise they seem to need to feel like their normal happy selves. That’s it for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of family, friends, fun and laughter and most of all lots of love.
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