Friday, December 23, 2005

Pictures added

If you like to see pictures I've added them to last nights post now :)
Today I took the boys swimming and got my last but one pressie - going to wash up tea things and wrap those last pressies now.
I expect tommorrow will be too busy for blogging, so it remains to say - Happy Chrismas Everyone!

Christmas Newsletter

December 21st 2005

Dear Friends & family,
As always my Christmas newsletter is a little late in being written, but hopefully, you’ll get this before the year is out (more likely if it’s coming by email)!
It’s been a very busy year for us - perhaps even more so than most!! To be brief some the main events included Paul studying hard to complete and pass his degree, the birth of a new baby in June, moving house (please note the new address at the top of the page) and then Paul’s appointment as a minister-in training at the Nantwich Elim church, where we have been worshipping since we moved here over 3 years ago now. Then there’s been the college commissioning event, Paul’s graduation, the usual birthdays (Oh, so many of them now!!!), Caleb’s dedication, holidays to visit relatives & Jacob starting state school (more on that in a mo’), etc... Wow! - when I list it all like that it really does seem that so much has happened in one year!
Life is good! As I write all the children (except Caleb, who is sleeping) are playing happily downstairs together - boys on the PS1, girls playing Mums & Dads, just being together & listening to Christmas music - they are great pals really, although I can’t say they never have their spats!! The house is warm and cosy - lit with various festive lights and a beautiful REAL tree in the lounge. In the evenings we have a real-flame gas fire to add to the effect! Everyone feels an excited tingle as we wait eagerly for Christmas day to arrive (. This year the cards are posted (just in time I hope!) and all the presents are bought and wrapped in plenty of time. The food is just now being purchased and stashed way ready for the feast! I LOVE this time of year!! I love watching as the children, year by year, come to understand more of what Christmas is truly all about and this year the added bonus of a pocket advent calendar, filled with the 24 gifts from the Playmobil nativity scene, has added to their anticipation and their understanding. Day-by-day they have watched the scene grow from Mary and the Angel to a busy stable buzzing with animals and people - all waiting for the arrival of the baby. (OK, so I know that's not quite the right order of the story, but you simply have to open Jesus last in an advent calendar!!) The Christmas story never ceases to amaze me and this year I have felt a fresh sense of the wonder of it all - how a tiny helpless baby can be the saviour of the world - and of ME! Holding a baby in my arms again this year has reminded me just how vulnerable our saviour was when He came and yet how mighty a plan God had for Him - and because of the fulfilment of that plan we too can know the God of the universe as our personal saviour, friend and Father. WOW! It’s the same for you & I as it was for Jesus - God has amazing plans for us too! We too are His adopted sons - we share His name and His inheritance!! So all of you have a very Joyful Christmas and Blessed New Year! Anyway - enough preaching..! News....

The children are growing rapidly and are ever more of a challenge to us (

Jacob is an increasingly independent 8½ year old lad. Although he is a lovely, happy boy and generally not naughty, he does continue to be a challenge to us. This year we have decided to look into the possibility that he may suffer from ADHD, or some such similar problem and he is currently being assessed. He has seen a Speech and Language therapist who has confirmed that he has some auditory memory problems (i.e. difficulty retaining information he has only heard and not seen - thus giving him problems when he is instructed to carry out tasks). Although Jacob was learning well at home and excelling academically in most areas, I was struggling to give him the amount of one-on-one attention that he was demanding of me. He was unable to continue in a given task without constantly being distracted away from it or calling for my attention. Given the knowledge that after Christmas Abigail will be joining us in home-school I felt that I would not be able to give either her or Joel enough of my attention if I had to continually give this high level of supervision to Jacob. By the end of each day the constant nagging at Jake and having to ‘sit on his shoulder’ was becoming exhausting and he and I were falling out too often to be healthy to our relationship. It was on this basis that we made the difficult decision to start sending Jacob into State schooling. We hunted around for a school with a good Christian ethos and feel really blessed with the school we have found. It is our nearest CofE aided school that had a place available in Yr4 for Jake and, because it is some distance from our home, he is entitled to free transport to and from ( . There are no other children having transport provided so this turns out to be a door-to-door taxi every day - the height of luxury - the car his driver used the other day had a portable DVD player in the back and he was watching Casper on the way to school! So, no trooping to school in the pouring rain and sitting around in wet clothes all day for him then (that’s how I remember my winter journeys to school)! Not only does he have door-to-door transport, but also the school is only 86 children strong. There are 26 children in Jake’s class (which is Years 3&4 combined) with a full-time teacher, a full time classroom assistant, a reading assistant twice a week and another special needs assistant who is there for one little girl, but who is present in the classroom full-time too. There is a strong Christian ethos and Jacob is VERY happy there. Although he is not really learning much that is new to him (most of the English grammar and Maths he covered a long time ago and finds too easy), he is being provided with other opportunities that he is enjoying; like more Art, PE of a different sort (dance at the moment, which he loves) and school outings (one to a farm and one to Manchester Museum as part of the class’s study of Egypt. Isn’t it typical that they are covering Egypt when we spent a whole term on it at home last year, but hey-ho, at least he feels clever and knowledgeable and he is able to share his knowledge with the others and add to it also. He even took in his ‘lapbook’ to show, which the teachers were all suitably impressed with ( ). As the academics were not the reason he was sent, it doesn’t bother me too much that he’s not really learning much at the moment, but I am pleased with our decision because it has made such a definite difference to the relationship I have with him. (

