Out and about, and the normals

I hadn’t really blogged properly before we left for the Isle of Wight, nor since we got home. Before we went away the kids and I spent quite a few hours doing some shopping for new clothes for them (and a few for me!). They outgrow everything so quickly-it’s hard to keep up. Luckily enough they seem to grow just before a new season-so I don’t feel so bad spending a fortune every few months. Hazel got a new pair of black ankle boots and has been wearing them at every opportunity she can. Shoes- she likes; clothes are ok, but shoes are becoming a favourite for her. A very expensive habit in our family! Have to admit, after a couple of hours in one shop-and knowing we weren’t done-I took a gasp when I heard the total. Funny part was-one of the pairs of shoes Hazel bought-she/I grabbed the wrong pair-so we had to go back the next day. Unfortunately we saw a few more things for both kids-so spent another small fortune before leaving. Well-I thought it was funny-not so sure if Michael thought it was funny!

Other than doing shopping, before we went away the kids and I did quite a bit of gardening. We planted quite a few spring bulbs, some plants and a bit of general tidy. Michael pruned the three plum trees-and hung up the kids new bird feeders. Hazel has bought a sunflower feeder that holds nuts, and Kieran bought a small plastic house that will hold three birds feeding at a time. Hazel was thrilled to finally own one-and we were able to hang them right near their playhouse. Makes it really feel like ‘their’ little garden.

Since we’ve been back we’ve done all the usual classes and some day trips. (I’ve also started a couple of classes-but more on that later!) On the 29th when we got home, we had just enough time to have a quick meal before Michael brought the kids to their Irish dancing class. On the Tuesday, a very rainy day, we stayed home and did the laundry, went to the bookstore for me and then went for a much needed trip to the supermarket.

On Wednesday the 1st we had a walk to the small country market in town. They picked up a few clothes they had ordered for their dolls. I placed an order for some jewellery for myself. The kids enjoy talking to the volunteers, and I think the feeling is mutual. After that we walked home, did a quick recorder practice, they had pizza from the market for lunch, and then we headed off to recorder class.

Thursday was a fairly early start for us, as I had to go to the dentist. The appointment didn’t take as long as planned-and as I didn’t have the work done, as in no novocaine, I suggested we drive over to Milestones for a wander round. The kids and I decided that they would do some of the trails when we were there. There were two sheets with drawings of objects in the museum-20 items in total. They thought it’d be easy for them—but we were all surprised by the fact we really had to hunt for about 6 of them. We spent almost 2 hours there-only really stopping as I was hungry! There was a new room, and it was a bit hard to drag Hazel away from it. The suggestion of lunch in the café won! When we got home they coloured the sheets in. After dinner they went to Badgers.

On the Friday we went to the non-local HE group again-as it was sunny enough for them to play outside. They actually played with some of the other children for most of the visit, and even went into the small soft-play area again. We had to leave to get Hazel back in time for ballet. Kieran and I went to the Waitrose in town to get some things for a ‘special’ dinner. They love to do pretend parties for their animals/babies-and I had suggested he have a real one when he told me it was Ben the Zebra’s birthday. Kieran was delighted and picked out the ‘party’ food-things like sausage rolls. We rushed home and got everything ready before Michael and Hazel got back. He was delighted to be ‘hosting’ a surprise party. I had told him it was really as a way to celebrate his learning to read-which he was proud to inform the others. Luckily enough Hazel remembered, on her own, that I had let her plan a ‘treat’ party for her with her grandparents-she had chosen cakes followed by cheese and crackers.

For the rest of that weekend we stayed home and did gardening, went to the market in the rain and other household jobs. The kids had Jenna over for Saturday afternoon. They do play well-and she’s a bit of a loon, and fairly funny. She had her hair cut in the same style Hazel did-they look like the ‘Bobsy-twins’! We also managed to watch Strictly Come Dancing.

On Monday the 6th we took Victoria to the Living Rainforest. She hadn’t been before (or so she said anyway!) and the kids had fun showing her around.

There was a class of kids there from one of the local schools. It was the first time I saw children ‘let loose’ on a class trip. They wandered wherever they wanted to-usually in groups of 2 or 3’s, and looked like they were having a great time. They were pointing things out to each other, reading the note cards-but not worried about memorising details, and not a clip-board in sight. There was also never any bad behaviour-and the teachers had actually gone to the café for a bit. It was a pleasant change! Kieran was dressed in ‘camouflage’ for the day-can you spot him?!We stayed home on Tuesday so that I could get a few things done. The kids had brought home some of the worksheets from the Rainforest, so they worked on those for a bit in the day.

