1st Recital, First Aide, 1st Circus

As always, after a holiday life usually gets back into full swing rather quickly. The night before we left for holiday, Michael helped me sow some (lots) of seeds to see what would happen when we left. We probably should have done it a couple of weeks prior-but with going away I figured that the newest seedlings would fair better with a week of neglect, rather than a two or three week old seedling. I was rather pleased that in the week everything germinated except some of the peppers-but they appeared by Monday-so everything germinated. Just hoping my neglect, or the slugs, won’t kill them. It’ll be the first time growing things with a greenhouse so we’ll see how it goes. I should really keep a journal of what/when we do things—so next year I won’t make the same mistakes!

Sunday was spent tending to the garden. Michael cut all the lawns, even the new one. It was lovely to come home and see the Lilac trees in full bloom. Last year when we were in the States I missed the best of the Lilac season-something I won’t repeat.

On Monday the kids and I went to a lunch time String Quartet recital. Our town puts on a musical festival each year so I decided they were old enough to enjoy these concerts this year. Hazel has always seemed to enjoy the violin, so that’s why I choose this one. It was a first for all of us—I’ve never seen a String Quartet before. We saw the Sacconi Quartet. The two pieces they did were Haydn’s String Quartet in G, Op.54 No.1 and Ravel’s String Quartet in F (1902). The three of us really enjoyed the piece by Ravel—we all liked the plucking! Ok—so we’re novices in what’s what musically—but we know what we like to hear!

After the concert we came home for a late lunch. The kids worked on their Sketch Tuesday projects and I had a nap! The Sketch Tuesday topic was ‘Fire’–they had to draw anything using orange and red. The kids used a bright orange-but when I scanned the phots, they look so pale. So imagine that the orange is very bright!

I was exhausted from having stayed up to a ridiculous hour with Michael trying to catch up with The Apprentice and Desperate Housewives episodes we missed while away. Not the most important thing to do-but we enjoyed it! After my nap we were off to dancing and home to a quick dinner. We were supposed to try and get the kids back into an earlier bedtime-but that didn’t work and they were up till about 9pm again.

Tuesday was an early start for us. The kids were booked into a HE class at the St. Johns Ambulance near Oxford at 10am. It was a really nice day and most of the moms sat out in the garden. There was a lovely woman who works there who kept offering everyone drinks and biscuits. I think the hour and a half was a bit much for Kieran. I was called in near the end as he was crying for me, which is unusual in a class setting. Turns out he was hot, thirsty and a bit tired of doing the activities! I told him the next time he was just to get up and say he was going to find me. He didn’t think he could do that-poor kid. Turns out he didn’t like playing the patient! On the way home we stopped off in a local park so they could let off some steam. They had their scooters in the car, so I found a shady spot and let them have almost an hour of scootering about. Home to a late lunch. After lunch we decided to go to the store and just buy some pizza for dinner as I was in no mood to cook. We noticed a friends car in the parking lot (they live about ½ an hour away-they were in town for an event) so we left a note on their car. The kids thought that was the funniest thing to do. Of course I got genius credit for knowing how to put it under the wiper so it wouldn’t blow away! Once again we failed miserably at getting them to bed early!

Wednesday was our expensive day! I treated myself to a manicure and eyebrow touch-up. Was fun to have a professional manicure again-I do miss them! I would have two or three a month before I moved over here. The price here has always been a major obstacle for me—it was about 4 times what I would have paid for in the States. At the UK prices it was a luxury, and not a perk. The manicurist was really surprised when I said the kids would stay in the lobby for the whole time. She didn’t think the hair salon owner would like that-but when I told her they’ve sat there for almost three hours when I had my hair done, she was surprised. Plus it helps that our kids were in the same toddler play group for a year!

On the way home I stopped in to the shop where we ordered the carpet for the stairwell and spare room. I wanted to get an appointment, hopefully before my mom came to lay the carpet. I nearly keeled over when he said it could be done in two days. Yeah! So I promptly paid the balance and went home to call Michael to come home on time. He hadn’t painted the new wardrobe yet-which was going to need four coats of paint.

