Monday, August 30, 2004


today was supposed to be a clearing up day, but turned into an impromtu re-arranging day - with a bit of clearing up thrown in!! Paul decided he'd like a fresh look in the lounge, but as this doubles as our dining room it has little scope for change. With a great deal of furniture shuffling and hard thinking, we have eventually come up with something quite pleasing. I shan't be doing it again before we move though !

Joel had a fabulous day out with his friend and the others seemed to thoroughly enjoy getting under our feet and fiddling with all the little bits and bobs we found under furniture! Jacob typed a letter to his 'girlfriend' in Carlisle of his own accord and then spent rather too long for my liking playing on Magic School Bus - Bugs, but we were too busy to amuse him so I let it go for this once.

That has really been about the sum of our day and the house still looks quite messy, but that's the nature of having 5 children to a large extent - and what comes of not sticking to a plan!!

By the way - the bears were drawn (well copied) by me and then painted in by the boys. but I was really pleased with their efforts too.
I need to spend a couple of days making sure I am in order for next Monday - hey ho - holidays are over already!! I'm expecting a parcel from Ireland tommorrow with all my maths and science for next year, but I have just had an email to say that my Geography has not been shipped yet (they were waiting for confirmation of shipping method from my friend whose visa card I borrowed to make payment). She hadn't told me she had an email (Aug 4th), so I thought things were on their way when they aren't!! We will have to wait for at least another month now for that to find it's way to us from the U.S. I might slot some 'gardening' into the Geography spot for this term - while the weather is still OK for that sort of thing. Need to look at it again really.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Peace Descends!

Today is the first day my children have had no-one but each other to play with in almost a fortnight. They woke this morning begging for children to come to play after church, but as the morning gradually descended into squabbles and tears from all four of the older ones I rapidly realised that this was NOT a good idea and that after lunch we should ALL have a rest - a sleep rest. By the time lunch was done I think this idea had thoroughly got through and all were grateful. The boys slept from 3pm - 6pm (and were so much nicer for it), were back in bed by 9pm and went straight to sleep. I will be shipping them out a bit tomorrow if I can so that I can get a bit straight around the house. Joel is going to go out with his friend Dominic to help his Mum & Dad choose a new car - doesn't get much better than that for a 5 year old boy - an afternoon set aside JUST to look at cars!! :)

It's been lovely having friends here, and surprisingly unstressful, but it's so peaceful now in comparison!! They left at 7am so as to miss the M6 rush which left us time to get ourselves together for church. Paul was preaching this morning and he was pretty good - if I may say so. A few 'pointers' from me (his strongest critic - (that's my job) and strongest supporter!!)on things he already realised he was weak on, but he really is improving with practice.

I've put the girls to bed tonight in no nappies (at their request) - hmmm! We'll see...! We have the occasional dry night from them, but nothing consistent from either of them. Maybe if it's coming from them...

For those who chatted about the maze, it was really good and we didn't get too lost, but I had forgotten how muddy it can be. Being a sunny day some of us wore sandals - mistake - we were ankle deep in 'thick, ooozy mud'! Really would have been a good occasion for wellies, but none of us had thought about the fact that we have had SO much rain it couldn't possibly be dry in maize field!! Ho- Hum, lots of shoe washing!! But we had fun and an ice-cream, so it was worth it. :)

Bath funnies from last night; Everyone decided to pile into the bathroom and watch Ellie have her bath. They covered her bald head with bubbles and pretended she had white afro hair. Fits of giggles ensues whilst Ellie just sat there looking a little stunned. Eventually she giggled too and everyone else giggled more. Grace made a 'quiff' of bubbles and called her "Elvis Presley's baby sister" - lots more giggles. But then to raise the roof, as I lifted her out Grace spotted that I had left her socks on!! I'm laughing even now as I type to remember it. It really was the most hilarious bath-time. Children's laughter is just SOOO contagiously fabulous!! :)

We went to the park again yesterday afternoon. More rounders and climbing tree. And Grace and Joel made this with half a tennis ball they found;

"Indian Mud Pie"

Indian Mud Pie (2)


Cool EH?! :)

P.S. - Don't forget to check out Thursday piccies - now posted!!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A Bright Day!

Today some an old friend, Sarah, descended on our household, together with her four children. George (10), Lewis (8), Grace (6) and Robbie (4). So that makes nine children in our house now until Sunday afternoon!! It's amazing though because whenever our two families get together there is a very happy atmosphere and the children play together beautifully. The middle three boys especially get on very well, whilst Grace and Abbie seem perfectly happy playing Barbies & PollyPockets together - and with the Playmobile palace.

INTERLUDE: - George is Autistic and very much 'looking in' on the others, but he joins in a bit and is quite fun to have around. We have known him since he was 2 and now he is going into Yr6 of school. Paul initially used to work for him as a therapist and then over-saw his ABA (Lovaas) program for a number of years. It's incredible to see where he has come in that time. He is in a mainstream school with a classroom assistant who is there JUST for him and has done very well all things considered. Coupled with input he has always had and still receives at home this has worked well for him. Sarah works on the ethos that the important thing is not so much academic achievement for George, but ability to function in society in a reasonably understandable way. And to be honest, I can see that school (he has been at a particularly good one) has greatly helped him in this regard.

Anyway - back to our day... The Brights arrived at lunchtime and the after lunch (a picnic on the living room floor as there are too many for the table!) we all went for a walk in the park as George was requesting to go and feed the ducks. He remembered we did so almost 2 years ago, when they last came!! The boys played rounders together and I was very impressed by Robbie's hit of the ball.

