Saturday, December 26, 2009

Over a month…

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last blogged. It was a crazy month of kids stuff and Christmas stuff - much like in every other household around the world I’m sure.

The middlies did their LDG sharing evening - great fun :D

The younger ones went to a party in the village hall & saw Santa there - good fun :D

The big boys had their Scouts end of year family evening - also great fun :D

P & I went shopping together in Birmingham, thanks to P’s mum very kindly coming up for a few days to help us get out to get stuff without kids in tow (not sure what we’d have done otherwise!).

The Sunday School (JAM) did their Christmas production - The Egyptian Nativity  - and it was wonderful. A full 30 minute production this year with acting, reading, singing and dancing - BRILLIANT!

Our church opened it’s new Church Centre and had a Christmas Cracker evening of entertainment - brilliant fun :D Joel was drummer in the youth band for that (their debut performance) and Jake was in the youth play.

School-as-we-know-it was a seriously relaxed affair for at least thee weeks before Christmas (not that I see that as a problem) more because my head was else where and my heart was not in it tbh. I had a chat with the children to assess what they think of the workboxes and how I feel about it too. The general consensus was that they like it. For me, I often feel it is too much work at a weekend and in the evening preparing. So it’s been agreed that having a routine that basically works out like a ‘timetable-in-a-box’ is OK (because that is less prep for me and they apparently don’t really mind the same pattern of work each week), but I will only put in the ‘Essentials’ each day in the slots I want them in. Then THEY will fill the gaps each morning with stuff they want to do. This gives them a little bit more independence and autonomy (responsibility) in their learning. I have said they are only allowed two computer activities a day aside, unless it as online course they are doing as Bugs & Taz are doing. I did suggested tick boxes as some of my friends are doing, but they didn’t like that idea. They really seem to like the boxes - even on the harder days. They seemed to be saying to me that they like know what the expectation is each day. We discussed numbers of activities too and some children, it was agreed, work slower and therefore need less activities each day to make it doable for them.  I did explain that this might mean less fun stuff, as I cannot lessen the minimum of ‘essentials’ (or ‘normals’ as they are more commonly know!) So Lilo is going down to 6, Tweetie is dropping down to 8 and the others are sticking on 10 - fine by me :D It was a productive and positive conversation that made me feel I must be doing something right :D We also chatted about what each of them might like to learn about next term… I need to get busy printing when I get home!! I think Minnie has decided to take on a ‘Giant Pandas’ project and I am going to attempt either a farm animals, or a penguins one with the little ones - with all the snow and arctic conditions we have been having (and are expecting more of) I thought this might be quite appropriate!

Right now I am sitting in The Peak Centre in Edale, where we and all the rest of P’s family are celebrating Christmas. All have gone to bed except me. I am an owl and actually, even when I try to change my sleep patterns it does me no good - I actually feel more tired if I go to bed early! I’m so much better when I get my normal sleep pattern of  2am - 9am :D It just works for me!!

We arrived here on Wednesday. The drive up to here was actually fine (despite heavy snow the night before) and very beautiful - until we got to the drive of the Centre itself we were fine - and then we got stuck actually ON the drive and had to leave the car there till we could dig ourselves some road in the morning - by which time another couple of inches of snow had fallen. It’s really deep here - well, deep for me - about 7 inches or so I’d say! The rest of the family arrived Christmas Eve and conditions for them had not been so good, with thick fog coming over the tops, but they all got here fine and in time for a lovely snowball fight in the garden before dark :D We haven’t had anymore snow since then, but it’s all still out there and still pretty deep (despite some rain), so today we went for a family jaunt - a short snow trudge, but it was fun and good to get some fresh air. A few of us (myself, Uncle D & Maria, Bugs, Taz and DD (yes, my little 4yo trouper) decided to carry on round a bit longer route and extended our walk by about 40 mins or so, which was great. It was nice to chat to Maria more and David and I talked cameras too, so I enjoyed that!

All in all it’s been a lovely Christmas (so far). I must admit I had my fears and was a little worried how I would cope with this, but it’s been far better than I expected. P’s family are very different to how I was raised and how I think, but I think in our adult lives we are all able to accept our differences that little bit better than maybe we once could.  There have been some things I have really struggled with  though (like not putting all the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve for the children to come down to in the morning ).  We never open our presents until after lunch (except for a few bits in stockings in the morning before church), but P’s family don’t even put the presents around the tree until after lunch, just before they hand them all out, which seems VERY strange to me and I felt very sad to go to bed on Christmas Eve leaving the tree looking so ‘empty’ :( I really struggled to get up on Christmas morning as a result - it just did not feel the same to me! I wanted so badly to just go home! But get up I did (eventually) and the rest of the day was OK - although I was not as chirpy as I might have been! I have a tendency to sulk and when things really hurt these sulks can take a long time to settle out. That’s just the way I am I’m afraid.  That said, all but one of my children took it on the chin and in the end they ALL had a fabulous day, and after all it was always more about them than ME anyway!

Pictures on the 365 when I’ve posted some up!

David and Maria go home tomorrow, us and the others are here till Monday - then it’s clear up and head home before the next BIG FREEZE that is apparently on it’s way! :D

HAPPY CHRISTMAS everyone - and if I don’t blog again before it - HAPPY NEW YEAR  too!!


Sheri said...

Glad you had a moment to post-and well, not doing the gifts under the tree kinda zaps the whole excitement of it all-we do the Christmas Eve presents under the tree even if we are comatose and barely able to see b/cuz we are doing it at 4 am! LOL.

The workbox discussion seems to have yielded some great insight for you about how the kids want to do it! I say, that is awesome. Cheery-O on tweaking it to fit your lives! A lot of folks keep the same things in the particular boxes, but the pages change, etc. and then have the few different ones to add a wee bit of excitement, so you are not alone. Keep us posted how that works out-I have implemented a weekly schedule book, that I just figure out on Friday evening or Sat. afternoon-then just fill the boxes accordingly (altho what I am putting in them is another story, I have to still write that out in advance which is my new "must do" this coming semester)....
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!
God Bless.

Michelle said...

I too struggle with Christmas not being the way I think it should be! Bit my way or no way I'm afraid.

It is nice to be with family though. Glad you had a good Christmas anyway - and Happy New Year too!