Thursday, 31 July 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow? - July

How is it the end of July already?  Yet again I've neglected to post a garden update, in fact I've neglected my garden in general so this isn't a gardening post as such, but here it is anyway.  

You might remember that I was waiting for my day lily to flower.  Well, after days of pacing in front of the kitchen window checking on its progress finally it flowered.

I don't know what happened here but it didn't seem to affect the rest of the plant.

The rest of the blooms were utterly beautiful.  Such a warm and cheerful colour.

Joining the lilies in the same flower bed were this. I have no idea what it is but I love the vibrant pink flowers.

Although I've moaned a bit about the lack of flowers this year (totally our own fault really), other plants are providing colour in a way I hadn't imagined.  This ornamental currant is at the bottom of the garden.  The berries are so bright that even the children have noticed them.  I suspect they won't last long though given the number of birds visiting out garden at the moment.

Even the new growth on the branch ends is providing contrast with a different shade of green.

As I say this month we have neglected our gardening duties somewhat.  We have still spent time outside enjoying the space however.

One of the main things I've noticed, especially at night is how much wildlife there is.  From the bare patch of earth that came with our new build house 12 years ago, we now have a garden which is seeing house martins, dragonflies and even a bat or two!  We have a resident hedgehog and so many birds.  I can never get any pictures though!  It is fascinating watching the various flying displays in the evenings (obviously with a glass of wine in hand - is there any other way?).  Couple that with the plane spotting (we're on the flight path from the airport) and star gazing and it keeps us all happy!  Our garden may not be the perfectly manicured riot of colour that I'd like but it is still a nice place to be.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wicked Wednesdays

This week I've started to think about birthdays again.  DD1's birthday falls right in the middle of the holidays and so it is nearly time to think about organising that.  I had a flick through some family pics for cake inspiration earlier and found one that was too good to not share with you lot so here it is.

Picture the scene:  Everyone is singing Happy Birthday, I am poised with the camera waiting to capture the shot of DS2 blowing out the candles.  Instead I get this.

DS2 punching one sister while the other wails.  Only in our family...

Linking up with brummymummyof2 - click on the badge for more cracking family photos that didn't quite make the cut.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Week one of the Summer Holidays - Expectation v Reality

Ok, so week one of the holidays is well underway.  After months of looking forward to the moment when nobody has to think about school for six whole weeks (myself included), I've now realised that the reality of this is not quite as good as I had imagined.  Actually that's an understatement.  This week has been terrifying.  So much so that I'm very nearly looking forward to sewing the name tapes on to the uniforms ready for September (although not quite - my sewing skills range somewhere between hopeless and embarrassing - I may even resort to a Sharpie instead).  

So I thought I'd share what's been going on in our house.  You can laugh with/at me or cry with me in sympathy if you like.  Hopefully someone will tell me that this is normal or invite me on an all expenses paid cruise for one for the next five and a half weeks.  Well, a girl can dream, right?  Ultimately I'm writing this now and diarising to re-read it in July 2015 so as to remind myself not to get too excited about the start of the summer holidays next year.

Expectation - Everyone will really enjoy not having to get up and dressed at the crack of dawn.  They will embrace that rarest of things, the lie-in.

Reality - You might make it until 7.30 am if you are lucky but then cries of "what's for breakfast?" will permeate the air until you have to provide them with food in the hope that it might keep them all quiet.  This will pretty much not stop all day.  "Can we have a biscuit?" - check, "what's for lunch?" - check, "is there any ice cream?" - check, "what's for dinner?" - check.  Then you wonder why it is only half past eleven and there is no food left in the house.

Expectation - Everyone will get on really well.  There will be no fighting of any kind, because they are all a year older than last summer holidays and therefore more mature.

