Whose Bright Idea?

Looking around the house this morning I wonder whose bright idea it was to use the long weekend 'off work' to clean and tidy and completely turn around my house!

In principle, of course, it's a fab idea but the reality stinks when all you want to do is sit out in the glorious sunshine which has made its way back here today...  Okay so there will also be a sense of satisfaction when it's all finished and nice and tidy, but there's also a sense of foreboding knowing that by the end of my first day back working it will be a pigsty again - kinda takes the fun out of it all.  Thank goodness I have the sort of job which means I can wander the countryside or the beaches, which the children all love, during work hours! 

I need to be more organised! I feel a need for lists and tick charts etc coming on...

Sooo tired!

Either I'm getting used to the caffeine in my coffee or the lack of sunshine is having its usual effect as I'm shattered.  I even wake up tired, lol!

Yesterday I decided, somewhat foolishly, to reorganise the playroom.  I've let things slip a little bit lately and do not think I'm worth the 'Outstanding' grade I was given at inspection so time to pull my socks up and sort my 'enabling environments' out a little!  I have two major problems: lack of space and lack of storage!  Yesterday I tried twice to put an order in for some storage units but the website I use seems to have gone mad as the order won't go through..  As for space, well I can't make more of that so just have to use it more wisely...

Another reason for wanting to sort out the playroom is because this little devil will be arriving on Tuesday!

I'm hoping he will be the answer to some of my prayers but will leave you to work out what it is, for now... ;o)

Home ed:  Half term next week for the school children, which of course means I will have more children to mind during the day so we have chosen to have the week off but get back to it with gusto afterwards.  It's hard to take in that Jack would be doing GCSEs next year if he was at school and I'm getting kind of worried about what we should be doing now.  There could be a possibility that I could get him into a very good local(ish) school for the last two years but I'm unsure if this is a good way to go.  I think he would thrive there but, well I don't know what the 'but' is really but there is definitely a 'but' in my throat...

I'm a little bit cross with the boys at the moment too.  Every week they have music lessons in their chosen instrument.  Every week I have the devil's own job at getting them to practise!   Jack seems to have a natural flair, as he has a natural flair for everything, and can just pick up his guitar and sound ok but I cannot get through to him how damned good he could actually be if he bothered! Grr.  Well, this week his music teacher told them both that it's really not worth her time coming if they cannot be bothered to practice so I am making renewed efforts at getting them off/away from screens (Jack seems to be literally addicted to Runescape) and back to their instruments.  I have to say I'm in agreement with their teacher and have told them that if they are unwilling to practice then I'm not going to keep paying out for lessons. 

On other subjects, the boys did not go to their usual Thursday night youth group this week. Not altogether sure how it came about but there was some sort of altercation between Max and another lad and Max ended up hitting the other boy.  Jack said the other kids had been getting at Max all night and he'd been asking them to stop.  When I said to Max he shouldn't have hit the other kid no matter what his response was 'but you told me if another kid hit me I should hit them back twice as hard!', which indeed I did (after having four kids bullied for years and schools doing nothing to stop it!) when he was 5 years old and just staring school!  Somehow he didn't actually compute the 'if another kid HITS you' bit and just lashed out which is totally unacceptable and I made sure he knew that.  He doesn't want to go back as he says he's fed up with the other kids picking on him all the time.  When it came to time to leave this week, Jack didn't want to go either so I'm wondering if there is slightly more to it than meets the eye...

Now I must stop procrastinating and get on with the cleaning and tidying, and they call weekends 'time off'!   I'm not sure who they're time off for, possibly the men of the house (if you're lucky enough to have one that is).

Changing Names

I'm never any good at choosing blog names on the spur on the moment  and wasn't really happy with what mine was called but couldn't think why.  Yesterday it came to me that the title of my blog was the tag line for a friend's blog many years ago... Now I know why it bothered me I have changed it.

'Multicoloured Mayhem' is the title of a book I've just borrowed from the library.  The blurb says its about living with people who have ADHD, Aspergers, Autism etc which of course we do.  I'm hoping the book will give me some insight into what Max's life is for him as just lately his 'problems' (for want of a better word) mixed in with a good dose of puberty are causing some fraught moments which I would prefer to avoid...

