Friends

Over these past few months I have learned to really value friendship.  I have received love, care and support from so many people.  From those who were already my friends, and from those who I now class as my friends.

I have felt genuine love and understanding, people willing to hold out their hand, offer comfort, give their time, offer their shoulder – and expect nothing in return.  People who have sent a message of support, just to let me know me and my family are cared for and thought about often.

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I don’t think I really ever appreciated before the necessity of these people in my life – took them for granted I suppose, didn’t give it much thought or concern.  All these people form either part of my inner or wider circle, some whom have a daily impact on my life, some who just add that bit of something here and there.  But without them, without their words, messages, letters, cards, thoughts and prayers I’m not quite sure where I would be right now.

I have had people share some of their most personal and heartbreaking experiences of their own grief, the journey that they took, and how they have survived it.  It has helped so much to know that whilst no-one can really experience exactly what you are going through, its so unique to each individual,  but that they understand, they will listen, they can reassure.  I don’t feel a burden to them when I express how I feel, when the outpouring of tears and sadness won’t stop – they have listened, they have hugged, they have understood.

What a privilege it is to have those warm, loving, caring people around me, to lift me up, often to drag me a long (whether I want to or not!).  So many people in this world are alone, have no-one, have to bear their burdens without anyone there to help.

It feels pretty amazing to know that I am not alone, and I never will be.

 

 

 

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Weekly Daly Roundup 2018 #1

I thought I’d re-instate (or try to) a weekly roundup of me and my families week.  Its easy to lose sight of the things you’ve achieved, enjoyed, found challenging, would rather forget!

So I’m going with

  • Highs
  • Lows
  • Good
  • Bad
  • Out of the Ordinary
  • The Mundane

High

Enjoying the sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday – went to Hemsworth Waterpark where we slowly cooked ourselves lazing in the sun, had a picnic, caught up with friends we’d not seen in quite a while.

Low

Being the emotional eater that I am (whether that be happy or sad lol), indulging far too much. Mr Cadbury along with Ben and Jerry are very much my best friends at the moment.

 

Good

Feeling the benefits of my increased anxiety meds – only way to describe it is feeling more even.  Doesn’t sound much, but believe me, I’m grateful, more than grateful that my range of emotions aren’t quite so extreme from one minute to the next (I think the family are grateful too!)

Bad

Insomnia – manageable most of the time, but not all, a few pretty bad bouts this week resulting in reduced ability to remember anything.  This is what I am blaming for losing my keys in the garage not once, not twice, but 3 times this week.  You know, you open the garage (which is actually my store room for all my business stuff).  Put the keys down whilst you go searching through the storage boxes, trollies, shelves etc, and instantly forget where you put them down.  Then due to the fact you’ve moved loads of stuff around, realise they could be anywhere and spend the next 20 minutes getting more and more frantic that they are forever lost in the abyss.  Actually, one of those times, after an extended, long, stressful search in the garage, I actually found them under a tea towel in the kitchen – how they had got from the garage to the kitchen I have no idea!!

Out of the Ordinary

Had to attend an appeal for Jessica’s chosen high school.  Not an everyday occurrence.  To sit in front of a panel of 3 along with the headmaster of the preferred high school and plead your case is pretty stressful to say the least – fingers crossed for a positive outcome – find out Monday.

Mundane

Sorted my office – its been getting increasingly worse as I piled more and more stuff on my desk over the recent weeks that I just wasn’t ready or able to deal with.  But took a deep breath, gritted my teeth, made lots of different piles all over the desk, floor, in the bedroom. Filed stuff, binned stuff, actioned stuff (well, put in in the action pile.. promised myself I’ll actually action it later!)  I don’t work well in chaos and cluttered environments, tidy space, tidy mind.. so here’s hoping I can get caught up on all the stuff I’ve been avoiding doing over the weekend.

Mums the Word

“Mums the word” – definition – to keep quiet, stay silent

No-one really likes talking about it.. death that is.  Everyone feels a little awkward, not knowing quite what to say.  Knowing that no matter what they say it doesn’t make anything better for those affected.