Reality - Hormones are raging with the oldest two at least.  Harmony lasts until 9.30 am on day one after which the name calling, shouting and accusations start flying.  An online game unites them all for half a day on day three, until somebody kills someone else with a pick axe in Minecraft, starting an argument so large that it results in them being banned from playing it for the entire holidays.  You consider splitting up each little spat but then decide that letting them get on with it might be less trouble.  Instead the house ends up the cleanest it's been for months because at least when you are dusting/vacuuming you can be spared the job of referee.

Just another tantrum in the Sounding Like My Mother household...

Expectation - No one will be bored ever.  They will all find plenty of things to do to amuse themselves.

Reality - Unless you count being permanently attached to every bit of technology known to man, mostly none of your children will do much else all day.  They will utter the word "bored" from the moment the school gate closes in July until it reopens in September.  You consider taking them for a walk or a picnic somewhere, but then they all moan about where to go and apparently it's all boring anyway so you leave it.  Technology can be enriching, can't it?  At least if they aren't outside then you don't ever have to think about applying sun cream (life is far too short for that argument anyway).

Expectation - The holidays are never long enough.  You always feel sad when they are over.

Reality - I've got to put up with another five and a half weeks of this crap?  In the words of the pre-teen, kill me now.


So the kids finally broke up from school last week.

To be quite honest, I'm not sure what the last few days were about as the classroom displays were all being dismantled and changed for the new term, the teachers were clearly ready for a break and there was just a seemingly never ending number of end of year rituals to complete.  DS2 had no fewer than three assemblies on the final day - the poor child was so bored!

Anyway, why graduation?  Well, regular readers will be aware that my twins are moving over to the Reception class at our Primary School next term.  Last week they attended their final session in the Pre-School building.  They have left.  They have not graduated.

Unfortunately they were still subjected to this:

Where do I begin?  No exams were taken, no ceremony, no qualification, and yet they were made to pose for a graduation picture.  Why?  The only thing that has happened is the passing of time, not the passing of exams.  I find the whole thing ridiculous.

I do understand that some parents might see this as cute and just a bit of fun, but how many of the children really understand what posing with a graduation gown, mortar board and fake scroll prop is all about, or even why people do it?  Mine don't.

As a graduate myself I am a little put out.  A ceremony that I spent years working towards and which I didn't find all that easy has been trivialised by my own children's pre-school.

As a way of marking the end of pre-school it is unnecessary I feel.  There has already been a trip to a soft play centre and a graduation (!) party in the past week alone.  None of my older children did any of this at pre-school and they still remember their time there with fondness, even ten years later. 

Still, as I pointed out to DH, on the upside with University fees being as much as they are these days, it might be the one chance we have to see them graduate anything.

Oh well.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wicked Wednesdays

Told them to go and play outside...


Mum, can I have my ears pierced?

I happened to be in Claire's Accessories a few years ago doing some shopping.  There was a young girl in there at the same time having her ears pierced.  She was sobbing, saying she didn't want it done, she was frightened that it would hurt.  Her mum was encouraging her to stick with it and in her words "you have to have it done at some time".  Myself and other shoppers shot each other looks of shock.  The young shop assistant with the ear piercing gun didn't know what to do for the best.  If it was my child I would have taken her away, reassured her that she didn't need to have it done until she was ready, but the young girl's mother was still insisting.  It upset me so much that I walked out of the shop without the things I had gone to buy.

DD1 has always wanted to have her ears pierced one day.  All her friends have had it done.  She is the last.

Now, I'm not a terribly strict mum, but initially I didn't want her to have it done. Why would anyone want to do that to their child's ears?  They look beautiful enough to me as they are.  It took me four long years to persuade my parents to let me get my ears pierced and now I don't even bother wearing earrings anymore.

DD1 has remained pretty insistent since the start of year 6.  She has not swayed from this at all.  I have always said no but she is older now, able to deal with cleaning them and looking after them as they heal.  Suddenly it doesn't seem such a big deal.  Especially after I had fought long and hard with my folks 30 odd years ago over the same thing, this wasn't something I felt necessary to do with DD1.  You've got to pick your battles after all.

