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.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

"It takes a village to raise a child"

After panel I emailed all our family and friends far and near to share in our fantastic news, some wouldn't have known about our plans for adoption because they don't live locally and our contact tends to be via Facebook. Although, most local people know because once our children know something, it is no longer a secret.

The responses we received were phenomenal, almost everyone thought what we were doing was fantastic, exciting, courageous and brave. How wonderful for a little one to join a family full of so much love. Although I want to agree with all those things,  I'll never get through any doors because my head will be much too big.

In reality we are just a very small part of all our children's upbringing, everyone who has a touch on their young lives helps to shape them into the adults they will be. Just about everyone whom we have shared our news with wants to be part of this adventure.

Adoption UK recently did a survey on adoption support called "It takes a village to raise a child" they were investigating the support available to adopters through social workers and the court system and although I wholeheartedly agree that support should be provided by this area of expertise. I also truly believe that we shouldn't underestimate the importance of the community our family lives in.

"The fractured and disrupted lives many of these children experienced prior to adoption, and the trauma of that neglect or abuse, creates many challenges for them and their new families.

For the child, forming attachments with their new family is not an easy or natural process. Why should they trust their new parents? How do they cope with the loss of their birth family and essentially everything they knew up to that point, however harmful it may have been? Every day, there are tiny triggers that make life an enormous challenge for these special children. Emotionally they are on permanent red alert. As a result, the behaviours many of these children present are often difficult, challenging and unrelenting for their new families."


Our community will be able to provide real life experience for our little one, demonstrating how real  relationships work, they will be able to watch from a safe and secure environment how people interact with their new older siblings in all types of different scenarios. 

In all the books that I have read about adoption and parenting there is a huge emphasis on role models for our children to emulate. Our little one will have older siblings, nephews and nieces as well as the children within our social group to encourage them to be the best they can be. There will be unconditional love on tap not just from us as parents but also from grandparents, aunts and uncles. The teaching staff at the pre school, primary school and secondary school have supported our existing children whole heartedly through the process so far and I know they will continue to offer their support for as long as its needed. This is without talking about everyone else who in some way or other touches our lives. There are the families in the playground, the parishioners at church, friends and neighbours all around, many of whom are eager to help us along should we need it. It maybe an invitation to tea or a party, a visit to the Secret Garden on a summers day, a shoulder to cry on or a set of ears to rant at what ever challenges face us as a family there will be someone who can help practically, emotionally or with just a little prayer.

So thank you for your words of  encouragement, I will keep them all in my private jar of joy for a day when I need them

Thursday, 27 June 2013

What is a liberal?

Today whilest I was supporting the need for children who's parents are in prison to be bussed into the most appropriate school at the cost of the tax payer someone called me a liberal, my initial reaction was to agree but, when I came home I was a little perturbed by this flippant remark.

My worrying interpretation was that of a do gooder type person, someone who is excessively sympathetic toward those who claim to be underprivileged or exploited, therefore not expecting those individuals or groups of people to take responsibility for their actions.

So, I looked up on google what liberal meant, it's actually quite hard to find a straight forward meaning without becoming embroiled in politics. Eventually I did find one and breathed a sigh of relief.  In an online dictionary it means not  limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry and or favouring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

I think basically that it means open minded or progressive in their views, tolerant of others and their views. A Thesaurus lists similar words as humanitarian, catholic, tolerant, enlightened and broad minded. Phew, I can cope with those definitions. 

I know that I do have a tendency to fight for those, especially children who are under privileged or exploited, but I also think that we all have to take responsibility for our own actions.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The phrase A P### Up in a Brewery springs to mind

Today we were to meet our first adoptee's social worker. Exciting stuff. Our social worker arrived at 10am to  catch up following our panel meeting yesterday and to help prepare us for meeting an adoptee social worker.

It feels like a job interview only it's our whole life style, parenting skills and personalities being discussed and judged. And we are not the only prospective adopters out there looking at this particular child. We have to be seen as positive and already in love with the child but, we are desperately trying not to become emotionally involved, especially as other adopters could be a better choice.

