Saturday, 18 August 2012

Dribbly Blood

Last week whilst training for the Olympics (doing laps around the dinning room table) The A-Bombs head finally met it's match. The radiator was able to do what concrete slabs, an enforced glass window-screen, and Shemily's aggressive tendencies could not.

The A-Bomb fell head first into the radiator and cut his head open: blood was gushing, tears were streaming, and he was screaming. This distressed Missy greatly. It pained her to see her brother in such a state. All our attempts to soothe him were in vain. So it was with great sincerity and compassion, with tears of her own, that Missy declared 'I would take this pain and have it for you if I could'. And she meant it.
The sentiment was lost on the A-Bomb who understandably couldn't think about much more than the pain he was in. But to her mother, in those tense moments, it melted my heart.

More recently Missy has been the one suffering (with illness). There she was, sitting on the sofa, exhausted by her troubles, and crying with pain. I extended the same words with the same sincerity that she had offered The A-Bomb only a few days prior 'Darling, I would take your pain for myself if I could'. And I meant it.

Missy looked me straight in the eye and with such fortitude, defiantly replied 'I would definitely not let you'. Then I was crying too.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

An Unusual and Very Special Family Event

Each year since we've been married, motivated by the happy memories we'd be creating, AC and I make plans for our annual family camping trip. This year we were planning to exceed and better all previous endeavours, we would do more than plan and talk about it, we were actually going to do it!

Before other events could interfere with our long overdue camping expedition, we booted up the computer and created a New Event in our Google calendar. All that was left to do now was book AC some time off work and Missy some time off school.

...admittedly a little last minute

K-Camp 2012 also happened to coincide with the wettest July in (my) living memory. Not once in any of our 'planning sessions' did this trip involve us getting wet. We abandoned our good intentions and postponed KC 2012. However we didn't want to waste the day AC already had booked off work. We put our planning hats back on and opted for a day trip to the lake district.

Our children are explorers. Whilst most of their exploring is about exploring the limits of parental emotions and physical capacity, a large portion is left for the world around them. Wanderers through the ages have claimed lands, raised flags, and left their mark on the territories they stood. It seems our children have followed this noble tradition in a less dignified but nonetheless enthused way. Keswick was claimed and conquered by the unified efforts of all three of them. However the frequent urinating in no way detracted from the fun we had in Keswick.

Climbing mountains

Pulling faces

Failing to take a decent family photo


The cabin cruise was the highlight of the day. Just ourselves and the A-Bomb's full bladder for company. As extravagant as a cabin cruise sounds the only luxurious thing on board was Shemily's flowing hair. There were no on-board facilities available, so when The A-Bomb said he needed the toilet in the middle of the lake.... it was with great enthusiasm that he added a small portion of his water to the vast supply on which we floated.

AC struggled to relinquish control

Another unsuccessful family photo

The British weather was reliably unreliable. We'd counted on it being wet and miserable and instead it was dry and glorious. Our only regret of the trip was that we didn't take our tent with us.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


The kids, who between them spend every minute of every day wearing us out, were finally in their beds and AC and I could finally take a breath and relax.  I chose to unwind by having a practice on the piano (glorified Keyboard).  I quickly became absorbed in the music before me, and then just as quickly became distracted from it; not by Missy singing her sister to sleep, or Shemily's screams in response, neither was it the A-Bomb's request for a large dollop of cucumber.  It was the nagging of the other dependant; AC.

Earlier that Day the postman had delivered AC's most recent ebay purchase - a catapult.

It wasn't enough for him to be down in the garden all by himself - he needed someone to whom he could show off.
Within minutes he was back upstairs pleading for me to go down and play aswell.
I politely declined his invitation... about 20 times!
He changed his strategy.  
He came and stood over me and watched me.  A simple act of defiance which I find unbearable.
A risky strategy as he could have just as easily enraged me as persuaded me. In this instance I was persuaded to join him in the garden for some target practice.

As soon as I picked up the catapult, I felt like someone else.  Like I was...Katniss Everdeen.  As the weapon came into my grasp it was like a new skill descended upon me. Everything slowed down, the wind dropped and everything was still.  With absolute focus I drew back the elastic.  In my mind I projected the image of the targeted (Plastic) watering-can exploding with the devastation of my skill.  The pleasure of this projection could only be matched by the thought of AC's face when he realised the universal awesomeness of me.

It took a few more shots than I'd planned to hit the target.  Nonetheless I felt I'd demonstrated some degree of awesomeness and smugly handed the weapon back to Peeta... I mean AC.  With his first shot he sent the watering can flying.  Then to prove it was not a fluke, did it again!

Ironically I found this display of dominance to be of comfort.
As deadly as any of the career tributes, AC could take down any threat or intruder by way of catapult and stone alone.
Now, instead of popping to the supermarket when short of food, I can just send AC out into the wilderness to hunt down a meal for us.
The catapult will now make up a very important part of our (non-existent) survival pack.

Shemily and Lucy
entering the wilderness behind our housing estate

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Last month I recieved what has to be the best birthday present AC has ever splurged out on. It exceeded every expectation his previous gifts had roused within me; carnations, a plastic giraffe, bollywood style earrings, turkish delight.
I thought last years surprise was just a blip in his track record.
I was wrong.
This year I unwrapped this beauty...