Factor in that I also childmind for families from all corners of the globe and sometimes have 7 or 8 children here at any one time all vying for my attention and we really do have mayhem, at least life is never boring!

Anyway, for those reasons I thought it was a very fitting name - hopefully I will not change my mind over the next couple of weeks and confuse you all again!

A Bit of a Scare!

A bit of a scare is what I had yesterday...

I've had a bit of a cold, nothing serious, just an annoying muggy head cold with an aggravating dry cough.  I've had loads of colds before so didn't think a lot of it until yesterday when it began to be a bit harder than normal to breathe (I have asthma) and I kept having coughing fits.  Not good.  Throughout the day it got a little bit worse and a little bit worse and my reliever meds weren't doing anything to help.  Eventually I got myself to hospital and had a little go on the nebuliser which sorted me out.  I've had asthma since I was eleven and have never needed to go to hospital for it so was pretty scared, especially when we got behind somebody pottering on at about 30 along a narrow country lane with no passing...

The doc gave me a different preventer and things are a lot better today I'm happy to say, still not right but normal(ish) for an asthmatic with a cold.  I'm kind of glad we've got that out of the way now because I always wondered how the boys would cope if I had to go in and now I know that they will be fine.  I also know I have a lot of people who care for me by the amount of offers of help I received and the help I got which was not offered, just done.  I'm a lucky lady :)

Today I had to take the day off work as there's no way I could easily relocate 5 children to their parents if I needed to go back in (which they said I may have to).  I've been made to rest by my friend and neighbour but am not good at just sitting there so have been pottering in the garden in between resting.  Sam has barely left my side all day and keeps battering me with his cold wet nose.

Meanwhile, one of the parents I mind for has taken Jack off for the day and given him some experience in motor mechanics which he loved.  They've been busy doing something or other to brakes and callipers or something - I'm not mechanically minded as you'll have noted...  The parent has very kindly offered to give Jack some more 'lessons' in motor mechanics which I think Jack will jump on.  It's funny but I never realised they miss out on this sort of thing having their dad so far away, in many ways I'm sure it doesn't matter but in others ... well it allows him to be a boy and use tools and get oily and stuff...

Paperwork and Sunshine

The only thing I do not enjoy about my job is the amount of silly paperwork which never sees the light of day (unless you are having an inspection of course!).  This morning I was stuck inside going over and over a huge amount of paperwork whilst the boys relaxed in the glorious sunshine we are having at the moment.  Most of the parents I work with think it is pathetic and they chose home based care rather than a nursery so their little ones were not institutionalised from an early age, but hey ho it's a massive case of government knows best for us all as usual.  It will be interesting to see what this new government have in store for childminders and home educators...

Moving on... Thankfully I got most of what I needed to do by 11am so was still able to go into the garden and enjoy the sunshine a little.  We'd been planning on having a BBQ but the one we bought yesterday was broken and has to go back to the shop so that's not going to happen today. :(  Ah well, worse things happen at sea...

I've been rearranging the garden to make it safer and more fun for the little ones and still practical for us big ones at weekends.  I bought a load of rubber safety matting from ELC a couple of months ago and that has now been positioned under the climbing frame/slide which in turn has been moved as we are expecting the new playhouse to be delivered in the week and need a space to put it.  I'm hoping Jack will help me put it up, lots of DIY skills for him and huge amount of help for me...

The day seemed to zoom by and I ended up in bed by nine again, this cold has really knocked me off my feet and I feel shattered by about 6pm!  Thank goodness we have wireless internet so I can still do things online even in bed!
The boys hate when I go to bed early as it means they have to too but at least they get to read in bed.  It's a funny thing that Max, who always hated reading at school, loves to read as much as Jack nowadays.  I'm totally sure that's because I didn't try and push him into it but let him come to it in his own time.  I'm so glad they came out of school when they did, I cannot help but wonder what different children they would be if they stayed in school (especially when I see what their friends on facebook write!), they are not perfect in any sense and would far rather play on games machines or computers all day if given the chance but on the whole they are polite, thoughtful and kind.  All traits which I really rate even if society in general doesn't...

Those Crazy, Hazy, Lady Days of Summer!