On a different note, Jake continues to excel in sport. He’s about to complete Level 10 of the ASA swimming scheme, which means his lessons soon come to an end. A conversation with his teacher last week confirmed what I have always thought - that he is VERY fast (he was lapping the 11yr old girls in his class)!! She called me over and recommended to me that if he wanted to swim in competitions (which he does) he shouldn’t join the local Nantwich Swimming club, but the Crewe Flyers, as his level of swimming is exceptional for his age and this is the better local club (like a Premiere division team as apposed to a 3rd division)! ( Obviously, this will mean big commitment on his part and on ours, but we are thinking it is probably worth a shot! We would hate to deny him an opportunity when he obviously has talent!

Joel seems to also be growing up very fast - 7 already and in Yr2 (or would be). This photo was taken this week with him acting Joseph in the church nativity play (“The Bossy King”). He is as cheeky as always, with the added stroppiness that 7yr old lads seem to have - something to do with hormone surges so I’m told! He is a fine and avid reader and a keen learner, so long as it’s not maths or doesn’t involve too much writing, both of which he is pretty good at but doesn’t love (typical boy)!
He is a bright button and still very fond of his hugs and cuddles! He too is doing well in his swimming (now on Level 5), but for him it is more of a necessary than a joy. His loves in life seem to be his sisters (he adores them even though he’s pretty mean to them at times!), his best mate Dominic, cars, books, football and computer games! He’s not bad a footy and he also plays tennis and enjoys it. He has potential... (

Abigail has now officially left her playgroup days behind her and joins us at the ‘Wellyboots Home-school’ at the start of term. She is five in February and boy do I know it! She is great; fun-loving, caring and very imaginative, but she too can be a handful in her own way (can’t they all). Sometimes when she has been at home on school days she has wanted to join in and she has simply devoured whatever work I give her to do. She can’t get enough of writing and will do pages and pages of the same letter just to practice getting it right. She has recently mastered writing her name in a legible form! She writes stories (well dictates them anyway) and colours everything that she is allowed to. She likes to spend lots of time on the computer and that is helping her learn her letter sounds & other concepts too. All that before she even starts school for real! She joins in project work on occasions too and we are in the middle of a ‘body project’ at the moment. She loves cutting, sticking, drawing and painting, etc.. Besides learning, her other favourite pastimes include playing Mums and Dads with Joel &Phoebe (all day everyday and in every situation!) and playing with her Playmobil and Barbies. She loves her Ballet too.

Yes - she (Phoebe) is as beautiful and cheeky as she looks! She is the quietist of the bunch so far, but has a very determined little character. She too has a zeal for learning and an apparent flair for art (in a 4 yr old way). Her colouring is gorgeous. She takes great care over the things she does and has an eye for detail. She loves all things girly - dolls, Mums & Dad’s, Barbies, ballet (which she is pretty good at considering she has only done one term). She loves nothing better than to be dressed in a twirly dress and do spins (I remember that feeling!!)

Elisheva is a total two year old, with all that comes with the age. She is funny and determined, stroppy and gorgeous, clever and daft all in the same breath!! I love having a toddler in the house - she’s the one that keeps me laughing I think, although at times the whining can get a bit much! She really is a treasure! (
Favourite pastimes are most definatly playing with Playmobil people (in the boys ship-wrecked pirate ship) and her ‘babies.’ Her make believe play is quite developed and she chatters away in the voices of all the characters in her game as she plays - comes of having so many older siblings I guess.

Caleb is six months already and quite a little character. ( He loves to be around the others and hates to be alone. He chatters, shouts and laughs and when he’s not teething he’s great fun. I think he will be quite a lively little man as he grows. He reminds me very much of Jake as a baby. He’s sitting well now and his favourite time of day is probably bath time - he loves the water!

Paul completed his studies in May and graduated in November. He attained a 2.1 for his degree and now is Mr P. Hampton BA (Hons)! In September, he joined the team here at Nantwich Elim Church as one of the Ministers (in training). He also currently works 20hours a week for Teletech - answering the phone to people calling with VAT and customs queries and putting them on the right people to help them. The rest of the time he’s a pastor! His heart is to see a real heart needy people touched by the love of Jesus. He is looking to start some kind of evangelistic activities on Friday and Saturday evenings in the town square when people are coming out of the pubs and clubs - yes even our small rural town has them!

