Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shoe Laces
I had no intention of trying to teach Chips to tie his laces in a short time frame. It's simply not my style. Usually we take our time over issues like this. We don't fuss. We don't pressure. We just give ourselves plenty of time and we don't stress if it takes forever to reach a result. This is our way.

So when I bought the school trainers I knew that I was entering unfamiliar territory. They were lovely. Black with bright green trim and bright green laces. Oops....did I say laces.....yes I did. But Chips can't tie laces yet.....ahh that was the problem.

But it was getting late in the day and we had been walking around town for what seemed like forever and there was not many days left to sort the school uniform thingy out,the days of summer were zipping away quickly,so what was I to do? Go home without the trainers and then have to find my way to another shoe shop on a day that didn't exist or buy the trainers and teach Chips how to tie his shoe laces before school started.....

I bought the trainers and said a silent prayer.

We started to try and do the laces that very night. We only had five days to master this skill and we were working from scratch. I was tired after being out all day,Chips was tired from being out all day. Iam left handed and find it hard to teach a successful right handed way,my methods tend to be a jumbled up mix of everything so it was not surprising that we did not make much headway that night.

The next day was Saturday and as we ate our regular Saturday morning Morrisons scrummy breakfast we discussed the scenario with my mum and dad.

Chips excitedly told them how happy he was to have these new trainers and how he had to learn to tie laces in four days and I,with a pained expression on my face told them that yes this was true and what an earth was we going to do.

They understood completely.

When we got back from shopping my mum had a quick go at talking Chips through the rudimentals of lace tying. He listened and tried. But it was not clicking with him at all. We had mastered the knot bit but the loops....sigh....the loops were tricky.

We struggled on throughout the day,trying,getting stuck at the loops and then trying again.

Sunday dawned and my dad had a go at the teaching lark. Only three days were left now,the stakes were getting higher and a slight feel of panic was beginning to form in my tummy.

My dad was ultra patient and the progress was visible. Still a long way to go but Chips was beginning to get the hang of the loops and I could see an improvement from Friday.

We smiled because it became apparent that my dad had also taught me to tie laces. We still tie them pretty similar to each other. And my mum talked about how she gave my dad the job of teaching me to tie because he was much more patient at that kind of thing than she was. Looking at the time and effort he spent with Chips,I can see that he still is.

Well my dad tried and progress was being made but then Sharky took over.
And blow me down he taught Chips to do his laces!
He used the most new fangled method ever,which he utubed up but after much patient teaching,Chips finally learnt how to do his laces.

And I sat and watched them. Amazed at Chips new life skill and happy to see two brothers working together.
Special times and memories to keep.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

 School News #1
So school has started again. Me being me was not happy to see Chips start back school,I much prefer him being at home but school time it was and he has settled brilliantly into year six. His new teacher seems nice,he is revelling in being a year six and all the prestige that brings - top dogs - oldest in the school.

Already he has done a maths test and a sixty two word spelling test so I think they have hit the ground running and are pretty focused in that class. He has mentioned doing DARE and after that,apparently it's the Christmas concert looming,it appears to me that his teacher is ultra organised and passing that on to her class.

He was happy today to have a long chat with his year five teacher and I'm glad to see that relationship still continue as they seemed to get along really well last year.

It's all change at the end of the day though as his friend that we used to walk home with has started to walk home by himself. This has changed the dynamics for everybody,me included. No more laughs as we wait for the boys and no more chatter as we all walk home. It feels different.

I do sense the winds of change coming. Last years year sixes were proudly showing their new blazers off on the school yard this afternoon. Lots of people are talking about comp and children are beginning to want more and more independence,meaning many parents are being banished further and further up the school drive. I love doing the school run and intend to stay on my playground spot as long as I can,this is my last boy in primary school and I'm making the most of my time being a school run mum.

It's been mainly a sunny start back to school,no costs or umbrellas needed,yet. Just pleasant enough to walk there in jumpers or even tee shirts. We have yet to see the Indian summer that was promised us though....maybe next week!

I glimpsed a special moment today as I glanced out of the school window and saw Chips walking round to his classroom tucked in tightly amongst a group of boys. They were all chattering away about something,probably the Xbox! It was so lovely to see though and it made me smile.

One week already flown by!
eating his mums leftover toast on the way to school!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The school holidays.....I have adored the school holidays up to yet. Been nowhere glamorous but these people around me have given me plenty to smile at and many memories to tuck away in my pocket to take out when a smile and a warm cosy memory is needed. So without further ado I give you the school holiday news

We have read,read,read and then read some more. This is 'no' exaggeration. Feeling down - lets read. Woke up to early - lets read. Nothing to do - lets read. Got brilliant new books - lets read. It's raining outside - lets read. Want to beat Mummy and catch up with what page she is on - lets read. I'm on my third book of the summer,Chips is on his zillionth. This is how we roll....we read,through good and bad,rain and shine,inside and outdoors,we read.

We have walked too. Past fields with poppies and parks full of wildflowers.
flowers that children from our village planted
We have done trails and meandered along the sides of train tracks and flowing rivers.

