If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Friday, 31 May 2013

A perfick night for eating outside

We've managed a few picnics this year, one to two ended up in the car because its been too cold and windy outside, but tonight for the first time this year we ate outside, it was a little chilly but there is nothing nicer than eating outdoors. The children rarely eat at the table child 2 and 3 tend to squish together on the little trampoline or they drag out the picnic blanket and sprawl over it. Then the minute they've scoffed their dinner down they are swinging on the swing or bouncing on the trampoline (no-ones been sick yet).

Eating outside in the garden always reminds me of The Darling Buds of May a favourite TV series of mine that ran between 1991& 1993. (Based on a book written by H E Bates in 1958). The old kitchen table dragged under what could have been an old apple tree laden with food that Ma Larkin created to be shared by her family and friends is the ultimate in outdoor entertaining.

Our garden unfortunately is on a slope so we have to emulate the Larkins with an old hand me down plastic picnic table with plastic chairs - its amazing what some pink floral oil cloth and jam jars filled with night lights can do us to emulate the Larkins so for now the old plastic picnic table and 4 chairs will have to do.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Our Rainbow Valley

Just around the corner we have our very own Secret Garden, the entrance is secured by two huge, black, old fashioned, wrought iron gates and the whole garden is surrounded by a high stone wall, probably six foot in height. As you enter through the gates there are two gravelly paths leading one to the left and one to the right and in front through an overhang of trees and bushes is an expanse of green hemmed in by tree lined inclines making it look like a valley. At this time of year the trees that dot about through the green are covered in pink, red and white blossoms the fallen petals surrounding their bases like confetti and the green is edged with wild garlic their little white flower heads bobbing a welcome in the breeze. The children absolutely love this place, here they can run off, play football, make hideouts or explore the slopes hiding themselves in the greenery. They make slides on the muddy slopes, climbing up using the tree roots for handholds so they can slide back down to the narrow ditches that lead the water that comes down off the hilly farm land out onto the A road that runs outside this magical haven.

As a girl I read the Anne of Green Gables series, Anne of Green Gables and the 7th book in the series Rainbow Valley  evoke a perfect childhood for me. All these books were about growing up in the country side, allowing you to live out stories from your imagination or rather Anne's, Walter's or Rilla's and Rainbow Valley a book about the Blythe and Meredith children playing their childhoods away in a sun dappled hollow provides a perfect distraction from real life, inspiring carefree and happy days with picnics and laughter.

It is often said that we don't give our children the freedom that we had as children, although I am not sure that I agree,but with more cars on the roads and busier lifestyles I concur that the childhoods our children experience are different from the childhoods we had. That is why I love our secret garden, it's an opportunity for all the children from the very young right through to our teenagers to be independent, to explore, to play and to be children without a parent "helicoptering" over them. They often play all together, the older ones leading the younger ones on exploits they couldn't accomplish on their own. In fact as a mum I rarely move from the picnic  blanket in its sunny spot where I catch up with the gossip,only being interrupted when our hollow legged children need more sustenance before running off again. I don't even really know what they get up to but by the time we head home they are tired, grubby and full of the adventures they have had.  Just think of the memories that they are creating and hopefully they will look back on these sunny days and smile................

Monday, 27 May 2013

A famous five day out without the famous five

Today was my works sponsored bike ride, 20 miles following an old disused railway line - no hills hahaha!

Despite the weather forecast of cloud, wind and showers we had a beautiful day for a bike ride, blue skies, fluffy white clouds and a cool breeze. I don't have a bike so borrowed my mums, in fact I haven't been on a bike for probably 10 years, so this certainly made cycling, manoeuvring and changing gear highly entertaining. We were quite a crowd heading off, many of us not cyclists but all willing to give it our all and smiling all the way. Do you know what, the first 10 miles were ok so long as it wasn't uphill not good going uphill, but I kept telling myself going up meant coasting down the other side and although I wasn't brave enough to stick my legs out in front I did whoop all the way down.

