I've been laid up in bed for most of the week and Luke has done his best to look after me. He sang me his new fave song - This is Halloween, from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I said it made me feel heaps better. So now, every time I feel sick he sings it to me, to magically make me feel better. Jude videod him singing it to me this morning. Now he has the cold too, poor lad, as does his Daddy.
Tuesday, 28 November 2006
Today Steve got the marks for the first part of his Photography HND back. This is the course that he started in October. The first part of the course was a 12 week module in which he had to take 12 prints, develop them and print them himself in black and white, to make a calender. It was quite a hard module and he spent a lot of time on it. Today he starts the next module, which is portrait photography in the studio. Anyway, the calender module was marked in 3 sections, with an overall mark. One mark was for the workbook, one mark for the essay (Steve's very first essay ever, I might add!), and one mark for the actual photographs. Well, much to our surprise and delight he got a distinction for his workbook, a distinction for his essay (!@*@! - no I didn't help him with that!) and a distinction for his photos, giving him a distinction overall!
Well done Stevie!
He was also commissioned and paid for his first bit of photography work this week too! For a local estate agents.
Right, I'm off to bed, sniff.
Sunday, 26 November 2006
Saturday, 25 November 2006
He did manage to entertain himself throughout the day with little distractions. He decided that it was of utmost importance that he paint a picture for C. He got all the paints out and set himself up on his little desk. He painted a beautiful portrait of C, which we later added glitter to, much to Luke' delight. He told me about 30 times that C was going to be so pleased with the picture he had painted her.
Thankfully, the time to leave finally came and we drove the 35 minute drive to their house, with questions every 3 minutes asking "are we there yet?", "are we half way there yet?" Luckily for us some of the towns had their christmas lights on, and this delighted Luke and distracted him enough to keep us relatively sane.
Here is a photo of Luke looking so proud with his painting of C.
He managed to distract himself for a while with various toys whilst I got a little work done about the house.
As per usual, we were treated to the obligatory end of evening performance from our two older children and C. This time, much to mine and Luke's delight, was a performance of the Scissor Sisters 'I don't feel like dancing'. Don't they just look the part?
Friday, 24 November 2006
The night before that I was sitting up in the landing talking to Steve while he was painting. He is in the process of painting the hallyway, landing and stairs, which is a lot of walls. Our hall and landing are both very long and large. Since moving to this house we've had a lack of furniture in certain areas. As I was sitting along the long strip of wall between Sam's room and the office I said to Steve "this area here is just wasted space. Look at all this space that's just sitting here doing nothing. We need some sort of long chair or shelves or something for it". Then yesterday morning a lady offered a pew for free, on freecycle, to anyone who could get a van to her house to take it away. Steve phoned the van rental people and they gave him a van for free last night! Imagine that. So with the help of a friend Steve went off to pick up our new piece of furniture. Pew from row number one of Ballyclare Presbyterian Church. It's going to look fab once we get the new carpet down and the rest of the walls painted. Here's a photo of it in situe, before the decorating begins in this area. It's 6 ft long, made of pitch pine, and has brass numbers at each end, and a brass umberella stand at one end. Not bad for nothing but the cost of a bit of diesel, eh?
Freecycle is amazing. We have given things away on it, swapped things, and gained one or two things. We swapped some chairs for mini greenhouses during the summer. And I managed to get rid of a few bits this week that were cluttering up the house. I'm very grateful to the lovely lady who gave us this pew.
Wednesday, 22 November 2006
Friday, 17 November 2006
On Tuesday Luke finally got the specially made orthopedic insoles. Remember he had his feet cast for them on 1st October? The children's hospital told me that they needed to be cast, made and fitted within two weeks so that he would be able to wear them before his feet grew too big. 6 weeks later, after hearing nothing about getting the insoles fitted, I phoned the hospital and was told their next free appointment was on 20th December! When I pointed out that his feet probably would not fit the insoles by then, they agreed, and arranged for me to visit the private clinic where they had been made, and were sitting in storage. So, that's what we did, and the private clinic have agreed to see Luke from now on, at no cost to us, on behalf of the Children's Hospital. The insoles are very strange looking, not at all what I was expecting. So I took a photo (of course!)