The adoptee social worker and her team leader were due at 11am, at 11.10am our social worker called their office to find out where they were. Oh dear a hiccup, the adoptee social worker had a personal emergency so wasn't in work and her team leader was in court, apparently an email was sent about 10am but of course our social worker had left her office by then to travel to our house.

Our disappointment must have reverberated around our conservatory and our poor social worker had to deal with the immediate fall out.

I know that this was a communication issue, the adoptee social worker team should have ensured that our social worker knew that there was a problem, they should have had just a little empathy with our emotional state of mind and the fact that we had taken time off work. (My husband is self employed so doesn't get paid if he doesn't work.) I am very aware that they are quite probably busy with huge caseloads dealing with some tragic circumstances. The impact on us was possibly not even considered.

There are other children out there and maybe this is not the one for us. I don't often talk about my faith but at times like this its really handy because it means not worrying, everything will work out as its supposed to, when its supposed too.

On a final note as I write this, I realise that the only person really missing out is the child!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The panel said YES

It was an early start for us this morning,  we headed off to County Hall along with our knitted family and forever family book, to attend the adoption panel. We arrived with plenty of time to spare, is that a good thing or not?? Arriving late makes life stressful  but arriving early means you have more time to get nervous especially as the two people standing just within earshot are discussing panels they have observed, "sometimes they are quite boring" "I was at one where really inappropriate questions were asked." Fortunately these two ladies were soon whisked away but we remained awaiting our social worker.

Our social worker arrived when she promised that she would and took us for a quick coffee to calm the nerves, I have to say that it didn't work!!!

Another lady arrived to take us through to where the panel awaited everyone was really friendly and welcoming yet fear I guess of not being quite good enough still sits in the pit of your stomach. The chair of the panel came to meet us part way to explain how the panel session would run. Firstly she would introduce the eight panel members, then they would highlight our strengths and finally they would ask us just 3 questions.

So we entered the warren of corridors in County Hall and then a large room full of people sitting around a huge rectangular wooden table, everyone smiled at us hoping I'm sure to make us feel less daunted.  Introductions happened, social workers, paediatricians, adoptees council workers all welcomed us, our strengths were shared and the questions asked....... We were then asked to leave so they could discuss and vote on their outcome. A few minutes later our social worker and the chair of panel came out, smiling it was an unanimous YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Strawberry Fields

A box full of juicy, red, heart shaped english strawberries turned my head, if the sun had been shining the sweet fragrance would have made my mouthwater. There truly is nothing more delicious than picking a warm, ripe strawberry in the field where it has grown when the sun is shining.

Of course not one to resist a bargain I purchased my box and headed home. Strawberries are sadly quite fragile, their life span once picked is fairly short, especially if left on a warm window sill. Well they make the kitchen smell divine and they are a healthy treat. However, even I know when I have too many for us to eat, so what to do. They are hideous when frozen so my next choice is jam. Homemade strawberry jam. I have to make about 12 jars for our family alone, one for each month. But, I have to say that in the depths of winter strawberry jam and bread is like lighting up the sun, just for a few short moments.

I always use jam sugar and always match fruit and sugar in weight. I love the blending of half the strawberries in my old fashioned copper jam pan then stirring in the remaining chopped berries and the sugar. As it boils up, all pink and fluffy it smells delightful, the children then usually appear "what are you cooking ?" "When can I have some?"
Once it has boiled away for a few minutes I test it on a frozen plate pushing the ruby red droplet with my finger to see if it wrinkles, a sign of setting. Then after licking the plate clean I ladle the sticky, hot jam into warm jars, wax circles and lids applied and there they sit, 5 jars lit up like red lanterns in the late afternoon sun.

