Isis First Day Back at School – Year 4

Isis First Day Back at School – Year 4

dontcallmestepmummy, blended family, school days
I want to be an actress when I grow up…

This morning was a crazy chaotic rush.  We don’t have the girls on a Monday so you may think that we’re cuckoo with it being Year 4, but we wanted to be there for Isis first day back at school.  Since we moved back in March, we’re not a 5 minute drive anymore and I woke up with a horrendous headache.  We really wanted to see her though, so we got the babies ready and grabbed the camera and off we went.

We got stuck in traffic coming off the motorway which was a nightmare so we didn’t get to actually walk with them to school (it’s a 5 minute walk), but, we did meet them as they were walking up to the school.  Isis was so happy to see us.  It was lovely to be there and her Mum said that Isis was very excited when she knew that we were coming to wave her in for her first day back.

These are the days where it is hard choosing to love them as my own, as they are not my own, but I really wanted to have been there getting her ready this morning, ironing her clothes, packing her lunch bag, styling her hair, but she already has a Mummy for that, and I am privileged to fill in when they are at our home.  We have extended our days again with the girls, now that I am into the swing of things with the 2 babies and will be collecting the girls Thursday after school and dropping them back on Sunday afternoons.

I am so proud of Isis Mae going into Year 4.  She says that she wants to be an actress at the moment when she grows up.  I could see this happening if she was tenacious in her pursuit but we’ll see how her little life progresses.  She would definitely be a triple threat with her dancing and singing too.

I start teaching the choir at her school as well this week, and they want me to go in for ‘Super Learning Day’ on Wednesday to work with the children.  Will see how it goes…. I’m sure there will be a few blog posts about this (I’ll be working with the play therapist who I have not got along with so should be interesting)…

Shayla starts her first EVER day at school next Monday so we’ll be travelling to be with her for that too.  The joys of parenthood and being part of a blended family… wouldn’t swap it for the world *winks.*
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18 Days of Summer #13

18 Days of Summer #13

my family

Today we began our day safely in Worthing.  Judah had me up at 5am so it was another early start.  James’ parents had bought croissants and pain au chocolat in for breakfast so the children enjoyed their fill.  The girls wanted to read the blog to catch up, so they sat together and Isis read it out to Judah (who’s interest wavered much) and Shayla, they were very cute.

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We decided to just go and see what we could find to do in and around Worthing.  I did the girls hair as usual, their choices today …

diagonal loop braid
diagonal loop braid

and Isis had …

half-loop tieback
half-loop tieback

Isis’ half-loop tieback would be a great ‘back2school’ hairstyle if I’d done it a bit tighter to her head.  I had done it loose as I thought it looked pretty sitting where it did, but it meant that stray hairs kept working their way above the braid all day just making it look messy.  This began when the children were terrorising James when we were trying to get ready.

cute Dad's hairstyles
cute Dad’s hairstyles

We were going to head for lunch when our plans were thwarted by Eden’s need to have a nap, so James made us all lunch.  I had an omelette (trying to eat healthier) and the rest ate bacon and egg sandwiches.  Once Eden was up and had eaten her lunch (an Ella’s Kitchen pouch) we headed into Worthing.  As soon as we started wandering into town, we stumbled upon a mobile sandpit.  It was in the middle of the town and had a stage set up and music playing.  Buckets and spades were in the sand and the girls immediately wanted to go play.  Judah had fallen asleep in the Bugaboo Donkey by now, Eden was still wide awake, so I took her to join in too.  NB. I had to keep Eden’s pacifier in so she wouldn’t eat the sand.

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Shayla showing off her sandcastle
I love sunny Worthing
I love how paunchy she looks here, it’s all coat *wink*

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Dave Benson Phillips do you remember him?  The CBBC Presenter of ‘Get Your Own Back’ where a child gets to dunk a teacher or an adult who has wronged them in gunge.  He was singing children’s songs and party dance numbers.  The girls were far too interested in making sandcastles as it was one of the things on their bucket list we hadn’t managed to do yet, but I know if Judah hadn’t been asleep, he would’ve been dancing along.

After a while, I noticed it was going to start raining, again *tuts*, so we decided to head somewhere warm for a hot beverage.  We headed to the little restaurant on the Pier.  it was lovely, very buggy friendly, even with my double beast, I had no problems inside or out with maneuverability.  We didn’t quite make it to the Pier without them pulling funny faces in the face boards around the side of the sandpit.