As for me, I continue as Mum to six small(ish) children and home-educator too. Life is a rich blend of pleasure, pride, joy, laughter & exhaustion! Couple this with my now added role of being a ‘pastors wife’ - hmmm - not quite sure I’m doing much in that role as yet, but I know it’s around the corner and I do recognise that it is now a responsibility I have!
I enjoy my down-time in the evening fiddling on the computer and as one of the products of this I designed the new church website (which you can look at if you are getting this by email by clicking on the church name above, or check out ( ) and have become the newsletter editor for the church too. I spend too many hours surfing the net for ‘stuff’ to use for school, but it has cut down the costs of buying curriculum for the children - there are so many resources out there!!

So, that’s us really. Not exactly in a nutshell and Paul tells me off for saying so much when all you really want is a brief catch up, but I figure as most of you only hear from us once a year there simply is a lot to say - especially in a year as eventful as this has been for us.
Just a couple of little added extras! In the summer, we took a short holiday down south to visit family & various friends, and to celebrate with my Nan at her surprise 80th birthday party (sadly, a ray of sunlight caught my camera’s memory card and wiped all the wonderful pictures I had taken ( ). It’s always a slightly nightmarish experience to travel on a train with 6 children, but it was worth it and we had a lovely holiday. It was fantastic to catch up people, and particularly to renew some long-standing friendships. It’s simply lovely to realise again just how much you value those friendships and people. Moreover, on that note I’d like to say to all of you who we too often neglect in the busyness of our lives - you are valued, you are in our thoughts and you are in our prayers. We are constantly thankful for your continued support, love and friendship -even if we don’t seem as though we are!

Well, I think that’s about it now, as I’m sure you’re bored with reading! But if you’re thinking of us at any time here are few pointers for your prayers (

That Paul’s ministry would grow. That his ‘vision’ would become a reality and that he would be an effective evangelist! And coupled with that, that our church would be an effective & relevant witness for Jesus in the local community.
That God would continue to meet our needs as a family as He has so faithfully done these last four years.
That Jacob would continue to flourish at school and that he would enjoy it (.
That our home schooling of the other children would continue to go well.
For Paul’s grandparents (Ron and Joyce) who are now in their 80’s and increasingly frail. In March they are hoping to move into a McCarthy and stone flat nearer to Paul’s parents which will make it easier for everyone. Pray that all goes well concerning this.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Ticking Along nicely

Ticking Along nicely...

Well with Jacob at school and the girls at playgroup life is ticking along and school is going well. Joel is an often reluctant, but very capable learner and although at times it takes a bit of effort to get him started at a task he can usually stick at it till it’s done and do a reasonable job - sometimes he even finds he enjoys it in the end! ( A maths exercise that would have taken Jake at least 3 hours, just took Joel 40 minutes. He was sure it was going to take him at least 2 hours (I think that comes of having seen it take Jake that long), but once he got going he was fine. It wasn’t 100% correct but that doesn’t actually bother me - I’ d rather he have a go and learn from his errors than be so worried about making them that it takes him forever,
     Phoebe had a bit of a wobbly this morning (not unusual at the moment) about going to playgroup. She does sometimes and I don’t know why because she is very happy there and enjoys it actually - painting, sticking, etc…much more than I do with her at home, but she really is a home-bird. Strange thing is though; she is the one who has been saying that she wants to go to ‘big school’ like Jacob. I know that she would be very unhappy in reality and probably wouldn’t last 5 minutes there. She is so much more introverted than any of the others. Anyhow she went and had a nice day, but I am dreading after Christmas when she will be going on her own – only 2½ more weeks before Boo leaves playgroup…I’m counting down - I am so going to know I have her at home!
     Abbie seems to be suddenly ready to learn and today at playgroup she traced over the letters of ‘snowman’. It was really neat and legible. Apparently she wasn’t willing to try and copy the letters without the under-print, but she’s defiantly making some rapid progress. Next step is to try and get her to actually recognise some of those letters and know their sounds I guess - that could take a little longer!! The days when she is at home I simply can’t seem to fill her up - she’ll have to slow down a ouch though or I’ll run out of resources (if that is possible I have SO many downloaded now, but to use them all would be paper costly!) I am not going to make any formal attempt to teach her to read until after September (she will be 5¾ by then and should be more than ready, if she hasn’t started to do it by herself already!). Just now we are going to work on some basic maths concepts  - shapes, (she still doesn’t know a rectangle and a triangle) numerical order, heavy/light - that kind of thing (using Singapore EarlyBird) and on her pencil grip (which is really not bad), getting her name more legible, cutting skills, sticking, gluing, making, drawing (all of which she loves and is quite good at for her age IMO () also on initial sounds of words (we play” I Spy…” a lot for that - using letter sounds instead of names. It worked really well for the boys). Hopefully that will keep us busy for a bit!
     Anyway I’ll post this and let Jake get on the computer. He wants to play Cluefinders. (


test of word

Testing Blogger for Word – this might
be SO easy!!!

