Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable day surrounded by the people they love.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Christmas... you think we might get one? It would be nice to actually have a Christmas Day that matched the pictures on the cards we send out. We had a lovely heavy snow storm, complete with thundersnow(my favourite!) last night, which meant I had a day off work as the kids school was closed. They were dressed and out in it by 8am. If only they could get ready for school that quickly and keenly?

Almost ready for the big, manic day here, even if we have left everything to the last minute. I only started shopping this week, and I had an essay due in, and we had Pete's birthday, so it's been pretty crazy. In the next few days I still have to go food shopping, visit my Dad, take Pete out for his birthday treat, take the kids to the indoor playcentre, collect Ryan's moped(though that'll be Pete rather than me, but I've organised it!), do a trip with work to the London Eye, get the turkey, AND I'm four dining chairs down for the Christmas dinner. Anyone got any spare?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

We have a crawler

This was us after getting soaked in torrential rain this morning. Look at the state of my hair!

After weeks of perfecting his skills, Kit has finally struck out and started crawling on his hands and knees today. He's been rocking for about a month, then he started doing a little inchworm shuffle last week, and he figured it out properly today at 8 months and one week old. The camera came out in celebration!

He's been terrorising the cats all day. Look how happy he is to be mobile!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Back to work

I had my first two days back at the office this week, and it was okay.

Just okay.

Kit has decided that his already poor sleep patterns were not quite annoying enough, and has kept me up pretty much incessantly all week. I didn't want to leave him either really, he seems too little, but he was fine, and it is only two days a week.

The job has completely changed. It's horrible. All of the fun parts of the job are gone, my colleagues are still lovely, but the actual workload is awful, dull and unenjoyable. If I could take my coursework in and do that, I'd be happier. It's that desperate.

Speaking of coursework, I got a mark of 66% for the essay from hell, which is fine by me as I didn't even write my name on it(whoops), or add my references(duh!), and 40% is a pass, so I'm way over that.

Taylor is growing his hair at the moment, so I've just taken a photo to record the process. I've always had to shave it mega short as he has a cows lick at the front and a double crown which makes it stick up like a bog brush at the back, but just lately the texture(and colour!) has changed. It's gone brown, and got nice and silky, so he's growing it into a surfers shaggy hairstyle. It is already half way there, and so long compared to what he's used to;

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh dear...

...I have been a bad blogger. *hangs head in shame*

I've just been rushed off my feet, and it's about to get worse as I'm back to work on Thursday. I can't believe that 9 months has gone that quickly. Thursday morning is going to be fun. I have to do my cleaning job, get the kids all off to school, and get the bus to work for 8.30am. Not looking forward to that much! I've also started my gardening thing at the school, I spent 3 hours there last Thursday and had children from each class come ut and spend a bit of time with me. I was quite worried about keeping them occupied, but they all loved it. We planted strawberry runners, garlic, pulled up some chickweed and collected leaves.

I can't believe I didn't even do a Halloween post. Here is Isobel the zombie at her school disco;

My course this year is going to be a pain in the backside, I can just tell. I read through the first coursework book, went to the tutorial in London, found that the tutor confused me more than helped me, and set about writing my first essay. When I tried to send it in for marking the online system crashed, so I ended up handing it in late, which means the tutor doesn't have to mark it. I sent frantic emails to my tutor begging her to mark it, and she took ten days to reply. Thankfully she is going to mark it, but I've been in limbo really, worrying I'd failed before I'd even started due to technical issues. Loads of people have left the course as it's so boring!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lots of work to do on this school garden

I went to the garden for the first time today. The lady that has tended it for years retired last week, so now it's all down to me. *gulp* There is quite a lot there that I have no clue about growing. It has seven beds.

One and Two - An empty bed ready for some spuds next year and Runner Beans, Chard, Squash and Courgette;

Three and Four - Tomatoes and Chillis, and an awesome raspberry bush;

Five, Six and Seven - Wildflowers, more Beans, Pumpkin, Rhubarb(out of shot) and Strawberries;

I'm a bit scared of strawberries. They've never liked me much. They refuse to overwinter for me at home, instead deciding to die off. I have here a bed of very mature, wonderfully fruitful strawberry plants. Well at least they were until I got my hands on them. They were giving me the beady eye today, they're just waiting to die off, I just know it.

