Monday, 15 November 2010

Better together?

Like all siblings my children have their spats, they rough and tumble, they have been known to have a bit of a kick out at each other and there is definitely some teasing and name calling going on. If they did this to other children I would be called into school on a regular basis, and rightly so, but is this wrong when it happens at home?
A study on family life by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex indicates the fewer siblings children have, the happier they are. The report says that one of the reasons only-children appear more confident and content is they do not have to deal with ‘sibling bullying’, with almost a third of those with siblings saying they are regularly hit or shoved by a brother or sister.  Many children with siblings also complained of their belongings being stolen and being called ‘nasty names’ by a brother or sister.

This is just so sad - The family is a loud, mad place to live. Siblings relationships are really special - you can hate each other one minute but unite against the world the next.  I know that I might tease my little sisters (and often did do) but no-one else dare be nasty to them - or else!

Households with a single child now outnumber those with two by more than half a million in the UK, making up 46 per cent of all families. It will be interesting to see how all these children grow up.  Yes - they can be monsters but my children bump along alright, they understand about compromise, other people's feelings and taking turns (although the negotiations may be loud and furious). In some ways the teasing and fighting at home is a safe dress rehearsal for real life. But it's probably up to me to balance the relationships so that the home doesn't turn into a war zone.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Shhh - it's a secret

Kids self portraits for a surprise in about 6ish weeks. Love Euan's happy face - I think he's given himself cheeks?

Attempt two - note Euan's ears. Patch took a bit of cut and pasting after a nasty nose disaster.
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Monday, 8 November 2010

Dragging myself into the present tense

I've been clicking in and out of this post for weeks - I'm really struggling to put down anything about my life, it's not so much that there aren't funny, happy, positive things to write (although daily life does seem to have been grinding me down recently - the unending groundhog-dayness of school/work/tea/household chores/bed cycle) more that I don't really know why I do this blogthing and who reads it?

I started it so that the grandparents (both sets live too far away to be a daily part of life)  could get a flavour of what we're all up to, but I'm pretty sure than neither set has clicked onto here for a very long time (may be I'll be surprised and they'll leave a comment - no prompting ba bags!).

I had a little wobble over wanting to get as many followers as possible for a bit and got upset when people disappeared.  I took part in a few memes to up my visitor stats - I put one of those ticker things on the bottom to track who read my mutterings - it became a popularity contest that I could do without.  I'm long since over the wobble and although it's nice to notice that someone has spent a minute of their life being here, it isn't an obsession.

So what is the point?  I found that this blogthing is a fantastic way of recording family history, pretty pictures, funny things, who's doing what and silly little everyday type details that will disappear down the back of the sofa if not stored somewhere special. It's nice to time travel and see where the Overtiredfamily were at any point in the history of here.  So it hit me that really I'm just doing this for me, but may be one day the smaller members might like to time travel themselves (leave me a comment if you've come back from the future - and if I didn't tell you today "I love you more xo!")

So after a mammoth wittering I need a mega catch as I haven't really done any packing away of memories for ages - I have far too many photos on my camera to down load and sort so that's a job for the next post (apart from the clever one above - see what I did there?) but for a wordy type catch-up:

  • we went to the Cambridge Festival via Suffolk in a campervan
  • GG came to stay and Patch went on two wheels while she was here (made both their days)
  • we had another damp cold summer relieved by an amazing
  • 10 days in Cambrils, Spain with hot days, balmy nights, great company, happy children, lushious limes from the tree and too much gin
  • we celebrated the baby Jacob's christening
  • Tim coped better than I did while I went on a four day course in Bristol
  • we went to Aston Villa and Anya got her shirt signed by Ashley Young
  • saw our first 3D film (since the days of one blue lens, on red lens)
  • have lived with a toy story obsessed growing boy (in the words of the other two - not again!)
  • coped with two lots of fireworks with out anyone (including dog) crying - a major development.
  • Tim got a camera for his birthday and has become the new family photographer
  • lots of other fabulous stuff that will come to me once I press the publish post button....

And so to the old regular bits...Quotes of the summer - in the car after Tim had a moan at us. Patch - "I think you should find a new husband and take me with you", me - "What about Anya and Euan?", Patch - "Anya can come but leave Euan because he's a pain".  Have been on the look out for a new model, I'm wondering if this young man is free - think I must be getting old as I'm not normally a gorper but just look at that tummy. To give him a name he's True Blood's Alcide Herveaux played by Joe Manganiello.