The good thing is that the orthotist told us only to buy Luke cheep shoes from now on. He says that the insoles will do the job, and expensive Clarke's shoes will get in the way, so we are to go for cheepy Dunnes shoes instead. Woo hoo. I was tempted to ask him to kit the whole family out with them! LOL.
Anyway, today is was snowing! Yes! Snowing! Never has a little boy been so excited, as little Luke was when he woke up at 7am this morning and discovered the roof windows were covered in snow! Sam and his friend had a snowball fight in their school uniforms, before school this morning. And Luke donned his welly boots for a walk through the snowy lawn. Steve went out to the back garden to take some snowy shots for his photography course, and slipped, fell flat on his back, soaking through three layers of clothes and breaking his camera (its muddy, wet and might work properly when it's dried out).
Our back garden this morning...
Jude's birthday was a lovely day. In the morning she opened her presents before Sam went to school. Her main present was her own digital camera. She also got a knitting set (make your own leg warmers), a beano comic writing set, a box of chocolates, Nanny McPhee DVD, amongst other things.
Luke helped me wrap up the presents the night before. He was also emptying my handbag at the time, and unknown to us had taken a £5 note from my purse and wrapped it up with with some new clothes that I'd bought Jude! We didn't discover it until she opened them, and of course she was delighted with the money and the clothes.
Luke helped Jude unwrap all the presents, and she was very good to let him. He was more excited than her I think! We bought her a big chocolate cake, and Luke had to put the 10 candles on himself. He couldn't wait to eat it.
In the evening Jude and I went out for a girlie evening together. We drove to Lisburn and watched Click at the cinema. It was a good film, and Jude enjoyed it as much as me. It was much sadder than we had expected, and really could have done with more comedy at the start before getting sad. It's a story about a man whose life is really busy, with work and family commitments. He becomes the owner of a Universal Remote Control, which controls his universe. He can skip scenes, fast forward, pause, etc through his life.
After the film I let Jude choose from any of the restaurants in the area. She chose pizza hut. By now it was 9.30pm so we both felt really grown up having a meal so late at night (and on a school night too!) We had pizza, garlic bread, deserts, we were totally stuffed and took plenty home for Daddy's midnight feast. When we got home we discovered that Steve had started painting the hallway (Shock!)
I asked Jude how she enjoyed her birthday. She said "it was cool, but the best bit was talking to you in the restaurant". Isn't that cute? She really enjoyed some quality time without her brothers.
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
I couldn't believe that we were blessed with a daughter, as well as our 17 month old son. Sam was delighted with his little sister and soon became her protector and friend. She seemed so tiny next to him, but he still wasn't even walking alone at this point. She was a gorgeous little thing, and turned into a gorgeous girl.
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
Monday, 13 November 2006
Well, I think everyone agrees that the engagement party was a huge success. Contrary to our doubts, people did actually turn up to wish the happy couple all the best. We had the perfect amount of people for the size of the place.
Steve and I turned up at the hall at 3pm. It was very bare, very cold, but nice enough. Jenny then turned up to help and Steve went home. We set about decorating the place, with lights, cut out hearts, heart balloons, ribbons, photographs etc. Jenny had made the most gorgeous engagement cake (she really should go into business), as well as the funkiest time capsule I'd ever seen. I made two displays of photos. One of the lovely photos that Steve took of Hannah and David a few weeks back, and one of all the funny photos we could find from our own collection, and from Hannah's and David's Beebo websites. (Some of them were hilarious - not to mention embarrassing!)
Mum arrived soon after with enough food to feed an army. She must have been baking and preparing for days! Jenny has a great talent for turning dull rooms into wonderlands (Just take a look in her shed if you ever get the chance!) and whilst I was out making sandwiches in the kitchen Jenny was heard banging, crashing and giggling in the main hall. Half an hour later Mum and I walked back in to find the hall had been transformed in a room which couldn't possibly look more like Hannah. Sparkly lights were hanging from the door, from the ceiling, round the pillars, it was almost Santa's grotto. It looked fabulous.