 Thought I'd start off with a few pics today!  I'm sure you're sick of seeing photos of Sam but all the ones I took of the boys also had minded children in them so cannot be printed on the blog.  The munchkins love the 'big boys' so much and always want to be around them so it's a little hard to separate them...

As you can see we walked down to the beach today.  It was boiling hot, the sun was shining and poor Sam was on his last legs so I thought a dip in the sea may cool him off a little bit.  He loved it and now he is almost an adult and very strong I don't have to worry quite so much about the currents in the water dragging him off.  Did you know Labradors were originally bred to bring in boats?  Nor did I until I had one myself!  Explains why he pulls on his lead so much (ok so I know that's really slack training...).  We bought hi a halti today to see if that would help...

The trip to the beach was closely followed by dripping ice creams for the humans and a cool bowl of water for the canine.  I'm loving this weather and feel really sad to hear a lot  of people complaining about it, funnily enough it's the same people who complained about the rain and the snow and the ice...  Why is it that people are rarely happy with their lot?

It was nice to see a lot of happy smiling faces along the seafront today, clearly mostly holiday makers, lol!  There were even people swimming in the sea on the human part of the beach (as opposed to the doggy end).  It was hot (about 26 degrees) and I would have loved to have had a dip too but it really wasn't going to happen today...

But tomorrow is the weekend!

Walking the Dog

One of the things I love most about living out in the country is living out in the country! Okay so that sounds mad but with this on your doorstep I think you'd feel the same!

I love it here!  With beautiful country walks right outside the front door and some small family run shops in the town for necessities it feels like Heaven on earth to me.   That probably seems a little extreme but I'm sitting here writing this and the door is wide open, the sun is streaming through and all I can hear is birdsong.  I feel as if I was made for this kind of life and at last I have 'come home'.

Anyway... Moving on... I'm not the only one who loves it here, Sam does too (although he's never really known anything else...)

He really enjoys sniffing out rabbits!

and sniffing to see if any of his doggy mates have been along today (he just likes sniffing if I'm honest!)

He does occasionally turn around to see if I'm coming though!

He has to stay on the long lead on this walk because the path borders a nature reserve.  He's still very much a pup in his head and I don't totally trust him to come back if there was something interesting to chase.  He doesn't seem to mind though and since the night when he pulled me off my feet with his exuberance he has been a lot more careful I'm glad to say!

Ruby's babies - update (PHOTO)

They are beginning to come out and run around now but mostly when they think nobody is around!

A Bad Egg

A very very long bus journey (really must learn to drive!) culminated in a picnic at Exeter Quay and a visit to see the swans and ducks there.  We seemed to spend forever on the bus but the munchkins were very well behaved as always and a credit to their parents as they did not complain at all. :)

Once in Exeter we decided to take them to see Stepcote Hill and the Tudor houses at the bottom of the hill.  We counted the steps but lost count with so many of us doing it, lol! I know from years ago that there were more than 100 though and I bumped the buggy down each and every one - major mistake!  Luckily the buggy had fantastic suspension so the child riding in it didn't feel a thing...

 We enjoyed a leisurely walk along the quay discussing the ducks, the views, the people etc and were really happy to be there until we happened upon the saddest thing I have seen for a while: A smashed swan egg.  Yes, some lout (or indeed loutess) had decided to steal the egg from its nest and smash it on the pavement. The mother swan was nesting not more than five or six feet away...  At that precise moment I hated my species and their casual disregard for all other forms of life, I can only hope the male swan gave them a damned good peck before they left!!

All through the picnic the munchkins asked if they could share their food with the swans, I'm not totally convince that swans would thrive on cheese or ham sandwiches so made sure there was only a tiny little bit for them!  Have to admit that the swans themselves had no such misgivings about their food source and greedily looked for more!

How Many??

This morning I saw, for the first time, all Ruby's babies stretched out in their nest.  They are now getting to look beautiful rather than cartoonish.  Markings are just like Mums but I've heard the Rex fur doesn't come through if they're cross bred so I'm expecting a curious mixture!  Their little eyes are now open too, ahhhhh. Today I could count them for the first time too, we have 8!!!  Yes 8!! Ruby's is doing so well for a first time mum, I'm really proud of her.