Patrick has worked out that if he feels ill he gets let off school. Two attempts so far - "I had too many sweets, I feel sick", "Shall we go to the doctors?", was dressed in his uniform in the blink of an eye. Second attempt - called by school as he told the dinner lady he was ill. When I got to school he was doing PE and quite happy. I asked what was wrong, answer "I felt pale".

Thought of the summer - "If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?" ~ Stephen Levine

Thursday, 21 October 2010


I have been incredibly lax on the blogging front and completely missed the 2007 model's birthday post - so a bit of a summary of the world from a 3 year and 2 month year old.

Euan's world is Toy Story shaped, it is mainly blue (an early convert to the pink is for girls religion) and every thing is to the power of three (holding 3 fingers up - I am 3 so I need 3 biscuits....).  The Sun (along with the rest of the universe) circles around Euan's world - and we all seem to have been swept up with this new world order. Anya gives up her toast for him, Patrick accepts that car is Euans, we all huddle up in bed so the smallest family member can have half of it and all the covers!

Euanisms are common place - It's freezing and cold, I'm soaking and wet. Look at my hairbrows (above the eyes). I need a tissue for my funny nose.

Food in Euan world is quite scarce, preferences come in crinkly packages, deep fried or sugar coated (note to self - this must be addressed this year!!).

Activities are varied there are loves of books, jigsaws, bikes, bouncy castles, gymnastics, colouring and lego. Although the ritual watching of Toy Story must be carried out daily.

'You're my favourite deputy' and your world rocks xo

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Plug in and forget

Wet play time when I was at primary school, a gazillion eons ago, meant fighting over the 6 available chess sets (bit geeky but fun), making up funny rhymes, tiddlywinks competitions, colouring in wallpaper squares and manufacturing fortune tellers by the dozen (weirdly at one school I went to these were called frogs - why?! and I really must revive these on a wet weekend).  Apparently these past-times are too dull for the children of today - Anya has reached the grand old age of 7 and is now deemed old enough to be allowed to take a Nintendo DS to school for wet play.

Forgive me because now I what!! Someone once said to me that the DS is brilliant, it keeps the kids quiet for hours. So that's how the Victorians did it then. I thought the days where children should be seen but not heard had long gone, maybe it's me that's behind the times?

Obviously lots of the other class parents think that this is a good idea because plenty of the children were asking Anya where hers was. To me allowing such an expensive toy in school is just inviting bullying, but according to the head teacher they aren't that expensive but are very educational....mmmm?  The children will all be spending their play times on brain training games and the shoot'em ups will be left at home.

Amongst my out of school friends I'm also Luddite-mum, not allowing my little bundles of joy to have a handheld plastic packet of fun. We have had a talk about it today and they've decided that they would prefer new bikes rather than a DS and I like to see more than the tops of their heads - we're all happy. Childhood lasts such a short time that I want them to enjoy every minute of it being proper children, even the ones where I'm bellowing at them to keep the noise down.

Nintendo DS are toys of the devil - or should the overtiredfamily just get with it?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Skywatch Friday - Bonjour Spain

An amazingly warm, relaxing and lazy 10 days in Spain have provided a plethora of sunny sky photos to pick from (can't whittle them down much as they are helping me remember the good times) so here's a selection.

Flying into the setting sun.....
The only taxing thing about the holiday was the language, my one line of Spanish wasn't much use.  Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan - I am not a sailor, I'm the Captain, couldn't be slipped into conversations without causing much confusion.  We all found that we kept lapsing into French, but like typical British abroad we found speaking English loudly, slowly and with a slightly foreign accent was the best way to communicate.

Fly around the world without having to cope with speaking the lingo at SkyWatch Friday

The baby Jacob gets dunked

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Thursday, 19 August 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Chasing the dragon

'chasing the dragon but never catching it (like "chasing after the wind [a wild wind])' ~ Wikipedia

All the 'on trend' tents (and camper vans) at the Cambridge Festival had poles with kites adorning them. The 2007 model loved the dragon kites but never managed to get his hands on one.

I have been very lax with my blogging of late (despite ba bags reminders) so I've got a back log of SkyWatch photos that I've had problems whittling down, bear with me as here are some others from the same campervan get away (full report later - promise bags x)
See the tiny dots that aren't pebbles? That's us having a picnic after having a swim on the Suffolk coast.

Shortly after the beach - British summers?!

