Thursday, January 16, 2014


...It's hard to believe it is already the middle of January and I haven't blogged since Lilo's birthday ~ that's Chip's 3rd Birthday and the whole of Christmas missed!

December was not as smooth and exciting as I usually like it to be. We had things planned that just didn't happen for one reason or another. One of those was a day-trip to London. Minnie was meant to be meeting up with some other H'Ed children and having a day at the Opera, seeing Carmen. I was taking her, along with Taz, TP & Minnie, and we were going to make a day of it ~ visit Harrods, Hamley's, maybe Selfridges, pick up Minnie and go to see the lights in Oxford and Regents St, buy chestnuts from the street sellers and maybe see the Christmas markets in Hyde Park ~ we were all really looking forward to it... BUT the night before we were going I was very sick :( I would have forced myself to go (though in hindsight that would have been stupid), but Minnie was also sick in the morning and so was Joel! So, that was that, no London outing this Christmas :( I rang Qjump from my sick-bed and managed to get the majority of the train fare refunded (THANKFULLY), so had hoped to possibly make the trip between Christmas and New Year, but by then the money was gone again and the time was never really available either ... maybe next year then!

Minnie took a couple of days to pick up after the bug, and gradually everyone but Bugs and TP came down with it in one form or another. Not all were sick, but all definitely had dodgy tummies! Some got over it in a blink, a couple had it twice (!) and I just took forever to feel right again. Every time I ate anything I felt immediately sick, so was having to eat little and not to often. It was not until about New Year that I felt properly well again. 

  Not being well for 2 out of 4 weeks of December, just threw everything for me. I had a shed-load of photography work to do: I had done a charity shoot in November that I still needed to finish editing, but I also did an engagement shoot in November, for which I then had various things to do that were new to me and took more time than an average editing batch. However, I enjoyed the challenge and my customers were chuffed with the outcomes :D. 
  Aside from that, of course, I had to make sure all the family gifts were bought and delivered here in time, which involved more than a few hours on Amazon and other sites! Blogging really just fell to the bottom of my priority list :(

So, in some way, I shall try to attempt to get this blog up to date and, for those of you so inclined to view, I've included slideshows!!

Chip's Birthday...
  ...was a lovely relaxed day; opening presents in the morning, all of which he loved and then going bowling in the afternoon. To begin with, at the alley, he decided it was his party...and he'd refuse to join in if he wanted! We didn't make a fuss though and, thankfully, before very long he was really having fun :D He's a funny little man! You can never be 100% certain that he is going to be game for anything ~ even the things you know he usually enjoys. Anyway, on this occasion it all ended happily with no massive tantrums (phew). 
  After bowling we took a trip to Tesco to pick-a-pizza each. Some of us had customised pizza made, and the children were fascinated by watching the shrink-wrap go on! 
  It seemed funny to think back to the days when I was 17, doing my 'A' Levels and that was exactly my job ~ to make pizza (in Asda) for the morning's shelf stock 3 nights a week, and 'to-order' for the customers on a Saturday. I remember the job with mixed feelings, but it paid my rent!

Get the flash player here:

Christmas Day...
  ...was wonderful this year. It was a bit of a frugal year, but despite that I think all the children got what they asked for (they were encouraged to ask for less), or at least almost everything they received they were really pleased with. 
  The day began around 7.30am. The children had been up a bit already, but not ridiculously long, and had opened their stocking gifts, then mingled amongst themselves sharing their excitement. Eventually I called them in to 'show us' what they had ~ and they all piled in to our room with their goodies :D I think that may be one of my favourite parts of Christmas Day!
  After breakfast, it was time to set off for church. It's only a short service on Christmas day, and often a quiet one, but this year the church was full :D The children love showing everyone their new toys ~ as do some of the adults!! DD especially stole the show this year, with his flying, Tarzan-calling, sock monkey.
  When we got home, we opened a game ~ this year it was 'Dobble' - as I knew it would be quick to learn and keep them all entertained for a while. Together with 'Pixit', which Lilo had opened in the morning, that worked really well while my wonderful husband put the dinner together.
  This year Minnie was very much part of the team, helping set the table up ready for the feast. I love this part of Christmas too ~ there is something very lovely about having a pretty table. I'd do it more often, but it's simply not practical: candles and small children (or boisterous 6 year-olds) are not the safest combination, but I'm happy to take the risk just once a year! 
  Once the feast was eaten ~ and no-one had room for ANY pudding! ~ we did a quick tidy up before settling down to the business of opening the rest of the present mountain! At this point Chip was crashed out (he did that last year too ~ I think the excitement exhausts him!) so we made a relatively calm and collected start to it all. By the time he woke up the rest of the children were nearing the end of theirs, so he became the centre of attention for a while, which was nice for him :D
  Then of course, it was time to eat again! No-one was VERY hungry, but we all forced a little food down and even some pudding this time! I think it was eventually about 10pm before the children started heading up to bed, but it was an altogether LOVELY day, with lots of fun and laughter along the way.

Get the flash player here:

Boxing Day;
  It's fast becoming a family tradition to have all of Paul's family here on Boxing Day. We have the room and his two sisters only have to travel from Birmingham, so it's not too far either. Usually Paul's parents are staying with one of us 'northerners' too, so it's easy enough for them to join in, and this year Paul's brother, David, was also up for Christmas with his son (B). So cumulatively there were 23 of us here on Boxing Day! We all love being together and the children just have a ball. The only dampener on the day was the fact that both Gareth (b-i-l) and myself were feeling pretty icky. I had not fully recovered from the stomach bug I'd had almost 2 weeks prior (and having eaten so much the day before was suffering for it) and Gareth was also suffering from the same bug I think. Neither of us ate much (although there was plenty on offer) and both of us moped a bit in separate corners most of the day, but we enjoyed watching the day pass by, with lots of laughter and yet more gift sharing :D. 
  Around 7pm Paul's sisters were beginning to think about going home, when cousin 'T' came running into the room with his hand over his mouth and proceeded to spew violently - everywhere, quite a few times ~ right threw my lounge and all the way through the kitchen, to the downstairs loo ~ leaving quite a trail behind him!! Poor Gareth (his Dad), was the first on hand and it was all he could do not to add to the mess! SO, after that, once T had been lent some fresh PJ's, all the visitors grabbed their stuff and left rather promptly! Nothing like a dramatic end to a visit ;-)

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New Year...
   ...we asked a bunch of friends over to have a bit of a party. It was a lot of fun and it was nice to see the year in with more than just family this year.  All the children were allowed to stay up and all but Chip made it to midnight! He flaked out about 11.30pm!  Once midnight had passed the smaller chids were sent upstairs, but it was a while before people left and the bigger chids went up. By the time everyone left I think it was about 1.30am, but I was too awake to go to bed, so I sat and chilled on my phone for about another hour just to wind down!
  On NY's Day we asked another family over to play games. They had been unable to make it for the party, but they are a family who LOVE games like we do, so having them over was great. They brought their new games too ('Jungle Speed' and 'Kabeleo') and we played an eclectic mix of fast and fun, and more thoughtful games ALL AFTERNOON! I think we'd have played all evening too, but we were all getting a bit tired by about 8pm ~ and I didn't take a SINGLE picture!! Definitely one to do again though :D

So, that was Christmas... next blog will be life since then!!

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