Last night the boys had their annual inspection at St John's.  Jack was given an cup for putting the most in of all the cadets (ie most duties, most helpful etc etc).  I'm very proud of him and his little cup has pride of place on our dresser.  Today they have gone off to Peco on duty leaving me spring cleaning and cleaning out rabbits.  One of the adult rabbits (R.J.) took umbrage to me today and took a sizeable chunk out of my knuckle!

A couple of days ago Sam was the cause of mayhem and disaster!  The stupid mutt completely forgot he was on the end of his long lead and bolted off at 40 mph!  I found out first hand how everything had an equal and opposite reaction when 30 kilos of racing dog reached the end of his lead length and I got catapulted head first through the air and onto the ground. OUCH!! (Have you finished laughing yet?).  Luckily I got away with a bit of a shiner, a cut face where my glasses broke and a few minor bumps and bruises.  Next time I'll try and remember to let go of the ruddy lead!

The boys have been working on their projects this week so haven't done any 'busy work' for the LA.  Max is forging away at the Romans and Jack still doing his project on veterinary nursing and animal care.  Jack wants so much to go to college to do veterinary nursing but at the moment the local college's future is hanging in the balance so we are unsure how that will work out.

The polls gave us another chance for education this week.  Hung Parliament is something that had never before been discussed but now all three of us are totally able to converse at length at what it is and what it could mean for the country.  Jack had read an article about how democracy cannot mathematically be fair in this month's New Scientist so was able to answer our initial wonderings, the rest we gleaned from online and newspapers (The Telegraph had a pretty good explanation I found). I wonder if they are also covering it at schools or if it just gets lost amid the national curriculum?  I must remember to write it all down for the LA who are insisting I keep a dated diary.  I'm sure their remit doesn't got that far (yet?) but hey it's good for me to know too so I'm going along with it for now...

So... This morning I am trying to get on with the spring cleaning.  The cleaner I believed I had hired doesn't seem to have come to anything so its back to busy busy busy for me.  Sometimes I wish I had the OCD for cleaning because at least them I'd have a tidy house!  I saw the oven cleaner where you put the oven shelves in a bag at the supermarket this week and finally decided to give it a go.  I cannot imagine it will be much good but it would be good if I'm wrong! I've taken a before picture of my embarrassingly dirty shelves so I'll  be able to have a really objective view in 6 hours time!  I cannot believe it takes 6 hours but if it works it will be worth it - just have to make sure none of the pets or the kids touch it as its apparently really corrosive...

Before                                                                           After

I guess you could say that was a success then!

Long Weekend!

One thing about working full time that I hadn't really thought about before was how much weekends actually mean to you.  I love my job, I mean I really love my job, but weekends are our time.  That is to say it's the time that the boys and I can please ourselves what we do without having to worry about getting back for deadlines or to be in for parcels, pick up from schools etc etc.  Weekends are bliss!  This weekend has had 3 days which is even more bliss but stupidly I completed wasted yesterday doing nothing very much at all.  This, of course, means that today I have had to clean and tidy and sort all day long which is not my idea of fun...

Meanwhile Jack has busied himself on his laptop doing goodness only knows what and Max managed to sit through the whole quadrilogy of Alien movies including the directors cuts and extended versions.  I'm feeling a bit Alien'ed out right now but he'd quite happily watch them all again if I let him.

We watched Avatar on Blue Ray, I cannot believe the quality - crystal clear!

Ruby's babies are growing like mad.  They're still tiny but seem  so much more rabbity than they did before.  Their little ears look like rabbit ears now instead of mouse ears and their little legs - well you get the picture and if you don't there's a photo underneath this post so you can see for yourself.  The photo (at least on my laptop) is larger than life size!

I also spent some time cleaning up the pushchair I bought in Newton Abbot on Saturday.  With ebay you never really know what you're going to get.  Sometimes you get a stunner at a bargain price, others you pay a whole heap and get a piece of rubbish.  Of all things it really annoys me when people sell on prams without cleaning them, but this time I think it may have worked in my favour.  I could have done without the dried out raisins and biscuit crumbs and marks and stains but in a way I'm glad they were there because it gave me something to work towards, aiming to make it look a little bit nicer.  Now it's a stunner and fit for a princess and to be honest would probably sell for 3 times what I paid for it!  There was a time when seeing the mess it was in would have reduced me to tears and made me feel the word was out to get me.  Nowadays I am so much stronger I just see it as a challenge to be overcome and get to work.  It's something I love doing too! (perhaps I should open a sideline in used prams...).  Not sure why I have changed so much but I think working has a lot to do with it, so again what seemed like a bad thing has turned out to be a blessing in disguise!