Go and see some real summer skies from somewhere else around the world at SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Stop growing up so darn fast

The father reading to his girl
some little tale they always read
is unaware that this may be
the last one that she'll ever need
she's grown past stories softly read
by daddy sitting on the bed.

The mother with her muddy son
kicking a football in the park
cannot sense as they wander home
through chilly, soft approaching dark
this was the last time they'd come out
to kick that happy ball about.

How secret sneaky-soft they come
those last times when we'll kiss it better
hold their hand across the road
or lift them up to post a letter
they pass unmarked, unnoticed for
we're not so needed anymore.

So the abandoned fairy tales and
nursery rhymes that mummy sings
leave behind soft toys and us
and put away their childish things
a loss so small, our loss the greater
un-missed, un-mourned until years later.

Lucy Berry

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Skywatch Friday - happy third birthday

Three years ago I was as as round as a bubble and about to pop with baby number 3, meanwhile the clever people over at SkyWatch were giving birth to the first ever SkyWatch Friday. To celebrate they have launched a lovely new website and are inviting everyone to share their favourite sky type photo.

After lots of looking back here's mine - fire fairy.

Here's to a fair few more birthdays and even cricks in the neck from looking upwards xo

This weeks favourite is from the big kids first ever riding lesson - I have been dying for them to have lessons but have left it to make sure that they really wanted them and it wasn't me pushing them to like horses. Well the first lesson went brilliantly - it must be in the blood!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

SkyWatch Friday - The Birthday Date

Sunday was my birthday - in the try something new effort we're on at the moment - Tim bought me tickets to see Shakespeare at Stafford Castle.  I've never really got Shakespeare, to many Foresothes for my liking! But the setting, the weather, the yummy picnic, the strawberries and pink (fake) champagne persuaded me that this time would be worth the foresothing. 

The first half hour I had to keep asking what was going on, not being familiar with the storyline of the Merry Wives of Windsor, and I could have thought of better ways of spending my birthday.  But the actors were great (they were proper famous too!), the costumes (1950s) fantastic and the stage really well done, so I soon forgot about the foreign English and began to enjoy it!

As Dr Pepper says "try it you might like it". Visit Skywatch Friday to see something else you may like (better quality photos guaranteed - I forgot my camera so had to use my phone, shiny and new but no match to an SLR)

Project 52: Date Nights logo

Sorry to sneak two things in one post - but it's my birthday week so there!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Wings and Things

We had a picnic under an air display - the planes were nice and all that but the clouds were pretty and much quieter!

Go and see so beautiful skies from all over the world at SkyWatch Friday

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

First date numbers 16, 17 and 18 - variable standards!

We're still hanging in there but have got a bit iffy on the timings of our date nights and, like the rest of my blogging, I'm being very lax at recording the dates (blame it on the sunny evenings but more of that in a sec).

So what have we been up to?

Date 16 was completely fab and pushed our never-done-before-not-sure-if-we-want-to-try limits. We went to a Murder Mystery Dinner at the local stately home.  It was a beautiful evening so we walked over and were welcomed with drinks in the garden before the 'fun' started. Tim and I were probably the youngest there by a few decades and most of the other diners had come with friends. We ended up sitting on quite a boozy table (so suited us fine) and watch the story of a murder on a yacht unfold. After being fed a duff clue by the lady sat next to me, I had no idea who-dunnit, but I would say neither did 90% of the others there. We had even more fun trying to find our way home in the pitch black across a narrow bridge. The moral of that one - don't knock anything until you've tried it.

Date 17 was a Date Day - we both had the day off for Anya's birthday party prep - did very little prep but lots of dog walking, beer garden lunching, a wander through a sculpture garden at above mentioned posh house and a little shopping. The weather was with us, we reminisced about "this time 7 years ago..." and even Tim's ruddy Blackberry remained happily silent. A really perfect birthday date (and it wasn't even mine - Tim you have a week to plan that one!)

Date 18 was a bit impromptu and I'm not sure we even agreed it was a date before it started. The sun was beaming, we got the kids to bed early and had tea with a bottle of wine in the garden. We only moved inside once it went dark (and the final Big Brother had started - but less mentioned about that the better it makes me look!).

Cross my heart - will attempt to be more with it for next week!

Project 52: Date Nights logo

Friday, 25 June 2010

SkyWatch Friday - Come on England

On Wednesday the whole of England ground to a stand still at 3pm to watch the football team struggle to stay in the World cup - thankfully the 23 over paid men managed to beat the smallest footballing nation in the competition to get through to the next round. The one off JCB above was on their stand at a Quarrying Expo under a huge screen to show the match live.

