TV or no TV

As many of you who know Hazel & Kieran will know they watch very little TV. Most people take that to mean we’ve always restricted it and have given them no choice, or that I disapprove of TV. Neither is the case. I enjoy TV-so much as that when I was deciding to move to England to be with Michael or not, West Wing (best TV drama of all time!!) was a strong pull to stay in the States. I kid you not! That being said-the people who watch the most TV around here are Michael and I. We aren’t generally random viewers, I can’t stand day time TV viewing, but over the years the night time viewing has gotten worse. It started by watching the Channel 4 news at 8 when the kids are in bed, to watching a few shows. We are generally ‘documentary’ viewers and only have basic Freeview channels. But we are lagging behind in getting some projects that we’d really like to do finished, as by the time evening comes, we just drop a bit.

So on Sunday morning we had yet another talk on how we were going to get all the projects done. Our biggest culprit is that when the kids go to bed, we don’t feel like starting anything, especially now as they are rarely in bed by 8:30pm. Which I hope will get earlier with the dark nights! Then again-why do we need to wait till they go to bed to start things? They do generally entertain themselves!

The outcome of the talk was that we waste too much time on TV viewing, and that we can read the news on the internet. Michael went (was sent) to the attic to disconnect the aerial. Because we both know if we just said we wouldn’t put it on-the very second we thought about the weather or the news-we’d put the TV on! Oh-did we feel good about that. And it gave us that spurt we needed to get jobs done!

We went shopping for some organizational units to organize our papers, etc… Michael finally stained a wooden box shelf set we’ve had for about 4 years that we wanted to reorganize into a useful book shelf rather than a messy-holder-of-all-things-without-a-home! He even thought of a very clever way to add drawers from two IKEA small wooden drawer units we have so that we could get them off the kids’ art table. Oh we were busy! When the shelf unit was done I reorganized everything, well, at least those things that were going back on! Next thing we knew it was past 11 pm and we were mighty proud. Yeah!

Monday rolls on. I had decided yesterday that I’d had enough of the state of the kids bedroom and playroom. They needed to be excavated and I’ve decided that a major upstairs cleaning job was long over do. On Sunday I cleaned all the bedding, and before bed time I had the kids take all the toys etc… out of their bedroom. After breakfast work began. I vacuumed every inch of space upstairs, even the walls. Here in the UK they don’t believe in screens for windows, so spiders think that our homes are their homes. There aren’t tons of them-but enough of them to leave little web trails along the walls that you can’t see till the dust settles on them. But every space was cleaned-and the kids toys reorganized. They have never broken a toy or doll-so have most things they’ve ever been given-except those things we have passed on. But though they don’t have many big Play mobile kits, they all come with a zillion small bits! So I managed to do all four rooms plus the bathroom and the stairwell. Always feels good-and it kept my mind off the NHS-which is another story!

On Tuesday I decided all the banking etc… needed to get done, anything to keep my mind occupied. I did manage to balance all the accounts, get our schedule for the Autumn started, booked us into 5 lectures and caught up on all the filing etc… I also did about 3 hours of ironing-but the pile didn’t seem to go down as I was doing more laundry at the same time. I baked banana and blueberry muffins with the blueberries the kids picked in the morning. I also cooked a roast ham for dinner-we hadn’t had one in ages! We also had mashed potatoes-the first time all summer. While I was doing all that-the kids spent the morning playing, reading and then they spent the afternoon outside with Jenna. They even went to her garden for about 2 hours.

But-by the end of dinner and when the dishes were done and when the kids were in bed-I wasn’t in the mood to think of anything to do. I was in a fair bit of pain from all the work (the NHS problem) and I just really felt like watching the news-but would have really liked to watch the last show in the series Desperate Romantics that we had been enjoying. So another discussion was had. And as we don’t go out in the evenings and it is our only vice, and as it’s only for a couple of hours every evening or so-it really isn’t the worst thing, is it? He managed to get the aerial plugged in about 5 minutes before the show started!!

So-we managed to live without TV for two whole evenings!!! Is that the poorest record, or what??

