Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saturday Swimming
We were so concerned about Saturday swimming.

Goodness knows why.

Because it turned out to be the best lot of swim lessons ever!

At the time we did not know that though.

As they say,hindsight is a wonderful thing.

There was the fact that the lessons would be with a new teacher.

And queries about doing widths instead of lengths.

And we thought it would make Saturday rushed and who wants a rushy Saturday, when all the week is lived at breakneck speed,you don't want to make a precious weekend day too rushed as well.

We had also just had the worst set of swim lessons that we had ever had.

The move to the big pool had been harder than anyone had expected. Painfully hard. So bearing all this in mind,we approached Saturday swim lessons with caution. As we ate our Saturday breakfast we discussed what the lessons may entail. We had a lot of questions and only one way to find the answers out....go to the first lesson and see what happened.

We were very early for the first lesson but our first surprise was that it was not a new teacher at all,it was Jenny,our very first swim teacher! And because she knew us well and we were very early,she said we could join the two o'clock class.

There were not many children at all in the 2pm class and it was a different feel altogether than the Friday night class. It was SO peaceful. Just a handful of children,maybe four or five in the bottom end of the large competition pool. The space the children had was unbelievable and the noise level was minimal....it was blissful. At the end of the lesson I remarked to Jenny about how great it was and she grinned and told me that in Chips proper class there would only be three children altogether,I started to feel that this move to Saturday swimming was going to be a very good move.

And it was.

For the first time ever I felt pretty peaceful at swimming lessons and I think the children felt peaceful too because they swam hard and learnt so many little things that they might not have done within a class of twelve.

They had a go at diving into the deep end. This was a bit ouchy as when you fall into water at speed but without control it can hurt and produce some red sore skin! But at least they had a go.
They were taken to the deep end numerous times to jump in and I can still picture their little excited faces as they leapt into the pool and swam 25 metres to the shallow end.
They did push and glide and all sorts of little swim techniques and quite simply they got such personalised attention that it brought their swimming on no end.

For most of the ten swimming sessions there were only two children in the whole of the competition pool! I guess that speaks for itself,especially if you have ever seen how busy that pool can sometimes get.
Once the swimming baths had a difficulty with the chlorine levels in the small pool and the fun pool but the competition pool was ok so Chips and Cory were the only two children swimming in the whole of the leisure centre! That was just unbelievable too! Like virtually having the whole pool to themselves!

After such a terrible time in the last lot of swim lessons,this was pure bliss. It completely turned Chips attitude around. Gone was the little boy who intensely disliked swim lessons and in his place was a smiley boy who was confident once more and as for the swimming....well both little boys achieved their 50 metre badge this time. I don't think they had ever swam as much to be honest! With just two children to watch and teach,the teachers got them swimming continuously and it did bring their swimming skills on and give the boys more stamina.

So,Saturday swimming is going to stay for us for a while,the very day we did not want to go swim lessons has been the very day that is best!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Splashy Week
Its been a rainy old week.
We have spent lots of time at school doing 
our activities and listening  to the sound of the rain on the canopy. 
I always find the sound of rain soothing and I like playing outside
so its been nice to do both things and stay dry!
Its not often we can do this and the children were quite bemused 
to be allowed outside in rainy weather.
School runs were soggy and it turned cold enough for the heating to be put on for the first time
since Spring.

The evenings were spent ploughing through Harry Potter.
We are on book three now.
Harry has met the Dementors and Sirius Black is on the loose.
Chips remains enthralled by this book
and so do I!
Reading stories has to be one of my favourite things about being a parent.
So many good stories to share!

I began to think about meal planning.
Whether that happens remains to be seen.
I think that it would be a good thing to do.
Its just that life seems to throw up things that make sticking to meal plans
rather hard for me.
Maybe I should just give it a go.

My favourite songs of the week have been Tom Odells Another Love ans Ed Sheerans Photograph.
These two songs have kept me company through many dark nights.

The uni kid is back for the weekend.
He's piled his dirty washing on the sofa and never has a pile of dirty washing been so fondly gazed at!
Unless you count the way that I smile at the red footy shirts.
My boys....even their dirty washing makes me smile!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

School News #2 and #3
Week two began very sunnily with one of our warmest days this September.

We had to take Ben and Jerry back so it was all systems go as the Monday morning school run included two guinea pigs today! We were very sad to see these two little cuties go back to their home,me probably the most! I honestly really miss these little chaps,funny how you can get attached to animals in such a short space of time. Even ones that wee all over you!

The main excitement of the week was that Chips came home proudly wearing a monitor badge! His job was to warn the teachers in the staff room that it was two minutes to the end of playtime and to also check around the classrooms and turn any lights off that had been left on.
It was quite a responsibility to keep that badge safe but we did it well and we were both quite sad to see it go at the end of the week.

Spellings started up again! More to learn than last year and harder too. We have been practicing for nearly two weeks now,the test is tomorrow,so we shall see what results Chips gets. I predict he gets quite a few right. We will have to see.

Oh and homework started again too. Different days but same format - one week a literacy piece and the following week a numeracy piece. We are about to do the literacy piece today....deep joy.
It's about a witch though so if the subject is interesting it may make the work pass easier.

Chips has been talking about World War 2 and he has taken a lot of information in. There is nothing like a in depth conversation about Hitler and the holocaust at 7.30 on a weekday morning!

Week three saw the beginning of DARE. For those of you who do not know about DARE it stands for Drugs Awareness Resistance and it's all about teaching the children about the harmful effects of drugs etc. All year six children take part in this program and it has been running for years as Chips brothers did it too. Chips was very excited to begin DARE and as with everything in year six he has took it very seriously. I do detect that Chips is definitely becoming more responsible these days,he is really enjoying year six and it is bringing out the best in him.

The weather was grey most of the week,very foggy and damp,not nice at all. And some children even insisted on wearing just their polo shirts to walk to school in.....wonder who that could be!

Reading was going well. Chips had some great comments in his reading log and a fair few stickers.

On Monday it was a whole school dressing up day on the theme of The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe. Chips went as a snowy traveler in a woolly hat,gloves,scarf etc. He looked very cheerful as he trotted off to school dressed as snug as bug and he came back gone saying just how much writing he had managed to do. This was the aim of the dressing up....to encourage story writing. It seemed like it had worked.

The week ended on a happy note as Chips got accepted in the after school footy club. He really enjoys this club and was very pleased to be going back for another year of running around the school field every Friday night.

It was a good way to end week three.

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

Summer
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.