Today we went to see Nanny for her birthday! As usual there was party food…..
Poor Nanny didn’t even get a look in with 2 of her presents! While Caitlin was helping her open one Noah and Austin each ran off with another and opened them!!!!!! After that it was time for a cake and Austin even seemed to be trying to sing Happy Birthday!!!!!!
At the beginning of this week we arrived to school to find an alien spaceship wreckage in the playground!!! Aliens must have landed over the weekend!!!!!!!!!!
The parents were given a letter explaining it was for writing week and the hoax would be revealed later in the day so to keep it a surprise! I then saw one mother reading the entire letter to her daughter and friends….what a killjoy! The first sentence said it was a surprise and not to reveal to the children!!!!!!! When I returned with my camera at pick up it had been moved to inside the hall…so no photo of the wreckage!
Throughout the week they did various alien related activities and the older ones did lots of writing about it. Caitlin read alien stories, made alien models and drew a picture of an alien which was her message to be attached to a balloon. On Friday there was a balloon release…..
…they are all hoping their balloon gets discovered by an alien! The furthest travelled balloon wins a prize!
It was quite windy so they got a good start!!! I’m not sure when the deadline for returned messages is but fingers crossed Caitlin wins!!
…well when I say won I’d imagine there are a lot of winners! I filled in a survey at tescos for Venture photography and the “lucky” winner got a studio session and photo.
We’ve been to Venture before and I remember it being a bit stressful, but they did get lots of good shots …but we hardly bought any because they were so ridiculously overpriced! So we booked our “prize” which is when the fun began! Me and Richard both said we had no desire to be in the shots, but in order to validate our prize we had to be in some…both of us! This meant we struggled to book a session when the kids weren’t in school and Richard wasn’t in work! We got there and she asked what sort of picture we were hoping to get. We have great photo’s of each of them on their own…thats quite easy to get but we don’t have a single good one of all three. Someone is always looking the wrong way, blinking, not smiling, running away or just pulling a daft expression…or it’s blurry…or I’ve chopped someone off while concentrating on getting their attention! So I said we were after a good photo of the 3 of them…NOT US! She seemed to pay no attention to us what so ever and spent at least half of our studio session taking family photos which I hated every single one!!
Finally after 15 wasted minutes she took some of just the kids. By this point Noah and Austin had started to get bored, the photographer also wasn’t very good with kids and didn’t have a clue how to get them to cooperate. Basically by faffing about with her family shots she’d missed her window with the kids! Finally our 30 minutes was up and I left feeling like I had been bullied into having my picture taken way too many times (surely 2 or 3 would have filled the terma and conditions??!!)
We returned a couple of weeks later for our viewing!!!! Again they insisted we both attend…they’re not soft on this one…they knew full well I’d turn up grab my freebie (the best of the 3 of them together) and not be persuaded to buy anything!!!! Richard is a soft touch and was persuaded :-)!
So we viewed our photos and at least the woman showing them to us had the sense to realise she needed to delete ALL of the ones with me in before I walked out. She then defended that term and condition by saying it helped the kids to relax……missed their window of attention span in our case!! There were some gorgeous ones of Caitlin on her own…but she always takes great photos and we have loads of her so we deleted those (maybe if we were mega rich), there were very few of Noah…his smiles looked really forced and he didn’t like the photographer so she hadn’t got any decent ones so they were deleted. There were a few nice ones of Austin and since we’ve never had any proper photos of him done Richard picked one of him…it is a lovely photo but not worth the money it cost really….
As for the photo of all three of them we only had about 5 or 6 to choose from and only 2 were ones I liked. I liked them both the same but didn’t really love either so we had one as our free photo. It is nice…but I’m sure any studio (or anyone with a decent camera – that’ll be me once I’ve learnt how to use it – and a clear background – not sure I’ll ever have a clear background!) could have taken an equally good one.
We’ve been to pixifoto before and for the same price as our one picture we bought we could have chosen about 10 from there!!!! So all in all not a great experience….would have been if they had actually bothered to listen to what I wanted and not wasted pretty much all the studio time on family shots and single shots…but they seemed to think they knew best and would be able to prove to me I wanted a lovely family portrait for about my fireplace! Stupid prices aside..they would never ever have persuaded me on that front!!!!!!!!!
Since the weather is cold and we’re not doing much to write about here are some things from last year that were for Christmas so I couldn’t write about them then!
Back in October Caitlin had her first official school photo. I didn’t have high hopes as the one she had done in pre-school looked like someone had a gun to her head trying to make her smile! They got the proof back and it was quite small so hard to tell what it was really like but it looked ok so we bought the email version with the rights to print as many as we wanted so we decided to send some to family for Christmas.
I think the choice of background colour is very odd for the uniform colour and I would have liked her to be sat so you could see the school logo on her jumper, but she’s smiling quite nicely and doesn’t look scared to death!!
Another of our Christmas presents for family was an ornament made by Caitlin and Noah. We made the pine cone skiers in 2009 and this year we made button reindeer…..
We started these back in January and made the 10 needed throughout the year.
I got the idea from another blog but I can’t remember which one!! Since we seem to have started a tradition of ornaments I need to get thinking about what to make for next year (any ideas welcome!!)