We now sit waiting for it to cool enough to smear over fresh bread for tea. Heaven!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Temper Tantrums

Child 3 along with the rest of us is exhausted, we have a had a fantastic weekend with prom nights, picking up child 2 from his Paris trip, a magnificent school performance of We Will Rock You, a night out with friends and so on. The late nights and excitement led to a return of the witching hour, that hour before bed. This is the hour that lasts forever, where what ever you as a parent does is wrong, where your little darling pushes at all those buttons - forgetting of course that Mum and Dada are tired too. Mum and Dad of course are the adults and we have to try to maintain that pretence although actually I quite fancy a little bout of screaming incoherently, stamping my feet, slamming a few doors and then a short burst of tears. In fact it would probably make me feel better!

Child 3 of course is now sound a sleep, tucked up in bed surrounded by her cuddly toys dreaming of magical places, her upset and rage no doubt all forgotten.

Tantrums are quite accepted in our youngsters, even child 1 on occasion will "throw her toys out of the pram" over something small, whatever it was the tipped the balance is probably not what the real problem is!! This is when a bit of calming down time, an olive branch offered or accepted and a hug and some time to talk is required.

This thought made me think about some of the shocking behaviour I have witnessed by some adults in the playground last week, all because they aren't getting their own way. I really shouldn't be surprised, yet I always am.  Somewhere along the line were they not listened too properly, were they not taught within a safe environment that it is ok to be angry but not ok to vent and scream because something hasn't gone their way. We need to be able to work through issues calmly and rationally so that we can resolve them, taking into consideration what is best for everyone not just them

So tomorrow, I need to perhaps offer calm, an olive branch and time to actually listen to the concerns being aired!

My tantrum is now over, thanks for listening.

Saturday, 22 June 2013


The last two nights I've spent in the company of friends. Last night was Prom night for our secondary school, so we all met up to see off the prom girl in her beautiful dress, then stayed on to catch up before I had to pick up child 2 from his Paris trip. Lovely evening, the children went off and played and usmums drank fizz or tea and caught up on the ups and downs of life.

I headed off not long after 10pm to collect my son from his Paris trip, I am so so very glad that he is home. He looked exhausted yet confident and independent when he finally got off the coach, mates saying goodbye with " see ya Monday" slaps on the back, yet once out of sight big cuddles with mum. Those cuddles are always the best. The ones you keep in your heart forever I think.

Conversations in the car were on fast speed for the
 first few minutes then silence as he drifted off to sleep.

This morning when I unpacked his bag there were clean socks and pants still packed and the shampoo and shower gel and toothpaste were pretty untouched NICE!!!!

Tonight met up with the girls for a birthday celebration dinner. Good food, wine and good company, always a recipe for a good evening. We haven't got together for a while and have made plans to meet up again soon. Community and friendship is so important in life and I am so very very lucky to be surrounded by like minded people. Tonight I found out that a few of us have quite a fancy for Jason Statham and Liam Neeson!!! Is that weird??????

After a tough week and knowing that there is a tough week to come, these little spells of calm friendship help to keep life in perspective. Life, love and laughter are without a doubt the cure for many an ill!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A Jar of Joy

Today someone stopped me to say that it wasn't raining YET, when I responded that maybe it wouldn't and perhaps the weather forecasters had it wrong he laughed saying they never got it wrong except when sunny weather was predicted and we had rain instead!

It's funny how some people remember the bad things that happen and not the good things, me I tend to be a half glass full kinda girl looking out at the world through my rosé tinted glasses rather than oh no half of it has gone already.

As I carried on to meet some work friends for a coffee this conversation reminded me of a mum who came and spoke at one of our adoption sessions. Her adopted son suffers from attachment disorder and this means that reward charts and the such don't work, they are literally tools set up for him to fail. Instead she has a jar, every time someone in the family does something good, kind or amazing or each time something lovely happens it is written on a piece of paper and this is popped into the jar.

The jar sits on the side collecting dust and happy scraps of paper until one day, when everything is going wrong, when everyone is sad and angry. This is the day the jar is opened and the scraps of happiness are emptied into a pile on the kitchen table and slowly each one is unwrapped and shared.

I am sure that this jar will solve all the problems of the day, happy memories scrawled on little scraps of paper have the power to make people smile and feel loved and worthwhile.