Funny how life works out isn't it?

Ruby's babies - 5 days old (PHOTO)

Barely Connected!

Hmm already slacking on the blogging front, however I do have a really good excuse - my internet conked out!  Or rather my internet keeps conking out and going back on again or maybe not as it feels like it at any particular time...  My new router arrived from BT on Thursday but I haven't had time to put it on yet so fingers crossed...

In other news...

Tesco vouchers, we are finally getting a few more after a very shaky start, not enough to get anything good but hey at least we tried!  Only a week or so left of them being given out now so we shall see how many we get altogether, hopefully enough to get something nice for the munchkins to pay with.

The boys went to an art exhibition in the week.  I'd like to see them trying to reproduce some of the art they've seen but usually get whined at if I ask for them to do stuff like that so we'll see...  They took a few pics of the stuff so when I upload them I'll see if anything is suitable for the blog.  There was also a park there and they spent a very happy few hours on a brilliant zip line.  So, PT and art both covered in a day of having fun.

Our Rex rabbit (Ruby) had babies last week too (on the 27th for future reference) , they looked like tiny naked mice when they were born, very cute!  I cannot believe how quickly they grow though, they must have doubled in size already!  Its going to be so hard to let them go when they're old enough but we already have tons of rabbits so I cannot keep any more!

With the forthcoming election the candidates and their supporters are out in force and on a recent trip to Sidmouth we were accosted on more than one occasion by people trying to thrust leaflets into our hands resulting in Jack,Max and I having a discussion about politics and elections.  One such person was the local candidate for the Green Party.   A few days ago I read something about the GP and what they want to do with  regards to monitoring home educators so I made the most of a perfect opportunity and asked her why the GP want to regulate HEors more than they already do.  Her answers were pretty much the same as the ones from the bill which has just been amended, everything she answered I had a counter argument for but as per usual for people who think they have all the answers she had a counter argument for my counter arguments, lol!  Anyway, just after we saw her the boys and I went to have lunch and lunch time conversation turned to politics.  I asked the boys if they would vote for her based on her answers to our questions.  Jack said no and Max said yes (definitely not sheep then, lol!).  I asked Jack why not and he replied:

"Because she didn't answer a single one of your questions mum, she just cleverly changed the subject every time or turned it back onto you"

You know what?  He was dead right!

I have a tiny baby coming in soon so needed a proper pram, (ok so I have the bugaboo but I'm a bit of a pramaholic and any excuse etc, lol!)  I was lucky enough to win a really nice silver cross pram on ebay so yesterday the boys and I all jumped on the bus buses to go to Newton Abbot to pick it up.  It took hours to get there but only cost £14.50 making the £400 pram a bargain for only £60 + bus fares.  I love ebay! (although readily admit to having been stitched up more than once by unscrupulous gits on there!).  We decided to make a day of it and has a days shopping in Newton Abbot and Exeter.  I spent far too much money but came home with 2 very happy kids and a lot of new things for me!  I'm not really a materialistic sort of a girl but now and then it's nice to get a treat or two!  My latest 'toy' is a DSi.  I'd sold mine to Max when he wanted a DS but sort of missed it so when I saw them cheaper than normal in WHS yesterday jumped at the chance to get a new one.  I'm already enjoying the photo editor on there!

I also finally bough Just Dance! for the Wii.  Been meaning to get it for ages but always forget when we're out in shopping areas as the noise and rush of people drives me batty!  Jack, Max and I played it for a while last night and it is so funny! Goodness knows what anybody would have thought who looked through the window though!  I think it will be good exercise too because I was exhausted after half an hour or so!

The boys music lessons went well this week.  I don't know how he does it but Jack played guitar beautifully even though he hasn't practised for more than half an hour all week!  Max is really getting on well with the keyboards too, I'm thinking about buying a digital piano as I have been told it's a pain to relearn the reach if you learn on a smaller scale instrument.  Luckily our music teacher has a friend who is selling one...