The next call was to the builders to ask if they wanted me to come and drop off their payments. They promptly said that yes, that’d be great, so off we went. It wasn’t out of our way, as we were heading to the nursery the next town over from where they were working. I was going to pick up a couple of herbs-but as you know—I came home with everything but herbs! The kids and I spent a small fortune—Hazel and I kept falling in love with flowers! I really like yellows and purples—she likes pinks. So I have decided to give into her likes. I’d prefer the whole garden to be my colours, but I said she could pick any for in front of the play house. They may clash-but I think we’ll both be happy. So we came home, stashed our goods and headed out to gym class. Michael spent the evening painting-and I have no idea what I did!

Thursday—I gave up on doing anything! We went to the shops for a few things and had a very quiet day. Hazel finished one of her Animal Ark books and promptly started another. It’s so wonderful to see her all curled up reading them. I love when she tells me what page she’s on! I used to do that as well. The late nights had caught up with everyone—the kids were exhausted. We even kept them home from Badgers. They were asleep before 7:30pm and didn’t wake till after 8am. Michael managed to finish the wardrobe and I did some gardening and laundry.

The men were here Friday morning just after 9:30am. They just got on with their work and were done in a couple of hours. And we had a finished hallway and upstairs room. Only our bedroom left to do!!! The kids will be able to use the room as a playroom for the next couple of years. They can keep the trains and Legos set-up for as long as they want. I’m looking forward to not having toys stored in the downstairs living area other than the crafts, puzzles and board games.

The kids and I were supposed to go to a piano recital, but it was starting just after the men left, so we gave it a miss. Instead they spent the afternoon playing in the playroom. They also made most of the dinner—they made a potato salad with new potatoes. Hazel wanted to make it-so I just boiled the potatoes, but they did all the cutting and seasoned the mayo, etc… Then they helped me prepare a chick-pea burger recipe. This ended up being a bit of a mess—it was so gloopy and wouldn’t stick together—and I ended up using tons of flour to try and shape it. I won’t be trying that again. So any chick-pea burger recipes that don’t contain courgettes would be appreciated!!

Then Hazel had her ballet class—it was the first one in just over a month for her-she was excited to get back to class.

Friday evening we were going to go to bed after the Jonathan Ross show-but Michael put Later with Jools Holland on. Just as they were showing the guests, Hazel walked into the living room to say she couldn’t sleep. This was about 11:30pm. I was going to bring her back up-when they showed Mick Hucknall-from Simply Red! Well—I was going to have to stay up and see that then. So—this meant Hazel got to stay down with us. She was so thrilled to watch a ‘grown-up’ show with us! She has been singing a couple of tunes from the show all weekend. I don’t know how many times she mentioned to Kieran about seeing the show! Have to say, we got a kick out of it as well! So a very late bed-time for the three of us, as Hazel was now excited and it was a bit hard for her to settle down and go to sleep!

Saturday, after Kieran’s ballet class, was a gardening/housecleaning day. Michael did all the lawns, a trip to the skip and a dozen other jobs. We were supposed to go to a concert in the evening, but the babysitter cancelled at the last minute-well, actually she forgot to call to say she was in hospital! She’s ok—but had been involved in a car accident and was in for tests.

Today started off a bit late-we were up till after 2am again. I so can’t do late nights anymore!! How did I stay out till about 4am, get an hour of two of sleep and make it to work by 7am??? Oh youth-I miss you so much! After I managed to get to a functioning stage we headed to the Farmers market and then to do a bit of food shopping. What I really needed to do was a proper food shopping as we have almost nothing in—but Sainsbury’s has had the gall to change the shopping trolleys to the ones that need a pound-coin. And of course neither of us had one, so we could only get what would fit in three baskets. Means I have to go back tomorrow! You would at least think they’d warn us!

We came home and had a quick pasta lunch before going to the circus. Kieran and Hazel can be very skittish about unknown things-and though neither has seen a clown-they were afraid to see them. So we went during the week and walked around the tent and gypsy caravans and talked to some of the performers who promised it was very innocent. Kieran was a bit apprehensive-but basically got over it very quickly. Hazel was thrilled from the beginning till the end. It was Giffords Circus—a traditional vintage circus with the caravans and all. If they come to a town near-by, it’s worth it. The show was quaint and enchanting—everyone seemed to be smiling from the beginning to the end—and it’s small and intimate which makes it feel like the real old-fashioned circus it’s trying to imitate.

That was the week that was!

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