Having a trial few days back in Blogger land.

Kids and Goo!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I Might Move My Blog

Check out this link and work from here for a few days - I'd like to give it a test run :)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Home Edding 4 & Lapbooking

Well for the last week I have been having my first taster of what teaching four children at home might be like! The boys have been doing 'school' this week and the girls have had the week off (it's officially still Easter hol's, but we have another week off planned at the end of the month for the Elim conference in Prestatyn which we are going to as a family). It's been interesting!! Obviously it's not been a very true picture of what life will really be like, because obviously by the time I am teaching all four they will all be 2 years older than they are now, so that'll be 10, 8, 6, & 5 - and the not-yet-born baby will be at playgroup!! I expect I'll have another tiny by then though..! ;)

The little ones need so much more one-on-one and as I have never attempted to anything pre-schooly before I really don't have too many resources hanging about, just the odd bit that I've downloaded for 'emergencies' and a few games and things, but the girls wanted to 'do school' with the boys, so I rose to the challenge!! Abbie is SO intense (Mummy, mum...Constantly!) but desperate do school, yet at the same time a real dizzy-doo and does my head in a bit! Phoebe is quieter and more serious about life. Even at her young age able to apply herself to whatever I give her to do :) I set her a task, she eagerly takes it on (with good understanding) and busies herself without until she can say "done it!" - and she will have usually done exactly as she has been asked - no more, no less - and with great care and attention. Abbie on the other hand, if I turn away for a few seconds, will rush whatever she's doing and sadly not produce what she is truly capable of - just wants to get on to the next thing - hurry, hurry, hurry. She is not so good at following instructions either and will do things she hasn't been asked to, which can be quite unhelpful at times!! But they have both produced lovely lapbooks this week(with a lot of help from yours truly in as far as I 'constructed them') . The work inside them is all their own and they are going to take them to show-off at playgroup on Monday :)

I must say these have consumed all my energies this week - three VERY late nights at the computer and/or table cutting and pasting little bits of paper & card together! BUT I am very pleased with the result and I hope that the next lapbooks will be less effort, as I know more what I'm doing now and don't have to hunt down all the resources again - I have them 'filed'!

The boys have produced nothing like anything so worthwhile this week - only they have produced a lot of noise and played a lot of football!! They go to the park alone-together sometimes now, with my mobile phone in Jacob's pocket to call me when they are on their way back (it's just across the road and they have rules!). I sometimes set the timer so they have to come home when it beeps at them. It seems to work well and gets them out of my hair for half hour or so!! :)

My next idea for the boys is to make lapbooks with them too. I was going to this week, but I'm so glad I didn't - it would have been just too much to make four at once! Theirs will be 'together' projects on two topics (or maybe three) - made over a few days each. Topics will be; Egypt (history), Ireland (geography) and possibly Plants or Classification of animals (science). I've cheated (sort of) and bought a project pack for the Egypt lapbook which should contain all the ideas I need and more & complement our Diana Waring studies nicely :). The others I shall make up as I go along (although I might cheat and buy the 'plants' one too, from the same site, if I get too bogged down).

SO, that's been us this week and aside from the house being simply too noisy and busy for me to handle very well at the moment (probably due to lack of sleep!!), it's been an OK week. The baby is VERY active all the time - think it might be another Jacob - it never seems to sleep much, but the pregnancy is going well (and fast!) and generally I'm in good health. I don't feel as big this time around (Ellie was 9lb 10oz for those who don't know - 2lb heavier than my heaviest up 'til then!), which is good :) The children are very excited - especially Phoebe, who keeps asking if the baby is coming out yet! - Bless!! She says she wants the baby called "Susie" and surprisingly Paul and I both quite like it (yes, another 'eeee' at the end though!!), so, if it's a girl, it MIGHT be named Susannah - which is biblical (Shushannah is the Hebrew form), so that works and it means 'lily' - my number one choice for a girls name that I am simply not allowed! Paul even says I can call her Lily as a pet name if I like (all my children have one), he just doesn't want it to be her real name - then she can choose when she's older! Great idea I say..! :) Boys names... still working on that one - ideas, but nothing too solid just yet! I can't believe I've just 8 weeks to go - here's hoping!! By record that'll bump up to 11+ weeks, but we are praying for a miracle this time, a break in the pattern - an EARLY baby (not too early, just a couple of weeks). Reasons being :- 1. It's hideous going 3 weeks past due, or any time at all for that matter. 2. Paul's course ends May 7th (yup - just one more month of student income, and then ... who knows!) and I want the baby to arrive BEFORE he has time to find a job, so that we don't have to worry about whether or not he can have time off (unlikely in a new job). There are quite a few jobs to pick up around here, so that shouldn't be a long term problem, but it will be in the short term, especially with such a high rent (we'd also like to move by the way) ... but I've decided I'm not going to stress over money - I've too much else to think about at the moment - like nappies ;) !!