I started pulling up the strawberry runners, and have hundreds of the little bleeders. I bought a carrier bag home and still have literally billions. What the hell do I do now with a)the plants that are being left to overwinter, and b)the runners? Do the old plants in the ground need anything doing to them? I've just been taking out the old brown leaves and leaving the green ones, but is that right? The lady who left gave me a note to get me to remove the straw from between the plants, but I thought they needed that to protect them from the frosts? Does it need removing and replacing? Do the runners need to be in a cold frame/greenhouse, or can I plant them out too?

So many questions.

Seven Months

Kit is seven months old now. He can say "mama" and "baba", is almost crawling, and gives the best sloppy kisses when you ask him to. He's adorable.

I've just been comparing pictures of Isobel and Christian. I got my first digital camera when Isobel was seven months old, so there was a sudden photo explosion. I don't have many of her before that time.

It's funny, they look really alike, until you look closer. She has Pete's round eyes, and Kit has my slanted ones. Isobel's are a grey/green and his are bright blue. She has Pete's mouth and smile, and Kit has my mouth but still has managed to inherit Pete's smile somehow.

She definitely had more hair!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I just can't seem to get my coursework done tonight, everyone is distracting me.

My Mum bought a laptop from someone at work and it took me two hours to connect it to our wireless connection. For some bizarre reason, the anti-virus was stopping it from loading the page. Of course, it took me the two hours to figure this out, and I still don't know how I knew. We got the wireless connection sorted, but not the actual internet page. As soon as I uninstalled it, the internet came on, like magic. The baby has had me up and down like a yo-yo tonight too. As soon as I sit down he starts moaning. Little monkey.

Today has been an annoying day money-wise, as was yesterday. Pete was told on Thursday at our family dental check up that his dodgy tooth(he damaged it playing football 11 years ago), could be repaired for free. He went in to get the work done today, and they sneakily billed him £125 for the privilege. Of course, they waited until after the procedure to announce this fact. I had to put it on my credit card. I was not amused. Yesterday my work called, all chipper, to proudly announce that my course funding had come through, even though I've called them once a week for the last 6 weeks to frantically tell them that the very last day, that could not be extended any more, was the 10th of October. Idiots.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lazy Sunday

My course started last weekend, so I'm trying to get used to working on it any spare moment. I loved having the summer off, but am now finding it hard to get stuck in again. Thank goodness I didn't have to take a year off, I would never have started it again. The content is much, much harder this year. Just glancing through it I can see that. I hope I can do it. I am back to work in six weeks too, which I'm dreading a bit now.

Michael, Taylor's Dad, finally called me. I sent him a begging email weeks and weeks ago, telling him that Taylor was missing him, and he 'hadn't seen it until now', apparently. He's supposed to be seeing him next weekend, so we shall see.

Kit goes up on his hands and knees now, trying to crawl, so I'm sure it won't be long before we are frantically childproofing and stair gating. I'm thinking of getting the playpen out today for him, but it involves massive furniture rearranging missions that I can't be bothered to do. Our living room just isn't big enough for all the furniture.

We are having a nice lazy Sunday today. I'm about to put a lamb joint in and my Mum is taking the kids to the park so I can do my weekly ironing session in peace.

Hen Weekend

Last weekend I was at Bognor Regis Butlins for my oldest friend Claire's Hen Weekend. It was an 80's weekend so we dressed and danced like a bunch of freaks for 4 days.

Claire meeting Roger, her companion for the weekend;

The wonderful beach. Wouldn't think it was October, would you?

Group shot on the first night, including the much-groped Roger;

I had a fab time, and loved being away from home and all the responsibility. I did miss everyone though, especially Pete. We've been attached at the hip the last 3 months, and have discovered we get on better when we are in each others pockets. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder in our case.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


...or Gods Waiting Room as it's fondly known by many, which the locals hate. Yes, the town popular with old ladies is hopefully going to be our new home.