Wednesday was another errand day before Recorder class. We did the food shopping fairly early, and then I had a follow-up eye exam to go to in town. That didn’t take too long-and I got my first real eye-prescription. I had a pair for mild eye-strain, but these are the real thing now. I so don’t like not having 20/20 vision. After recorder class it was so sunny that I suggested we head down to the lake for a while, after I had my tea of course! They had a play in the playground, and then we took our bird food and wandered round the lake. Then we went home and we had a quick dinner before we all headed out for a walk. I love walks in the evening during the autumn.

I had to make a quick trip out to the dentist to pick up something-so we did that in the morning on Thursday. We got home and had some lunch-and it was so nice I suggested we go to the lake again. Hazel suggested we walk down-so walk we did. They brought some more bird feed and I brought a book and my sunglasses. They had a play in the playground before suggesting we go feed the ducks. I thought a cup of tea would be nice, so I had that and they each had some crisps. We were there for quite awhile. Kieran was having fun chasing the geese-an elderly woman and I were waiting for one of them to snap at him! Hazel was just feeding the ducks-trying to practically get them to eat from her hand-but she usually chickened out! I must have read about 3 chapters before they were ready to leave. It was glorious sitting there in the sunshine. We had a nice walk back, I got dinner ready and then took them to Badgers.

They wanted to go to another park on Friday with their remote control cars. We managed to round up the ones they wanted to bring and charge all the batteries on Thursday night. I decided on Friday that Kieran couldn’t go another day without getting his hair trimmed, so we went to do that first. We just went to one of the walk in places in town, and all three of us ended up having a trim. I didn’t recognise her at first-and it took her awhile too-but the hairdresse
r is in a class I’m taking. I didn’t recognise her at all. She is so quiet and dour looking in the hair salon, and so bubbly in class. As soon as she figured out who I was-she chatted the whole time. She also charged the pre-school rate for Hazel-so a nice treat for me. I think she must be shy-making small talk is hard with complete strangers-especially if you feel obligated to talk.

We then went to town and got some things for lunch and headed to the park. The kids played for almost two hours-and I got plenty of reading in the sunshine done.

Over this past weekend we had two nice outings. There is a monthly organized bird-walk at the lake, so we decided it was time to attend one. We did some gardening in the morning and then went for the walk in the afternoon. Two sisters from their ballet classes were also there, so that was a nice surprise. I had thought it would be mostly families-and was surprised we were the only two with kids. We only did the basic walk around the lake with the group, and decided to just go have some tea instead of going to one of the bird hides, as we don’t like the one they were going to. The kids and Michael had some ice cream while I chatted to a woman from the allotments we used to belong to. There are a bunch of family activities in town this week, and she was passing out flyers and maps on walking/cycling in the area. She gave Kieran two maps of the local area-he was thrilled with them. He is so like his daddy! We came home and had the lovely casserole Michael made before we left.

Our main library had a family fun-day on Sunday. We’ve gone in the past and enjoyed it, so decided to go again. When we got to town, there were a few old Aston Martins and MG’s in the parking lot where we parked. It turned out to be a group of antique car owners meeting up there before heading off for a drive. They meet up, get the coordinates and then navigate they’re way to a pub lunch and then onto a steam-engine event, most of them are former engineers/mechanics. They were very nice and let us look at the cars-we spent a good half-hour or so chatting with them before getting on to the library.

The event was fairly similar to last springs. We all tried some plate spinning-my obsessive personality was on display-I hate not being able to do something-I must have tried it 100 times. I’m obsessive-but sadly have no talent! We then split up and I took Hazel to see a show, and the boys went their way. Hazel and I ended up watching most of a small Cinderella ‘play’-done in the same style of a panto. It was the closest she has gotten to a panto-and I don’t think she’ll get much closer. So not her cup-of-tea!

When we went back downstairs we stopped by the spinners table. We had gotten a loom thingy from Michael’s parents and asked the women there how to use it. They gave Hazel a card-board round weaving ‘thing’ to make cords with. She had gotten one the year before and enjoyed doing it-so she asked for one for her brother. When we mentioned his name was Kieran-the woman said he already had one! I asked if she was sure and she described him-yes, it was my boy. She said he started on it right away and would probably be done when I found him-he was half-way through! I think he left a good impression!