The grief I am experiencing from losing my mum is beyond anything I could’ve expected,  some days totally unbearable, all consuming, a crushing abyss of despair and pain.  There are days that I cope, there are more days that I don’t.. and most of it you keep to yourself, you hide away, cry on your own..

People care, of course they do, they ask the question with a bit of trepidation – “how are you feeling?” and they smile with just a hint of relief in their face when they see  a slight smile from you and hear an answer of “ok, fine, thank you for asking”.  They know and you know that on the inside you have the deepest sense of loss, abandonment, loneliness and fear, but you don’t mention it, its not talked about.

My mum passing away has hit me hard, its hit all of us hard – well.. thats an understatement to be honest.  This is a distressing entry to write and probably read, but one I need to record, a cathartic exercise maybe.  For anyone reading, feel free to stop here, do not feel obligated to go further.

The weeks leading up to mum passing I want to remember, the night she actually died and the events of that evening I would rather forget, but in reality thats never going to happen.

Mum had a chest infection, a bad one, been to the docs, given anti-biotics, a week later she was no better.

Monday
In the morning, she was struggling to breathe, so called an ambulance.  The paramedics arrived, checked her over, said she was ok and advised her to see her GP, which we did that very same morning.  Her breathing was really laboured, she was getting no sleep, so added to her being unwell was her total exhaustion.  She also had swelling in her ankles and legs, and it was all this put together that prompted the doctor to refer her to Blackburn Hospital that day.

The hospital were concerned and on an ECG picked up on an irregular heartbeat, prescribed some blood thinning meds, arranged a cardio echo and we went off home (this did take a full day of sitting in the hospital).

Tuesday & Wednesday
All seemed ok, mum was still tired and not well, but didn’t appear to be getting any worse.

Wednesday night
I’m a bit of a night owl (get long periods of pretty severe insomnia), so was up late, around 1am.  I heard the familiar sound of mum in her slippers shuffling along on the floor in the hallway (the times I thought ‘I wish she’d pick her feet up!’), figured she was off for one of her numerous night time trips to the bathroom.  I decided it was late enough and to attempt to get some sleep and take myself off to bed.  Going in to the hall I could here odd noises from the bathroom.. I stood, waited, listened – I didn’t really want to just walk in, but the odd noises continued, I knocked on the door and went in to find mum on the floor, she wasn’t able to get up.  She had a severe cut over her eye and was very disorientated.  Ron and I managed to get her up, got her back in to bed and tried to settle her.  A bag of frozen peas on her eye, and a make shift bed on the couch for me.

Thursday
Arranged for a friend to come and sit with mum whilst I went to work.  She clearly wasn’t right in herself, but given I would be back by lunch time we thought we’d see how she got on.  On my return I found mum to be very confused, disoriented still.  Most definitely time for a trip back to Blackburn hospital.

Following scans and examinations, the hospital advised that mum had suffered an acute stroke and she was admitted.  Her sight had been affected, her mobility was fine (well, no worse that it had been before), but she had some cognitive impairment which would need to be assessed.

Mum spent the next week in hospital undergoing further assessments.  She was bright within herself, for the most part was lucid, clear of thought, recognised and understood most of what was going on.  She needed assistance now in showering and dressing.  She had no appetite (in fact, was going to write to the Prime Minister on the shocking quality of food in the hospital!)  But generally, it was felt, with assisted care at home she could be discharged.

The most worrying thing however, was that following a Cardio Echo, they had discovered that mum had severe Ischemic Heart Disease.  They prescribed the necessary medication, made the referrals to specialists that were required, made arrangements for support at home – and she was discharged.

Over the next week mum was doing ok.  I assisted her showering, washing hair and dressing (on the couple of occasions she tried to dress herself, most items were on back to front, or she forgot what she had already put on, so ended up with trousers and a skirt on, or a couple of jumpers – she did laugh about it and insisted she was starting a new fashion trend).