Eek. After the senior school application worry, I casually mentioned to Pete that if Taylor got into one of the good schools I'd applied for in Essex, I'd be loathe to move away as I wouldn't want to move him, then I'd want Isobel to go there too(and then Kit would probably follow), which would mean we'd be stuck here for all eternity. It's always been on the cards that we'd move as soon as we could, so this idea that we'd have to stay even longer made us re-evaluate the plan, and we've decided if we are going to move we have to do it right now. We have got to try and do it before Ryan starts college and Taylor starts senior school next September. That gives us under a year to find me a job and a short-let flat, and get the boys into their respective new places. Pete, my Mum and the little'uns will follow us down a few months later when we've rented a bigger house. Once settled we'll be registering as foster carers. It's all really exciting.

We've just driven down this after noon to give the children a tour and get their opinions on it. We had a wander around the high street, and down the pier, and got ice creams, and it seemed to be a big hit. Anything is better than where we are now.

We stopped off in Brighton for chips, to show them our new glitzy neighbor, and they were pretty enthralled with that too. We adore Brighton, wouldn't want to live there full time as it's a bit mad, but how brilliant would it be having it a few miles down the road for shopping and nightlife? Now it's all resting on me finding work that pays me enough to relocate.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I must be mad

Isobel brought home a letter this week asking for volunteers to take over the school vegetable garden. I've wanted to start a community garden project for ages and have been on the lookout for vacant plots of land, but never found anything. I went in and volunteered at the school on Tuesday, and handed in my CRB today, so should be able to start the gardening club in 6-8 weeks! I met the current volunteer today, she's been doing it for 7 years but is retiring next week, and it's a bleeding huge responsibility. Eeek. She's got stuff growing that I've never even looked at, and has seven massive raised beds. I can't work with the children yet, so as of next week it'll just be general maintenance and tidying up after school one day a week. I'm really excited but after looking at it today it's so, so daunting. I may have to kidnap my gardening friend Thursday with her horticultural qualification, I feel very under-qualified for the job.

Sunny September

We've had a few days out, in between running hundreds of errands. How did we ever find the time to work fulltime? It seems impossible! The weather has been beautiful here. Hopefully it will stay that way for a few weeks yet. We took Kit to the seaside for a walk(and fish and chips for us);

Then last weekend we went to Thorndon Country Park to look for mushrooms. It hasn't really been wet enough here to find any great amounts, and there were no edible ones, but we did find a few. Isobel is getting good at spotting them for me.

A Fly Agaric with a few nibbles taken out of it;

Apart from our little day trips, it's all very manic here. We are decorating, well, my Mum is doing the majority. We are always running around ferrying kids, paying bills, buying food, posting Ebay feet barely touch the ground. I have just painted some of the woodwork in the bathroom tonight though, so I am trying to fit some decorating in somewhere.

Kit has two little teeth now, but the emergence of said teeth has put him firmly off his food so we are back to square one with solids. He was having three small meals a day; porridge, yogurt, then either fruit or veg puree for tea, but now he has nothing. He has a little ulcer on the end of his tongue where he keep rubbing it over his teeth, bless him.

Here he is demolishing a rusk on one of his rare co-operative days;

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Things happen for a reason

My work still haven't contacted me about the funding, and they knew the cut off was Friday, so balls to them! I have now secured a loan through the OU, and will be paying for it myself. My cleaning job will pay for it. I think this possibly has happened for a reason, because it means that I am only tied to my job until October next year, just in time for us to hopefully move. We've decided we are going to try and get the house ready and get out of here before the older boys leave their respective schools. If we don't manage it then a least we tried. I like having a time frame for things. Hopefully we can get the majority of the decorating done by March/April.

We had a rather amusing phone call this week. Ryan's Mum left Pete with a lot of mortgage debts when they split, and she's changed her name lots of times to stop them catching up with her. She has now got a debt collection agency after her. We had the same one after us years ago, but we paid our dues.

We were forced to pay Pete's half of the debt when I was pregnant with Isobel 6 years ago, all my money for baby stuff went on paying it off, we really struggled as we were paying her £650 a month maintenance for Ryan at the time, plus this debt, we could barely eat and she didn't give a monkeys. She was spending our maintenance money on designer handbags and treadmills, and we were scrabbling down the back of the sofa for enough money to buy bread. Our electric used to go off the day before payday and we'd have to sit in the dark. We were seriously poor. But we paid it and got on with it.