The return journey was much much tougher, but I can be pretty bloody minded and I was determined to complete the 20 miles which I did, I may have been the last person to finish but it wasn't a race it was to raise money for charity.

What the early part of this experience did though was introduce me to the appeal of cycling. blue skies, picnics and famous five adventures especially with the family, I was about to say only with easy, flat routes but then there would be no whooping with legs outstretched down hills!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Dust Fairies and Dandelion Clocks

Every now and then child 3 makes it in to our bed in the early hours of the morning,  there is nothing more delightful than that little warm body snuggled up into yours, except when she fidgets, squirms and wiggles continually until just before the alarm goes off, when of course she drops off into the sleep of the dead and you are forced to untangle yourself from her limbs and creep out of bed moving with that exaggerated stealth that only parents seem to know when attempting to move without disturbing a sleeping child. This morning I was woken up by her trying to catch dust fairies. Does anyone else have dust fairies? (Possibly not, as its quite obvious that I don't dust enough, in fact when the children were very young I used to leave the hoover out. So that if anyone called round I could say that I was about to hoover.) Anyway, back to dust fairies, do you know they only ever seem to appear in the early shafts of sunlight that filters through the slivers of gaps between the bedroom curtains first thing in the morning and you can never catch them, they just disappear, slipping through your fingers.

On another similar vein of my lacking in the housewife role........

From about now right through until the autumn, child 3 loves to pick the dandelions that have changed from the bright yellow fluffy head to the white puffball made up of seeds so that she can blow the dandelion fairies up up and away, this can on occasion make our journey to and from school a lengthy yet magical one. I am sure that our neighbours must see this and think "great no wonder I cannot eradicate the dandelion weed from my lawn," in fact I have to admit our garden is full of Dandelions and although I do dig some of them up I can't quite bring myself to kill them all.

I promise that it is not just laziness that prevents me from dusting and weeding, but also the fact that I still believe in fairies!! Everyone should try it and believe.

Friday, 24 May 2013

When I grow up I want to be a...........

Today was "what do you want to be when you grow up day". All the children at Child 3's school had to dress up as their chosen career choice, our little one of course went as an Olympic gymnast and there were lots of children dressed up as vets, spies, Lego designers, zoo keepers, designers, firemen, hairdressers, soldiers and even a Dalek!! The children had an amazing day and some of the costumes were truly inspired ( the Dalek was one of them). It made me wonder what these children would really end up doing. It would be fascinating to compare now with the future.

Driving home from work there was an interview on the radio about our teenage children attending university, but due to the cost many of our youngsters were studying degrees to enable them to earn large salaries rather than learn about something they loved.

We spend so much of our life working that surely it is better to at least aim for something we dream of. Alan Watts (a british born philosopher) approach to careers advice is fantastic. "What would you do, if money was no object?  Once we have decided what we really want to do, forget about the money and go for it. If we work only for money we will spend our lives completely wasting our time. We'll be doing things we don’t particularily like, in order to go on earning money to keep us living that life, which is stupid. There is a possibility that by doing something we really love we will become a master of it and so earn a living from it.

So I will encourage child 1 to study her dance and drama, child 2 his science and building and destroying things and child 3 to enjoy her gymnastics...........


I am not a racist but ............

"I am not a racist but.......". If I hear one more person say this I will scream!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

I want patience NOW!!!!!

The social worker has called to say that our panel date has been moved, it's now 5 weeks away, instead of 2! I try to be philosophical about it, it's meant to be maybe. But do you know what I am actually really really really disappointed. I know that the man upstairs has his plan and that "patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet" John Jacques Rousseau. But, hell I wish it hadn't happened..........
Child 1 has now amended her countdown to 34 days and I've yet to tell the other two. Friends and family as usual are being supportive but still it's crap :-((

Storm before the rainbow.
All good things come to those that wait.
Something's are worth waiting for.
Everything will be alright in the end.
Things worth having are worth waiting for.
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass its about dancing in the rain.
Everything happens for a reason.
Waiting may not be a good feeling but its better than having nothing to wait for.

