We’ve had a very busy week last week, with another one to come. As to colds—mine is still hanging around, but it’s definitely bearable. I don’t get as ill all year long with colds-or ear infections, strep throat, bronchitis or pneumonia the way I used to back home—one plus for living here. I have always had a cold for a few weeks every autumn—this is the one thing I haven’t shaken since being here—but this year it hasn’t developed much beyond a common cold, so nothing to complain about. Michael did have it last week, and was off Mon-Wed. So Monday and Tuesday were spent playing, reading, kakuro(M), sudoko (Me) and just relaxing by the fire. (I’ll go off the path here—we had a new solid fuel fireplace put in last year, which we never used due to our minor/major separation last year—so Michael is making up for it now—I thought we’d light a fire every once in awhile—it’s been almost daily for three weeks now. I’m loving it, but it’s going to cost a fortune! We’ll have to go scavenging for wood soon!)
Last Wednesday (as I didn’t think we were contagious) we went to a new HE meet up for the 1st time. We went to a different one twice last year—but I hate driving to where it’s located so that’s a big drawback, but it also conflicts with gymnastics so it’s not very doable for the foreseeable future. We might try their sports session next January as Kieran will be old enough, but we’ll have to see. Anyway, on Wednesday we meet a nice group of people, but I can’t see myself doing this other than once every other blue-moon or so. It’s good to put a few faces with the names—but I hate meeting up in halls. The acoustics are terrible and I have trouble hearing in those rooms, they are also a bit too chaotic for Kieran and I—and it really just isn’t my cup of tea. I think the other thing is—the kids and I aren’t in need of other company. We have our outings, they have their clubs, they see there cousins at least every other week and a few local friends round once in awhile. They never ask to play with anyone else—they are so content with each other. Which at their ages, I’d say was enough. Though of course, I know this may change in the future, and it is good to have contacts in the local HE community. I’d just rather do it at someone’s house or at a meet up- somewhere like a park. But I guess we need to go to a few meetings to make the contacts. So—after all that—we’ll be going to one, possible two halls next week to meet up with some families we met last week to see if anything clicks. I’ll have to see if Kieran can handle two—he really doesn’t like the loudness or chaos. My two don’t ever just ‘run wild’ and don’t understand it. They understand games like tag—but wild abandon is just not in their genetic make-up!
Michael was going to drop us off and go to the shops for a bit, but decided to stay. He likes to see what everything’s like. He is such a strong supporter of HE now. His introduction to HE was a case of me telling him we’d never send our unborn child to nursery, preschool or preferably no schools until university. He said at the time ‘ok to no school until seven, and then we’ll see’ to saying a couple years ago he’d never let them go to school. I get a kick about how proud he is of ‘our’ decision to HE. He just marvels about how much they learn through life. I wouldn’t have said we were ‘unschoolers’, but so far we have been—and wow—it really works! We are going to get more structured, especially as the kids are asking how to do things more every day. Hazel is just taking off with things and is always trying to copy words, trying to spell things out. So, time to give her some more structure. Michael came home from work today to say one of his colleagues asked if we started the children’s tuition yet. He said he just had to laugh and said ‘no—it just all happens’, much to the man’s bewilderment. Just think about it—HE baffles rocket-scientist! I guess it has really dawned on Michael how amazing a route we’ve chosen. We have made it official as Hazel will be 5 next month, and have joined the EO.
OK—back to the weekly roundup! Thursday was ballet, and then home to do all the laundry as we were going away for a long weekend. Friday was a rainy day and as I didn’t feel like being drenched for the day, we skipped music and just did gymnastics for Kieran. Hazel was asked to demonstrate things for the class—which she was pleased with. Back home for some last minute arrangements—and I’m proud to say we were packed before 6:30pm. Saturday morning was Hazel’s ballet—and we headed north after that. It’s the 1st time in ages I was at her ballet class. Michael took Kieran for a haircut during the lesson. When they were done, they came back and he and another dad came into the waiting room with their boys (Kieran’s friend Ben)—it was funny how quickly a room full of women can change a topic! They had been discussing their birthing experiences and the local midwives quite animatedly until the door opened—the guys weren’t in the room when the topic was changed as if they’d been talking about holidays the whole time!