She was able to go to church, and one of the most wonderful things to see was that she went straight back to playing the piano  – all be it hitting a few (well, quite a few) wrong notes, and playing the intro to hymns a few too many times.  But she loved playing the piano at church, it made her feel useful and needed, and it brought me such joy to see that she was still able to.

I had started to make adjustments to my work schedule, knowing that moving forward she was going to need extra care.  In the meantime we received such amazing support from her friends who came and sat with her during the times I had to work.  Who kept her company, talked to her, stayed with her whilst she dozed off.  Made sure she was safe and loved.  I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the help and support offered so selflessly during those 2 weeks.

Friday
Mum had had a really good day.  She’d had company, the carer had been round for a chat and under supervision mum had made herself a sandwich and warm drink.  Some additional mobility aids had been ordered to make her life a bit easier.  Ron and I had come in from work after lunch, sat and had a good chat with her.  It was our wedding anniversary, and we were meant to be going out.  The children were off to Ron’s mums for the night and we had planned to go out for dinner.  But I was tired, and decided we would stay at home and order a takeaway instead.  However, the girls were excited to go to Grandma Betty’s, so rather than cancel and have them home, they still went off for their sleepover (I can’t even begin to express with hindsight the relief that they had gone)

Mum was tired early evening, I helped her shower, wash her hair, clean night clothes on and got her in to bed with a book.  I explained we weren’t going out, and did she want anything from the takeaway – Chips and Gravy was what she wanted, and so its what she got.  My Aunt Jean phoned around 8.30pm and I took the phone in to mum for her to have a chat.  She was so bright, telling my Aunt about her day and our plans to go out for a drive on the Saturday.

It was later that night, around 9.30 / 10pm that I went to give her a night time tablets.  She was in bed, the lamp on at the side of her, duvet tucked under a chin, eyes closed.  I didn’t want to wake her, but she needed her last lot of meds.  I tapped her lightly on the shoulder, but she didn’t wake.  Mum was deaf as a post without her hearing aids in, so I gave her another tap and said her name a bit louder, but still no response.  I got louder and gave her a gentle shake.  There was no breath, there was no movement, but she was warm, normal colour, she just looked asleep.. but I knew.

Then things got crazy – I ran for Ron, he called the ambulance and they instructed to start CPR – I am first aid trained, but you never in all your life expect to have to perform CPR on anyone, let alone your mum.  With each compression I knew in my heart that she had gone, with every breath I gave her the fear inside me grew.  We had to get mum on to the floor – I know it was necessary, but it seemed so wrong, so undignified.  She was so peaceful, so comfy, and in the space of minutes she had been dragged from her bed, I felt her rib crack with one of the first compressions, and I was frantically trying to pump and breathe life in to her.. but I knew

Ron and I took it in turns to continue CPR until the ambulances  arrived – what seemed like a lifetime was in reality 11 mins.  A team of 4 paramedics continued to work on mum for 40 minutes. I prayed, harder than I have every prayed before… but I knew

Ron phoned my sister – she had to come, and come now – but she lives near Doncaster – a good hour and a half drive..

They got mum in to the ambulance, I travelled with her, the paramedics as gently as they could advised that the prognosis wasn’t good, that whilst they would continue to administer CPR on the way to the hospital, the likelihood would be she would be pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital.  I sat by her in the ambulance, watching, praying, trying not to vomit.

I witnessed the most horrific sight I have ever experienced.  CPR is not a gentle process, it is severe, it is a violent assault on the body- essential I know to try and sustain life.. but I knew

Mum was pronounced dead at 12.44am Saturday 24th February.

Her passing had been painless, peaceful, the aftermath was anything but.  The only comfort I can take from our actions and everything I had to witness is that my mum whilst not frightened of dying, wasn’t ready to die and she would’ve wanted us and the medical professionals to do everything they could, no matter what to try and keep her with us.  Sadly, and devastatingly, it wasn’t to be.