Fly(ing tackle) around the world at Skywatch Friday
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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Skywatch Friday - flying not falling

I've been rather lax with my photos recently - this was from the centre ring at the Staffordshire Agricultural Show - I wouldn't like to do the Risk Assessment for this activity.
The big kids couldn't take their eyes off the show.
Euan wasn't as impressed - he was far more interested in the quieter tractors.

Go and see why the rest of the world are looking up at Skywatch Friday

Now you are 7

You've got all grown up, you....

... must watch all episodes of Come dine with me and Saturday kitchen.
... still love Aston Villa but you don't want anyone to know (peer pressure has become a big motivator in your life).
... recognise nervous (it makes your tummy bubble, gives you a lump in your throat and makes you go quiet) but you know not to be scared.
... have discovered the joy of books - under the covers, shouting at brothers to leave you alone.
... become a music obsessive - keyboard practice daily, try to work out the instruments playing in every tune, know loads of bands.
... live by the clock after learning to tell the time - (gosh it's 10 o'clock already, where has the day gone)
... love Dr Who (the monsters aren't real you know - it's pathetic to be scared!) but cry at reality TV (talent shows when people have to go home are unbearable)

keep growing up but not too quickly xo

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Ten years of moving - things i need.....

1.  An iPod sports arm-band. I have just discovered a podcast to take me over 9 weeks from the Couch to running (supposedly non-stop- yeah right!) 5K.  There's up beat music with a nice American man telling me when to walk and when to stumble forward slightly faster. Very good idea but carrying the MP3 player cramped my style, I tried to make an ingenious knicker pouch pocket for it but it kept falling down my trouser leg so I resorted to sticking it in my bra and hoping that no-one I knew would see me (not that I would know as don't wear glasses out and with my pumping music I could hear no-one else).

2. To remember to close my mouth when running through swarm of midgy fly things - added protein but can catch on the tonsils - doesn't make for a good energy boosting snack.

But feel that I'm making progress, after my third run I could still walk the following day.


I have t got back from another run and need to add that -

3. To remember to run with my mouth closed even when it's raining as big fat juicy flies seem to favour that weather!

4. To leave the sun loving dog at home when it's raining - dragging her behind me slowed me down!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Woe is me

Today I'm going through the five stages of grief.

Denial - I can't have lost all my photos from my lap-top while trying to sort them into some type of order. They must just be hiding

Anger - Stupid computer what have you done with them, ruddy Tim what have you done with them, flipping Picasa thinks it's clever than me

Bargaining - Just let me find a few of the nice ones, how about a couple of Bucks birthday party so he'll believe that he had one when he's 20.

Depression - I'm currently wiping the tears from my keyboard so must be on my way to.....

Acceptance - Yes they really have gone - but I have got lots backed-up on a hard-drive so it's just a big chunk of this year that never happened in picture form. I cross my heart that from now on I will be more organised, back-up and do paper copies of the nice shots!

Feel better now that's off my chest, although feel I could slip back to stage 4.....

PS If you have any nice photos of my family this year please send them to me!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

First date numbers 14 and 15 - doubling up dates

Tim's been globetrotting again (think it was New Jersey last week, Paris this week) - so we missed a date night. We both planned a night over the weekend without telling the other, so we did them both (how spontaneous are we!).  Tim's date was on Friday - we had a posh wine and cheese night.  We blind tasted various nice wines and ranked them (with some very interesting comments - not sure these would make it into a published wine guide - "tastes like hangover", "warm porridge", "jelly").

The favourites were me - La Chasse du Pape Sauvignon Grenache 2008, described as displaying exotic and white flowers notes, I thought it had a damp smell (then trying to get more artsy), like rain on rocks.  Tim's favourite was Gavi Cortese 2009 which is described as having a lemon palate and a nutty finish, he thought it was like boiled sweets. I was put off because it smelt like rolling tobacco?! The best cheese was Blue Stilton - yum!

