Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Counting the days to Christmas

Well I'm afraid that this is Highlights again, husband's cough dragged on and on, in the end I packed him off to the Doctor, and he was given an antibiotic. He felt quite ropey whilst taking it, but since he has finished is feeling better at last. He felt better some days than others, fortunately, on one of those good days we had booked to go to Waddesdon manor, for their Christmas display.
On arrival we were asked if we would like to join the National Trust, and as we have hesitated for a while, decided that we would. So we got our entrance money refunded. Our first concern was lunch, but the manor restaurant is bookings only, so we had to make our way down to the stables cafe, there was a queue, and we had to ask the lady supervisor if she thought we would be able to eat and get back up the hill in time. So we had a jacket potato each, then a peep in the room where you could, write letters to father Christmas, and have a photo with a sleigh and reindeer; then hot footed up the zig zag path, to the manor. It was all very pretty, only in the East wing and the Bachelor's wing.
After the tour, we went outside and had a little look around the grounds. All of the statues have been covered over for the winter, presumably to  prevent frost damage, so as the sun began to fade they looked bit eerie. Everyone had said that we must see the light display, but it was better after dark. It was one of the coldest days we have had so far, so we went into one of the under canvas cover areas, and sat on sheepskins, with rugs tucked around us and drank hot chocolate with mince pies.
It was still fairly light, so we didn't know what else to do, so found the light display, very modern arty, and as it was still only dusk, not as bright as it might have been. The best bit was the 'river of light'.
My legs and back were aching, so we decided to get the little hopper bus back down to the car park, and as we passed the 'river of light' at the bottom, the driver helpfully dimmed the bus lights, so we could see it better.
Amongst the occasional babysitting and weekly childminding, there has been another little highlight. Daughter managed to get us tickets for the dress rehearsal for the foundation stage Christmas play, nursery and reception. Nathaniel played a sheep, and as it was grandparents only, they got lots of applause.
I had one trip to Watford, Christmas shopping, came home almost empty handed, and one to Berkhamsted, alone because husband wasn't up to it. I bought a few stocking fillers, and climbed 4 flights of stairs to the Attic cafe for lunch. Husband hates the stairs, so I have to go when he's not with me.
On the plus side I have started losing weight again, why can't I in the summer? Perhaps I'm more active with the childminding. An old friend from our St Albans church days has moved to our town, and has joined me in the class, so that's an incentive to keep going. Our class is on a Wednesday so none for 2 weeks, unless we find another class that is open.
I have done a lot of Christmas shopping online again, got rather bogged down with the cards and annual newsletter that we do, and husband eventually felt well enough to do a photo montage. As I vacuumed yesterday, I came across 2 cards that had slipped off the pile, so if you are expecting a card from me and haven't got one yet, don't give up!
Lydia thought it great fun to sweep all the cards and lists around, so I put the wooden box I keep them in in front of the tree, She has a habit of stripping her Mum's tree of baubles, whilst grinning with delight. Nathaniel, who 2 years ago was guilty of a similar misdemeanour, regarding a small wooden elf, now patiently gathers up the baubles and puts them back on the tree. The positioning of the wooden box and the 'No touch Nanna's tree' has so far worked, but she has yet to discover that if she climbs on the sofa, as she has learned to do, she has an easy route to the coveted baubles.
Another highlight was the visit of our Son and his wife, and baby Ethan and Tom, they were down for a wedding, so decided to combine it with their annual trip to London for the Christmas lights. His sister and husband also went, they took 2 buggies between them, but Nathaniel walked for miles.
It was Ethan's first visit here, so the travel cot was utilised, Lydia uses it for naps.
I will say that Ethan has a good pair of lungs, every time he was passed to me for a cuddle, he seemed to have wind and ended up screaming. However when he is happy he has a gorgeous little smile.
I had some sort of virus whilst they were here felt very cold, very sick, then very hot. It didn't help that whilst feeling cold I stepped in the dog's bowl of water, and my slipper, my sock and my pyjama leg got very wet, so I had to change before I went to bed. I'd also managed during the week to trip over the leg of the high chair and landed on my right side, my disc seems to have popped again, so I'm having trouble getting comfy in bed.
Well I now have most of the Christmas food bought, just perishables like salads and cream to buy. Sainsbo's had sold out of Mum in laws favourite dairy free ice cream, so I may not be able to get it. She has Koko milk which is easier to buy. Husband made the journey down to fetch her on Saturday in record time, and they arrived back just as I was contemplating the tidying up in the sitting room. I still haven't hung the cards, but my latest record for that is Boxing day.
Well I wish all my readers a Joyful Christmas, and would like to ask what are you doing with the Saviour who was born over 2,000 years ago? Have you left him in the manger, a helpless baby? Or is He risen from the dead and powerful to change lives of those who are weary of sin and sorrow? There was no room at the inn for him to be born, but is there any room in your life for Jesus?

