Friday, 31 January 2014

Review

It's done.
I survived.
The Brainy One and I went into school for The Boy Child's first review meeting.
It's true to say that I was worried about it.
Who wants to listen to two hours of negative comments about their child?
But the actuality of it was completely different.
The Brainy One is an excellent public speaker and used to lecturing all day to a group of strangers.  He doesn't bat an eyelid.
He put forward our case for more supported hours for The Boy Child eloquently.
The Headmaster agreed with him.
We left the meeting with both of us feeling positive and hopeful.
Now we wait.
And while we wait, The Brainy One took me to lunch.
We went to a gastropub just around the corner from where we live.
Wholesome, home-cooked comfort food was called for.
It didn't disappoint.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Present and {Dis} Connected

Thinking about being more has led me to think about how I might be seen by The Boy Child and The Brainy One.
And I reached the unhappy conclusion that both of them probably see me as someone who is always saying, "just a minute" or, "not right now".  Living with others and growing a family, with or without a child with additional needs, is hard, as we know.
Surely I'm doing them an injustice by not giving them my full and undivided attention?
The biggest culprits for stealing my attention are the iPad Mini, mobile phone and the urge to clear my to-do list.
And in the grand scheme of things, no-one is ever going to remember me as a great to-do list kind of person, are they?
I sincerely hope they don't.
Enter Hands Free Mama.
Someone who has thought the same thoughts as me.
Someone who has been able to give voice to those same thoughts.
I'm now working on no electronic gadgets after 9pm.
I'm working on saying, "yes" to The Brainy One and The Boy Child and leaving the ironing or sweeping the kitchen floor for another time.
You might appreciate the irony of the first version of the above photo.
American blogger Elise Blaha Cripe has a post up today that is in a similar vein.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Zoom In | Zoom Out

The pooch had to wait until after lunch for his walk.
I went to the gym straight from school drop-off.
It was raining.
I came home from the gym, emptied the washer and refilled it.
It was still raining.
I went to the Mall to collect a pair of shoes that I'd ordered.
It was still raining.
I came home and had lunch.
It was still raining.
I had a brief, one-sided conversation with the pooch.
"Doesn't look like it's going to stop.  Shall we go anyway?"
So we did.
It's still raining.
Zoom In, Zoom Out is Helena's idea and you can see more on her blog.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Jot Magazine | Quick Layout Challenge

Issue 4 of the online magazine, Jot, has a number of challenges.
One that caught my eye was to use a printed/patterned Project Life style overlay for the layout's title.
The Boy Child's class went to the London Eye and Aquarium on their class trip last September.  I wasn't the parent helper on that trip and all day I was hoping that someone would be taking a photo or two that they would share.   
Turns out, the teacher took an absolute cracker.
The paper and overlay are from Simple Stories Smarty Pants range, and even though the overlay doesn't really pop off the page, I really like how it looks.
The journaling and the names of all his classmates are hidden away under the photo.
Plus, in the years ahead, I don't think The Boy Child is going to look at that page and wonder about the title.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Sharing a Cuppa

Hi, hi, come on in.
The kettle's on, and I have freshly baked cookies.  I do hope you're not allergic to peanuts?  No?  Good.
How have you been?  It's about six weeks since our last together, isn't it?
How has January been for you and yours?  I think its gone by fairly quickly, don't you? January is usually a month I dislike because of the miserable weather and the sense of anti-climax after Christmas and the New Year.  We've had plenty of miserable weather, but somehow I've managed to fill the month with lots of good things.  It's all part of my plan for us to be more in 2014.
We have The Boy Child's first review of his Statement of Educational Needs this Friday morning, and I am already nervous about it.  We are hoping to have his help increased to full-time hours and in order to make a good case, we have had to highlight all the things that are not going so well for him in school right now.
It makes very depressing reading.
On a more cheerful note, I've had a new burst of inspiration for my blog and have posted every single day so far this month.  Do you find that blog inspiration comes in fits and starts?  I know that a few of my readers are experiencing the same thing and, indeed, my friend Sian has actually created a theme of blog posts under the banner of Blog Cos You Want To.
My scrapping projects are also blossoming under a wave of new optimism.  Daring to change it up in regard to Project Life has been liberating!  Funny how you can become wary of changing things when it comes to photos, paper and glue, isn't it?  I'm training myself to think, if I don't particularly like the end result, "okay, I won't do it that way again.  The world is not going to end."
Do you have time to tell me about the crafty projects you are working on?
Hang on, I'll refresh the teapot and how about another cookie?  