Jacob in bat, Robbie back-stop

Lewis in bat

Abbie in bat

The girls played in the play-park together. Gracie went to push my girls on the swings...and generally do the Mumsie thing. She also derived great pleasure from pushing Ellie's pram.

INTERLUDE 2 - I just thought I'd add. No-one told them what to do. That's just what happened. Grace's Mum is a farmer's daughter and, although feminine, not a girly-girly at all as a child or even now for that matter. Sarah had three brothers and is 'tough'. Grace is girly, just because she is! And Sarah's boys are big and tough - just because they are! These are probably the least gender-reared children I know and yet they just are what they are.

Then we went to feed the ducks,

throw sticks & stones in the river;


(chit chat)


and play on the rope swing; George




and build mud pies;

Gracie's mud pie

Back home, stopping for a quick game of football and then chicken curry for tea. We had all 9 children bathed & in bed by 8.45 and all asleep by 9.30 (most were asleep by 9.00, but George was wandering for a bit). I was very impressed!!

tomorrow we are hoping to go to the Reasheath Maize maze (again for the boys) and do the big maze - should be fun with 9 kids!!

While I'm here - a quick catch up;

Yesterday we did a bit more of our Zoo theme work. We learned all about bears - how many kinds of bear, where they live, what they eat, habitats... and Jacob painted a lovely picture of a panda.

Joel's Polar bear

The activities lasted a while and kept them occupied for a bit - and the request to do it was theirs not mine - bonus!!

We have another friend here too at the moment - Helena. She is 16 and I must say, it is quite nice having a teenager about the house, although she is very quiet! She has been taking the children to the park at least once a day and that has been really nice (for them and me!!). They have played with her almost non-stop, - that's what she came for!! She goes home tomorrow and I know the children will miss her :(

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Visiting Off the Path!

Well we're back from Jon and Jan's and very tired, but we had a fabulous few days. It is always so good to go there and I feel that if were not for the blessing of being able to do so my children would not get to experience the countryside in such a fabulous way. Being there I get to see my children do all the things I dreamed of doing as a child and have always wanted my children to grow up being able to do. Well the latter is not possible (at the moment), but at least an intermittent dose of country living is better than none at all. To paddle in streams and eat wild billberries seems such a world away from our ordinary life - and it's fabulous. So I guess a big THANKYOU to our very good friends who host us in all our hoards!! Here is my photo diary of the last few days!

One of our ideas for the visit was 'big art' as we had a large number of children to contribute to it.

We spent Friday watching an episode of The Blue Planet (fabulous program) and then painting fish of various descriptions.

more fish...

sparkly fish..

...and skinny fish!

Saturday morning Paul & I took Jacob and four small girls for a walk on the Moors

On our returning to J&J's we met Jax coming up the road and later Kirsty joined us - great to meet you both and your littl'uns! We had a fabulous day and were surprised to see how well the children played together all day with next to no disputes. Thinking on a collective noun for this scene I came up with ; a swarm/hubbub/gabble...of children (11 in all!!) - any more suggestions people?

Jacob amazed me Saturday evening when I asked him to tidy the playroom while we bathed the little ones and this is what he did! (Oh if only he would do this at home!!)

Sunday was church and then a beautiful lunch, very kindly provided by Jan's Mum, followed by another walk up on the moors. With billberry picking (yummy!) and paddling in streams.

Billberry picking

en mass..

turning purple...!


up to our eyes in billberries!

and learning lots (thanks to Jan)!


looking on...

and building dams

One nice thing is that I have seen all my children able to take time out for themselves in one way or another these last few days - even when surrounded by lots of 'goings-on' and it has been SOOOO good for them.

Boo's time out in a castle!

What J&J's is all about - books and time out (Joel)!!

Beefy's time out with a train!

time out striding out...(that's Jacob)!

This morning the children awoke tired and continued tired and shouty and generally horrid - sorry Jan!! So Jan and I (the children bored of the task very quickly so that left the Mummy's doing art together!) made sea and 'kelp' seaweed for the mural background. Then at the last minute the children stuck on their fish before we left to catch our train. This was the end result;

The shiny turning fish still need to be added in, but time expired on us, so that's in Jan's hands and I believe she has plans for some rocks at the bottom to hide the kelp roots! So you might have to watch her blog for the completely finished produce!!

We were also joined part way through the morning by Barbara, with her three children, so it was nice to meet them all too. It will be great now to talk about you folks with the children and we will all have faces in our minds and know who we mean :)

I'm hoping for a quiet couple of days now because it gets hectic again on Thursday when we have a friend + her four children coming to stay!! Tomorrow though, a teenage girl from our previous town is coming to stay for a few days and she is great with the children - so they have a playmate and I should get a little rest!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Friends to play

The children had some friends to play/ The oldest is also being home-schooled (with Sonlight next year). So while Sue and I chatted about school resources and other stuff the children did LOTS of playing.I must say though the boys have cleared away pretty nicely tonight :)

We Made a second attempt at the Yard Art today with everyone around at it was a real hit! But incredibly, it started spitting immeditaly the first few pictures were dawn. Thankfully it came to nothing at this is the results;

Yard Art - let's try again!

colourful flowers...

...and trees (mostly Boo & Beef's doing)

... and lots of squibbles by Phoebe

Jacob's alien

Jacob's Sand-Piper

Friends at play!

Just wanted to share this lovely picture I took of Ellie yesterday! Posted by Hello