Tuesday, April 28, 2009

30 Boxes packed...

... and many more to go!

I cannot believe how much stuff we have - well no - actually I can - that's why we are moving!!

The kids are being great actually. They are so excited and of course not too worried that school is not happening normally ;)

Despite the endless packing, school does not feel like a total loss. The morning began with Carcassonne - the five eldest played (E teamed-up with A). Then all the children used ed City in varying amounts. Joel passed his Test B (third time) with 86% . Needs to redo Test A and polish up his Mental Maths on there - that should keep him busy for a few days! I'm going to have to be really creative when we are UNpacking as we won't have internet for about a fortnight - how WILL I cope?! 

Some of our toys already have their own boxes that don't need further packing, so the Duplo was brought out today for Nat, but everyone wanted to play with it - of course! It was good for Caleb to play with this for a while too. 

Lots of 'Mummy' play going on too, which I love watching. I've put some bigger photos over on my 365, but here's some snap-shots of our day :D



Friday, April 24, 2009

And the House goes To...

... The FrogAcademy / Wellyboots Tribe!! 

Yup!!! - We got the house today, so tomorrow we go to sign papers and hand over FAR too much money (deposit, months rent and EA fees!) - and we have decided to move on the 15th May. That gives us a week to clean up here when empty, a week to sort out there with the kids mostly away (camps and family visiting) - although we do have 2 nights away ourselves planned in that time - and then we are all away as a family the following week at the Elim conference in Prestatyn. Then back to more sorting and trying to establish some semblance of normality in our lives again. I HATE moving, but this time I am VERY excited because I know the new house is going to afford us SO much more space to live, work and play with and without each other - and that's what we ALL need ;D

So for those of you that were praying for us - A BIG THANKYOU - keep it up :D

We are going to take the kids to see it next Friday afternoon. I think they are going to be bowled away. We need to 'room plan' iyknim, but they can run in the garden while we do that - it's lovely and big! :)

My other big news of the day is that I have been invited to take photos of my friend's little girl for her dedication in a few weeks time (like Christening, but without any water..!), and of my other freind's baby when he/she arrives any time soon - due Tuesday! OOOh - am I soo excited - I get to take little newborn shots and make memories for some friends :D How cool is that!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Non-Book day - ermmm - well...

...more of a non anything day really. We don't seem to quite have a handle on this 'back to school' thing atm - the sunshine is too irresistible and no-one wants to be inside! Ah well - I guess it's OK - we could be packing up the house next week and for the next month, so I'm sure not much schooling will happen these next couple of months anyway - and then it will be summer holidays and we can start afresh in September - new house, new space, new system - I hope!!

So today began with them all doing some quiet reading. Phoebe's book of choice atm is he Bible :D. Then the rest of the day consisted mainly of bouncing on th etrampoline (PE - check) and yet more bubbles (maths, science, creativity, exercise - all check), only this time with sugar added (makes the bubbles last longer) and the mixture did make it possible to get a LOT more big floaty ones, and multi ones, even up to 5 all joined together a few times. The boys invented games with them - mostly a war game, where, dependent on the size of the bubble it was either an aircraft bomber, a bomb, or a nuclear bomb and when it exploded, and with what velocity that explosion happened, determined the damage caused to the opponents location! Nothing but creative anyway :D. The many wands today were constructed not only using Zome (which I have now ordered more of, but could only find in the USA in decent quantities), but also using Knex. It worked just as well tbh, but was a bit more complicated to get more than flat shapes from for the littlies. That's the lovely thing about Zome - it really is soooo easy to use - even for Ellie. I think the best result we got today - in terms of huge-ness - came from the  big, flat rectangle that Jake built. It made like a sheet of bubble which then created the biggest bubbles!
Some other activities DID happen today though - only more spontaneously than usual: The big girls did some beading, making beaded keyrings for the girls next door, one of whom has just turned 8. Abs thought quite carefully about her patterning (maths- check). Abbie also made a card for her - completely by herself (Art/craft - check) :D. Ellie caught up on her Headsprout reading books (we had a few to do) and although she does need to re-read them and practice them, she is doing pretty well actually, when her memory works to full pelt! And When it was getting cooler in the garden I did persuade the boys to do some 'homework' (my word for finishing off stuff, or doing stuff they should have already done earlier!). Jake did a lesson on Conquer Maths and Joel finished of Literacy Yr6 on Ed City (he is actually only 'in' Yr5, so he is plenty ahead)! He has actually almost finished the Yr5 maths on there too, I just want him to up his results in the tests. He got 77% and 69% (test B) on his first try (that's a good Level 4 in SATS terms), so it shouldn't be too hard to improve. I'd like him to get 80% on at least one before I put him up to Yr6 Maths. Science - well it's not his forte and he's only about half way through, but I think with a little time and effort he would catch up with that too - maybe with all this time when I am going to be packing boxes that's something for him to work on. I can see ED City being worth it's weight/cost in gold in the coming weeks...

