Friday, July 30, 2004

Updating you!

Well blogging yesterday didn't happen because Paul & I decided to have an evening together and once I get on this computer I all too often stay here!!

I'm glad you've all managed to access my 'schedules' now - Hooray!

So tonight I'll catch you up a bit.

Our trip down south was lovely once we got there, but the journey was horrendously long and overly cramped on the way down - the children spent the entire journey from Birmingham to Southampton sat in a luggage rack - all four of them, whilst I stood in the corridor with Ellie in the pram, together with another lady and her 3 month old in a pram too, juggling prams around doorways at each station - trying to give Ellie her lunch and a feed sitting on the floor - Ho Hum! I was SO glad my mum had taken the luggage with her as that would have made matters all the worse. Fortunately coming back was not so bad and we did have seats but the children were so tired they couldn't amuse themselves well and were annoying all the way home (remember I was tired too!). They chattered and bickered, dropped things on the floor a thousand times and kept wanting to change seats, etc.. .All I wanted to do was read my book & sleep! At Mum & Dad's they had all shared one room (yes, all five of them) and we had slept downstairs. Me on a not-too-comfy, rather lumpy sofa-bed and Paul on a camp bed. Because the children were all sharing they were up at the crack of dawn - like 6.30am - every morning. Now that's at least an hour earlier than normal and me, I'm an 8.30 person, so to me it felt like the middle of the night! Our usual routine is to send them to watch a video for a while before we get up (or kids TV on Channel 5/BBC 2), but we were in the viewing room, so that didn't help much really - they just wanted to be in our beds to watch - ah well - not much of a rest, but it was a change!!

The party that we went down for was to celebrate Paul's Grandparents both turning 80 this year. Neither of them are too well really. Paul's Grandad had a stroke 2 years a go and is now wheelchair bound and quite heavily dependent on other people. This has consequently meant a gradual wearing down of Nan, who then circumbed to a serious Urine infection a couple of months back and is really struggling to regain her strength following it. They do have carers to help them, but it's sad to see such fiercely independent people have the stuffing so knocked out of them. We all wonder how long they will both live now, so that made the party so much more important in a way. It was especially lovely to be able to get Nan's sister there, who is older than her and who she hasn't seen for two years - they were visiting her when Grandad had his stroke and they haven't seen each other since. And it was so great to see them all smiling so much and in such high spirits - something Grandad in particular struggles to do much of these days.

Since we've been home the children have gradually recovered from their tiredness and normality is beginning to resume - if any such thing is possible in our busy household! But Jacob is now asking when we (the family) are going on holiday (which we're not this year) and Joel wants to got to Colchester like we did last year (we used to live there). But money is so tight this year that a holiday is not on the cards :( . I am planning to Jacob to the Lakes for a couple of days (just him and Ellie), but I think that is going to be really hard on Joel, so I might end up taking three children. I was hoping to give the boys a break from each other and some 'quality' Mummy time for Jacob, who really craves it, but then I'm not sure how I'd make it up to Joel?! Oh, the dilemmas of parenting...! Gladly, we are going over to Jon & Jan's again at the end of August (will we meet any of you?) which is always a holiday to the children, especially as they think that J&J really live on a farm - which of course they do in a sense - because they can see all kinds of farm animals in all directions and J&J have chickens!

The last couple of days have been busy for the children though - Joel especially. He spent yesterday afternoon playing at a friends and then today a friend of mine took both Jacob & Joel, with her little boy & his friend to the Reaseheath Maize Maze . They had a great time in the maze, but I think the highlight of the trip was possibly throwing wet sponges at each other in the stocks that they had there (in a playground outside the maze)!

Next week we might have a young girl come visit us who was great with the children when we lived in Colchester. She is actually the daughter of Abbie's Godparents and she is lovely to have around. I am hoping with her here to amuse the children (because it's them she is mostly coming to see and she's old enough to take them to the park and down to feed the ducks etc...) I might be able to catch up on some housework and start making some rough timetables for next year's school (what I want to cover when, rather than day-to-day timetables).

One more thing: I did my ironing today sitting in the yard in the sunshine, listening to Diana Waring's history tapes in preparation for trying to teach the children in some kind of informed way - and WOW! She has a lot to say, but it's really worth listening too! And what a treat for me - almost two hours of solitary 'listening & learning time' (the girls were asleep, Paul was shopping, the boys were lost in a maze!)

Well I guess that' s me about caught up and you totally bored I reckon!


Jax said...

I'm hoping to meet you in August...

Sarah said...

I won't get to meet you this time; maybe another.

wrt holidays, how about a house swap? I know there is a christian house swap list somewhere, [hunts around a bit] here it is:
Probably a bit late for this year but maybe something for next?

Anyway, the rest of your update sounded good, despite the lack of sleep while away (par for the course, ime). I've heard good things about Diana Waring before :)

Caroline said...

Jax :) meeting you in August, Sarah :( - same reason!!
As far as house swapping is concerned, it had crossed my mind, but I'm not quite sure how that sits when we are renting. Maybe I should ask my landlord? Plus, we need somewhere child-friendly and Big!! And we would need someone here who didn't mind a bit of a muddle - also I don't know if I could face coming home and having to re-sort all the kids toys because they weren't away in the right places (assuming the visiting famly had children of course) - it's just that there are SO many! And our bathroom is a bit grotty (I really hate it, but it's not mine to do anything about:( ) with loose tiles and going-moldy carpet - eeew! Not sure I would want to swap for here although it is a big house with lots of beds, and a nice town...!! I'll think on it.

Alison said...

Now, that is bizarre - my grandparents used to get the This England magazine - a horrible narrow-minded racist publication for nature-loving past-dwelling patriots who think the Daily Mail is for bleeding-heart liberals ....... they must have something to do with the CHEF thing - which would put me off straightaway! (Even if I qualified ;-) )

Sounds like a really long grim journey Caroline! I refuse to travel further than half an hour on the train without seat reservations, and have been known to buy tickets for my under-5's to make sure there's enough room for us,

Glad it was worth the trip though :)

Caroline said...

Alison you've lost me on your first comment - what is the CHEF thing?

We did book tickets for adults + two children, but our connecting train was late and so we missed our 'reservation' train! :(

Caroline said...

Alison you've lost me on your first comment - what is the CHEF thing?

We did book tickets for adults + two children, but our connecting train was late and so we missed our 'reservation' train! :(

Sarah said...

She's referring to the Christian House Exchange Fellowship (CHEF) website link, Caroline!

I didn't have a clue why it was on a 'thisengland' url, to be honest, and I've never heard of it, so no ugly connotations for me.

But I can quite identify with Caroline's reasons for not wanting to houseswap, I wouldn't have either until we moved!

Alison said...

Argh - how frustrating about the trains!!!!

And btw, sorry, I went off into a bit of a rant about that magazine there! Hope no one has a subscription ..... ;-)

Barbara said...

Hi Caroline, We're hoping to meet you at Jan's later this month too. I like your links page on your web site, by the way.

Caroline said...

thanks barbara - look forward to meeting you.