PS - Can anyone reccommend where I might move my blog to - I am fed up with Blogger crashing, but I can't find anything as good or as easy to customize!! (after a whole day of searching I might add!!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

THE Most Frustrating Day - Ever!!!

Boy - can days like today get right up your nose!! At the weekend we inherited a perfectly functioning computer from Paul's parents, but it was running Win95, only had a 2GB hard drive and was full of junk!! So toady I set out to add another hard drive and a faster CDRom, plug in a USB card and upgrade it from Windows 95 to 98!! and successfully managed to de-funk the thing completely!! How is that? All I had to do essentially was plug in the new drives to the IDE cables, slot in the USB card and do the upgrade, but no - now the thing won't even boot!! Earlier this evening it was ALMOST running OK (it was finally recognising the A drive, which it seemed to stop doing almost as soon as I took the back off, and accepting the boot disk) except that it wouldn't recognise the CDRom Drive for no apparent reason, so it wouldn't read the Windows CD - so I re-installed the old slower CDRom drive - but it didn't recognise that either. I put back the faster one and then it refused to even recognise anything - nope - just a blank screen!! It has consistently refused point blank to acknowledge the presence of another hard-drive (yes I've fiddled with the jumpers in any number of combinations - all to no avail). Unless I disconnect the bigger (4GB) HD altogether it tells me there is no hard drive at all!!
RRRRRRRRR - is all I can say - a whole day WASTED!! And I'm really stumped as to what to do now! All the IDE cables seem to be the right way round, the CDRom drive is powering up OK, but can't be recognised, the A drive has gone AWOL again and now I can't even see what's happening on the screen! The hard drive SOUNDS like it's starting up, but...

Oh - and I managed to stuff up win95 in the process of all the fiddling too, so I'm not even loading in 98 yet, just trying to re-install 95 - thought that MIGHT be an easier starting point, but it seems not!!

Grumpy Mummy, disappointed kids!! I had hoped that I could simple switch the 4GB hard drive from their old PC to the new one - thereby carrying Win98 across with it and all their programs, but it JUST WON'T LET ME!!

Is there any computer whizz out there with any suggestions as to what I might try tomorrow? Jax? Jon? Anyone...?

And just to cheer myself up - I'll post these piccies!!

cow bum (stuffable)

pink bum (wrap)

minki bum

Thursday, March 10, 2005

LEA visit - 2nd time around!!

I already wrote this post once, but forgot to make my usual 'copy' before I hit publish and guess what...blogger ate it!!

Anyway - today went well. Carol (the LEA lady) came and she was very nice. When she arrived Jacob was sat reading quietly on the sofa, the big girls were playing in the yard, Ellie was sleeping and Joel was hoovering the kitchen, so all was calm and peaceful - for once! We sat and chatted for a bit then Jacob decided to show off his handwriting - his show piece (he does have great handwriting for his age)! Other than that the children hardly showed their faces. The children did all knew she was coming and why - and were completely un-phased by the whole thing :) She certainly was not intent on quizzing them about anything and didn't she seem too worried about seeing any of their work. She said that, as everything was so hunky-dorey last year, this was really just to update the files as to where we are at. I have no problem with that. I showed her my 'planner' - she was suitably impressed I think (!!) - and explained that I use it as a baseline, but that it is quite flexibly adhered to. We chatted about what resources I use and I explained that I try to teach one subject at any one time, but at 2 levels, for the most part and that generally this works out OK :)

I then broached the subject of my difficulties with Jacob with her. I explained that Paul & I think that he MIGHT have ADHD and why we think so. We discussed some of his 'behaviours', his inability to concentrate for more that 5 minutes at a time and his seeming lack of attention even when he thinks he is listening to you! There are all sorts of other little 'odditites' that make us think he might be ADHD and really we want to be sure we are schooling him appropriatly. It's not that a 'label' will change anything that much, but it will help us know HOW to tackle the problems we face with him. SO, if his attention span IS only 5 minutes we have to only EXPECT 5 minutes of attention from him - if we get more that's a bonus, but our day will need to be a lot more broken down than it currently is. However if there is no REAL problem, outside of Jacob's control, than really it's just a case of disciplining him (appropriatly) so that he learns how to knuckle down and concentrate for a given slot of time. We (Paul and I) need to know if our expectations of him are too high (which if he has ADHD then they probably are, because they are based on expectations of a 'normal' (almost)8 year old), or if they are about right and we just need to help Jacob reach what he is capable of - bearing in mind that he is a very clever kid in reality. The amazing thing is that he has begun to voice his difficulties, so I think he even recognises that he has a bit of a problem. He has said things like; "it's like my brain switches off and on and off and on. And when it's off I can't switch it on again" - how descriptive is that! But there is a sad side to that too, in that he has also begun to say things like "Joel is brainier than me." This simply is not true - and I have told him so, but what he sees is Joel being given a task, completing it and going to play, while he is struggling through - having not even really started on the task he has been set to do that should have taken him about equal time (ability level taken into consideration). Because Joel is able to apply himself he naturally gets more free-time and Jacob equates Joel getting his work done with him (Joel) being brainier. But if I let Jacob go at the same time he would achieve nothing at all and there would be even less reward in that - it would only add to his discouragement to never have anything to show for a day's school :(