Perhaps, we all need a jar of joy to remind us that life is at worst half full of happy moments!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

"Everything WILL be alright in the end"

Does anyone else have days when they just get cross and want to rant? Today that's how I feel.
Emotions are running pretty high at the moment. Panel is in a few days, shortly followed by a meeting with a potential adoptees social worker.  My head is full of adoption, adoption and adoption.

In fact everything else takes a back seat, it's just not important enough to warrant my concern.

My saving grace this week is my children. I spent this afternoon with child 3. Child 1 is doing make up for a school show and child 2 is in Paris (he must be having a great time because he has not contacted us at all.) We walked home from school chatting about her day, her gymnastics, her appearance on You Tube and the fact that she has Forest School next week. The endless chatter of a 7 year old is quite calming. She didn't really need me to respond, she was quite content to do all the talking.

This incessant chatter provides a sense of balm to my aching heart and troubled thoughts, life at 7 is so easy and simple, it's all about wonder and play. Slights against friends are easily forgiven and forgotten, it is the now that is important, the future is about adventure and excitement, yesterday's sorrows are forgotten but the joys are stored as memories to be brought out at a later date.

The stresses of work are put into perspective, the complications of family life will resolve themselves one way or another and our children will grow up to be happy, independent, loving and secure because that is what I endeavour to to encourage them to be.

"Everything will be alright in the end, if its not alright it's because it's not yet the end" Sonny Kapoor The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Monday, 17 June 2013

My boy has gone to Paris

Child 2 has headed off on his year 7 school trip/jolly to Paris. No learning about the culture of France, not much practising in speaking the language. No he's off to Disney tomorrow for theme park fun, the Rainforest Cafe for dinner and back to the park for fireworks. Wednesday is the culture bit, the Arc de Triomph, the Eiffel Tower and a boat trip. Thursday a day at Futuroscope and a laser show in the evening. Before heading home on Friday, when he will be completely exhausted and no doubt grumpy  by the time I pick him up.

We have spent the weekend preparing a pre-teenage boy for 5 days of independent living, he must change his underwear and socks every day. We've packed shower gel, shampoo and toothpaste for him to actually use. I've split the ridiculous amount of spending money the school suggested he took, between his wallet in his little rucksack and the money bag in his case. He has strict instructions to put his phone and IPod away in his bag every night so that he doesn't forget them.

Dad took him to school to catch the bus, because I didn't want to embarrass him or me, so there were a few tears as he left the house. By the time he got to school he and his friends ran off to get the back seat on the coach (how we all must remember those days) without a backward look at Dad!!!!!!!!!

"Mum I'll miss you so much" he said as he left. Have I heard from him since? NO

Thanks to my Mum who has texted me from her holiday to say that she and my Dad have arrived safe and sound. She said that I should be proud of such a well adjusted young man, embracing his independence.

I agree and just hope that he returns home in clean underwear, with clean teeth and with his electronic devices intact.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sibling Love

This morning being Fathers Day means that Hubbie is still in bed, child 2 and 3 are in the living room and child 1 has yet to drag herself out of her pit.

Enjoying those first few moments of peace with that first cup of tea of the day is a luxury that rarely happens in a busy household like ours. Whilest the kettle boils I usually nip out to let the chickens out and feed them and the rabbit, this morning as I ambled back up the path, the sun attempting to push its rays through the thick cloud cover, I detour into the vegetable patch to check out the raspberry canes, it won't be long and I'll be picking the raspberries that have ripened over night.

I sit with my steaming cup, planning our roast beef lunch when child 1 comes in. She is asking about a friend an amazing lady who has fostered a few older children, one of whom has recently had a baby. Child 1 wanted to know how old the girl was, was she married or living with someone. I am guessing that the girl is late teens and I know that she is no longer with the father of her baby.  Child 1 sighed "so young, why?"  I explained how children removed from birth parents and placed in the care system often go on to have babies when they are young and often not in a stable relationship with the father, they are usually looking for the unconditional love that they should have received from when they were born. (A 2008 study showed that girls in care were 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant in their teens.) We, I went on would hopefully break that cycle for our number 4.

Child 1 wept, "I don't want my brother or sister to be hurt but, they have been haven't they?"

