We had a really good weekend with Katelyn. Though at home she is normally a whirlwind of mischievousness—she didn’t so much as cause a dust ball of mischief here. She was a real delight from the moment I picked her up on Thursday till we dropped her off on Sunday. She, and her sister Hannah, have the loveliest smiles. Kieran didn’t think we should bring her home—he wanted to keep her! She said she’d come back, but I need to put stars in her room—picky child! I know it was a relief in one way for my cousin for us to have her—but the hour separation is a bit much. I would have trouble letting my two go that far away. So we’ll try and help out whenever she has her chemo treatments.
We brought Katelyn to the kids’ music class and she really enjoyed it. She caught on quick enough and did all the dances and played the instruments very well for a first timer. The teacher was very understanding and treated her as part of the class and said we could bring her again. After that it was off to gymnastics and then back to the house for some play time.
As Lorraine was still ill on Saturday, she decided we should keep Katelyn for another night. The day started as such a rainy one, we decided to stay home. Michael and Kieran went to get more coal for the fireplace so we could have a fire in the afternoon. As with most rainy mornings where you think the day will be a wash-out, it cleared up at lunchtime. We decided to take the kids to the garden centre to get out of the house for a bit. Our garden centre has a huge blown up snowman which all the kids get excited about every time we pass it. I also knew Father Christmas was going to be there—which I didn’t mention.
We first took Katelyn to the pet shop to see the rabbits, and then to the fish shop. There are thousands of fish there—and they tried to see every single one. After that we wandered to the centre. They are all set up for Christmas inside and they had a great time looking at all the light displays.
When we finally made it outside they were stopped in there tracks when they saw the grotto for Father Christmas. The grotto had moving reindeer, badgers, squirrels and elves. The kids were enjoying them and were slow to explore. Finally they decided to move around the side to see the larger reindeers, which was closer to the hut. Hazel decided to take a peek into the hut, she had no idea what a Santa grotto was up to this point, and had the shock of her life. It was priceless!! She looked in, jumped back and walked very quickly to Michael & I with a look of pure amazement on her face and just said ‘It’s Father Christmas!!’ I said she could go in and say hello, but she’d only go with me, so of course I went. Katelyn and Kieran outright refused, even if we carried them. So in Hazel and I went.
She amused all the helpers and Father Christmas. He didn’t know what to do with a child who didn’t have a list of demands. My two haven’t yet figured out that kids can ask for toys. It also helps that they rarely see any TV and if they do, it is commercial free. She had a nice chat with him. Told him how she and I stayed up last year (till about 3am) to catch him. How she figured he must’ve been in a hurry last year because he didn’t eat all of his cookie and mince pie! Finally it came down to the time to pick out a toy. There was a great display of all sorts of toys. She had a choice between a wand that lights up, twin ballerina dolls (Barbie style), purses or a teddy bear china tea set. She chose the wand. (I was secretly praying she wouldn’t pick the dolls—we’ve been Barbie free so far!) Before we left though, she did ask if she could bring a toy for her brother—I was so proud of her!
Once we got outside—Kieran’s interest peaked a bit when he realized there might be a toy in there for him! This is a huge step over last year—when he cried and hid his face in my chest until we got out of the grotto—which we had just stepped into! So back in we went (to the tune of another £5.) for Kieran’s turn. He did chat a bit with Santa—but was too distracted by the toys. His choice was between some dinosaurs, a car pulling a rally car on a trailer, swords and another car. Well, the choice was made the second Father Christmas pushed the button on the rally car and it made noise. Kieran just took that one and practically ran out shouting thanks on the way.
While we were inside Hazel realized her wand set included play earrings. Though Michael explained to her they were clip-ons, it didn’t matter- she didn’t want them, and wanted to change toys. So I told her she had to ask and she did—explaining she doesn’t like earrings. The decision process started again—and I was so pleased the dolls weren’t chosen again—she picked the tea set. She has a larger set we usually put away, so she wanted one to keep out all the time. Good choice!
We then came home and finished making our home-made pizza with the kids for an early dinner. Katelyn had never done that before and enjoyed the process, and truly ate a good serving of pizza. Then the fire was started, the kids had their baths and then we all settled down to watch Strictly Comes Dancing. While the kids were in the bath I set up a living room snack party for them. I put their table and chairs in the living room, and set the table with ham sandwiches, banana chips, apple rings and milk cups. They were thrilled when they came downstairs to see that. Then we watched Strictly and then the kids went to bed, falling asleep before I got downstairs again. The nicest part was—no one woke up till 7:45am!
We left at about 11am to bring Katelyn home and stayed for about an hour. On the way back we decided to go to our first pub lunch in ages. I like good pub-lunches—those that are cooked fresh, but hate the smoky atmosphere in most pubs which is why we don’t go often. So we decided to go to one where we know they make really good lamb shanks. When we got there, the kids had their first taste of discrimination—no children allowed! They were outraged and couldn’t understand. I tried to explain that some children do misbehave in restaurants getting down and running around or having tantrums. The kids were just like—‘but WE don’t do that—so can’t we go in?’ Hard to explain that they are paying for other children’s bad behaviour! Anyway—we decided to try the Vine Inn in Hannington and it was very enjoyable. The meals were all great—the kids had roast beef, I had roast pork and Michael had Beef Bourguignon. We ended the meal by sharing two servings of apple crumble with fresh cream—delicious! Then home to a quiet night in by the fireside.