This post has been brought to you in association with Abi's invitation to share a cup of tea.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sunday Evenings

I like Sunday evenings.
We listen to Paul O'Grady on BBC Radio 2, once we are home from The Boy Child's swimming lesson.
I listen to The Brainy One and The Boy Child reading together.
I make sure all the relevant school uniform is ironed ready for the week ahead.
The Brainy One usually supervises The Boy Child's bath time.
I watch Call the Midwife and Mr Selfridge.
A very pleasant couple of hours.

How do you spend your Sunday evenings?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Chaperone

The Boy Child went on a date today.
He met up with a lovely girl from his class.
They went to the cinema to see Frozen.
They arranged it themselves and then presented we mums with a fait accompli.
She is a very sweet girl.
She thinks that The Boy Child is "the nicest boy in the whole school."
I love her!

Friday, 24 January 2014

One in Twenty

As I was scrolling through a multitude of FB posts earlier (there really is such rubbish on there), I noticed a post about creating a layout using a timer.
Twenty minutes for the basics.
Then another twenty for the embellishments.
And finally, another twenty to tweak if necessary.
The Boy Child made a joke the other evening and I wanted to get the story down as soon as possible.  I very rarely scrap without a photo, but as the camera wasn't to hand, I had to do without one.
The whole page took around 30 minutes .  The text paper came from a Studio Calico kit, the 6x4 journalling card came from Sn@p Pockets and everything else is by Becky Higgins (Kraft design).
Journalling reads: 22 January, 2014: supper time-ish.
"Mummy, can I write my name on this piece of paper?"
"Okay.  Be careful with the pen."
Later ...
"Mummy, can I write some more?"
"No, not on that piece of paper; that's my shopping list for tomorrow."
"Okay."
Short pause.
"But my name is already on it."
Slightly longer pause.
"Will you buy a The Boy Child at the shops tomorrow?"
Cue laughter from Mummy. x

Have you ever made a page without a photo?
Have you ever scrapped against the clock?

ETA: the challenge I saw on FB is over on the Jot magazine blog and is hosted by my good friend, Sian.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Restlessness

Sometimes I get restless.
I make a plan and it usually involves a huge shopping mall not that far away.
I make a list of anything I might need that I can't get locally, because the shopping mall has much larger versions of our local high street chains.
And I treat myself to lunch.
Which usually involves hot tea, a toasted panini sandwich and maybe a cake.
A glossy magazine.
And I'm good for another few more weeks of same old.
You?

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Zoom In | Zoom Out

Something a little abstract this week.
This is a page for The Boy Child's album and is a tale of two professional photographers.
Zoom Out:
Zoom In:
Zoom In, Zoom Out is Helena's idea and you can see more on her blog.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Lists

I like a list.
I gain satisfaction from putting a tick next to everything on it.
I use them for visits to the supermarket.
I use them for recording who has sent The Boy Child a present for Christmas or his birthday.
Mostly I use them for when I have a fair bit that I want to achieve while The Boy Child is at school.
Supper often appears on my lists.  Because I am rubbish at meal planning more than 6 hours in advance.
The kitchen cupboard (the one I use as a larder) was emptied, cleaned and lined with brown paper.  Out of date goods were decanted into the food recycling bin.
Two emails were sent, both important but totally separate from each other.
John Lewis was called because our dishwasher has a fault and we have a long history of poorly assembled dishwashers.
The spare bed was made up with fresh bedding.  We are expecting visitors at the weekend.
Ironing and tidying up my office are all that's left and I have about an hour before leaving the house to collect the Boy Child from school.
A full complement of ticks looks promising for 3.30pm

Do you like lists?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Right Now ...