Sometimes we have walked without knowing where we were going to end up! One of those days we stopped by a lay by and found some big muddy puddles. Chips found great fun and satisfaction throwing stones into the puddles,the bigger the stone the better. On this afternoon the sky was blue and the countryside around us was beautiful,just a short distance from home and it was so pretty. We came home happy.

The urge to blast a football has been seen if not daily then enough to be a constant in our lives. If the ball has not been kicked then its been thrown or bounced. Be it a football or a tennis ball or even a teeny tiny bouncy ball,a ball has played its part these holidays. There has been catch on the beach,football on the fields and the patio and bouncy/tennis ball games in the kitchen. These are often loud and can shatter any sane persons sense of peace and also any light fitting that comes in contact with a ball...yep I'm looking at you son,you know Iam! And now I'm looking at the said lamp,that now stands with just it's bulb showing,a beautiful look for our lounge.... one minute was all it took,a quick goodbye to my parents and then the look on your face as you sat on the sofa holding the shattered lamp in your hand...even then you grinned....did you not think I would react badly and yell....I guess you know me to well. And I have been a mum of boys for over twenty one years now.

We went to the seaside for a day. When you only get one day at the seaside you have to grab it with both hands and get the most out of every second you have,you don't have a second to waste. And that's what the boys did. They played on the beach under grey skies and the growl of thunder which eventually turned into torrential rain and one hell of a thunderstorm on our way back home. Young Chips went into the murky sea and embraced it totally,splashing around with abandon and not a care in the world.
There was the most ferocious game of catch on the beach which made me smile,people in this family throw hard,always have done and it seems that given the chance they still do.

Talking of ferocious,there was a very competitive game of air hockey and I was ever so squeakily pleased when I beat my middle boy,goodness knows how it happened but it did' happen and I have a claim to family fame and I'm holding it aloft and making the most of the rare occasion when I beat one of the boys.
We spent the whole afternoon ensconced in the amusement arcades either playing air hockey or pushing two pence pieces into a machine to win a little plastic minion. This became a battle of wills between me and Chips and the machine. Put it this way,there was no chance that we were going to leave without that minion,we made a stand and that minion was going to be ours. We therefore pushed quite a lot of 2ps in the machine! Sharky could not quite bear our determination to rescue the minion and make him ours but we needed that little guy and if these 2ps were keeping Chips amused on a wet soggy seaside afternoon I was not going to stop the game. So we stood pushing those pennies in,getting faster as we went and more determined or should that word be 'desperate' to win the minion. In the end it was Sharky who did it! He was also getting desperate!So he strolled up,put probably a couple of pennies in and hey presto the minion dropped from the machine and was freed by the kiosk man,as after all that time, the little guy got stuck in the bottom of the machine and couldn't quite make his dash to freedom without a bit of help! Anyway,in the end we did get him and he has been cherished ever since.
We ended the day with a wet and soggy walk to a seaside chip shop and had seaside chips. Nothing nicer than seaside chips. It was a good day.
a very wet seaside!
Trains seem to have a played their part these holidays. Either by going on them,watching them or walking along and finding their tracks. Chips is quite interested in the whole train scenario and so we have played to this interest and spent a lot of time near trains. Last year we seemed to be constantly finding rivers,this year it's been trains.

There has been celebrations - birthdays galore and exam success too. University beckons and a whole change in family dynamics is on the horizon,the thought of how did 18 years go by so quickly is firmly stuck in my head these days,not in a bad way,just in a pretty amazed kind of how way. Time flies....

Come and gone in a flash these school holidays,guess its time to pack the shorts away and get the school uniforms out....

*tucks away the best bits of the holidays in her pocket and smiles,let the memories live on in my heart*
one of my very favourite photographs of the holidays

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stripy Red Shirts
I've been thinking about the seaside recently and especially about a certain part of Newquay.

The part next to the arcades,on the main street,nestled in between the chip shop and the fudge shop. Is it any coincidence that I remember those two icons of Newquay,probably not,knowing my peckish nature. I do remember other things on that street,like the surf shops,it's just that I hold the fudge shop dear inside my memory,well it did sell the yummiest fudge ever!

If you stood,on that part of the street and looked across it,there was a steep tiny hill. Walking down that hill to your right hand side were the backs of the hotels where we stayed when the boys were very young,very busy places and not that pretty. But if you kept on walking down the steep hill there was a bench and a view. A view of the sea. The beautiful Newquay coastline. Further down the hill is the harbour,with it's fishing boats and small beach. Sometimes there would be a seal that visited the harbour,that would be a extra special treat for us to see,a real live seal always made for a wow kind of moment. We used to sometimes play on that small beach,not often but enough for me to have a memory of small boys with golden hair,in red and white stripy tee shirts playing on the sand while their mummy took many,many photographs.

So down that path lay magic.

At the top of the road the smell of fish and chips would be in the air and mixed with the salty sea air it was pure seaside heaven.

And that's what I'm remembering and thinking about.

The piece of pavement where you turn and see the hill....the hill that leads to the sea.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Picnic Day
"How are you going to get them to work after this?" I asked the teacher.