OK I'm off to eat chocolate hoping that I'll feel better tomorrow...............................

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


The only problem with three children is sickness bugs................ It started Saturday well the very early hours of Saturday morning with child 2, who bless him must have been up 5 times.Child 3 had a minor altercation with it on Monday evening. (Mind you i am not sure that it was coincidental as she had been to a pyjama party at Brownies and consumed a hideous amount of  sugar) and has hopefully reached its conclusion this evening with child 1!  All of us are tired and grumpy, the house and car smells of sick or dettol, I've been washing bedding and pyjamas for what feels like weeks and have run out of antibacterial hand wash. What we need is a full nights sleep and a house back to normal,fingers crossed. Just as a note of interest blue berries really should be called purple berries as child 1 kindly threw up after eating a box full, all over the hall floor and it was purple!
PS why do dogs never catch these bugs, our dog really should catch it as he showed a very unhealthy interest in this purple puddle eurgh eurgh yuck! He is so not coming anywhere near me with that horrid tongue!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

And so to bed

One of my favourite motherhood jobs is that final one of the day and its one I've missed the last two nights. I guess that's why I wanted to share it tonight, funny how we take the little things for granted and its only when we've not carried out a normal routine for a little while that we appreciate it more!
This "job" is the checking on the children before you go to bed. Child 1 of course is tucked up with her phone finishing "the last chapter, I promise and then I'll put it in the kitchen to charge", child 2 is tucked up warm, cheeks pink and rosy lit up by the night light he still has to have, especially after a late night viewing of Doctor Who and child 3 the tantrum queen of today ( too many late nights can change a child of sunny disposition to a wailing urchin) is now lying with her arms by her head in that classic baby pose, her head resting on Bunny and Leppy (her toy leopard) tucked up against her chin. It honestly gives a warm peaceful glow to my soul, these are my children warm and safe in their beds. Goodnight, sleep tight x

"New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings" Lao Tzu

This weekend has been birthday heaven. It was my birthday on Friday and I had the best day and even better evening and tonight I have just got back from an amazing themed Safari party with child 1 dressed as an explorer Lara Croft style, child 2 a cheeky monkey and child 3 the cutest elephant ever. In fact it was so good that child 1 is currently sulking, because we left just as the party began to "get good". Both of these events were full of laughter, friendship, food and sharing.
What does a birthday mean, for me it's a celebration of life sharing that last year or lifetime I guess with friends and family. Child 1,2 & 3 would probably include parties and presents but I am sure that as they grow spending time with those you love will become more important.  For some adoptees though this is not always the case, birthdays are a connection to the past, and with that come memories or maybe worse no memories of their life before adoption and I imagine how that life and this one merge together can be full of pitfalls, especially in the very young who are unable to articulate their feelings and teenagers who can probably be very vocal but not necessarily rational. Many adopted children react badly to birthday festivities unable to cope with parties and celebrations which is so very sad as the adopting families are probably desperate to celebrate.
What will we do, well I suspect we will be led by child 4's decision in how they want to celebrate this conclusion to a year of their life and the start of another.  After all you cannot finish a story if you keep re-reading the same old chapters.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

