I have sat down to write this post on several occasions but every single time my brain has struggled to get started. Life is always quite tiring these days for obvious reasons but events of the last few weeks have just challenged me a little too much. At the end of August, Little H bid farewell to nursery, where she has gone for three days of almost every week for three and a half years. I remember mentally trying to get my head round her finishing at the start of summer, back in July. Then in the blink of an eye the summer was over, the uniform was all prepared in the cupboard and Sam was dropping her off for her first half morning. That first full week she was at school felt very strange: it felt like a mad dash to-and-fro with very little time for Little H to stop and play. Every single thing was new and unfamiliar, for all of us but especially for Little H. She, of course, has taken most of it in her stride and has been loving her new class but I’m finding it is taking a little longer to adjust. But change is inevitable, especially with children, so I’m trying just to roll with it!
We had a wonderful summer though. The girls have grown so much in the last couple of months and their relationship is really strengthening. It’s been amazing watching them play in the garden together – whilst Little Z still requires quite a lot of supervision she can now entertain herself on the slide and she and Little H will run round in circles going up and down. Little Z is also obsessed with Little H’s scooter and has spent hours in total pushing it round the garden, trying to scoot or examining the various latches and leavers on offer!
Veg in the garden: The garden has really provided well for us this year. The onions were the first thing to grace the kitchen during June and they were very tasty; although they took up a lot of space for the amount of crop so I’m not sure they’ll be on the plan for next year. The courgettes kicked in at the start of July and once they started fruiting, they produced loads! One day I even sent Sam to work with a bag of about 10+ courgettes because we had so many. We got a few delicious portions of the climbing french beans, The potatoes continued to grow and grow right though until mid September when Little H and I dug them up; we were really chuffed with the amount. Meanwhile the tomatoes are still ripening and for the last couple of weeks we’ve had dishes of beautiful and delicious tomatoes. The only disappointment was the tomatoes – I got 8 plants for Little H and I don’t think we even managed an average of 2 fruits per plant. Once the tomatoes finish ripening it will be time to clean-up the planters ready for the autumn and winter.
Visit from Jen and Carol: At the start of July my good friends from school came to visit. Due to some family challenges, Helen was unfortunately able to join us. But it was wonderful to see Jen and Carol again as the conversations are just so easy and simple. After almost 25 years of friendship, there are no false pretences, attempts to stand on ceremony or even a sense of obligation to put the house into “visitor mode”. We ate loads, we talked loads, we shopped a little bit and they spent time playing with Little H and Little Z who always love having new pals to play with.
A trip to Whipsnade / Marshalling at the Nat Champs: Sam got the opportunity to marshal at the Cycling Nat Champs in Norwich – a really positive experience for him, marshalling at an event with big names, after all the hours he’s volunteered at events for amateur cyclists. Of course, knowing he would be out for the entire day, I had to make plans to keep the girls entertained and fortunately Sam’s parents were free so we headed over to Whipsnade for the day. It was a delightful day and the girls relished being outside and looking at the animals. Little H astonished me as she walked miles that day although they both crashed out in the car on the way home.
Grandad Graham visit: My dad came down to see us for the day mid-July. The weather was really nice so we just pottered about at home and the girls played with grandad in the garden. They both loved showing off their slide skills to him, especially Little Z who hadn’t been able to climb the slide on his last visit.
Sophie, Andy and Little L visit: Sam’s sister, her partner and baby daughter, Little L came up for lunch at their parents one Saturday. It was a lovely sunny day and we had a play outside before a feast of a lunch. As we live close by, I took Little Z home for her nap and then when we walked back over mid-afternoon, we spent time relaxing in the garden / trying to stop Little Z from diving down the stone patio stairs. Sophie then came over to stay with her parents for a few days at the start of September and on the Friday afternoon she came round so Little H and Little Z got to see their cousin again. The girls were delighted to see Little L – Little Z finds it fascinating looking at such a small baby whilst Little H enjoys entertaining her now that her “own” little baby talks back and pinches toys! It always makes Little Z feel enormous when we see Little L although to me she’s still a baby. (Technically now she’s a toddler but I refuse to accept it!).
Day off to myself: After our wonderful but non-stop holiday in June, I went back into a busy work / mum-ing schedule and realised that I still needed a rest. I had planned to take a day off to myself in July but I had to deal with school settle sessions at short notice meaning that was a no-go. By mid August though I managed it – woohoo. I took some advice from a work friend and made a loose plan for the day so that I couldn’t get sucked into too many chores. I had a really lazy morning sat in my PJs, watching TV and faffing with my new laptop. Then I went for a delightful massage which helped to ease many tensions that had built up. I followed that up with lunch (just at JL cafe but it was still nice) and then did a few bits in town before going home and sorting out some plants. It was a really restorative day that helped me balance back out a bit.
Duckling 3: Little H did herself and us all proud by earning her Duckling 3 swimming certificate just before the summer holidays. She collected her certificate on the first lesson back and it was also a great accomplishment to be able to share with her new class at school.
Little H living her best life before starting school: Once Little H had finished school, she had a couple of days off with a couple of half days before starting full time. Little Z was off to nursery which meant we had to find ways to keep our biggest terror amused. On the Tuesday we had a home visit from Little H’s teacher, so I took the day off. We popped to the garden centre first thing to get some new shrubs and Little H helped me plant those out. Then after her short teacher visit, I took her to soft play in town as she had been desperate to go for months but there is no way I am taking her with Little Z as well. I had a sit down whilst Little H climbed and slid to her hearts content for 30 minutes. Then she and I went for lunch together at Pizza Express before getting her a couple of bits for a school. It was so nice to have some 1-1 time with her without needing to worry about chores.
On Wednesday, she had a day with Nana and Grandad. They took her to the zoo and she got a fancy lunch, saw animals and then had an ice cream. She was zonked by the time I picked her up but she had a wonderful time and was, I’m told, as good as gold. Then, after a morning at school on Thursday, Sam picked her up and they were on a train outing because Little H wanted to go on a train. For the third day in a row she went out for lunch (goodness knows what her teacher thinks we’re like as she told them about each trip!!) and she enjoyed some quality time with her dad. It was a wonderful way for her to disconnect from nursery without dwelling on it or getting anxious about school. It’s making me look forward to some time with her at half term!
So, onwards into the autumn we go. I only hope that the recent bouts of illness everyone has been dealing with clear away and we can enjoy some healthier months again. It’s definitely a reminder that we all need more rest as the darker months set in!