Waddesdon manor

Sheepskinsfor sitting on

Some of the many Christmas trees

Decorated rooms
smoking room

Modern Chandelier

Sun getting low

Light sculpture

Setting sun

River of light

leaving the manor

Monday, 2 December 2013

Bits and bobs

I've got so far behind that I really just need to do highlights. The first week in November was a bit busy, on the Monday we went out and bought another car seat. The chap in Halfords was quite helpful, said he used the one which we chose, and apparently it should last sizewise for years,as it converts into a booster seat. He was a long time collecting it for us, but when he returned explained that he'd had to go outside, and someone had shut him out!
Tuesday was bonfire night, so I baby sat for Lydia, whilst the parents took Nathaniel to a fireworks display at the school to which his nursery is attached. He was full of excitement when they got back, describing the sights and sounds, and the hot dog he had eaten.
On the Wednesday, I was in Sainsbo's and I got a phone call asking for help, Daughter's husband had gone off to work with the car keys in his pocket, and she had to get Nat to His gym class, could we help? I explained that husband was in the midst of fitting both car seats, and it largely depended on whether he had finished. When I got home, she had phoned him, and he was going up there as he would have to adjust the straps to fit. I had to put my cold stuff away, but when I had, went up there in my car. That way we could swap cars and I could go and take them to the gym lesson.
So that is what happened, I wasn't allowed to take pictures of him doing gym, and I found it all a bit slow. He certainly seems to be the youngest in his group.
I was glad to get home and have some lunch, I'd grabbed something to fill a gap, but it wasn't enough.
I tried to get to bed early on the Wednesday evening, but was unable to sleep. Thursday morning we were up early, and arrived at daughter's before 8 am. Her husband goes in to work later in this job,so there is a bit of an overlap. Husband decided to walk Nat to nursery, then walk home. I took Lydia home in our car. When we first got indoors she cried, but soon settled down. Husband came home and later I took Lydia for a walk in the buggy, thinking she might drop off, no chance! She isn't used to a front facing buggy, so was busy looking around and making little exclamations at what she saw.
Husband collected Nat whilst I gave Lydia her lunch,and she took a nap in the afternoon.
That weekend husband felt unwell, a slightly upset tummy, bloating and dizziness, so no church for him on Sunday. He refused a roast dinner! that was the Sunday I had forgotten to defrost a chicken, so did it in the microwave. It had to stand for an hour before roasting, so I had to leave instructions on when it should go in the oven.
He did manage to eat some old crunchy roast potatoes later though. He was poorly for about a week, not eating much. Totally off coffee, and on the Friday morning, when we walked into town, with Lydia in the buggy, he said he felt like getting the bus back up straight away. Whilst I did the things I had to do, he bought some Thomas DVDs, second hand to help entertain Nat. He's also been buying him some second hand toys more suited to his age. I could tell he still wasn't right when he walked past the pasty shop without a second glance. We got the bus back up, and he was so tired that I collected Nat.
Husband came to church last Sunday, but by about Tuesday evening was complaining of a sore throat. He managed a trip into town on Wednesday, and came back with a pasty, so he must be feeling better in the digestive department, but the sore throat has progressed to a cold and a horrible hacking cough like he had in Cornwall, when he felt so ill.
On Monday afternoon I walked down to the hospital for my repeat blood tests, and phoned for the results Friday. I am pleased to report that they are within the normal limits.
We are coping with the childminding, despite my lack of sleep. There is no set pattern, the second Friday Daughter had to collect them as they both fell asleep within seconds of each other on the sitting room carpet. Lydia's naps vary, and Nat is mostly good with using his potty, but occasionally forgets. I now have a step in the bathroom, so he can reach the wash basin to wash his hands. We spent part of one afternoon watching Muppet clips on our computers, Nat's favourite was Mnah Mnah, which he insisted on watching 3 times!!
Yesterday I had to do the weekend shopping alone, as husband wasn't well enough. I took the car, didn't spend as much, and didn't met anyone I knew to get distracted.  In the last couple of weeks I have had 2 walks which took me over the other side of the railway, and the second slightlyy longer into the grounds of the local manor house. As I returned from the second, I passed the local parish church, and their Christmas fayre was one, so I popped in for a natter with our son's old primary school teacher. I was able to show her pics of the grandchildren from my camera.
On a good note my mammagram was ok.
Saturday walk near the manor

Looking over to ski slope

the trees are so slow at dropping their leaves this year

Above the church

Approaching the golf course

Looking over to the girls' school

Crossing the golf course

The station husband travelled from for many years

church Chritmas fayre
when will they put the clock right?
After a bad summer I have started losing wight again, must be the soups and the extra exercise.