Oh we do like to be beside the seaside πŸŽΆπŸŽ€

Today has made me realise why we are doing this trip… We’re currently doing a whistle stop tour of England over half term to see family (and return their stuff πŸ˜‚) and we’ve spent the day at Hornsea Beach chasing waves and eating bacon butties.

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The sea and the beach.. they’re just bloody beautiful. The kids are so feral and gorgeous out there getting wet and windswept, I want this every day. And that’s why we’ve spent the last few years working so hard and saving up, and why we’ve spent the last 6 months planning and selling stuff, and working out where to go and what to see, and buying home educating supplies and light suitcases and all the sleepless nights and tough stuff: it’s all so worth it when I see them on the beach 😍

A big part of the ‘tough stuff’ came to light this past weekend. I am really going to miss good friends. I have purposely tried not to think about this bit because it makes me cry.

On Saturday, some of my amazing friends arranged a surprise bash up at the Cricket Club as a farewell kinda do, which included the very secretive arrival of one of my oldest friends from Liverpool. I was truly surprised, and totally blown away by the entire crew of sneaky buggers who all managed to keep quiet about it since bloody August! It made my heart happy and sad all at once.. I’m really going to miss the Kibworth Girls and their families ❀

So if it’s possible to be completely happy about going away, and completely sad about leaving, then that’s where I am at right now. πŸ™ƒ

10 days to go!

 

Bye bye Pooh

We’re getting there. We have (hopefully!) let the house, we’ve arranged insurance, booked the chimney sweep, got our international driving licences, bought suitcases, booked the painter, cancelled Sky and Netflix, and cracked on with selling lots of stuff. Not to mention countless tip trips and clothing bank visits. Jesus, where did all this stuff come from?! Who knew we had so much shite? πŸ™ˆ

And a sad occurrence… this week we said goodbye to Pooh, our Giant African Land Snail.. he’s gone to find a new home (thank you Laura and Family!) and some new dandelions to chew on. We’ve had him for nearly 4 years! Not the most exciting of pets (he’s not *that* cuddly) but he’s really low maintenance and cheap. That’s my kinda pet πŸ˜†πŸ˜ he’s grown from the size of my little fingernail to the size of my hand. Good work Pooh.

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Graham the Leopard Gecko will be going to his holiday home soonΒ  (thank you Alison and Family!) And the house is looking scarily bare.

This week, the kids have kindly shared their germs too so I’m feeling a little less perky than normal. So if I’m a little pricklier than you expect, blame my kids 🀣  Β I do. Regularly. For most things πŸ˜‚

17 days to go! 😱

The Home is To Let πŸ˜¨

Well this week, the old homestead went live on the world wide web as available to let 😱

It’s a weird feeling! But it also means we’re on target to get everything sorted before we leave 😊

AND I have to keep it bloody tidy in case we have viewings soon. This is no easy mission with 4 boys aged 4-10 whose idea of tidying is throwing their daily socks in the corner of the lounge 😐

And look! Our house looks enormous!Β  And at least tidy on the outside πŸ˜†

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On a lighter note, this past weekend I completed my 5th Shine Night Marathon Walk. It was a beautiful night, and I had some awesome people walking with me.. we completed it between 9.32pm and 7.55am and I came away remarkably unscathed. No blisters, no missing toe nails, no remaining sanity… πŸ˜‚

Seriously, the entire crowd raised about 4million for Cancer Research UK, we really kicked ass.

Just before the marathon, I was sat in St Pancras station, watching the world go by (and playing candy crush) and a random West Ham supporter approached me to ask me if I was doing the Shine Walk. Bear in mind I’m wearing some lovely sweary ‘Fuck Cancer’ arm warmers at this point, so I’m aware that I may appear slightly offensive to some.

So I tell him that indeed I’m walking the streets, and for my 5th and final time. He went on to tell me what a fantastic job we do as volunteers, raising funds for the cause, and he’s a little teary as he tells me he has just had his 10-year all clear after beating it so long ago. I love this guy already.

He then whips out his wallet and asks if he can donate via me, and at this point I have a little cry too. He doesn’t know me from Adam, and his heart is so big and his story so heartfelt, and he’s donating money to me. (My arm warmers are obvs bloody awesome 😁) He gives meΒ  Β£100 and thanks me and everyone like me, who raise the funds to keep people like him alive.

I’m blown away. The world is amazing.

And I echo my attire.

Fuck cancer.

We WILL win.

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30 days to go!

Goat parties and The Fear

This weekend, my youngest was invited to a 5year old’s party, and on the morning of it, he was so excited about being invited to this ‘Goat party’ that it didn’t occur to me that he may actually think there would be goats. The reason for this being that it was, in reality, a Go-cart party, and I thought he was just kidding me with his Goat Talk πŸ˜‚

So we got there, and my little cling-on was either confused because of the lack of goats, or he had been struck down by the Party Fear. You know the one? It lasts about 10-20 minutes in general, and all of my boys have suffered from it at some point.