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We all enjoyed hot chocolates with marshmallows, whipped cream and a flake apart from Alan (James’ Dad) who had a Baileys Coffee, think I would’ve joined him if I wasn’t still breastfeeding Eden.  Judah was still asleep and Eden had a bit of a crawl around the table and then the floor, it still looks so odd as she is so small.

Here are some snaps we got from our trip to the restaurant on the Pier ‘The Denton‘ as it is called.

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rocking my Prada
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hmm… why didn’t you get me a coffee Daddy?
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Close-up
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‘I love my Daddy’
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bored in the buggy
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being cheeky
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I want to get this made into a canvas for Alan
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doing a ‘Britney’, not a fan of the mamarazzi
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poor Judah was still asleep

When we got back to the house, Alan made us a lovely homemade staple… ‘sausage, mash and onion gravy’ it was so yum.  You know when you just fancy something simple and tasty.  It really hit the spot, also, he dragged another table through and made it very cute for us all to eat in one sitting.  Judah and Shayla looked especially cute on their table.

hmm... food
hmm… food

After dinner the children put on a performance for us, of the dreaded Ice film, yes, the dreaded F* word….. *whispers* Frozen.  My favourite part was they had dressed James up as a reindeer with antlers on his head made from a coathanger and a belt in his mouth as the bridle.  Shayla riding in on his back was hilarious.  Children can be so creative sometimes, I think they get their overactive imaginations from their Father haha.  Here are some pics of the grand finale and their audience.

113 124 129 141It was such a late night for them all.  I loved seeing them so happy, but by the time James and I got to bed we were absolutely exhausted.  I have to drive to London tomorrow to drop off my Bugaboo Donkey with my wonderful friend Charlotte who sells them, and pick up a Cameleon with a buggy board for my monkey prince instead.  I am really looking forward to hanging out with her, but not to the drive.  Also very excited to see my pint-sized princesses new chariot, I’ve gone really girlie as now Judah won’t be sharing it with her (aside from his manly buggy board) I can.

Anyone else have to watch constant shows and performances of the dreaded ice film, or just made up performances in general or is it just our fame hungry minions?
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18 Days of Summer #12

18 Days of Summer #12

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 Today was a very long day, as the alarm was set for 3:30am.  Today we were travelling down to Worthing, West Sussex.  This is a 6 hour drive if you drive straight down with no stops and there’s no traffic.  I had all the children with me and James was travelling down on the National Express (hmm… wonder who had the better deal?).
After everyone was ready, and I’d finished sorting boosters, isofix’s, seatbelts it was just before 5.  I had been throwing up all morning, don’t know if that was because it was early or the anxiety, but it was horrible.  Anyway, we were on our way.
The first part of the journey was great, I drove the first 3 and a half hours straight.  We listened to music, I had to sing along to some upbeat Beyonce to keep myself awake.  The children did some dancing to their church favourites, the babies mostly slept.  Shayla was fantastic, giving Eden her bottle, feeding her a banana and putting her pacifier back in when she wanted it.  She was being an amazing big sister as she was stuck in the middle between the two babies.
We finally stopped at Beaconsfield services as it was getting close to 9 o’clock and we were just outside of London.  I could see traffic was going to become a problem so I cheered at the sight of a Starbucks.  It was quite funny actually, I cheered, ‘yay, a Starbucks for Mummy, woohoo!’ and Judah exclaimed ‘yay, ‘Donalds for Judah, woohoo!’  The girls were in hysterics.
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Isis enjoying her pancakes
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Shayla had a sausage and egg snack wrap

breakfast 3

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Judah also had pancakes (minus the syrup *wink*)
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breastfeeding tip when travelling with 4 children, 1 that may run off (pack a bottle)

It wasn’t fun being in the services with all 4 of them at once.  I had Judah attached to my wrist with his monkey backpack (to learn more about his backpack click here).  My handbag with all electronic valuables I didn’t want to leave in the car over my shoulder, the my pinklining yummy mummy changing bag across my body, carrying the maxi-cosi car seat with the other arm.  Luckily, the two girls walked closely by my side and are well-behaved, otherwise I just wouldn’t have been able to do this.