It wasn't completely unprompted though. My recent introduction to pinterest opened my eyes to a world of craft beyond scrap-booking, cross stitch, and vinyl letters. My eyes were able to behold the glories that could be created with a sewing machine; bags, skirts and dresses! This prompted the occasional semi-serious request to AC for a sewing machine of my very own, which he very swiftly dismissed. Little did I know he was secretly storing my request away for my upcoming birthday.

The Saturday following my birthday AC made sure I had some time to try out my Singer 2250. I don't recall having ever used a sewing machine before. After 2.5 hours I had yet to successfully thread the machine up. AC came to the rescue with the aid of his Yr 8 home economics skills. I know I should have been grateful, but his excessive gloating (which continues even now) turned any appreciation I had into annoyance.

Since those initial teething problems it's been full speed ahead. I've left AC and his rudimentary abilities for dust (though he still continues to offer his assistance!). Admittedly my skills aren't quite up to speed with my enthusiasm... yet!

A recent late night sewing binge produced my greatest creation to date...

The Junebug dress, as widely pinned on pinterest.

The ever-willing model

She'd wear it all day every day, if I let her.

Being able to produce something that is both functional and beautiful leaves me feeling ever-so accomplished and oh-so grown up.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Down at the Farm

Fluffy Bunnies, Baby Chicks and Spring Lambs. Eager to witness the miracles of spring we readied ourselves for a morning at the farm. With our groupon voucher to the ready we took our marks and departed. Considering this was our first trip to the farm of the year, the kids were rather sedate... which was fine by me. I would rather they conserve their energy for when we arrived rather than bickering over who's touching who in the back.

The best thing about this farm was that it was only a 10 minute drive away. Knowing that if The A-Bomb had one of his emotional melt downs we were only 10 minutes away from home was an added comfort.

On arrival, before we'd even paid for admission, the kids had launched themselves into the play area. Not even the baby sheep with their overprotective 'come near my baby and I'll take you down' mothers were enough of a distraction to coax the kids from the standard, nothing they've never seen before, playground.

In the end we had to physically drag them to see the animals. But the animals were protected by a barrage of plastic ride on tractors, an impenetrable barrier that the kids could not resist. The next 20 minutes at least were spent riding around the courtyard whilst I apologised to parents for The A-Bombs lack of spatial awareness. No one was safe from the torpedo like activity of our over-excited 4 year old.

We never really got to spend time doting over the bunnies, chicks, or lambs; the animals almost seemed like a side-line to what else was on offer. However our time there was still fun filled with a plenitude of exciting activities. There was so much more to this farm than animals, very little of which incurred any extra cost. Hurrah.

An oversized Hamster Run for Children
A Giant inflatable slide
Milking the plastic cow
Barrel ride
The photo's fails to capture the frightening speeds at which
these kids were travelling!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Morning Angst

Whether we're up late because our 'alarm clocks' slept in, or are awake early because one of them chose an unusually early hour to arise, there is more often than not a degree of stress involved in our morning routine.

Whether we're rushing around trying to make up for lost time, or have time to spare and have to convince Shemily to keep her clothes on for an extended period of time, we're for the most part able to keep the kids in high spirits.

Whether we have to decide between the moral musings of Twilight Sparkle in 'My Little Pony' or the more intense antics of Steve Irwin in 'The Crocodile Hunter', we're pretty good at avoiding any contentious squabbles.

Whether they have to eat weetabix or on special occassions coco pops, we're able to convince them of the goodness in both.

However, when it comes to the receptacle from which they are to eat their breakfast, there can be only one...

The White Bowl

To our kids, eating their breakfast from the sterile porcelain of 'the white bowl' is like supping from dynasty china.  Its like being 'star of the week' or attending a members-only club.  It is exclusive and much of its value is derived out of the want from other people.  It means you have made it and you are at the top of the food chain, or in our case the 'breakfast chain'.  It is, the One Bowl to Rule them All.

We have tried buying bowls carefully marketed for our childrens lightyear, sleeping beauty, dinosaurs.  I may as well have presented them a 'Gordon Brown' bowl for all the excitement it produced.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Super Gran

I'm 6 years old. It's the weekend, and I'm excited. Not because there's no school for two days or because Going Live is on television in the morning. It's because I'm staying at Granny & Grandad's house. Dad drives me over and my excitement doubles with each minute that passes. No sleepover has ever matched the excitement or come close to the feeling of pleasure than those I spent with Granny Grace and Grandad Sam. And it's not because our time together was jammed packed with trips to the swimming pool, skate park, and bus station (occasionally, they were).  Rather it was filled with everyday tasks that were done with the love and warmth of doting grandparents.

Granny was always happy to see me, whether she was brushing my teeth or refusing my requests for more Jaffa Cakes, it was always with a smile.  Her inherent good humour was infectious and it was nigh on impossible to be sad in her presence (even in my teenage years!). A sleepover at Granny's was a luxurious experience. She was an accomplished hostess, not least because of her bed making skills. The electric blanket, copious layers of bedding, freshly fluffed pillows, and a large stuffed toy made bedtime all the more appealing. I would willingly retire to the warmth of the spare room to be tucked in, then lulled into a state verging on slumber as she sang me a lullaby before finishing the day by saying my prayers with me (for me).

Inevitably the end always came to each sleepover we had. It was always with a pang of sadness and a longing for the next that I said goodbye. I feel that same pang now but it's kept in check by the excitement bubbling within me as I look forward to the next time we're together.

Granny Grace
1924 - 2012