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Mamma Mia

I was washing up after dinner when child 1 put on the Mamma Mia soundtrack, starting with Honey Honey. When I went to watch the movie (I am a massive fan of the show) I realised that I identified with Donna, Rosie and Tanya not Sophie and her friends - a sign of my age I guess and when I mentioned this to child 1 she said "Mum,  you would definitely have been Donna!!!!!!" (I'll let my 2 bridesmaids guess who they were cast as) and maybe not think to hard of the implications of my daughter comparing me to Donna??

This was followed by Dancing Queen with Child 1 using a spoon and me a banana, instead of that red dried flower thing from the movie. yes it was very funny, child 1 was almost rolling around on the floor at this point she was laughing so hard! Husband left the room in disgust. he's a bit of a music snob so has no appreciation of good honest happy music.

Then it was appalling renditions of Super Trouper (its a spotlight you know), Does your mother know and Mamma Mia.

Mamma Mia is one of those shows/movies that makes you feel happy to be alive, it has everything laughter lots of it, hardship a little  - I work all night,  I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay......,
Love, heartbreak and a happy ending, all set against a backdrop of azure blue skies and calm seas that change from cobalt to turquoise as the waves wash through the different scenes.

 The song that tugs at my heart strings is Slipping Through My Fingers, hearing the words makes me think of my child 1 now 14. How true are so many of the words, Child 1 daydreams her way to school and I am no longer the centre of her world,  I still know her but not as I used to when she was small, she is slowly growing up and away.

I like the song wish I could freeze the picture just for a little while.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Calming the soul

Cream together 200gm butter with 150gms caster sugar, until pale and creamy. Mix in an egg and 2 tsps of vanilla extract. Mix in 300 gm of plain flour until it makes a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge.
Pick child 3 up from school, return home and then with child 3 roll out the dough to 1/2 cm thick and using cookie cutters cut out as many cookies as you can. Today we used elephants, penguins, owls, butterflies, flowers, stegosaurus, diplodocus and Tyrannosaurus rex ones.
Bake no 4 for 10-12 mins (until the edges are just turning golden brown)

Cool on a cooling rack

With child 2 mix 500gm of royal icing with lemon juice, split into different bowls and colour as desired. Ice the cookies and decorate with edible glitter, sprinkles etc etc.

Then enjoy with all the children and husband.

The recipe is a spell, the mixing an incantation of calm, gradually as I roll out the dough the tension in my shoulders dissipate. Sharing cutters with a 7 year old spills into laughter and chatter about the important things in the life of 7 year old. The sun breaks through the clouds warming the kitchen. The cookies now baking fill the air with the scent of sweet warm vanilla. A magical experience. Five ingredients mixed together to concoct  a sugary biscuit that has been created with the sole purpose of delighting our senses.  I leave them to cool in between dropping off, picking up, dropping off and picking up, child 1 and then cooking tea for the family. Once tea is done I chat with child 2 whilest mixing up the icing and then icing each cookie. The slow measured dripping of icing, leisurely smoothing it to cover the cookie then adding decorations leaves me calm, thoughtful and content.

I love feeding people, to feed is to nourish, maintain, support, encourage, nuture, cultivate, let grow, supply, delight, feast, and gratify.

I love mixing ingredients, to mix is to combine, unite, mingle, marry and to integrate.

Best of all I love it when all I hear is "can I have one of those biscuits please?"
(I even secretly like it when the fight over them)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Reflex versus reaction

Reaction = voluntary
Reflex = involuntary

I've been thinking and dealing with different types of behaviours this week and today following one of those "shoot from the hip" responses to something that happened at work I have thought about how reaction versus reflex action effects us.

Often when we react to a situation by way of reflex we don't necessarily think through our response or question why something has happened, which often means that we are responding based on assumption. Frequently those assumptions are wrong.