When life gives you lemons make lemon drizzle cake

You know those days, the ones where staying in bed would have been the easy option, today was one of those. To be fair not everything was crap, our social worker called in to collect our adopters report so that's the first part of our adoption journey complete, that is we are now at the front of the queue for the scariest ride in the theme park and are waiting to be allowed to climb aboard!!!! Maybe that is part of this sinking feeling I am having, but do you know what, people and their politics can be exhausting and I've been surrounded by people politics. That is work politics, volunteer politics and family politics. So how to deal with this, well child 1 dances to express her feelings except when she is angry with her parents and then she strops to her room and slams the door, child 2 talks to the dog except when angry with his parents and then shouts and slams doors, child 3 uses the trampoline but I am not trying that one today because apparently quote " my bottom threw up on the trampoline" I'll leave that to your imagination!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What I do is bake, there is something so calming and rhythmic about following an old family recipe, mixing together ordinary ingredients pouring them into a tin and then as if  by magic 30 minutes later you have a warm cosy kitchen filled with comforting aromas that evoke childhood memories of  when someone else took care of all your worries and you could adventure quite safely without worrying about other people's agendas. Cake also seems to resolve most family disputes child 1 has recovered from her strop, tempted out of her room by a huge slice of chocolate cake still steaming out of the oven. The making, baking and then sharing a cake is truly good for the soul.
She couldn't wait for me to take it out of the tin, talk about wait for it to be iced!!!!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Entering the unknown

Today was our medical course in preparation of adoption. These days due to easy availability of contraception, abortion and the lack of stigma for single motherhood fewer and fewer children are relinquished at birth, children who are looking for adoptive parents are almost always children removed from their birth families due to the care or lack of it they receive. This means that these children could potentially have any number of issues and this is what today's talk/discussion was all about. Firstly we discussed what types of  issues could effect the development of our adopted children, then how could those issues manifest in their development and finally were there any definitive tests that could be carried out to see how we could help them overcome these development obstacles.
Examples of the issues potentially start whilest in the womb if birth mum is managing addictions to drugs and or alcohol and then carry on into diet, neglect, abuse or could be due to mental health problems or learning difficulties in birth parents, these concerns can cause withdrawals for newborn babies, foetal alcohol syndrome, attachment disorders, behavioural problems, trust issues, slow academic achievement, attention span concerns and so on. There are very few if no definitive tests that can be carried out on the children to see a clearer picture of what they have or are suffering. Many repercussions of these issues do not show in children until school or the teenage years and its very difficult to ascertain if behaviours are due to specifics such as drug or alcohol use or compounded by abuse and neglect. In fact just the way we are made can impact the effects There was a study in the USA concerning foetal alcohol syndrome, where twins were born one suffering FAS the other completely healthy, one of the twins for some reason was not effected why???
The conclusion is that adoption is a little bit of a lottery, there is no guarantee if you are adopting an under 5, we will not be sure of the genetic and nurturing history of these children, so we will just take a day at a time and if issues arise ask for help. One thing is certain children removed from these environments always achieve much more if they are adopted!!!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

What is a Family

What is a family? Nuclear, extended, blended, single parent or same sex. Mine is definitely extended and we support each other, love each other, fight for and with each other. We definitely don't always agree with each other. As a child I remember many a debate at the dinner table that led to what could be only described as all out war and a family game of Pictionary well we would revert back to tribal hostilities involving shouting, screaming, cheating but lots of laughing. In fact my husband refuses to play as he can't cope with the noise level and battle tactics.  What I have always found is that we celebrate the good times and we step up to support in the hard times.
When I told my family about our desire to adopt they all took it in their stride, in some ways not really surprised, they are excited for us and for the whole family, they have supported us through every step of the way. I really couldn't ask for anything more.
Today I went out for a birthday lunch including champagne, I was so very spoilt and felt loved and so special, I realise that I am lucky to be part of a family that loves me for who I am and are proud of me for my achievements. I am proud to be part of this same family who will take on our new addition offering them the same love and pride, no matter what. So by this time next year we'll have another little one in tow, its unlikely that champagne lunches will be on the menu! Life will be different but it will be our family life and what our family can offer this new infant is a home and a family FOREVER!!