Her last meal – Chips and gravy
Her last conversation – with her much loved sister Jean
I was told by the Coroner after the her postmortem that her heart would just have stopped beating.  She would have closed her eyes, and her heart stopped.  There would’ve been no shock, no fear, no pain, no knowledge.

Her heart stopped, and mine broke.

I feel very blessed in many ways for the couple of weeks leading up to mums death.  If it wasn’t for the chest infection she would never have gone to the doctor, the doctor wouldn’t have referred her to hospital, the hospital wouldn’t have been put her on blood thinners, and the stroke she had a few days later would likely to have been fatal.  Having the stroke gave me the opportunity to care for her for those 2 weeks.  To do things for my mum that were a privilage.  To show love and compassion in a very special way .. my mother – a formidable woman, whom I didn’t always have the closest or easiest relationship with over the years.  For those 2 weeks, I will be forever grateful –  she knew despite our fall outs, differences, arguments – that I would have done anything for her, that I loved and cared for her, and was willing to do what ever it took to take care of her.

 

let-go

 

Back to Blogging

Its been a while, probably about 3 years in fact.  But with recent events and changes in my life, I’ve decided to return to the occasional blogging.

As a teenager I used to keep a journal, a daily record of all I did, thought, woeful teenage angst etc etc – I kept them for around 7 years – and wow, to read back on them now is totally cringe worthy for the most, but a good reminder of how I felt and the events that helped shaped the person I am today.

This was what I had in mind when I started a blog some 3 years ago, it was to just be a personal account of our daily (Daly lol) lives.  Just a way of keeping for posterity stories about our lives together, and sharing our experiences with anyone that cared to have a read. But suddenly (or rather over a few months), I found I became more concerned with what I thought people might want to read, how I would be perceived and were the photo’s good enough!  Everything we did, everywhere we went became a photo and story opportunity for the blog.

So I stopped.. I was doing things to blog about, rather than just because it was part of what we were doing for a family.  This was not what I wanted my blog to be, so I stepped away from it.

Life over the past 2 1/2 years has changed so much.  We moved from the big smoke, a large Yorkshire City, to a small Lancashire town.

Ron and I are still adjusting to sharing a life together

My girls are growing up quickly.. too quickly

My mum recently passed away .. she had moved and was living with us, so currently, adjusting and accepting life without her here is the biggest, hardest life changing event I’ve ever had to deal with.  It is all consuming, and I’m not really sure if I am dealing with it yet.

So.. here I am, back to the blog, but with a fresh approach, to keep a record of my family as we move through time.  Something for me, for us as a family, and a read for anyone else that might want a little peak in to our lives from time to time.

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The Weekly Daly Roundup #6

High

Day out to Bolton Abbey.  This is a place I remember vividly visiting as a child.  My memory of it is of sunshine, a river, open green space.  So went along with the kids this week.. and its as I remember.  The kids played in the river all afternoon – how simply wonderful it was to watch (I did get about a third of the way across the stepping stones before turning back, not quite brave enough to join them for anymore.. the water was freezing!!)

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Low

Laptop died a death, so had to invest in a new one.  What a chore as I have no interest in technology, so having to choose one (yawn), then figure out how to use new operating system (more yawning), get all my stuff transferred (cue heightened anxiety levels as I panic that all my itunes library and playlists are lost!)  But its all up and running now.

Good

Final week of Mini Mess completed – means that I am on the final countdown to a full week off work (almost never heard of).

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Bad

Camera on phone (which is my only means of taking photo’s) is not working properly.  All pictures are blurry round the edges.  Phone has to be returned to manufacturers – a task I am putting off as the chore of transferring everything to a new handset in the meantime is more than I can bear.  So for the time being I am putting up with naff photo’s

Enjoyed

Some much needed family time.  We don’t get much of it, so treasure what we do get.  A couple of hours out on Sunday did the trick to a local play park with sand, bouncy pillow, zip wire etc

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Didn’t enjoy

Having to console the children after being let down by their dad.  His weekend to have them, something they look forward to so so much.  Collected them as usual, all good.  45 mins later a text to say he was brining them back as they were bickering and arguing.  10 mins later, 2 very distraught little girls on the doorstep.  It can be so hard to hide the frustration and anger sometimes.  Trying to explain to and 8 yr old and 6yr old the reasoning of his actions when I don’t really understand them myself.