When we arrive at a party, they refuse to leave my side, preferring to hold my leg or my clothes so tightly with their sticky little fingers, that I often think that we’re moulded together for life.

I’ve tried all tactics to get them to join in quickly. Bribery, encouragement, even the “well-if-you’re-not-going-to-join-in, we-may-as-well-go-home”-tactic. 😏 And I’ve come to the conclusion that just sitting and having a cuddle until they’re ready is the best. Just the best. Because I love their cuddles and all too soon they’ll be claiming they’re too big for them.

My eldest has Autism. From very early on, he had intense fear of new things, like parties, clothes, food, movies, outings, actually, you name it and he pretty much feared it. He would cling, and cry, and sometimes completely ball- up and shut down, with his thumb in his mouth. I would help him as much as I could, but his fear could last up to 2 hours, by which time, most children’s parties are just finishing.

By the time he was 3, Fred had 2 younger brothers, and just after he turned 6, he had 3 small siblings, and all these little people learned lots of things from Fred… including, I suspect, The Party Fear. They also learned The School Fear, and The Activity Fear.. and many other fears, but one-by-one they have all battled their monsters and come out the other side.

Fred can have reactions and emotions that may seem odd, different, maybe out of place or age-inapropriate. All my other children have learned or copied these at some point. It’s only as they grow, that they also learn how society expects us to control our emotions and react in an appropriate manner (I don’t really like the word ‘normal’ at this point). Fred is still learning, but his uniqueness will always shine and I won’t teach him to hide that.

His brothers have also learned so much more from Fred. They’ve learned compassion, immense patience Β (we’re still working on that one!), forgiveness, bravery, loyalty and immense love. Not to mention all the names of the planets and every single Pokemon Go character. These incredible little beings are growing up to accept and understand human differences. They make me so proud. And cross sometimes. But mostly proud.

And look! After battling The Party (or the lack of goat) Fear, my smallest got in his go cart and drove like A Beast 😊

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And with all 4 kids finally ensconced in school.. I have time to pack and sell! 😁

45 days to go……

 

Not sure whether to celebrate or cry…

So.. this week, the kids went back to school, and my smallest sidekick began his journey in education by starting Foundation.

Do I cry, or celebrate?

My heart hurts, my home is unnaturally quiet, and I’m feeling very sorry for myself because the 6 week layer of dust will finally have to go πŸ˜†

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Don’t they look happy? I actually had to threaten them for 2 full minutes before I got this photo πŸ˜‚

I have really loved the 6 week summer holidays, and I’m really looking forward to more time with them all when we get away over to New Zealand. They all drive me nuts in their own ways but a few months together is sounding great. The home-schooling part of the trip hasn’t really sunk in yet… How will I teach them all something when they are such different ages? How will I get them to concentrate instead of winding each other up? How will I keep my sanity? ( I know the answer to that last one. It’s Gin 😁)

Seriously though, I think they will all gain so much from travelling away for 9 months: seeing and living with a different culture, living near the sea, learning to survive without technology.. (well that’s until we figure out where the Wi-Fi hotspots are πŸ˜‰) and I won’t miss the school shirt ironing 😁

Bring It On. We’re ready.

58 days to go.

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I just realised I’m a hoarder πŸ€€

So we’ve been trying to sort the house out in the last couple of weeks, ready to rent out, and tonight I had a glance in the toy room and nearly spat my tea.

How did I not realise that we have filled the house with so much shit?!

Here. Have a look. Don’t judge me.

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I could blame the kids, but that would be a blatant lie πŸ™ˆ

I’m a hoarder. I have a draw of doom. You know the one? It sits in the kitchen and contains anything and everything you could possible ever need (and more). Its so full, but the amazing thing is that if I randomly need something that’s in there, I can actually find it πŸ˜†

I’m sure it’s not just me that has that draw. Is it? (And who am I trying to kid? Not only do I have a draw, but it also has some close relatives: the Cupboards of Doom πŸ™ˆ).

We had a carboot sale, and STILL we have all this crap sitting in the toyroom. Jesus, I need a skip.