With a big smile on their face the teacher admitted that they were not quite sure!

It had been a day of fun for the whole school. The fundraising committee had decided that the children could have a treat and they had organised go karts and laser tag activities and to top it off it was the whole school picnic day,where all the school had their lunches on the school field and their parents,sisters,brothers,grandparents could come and picnic along with them.

When I arrived the field was a blaze of colour and movement. Picnic blankets were spread out everywhere and children darted about excitedly.

There is something comforting about a picnic,it's so nice to sit on a blanket under a tree,with your friends and eat yummy food.

And that's what we did.

Sat and munched our lunch with our family and friends. Food was shared round,some of us ate our picnic backwards - chocolate fingers before any savoury stuff,we compared freezer packs,we watched babies crawl around exploring grass for the first time,toddlers who had just mastered the art of walking and were now finding out what a big world it is out there,even in all the noise and hustle bustle there was a sense of peace,the children were so motivated and happy that I heard no squabbles at all.

Chips and his friend waited patiently in the que for the go karts that were whizzing around the playground. I wonder what they were thinking as they stood and watched those super fast go karts,it looked like they were deep in thought as they stood shoulder to shoulder talking away and occasionally pointing something out.

Their turn eventually came round and there were really big smiles on their faces as they negotiated the go karts around the track

In fact there were smiles on everybody's faces that afternoon - the kids smiled,the teachers smiled,the parents smiled,even the dinner ladies managed a smile and it must have been ultra stressful for them supervising the children with all that commotion going on! It was a smiley afternoon. And when you get a smiley afternoon it's good to save the memory,hence this blog post....

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Drinking tea under the trees,watching the boys play...for me this is such a state of utter blissness. It just doesn't get much better. Tea...trees and boys playing..,,perfect.

It was a rainy old day and a bit chill but nobody seemed to care.

Sharky ran around with the ball,blasting it as high as high could be. That ball got such a kicking today,I bet it's sore now!

Chips clambered up,down,through and along the vast wooden trim trail. He negotiated steps,tunnels,rope nets and slides and jumped off platforms and balanced across fallen trees with a real sense of balance.

I sat with a warm cup of tea in my hands and just watched the scene play out.

I don't think I could ever get fed up with watching my boys together,not ever. I love to see them play and interact. They are all so different and I love that too.

And I love woods and trees and cones and stones. We came back with a bag of treasures that I have transferred to my collection of natural stuff that I keep outside.

Just a quick blast of a trip but one that has left us feeling warm and cosy. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The big pool is noisy. Much noisier than I expected it to be. All it's lanes are full and there is a swim club that trains at the far end,these people make a tremendous amount of noise as they set off together searching for their best time ever or the perfect stroke that will make them go even more supersonically fast. It's good to watch these guys swim,they move in synchronisation,like a school of dolphins swimming together but boy do they make some noise.

So it's not quite the quiet oasis of a pool that I had envisaged. Not at all.

It is big though. The actual pool is huge. The water seems to stretch out in front of us when we walk in the room,a sea of deep blue water. The seating is treble,no it's loads more than the few silver chairs that we used to quickly dive to when Chips was in the small pool. Now we have a choice of where to sit,near the shallow end or up near the deep end and we usually chose to sit smack in the middle on the bottom row,not sure how my lovely leg would negotiate climbing up the steep array of steps that some people seem to hop,skip and jump along like gazelles. I'm definitely not a gazelle.

In the far corner of the room there is a big window,the glass is not clear but you can see through it and it overlooks a park. On a sunny night you can look out the window and gaze at trees and blue skies,it's a pretty view.

And that is how the big pool seems to me. A busy,noisy,exciting place,a place where new challenges await.

It's not been a easy transition from the small pool to the big pool. It's taken every ounce of strength that Chips had got. Literally. He is swimming much further than he had ever done before and there's no putting feet down and walking a bit anymore. It tires him and sometimes frustrates him but in just four weeks we can all see a difference beginning to creep in.

"Stamina!" said his swim teacher last night.

So thats what you need Chips - stamina and a good attitude that pushes you through the frustration of not having the strength to kick as fast as you need too. If you keep this up you will develop both these skills,so let's keep trying,I know you can do it.

Halfway through tonight's lesson you swam right up to the deep end,climbed out and stood waiting for your turn to jump. It was your first time ever to jump into the deep end. In fact it was your first time ever to even swim in the deep water. My heart was in my mouth. I knew you could do the jump,me being me I was more concerned about you slipping on the wet tiles as you had to climb up a step and then jump. But you climbed the step and stood waiting for Diane to tell you to jump.

And you did.

Jumped beautifully into the pool and sank right down to the bottom of the pool. It seemed a long time before you popped back up to the surface and then began to swim on your back down to the shallow end.

My dad and I were so proud of you. It was brilliant to see. What a achievement and it meant so much to you. I think your confidence more than doubled on the spot.

Our smiles were big that night as you showered and got ready to go home.

And the final words are yours....

"I really enjoyed swimming tonight."

Say no more.... as no more words are needed.