We also set up a little art table. We invited all the guests to draw portraits or caricature's of Hannah and David, and to add them to the gallery. That went down very well, and was a good ice breaker. I have all the portraits at home now and will put them all into a scrap book for them.
A few weeks ago a Hannah and David had a portrait sitting and the lady gave us a free DVD of the photos. We had this projected onto the wall during the evening and it was a lovelty effect.
We had about an hour to rest and recuperate before people started arriving at 8pm.
Plenty of Hannah and David's friends turned up, as well as family from both sides. We had asked people on the invitations to bring something to go into a time capsule. So people arrived with both time capsule gifts, and engagement presents. It was some fun trying to work out which pile to put them in.
Steve had put together some cd's of music for the little dance floor. After some warm up tracks, we had a little compilation of songs that the kids would like (can-can, cotton-eye-joe etc), and we invited the relatives to dance with the children. That was a good ice breaker and got all the Mums, Grannies and Grandads up to dance. By 11 o'clock the dance floor was positively hiving with all H & D's friends, who couldn't wait to sing along to Y.M.C.A! The whole evening was a great laugh. The kids were fantastically behaved and even little Luke managed to stay up until 12.30! The poor little lad was shattered though, and Steve spent most of the evening entertaining him. He slept till 10.30am the next day. (And he's still asleep today at 9.30)
The gorgeous engagement cake that Jenny made.
The time capsule and cake.
Laura and Jenny on the dance floor.
Some of H & D's friends.
The seating area, all sparkly and pretty.
Some more friends.
Jenny, getting into the groove!
Y.M.C.A (I do believe Maddi is accosting a young lad in this photo?!)
My Dad, looking lovely, but there is a much better pic of him on flicker doing some snazzy moves.
Jenny and the girls, looking divine.
The lovely couple, cutting the cake (it was so wrong to cut such a piece of artwork! But it tasted nice)
There are lots more photos in flicker (see post below). Don't forget to click on pics to see the real size versions. If anyone is planning to print any of them let me know and I'll email you the originals, which are much larger and better quality for printing. I'll do a set for Hannah and David, and I'll get some others printed for people if they request them. I've also got a DVD which I will do copies of for everyone.
Sunday, 12 November 2006
Friday, 10 November 2006
I met his teacher for the first time. She was SOOOO different to the old cow he had at primary school, before we started home educating him. She was a bubbly, smiley, enthusiastic and friendly personality. She only had good things to say about Sam. She described him as the boy the we know and love - energetic, bubbly, friendly. The last teacher he had, in P6 at primary school described him as a quiet, introverted daydreamer who had no interest in school. That is not Sam at all, but being in her class made him subdued and robbed him of his self esteem. Hence, we took him out of school. But now we have our happy, confident boy back again.
Mrs M said that Sam's class is a very quiet, academic class in general, and that Sam is like a ray of light in the midst of them! LOL. That's really what she said. She said he is always happy, always smiling, and very enthusiastic about learning. She actually seemed to like him (Mrs B from the old school positively detested him, and any other child that wasn't scoring 100% in everything). This new form teacher told me that she has a soft spot for Sam and that he is such a likable lad, always surrounded by friends. Yes, I knew that already. Anyway, the day before the parent interviews she sat in the various classes watching the kids at work. Apparently every teacher reported on Sam's keenness to learn (is this the same child?) She said that during science most of the kids were quiet and sat yawning, whilst Sam smiled the whole way through the lesson, asked countless questions (they were learning about reptiles and amphibians), and thoroughly enjoyed himself! Well that's great. He really does seem to be enjoying himself.
I guess the teachers may presume that his being home educated has starved him of any opportunity, and that is why he is so keen to learn. I know, however, that primary school sapped away his love of learning, depressed him and stole his self confidence, and during his two years at home he learnt to love both himself and the world around him, again.
Thursday, 9 November 2006
Wednesday, 8 November 2006
Going to see the Scissor Sisters tonight! Yeah, thanks to C's husband for pulling out and giving me his ticket. Now, I need to find something to wear. Might need to attempt to climb that ironing pile. I happen to know that C is wearing her gorgeous new dress, humph.
Click play on the screen above to watch the movie.
Monday, 6 November 2006
Well, that's it for now really. Here are a few photos from our week...