Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

We've made our preparations, Rob's parents are in town, we're all set.  Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


I have many Christmas things to do.. Cards to write, presents to make, presents to wrap.  Instead of getting on with it, I look at my list, make some notes.  Kind of like making a really good revision timetable, and not doing any revision.  I got fed up with the list so I'm blogging instead! 
Here's the quilt I made for baby Sid.  His mum and dad really liked it (yay!).
We had our home ed co-op Christmas session yesterday.  A couple of us took some crafts along, and another made really delicious little pinwheel pies, and chocolate dipped fruit.  The kids either ran around playing, or made angels, glittery pinecones or paper baubles.  Meg so very much loves glitter and glue.
Today we went to the grotto in town.  It's normally pretty good, especially as it's free.  But today, oh my goodness.  The Father Christmas was awful.  Not big (would some padding have hurt?), not jolly, not chatty. We were there maybe 45 seconds, and there wasn't even a queue of people behind us.  Very disappointing.
The weather is cold cold cold and frosty at the moment.  Yesterday there was a hoar frost, like the world had been painted white.  It was beautiful.  Today is was still frosty, and the canal is frozen over.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

A tree, a couple of wolves, and what Eric did next

The tree is up!  I love getting the christmas tree.  We went to the garden centre as usual, except for the year that Rob talked me into going to to cheap place that sets up shop and we got a tree and it drooped within days.  Here is the one we picked (Meg is with us, she was running round and round the tree and was at the back!).
Betsy and Meg really enjoyed decorating it, and Betsy was delighted with the results.
Rob had to cut a the lower branches to fit it into the box stand, and he made a wreath for our front door with them.  It's brilliant!  I'm so impressed.
Today was the our co-op nativity.  We haven't been involved in rehearsals as Freddie didn't want to be in it, and it would have been very difficult to go to the rehearsal sessions without him feeling bored and irritated.  Betsy and Meg had small parts as wolves, and we arrived in time to do the run through before the proper performance.
Afterwards there was food, and carols, and dancing.  We also did a secret santa.  The kids were allocated someone and we got presents from the charity shop or from their own unwanted toys.  It was excellent and worked really well.

Eric the Elf has been busy since he arrived on the 1st.
To begin with the kids were a bit unenthusiastic about Eric, but now they love to look around the room and find out what he's been up to.

I'm off to visit my friends and their new baby tomorrow, leaving Rob on duty.  I've made a little quilt, I'll take a photo in daylight before I wrap it up.  I'm really pleased with it.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Winter Wonderland

We visited the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park yesterday.  We set off on the first leg of our journey, to mum's local station. It was a beautiful morning.  It was bright and sunny, and there had been a sprinkling of snow in the night.

Mum met us off the train, and we got the tube to Green Park.  It was one of the new Metropolitan Line trains, where the carriages are open all the way down.  Much niced to travel in than normal tubes.
It was a bit of a walk from the station, and it was freezing.  The kids aren't that keen on walking.  They cheered up when we arrived though.
There was a lot to see and do.  I spent more than I planned buying tickets for the rides, and the rides cost more tickets than I had hoped.  For example, the kids wanted to go on the helter skelter.  Of course, I say.  3 tickets each, i.e £3 each.  How many slides can they have, I ask the man running the helter skelter.  One, he says.  My jaw drops.  One?  Yes, he says.  One.  Oh. £6 for approximately one minute.
Well, in for a penny, in for a pound.  Mum bought some tickets too!
They went on a reindeer kids roller coaster, in a fun house (4 tickets each, ouch), on a huge inflatable slide, and on my favourite ride: a swing chair carousel.  I love that ride, and went on with them.  Betsy loved it too, and cried when it was over.
Poor Betsy really suffered in the cold.  I hadn't really acknowledged how cold she gets.  She was in tights and leggings and extra socks, two tops and a coat, and was freezing.  She *desperately* needed the loo 3 times, simply because of the cold.  I've now ordered her some merino base layer leggings and long sleeved vests, and wool socks to wear with her wellies.  I'd hate for her to feel so cold and miserable again.
I'd also booked tickets to see the Magical Ice Kingdom, which is lots of ice sculptures.  The sculptures were beautiful.  Betsy loved this, despite the cold.  Freddie did not, as there was a soundtrack and it was loud.  If I'd realised I would have brought the ear defenders.  So very frustrating.  
We headed off, with three tired and chilly children, looking forward to getting home.  We got out of London ok, but then there was a problem further down the line and our train (and all the other trains) terminated early.  Disaster!  We were one stop away from mum's station, so we took our chances in the queue for a taxi with all the commuters.  The taxi company were amazing,and rustled up an 8 seater to fit the kids in.  We took refuge at mum's, who luckily had food in the the kids like, and my step dad drove us home once he got back from work.  It had been a loonnnnnng day!
Despite the problems (the cold, the noise, the trains) Freddie and Betsy said they'd had a good time.  Thank goodness!

Monday, 3 December 2012

New group, and some seasonal crafting

Eric has settled in nicely.  So far we have discovered him playing with Meg's train set, and hanging happily from the lampshade.
We went to a new home ed group today.  It's not far from us (relatively speaking) and we can drive there in 25 minutes. There were around 5 or 6 families, with kids from 18 months to 11. Natalie, the mum we've met up with at the zoo, has organised it.  There was playdough, pasta threading, table football, board games, Playmobil stuff, cool big toys like action man and robots and motorbikes.  A lovely set up.
Freddie got on really well with one of the girls there.  We'd brought the Nexus with us (Rob has a new one so the old one is mine yay!), in case Freddie or Betsy felt shy and wanted to play with it to help 'warm up'.  This really worked and was just what Freddie needed to feel comfortable.  The girl came over to see what he was doing, and they sat together for a while chatting and playing.
He didn't get on so well with another child, who has autism.  They've played together a few times before and it's been fine, but today there was a problem and Freddie said he never wants to see him again in his life.  We talked about it after we left, and I suggested that as this was the first time he'd found the boy difficult maybe we could give it another try.  I said that if he felt upset or overwhelmed by him, we would leave straight away.  He said this was a good idea - hopefully this will work if there is a problem.
On the way home Betsy noticed the sun was going down in the sky - it was only 3.30pm.  We chatted about the earth facing away from the sun in the winter, and towards the sun in the summer.  I told them about Norway, and how it is dark in the winter and light in the summer.  Betsy was very surprised to hear that Australians can have a sunny barbecue on Christmas Day!  We have so many conversations like this in the car.
We have started some seasonal crafting.  Betsy and I made a red bell from shiny wrapping paper.
Meg used the offcuts to make a picture.  She loves glue, and was eating the glue stick.  Yeugh!

Freddie made a get well soon/Christmas card for a 2 year old neighbour who has chicken pox.
The girls made snowmen this afternoon.  They used a craft foam kit with stickers to add the snowman details.  I have one for Freddie, I'm not sure if he'll get around to doing or not.