Mundane

Shopping at 7am on a Saturday morning.  The insomnia still hasn’t improved.  So thought I’d utilise the time and get the shopping done.  The downside being that because I had loads of time, because the aisles were empty of people I spent time browsing (what that actually means is putting loads more stuff in the trolley than I usually would) and spending double what I would do normally – I took a big gulp when it got totalled at the checkout!

Out of the Ordinary

Losing my enthusiasm for being organised.  I am usually sooo organised, have a list for everything.  Life is timetabled to maximise use of time and daylight lol.  I don’t know whether I’m finally getting in to the swing of the holidays – but just can’t motivate myself to organise my life.  This is both good and bad, means that life has a bit more of a relaxed pace than usual – even culminating in a Pyjama day – literally the kids spend the whole day in the their PJ’s watching TV, whilst I figured out the new lap top/  They thought it was an amazing day and out of all the fun stuff we’ve been doing over the holidays its what they’ve gone on about the most!. But it also means that I am double booking stuff, getting behind on things – and this doesn’t help my insomnia and anxiety levels.  No doubt, normal organisation will resume shortly – but for the time being I’m just looking the other way!

Linking up with #TWTWC

TWTWC
Linking up with #TWTWC

{Ordinary Moments} #7 Family Time

Family time – for most families is something that occurs pretty much everyday at some point, whether that be sitting down for a meal together, watching some TV, bath and bedtime stories etc

Not so in our blended household.  For until the time that Ron and I live together, the Ordinary Moments of family time that most people enjoy, are probably more extra ordinary moments for us.

So because of this, the few hours snatched here and there each week that we have together as a family are precious, and to be made the most of.

Generally, every other weekend the girls go off to there dads – as much as I miss them, its also has its upside that Ron and I get to have couple time on a regular basis.  This weekend the girls were meant to be at there dads, so we were looking forward to having some time together, not planning much, playing things by ear.  However, for one reason and another, at the last minute, plans changed and the girls ended up being with us.  Our ‘no plans, lazy weekend’ suddenly became a distant memory, so we got stuck in to ‘family time’

I love family time – we don’t have to be doing anything major, costly or exciting, just being together for longer that a hour at a time is a luxury to be enjoyed.  I love watching Ron with the girls, and the girls love being with him – I think because of his childishness childlike ability to have fun on their level.  He will happily play games with them, climb, swing, hide and scooter

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ron scooter

Favourite family time activities are usually the simple ones –  a walk in the woods, wandering round local beauty spots, a trip to the park, rock scrambling etc

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rock scrambling

As ordinary as these moments are, its the things that I hope our children look back on and treasure.  A price can not be placed on the time and attention we give to kids – it has meaning to them beyond value (especially if icecream at some point is involved!)

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Linking up with #theordinarymoments

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Romance – Dead or Alive? #1

Did you know that August every year is Romance Awareness month.  Well I didn’t, not until I came across it on Trista’s (Domestic Momster) blog.

Got me thinking – So I’m not a slushy hearts and flowers sort of person.

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I don’t need or expect big romantic gestures (although chocolates will always go down well no matter what – mentioned just in case Mr D is having a nosey at the blog).

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Asked myself a few questions….

  • What is romance?
  • Am I romantic?
  • Is Mr D romantic?
  • Do we make enough effort, time and opportunity for romance?

We both do the little everyday stuff which is a general part of our lives together, we hold hands, we cuddle up on the sofa, I love you is said a lot.  Those things are part of who we are, the type of couple we are and the relationship we share (nice stuff & niggles detailed in a previous post).  Surely all of that is classed as romance.  But would I say we go above and beyond these… not on a regular basis.