She's just been bleating on the phone as she now has to pay £6000 and she thinks we've dobbed her in. We didn't, if we were going to we would've done it years ago when we were struggling. She has paid zero to us for Ryan since he's lived here-4 years, he's had pocket money off her for the last year and that's it. Divine retribution in action.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer person, really. She didn't even ask to speak to Ry when she called. Nice.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still waiting

I am still chasing and harassing my work about my course funding. I've had to call every day, and they are always all either on leave or in meetings, and they never call me back. I've managed to discover that my senior manager has agreed to pay for it, instead of training having to find it, but she is now taking forever to transfer the money across. I have to have the forms done and in the post by Wednesday as I've already had two extensions to the enrolment date. I don't hold out much hope. :( Expect much wailing and gnashing of teeth. If I don't do next year I just know I won't do the degree. If I lose momentum that'll be it.

In more miserable news, I sent Michael, Taylor's Dad, an email a week and a half ago practically begging him to come and see Taylor. He hasn't seen him for months and months, the last time was before the summer holidays, and his behaviour is starting to get bad because of it. He gets really angry with the world. Michael hasn't replied. Granted he might not have seen it yet, but I doubt it. I can't call him because he changed his mobile number and hasn't given me the privilege of his new one. Even better, Sian decided she wouldn't bother seeing Ryan this summer at all as it cost too much and was too far, then proceeded to visit London for the weekend where she could've easily met up with him for lunch or something(she lives 150 miles away, we are only 30 minute drive from London), but didn't bother. Words fail me sometimes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feeling a little helpless

I've gotten myself into a bit of a predicament with a friend. Last year my friend C and I made friends with another woman with children in the local school. We all started having coffee together, and got quite close. When I had Christian they really rallied around me and helped me out. When I had revision to do earlier this year, it was these friends who picked Isobel up for me so I could study. They've both been bloody good friends.

In May, the other friend, T, left her violent partner and went to a women's refuge. Unfortunately she continued to see him behind the authorities backs, got caught out seeing him on more than one occasion, and was whisked off to a town 20 miles away to protect her children. She then stupidly continued to see him, and now has care plans in place and core group meetings with Social Services being held about the children's welfare. She decided she'd like the ride to stop and came back to her original empty house this weekend, but once Social Services are involved you can't just tell them to go away. I popped round there today and she gave me the minutes of the Core Group meeting to have a read through, detailing the case against them, and she is totally oblivious to what is about to happen. Both of us have tried to tell her that she is about to lose her children over this, but she won't have it. She is still seeing him, and refuses to stop. She's walked away from the second refuge 20 miles away and come back here to him, expecting them to just let this drop. She is having another baby in a few months too, and at this rate will be handing it over at the hospital.

I called a friend in the know tonight for advice, which was a pretty cool thing for her to do for me as we've only spoken online before, and she's helped me get my head straight. I'm going back round to T's tomorrow for a cuppa so it's my last chance to lay it all on the line for her. I think Pete thinks I'm mad for trying to talk sense into her, but I wouldn't be a very good friend if I just stood back and let it all happen. I'm pretty sure she is beyond help, this situation is way too complex for me to deal with, but I have to give it one last try before they swoop in and take her children away.

It's such a stupid situation to get yourself in. :(


I can't explain why really, but family life seems really settled right now. I think having them back in school helps. I know we have money issues, and I'm worrying about my degree sponsorship, but the kids are all doing really well and behaving themselves and Pete and I get lots of time together.

Ryan seems to have turned a corner behaviour wise. Taking his Xbox away for a couple of months earlier on in the summer was the best thing we ever did. He went mental to start with to try and get us to give in, but we can be really tough parents(which I'm sure the kids hate), and he seems to have given up fighting us. We don't get much rudeness, laziness, self-entitled attitude or horrible behaviour from him now, he's actually quite pleasant to have around. It's like we have broken in a wild horse!