Nat's first for the day was pushing E's doll pram part-way home from playgroup - very cute!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Firsts...

Sometimes I wonder where my little baby is going - he suddenly seems to be mastering new things each day. I guess it will be using the potty next!

Today's first were drinking from a cup (at his request) and holding himself (avec nappy) and saying 'wee wee' whilst sautering off to the downstairs loo! Oh - and eating a slice of apple!

Morning school pottled along while I busied myself in the study making labels for our new Workbox System (soon to be implemented). Afternoon school was supposed to me History (Romans) and Maths ( Singapore MPH), but our printer is not happy with its refilled ink and won't print the materials I need atm + the sun was shining and we all just wanted to be outside. A game of Carcassonne was suggested, but not warmly received by all (some, but not all - mostly coz it was so nice out) and they had been playing bubbles (again) over lunch, so a brain wave came over me - happens rarely you might know! I almost caved to their pleas to not 'do school' - I just made it feel  like we weren't. I collected the 'Zome' and proceded to make a cube in an attempt to recreate this - it worked once - and that was enough - they were hooked! They then spent the next 2-3 hours playing with Zome and bubble mix (just plain ol' Fairy liquid and water 1:4). They learnt the word 'bubbleology' and instantly declared themselves to be such scientists! Mid afternoon I asked them to tell me what they were learning. Their responses were (as best I can remember them - I just wish I would remember to record on my phone when I ask these questions!); 
  • "Triangles are harder to get good bubbles from, but 3D shapes are good." (Abbie)
  • "House shapes and hexagony shapes work the best, but squares are quite good too." (Joel)
  • "Double shapes with big spaces make great double bubbles, but if the spaces are too small the bubble just goes in together." (Phoebe)
  • "If the mix is too thin or too thick they just pop all the time." (Jake)
  • "You can make bubble mix with washing-up liquid." (Phoebe)
  • "Whatever shape we make they always go to round." (Phoebe & Joel)
  • "Sometimes they are so big they are all wiggly." (Joel)
  • "The bigger they get the harder it is to get them to float." (Jake)
Not bad for an afternoon's fun :D. Check out all the pictures on my Picasa album. (click at the bottom of the oage), but here's a few of the best ones to pretty up the blog :D.

iHeartFaces - Sharing Photography of Faces: Blurb Book Photo Contest & Giveaway

iHeartFaces - Sharing Photography of Faces: Blurb Book Photo Contest & Giveaway

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leaps and Bounds

You know how sometimes life just passes by and nothing much happens - well today has NOT been one of those days :D

Nat achieved some firsts today - first walking on a wall, first blowing of a dandelion clock, first bubbles blown & first putting two words together ("more bubble"). 

I know some of those don't seem very major, but they are still worth noting.

First day back today too - morning went fine, afternoon went pear-shaped! Well, that's not really fair, it only really went pear-shaped for Jacob as he had melt down over his science - again! He simply does not 'get' how to think like a scientist. I am so tempted to forget the whole thing and just look at stuff as and when it becomes relavent to him. What do you think? Should I persist, or give it up as a lost cause? Is it really worth the upset time and again? He finds it so hard to verbalise concepts in a short concise way that don't sound like telling a story. He struggles to 'hypothesise' in any way at all and drawing conclusions is even worse! Do I just stick at it - even though I know in my heart there is no chance of him ever doing a scientific job - just because I 'should', or what do I do? Help!!