Anyway - Carol ageed that it would be good for us to have a formal assessment so that we would have a baseline to work from and have a better idea HOW to get the best from Jake. And she is going to find out for me how we go about that outside of the school system. Like I said - she was very helpful and sympathietic to my dilema, which was nice. :)

On another subject now; Nappies :)
I got a 'bimble in the post today. How cute and gorgeously tiny is this nappy?! Paul reckons it'll never fit a real baby! I think he forgets just how diddy they are (babies that is) when they are new!:) Ellie appears to be getting 'into' the whole cute nappy thing too. She keeps going to look in the nappy bucket to see what new additions she can find and if I'm not quick enough - she brings them to me - eeeew!! I think it's not helped by the fact that I can't resist fleecy pink nappies/wraps - and neither can she apparently! I really should be trying to buy a bit more unisex - poor little baby - if it is a boy (which I'm fairly convinced it is this time), he'll be in pink nappies half the time!! Although, that said Abbie has gone to bed tonight in a blue car print nappy. I'm trying to discourage her from wearing them and when I put a woolly sheep one on her she liked it a bit too much!!

Check these out too -all you nappy lover - pocket liners - what a cool idea! I'm going to try making some this evening - just to make life even easier for Paul, but if mine don't work I think I might invest in some :)

I might even post some pics of in the next few days - just to get you all coveting cute nappies!! And so that I can have that memory of my babies with cute snuggly bottoms!! Oh, how I wish I had discovered these YEARS ago - it's only take me nearly 8 years, but then I must confess I wasn't looking much in the in-between times. Kooshies were naf, so I think I gave up on the whole idea for a while and went down the 'green disposbles' route as a compromise - shame!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Still Alive!!

Well hello!! Thanks to all of you who have kept in touch despite my absence from blog-world of late. I thought it was about time I gave you a really brief update of the Wellyboots tribe!

Well we survived Daddy being away with great success and even managed a trip to Wales for a long weekend to see him in action! His absense has even resulted in a much greater level of acceptance of household chores for all :)

Since then life has been ticking along steadily, with it's usual ups and downs of family-life and homeschooling :) On the whole the boys are doing very well - the usual ebbs and flows of enthusiasm taking their course! Joel seems to have finally grasped that 'making 10' strategy that we were struggling with some weeks back (no, we've not been at it constantly since then - just a steady drip-feeding and regular visits!!) and Jacob is nearing the end of Sing' Maths 2B, which means we will be into 3rd grade Maths. Having looked ahead, I think we might do some CGP Yr3 stuff first - for consolidation purposes - before we move on. I don't want to bull-dozer ahead just yet with Maths and leave him still back at Yr2 level for English. I'd rather concentrate less on the maths and broaden our horizons a little :)

Today we learnt the (potted) history of Ireland; from the Celts (300BC) to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (1921) and the declaration of an Irish Republic in 1948 - yup - that was a long tough one, but some very interesting stuff there and it made the boys see that we 'English' are not always the good guys!! Didn't we do some nasty stuff to those Irish people back then in history - no wonder they hated us!! Anyway - not dwelling on politics, but I learnt loads today hand-in-hand with my boys :) I think I might remember more than them, but ...!

I think I might try and attempt some kind of 'lap-book' type thing for our studies of Ireland. That really would be adventurous for me. I'm trying to figure out HOW I might do it though!! Any of you done any 'lap booking' can give me some advice?

In History we are just reaching our studies of Egypt (having done 'UR' and Babylon briefly last week and made 'early' clay jars - which we still need to seal and paint). I'm really looking forward to having a good delve into Ancient Egypt :)

If you are all wondering WHY I haven't been around much it is basically that come the evenings I am spent on 'giving out' - so to blog takes too much brain work!! I have been busy vegging on e-bay buying far too many nappies for the new baby! I have decided that, bearing in mind I will have two babies in full-time nappies for at least 6 months (unless Ellie trains early like Boo did) and Boo still in them at night, life could get VERY expensive to keep using 'Nature Baby' disposables. SO, we need to go back to re-usables. I used to use Kooshies, but to be honest I never found them that fantastic, so I have been on a 'best nappy' hunt :) I have discovered MINKI nappies - and they are simply fantastic. I have NEVER successfully used re-usables at night but now I not only have Ellie back in them full-time daytime, but I have BOTH Ellie & Boo in them at night - with NO leaks and nice dry-to-touch bums in the morning!! I also really like WONDEROOS and I am about to try out Fuzzi-Bunz too. A friend of mine is selling me on her size 1 Tots-Bots for when the baby is newborn. The Wonderoos and Fuzzis can be used as wraps and as stuffables, so they will come to good use with the TotsBots :) I just like the idea of something I can use like an All-in-One for ease of Paul using it too. He seems to like the Minki's best as well :) Thank goodness for e-bay though. I can get them for half the price and they are still in great condition even though they are 2nd hand :)

