Sunday, 14 February 2010

Reflections on a Decade

This really is a hard one as how can you sum up a decade in a few paragraphs, or maybe not perhaps it can be summed up in a word Jamie!

Yes we have had loses loved ones and cherished pets, all still much loved and much missed.

There have been adventures and places we have seen some we have grown to love (Cobh in Co Cork springs to mind) and some we have longed to see such as Kefalonia which led us to Ithaca, a place I truly fell in love with. We have made new friends and discovered new interests which are taking our lives in totally different directions to those we had planned at the start of the decade. And there are the old friends too, always there and always reliable. We have watched friends children grow up, so they now babysit for us, when we once babysat them. But most of all the decade has been Jamie ......

Jamie was born a few weeks into the new decade and it has been the most amazing and wonderful journey, watching him grow, change and develop into his own person and a lovely person at that too. Well I am going to say that but he is caring and kind, noisy and loud and noisy (!!), he is funny and smart, can talk the back legs off a donkey. So here in no special order is a glimpse into our decade .....

Dinosaurs they have played a big part ......

Our first day at school, a wonderful and joyous day (and yet I always remember another school and other children too those from Beslan who were just at school that day too)

8th Birthday Boy and his cake

a more recent one - cheeky!

He has always pulled some amazing faces, not sure about the hair in this one, we are on a Thomas train here, Thomas the Tank Engine played a big part in our lives for several years,

funny face at a zoo, I remember the dungarees well and check out his reigns (just in case)

sleeping on his bean bag, hands above his head he slept like this a lot

mmmmmm ice cream

cool dude in his shades, no photos please ...

Jamie's first trip to the beach, a wonderful secluded beach in Ireland.
Wonderful times and wonderful memories.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Reflections on a Year

It is that time of year when we reflect, well I always do. It has been a good year. Our lives have changed so much, probably irrevocably this year, but very much for the better.

Jamie is growing and growing, as his Mum I do sometimes wish I could slow it down but he has to be who he is and who he is going to be and my job is to be there for him, in whatever way he needs me. Thankfully he still does and still loves to cuddle and snuggle and kiss and cuddle, he is still my little boy, although I can't kiss him at the school gate anymore, I have to do it a few feet away, so he can't be seen from the playground!! He has become more challenging as children do when they become older and I/we as parents have to learn how to understand and deal with all of these changes, I don't think we are doing a bad job. He has lots of things he can be very proud of and the most is his wonderful kind and caring nature.

Mike well his life outside of work and us is Aylesbury Friars and trains and even though he gets cross and frustrated at times, he loves it!! He was born to write about music and he needs to pursue this path he is on, as far as it will take him. As a result of this we have made some wonderful new friends who are super company and reconnected with some others. If I was to hazard a guess at what was Mike's highlights of the year well it would be the Friars gigs.

And me, well I started on my path to changing my career, and so far so good. Yes it is strange, sometimes enjoyable and often frustrating being a student again but I am getting there. My highlights of the year - well in no particular order

  • John Barrowman in panto at Birmingham
  • Jamie settling into his new school and loving it
  • Metallica at Birmingham (can't wait to see them again!)
  • Scrap crap shopping at Capture the Magic and leaving several hundred pounds lighter and then sitting and going through the stash over and over again (during our mini-break to Ely) much to Mike and Jamie's consternation
  • Flower arranging and more flower arranging, joining Flower Club, Sylvia, June and Rebecca, Sue
  • Moving on from C
  • Getting Binnie's op done and out of the way
  • Race for Life
  • Nafas Annual Show
  • Jamie's progress with the guitar
  • Seeing Australia play cricket, seeing Brett Lee
  • PTLLS Course
  • Entering Bucks and Thame Shows flower arranging
  • Floristry course (almost)
  • La Cage Aux Folles with John Barrowman
  • Friars, Friars and more Friars
  • Backstage at Friars
  • China Crisis
  • Jamie joining the Cubs and loving it
  • scrapbooking
  • and blogging

and the best to be able just to be with Mike and Jamie.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Saturday, 13 February 2010

NYE and Happy New Year

Mike was working New Year's Eve Day so we had a quiet time of it. But Jamie and I had a plan up our sleeves! Jamie is relaxing with Binnie after some hard preparation work!!