At the weekend she went off to my mums house for the afternoon.  On returning her home it was my mother who asked, "can she have her ears pierced? I'm going to get mine done too".  It appears that my 11 year old daughter and my 70 year old mother had hatched a plan to get them done together (I'm not going to bore you with the story of why my mother has reached the age of 70 having never had her ears pierced but she has).  So I agreed.  Only on the proviso that they went to the tattoo and piercing parlour in town to have it done.  I figure that if it's your business to use needles on people's skin then you are less likely to get it wrong - certainly less likely than a sixteen year old Saturday girl in Claire's is.

So on Monday morning that's where they went.

DD1 assures me that it didn't really hurt much and came home with supplies of witch hazel and cotton buds for cleaning them.  

My mum said that when they went into the chemist to ask for it all the assistant exclaimed "just had your ears pierced?!" and when my mum said "yes, me too!" She was told "you'll be getting a tattoo next!".  

Perish the thought.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

One more day...

One more day before I no longer have to trip over a thousand school bags and shoes at the bottom of the staircase.

One more day before I won't need to rinse 2 kg of grime out of the bottom of the bathtub every night.

One more day until I'll no longer hear the words "oh, I've forgotten my homework" at 10 pm,

Or "Muuuum, I'm hungry" at 4 pm daily.

One more day until I'll be able to see that the alarm clock says 7.30 am and I know I can ignore it and stay in bed.

One more day until I don't have to bark like a Sergeant Major to get them out of the house on time.

One more day until I won't hear "Mum, I need..." At 9 pm the day before it is needed,

Or "I've left my coat at school" (again).

One more day,

Just one...

Friday, 18 July 2014


Never more have I been thankful for a Friday (see reasons in last post).

I was just messing around and wasting time checking important stuff on Facebook and I couldn't resist joining in with Kerrie over at Wife, Mum, Student Bum and her very spontaneous photo linky.

This is my entry to that, a picture which makes me very happy because it is Friday.


All I will add to that is DH if you are reading this, we are nearly out of tonic water - can you pick some up on the way home?  Cheers.

Word of the Week

I haven't joined in with word of the week for quite some time but when Jocelyn tweeted me this morning to ask if I'd like to join in I thought now seem like the perfect opportunity.  The word that sums up my week this week is

It seems I have had very little time for my blog this last few weeks.  End of term preparations and other things have meant that my time has been spent elsewhere.  It is quite frustrating for me and I shall be glad when the week is over finally and we can all have a bit of a rest.  I have so many things I need to write about, I just need some time to do it!

On Monday it was time for everybody to go back to school and work, only the twins were a bit under the weather and so they had a day at home, which turned into two days and then three.  Finally yesterday it was time for them to return to pre-school.  They now have less than a week left before they move on to the main school after the holidays.  It is time that I can't wait to pass in a way.  I am so aware that they have outgrown pre-school and need something more challenging.  They are both really looking forward to September and so am I!

On Tuesday I decided to use the spare time I had not doing school runs to tidy up the boys' bedroom yet again.  There were so many outgrown toys and clothes and books in their room.  It was definitely time for a change.  I also used the opportunity to tidy up the twins bedroom too and they have inherited quite a lot of the boys' stuff, including some storage which they are delighted about.  It feels good to be a bit more organised, even during the chaos of the end of term.  I'm really glad I spend the time doing it.

Yesterday my two eldest children went on school trips.  If you read regularly you may remember my anguish at sending my son on his trip to a theme park, however I needn't have worried because they only had four hours there in the end which left very little time to go on many of the bigger rides.  I did feel a little sorry for him but he says he had a good time regardless.

While all of this has been going on, dh has managed to hurt his back too.  He is in so much pain and I'm convinced that all he really needs is a bit of time to let it heal properly, which is easier said than done when he has had work commitments to attend to all week.

As you can see, time very accurately sums up our week. Time spent doing things, not enough time to do other things, and more time needed.  In fact as you read this it will be time for my oldest two children to come home from school for the last time this academic year.  Hopefully, once school is over next week I'll have some more time to join in regularly with WotW and to spend on my blog and more importantly with my family!