The pregnancy is going fine. I'm getting fatter all the time and the baby is lovely and lively now ;) !! The children seem to be quite excited about the prospect of another brother/sister and Phoebe keeps saying "your baby out now?" in a questioning, yet demanding type way! and "your baby kick me!!" - not sure she appreciates that much!!

Anyway - that's my brief update and I shall TRY not to leave it so long next time. In the meantime I shall try to get round the blog-ring and visit you all over the next few days or so. I've given up e-bay for the next two days at least - I've spent all my money!!

I forgot to mention - we have our annual LEA visit on Thursday. I'm not at all worried - we have it in the bag!! :)

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Hi All. I wish I had the energy to blog properly, but I don't!! Suffice to say things are going reasonably well here, despite us all missing Paul loads!

Joel finished Singapore Maths 1A today and did some addition and subtraction without much help from me at all - he remembered the steps well - BIG sigh of relief :) And Jacob reached his first 'write a story' page in Just Write, which initially brought tears, but then he knuckled down for once and made a reasonable attempt for a pretty-much first go at story writing :) Not sure how he's going to feel when he sees that the next page is another 'write a story' page! He said to me today "But I've done this kind of thing before!" He seems to think that once he's done it once (which actually he really hasn't) he'll never have to do it again. I explained that yes a little, but he will be doing it more and more. Hopefully he won't be totally unprepared to write another story when it comes to it. Fortunatly it's not something we do every day, or even every week for that matter and I do know that it is not that unusual for a 7 year old boy to not be that enthusiastic about story writing!! Fact, figures and accounts of things - they go down better these days, so I try to build his 'essay' skills mostly that way instead. But I also want to help him devlop his imagination more and the Just Write is great for that, because it is so step-by-step, giving concrete tools for imaginitive writing.

Anyway - going to finish my chores now (load dish-washer, wipe down kitchen and d.table, quickly run hoover through ready for the group in the morning, fold the washing and put next load in dryer) and I REALLY need to go to bed!! This is why I am so tired!!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Very Quickly...

I was going to bed an hour ago, but two 'phone calls later...

Anyway, today we went out at 9am (how impressive is that!!) to run errands in town. We paid to many bills - when I eventually remembered my P.O. card account pin number to get the money out (pregnancy block!!). Bought Joel some new trainers which are just TOO cool, so he's a happy bunny :) Bought them both a cake in Chatwins and a pasty for me. Then put Joel's old shoes in the shoe recycle bin at Safeway and did a little bit of 'social ed' by making them read the sticker on the bin which explains what will be done with them. Then we went into Safeways where Jacob noticed the mountain of baskets stacked by the door.
J - "Look Mum, there must be about 60 baskets there!"
M - "No, a good few more than that I'd say."
J - " A hundred?"
M - "OK let's do some Maths - estimation - count the number of baskets in the middle size stack."
J - "24"
M - and how many stacks are there?"
J - "9."
M - "OK, so how many baskets are there?"
J - "24 x 9 ... I can't do that, it's too hard! And not all the stacks have 24 baskets in them so it won't be right."
M - " No, it will not be exactly right; it will be an estimation - a close guess. To work out the answer break down the numbers. 24 is 10 & 10 & 4 isn't it?"
J - " yes."
M - " so 10 x 9 ?"
J - "90 ... + another 90 that's 180"
M - " plus the 4 x 9..
J - "36... 180 + 36. That's 216. WOW!! That's a LOT of baskets. I was nowhere near when I said 60!!"

Maths lesson over - we had multiplication, addition and estimation covered in five minutes!!

As we really didn't do much more school today (about 30 mins just finishing off left-overs) I was pleased we had squeezed that in :)

Also while we were out today a lot of 'social' education happened. That is, me telling the boys what is and isn't acceptable behaviour in the street and any other public place for that matter, and how they should learn to walk along nicely like normal human beings, not leaping about and behaving like orangutans!! :)

Not much else to report today. The kids are still being really good at chores etc... :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Still Alive - honest!!