I am feeling overwhelmed by all the messages of support, both here and on Facebook, for my recent posts about the impact of Autism in our lives.  Thank you, one and all.
I am chalking Week 15's spelling list and the nine times table on to the chalkboard. Both will form the basis of The Boy Child's homework this week.
I am the conqueror of the ironing mountain.
I am a Monday morning swimmer.  I have worked up to 23 lengths each visit and I hope to reach my target of 30 lengths by the start of July.
I am a New Yorker.  Well, not quite, obviously.  But I am booked to go, along with The Boy Child and mum, for 6 nights in April.  Hello, Robyn!
I am on page 40 of The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling.
I am comforted by the story of Fraser and Billy the cat.
I am itching to make more scrapbook pages.

What are you thinking about, feeling, hoping for, struggling with, watching, listening to, celebrating right now? 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Surely It Isn't Just Me?

We went to a family lunch in honour of my SiL's 60th birthday.
I found myself gathering up some of the table confetti because I was thinking that I could use it to make a themed pocket for Project Life.
Anyone else do that sort of thing?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Balls

The Boy Child attended a birthday party today ~ pizza making and bowling.
It was the first time that we had dropped him off and then left the premises.
Gulp.
We didn't go far, just across the carpark to the coffee shop.
We met up with the father of The Boy Child's best friend.
The Boy Child had never been bowling before.  We'd always felt that the noise would overwhelm him (and neither of us are particularly into bowling).
When we arrived to collect him (a little early so we could see what was going on), we found him bouncing like Tigger and obsessed with the bowling balls and the return mechanism (the thing that brings the balls back from behind the pins).
The noise was incredible.
Twenty eight lanes in use and booming crap music.
His classmate, Miss Z announced that The Boy Child had dropped a ball on her leg, on purpose.
We heard him shout "loser" at Miss Z when her ball went awry.
We saw him drop a ball in the rack without noticing that the birthday girl's older brother was taking a ball out.
You know what happened, don't you?
Trapped fingers.
We saw him trying to "help" his friends by carrying the bowling balls.
They didn't want his help and told him so, some of them quite vociferously.
We saw him score a strike (is that the correct expression?), much to our astonishment.
We saw him finish with the highest score of all his classmates.
I saw the gulf beginning to widen.
I saw the sophistication of his classmates.
And I wanted to cry.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Project Life

My lovely friend Amy asked if there was a chance of a sneaky peek at my Project Life album.
"Are you doing PL 2014? I know you said you decided not to share last year ... any chance of a small peek? Sorry if this is impertinent :)"
Long-term readers will know that I blogged Project Life for eight months in 2011 (I began on 1st April) and then stopped (blogging about it, not compiling it).  Those Project Life posts were the posts that generated the least amount of comments during 2011.
The above image is from this week's spread.  You can see that today's card is waiting to be filled out.  The Boy Child has a party to go to tomorrow, that's the invitation already in Saturday's pocket.  This year I am mixing up the pages a little; I am using using PL Design A and We Are Memory Keepers divided pages (they have three 4x4 squares across the middle).  I am also printing photos at 3x4 and then sticking them to a 6x4 journaling card (book fair photo, top left) before writing on both sides of the card.  I am putting 6x4 journaling cards in spaces where I have only ever put 6x4 photos previously.  
I am putting supermarket shopping receipts behind self-portraits(ish) of me driving the car to the supermarket.
 I am even making confetti pockets to fill a gap on a slow news week.
I'm writing on double-sided 6x4 journaling cards and then using washi tape to attach the card to behind a photo.
Last year I included some global news items and I expect to do the same again this year.
And that's it.
Nothing fancy.
I've always admired people who have the discipline to write a diary entry every day.
Short notes and photos are working for me.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Simply a Moment