  • Do we need to?
  • Are we taking our relationship for granted?
  • Are we taking each other for granted?
  • Would a bit of extra ‘Romance Awareness’ now and again go amiss in keeping the fire burning bright in our relationship.

Probably not, certainly couldn’t hurt.

I am pretty action orientated, bull by the horns so to speak.  So with Romance Awareness Month in mind and it being a child free Sunday (they were off at their dads) – a perfect opportunity to inject a bit of ‘romance’ in to the glorious warm day.

What could be easier better (am meant to be making an effort, easy shouldn’t come in to it!) than a picnic in the park together.  Me, him, picnic blanket – spot on.  Sunday is Church day, but today, romance was coming first, so left church early, picked up a few bits and put together a couple of his favourite picnic foods – namely tiger bread and cheese, jumped in the car and headed off to Shibden Park.

As busy as it was (given its a family friendly place, lots of open grass and the sun was cracking the flags, it was hardly suprising), we found a nice spot, laid out together and watched the world go by.

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Food, followed by chat, followed by a bit more food, and a lot more chatting.

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I approached the subject of ‘Romance’ cautiously – expecting to be met with the rolling of eyes and a response of ‘all that fuss and nonsense’, but he was actually quite receptive.  Especially as I put to him we could have a little romance competition for the month, see who can get in the most ‘random acts of romance’ before the end of August – my dear husband is THE MOST competitive person I know (well, him and his brother!).. so this was pretty much a sure way of getting him involved.  But we’ll see, as we know the saying and the doing are totally different things! I also said we could have a prize for the most inventive gesture – that should be interesting.

So I am now trawling looking for romantic ideas other than the usual stuff we do as part of our ‘ordinary’ Daly lives

IDEAS – GRATEFULLY RECEIVED!

Over the next 3 weeks I’m going to update on our ‘randmom acts of romance’ – lets see where it takes us.  Sick buckets may well be needed – pre-warning issued.

Linked up with #AnythingGoes

My Random Musings

The Weekly Daly Roundup #4

Half way through the holidays – where is the summer going. I’m so concious that the weeks are slipping away I am trying to get so much in.

A quick round up of the week

High

An early morning brekkie treat with Ron at the local Harvesters followed by a lovely walk around Oakwell Hall to work it off. Was a perfect start to the day. Breakfast was amazing, not only in amount and quality, but cost too – at only £4.99 for unlimited continental option and then full English – can’t go wrong and it may turn in to a bit of a regular weekend outing.

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Low

Seeing everywhere and buying back to school stuff – very depressing

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Good

Birthday – uneventful which is the way I like them.

Bad

Birthday – 42yrs old – I’ve never really been able to come to terms with getting older.  I remember turning 10, and being devastated that I would never be single figures again.  Turning 30 was a nightmare, I was traumatised for days!  40 was more manageable, helped by a weekend away with Ron (we were newly dating at that time), Now I’m just doing my best to ignore them.

Enjoyed

Lots of great home activities with the kids.  From tie dying t-shirts , to a sports day & water slide with friends, to paint wars in the garden – its been a blast

tshirt collage

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paint collage 2

Didn’t enjoy

Girls being at their dads.  Its a bit of a double edged sword.  Having a break is great.  Having couple only time with Ron is fantastic and not to be taken for granted EVER – but I really really miss them when they’re not here.

Mundane

Got all the practical jobs done on Saturday afternoon – lawn mowed, survived supermarket shop.  Actually gave Aldi a try this week – everyone saying how much they save gave me a bit of a push.  I wasn’t disappointed, must admit, spent less than I usually would. Washing done (and the makings of Mount Everest aka the ironing pile has started again), – might be mundane but still get a sense of satisfaction when its all done.

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Out of the Ordinary

Attended the last of the summer weddings – congratulations to Nicola & Zak – finally tying the knot after 10 years together.  Her dress was stunning, and Nicola’s three kiddies were adorable.

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Natalie danced non stop at the evening do – she’s her mothers daughter afterall, she certainly has all my moves and more!