Monday, 13 May 2013

One benefit of a 6am start

Why is it on the weekend I have little trouble dragging my lazy body out of my cocoon to make a cup of tea, yet on a work day I awake about 5.50am still dreamy from sleep knowing that the radio will come on in a few minutes and then song after song I say to myself one more song and I'll get up, until its the news and 6.30am and I have to brave the cold air circulating the bed, leaving that lovely warm spot for child 2 or 3 or worse the dog! This morning, filling the kettle I could see ribbons of blue sky intertwined with the grey clouds, so pulling on my wellies and wrapping my old thick dressing gown around me I headed down to the chicken run with the left over spaghetti for my girls breakfast.  (why is it when my husband is in charge of cooking the spaghetti he has to cook enough to feed an army?? Well the chickens will be pleased) As I crunch down the gravel to the hen house I can hear the girls calling to me, desperate to be out scrabbling in the sun, they probably know better than we do that rain is on its way. I love saying good morning to my faithful egg layers on mornings like today, they are pleased to see me, or more likely the spaghetti but they crowd around to say hello and then make a bolt for the gate, just in case I've forgotten to close it or better still Dylan the dog has followed me out and will help them escape. No luck today, no eggs yet either. But the sun is out and we are sheltered from the cold wind here in the run. Feeling brighter and filled with a touch of spring I head back to my boiled kettle for that first and best cuppa of the day, thinking that it won't be long before I'll be picking lashings raspberries for my breakfast! Not a bad life all in all and a pleasing way to start the week.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Finding that spark

Anyone who has read Steve Biddulph's "Raising Girls" will have read about the importance  of finding and emphasising a child's spark.

"In the book we have a special section on 'spark' - the idea that girls usually discover a passion or interest that really makes them excited and happy to be alive. Finding her spark - animals, hobbies, activism, sport, creativity - takes her away from being obsessed with how she looks. It's natural to HAVE self belief, but the media/fashion/advertising world takes it away, makes you not like yourself."

Well today we saw that in action for both our girls. Child 1 had been invited to take part in a dance workshop, when this invite first came through on my email I was a little skeptical thinking that it was possibly just a bit of a money maker, however seeing my eldest girl perform just an extract of what she had learned at the end of the workshop was fantastic and she so obviously enjoyed every minute, even if she "messed up a bit" her words. For her it wasn't really the performance it was the new dance moves that she had learnt and the fact that the instructor pushed her in a very positive way to give her all. In fact she returned home starving, exhausted but full of self belief in her ability to dance.

For child 3, it was her first ever gymnastics competition. Child 3 after watching the 2012 Olympics decided that Olympic gymnast was the perfect career choice, so after begging me to take her out of her ballet classes so she could start gymnastics off she went completely fearless and confident in her own ability! Well, today she showed us how much she loved her gymnastics taking part in everything, taking the numbers of competitors, the crowds of parents, grandparents and siblings watching and cheering all in her stride, she was completely focused whilest competing but chatty and friendly with other competitors when sitting on the sidelines. And to her amazement and our delight she came second!

I have always encouraged the children to follow their dreams, sometimes worrying about how to manage their expectations of those dreams, but following today and Mr B's advice maybe just maybe  it's just fine to enjoy the journey?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

I know a boy who stole my heart ............

I know a boy who stole my heart and he calls me Mum! How do I tell this same boy that adding another to our family will never change how much I love him. He will always be important, I will always find the time to be with him, laugh with him, hug him and kiss his hurts away. Does he not realise that I may only hold his hand a short while, he will forever hold my heart.

Today we met up with a family who have a birth child the same age as my child 2 who have recently adopted a little girl, this was to allow child 2 to speak to someone who has/is going through what he is.  Well what a success, this young man so obviously adored his little sister " she is so cute, funny and loves me the most but she can be really annoying, I am glad that we have her"

Child 2 said to me just before bed "it's ok mum I'm alright about us adopting, I'm not excited like my sisters but I'm not worried any more, when can just me and you go out for hot chocolate again?"