The plus side to this is that the kids have discovered their love of a Trip to the Tip! In fact on the odd “Mum, I’m so BORED” days of the holidays, we’ve enhanced it with an exciting trip to dump some of the crap we’ve accumulated. Throwing plates and small appliances from high up into a giant skip is very therapeutic! I highly recommend taking the kids to help. (Although be prepared for arguments as to who should be first in line to smash the microwave πŸ™‰)

And… 71 days to go! 😁

Family, memories, what I’ll miss (and some of what I won’t)

We’re mid- school holidays, and just back from a roadtrip to see Gammar and Gagrag. It was a brilliant couple of days, and the kids have been truly spoiled. We haven’t been up North in a long time, and visiting Morecambe and Blackpool after such a long time away was a real trot down memory lane.. I did attempt to show the kids ‘This Is Where I Met Your Father’ and ‘This Club Was So Cool Back In My Day’ and even the ‘This Was The Tree We Drove Into One Night In the Mini Metro when We First Met’… but to be honest the kids were more interested in slot machines and ice creams πŸ˜‚

It did make me think that these memories with the grandparents are priceless, and I wish we had more time to come up and see them… 9 months on the other side of the world is going to be a very long time without them πŸ˜” BUT.. thank God for Skype and facetime.

So. Blackpool rocked (geddit? πŸ˜‚). We did the log flume in the rain, we went down countless waterslides in The Sandcastle, and we ate lots and lots of icecream. We hunted for cockles in Morecambe Bay, we played lots of 2p machines and Grandad loved playing Golf Football with the boys ❀

We made lots of lovely memories, and for the first time EVER, all 4 boys slept til nearly 8am… pretty awesome, eh? 😁

What I really won’t miss, are the huge (and I mean HUGE) queues – they aren’t fun for anyone, let alone an anxious aspergers child who struggles with the concept of waiting in line- and the motorway traffic that the M6 always seems to have.. I’m looking forward to getting lost on remote New Zealand roads and just being able to park up and jump in the sea.

Bring it. 84 days to go!

Oh fuck! 99 days to go! And everything left to do…

I’m bloody crapping it. To put it mildly πŸ˜‚

We are due to pay the balance on the holiday in a week and I just realised that we’re in to the 2 figure countdown… *squeeeak*

We still haven’t arranged to rent the house out and I’m no closer to clearing it out. I need a kick up the bum. I have got a huge pile of stuff for the carboot though and we’ve done the tip run.

I’ve also looked in to how to deregister the kids from school, and home schooling. This part I’m really looking forward to, and dreading in the same ratio. My mantra is, “We’ll be fine, there’s always Google” πŸ˜†

Also, we are 1 week in to the kid’s summer holidays and we’ve had a ball so far: 3 parks and picnics, 1 pyjama day and 1 outside chores and icecreams day. House is a bloody tip, but we have smiling faces 😍

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99 days to go 😨

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve done it! Yes it nearly killed me πŸ˜…

I did it! I only went and graduated the c25k! It wasn’t fast and it certainly wasn’t pretty, but I did it ☺

To be honest, if I can, then anyone can πŸ˜‚ I’ve almost dedicated my life to perfecting the couch potato style, so this really is a biggie. Prior to early May, I would have cried at just thinking about running for a bus. Now, I can kick a ball with son #2 for bloody ages- or take him running (if my ears can stand the moaning πŸ˜‰) Β or chase them round the park without expiring.

I’m more of a bumbling hippo than a gazelle, but I’m so proud, I could dance. Slowly. So that my aching limbs don’t collapse 😁

Check me out 😎 ( I did warn you it wasn’t pretty πŸ˜†)

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we’re on day 2 of the Summer Holidays. Kids have already complained that they’re bored πŸ˜’ – despite 2 picnics and 2 different local venues.

How long til they go back? πŸ˜‚

And… 102 days to go!

Missing my bffs

I’ve had a brilliant weekend up in Manchester catching up with my bffs.. and it’s made me realise how much I’m going to miss so many of my friends here πŸ˜”

Sometimes life goes so quickly. Mostly my days are a bit groundhog day: wake up, separate fighting kids, make packed lunches, separate fighting kids, drop off to school and pre-school, sort the bomb-site out (aka home), pick up pre-schooler, play/get pre-schooler to help clean aforementioned bomb-site Β πŸ˜‰ , pick more kids up from school, referee kids, cook dinner, separate fighting kids, bath, persuade kids to sleep, pass out. Repeat.

And I realise that weeks have gone by without me keeping in touch with my friends as much as I should. They are always in my head, and in my heart, but the days go so quickly that I don’t text and ring and pop over as much as I want to.

So this weekend in Manchester with one of my oldest friends (and I mean that in the longevity way! You’re only as old as you feel!) and 2 long lost kiwi friends was just brilliant, and exactly what I needed.

And I also learned that you can totally enjoy an entire 6 hours out-out, with your top on inside out πŸ˜‚

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I’m really going to miss some people while we’re away, you know who you are 😚

BUT… it’s also made me remember my friends who are still in that southern hemisphere, I haven’t seen them for so long! It’s going to be ace to see them again and catch up on the last 13ish years (shit, they went fast. I blame the groundhog day effect πŸ˜‰).

And… 111 days to go!