Grateful for

All the wonderful local beauty spots we have around here.  We are so lucky to have so many amazing places on our doorstep where we can enjoy green open spaces, woodland walks, wildflower meadows.  Great to enjoy as a couple and explore as a family.

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Linking up with #TWTWC

TWTWC
Linking up with #TWTWC

{Ordinary Moments} #5 Creative Kids

I am not a naturally creative person.  Doing crafting, baking, and the general making stuff activities with the kids for me takes a lot of effort.  But they love it, so I do make the effort despite my OCD tendencies to take over what ever it is they are doing .. I find myself getting overly involved wanting to ‘help a little’ (ok.. a lot!) if they are not doing it quite right, or exactly how I think it should be done.  I would probably be better off tying my hands behind my back during these type of activities to stop myself interfering and let them just get on with it.

I’ve really been noticing this week that whilst I am not particularly creative, actually my children are.  One of the activities on their Summer Bored Board click here see prev blog post to read more about the Bored Board– (SERIOUSLY – introducing the Bored Board these holidays is one of the best things I’ve ever done!) is to ‘write a story’ – Jess has been loving this.  She talks through the concept of the story first, writes a title and introduction before beginning her narrative.  Pictures always accompany the story and she never forgets to credit herself on the cover as the Story Author and Illustrator! She finds so much to spark her imagination, creating delightful characters going on different adventures.

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Its been really inspiring to watch how she puts her stories together, the pride she takes in her pictures and how much she wants to read her stories to pretty much anyone that will listen (thank goodness for the patience of grandma!)

i know its important to encourage creativity where you can, but I’ll be honest I find it hard work – I’m all for the self entertainment sort of stuff (writing their own stories, drawing pictures etc), the larger projects – painting, model making, baking – any really messy stuff I’m not so keen on.  Setting it all up, covering everything that is in danger of being glued, painted on or covered in gunk for what seems a very short amount of playtime before I find myself deserted as they’ve gone off to do something else and I’m up to my elbows is mess!

But this week, I decided to grasp the nettle so to speak.  One of their ‘Bucket List’ activities was to do some tie dying of t-shirts.  A definite outside activity, and with Monday being a dry, occasionally sunny day it was the perfect opportunity.  A quick google on instructions – came across parents.com (click here), a dash to Wilkinsons for the dye, salt and cheap washing up bowls,   Dug out their P.E t-shirts from the last term of school and off we went.

It was such a pleasure to watch them coming up with their designs, deciding on colours and how they wanted them to look. They showed patience in waiting for the dye to work and were so excited when it was time to take them out and see how their designs had turned out. They even offered a critique on the patterns, and decided what they would do differently with the next t-shirt.

dye 1 Collage

They enjoyed it so much I ended up opening up the new t-shirts for the next term of school and letting them dye those as well.  Safe to say, we have enough tie dyed t-shirts to get them through the whole of the summer!

tshirt collage

The aftermath and clean up wasn’t too bad either, and seeing their creativity, personal style, originality and imagination really come through was well worth it.

After such a successful and relatively stress free activity,  later in the week we really decided to push the boat out on the messy play front – and went the whole hog with ‘Paint Wars’ .  This amounted pretty much to covering the front garden in lining paper, squirting a load of paint all over it, and letting the kids (ok.. and me too) slip, slide, run through, roll in and get throughly covered in paint.  Of course, it descended in to not only squirting the paper with paint, but then each other!

paint collage 1

paint collage 2

A quick clear away of the paper, and it was out with the garden hose.  There was no way anyone was entering the house until at least the majority had been washed away.

The water hose brought a whole other dimension to our play time, being chased round the garden by my 8yr old squeeling (the squeeling was me, not her!) jumping through the spray and their total awe when they made rainbows appear through the mist was pretty magical.

paint collage 3

It was such a sense of freedom, play without limits, so much laughter, the biggest smiles ever, cheekiest of giggles, screams of excitement.

Truly what sunny, summer days should be made of.