Saturday night was my turn - we'd had a beautiful week so my plan was to go for a romantic evening walk along the canal - unfortunately it hammered down all day and night, so with a babysitter booked I had to find a quick alternative. The alternative was a night down the village pubs - not the most romantic of evenings but lots of talking went on and if we won a million pounds right now we know what we would do with it!
Project 52: Date Nights logo

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Ten years of moving - conquering the fear

The last time I went for 'a run' I was 15 and it was the annual hell of school cross-country.  Even then I hated running, I'm just not built for it and what's the need when walking gets you to the same place slightly later?  My 15 year old self cleverly avoided the whole hour hell of the cross-county by bribing the route monitor (the class fat girl who happened to have a sick note) to let me duck through a hedge a few minutes into the race. I hung around until the race leaders ran past then tagged onto the end of them.  I didn't have the 6 inches of mud stuck forming a heavy clay heel on the bottom of my trainers from crossing the newly ploughed field (we were very rural!) so managed to sprint well up the school field to the finishing line - I was very pleased with myself coming third and getting all the wow you came out of no-wheres, I did let them go to my head!

It was later announced that the first three runners would be representing the school in the County cross-country trials. Shear panic - a vow of never running again - over 20 years later I have just broken that vow.

Thanks to my pledge to get moving over the next ten years, I thought it would be important to get those feet going a bit more quickly. In fact a few friends have set me various milestones a 10km run next year, a half marathon the year after and (laughingly) the London Marathon (remember - I have ten years, if I start now I may finish in 2020!).

So I have now completed two 45 minute runs (well I was out of the house for that long). I set off at 7am so I wouldn't see anyone I knew, I left my glasses at home so I wouldn't see anyone I knew. The first time the sky was blue, the birds were singing, it was almost nice to be out. The second time it started raining sideways - not so good and I discovered that my new trainers aren't waterproof.  I tried the run two minutes, walk two minutes method of training. I managed to stumble forward for nearly two minutes, stumble forward less quickly wishing for an oxygen tank for just over two minutes.

Apparently this exercise is good for you - the week after my first running attempt I'm not sure my legs agreed with that statement, hoping for just a few days of protesting this time.

London Marathon hahahahah - I'll take the London Snickers instead.

PS teenage me did have weird fashion sense and yes did wear odd shoes.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Skywatch Friday - A swallows and amazons weekend

Click over to Skywatch Friday to see what other lovely people have been gazing up at all week.

Ten years of moving

My little sister has recently set up a new blog (over here) to chart her progress in a ten year goal of 'being a grown up'.  The challenge was set by the comedian Mark Watson in February, the basic idea is to nominate something which, over the next ten years, you would like to accomplish in your life. It could be an aspect of your personality you would like to change. Or it could be something quite specific, like learning to drive. Or it could be something really stupid. But you have to genuinely want to do it.  Not wanting to be left out and doing pretty well in ENJOYing 2010 (see this post for full explanation) I got drawn in.

TYSIC (Ten Year Self Improvement Challenge) officially started on March 4th (yes, as usual I'm slow on the up take but may be my challenge will take care of that and what's a couple of months in 10 years? ). Every week – or month, depends how well it goes – or year, if I do really badly - progress is summed up via comments on Marks blog (he's planning on publishing a newsletter of the most interesting/bizarre/heroically failed/perverse/illegal achievements. Prizes may even be available - recognition is always good!).  And the project will end on March 4th 2020. Apparently on the 5th we will all go on holiday together.
So here goes -
I will put one foot in front of the other and repeat

What does this mean? Mainly get off my seat and do something less boring instead, go places I've never been and meet new people. I won't stop with the feet moving even if it's a bit scary or tiring. Hopefully it will get easier and much quicker with practice!

I've got a new pair of trainers and now it's time to start using them xo

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A bunch of happy campers

Last week saw me rummaging through the house/garage/shed collecting together a host of items that had been collecting dust for the last 4 years, so that we could spend two nights in a field under a large piece of fabric. Some people call this a camping trip, I call it madness. I have a phobia of communal showers (have conquered the loo one since kids), would prefer a real bed and have a biological need of a fridge for the cider.
However, the weekend near Carsington Water in the Peak District was a great big success. The sun shone constantly, the 15 (yes count them, 15) children had a blast and the grown ups stayed up late under the stars (in puffa jackets) drinking tepid wine.

We had water fights
Went boating
Had a pub tea and played out late
And tried to keep cool!

Quotes of the weekend - "I am never ever ever again sleeping on a *@$!!ing airbed!" ~ me, the air bed slowly went down throughout the first night leaving feet and head in mid-air and hips on the cold hard ground.

"Next time can we bring a tv?" ~ Anya was worried about missing the Over the rainbow final and Dr Who.

Thought of the week - "Camping: nature's way of promoting the motel industry" ~ Dave Barry
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