When I relate this to how I view birth parents I invariably think of how I would behave in a certain situation, birth parents however, are not like me or my friends, family and probably not like the majority of my community. Often the birth parents of children placed in the care system are from the care system themselves, uneducated, abused, or suffering from addiction or mental health issues. They are likely to behave in a reflex type of reaction, unable or unwilling to consider their behaviour before acting on it. I would like to think that I think and consider before I act, but I know this is not true, anger, frustration and fear often lead to reflex reaction. ( like the shouting at a child who has been lost and then found, fear creates the shouting reflex).

Having been on the receiving end of a "shoot from the hip" response today, I will endeavour (and probably fail) to wait and think before I act!!!!!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Crossing that line

So, here we are at the front of the queue, I can taste the anticipation on my lips, butterflies are trembling in my stomach, my heart is in my mouth and I can't make myself cross that yellow line yet.  I step back to psych myself up.

The problem with adoption is that
We have to decide if the child we are reading about is the one, each child has different types of issues, complicated birth family lives, possible development concerns, attachment disorders, anxiety about mental health history in their parents.
If we say yes, there maybe other potential adopters more suitable in which case they would be able to adopt them rather than us.

It's a bit like a paper based cattle auction and here we are weighing up the pros and cons about a child!!

The anticipation I can taste fluctuates between terror and certainty,
The butterflies flutter, flicker, vibrate or thrash. Quivering between excitement, melancholy and dread.
My heart leaps, bursting with love then crumbling in panic.

Still, I can't cross the line, I say that I'm not ready to board that emotional roller coaster, yet as I write the I think my feet have a mind of their own and I'm already strapped in ready to go.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A bring and share supper

Last night we had friends over for a bring and share supper, everyone had to bring a plate of food and whatever they would like to drink.

A visit from friends inevitably means that I have to actually clean my house properly. It's funny but I always see the house in a different light when I know visitors are imminent and when the sun is out. For example I saw the finger and hand prints all over the conservatory windows, the greasy grime on the front of the oven and the green tarnish that covered the white plastic garden furniture.Fortunately, I am not a complete slob and tend to do the usual cleaning such as hoovering and cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom on a regular basis, but I am not so good at the other stuff, there is always something else to do, like bake a cake. So yesterday after I'd done the fun stuff making fruit jelly, summer pudding and marinating my ribs I started the cleaning jobs and I have to say that today my windows are shiny and clear, the oven is spotless and the garden furniture looks inviting. Hopefully that is what our guest saw last night.

People arrived from 7.30pm and I was handed dish after dish of delicious food, (lasagne, salads, potato dishes, cheese, coronation chicken of course and lush bread from the market) bottle after bottle of fizz, white wine, beer, gin and so on and the flowers so many flowers just because Hubbie and I were hosting. The kitchen was full of people saying hi and hugs and kisses were abundant, it's been a while since we were all together. As the weather had been so lovely we had aperitifs and nibbles in the garden, child 1 was our waitress and a fine job she did. Once the hot food had been heated and the rice to go with the Thai green chicken had been cooked we all came in to eat and chat. The sun went down, the Mexican lights turned on and dessert brought out, more eating, chatting and laughing until it was time for our guests to head home starting in dribs and drabs depending on the babysitting 
arrangements, with the final two leaving once all the beer had been drunk.  An hour later after clearing up we headed to bed.

This morning, child 3 awoke a little later  than usual (7.30am) due to her nearly midnight bedtime once I unloaded the dishwasher and hung the table cloths on the line you wouldn't know that anything had happened except that we chatted over breakfast about how lovely it was to see everyone and catch up on what is happening in our lives. The house is full of summery flowers, the fridge full of leftovers and us we are filled with new memories of a fab evening spent in the good company of very good friends who will/want to  join and support us on our adventure.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The first drop on the roller coaster

Nothing, I mean nothing can prepare you for reading your first prospective adoptee file. Even with all the training and reading we have done didn't prepare me for that first read yesterday and nothing prepared for me waking this morning knowing that the child we read about yesterday who sounded so perfect for us couldn't be the one. Not because of him/her but because of the family circumstances surrounding him/her. The biological parents didn't want their child taken away and adopted yet they couldn't see that their behaviour is why their child had to be removed from them and put up for adoption. They would almost definitely look for their child and as they lived a little to close, well within the radius of emergency hospitals, bowling alleys, museums etc. we would spend our lives looking over our shoulders.
And so our first hardest decision is probably a no!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A Forever Family