The kids both made a badge each and did a very easy treasure hunt. Hazel then found the embroidery group-and sat down to make a pin cushion in the shape of a cupcake. It took awhile so the guys went and had a wander round-stopping to watch a school band play for awhile. We then went to the canal shop for a snack-it was almost 1pm; we left home before 10am! We then headed to the shops to get Michael some new shorts for when he plays squash. It was just after 2pm and we still hadn’t had a proper lunch-so we decided to go to Pizza Hut for an early dinner. Michael’s pizza came out later than the kids-so he got that for free. Not too bad, especially considering they are usually done after him anyway! When we got home the neighbours next to us were sitting out front with her daughter-in-law. We all chatted for almost 2 hours! Hazel and Kieran walked over to show them what they made at the library-and pretty much made themselves at home for the afternoon. It was a lovely relaxing day! Michael barbecued a few pork chops and zucchini for a late dinner, and then we went for an evening walk together.

Monday was our usual day with Victoria; I got some work done while they all played. I had a nice chat at their Irish class with one of the other mom’s-we talked about so many ‘real’ topics-unusual chat while waiting for the kids. We discussed religion, politics and the pros and cons of the abortion laws. I’m still trying to re-evaluate how I really feel about that one. As I said-it’s unusual to walk away from the kids classes after having such an in-depth type of talk!

Tuesday started as a grey morning-with rain forecast for the afternoon. I made a quick decision that we were going to walk to the bird-hide. We dashed around and got dressed and had everything we’d need packed into Kieran’s rucksack. We left a few minutes after 9am! Hazel was in heaven-we hadn’t been there in ages. It’s about a 30 minute walk through a nature reserve-and it was ever so pleasant a morning. There was a canal boat moored along the canal-and the kids peeked in at the man on board! He was very pleasant and didn’t mind two kids saying hello while he was cooking his breakfast!

We had a good time bird-watching. So much so-that we were there for almost two-hours, I thought we’d be back by 11! We spotted a bird I couldn’t identify-so we left a note in the hide, hopefully it’ll be answered when we go back. I think it was an egret-but have no idea. The rain held off till later that evening. I cooked roast ham for dinner and an apple crumble for dessert. Michael is getting very good at making the custard—maybe one day we won’t use the powder mix! My crumbles are almost perfect—but Michael thinks I need to practice it at least once a week for awhile longer!

Yesterday saw us at the market again-but my jewellery wasn’t ready. Argh—we’ll just have to walk back next week. I don’ mind going back-I’m just really looking forward to getting them! And, every time we go-they each can buy a treat-I don’t mind that every other week-but every week is a bit much! When we got home the kids had a good recorder practice before lunch and then we went to their lesson. Their teacher is really pleased with their progress, and said most kids Kieran’s age don’t have the hand dexterity he has. Hazel is progressing as well as we thought she would-though sometimes I think she would just prefer to sing and dance to the songs, rather than play them!

After dinner we all decided that another walk would be fun. Michael suggested that we walk around the lake-the kids were excited, until we got there. They were both a bit nervous about walking through the woods in the dark. But they did it-so hopefully they’ll not be too nervous next time. When we got home we had the cake we had bought at the market, and then it was bedtime for the kids. Michael and I spent some time online in the evening doing some shopping for some outings we are all going on. We also spent much time discussing holidays for next year.

Today started with a trip out to t
he larger town near us-I needed to have an eye test. I’m getting much better about driving out there-it is so not my favourite place. I thought that a local HE group was having a play date at one of the indoor play places near where the hospital was, so I suggested to the kids that we might go. I then looked on line for the directions; to find out I was way off! It was about 20 miles away-near Milestones. We all decided we’d go anyway. We got there at noon, and stayed for about 2 hours-that was too long for me. I dislike indoor play places, I really do! But the kids had fun-and supposedly that’s what counts. Though they both wondered why there heads hurt after. I mentioned that it could be due to the fact they were dirty places, without any fresh air, which could lead to a headache. I don’t try too hard to make them not want to go to them, do I?

When we got home we all had a snack and then I made some tea and called my sister. We had a great chat for well over an hour. She was the only one back home that I’d have tea with—everyone else drank coffee all the time. I do miss just sitting and chatting with her in person.

I made a roast chicken for dinner and then we all just veged out reading and chatting. I taught Kieran about syllables, and we must have gone over a hundred words. He has a strong desire never to use ‘aids’-so he wouldn’t clap his hands, but did move his hands towards each other, in ever so slow a movement to each beat of the words when he needed to

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