I really enjoy watching them grow up, especially the older boys. Ryan took Taylor to watch a football match on their own at Southend FC this week, and I love seeing them have a little bit of independence away from home. I get a lot of joy out of having older kids, and talking about 'grown-up' stuff with them, like careers and college. Ryan isn't 100% sure what he wants to do, but thinks he will do A Level Business and Media at college. Taylor wants to do Motor Sport Engineering, and he's pretty committed to that, but I wouldn't be surprised if he changed his mind. He has 6 years of school left yet, but we always knew he'd do something like that. He's good with his hands. He's very good at technical drawings too so I'm encouraging him to think about car design as another option. Isobel likes to join in with the conversation and her career aspirations have been known to change daily, and have ranged from a teacher, to a zookeeper, to the lofty heights of an ice cream lady.

Kit has really changed mentally and physically this week. He's having a massive growth spurt and will not stop eating and drinking. He is starting to want entertaining, and you can see the little cogs in his brain whirring round trying to figure stuff out. He's got very grabby, has to touch everything, most of which then goes in his mouth for a little taste...even grass!

He is seriously adorable and so cuddly. His hair has sprouted this week too, not that you can see it, he still looks like a little cue-ball from a distance. I think he's going to be white blonde like Taylor was at that age. I sometimes wish he wasn't so easy to look after as I know I'll end up broody...again! No more babies for me though. It would be easier if he was a pain and a little more off putting.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I am so upset with my work. They have had my sponsorship forms to enrol on year two of my degree for over a month now. I've called four times to get them to sign it off, the final date came and went and I've managed to get two extensions from the university, people never call me back when they say they's getting very frustrating. I finally got an answer today; it's been signed but now they have run out of money! So that's the end of that then. :( The training budget has all gone. They are trying to find funding elsewhere for me, but you just know I'll get a call next week giving me bad news. I can't believe it.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Senior School

I'm not a worrier by nature and normally make quick decisions about things, but this Senior School Application for Taylor is doing my head in and keeping me awake at night. Parenting older children is so hard.

Taylor is doing really well in primary school, especially as we always expected average at best for him and the teachers/doctors thought he had Aspergers. He has matured massively since turning 8 and is doing really well now. He is above average in his maths/english and has been picked out as being gifted in art. He knows what he wants to do with his life(motor sport engineer) and is massively committed to that goal(unlike Ryan - he hasn't got a clue!) He is still a bit of a clown at times, lacks concentration, and is niave and easily led. This is where my concerns lie with sending him to a rough school with poor GCSE attainment.

My choices are three out-of-catchment schools with over-subscription; a catholic school which has always had plenty of spaces until this year and is now over-subscribed(seems everyone just realised it was a good school); or the school over the road that is dire and has about a 12% pass rate at GCSE.

Pete thinks I should just send him to the school that Ryan goes to(none of the above), but I don't think they'll push Taylor enough and it is almost 4 miles away and a pig to get to. Ryan is naturally clever, but lazy, and would've passed his GCSE's no matter where he went. Taylor is not naturally as clever, but is hard working when pushed and would definitely do better at a different school.

I've never had to do this year 6 thing before as Ryan was a mid-year application. Shall I just put down the three out-of-catchments schools, then the Catholic school, and hope for the best? I'm terrified they are going to make me send him over the road to the crappy one.

Can someone please come and do it for me?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Thorpe Park

Thanks to my lovely in-laws we had a trip out for the day to Thorpe Park on Saturday. They sent us some money specifically to take them out for the day, and seeing as it was something we'd promised but were struggling to fund it was perfect!

We had such a good day. I used to love theme parks and rides, but I seem to have lost my nerve in the last few years. It's age creeping up on me I suppose. Pete, Taylor and Ryan went on Saw as soon as we got there, which was probably a good thing as it was pretty horrific. I don't think we would've got Taylor or Pete on it if they'd had time to think about it too much. Ryan wouldn't have cared, he'll go on anything. While they were in the 90 minute queue for Saw, I took Isobel on the log flume, which she hated with a passion even though she'd been on similar at Legoland last year and was fine. Seems I'm not the only one who has lost their nerve.

I normally get bored and want to go home by tea time, but the queues got smaller and we got to go on stuff twice as the day wore on, so we stayed until 7.30pm. The best roller coaster there for me was Colossus, it was amazing!