Friday, 10 May 2013

"Be the change you want to see" Ghandi

I don't know if anyone listened to Akhandadhi Das' Thought for The Day on radio 4 this morning but it was an interesting, thought provoking comment on how society is letting down teenagers in care. He told the story of Colin who felt that when he was classed as an adult it wasn't him who left social care, it was the care that left him.

Many people I know  (especially my Dad) frequently joke that they will be responsible for their children  until their death beds, although, I am sure that they like me want our children to grow up to be independent, well rounded, happy adults. We also want them to know that we are there, not only to share their happiness but also to help them in times of difficulty all be it emotionally, financially or practically. Children that grow up in care don't have this kind of support and after reading a couple of articles I was shocked all though not surprised to see that in the  Prison Reform Trust  2010-11 annual survey of 15-18 year olds in prison found that more than a quarter of boys (27%), and over half of girls (55%), had been in care at some point before being sentenced to custody. A study quoted in The Guardian stated that a third of those sleeping rough had come from the care system and that only 6% of children in care went on to attend university (about a third of the general population have that opportunity.) When we hear about or see little children being removed from their families by social services  we see captivating, innocent and vulnerable youngsters being taken from dangerous and or neglectful environments hoping that they will be able to have a better, more fulfilling life but, this is not always the case. Perhaps we should try to remember those captivating, innocent and vulnerable faces when we read about teenagers being sent to prison or when we walk past homeless teenagers on the street.

 I have added links below if you would like to read more.





Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Donkey and The Witch


Following my previous post about our knitted family here is a quick update.

With child 3 complete, mum started work on me. She has been using knitting patterns from a children's story type book, for example Dad is based on a chimney sweep. Guess what type of character I'm based on........... Child 3 was too gleeful when she told me it was the wicked witch, but, as if it made it better, Nanna had given me a much smaller nose!!!!!!!

As I said in an earlier post, my mums friend is helping out. Margaret and my mum have been knitting nativity scenes for the last few years and have an adorable pattern for a donkey, so Margaret's task is to turn a donkey into Dylan the dog. Her latest suggestion is that we get rid of the dog and replace him with a donkey, not sure our neighbours or our cats and chickens will appreciate that though.

Interestingly, I bet you that the favourite character will be the "dogkey" or maybe "donkog".

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Family Tree

We've had to complete our family trees, just back to grandparents but its amazing to see the different types of family backgrounds there are. We often look back to our grandparents generations expecting life to be very stereotypical, husband, wife and lots of children. I wonder if ours is really that different to anyone else's. Be brave have a look. In just the three generations of grandparents, parents and us I have come across East End gangsters, American socialites, escapees from the Irish potato famine, German train drivers, divorces, affairs, alcoholics, domestic abuse, inter racial marriage, children born out of wedlock, children being left in countries on the other side of the world, children dying very young, evacuees, childhoods living in a bombed out London, adoptions and serial womanisers. I view myself as white middle class but when you read our family histories, life is not so cut and dried. I think that my husband and I have grown up into relatively, and I mean relatively," normal", well rounded individuals. And I certainly don't see our parents as damaged by their childhoods and despite our grandparents now being long passed we remember them fondly, they loved and spoiled us. Surely, adoptive children will be no different, if we can provide them with a safe loving home, we can help them grow into normal, independent loving individuals who will thrive and live their lives looking forward.
" Children need two things, one is roots and the other is wings" 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Adoption reality check number 1

Have had an opportunity to look at some real case studies via a special site on the Internet which has given me a bit of a reality check. One of the children looking for a home has been with the same foster family since a baby and is now 2. We will be taking a little one just like this from an environment just like that, taking a small person from possibly the only secure home they have known, to come and live with us!
 How do I cope with the guilt? How do we help that little person adjust to us and love us?
I am very aware that the foster carers are foster carers not necessarily adopters and that their role is to be the stop gap, generally this gap should be short term but for reasons outside of social services control sometimes these children cannot be adopted until all birth family options have been explored. After all, Studies show that it is in the best interest of the child to remain with the birth family where possible. Hence, the timescales involved! This doesn't make it easy for anyone involved especially the most vulnerable, the child!!!