Well yes I am, but it has been really hard to get time to blog of late. Immediately following the Christmas madness it was another mad rush around here to get 'back to normal' - decorations down and packed away and the house cleaned down because Paul has had to go away for a whole month as part of his degree. It's a practical placement and he has gone to LLanelli (S.Wales) for it. I wanted the house clean before he left as I guessed that I might not get much time (or energy) to clean it whilst he was gone and at least with a clean slate it's easiER to keep it that way!! So we blitzed all week, as well as getting bits that we both needed in Crewe before he left and I was 'stranded' in Nantwich for the next month, unless I should choose to take 5 children on the bus - which of course I never would!!
SO, he left last Saturday morning and aside from missing his company and help, in the evening especially, life is actually trotting along quite nicely - I am amazed to say! I have made a couple of laminated charts. One is labelled "The Helping Mummy Chart" - which is basically a chores rota for all four of the older children. It includes tasks like emptying bins, hoovering the kitchen floor after lunch with a mini-Hoover, keeping their rooms tidy, helping tidy up at the end of the day, laying and clearing the table for tea, etc... - simple stuff, but so much help :) And so far it has worked a treat - no tantrums, no fuss, just reasonably happy helpers. I think because they can see that they each take a turn at things it make sit all seem so much fairer and keeping the boys separated at tidy-up time works well too because it seems to mean they get the job(s) done with a whole lot less fooling around and distracting each other. I just hope it keeps up for the whole month and maybe even becomes so much part of life that it carries on even once Paul is home. At the top of the chart I have written "A happy family is one where everyone works together and helps each other and a happy MUMMY keeps everyone happy!" - They like that :)
The other chart is a checklist of morning and evening "Must Do's" in the order they have to be done; get dressed, make beds, open curtains, have breakfast, get pencils, writing mat and ruler on the table ready for school, etc... This REALLY helps Jacob as he can just keep checking back to it. He is NOT good at retaining lists of things to do and this has cut down on my nagging him at least 75%! Joel on the other hand read the list on day 1 and has committed it to memory pretty much - and sticks to it very well. They are SO different! :)
There have been a few stressful moments, needless to say, like when Joel poured his whole drink of Ribena into his plate of fish and chips that he had not yet touched! He was really hungry too because he had been swimming, but that was all there was unless I'd given him my tea, which I wasn't about to do because had he used two hands instead of one to move his plate, his drink and his cutlery (all at the same time) it MIGHT not have happened & even much less likely if he hadn't been throwing a wobbly over having the 'wrong cutlery' - rrrr - but hey, he learned his lesson I hope ;) And then last night Phoebe dropped her pot of yoghurt upside down on the carpet in the lounge (our dining table is in the lounge)! And tonight 3 out of 5 made a fuss for one reason or other. Jacob wanted beans and Phoebe wanted spaghetti - each of them usually has the other, so I was a little annoyed, but just swapped them over and Joel was still making a fuss about not having his other cutlery (I have a feeling I have ditched the fork!). But we got over it and had a reasonably civil tea-time :)

School-wise; We started back this week (am I a glutton for punishment or what - starting back as Paul goes away?) and so far it's been fine. Jacob has been doing fractions. A year ago we touched on fractions. He just simply did NOT get it, he was tense and up-tight and in the end we left it and moved on feeling it was very much UN-mastered. Yesterday he turned the page to the 'Fractions' section of his Math book and his face filled with horror and dread, BUT he stepped in. To his and my delight it made absolute sense to him and he breezed through two 'chatty' bits and two exercises in no time and with no trouble at all :) He looked at me and said - "it must be because I am a whole year older now Mummy" - and I think he was very right on that; he was simply ready to assimilate what he was learning. We could have drilled and drilled on fractions a year ago and what would we have gained? I believe that actually the foundations were built a year ago and he was able to call on his previous attempts to understand it and with that and a year of practical 'life' under his belt (like cutting sandwiches and apples up!!) he simply 'gets' it now. Today he almost finished the section. I am one happy Mummy :)
Joel did some 'sticker book' maths including some additions and subtractions within 20 and got them all right with no blackboard in sight, so I'm hoping he did get it after all and we will have a similar experience with him as we just did with Jake when we come back to adding. At the moment we are doing Length & Weight, so that's more fun :)
Other than that we've done a bit of English and handwriting to get back in the swing of things. Jacob was doing 'Possessive Adjectives' and 'Possessive Pronouns' yesterday - do you know the difference? I had to look at the answer book so I do now! Apparently a PP comes before the noun and a PA comes after it :) This is my pen (pp). It used to be hers (pa). I definitely didn't learn that stuff when I was 7!! The material is actually designed for 8-9 years olds, but he gets it OK and understands it, so why not do it if he can?!
Today I had planned to do some Geography. We are going to look at Ireland these next few weeks. But a friend popped in for an hour (new to Nantwich and also home-schooling), so that got left for today and will probably wait until next week now, because the boys really want to do some History while the girls are out at playgroup tomorrow.(note-to-self; I must go get their clothes out before I go to bed). I also need to pay some bills, get a few bits of shopping and Joel needs new shoes in the morning. Hmmm - will there be enough time I wonder?! Probably not, there never is, is there!?
So that's us. I might not get chance to blog again for a few more days, but if you think of me - well think of me!!