Caitlin and Noah are getting nowhere with their swimming. They go every week and all that happens is they splash their faces…then they take it in turns to be towed backwards across the pool and back again..then the next person gets towed….then for the last 5 minutes they jump in from the side. At the beginning they wouldn’t jump in as they were too scared but now they are much more confident and will happily jump in. We have booked a holiday in the summer half term (we are still hoping you’ll join us Nan!!!!!) and in the past we have always been really safe because they both just sit on the side and wait for us to come and get them. Now they are really confident getting in the water but have never even tried to swim so are now a complete danger!! Their current lessons claim to be teaching them to have a perfect swimming technique which is great if they turn out to have a real talent and progress to the team but for the majority they just need to learn to swim. A friend of ours is a teacher but we didn’t send them to him just incase it interfered with our friendship…..but after speaking to him about how they should have progressed so far he was amazed they’ve not even tried to swim yet!!! Even the kids in the next group up (and the group up from that) spend all their time floating backwards and forwards too!! So we decided to give it a try and send them to Graham!
On lesson one he put a flotation band thing around their waist and got them in the pool with the others in the class, although the others had a small flat thing attached. He made them try to swim the full length of the pool with the float on which they kind of managed with a bit of help from him. They then did star floats still with their bands on and then chased a ball each along the pool. They then swapped to using noodles (long foam sticks which they kind of leant on) and again swam the length of the pool. Then he got them to jump in from the half way along the pool length, which they were great at, and swim completely unaided back to the end of the pool. They didn’t manage that bit but they both did a fair few strokes on their own before he had to help them. They were both exhausted after the lesson…mind you it was the most energetic lesson they’d ever had!
This week was lesson 2 and it was the same again except they managed a bit more swimming before help was needed and they moved onto shark fins rather than full on flotation bands. Strangely Noah was doing loads better at the other lessons possibly because he was braver? But Caitlin seems to be doing slightly better at these lessons….maybe because she already knows Graham and has done ever since she can remember and so she really trusts him. She quite often used to cry at the other lessons but now you can just see her grinning as she paddles her way down the pool. Graham is pretty expensive but I think it’ll work out about the same cost maybe even cheaper in the long run as he’ll actually get them swimming in far less lessons (hopefully before June 5th!)!!!!!
Part of Rainbows is the church parades that they hold every month or so. So far they have been on weekends when we’ve been busy so Caitlin hasn’t been able to go, but this month we were free so she went along. Noah of course wanted to go too so I said we could although he’d have to sit at the back with me. We arrived quite early (as usual for us) and Caitlin got chosen to help carry the Rainbows flag.
She also went up to light a candle. It was a Christingle service which meant everyone got an orange decorated with sweets and a candle. I remember going to a Christingle service when I was a brownie and the girl a few places along from me set fire to the girl in front of her!!! She has wild bushy curly hair and the other girl burnt a big patch out of the back!! There were no events like that but the man behind us did drop his candle and his wife nearly killed him!
Noah spent most of the service asking me questions….”what is that wooden thing with a line down and a line across?” (the cross!! Struggled answering that one without getting too involved)……”why are there Christmas trees over there?” (I had no idea…confused me too!)…..”which ones are the beavers?” (he asked this one regularly…he was fascinated by them!)…and on it went with him firing questions! At the end we signed his name up for beavers.
For Christmas we got a family present of a wii!! It is so funny watching the kids on it. There is a running game where you have to jog along behind your cat (why you’d be going jogging with your cat I don’t know!!) you have to keep a steady pace and not overtake the cat. Noah gets really carried away and runs miles ahead of his cat, Caitlin is great at it and jogs along just behind it. Austin copies Noah and runs frantically for a few minutes then just stops, then starts again!!
You can’t really get it properly from just a photo..I’ll have to do a video! What is especially funny is if one of them is playing…the other 2 run along behind them!!! Same if they are doing a leaning game…they all lean with them! They are loving it though and are getting much better at the games that need a bit more control over the controllers.
On boxing day morning I went downstairs with Noah…..he walked into the living room and in his best over excited voice shouted ” He’s been again…..but this time he’s unwrapped them all for us…how cool is that!!!!!!” Only Noah!! I explained they were the same presents as yesterday and it was him who had unwrapped them!!!!! We then had a lazy day playing with the presents and not even getting out of pj’s!!!!!!!! We had our own Christmas dinner later on which was good too.
I had already had a pretty bad cough for a few weeks and on the Monday it got worse…or since I finally had chance to stop rushing around everywhere maybe I just realised I was worse than I thought! Elvis had also died when his exhaust fell off so I was not feeling well and with no car! Richard was still at work and we’d only really made one arrangement for the week so I cancelled it and the kids went back to Nanny’s for a couple of days in the hope I’d get better. I’m never ill so I felt really bad for cancelling our plans but I just couldn’t face taking all of them out on the bus in the rain.
The kids were due back and I still didn’t feel any better so I went to the doctors and she gave me anti-biotics…for maybe the first time in my life…definitely the first time in over 20 years!!!!!!!
We did venture out on New years eve to a friend’s house which was really nice, but I still wasn’t 100%. On New years day Caitlin went to play at her best friends house which she loved. When I collected her E’s mum said “Thankyou for letting us have her for the afternoon”. When I got thinking about that and how disappointed the girl we let down earlier in the week was…I realised how lucky Caitlin Noah and Austin are. They have played together really nicely all over Christmas..they always do. There were very few arguments…they all love each other and get on so well, they have all the friends they need on tap all the time. They love their other friends too but over Christmas when we stayed in the whole time they had a great time just together. I always thought Austin might be a bit left out since Caitlin and Noah have always been so close but he just joined in with them and they looked after him too.
Finally after 5 weeks of being not right I’m starting to feel better but I still have a horrible cough…fingers crossed I don’t have a relapse now my antibiotics are finished!!!!