We decided we would cook a special meal for Mike getting home and planned out the menu and got everything ready. Below is the menu that McJamie's was serving on New Year's Eve!

Jamie made the table look nice and now looking at this picture I realise we do need to get some glasses that match. We seem to buy a set and then slowly we break them and end up with just one from each set! It was a lovely relaxed evening.

Here Jamie thinks he is drinking Smirnoff Ice, he wasn't! well an egg cup full and lots of lemonade!! Normally he wouldn't go near lemonade - hates the stuff. And of course this is the big alcohol debate - alcohol and children. I was allowed a dilute shandy with Sunday Lunch from quite an early age, about 10 and consider myself to have and always have had a responsible attitude to alcohol. I think I may have been drunk about 5 times in my life, once at 14 after drinking sherry with a friend (not recommended - very poorly the next day), once after drinking Blastaways (Castaway and Diamond White - a lethal drink!) and Lager - again not to be recommended (and I must have been about 24 at this point!) and the most recent after an Ian McNabb gig in Bristol when I was drinking double vodkas (again not to be recommended) but I do blame the person buying them for me (Mike!!) and I must have been around 40 so old enough to know better!!

Mike was also allowed a taster and dilute shandy and again he is quite sensible and perhaps is only drunk once a year on his work Christmas do. We don't really drink very much at all and have the occasional glass of wine, shandy or beer so feel we set a fairly good example. I always let Jamie have a taste of whatever and he invariably shies away, but we feel taking the mystique out of alcohol will (hopefully) make it less attractive as he gets older and he can be sensible. Although there is bound to be the occasion/s when he will get blasted - he probably wouldn't be normal if he didn't!! And I know the argument doesn't hold up if you changed alcohol for drugs but that's the current plan!! Parenting no-one said it should be easy!

Too deep for New Year's Eve! We had a lovely meal and then watched Jools Holland and got very excited at seeing the Young Punx with Dizzy Rascal (especially Simon from the YP). We watched Big Ben, went outside into the freezing cold and watched the fireworks and then we all headed to bed as we have lots of plans for the coming year and so staying up very very late was not going to be part of them!

I hope 2009 has been good to you and I hope 2010 will be wonderful for you.

Happy New Year Everyone!




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Between Christmas and New Year

Some images between Christmas and New Year

Jamie is getting to grips with his Wii - in fact we are all loving it and playing bowling, canoeing, all sorts of stuff, Jamie's favourite is the plane at the moment.

I have had a couple of attempts and have crashed a lot, here are some pictures from Sports Resort.

A happy bunny playing with his Wii

I don't let Mike anywhere near the indoor decs, but last year I went a bit weird and added some very bright baubles to the tree! But my favourite Christmas decorations are those Jamie has made, such as the one below, these come out year after year, added to with whatever he has made at school this year ......

The green Christmas tree, one of my favourites was made in his first year at school,

and everyone's favourite decoration Jamie's first decoration 'Piglet's friend' (or Baba's friend as we know him in this house - you haven't been introduced to Baba, but I will introduce you next year!) and a picture of Jamie in his first Christmas

Jamie coloured in this Christmas cake, we thought it might be fun to buy one of those that comes with pens and it was ok, but the pens didn't work very well, but the cake tasted nice!! A bit of fun.

Looks like someone hasn't quite finished his rounds yet!!

Not quite sure how this started but Jamie is pretending to be some horror film killer, not that he's seen any of the films, he is currently obsessed with Jason or Michael Myers or some such like character!! I guess it's a boy thing - well I hope it is!!

We have often predicted that Jamie may well be an actor and I think you can see why from these photos, he seems to be getting right into the part.

And tomorrow is New Year's Eve - where does the time go?




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Christmas Day

A Merry Christmas to All!

Christmas started early, with the usual he's been he's been! (Phew says me I'm glad he's been I'm not sure I could face the day without Santa calling.) Jamie's sack didn't look as big as usual but it appears Father Christmas is leaving him less, even though it must be costing him a lot of money!!

No photos again as they are on the video camera, hopefully will get some sorted at some point!!

