Where does the time go?

I have almost no idea where to begin, as once again I’ve left it far too long for an update. My excuse as always is that we’ve been busy—but I don’t think we’ve been that busy!

There are many highlights of the last month, but the best one is that on the 8th we had a SECOND snow fall! The 1st time in six years we’ve had two snow falls in one winter. It was almost two inches and we did manage a fairly tall snowman. Well, Michael and Kieran did. Kieran also built a snow hat for him—needless to say that’s why the snowman isn’t dressed up for the photos. Kieran also gave him ears, one with a phone attached to it. I was so excited about actually putting real coal on a snowman for the 1st time ever—but the coal wouldn’t stay on, so the eyes and buttons are coal smudges. Hazel remembered seeing kids on a video making snow angels once, and had a go at it–it was fun to see her enjoying it! As typical for our snowfalls here- it had all disappeared by noon so I’m glad we were out early to enjoy it.

Another good thing has been we’ve finally installed a living room floor, a real proper one, instead of two really old, yucky unmatched carpets. Three years ago when we knocked the wall down to open up the rooms we didn’t replace the flooring. I wasn’t thrilled with how things looked, so almost a year later we knocked down another wall. Then I wanted to get rid of the chimney breast in the old dining room—which took almost another year or so to convince Michael that we should do it. That man has a real problem with changes!! So we finally finished the room layouts—then we had the difficult search for a floor we both liked. But it was found in December and installed in January. It makes a huge difference—as Hazel said- it looks like one room now. So when she said that, I knew we finally achieved the look I wanted. Now to convince him the kitchen floor should be changed! 🙂

The other major news is that Kieran passed his speech evaluation without a need for a follow-up. I wasn’t worried too much about it—I just thought we’d have to work on a few sound combinations, but he’s fine. He passed all the ‘tests’ and was quite charming while we were there. The major thing to help with his speech is for me to slow mine down for him to copy! She was quick to note that I was the one with the real problem! Kieran only seems to have trouble when he talks too rapidly—like me! He can pronounce all the sounds fine on their own. This basically means his tongue-tie hasn’t produced any major problems.

And the major fun event of the month was Valentines. We had the usual paper-chains to decorate downstairs with. They also each made a heart wreath and some pictures using heart shapes that they created. The fun part for them was that I actually let them paint in the house and hang the pictures up wherever they wanted to. Michael thought I must’ve been ill to let them do that! Oh well—I need to let them do a bit more their own way. As to the day itself- Michael took the day off to spend it with me—how romantic! We started the day with gifts in bed—any reason to have chocolate in the morning will do for H & K!! Michael cooked a lovely breakfast for everyone and then we baked heart shaped ginger biscuits in the morning before heading out. We took a drive out to a village we pass all the time, but never stop in. We had a great lunch followed by dessert that we let the kids pick out. (See-I’m letting them do everything these days!) Hazel picked out a chocolate cake and Kieran picked a fruit cake—both very nice! A nice day was had by all!

We’ve done all the kids regular classes this past month, except for one week off for half-term. They are really enjoying everything. Their recorder and French teachers both seemed impressed. Hazel is just a tad more verbal in French class, but Kieran is coping quite well. He had a major break-through yesterday. He looked at me and was just amazed the ‘un’ in French meant one and that ‘deux’ meant two. Now mind you—he’s been counting to ten in French for almost 2 months now, and can count objects using French numbers—so he knows he’s ‘counting’ when he does that. He just never put it together before! I had no idea he didn’t realize that the words meant the same thing. Ballet has been non-existent for Hazel for almost a month now as that teacher takes two weeks off for half-term, and she cancelled this past Saturday. Hazel hasn’t been asking about it too much—which really makes me convinced she’s a bit bored doing the same routine over and over again. I’ll have to look into a new one for both of them. She is trying to do cart-wheels in gymnastics—she’s catching on to this very slowly for her, but she keeps trying!

We have gotten into a fairly regular educational pattern here. They have both been doing workbooks and worksheets this past month, and are still enjoying it very much. Kieran will not want to colour things which is fine with me—but generally tends to get excited about what’s on the next page. There are times when I have to limit both of them. Hazel has started to sound out words in the past two weeks. She did really well today with some short ‘a’ words. Kieran is doing well with his name and his numbers. There are still the odd back-wards numbers, but he has the ideas.

The kids went to a birthday party at the beginning of February. I have to say it was tons of fun! Michael and I both went and enjoyed it immensely. The girl, Leigh, is also in Hazel’s ballet class. She has a younger brother, Ben, who comes every week and he and Kieran have played really well together (they came to Kieran’s’ party). Anyway—it was in their local school and was very well organized. The grandmother should be hired out as a kids party organizer. She had them playing all sorts of games-and by the rules, or else! Both kids enjoyed themselves and both won a game—Kieran won fishing and Hazel won the pin-the –nose on the clown game. It was the first party we’ve been to like that. The kids played with each other, were divvied up into groups to play different games, and every one won a nice prize. The funny part was Kieran and Ben had the same shirts on, and so did Hazel and another girl. Though I did like to find that Hazel didn’t think much of the school itself, and thought that the classroom was a very ugly and messy room!

We’ve been out for a few walks with the kids. We’ve finally visited a common not too far from us. It’s only a few miles away and I’d n
ever been to it before. The kids are really into the trees and birds these days so they enjoyed the walk. We were pleasantly surprised that they have Exmoor ponies roaming there. We’ll definitely go back.

As I said—birds and Nature are a huge interest at the moment. It’s the first thing Hazel’s really excited about. We’ve been watching a nature programme for the past two weeks and she is trying to participate in a televised Spring Watch. She wants them to come see her reed beds! Well, we’ll try anyway. She also did the National Bird Watch last month—and entered the numbers on their website with me. We are going to get our Nature Detective kit for the weekend and she’s been promised a day nature spotting!

Today was a busy one for us. After our lessons today I made a Bolognese sauce and then we headed out for a walk. We walked through our local reed-beds and along the canal. It is the farthest I’ve walked alone with them without a pram—it was nice and will be done more often. Hazel finally realized there was a bird hide there and wants to see it. That path was flooded today, but we’ll try again. Hopefully we won’t need a key, but if we do, I’m going to try for her. After the walk we came home and had a quick lunch and then got busy planting seeds. We filled three propagators and some pots. Kieran did his pumpkin seeds and is very excited to see if he can grow one larger than last year. Then it was time for a quick snack and then out to Hazels gymnastics. We don’t get in till after 5:30 from that—but it was enough time to cook and eat and see the last half of our nature program, and then get stuck into our other TV obsession at the moment: Master Chef! Well, Hazel and I are obsessed! It’s only the third series of shows we’ve been able to watch as a family—and I’m enjoying it. She thinks I should write to them and see if they’ll do a mother/daughter competition—isn’t she cute! And I know anyone back home who knows me is laughing at that idea—but honestly, I can cook fairly decently these days!

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