As I tried to enjoy my coffee, I had downgraded to McDonald’s coffee as trekking them all across to Starbucks wouldn’t have been fun, Judah started to throw himself in the middle of the floor.  Jo Public just walked over him as the hustle and bustle doesn’t stop for a toddler tantrum.  I wasn’t enjoying my coffee for much longer so decided to cut my losses and get everyone back in the car.  Judah was not very happy at this idea, and did the usual struggle to get into the car seat, can’t blame him after the long drive but I still had to get where I was going so in he went.  He proceeded to scream for about half an hour.  I just switched off.  I had to, he set Eden off.  The result was something like this …

 Don’t you wish you were me?  Isis found my backing tracks on Spotify, I use them for my Popular Music pupils, we decided to have a singsong as we got stuck in traffic.  Here’s a couple of vids, the singing isn’t amazing, we were just having fun, but the faces the girls pull, especially Isis made me chuckle.

and the dreaded song from the Ice movie that cannot receive it’s proper title around most children without setting off a reaction.

 Singing kept me chilled and relaxed as I could be.  We never needed to use ‘Turbo’ on the iPad, I was so impressed with their behaviour.  It could’ve been so much worse.  We arrived in Worthing just before lunch time, Grandad sorted them out with some toast and ‘Despicable Me’ on arrival.  I was very grateful to just sit and chill for a while.
chilling in Nanny and Grandad's living room
chilling in Nanny and Grandad’s living room

Nanny arrived not long after to see the children.  She sorted them out with sausage rolls, salad, grapes etc.  They were very happy and well-fed children.

We then decided as the weather had brightened up a little bit to go and have a perusal of the local surroundings.  I needed to go and collect James in about 2 hours time at this point, but he had the double buggy with him.  Nevermind, I wore Eden in my Simply Good Cozy Wrap sling and Judah could walk with his monkey backpack attached…. or could he?  We headed out anyway.

This all went well when Judah was enjoying himself and we were doing the things he wanted to do.  The children had a great time, running through sprinklers, playing at the park.  Below are some of the shots I captured.

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It all turned when it was time to leave the park and Judah didn’t want to.

judah's refusal

I could tell that it was going to start raining so we were headed for home.  Grandad walked ahead with the two girls and Judah decided he wouldn’t move.  I was probably only about a quarter of a mile from the house, but when you have a baby strapped to you and a 2 year old that won’t walk this is not a good combination.  It started to rain, literally throwing it down, we were drenched, I looked as though I had been fully submerged in water.  Judah was just led in the street refusing to come with me.  I was concerned about how wet Eden was getting, we’ve all got coughs and colds at the moment.  Grandad was long gone with the girls.

I wanted to reason with Judah, hoping we could come to an arrangement whereas, he walks home and I give him chocolate, but no, he didn’t want to be reasoned with.  I told him he would lose his Peppa Pig watching privileges and there would be no cake.  This didn’t work either.  To be fair, he’s 2, he was tired and didn’t want to walk.  The problem was, I was exhausted and just couldn’t carry them both.  Unfortunately for me, after strangers were coming up to us to stand with us with their umbrella’s, cafe owners running out to tell me I could come sit in their cafe if I wanted, the reality was I pretty much half carried him, and half dragged him home.  Alternating as I had the energy, it was horrific.  I got in with 2 completely drenched babies, and informed James’ dad that he would have to go and collect James from the train station as I needed to get the children into a warm bath and into some clean clothes.  This is not an experience I ever want to repeat.

Once James was home, I stayed in bed.  I laid in bed, in my nightie, breastfeeding the baby and then just stayed there.  I was completely zapped of energy.  You know that feeling when you’re about to snap and you go one of two ways, I could either… drown all the screaming children in the bath (obviously not an option but can totally understand why people do these horrific things, not that it is ever excusable, I guess that’s why they now make new mum’s watch the shaken baby syndrome videos on the maternity wards) or just switch off entirely for my sanity.  I chose to just switch off, I let the children run riot and I stayed in bed with the baby.  All the other adults looked after the children and I zoned out for the evening.  Eventually, when the children were going to bed I gave them all kisses and cuddles, told them I loved them, checked they’d enjoyed their dinner Grandad made, and said goodnight.

James came to bed later and we watched Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason that was on television, I say watched it, but I was asleep before they got to Thailand.