Other than that there were some lovely moments spent together in the garden today - where Phoebe's little digital weather station measured 41 celcius (static in the sun)! It really was VERY warm, even if it wasn't quite that hot! We did LOTS of bubble blowing today and then didn't want to go back inside again, so we moved school outside after lunch. I am so looking forward to being able to have outside/inside school in our new house (still hopeful). 

Landlords came round this evening to do a visual inspection. They seemed happy enough so hopefully they will write us a good reference and we will be away!!

Lots of photos (in a collage) over at my 365, but here's a few to appease - as always click to see bigger :D
Jake took some amazing Self-portrait shots today too, so I'll post up a link when he puts them on his blog.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Haircuts & Stuff

Well I guess it might be a Spring thing, but my littlies all needed a mop-chop so here are some B&A’s (click to see bigger).  N&C visited the barbers. Caleb LOVES the barbers and gets really excited. Nat was not so sure and clung to me rather like a limpet to the point where I was rather hairy when we left! E's I did myself - I can do bobs - I had lots of practice in my teens when a friend and I used to cut each others all the time :D

Caleb had a Speech Therapy appointment last week. She said he is doing well, but there is definitely still some delay (which I knew) and she is keeping him on the books for now. He will get another appointment in 3 months time. His basic speech is developing slowly, but he needs to really work on getting grammatical words in his sentences and endings such as ‘ing’ and ‘ed’ added onto his verbs (which considering he had no verbs a year ago is good progress).

We STILL don’t know if we are moving house yet. Understandably the landlord-to-be requested a reference from our current landlord (annoyingly AFTER all other paper work was in), but we have been unable to get it this week as they have been away on holiday. I’m hoping that we will be able to get it all sorted this week and know for sure – and move in a month from now :D THIS is the house  that we have applied for (unfurnished though). It is gorgeous and ticks every box imaginable. I don’t how long we will be able to be there for, or indeed how long we will remain where we are geographically, but whatever it takes to get out of this sardine tin (as that’s how it feels now) I really don’t care!

Back to school tomorrow. Looking forward to it in some ways, not in others. It always seems harder to concentrate when the sun in shining and this holiday has been so relaxed and easy I don’t really want it to end. The routine can feel such a driving force at times. I like getting off now and then, but it’s hard to get back on again. The kids are a bit tired though – LOADS of really late nights and sleep overs with friends (here and there). Normal life might seem a bit boring after all that.

I am looking into a new system of structuring our school-life. Check it out… I’m not sure how it’s going to work out logistically for us yet, but I feel I need something to help me out, after all Caleb will be joining us in September and I really feel I need to put some kind of structure into the littlies education too (not rigid or harsh, but present at least!). Besides the fact that Nat will not be attending Playgroup if we move to that house. It is too far, without a car, to take him everyday to the one we have used since Joel was small :(, and sadly too far really to the village one to do two trips there & back a day without a car (about a mile and a half probably – one way). I know we have a bus…but I still can’t drive! MAYBE this might be the year I learn – who knows! And if I do, Paul might just have to take to his biketo work again, so that I can have the bus in the day times ;) He’s not too enamoured by this idea – he even threatened to learn to ride a motorbike – there’s no way I’m letting him though! We simply can’t afford to run two cars whatever, so the bike might just have to become a reality for him if driving does become a reality for me – which is actually still very unlikely (hehe)!

Lastly... I started a 365 Year In Pictures blog tonight - all followers welcome :D

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Behind again...

...But below is a link to some photo's from today. I have my Nan, Aunty and cousin S (13) staying for a few days over Easter, so today we went into Audlem and walked a little way along the Shropshire Union Canal. We had a pub lunch from the Shroppie Fly (gorgeous!!), the sun shone and I took LOTS of pictures!! I am working hard at improving my photography and am beginning to see the fruit of that. The pics are mainly portraits (as that's what I am working on the most atm), but there are some pretty scenery shots too. I'm sorry for those of you who had a day of rain, but as you will see, we most certainly had not a drop! :) The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves, hopping back and forth across the lochs and helping open the gates for the narrow boats to pass through. It proved to be a fairly educational day too, as none of them had ever seen a working canal before and I think they learnt quite a bit about how they operate - while I stood back and let it all sink in :)

Audlem Canal (Easter 09)