So, northward bound we were. I decided we’d pay a visit to the in-laws. Well—I really wanted to drive to the Peak District to a great book shop—so that was my way of making Michael agree to a 6 hour round trip visit to a bookshop! We left right after ballet and stopped for lunch at Trentham Gardens. We spent almost two hours there having lunch and wandering through the shops. It is a large place and has some lovely gardens, which we’ll stay and explore more another time. We don’t do fast food so we like looking for other places to stop off—this was one I liked. Then back on the road to his folks. We had a nice dinner with them and his Gran stopped by for a few minutes before we had to go to the hotel. They aren’t used to children with bed-times, never mind early ones. So we do get a bit annoyed with her for not coming sooner—but what can you do?
His cousin from Sheffield was going to be visiting her folks and her sister on Sunday, so we managed to get there for two hours on Sunday. I like that side of the family! Plus, the kids are all similar ages (Matthew is 3.5, Danielle was just 4, and Jack is 1) and play well together. His aunt is a trip, and there dad is quiet but lovely. The sisters get along really well and there’s always something to chat about.
After that we headed to the bowling alley to meet up with Michael’s brother and sister and their families. The kids all played a game, with Hazel winning—with the aid of a ramp and bumpers! It was all we saw of his brother and nieces. We told them weeks ago we’d be up, so what do they do-they planned a sleepover Saturday night for when his girls were at his house. So basically we saw them for an hour at a bowling alley—yeah, that was worth the drive. See, I still think just going to the bookstore was a good idea! Anyway-we went back to his parents for dinner with them and his Gran, and then to the hotel early as the kids were tired.
Monday was a lovely day, so we had a good dive to the Peak District. We stopped for lunch in Buxton, and then headed to the bookstore in the next town. They have a small play area with legos, which let me be able to browse for almost two hours-bliss! We wandered home after that and had a quick dinner of cereal and toast. It was an early night for all.
On Tuesday Victoria was here for the morning. She was in top form and was fun to have round. Kieran gets a bit jealous when she doesn’t pay him enough attention—but this week was fine as she was all for learning how to play tigers with him this week and trying to bite my ankles.
Today we did a major food shop and had a chat with my neighbour outside when we came home. They are heading away Saturday for six weeks so she wanted to know if she could br
ing round their birthday presents. So I asked her in for a cup of tea. She needed a few minutes to finish her lawn work—giving me just enough time to spruce the place up a bit! We had a lovely visit, and they really enjoyed their gifts—Four in a Row (Connect 4) and Build a Beetle. When she left I prepared the dinner (Baked Ziti) and put it in the oven, I showed the kids how to play Connect 4. After dinner we all played Build a Beetle in front of a roaring fire.
Tomorrow, after ballet, we are going to my cousins to pick up her youngest. My cousin is having chemo on Friday; she has what seems to be advanced stomach cancer, so we’ll have Katie stay with us for possibly most of the weekend. I don’t know if we’ll be bringing the oldest, as she’s in school full time (at 4yrs old!) or if she’ll just go to her grandparents after school on Friday. If they can’t have her, Michael will go get her either Friday night or Saturday. My car won’t handle four car seats and I won’t do that drive at night. I only found out that the grandparents haven’t been helping out very much—which I had assumed they were doing. Now, I’m closer to my aunts’ age than my cousins, so they aren’t very old grandparents by any stretch of the imagination-so I can’t see how they’d be too tired to pop round and see how she was coping or take the kids for the weekend. It is her third cancer treatment this year—first was cervical, second was bone, and now this. I just wished she lived a bit closer, she’s a good hour away from us, so I could do more. Sometimes I despair about how people treat each other.
So we’re getting a bit of a whirlwind in Katie—she’s a WILD one—so unlike mine. She can knock over every book on a bookshelf just by looking at it—so wish me luck! As I said to Michael—the good side is she has a lovely smile, is very loving and has a good personality and goes to bed early—I can deal with the rest for a few days. If we have both of them, I might just need a drink Saturday night! They are even worse as a team!
Overheard today while they were setting up a shop:
K: Hazel, I want to be the doer
H: No, I want to be the doer
K: Please Hazel; I want to be the doer
H: OK—you can be the doer
Me: What’s a doer?
H: You know mommy, when someone does something or is doing something, they are the doer.
Me: Well, ok then!
I’d say that that was a fairly correct usage and definition of the word.