"So that's where we are, Ruth.  I'll need your comments by tomorrow morning or this afternoon, if you could manage it."
She rings off and I am left looking blankly at the handset.
We've known it was coming.
We made a lot of noise about it last term.
We didn't want it to be overlooked.
And now it's here.
Just two weeks until The Boy Child's Statement of Educational Needs is reviewed for the first time.
Looks as though I'll be busy for the next hour or so.
Thursday, 16 January 2014: 12.30pm

Simply a Moment is a monthly theme from the lovely Alexa and you can share your moments there.  I'll add the link once Alexa's post is live.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Zoom In | Zoom Out

It's Book Fair at school this week.
An event organised through the English department, naturally and supposedly staffed by members of the PTA.
Meet The Other Ruth.  Can you see her?
Neither she nor I stood for re-election to the PTA this academic year and yet it appears that we are still the first port of call when volunteers are needed.  As it happens, we both like to be involved with the fun things at school, so it's not really a problem.

Zoom In, Zoom Out is Helena's idea and you can see more on her blog.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Oh, Scrappy Day

Half-way through January and I finally have two pages to show you.
It's been a slow start to 2014 for photos, paper and glue.
First up is a page made to fill a blank spot in 2013's album.  It's not often I scrap purely about myself.  It's a scraplift from the current issue of Scrap 365 and the original design is called Super Cute by Els Brige (you can find it on page 59).
Proper poorly is a phrase my mum always used when we were younger and it meant being ill enough to spend time in bed rather than the its-only-a-cold-just-get-on-with-it type of illness.  
The second page is about our much loved Chelsea Pensioner friend and how much the relationship means to all of us.  This page is taken from a sketch by Shimelle.
Clicking on either image will make the journaling much easier to read.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Currently Reading

Towards the end of 2013, I went weeks without reading any fiction.  And not reading fiction is a concept as alien to me as not breathing.  There wasn't any particular reason for it.  It was just one of those things.
I didn't receive a book or a book token at Christmas, either.  Most unusual.
Tara Road is an old favourite and I have lost count how many times I have read it.  I did hear a while ago that someone in Hollywood had bought the rights to it, and Amazon is showing a DVD of the same name for sale from around 2005.  It has a gazillion rubbish reviews.
A Field Guide to Now was flagged up on Ali's website.  I gave it as shot, as it sounded interesting, but it turned out to be one of those books that anyone of us could have written, if we'd had the foresight to have the idea in the first place.
Great Escaper was actually a Christmas gift for The Brainy One and is about Roger Bushell, the real-life Big X.  The Great Escape is my favourite film of all time, so I am looking forward to getting stuck into this.
I'm also waiting for Hands Free Mama to come back into stock at Amazon and it's another title recommended by Ali.

What are you reading?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Morning After The Day Before

It was pretty full on, yesterday, what with the party, nine people to feed at supper time and four staying overnight.
We awoke to blue sky, sunshine and iced-over cars.
No matter.
That's what winter coats, hats, gloves and boots are for.
These people are some of those I love most in the world.  The Oldest Friend and I celebrate 25 years of friendship later this year and we are already making plans to mark the occasion.  (Long-time readers may recall we had a celebration at 20 years).
For now, though, I'll settle for seeing them again in less than a month.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Party

The Boy Child hosted a birthday party for his friends, young and old, today.
There were moments where he loved it.
There were moments where he didn't love it at all.
There were moments where I didn't love it.
Thank goodness birthdays only happen once a year.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Holiday Mini-Book | Completed Version | Photo Heavy

Allow me a spot of self-indulgence, if you will.
Here it is, the majority of The Boy Child's Holiday mini-Book.  I've left out the pages where he's written about his friends.
And that's about it.  The Boy Child has helped to create his own Christmas holiday scrapbook and I couldn't be more proud.
The Boy Child took it in to school and showed his teacher who, it has to be said, was rather indifferent to it. Which I felt was a great shame.