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Home Made Family

On one of our adoption courses an adopter came in to talk to us about her experience in adoption. She brought some paper dolls that she had laminated, the dolls represented her, her husband, son, birth mum, their social worker, the adoptee and the adoptee's social worker. She found these to be really helpful in explaining her adoptee's life story. So following this brilliant idea we asked my very talented mum and her friend Margaret to knit our family, our number 4, birth mum, the social workers and of course the dog. Then later grandparents and an aunt who lives locally will be added to the mix.

So far she has completed child 2, dad and child 1. Child 3's gold slippers are just being finished. We plan to give number 4 a forever family bag containing all those involved in his/her journey to join us, when we meet them to help them get to know who we are. Aren't they just the cutest things?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A Famous Five Day Out

A beautiful bank holiday weekend, my brother and his 2 children were down visiting, so a perfect excuse for a visit to one of our favourite places the beach, picnic in tow of course, an adventure without anything to eat is not a proper adventure!!! If you have read Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer by Jane Brocket or have as a child read any famous five adventure, THAT was our plan for the day. Homemade fat and fluffy sausage rolls,slightly overcooked sausages so they were caramelly and crispy on the outside, crispy, spicy and peppery fried chicken, chunky garlicky houmous, with cucumber, carrot and crunchy bread sticks for dipping,chocolate covered flap jacks, crisps, sticky jammy doughnuts and slices of juicy melon the type that drips down your chin as you eat it, all packed up with a flask of milky coffee and a bottle of juice and we were off on our adventure. Oh what an adventure we had, the beach we love is part of the south west coastline, a craggy beach full of places to explore, rock pools hosting crabs, shrimp little fish and anemones, the prehistoric rock formation means that a hunt for fossils is always successful, ammonites of varying sizes from the tiny to the enormous can be found as we climb, hop and jump following the coastline from just past the car park to some steel steps which bring you out on the top of the ragged cliffs that edge the beach. ( I have no idea how far the steps are it can take anywhere between an hour I guess and all day, depending on the adventures we have.) With green lush farmland and copses of trees on your right and the steep fall to the spectacular rocks, the Bristol Channel and on a clear day the Welsh coastline can be seen on your left, maybe wreckers enticed ships in on these rocks with their lamps so as to to steal the treasures in their holds, or smugglers hid their cache away from prying eyes. A leisurely stroll will bring you back to the car park, starving hungry ready to wolf down a hearty picnic lunch.
Today's adventure started with hunting for dinosaur footprints and fossils, finding huge dinosaur tails curving in the rocks for us to follow, a short detour towards the sea led the children to "quick sand" that sticky, sucky mud and of course someone had to get stuck right in the middle. Boy cousin who is 7 and wearing child 2's wellies which were too big had to be lifted out of the mud by child 1, of course leaving wellies behind having to be rescued by child 2. None of us adults were wearing wellies so we had to navigate a rescue path via the rocks leading to hilarity when we slipped on the green seaweed (always beware the green seaweed ) or stepped onto what initially looked like rock but turned out to be sucky mud. Girl cousin, took charge as lead expedionist leading us over the rocks back to the safety of the rock pools where we hunted for more fossils and crabs, none of which were big enough for tea. It was then we noticed that the dog had not been around tripping us up or flying past, splashing through the pools sending up a chorus of voices every time he splashed someone or nearly pushed them into a pool. We climbed to higher rocks and still couldn't see him, calling for him our voices no doubt picked up by the wind and carried off in the wrong direction, at first it was amusing but then we began to worry and the tenor of that must have shown in our song because of course he then danced across the rocks, his fur plastered to his body flying towards us. He screeched to a stop sitting beautifully as if to say "what's wrong, what do you want can I have a biscuit?" Wherever he had been it must have been exciting and dangerous because he had lost his collar! Eventually our exploits brought us to the steps and we made our way back to our lunch. There truly is nothing better than a picnic lunch in the English sun. Lunch was followed by a stop at a pool of water, created by streams of water pouring off the surrounding fields and hills, where the older children taught the younger ones to skim stones and throw rocks to see who could make the biggest splash. It was only the bribery of ice creams at the nearby tea room that dragged them away to change out of filthy wet clothes, climb into cars and start our journey home. Tonights dreams I am sure will be filled of smugglers, pirates, dinosaurs, picnics and ice cream. That to me is what child hood is all about!!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Our own Pied Piper