Jamie was delighted as Santa brought him a Wii so he is a very happy bunny, we will explore it a bit more tomorrow when the house is quieter and not so busy. I got a couple of books I was after and a couple of scrapbooking bits and Mike got DVD and music stuff. We really didn't go mad with each other this year, as we didn't really need anything so why waste money buying things we really don't need!

Lovely day, lots of food (too much food), lots of wine, and then lots more wine!! Enjoyable company and a few giggles. I flagged about 8.30 as I usually do. Dr Who brilliant, but will be very sorry to see DT go.

We had a neighbour over for lunch too as he would have been on his own and that wouldn't be right, I love cooking for people so it's nice to have people here to eat. I did my usual apricot and chestnut stuffing which is lovely just a regular sausage meat stuffing with added apricots and chestnuts, seems to do the trick. One of the few pictures I took on Christmas Day, Binnie asleep on a shoulder after Christmas lunch, you would think she was full!!

Ready for my bed by about 9pm, but Mike and I were on the floor, so would have to wait till Boxing Day for a really good sleep.

An enjoyable Christmas Day and the only disaster, I burnt the parsnips (ha ha!!)




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Christmas Eve

Jamie on the Carousel

Christmas Eve is becoming all about traditions, those that we used to have and those that we have started in our family. The tree is up, all is done (well as much as is getting done now!!) and now we can spend some time together, which is what it is all about, being with those you love.

Jamie and me in Middleton Hall

A new one is the checking of NORAD Santa on Christmas Eve to see where he has got to and who are getting their presents at the moment, and getting that shiver, because we, well Jamie, very much so this year was getting very very excited.

Jamie and Mike in Middleton Hall

We also go to the pantomime at MK theatre now - the last show before Christmas and it is a lovely way to start the celebration. Before that we will pop in Middleton Hall and have a ride on the carousel which we have to do every year. I wonder how old Jamie will be before he is too old?

In the Theatre, does he look like he is sick of me photographing everything, ah the life of a scrapbookers son!

We then went to TGI for a bite to eat and a cocktail or several, strawberry daiquiri for me and the Oreo milkshake for Mike, Chocolate milkshake for Jamie and then headed into the theatre. Jamie struggled to eat because he was so excited, which is very very unusual! Sadly our friends (The Scolas) couldn't make it this year and they were missed, as we had such good fun last year, hopefully they will be around next year. They enjoyed a very snowy Christmas in Scotland, snowed in!

It turned out some friends of ours were sat about 2 rows and 5 seats away from us but we didn't spot each other, what a shame!

The panto this year, perhaps not the best I've seen there but very good nonetheless. Ben Adams was good, Bobby Davro so so (lots of jokes about Amy Whinge (Whine)house, as she had been thrown out of their a couple of days earlier), Louise Dearman was good and Anthea Turner - no I'm not going there! But we did get to see a truly great, an icon of Hollywood, real Hollywood royalty in the shape of Micky Rooney and that was a treat.

I continued my new tradition, which is forgetting to give Mike his card, I have now forgotten two years running, note to self, don't forget it next year!!

We came home and finished off a couple of jobs and then put the carrot, mince pie and beer out for Santa. Relaxed and enjoyable - just what we needed.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Christmas Starts Here

This week is always going to be busy but everything was done shopping, wrapping, cooking etc so that was good. The main thing this week was coping with the snow, and what a lot of it we had, ha ha!! I can't put any pictures of the snow as they are on the video camera and I have no idea how to get them onto the PC so will eventually get some up here.

We had an enjoyable evening out with friends over a Pizza Express meal, with the conversation running from Friars to defibrillators and just about everything in between. Mike was able to find out why he can't use a car battery as a stand in defibrillator as Debs is a nurse. Stuart had the most amazing colour shirt on I have ever seen, it was like those cars you sometimes see which change colour depending on where you look at them from.

We risked life and limb getting to the restaurant walking through a very very slippy Aylesbury but what a lovely start to Christmas and as it was us Friars lot most of the talk was about music. I am so happy Mike (and I) have found such wonderful like minded friends to share some free time with and as Judy also like both Japan and Whitesnake well enough said!!! There is no doubt that Friars has changed our lives!!

Christmas Eve tomorrow.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Christmas Scrapbooking

The front cover and a couple of other pages, I was lucky to be able to change the date quite easily!