Linking up with #theordinarymoments

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Introducing – Back to School Traditions

Half way through the summer holidays already!  I remember as a child the signal that we were midway in to the holiday was the sudden appearance of all things ‘Back to School’ in the shops.  Uniforms, school bags, lunch boxes, stationary etc. As a kid I hated seeing it all as it meant that all too soon it would be back to early mornings, homework, and dark, cold evenings.

Nowadays though, ‘Back to School’ stuff appears in the shops pretty much immediately!  In fact the new uniforms were in the entrance to Asda before schools had even broken up for the holidays!

back to school

Really, the only tradition we have done each year is around the purchase of new stuff for the new term – and thats just because its an essential activity, rather than a tradition as such.

Historically I’ve done this the the last week of the summer holidays – but I found last year that I’d gone to do the whole back to school shop and there was almost nothing left.  Getting jumpers in the right colour was a nightmare, the choice of pinafores and skirts non existent and the queues at Clarkes for new shoes was interminable.

To not get caught out this year – we are starting early.  However, I absolutely, categorically refuse to start any earlier that week 4 of the holidays.  It just doesn’t seem right or fair to be thinking and focussing on the end of the holidays when it feels they’ve not long begun.

But also this year, I thought we’d start a couple of new traditions.  As much as the summer holidays are great, its awful that the last couple of weeks of them, and certainly the few days are plagued with that feeling of dread (for both me and the kids to be honest) that the holidays are ending and the return to school is looming.

I want this year, and the years that follow to bring some positivity to the prospect of the new term starting for all of us.  A few things that will ease the pain so to speak, and that form family traditions over the coming years.  After checking out Pintrest, blogs and the like I decided not to go overboard, but choose 3 – keep it simple ideas

1.A super shopping date – aka purchasing of new uniform etc

Ok, so not original, but something that has to be one each year.  However rather than it just being me that does a mad dash to the shops, grabs an armful of clothes and shoves it in drawers and wardrobes on my return home.  This year I’m going to take the kids with me on the shopping trip – make a bit of a treat out of it.  Let them choose their own (oh heavens!), make it a bit more special with lunch out etc

2. Last Supper of Summer – a themed meal

Something that I read on a blog The Larson Lingo that one of their traditions was to have a theme for their school year – things like ‘Grow’,  ‘Love’, ‘Be Brave’.  It was the Be Brave one that caught me.  This is going to be a big year for Jess and Nat.  The move of house, new school, new friends, new routines.  All major changes.  They really are going to have to be brave, show courage and determination.

So, we are going to take on the tradition of an annual theme and introduce it through a Last Supper of Summer. A special dinner on the last day of the holidays. Theme – we deffo have to go with ‘Be Brave’  – I’m working through ideas, will include them, and update on a future blog.

brave

3. Knowing you – knowing me

One of their concerns each year of returning to school is having a new teacher.  They have spent a whole year getting to know the last one.  They have built a bond with their teacher, they know what they expect, how they will react, and will rightly so miss them a great deal. Then all of a sudden they’ve to start all over again.  For both the children its something they have talked about regularly and I feel that its what causes them the most anxiety when thinking about starting the new school term.  Yet another good idea on The Larson Lingo blog which I’m going to adopt and adapt was ‘My favourite things’ questionnaire.  A list of simple questions they give to their teacher to answer along with a gift to help them get to know her.

I think this is a wonderful idea.  A little gift for the teacher at the end of their first week to show a bit of appreciation (I do admire teachers, and I can imagine that the first week back for them is a total nightmare).  And what a great way for the kids to get to know their teacher, feel more comfortable around them and start a strong teacher pupil relationship.  I’m adapting it a bit as I’m going to get the girls to fill our their own questionnaire to give to their teacher with the small gift so the teacher can know some things about them and one for the teacher to then complete and return back to the girls.

questionnaire

An example of one from Pintrest – check it out for lots of fab ideas on teacher questionnaires

So, 3 new Back to School traditions in our ‘Daly Life’ – can’t wait!

I’d love to know other family traditions people have – back to school ones or others

Linking up with #momsterslink