The rest of the week was a mixture of busy and not busy. Wednesday was a grey and rainy day-and the kids and I just mooched around. I got caught up in a few online discussions, did a few of these past few blogs, and the kids played. They were playing up here with their Play mobile while I was on the computer-which is always fun as I can listen in on their imaginary world. Hazel didn’t even get dressed for the day. They played, read a zillion books, watched a Wee Sing DVD, and did their music practice. Hazel likes this one recorder song-and she played it so beautifully I had to ask for an encore! Its’ fun enjoying them experiment with new songs, and really work hard on perfecting ones they like. And the next thing we know Michael was home.

Thursday was the errand day. The kids had their recorder/flute lesson mid-morning. Their summer practice has helped, as they were ready to learn new pieces. She’s lent them another new book to explore for the next few weeks. She also gave me some plants she had divided-yeah! More things to plant! We came home for a quick lunch before heading into town. The kids were both due for their eye exams. The results were good, Kieran has shown slight improvement, so we’ll wait another 6 months to see if he needs a referral to the eye clinic. Hazel can wait another year-as she is slightly long-sighted at the moment, but nothing to worry about. The optometrist told me to get Hazel to blink more while she’s reading-she tends to not blink when she’s engrossed with something, and as a result gets dry eyes.

They always bring a book or two with them for appointments-and I loved Kieran’s choice-The Nutcracker! He was reading it while walking down the streets and standing in the middle of a shop-not having a clue people were trying to get round him!

After the eye appointments we went window shopping. We did manage to get Hazel a pair of sandals for a wedding next week. I then decided to go to the camera shop to look at two cameras I’ve been debating over. I was pretty sure I wanted the Nikon D60-to get to the shop to find out it’d been discontinued! My dallying has once again made me miss an opportunity to get something I liked! Argh!!

The kids then asked to go to the bookstore for a browse. I have to say-I know our bookshop in town isn’t the worlds biggest-but the children’s book selection here is really dire. Especially for boys. The selection is pitiful-and really-the classics section shouldn’t really hold less than 5 novels!! We had an online discussion about historical fiction this past week on one of the groups-and I do feel the selection for books in the States is 100 times better than here. Mind you-this has always left me a bit flabbergasted-as I’ve always been a huge fan of English literature, reading for pleasure and for my courses at University. How can a country that has traditionally put out such amazing books-be feeding our girls nothing but the same re-told fairy stories, and nothing for boys but books on how horrid boys are?

I had spent a few evenings at the beginning of this month ordering all sorts of books for the kids from back home. I still have a zillion of them hidden from them-but it’s amazing how much cheaper it is to buy them there and have them sent over. I gave Hazel all of the American Girl Felicity series-I had previously only bought her the 1st book in the series-but as she enjoyed it I got the rest. She finished them in record time. I know that all the history in those types of books might not be to the letter of the law-but it does get them thinking about and enjoying history-which is the main point as far as I’m concerned.

Kieran is reading the Magic Tree House series I bought him with such delight-and he really studies them! He was showing me the one the other night and he wanted me to go to a funny bit. He said I was to ‘go to the contents page and look for xxxx’. I just loved that he refers to the contents pages!

Back to the day! When we were leaving town to go to the car park we passed a bakery/café that opened about a year ago-and the kids always want to go in. I decided that we’d see if they had any scones-and we’d have them after dinner with Hazels’ jam. No scones. But you should have seen Hazel when she saw donuts! You would think she’d never seen them before. Ok-the only time they’ve had them was a couple of times at the beach. They have lovely fresh donut huts on the pavilions here-just what you need on a British beach-something hot! To be fair-it has been at least 2-3 years since the kids had them-so I said they could have one each. You should have seen how amazed they were that some of them had chocolate on top! So they had donuts and we grown-ups shared a slice of carrot cake.

We were supposed to go to a lecture in the evening-but I don’t think either of us was really in the mood for it. Plus, I was a bit down as I’d missed the opportunity to get the camera I liked. Michael decided to search their online shops-and found a model for sale about 15 miles away-hurrah! We’d just have to go pick it up the next day.

Then Hazel was the commis chef for the evening. She helped us make ham & mushroom omelettes for dinner. She cracked and whisked all the eggs and sliced & cooked the mushrooms. She is determined to make me teach her to cook!

After the kids were in bed- we watched a movie called Volver. It’s the first foreign film I’ve seen in ages and I thought it was wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Penelope Cruz in any other movie-and I have to say I thought she was excellent. Well worth the viewing! It’s been ages since I’ve seen a great movie.

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