Last year I had hoped to make a Christmas book, but in the words of the wonderful genius that is John Lennon, 'life is what happens to you whilst your busy making other plans' and that didn't happen. No need to rehash why except to say it was quickly and successfully dealt with and all are happier and more content as a consequence so Mrs Holy H, Mrs Stuck up M and AWJS stick it in your pipe etc etc.

The blue pages will work well for the snowy pictures!

So I have resurrected the very small start I made last year and have got cracking with it for this year, I expect it may take me half the year to make it but I will complete it in fits and starts as 2010 goes on. I started by cutting out papers covering pages as the basis for the book and here are some pictures of some of the pages in the first stage.

I think one of these papers may be MME or possibly Cosmo Cricket, I'm not too good at noting down what I use!

The next stage with those pages will be to sand and then ink up the edges.

I love these bottom two, which are I think MME.

Some layering and journalling bits.

I have also spent some time cutting out some embellishments to go on the pages, Christmas trees, stars, Santa stockings, making little envelopes and some wallets and journalling tags. I am going to make some more journalling tags with my cuttlebug and then I will be ready to start sorting out the Christmas photos and getting them all printed up, via one of the online photo printing and if I manage that by Easter I think I will be quite happy!!

Holly, Christmas trees, stars, baubles and a Santa stocking - home made embellys what could be better.

I have gathered a box of Christmas themed goodies from my scrap crap too so I have everything at hand when I get a few minutes to sit and work on the book.

I like these bottom two too, HOTP I think.

Cutting things out has been a bit of a challenge, as I really really need to get myself to the opticians and bite the bullet of varifocals - oh how sad I am getting old, as I can no longer sit and cut out whilst watching TV!! It is one or the other TV or cutting out, I guess it comes to us all - ha ha!!

Some more layering and journalling ....

I was pleased that I seemed to have quite a few Christmas papers and found a whole Hot of the Press Christmas paper pad, which I didn't even buy (it still had the price of about £16 and I would never pay that for HOTP) a cast off from someone, but it has served me very very well indeed.

So I am now almost ready to crack on with the next stage.

This picture has given me an idea as I love this saying, it's inspirational to me, so I may put a section on the front to have an inspirational or motivating phrase or saying, I find them nourishing.




Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban

Christmas Flower Arranging Part 2

For the second Saturday running I indulged myself and spent the day at Sue Billington's Christmas flower arranging class, this time it was flower arrangements. Not much chat just a look at what was covered. But I had a brilliant day, really enjoyed it and had a good natter to Sue about college etc. Lots of chatting going on, met lots of new people and caught up with some who were in the same class as me in the spring and summer, lovely to see them again.

The first arrangement is a table centre, I think I will use this on the table on Christmas Day. I tend to avoid silver, but I really think this works, with the silver green of the spruce and the berzelia and I totally love the crystals, very bling and very Christmas.

The arrangement is resting on a cake stand which sets it off perfectly and I get to use it again too!

White spray carnation, gypsophilia and some silver bullion wire.

The second arrangement was this lovely amaryllis (Hippeastrum 'Liberty'), I've wanted to use these for a while and really enjoyed this design. Sticks are supporting the amaryllis stems and I love the pot this arrangement is in, so natural.

A close up of the flowers, they look so lovely

a close up of the cross over of ribbon and pins holding them on, it looks so pretty,

The base is covered in reindeer moss, which has the most amazing texture, some holly, a carnation and a little bit of bling.

These photographs don't show the colour of the flowers well, they look shocking pink when they were Christmas red, the base was a glass container filled with cello, cranberries and water, which made it look like ice, fantastic. It's a great technique to have up your flower arranging sleeve!

There are one or two small green bauble recessed into the arrangement which look really cute, and I'm not that into baubles but these looked lovely.

The whole arrangement, the carnations were not open as it was still a few days to Christmas, so they were really tight, so they would open and flower over Christmas itself.

Shocking pink here but really the flowers were Christmas red.

Fir cones and baubles looking really cute and working well together, lots of different textures in this arrangement.

So now all my Christmas arrangements are ready and the house is decorated for Christmas, I guess we can say Christmas is now here!!



Reading challenge 10/16 - currently reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban
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