Now that our postponed panel date has past and I have recovered from the doldrums I spent yesterday putting together a "Forever Family" book. This book is what can be given to our number 4 to help introduce them to us before we meet. Child 2 interestingly, being that he was the one quite wobbly about adding another, helped me put some of the pictures together. (The Pic Collage APP has been fantastic)

Each of us (including the dog, the cats, rabbit, chickens and the garden) has a double page, one side made up of child 2's collages and the other of an individual photo with our names attached and comments like "your big brother, your big sister and your bigger sister". I am thinking it may be quite daunting for this new little one to embrace the huge family we will be introducing them too. The book only includes our household, does not include grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and so on and so on, but maybe that's my concern based on how I would feel. I can remember meeting my husbands family for the first time -scary!!! And it must have been worse for him meeting mine as we are bigger & much noisier.

But, that is my preconception, children are often much more able to adapt and accept the situations they find themselves in. I like to think of Peter Pan and his Lost Boys

                               "TO LIVE WOULD BE AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE"

Hopefully our number 4 will be excited, nervous perhaps, but excited to become a member of our family, after all in my head and my heart, wherever and whoever this little one is, they are already mine!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Hedgehog cake

As part of a biology project, child 2 wanted to make a cake in the shape of an animal. We decided to go with an old favourite, I, my sister and brother and many of our children have had "The Hedgehog Cake" to celebrate a birthday. In fact my brother was presented with it in Fredricks restaurant in Islington when we celebrated his 18th birthday.

 Earlier I baked mums chocolate cake and then after dinner child 2 made up some chocolate butter cream. We cut the cake in half and stuck the two halves together,  trimmed his bottom and made a nose from the trimmings. The whole cake was then smothered in the chocolate butter cream and chocolate buttons made the prickles!!!! Fantastic

Other project cakes we have made have been
A tidal wave cake for geography using a tray bake and blue and white buttercream created by child 1
A motte and bailey castle cake for child 2's history project

Now how come I didn't get to do stuff like that when I was in school.

"Coz you were stuck in the Stone Age " child 1 said

Monday, 3 June 2013

And gold goes too........

Child 3 had an in service day today, much to the disgust of the other two. Not only that but Dad and I were both home too, so what a lovely day for just the three of us. I had suggested a day at the zoo but child 1 and 2 obliterated that plan before it had really been discussed. No zoo trips unless we all go (not that I blame them)

After a visit to Nanna and Grandads, lunch in the garden and a bike ride I had to judge a gymnastics competition. First discipline was the floor routine, second was the beam (imaginary as it was in the garden) and third was the bars. Child 3 completed her routines with beautiful cartwheels, forward rolls, handstands, jumps, front and side splits and some scary bridges and walkovers, I then had to score and announce the winner. Easy you would think.

"And in first place was child 3" I shouted with an applause. "Mummy!! You have to announce third and second place first" was child 3 annoyed response. (There were no other competitors) "erm who else was taking part sweetheart" I replied a little confused. "Oh for goodness sake weren't you watching, there were two other gymnasts but they weren't as good as me!!" Child 3 tutted, (how is it that children can apply that condescending tone, pitch perfect??????)
What else could I do " and in third place came Bits the Rabbit, in Second Gertie the Cat and the winner in first place is ............"

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Doldrums

What with panel being moved, work related rubbish and other stuff going on, I feel stuck in those doldrums. Not really motivated, kinda attempting to do things but really I want to go and hide under the covers for a few hours.

I looked up what doldrums mean and some say it comes from the old mariners describing a belt of weather between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
'Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.      

Samuel Coleridges " Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner"

Enough of that, it's a beautiful day, the washing is hanging on the line a new raised bed
needs to be made and I need to make up a potato salad for the Coronation Street Party we are going to. 

And there are baby cygnets in the moat, it's time to find better waters to sail in....