Our blasted dog has let himself into the chicken run, let the chickens out but trapped himself in, AGAIN! I always thought that springer spaniels were supposed to be clever well not ours. He's a hunting dog hahaha who unsuccessfully chases pheasants over the hills and far away, fortunately, it seems only when my husband is walking him (they are that youtube clip of Fenton and owner in Richmond Park, except its Dylan! DyLAN! ) and he is absolutely terrified of our chickens!!
So, imagine the picture, me that is mum late home from work 7pm, busy day, picked up child 3 from grandparents because hubbie is out, having to rustle up tea for the two older children, toasted sandwiches peanut butter and jam for child 1, chicken and cheese for child 2 and a very grown up rocket, goats cheese and chilli jelly for me. Then.........I notice 4 chickens in the veg patch, dancing with glee because the rhubarb has enormous green leaves and the broad bean shoots are waving their new leaves at the sun "yummy" and in the background is not the sound of evening birds oh no not in our garden, its the dog calling "let me out, let me out, pleeeeeeeaase let me out"

"Don't worry mummy I've had my tea, I'll get the dog and put the chickens back." Says child 3. So off she goes in her pink onesie and school shoes somehow forced over her fluffy onesied feet, into the garden. She opens up the veg patch gate and seriously, calls "chickens" and they all walk over and then following her like the Pied Piper they traipse all the way in single file down to their run, where child 3 has to coax the dog out of the run because of course he won't walk past the chickens in case they eat him! Absolutely amazing!
She refused to go out 15 minutes later though, when the bloody dog had done it again!!!!!!!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Sam and the Womp BOM BOM BOM child number 3 style

Left hand on hip, right arm outstretched, finger pointing, right knee bent. Hips begin to sway leaning forward and in a very self assured, strong, come on then I dare you voice, child 3 sings "I'm gonna beat her up, BOM BOM BOM! Quite impressive for a 7 year old ready, willing and quite possibly able to take on a 15 year old (hmmm perhaps I should be concerned and try and ignore that secret swell of pride). All this front to protect her big sister who is devastated by a photo uploaded onto Facebook by a couple of juvenile kids in school.

The photo wasn't really enough for mum to contact the school to rant about cyber bullying!!!!!!  But was enough to require cuddles and positive stroking for a little while that evening. NB photos of the post were taken and kept in case there were anymore.

With plans for our addition coming to fruition means that social media and how it's is used has been debated within our family over the last few weeks. Obviously, we can't ban it, it's out there and child 1 & 2 have mobile phones with Facebook access. But based on the old adage of 7 degrees of separation we have to protect child 4 from possible inappropriate contact from their birth family. Not that I necessarily blame a birth family for looking for their child, if someone took one of my children I would hunt for them until the day I died but that's a rant for another time................

A study conduced by researchers at Microsoft Corp. used instant messaging data to confirm the theory that it takes just under seven steps to link every one in the world. The researchers reached their conclusion based on the addresses of 30 billion instant messages sent among 180 million people worldwide during a single month in 2006. They found that, on average, any two people are linked by fewer than seven acquaintances.

Hence no family photos or names will be shared on our families Facebook anymore, a shame perhaps but necessary? Probably. If anyone wanted to know more "Bubble Wrapped Children" by Helen Oakwater is an enlightening read.