Which word sums up your week?

Click on the badge below to find some more words of the week linked up with the Reading Residence.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 10 July 2014

10 things I won't miss about term time

Every day just lately it's getting harder and harder to get up out of bed and start the morning routine, or is that just me?  I hate this time of year because the children are hardly doing anything at school (although the older ones love the lack of homework) and they are all really tired.  It's a bit dull.  Kind of like being in limbo.  I wish the holidays would hurry up and get here.  The last few weeks really can't pass by quickly enough.

In my head this morning I was making a list.  A list of the things that I won't need to do in two weeks' time and that I will not be looking forward to come September.  It was very nearly several lists because there are loads of little things that I won't miss (like having Zombie children - but then the teen nearly always is like that anyway) so I am going to share my top ten with you.
  1. Making packed lunches every day at 7.00 am - because there are only so many cheese sandwiches anyone can make at that time of the day.
  2. Washing school uniform including smelly PE Kits! - I have enough washing to do without this as well.
  3. Ironing school uniform - or anything for that matter.
  4. Nagging children to do homework - guaranteed to cause a row of massive proportions.
  5. Nagging children to get out of bed in the morning - I rather like the peace and quiet when they are asleep.
  6. Buying ingredients for Home Economics lessons - always seems to involve buying something that I would never usually get rather than ingredients I actually have in my kitchen, and always remembered at the last minute.
  7. Doing the school run in the rain - nobody likes this surely?
  8. Waiting outside school every day for 45 minutes while DS2 gathers his belongings together - I have the slowest child in all the world.
  9. Receiving a raft of e-mails, none of which are very important, from the school office every day (I have had 13 in the last week - 5 of those were yesterday) - I spend ages reading them and deleting them and then always seem to miss the most important ones.
  10. Paying for school trips - why do they need to go on so many trips?
Needless to say I am now on a countdown until the final school run.  I plan on celebrating it's completion with a large gin - never mind the fact that I have six weeks at home with all five kids still to plan.  Happy Holidays!

Do you agree with my list?  Do you have your own list?  What's on it?  I'd love it if you could share in the comments below.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


It's Tuesday morning and I'm sitting with a cup of coffee and trying to sort out the million and one things in my head, while I attempt to wake up.  Upper most in my mind is that it is DS2's birthday on Friday.  I must remember to buy some paper, a card and sort out a cake (not sure if I'm making or buying yet).  The thing is it isn't just DS2's birthday.  It's mine also.  My "significant birthday" is nearly here.

I'm partly excited.  Not because I'm getting lots of presents (or any even) or because I might get a slice of Minecraft themed birthday cake (because I have to share with the soon to be 9 year old, not because I like Minecraft).  No, excited because, Yay!  I'm going to be in my forties at last.  The optimist in me says it might be better than I think.

On the flip side I am dreading being 40 because it sounds so old.  So grown-up.  I don't feel like a grown-up yet.  I may have five children and a house and a car and somehow make sure everything that's supposed to happen every day actually happens, but I still haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up.  I have a feeling I should have done that by now.  I think this might be it.  Oh.

I am aware that this probably doesn't make any sense.  The truth is this is the third draft of this post (at least) and I'm still not sure what I really want to say.  I'm not sure it even matters any more.  40 is just another number after all.

I do know that it will be unlike many of my previous birthdays.   I won't be celebrating it while getting through the day clock-watching in a boring office job.  It won't be like the one nine years ago where I was 3 days overdue and in early labour for most of the day, culminating in my nether regions being ripped asunder by a 9 lbs 5 oz living breathing projectile.  It won't be like the one where DH was about to lose his job for the second time in three years (I bloody hope, I've has enough of the fall out from this recession to last a lifetime).  It will be whatever it will be.  Probably quieter than in the past.  Definitely gin-fuelled.  Mostly about DS2 and his presents, cards and cake.  How it should be.

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