I was pleased with all we achieved today, but am grateful that I am not a single parent.  I think all single parents are amazing, I salute you and do not know how you do it.  You astound me, and I am very grateful I have a husband who can take over when I am at the end of my wit.

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18 Days of Summer #7

18 Days of Summer #7

Today was a random day to be in the middle of our holiday, but last week my friend passed away and his wife asked me to sing a song he loved me singing at the funeral.  I loved William, he used to call me his adopted daughter.  He died suddenly whilst in hospital waiting for them to attend to him at the age of 57.  I had tried to practice last week and just ended up in floods of tears, so on the morning of the funeral I decided to try and practice again.  It’s a song that William who was a preacher would have me sing night after night about a decade ago when he was preaching every night at a church in Blackpool.  This was the church that they were holding the funeral at.  I knew it would be strange to be back in that building, singing that song at William’s funeral.  It’s a song I knew back to front and inside out even a decade later.  I spent the morning singing (Nana sorted the children’s breakfasts, just crumpets that morning) and then getting ready.  My mum was going to have the children for me, I realised four on her own was a bit harsh as I had no idea how long we would be (I had to be there early to set up etc.), so we took Eden with us, she’s never any trouble and if James needed to go out of the main room with her, he could.

The weather was terrible so my Mum was just staying in with the other three.  The girls understood what I was going to do and didn’t mind it interrupting their holiday (bless them).  Lots of kisses, cuddles and off set James, Eden and I.

Was really bizarre arriving there, William’s son Adam, just a child when I last saw him, had been recently ordained in the Summer (his Dad was there to see that – ‘proudest day of his life’) and was leading the funeral.  He was giving the eulogy, along with William’s boss, he was also preaching, and when we arrived he was sorting out the words onto the overhead projector and sorting out the sound desk.  Shocked to see him there so early and to realise how much he was doing (instead of coming later with the family) I took over putting the words into the computer program, and Keith and I started to sort out the sound for our music, and made sure everything else they needed was working.

I kept my mind busy for the hour and a half that followed before the funeral commenced.  Sang my little heart out, and then went outside to have a little weep.  Strangely though, I don’t weep for the loss of William.  I believe I know where he has gone and that he will be at peace now, but seeing his wife and daughter (who was my friend years ago, we just lost contact when she got married – they are Romany Gypsy’s and have very strong culture, her role was to stay in the home, look after her husband and have children) was the reason I wept.  I know we do not weep as those who have no hope as we believe we’ll see him again, but for those left behind it is hard as life adjusts.

 Above is one of William’s messages when he spoke at a church about a year ago.  Please watch if you want to see what all the fuss was about, his story of his life before and after meeting Jesus is amazing.  When his coffin was carried out at the end of the service yesterday there was a standing ovation and everyone applauded like when a ship makes it maiden voyage out of the harbour.  The next stage of his journey is just beginning.
So, back to the children.  My sister and her boyfriend had been at the funeral with James, Eden and I, we went back to collect the others and go out for ice-cream near the local lake.  It was so windy, so we sat inside the cafe.
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Judah and I making our way to the cafe
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Isis posing
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the whole clan plus Auntie Jenny, you can’t see James is holding the car seat behind the girls with Eden in it
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My little monkey

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Ordering their ice-creams
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Daddy photobombing indiscreetly
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Eden enjoyed her biscuit

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disappointed there’s no sweets left in the pic n mix
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Adam and Eden
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Adam playing helicopters with Shayla-Rae

I was exhausted when we got back from our little walk, with the emotional strain of the day, but dinner still needed to be made so off I went to the shop to get some mince.  I had planned to make chilli, it was a cold day so this seemed fitting.  In times like this I am grateful for the meal planner as it helps me to not have to make choices when I’m tired.  They all enjoyed the chilli and rice, then had some game time with Grandad before having a bath and going to bed.

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concentrating
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playing ‘Snorta’ with Grandad

Although today wasn’t the ideal ‘holiday’ day for the children, they had fun and what can I say? This is real life, and life doesn’t stop, it keeps going and situations happen.  I was pleased to be around the area to make it so accessible for us to continue our holiday and still be able to sing.

Tomorrow we’re taking Grandad out for a delayed birthday breakfast as we were busy with church festivities when they organised an impromptu dinner a fortnight ago.  Looking forward to that.
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