family


Choosing the best dog for your family 3

Choosing the best dog for your family was produced in partnership with Legal & General Choosing the best dog to join our family was one of the hardest decisions we ever made.   I am not going to lie, it filled me with dread.  I was worried that we would make the wrong decision and I would be left to pick up the pieces and that it would really change the family dynamic.  Having a pet is a big responsibility and It really scared me, but I also knew that as a family we would all benefit from having a dog.


Connect with your children at mealtimes 4

However, I really encourage chatting and communication. When the boys were younger we had a news style roundup from each of us, where we “reported” our news and events from the day, which included what was had for dinner, what we have done, places we have been and also anything we needed to remember. MadDad and I did this as well as the boys. I would ask open ended questions about their day and encourage them to remember as much about it as they could. Food can always be warmed up.

Other ways to encourage conversation at the dinner table include:

Use story cubes
Ask questions such as What was the best part of your day?
My boys love hearing about when they were younger or other family members, so have conversations about how you chose their name or how you and your partner met.
Try finding foods all of a certain colour or starting with a certain letter.
My boys study a different topic each half term and we find out what it is and use that. For example recently the boys have been learning about Australia and Africa and we have been discussing our visit to South Africa and Captain James Cook who was from our area. The school provides us with the topic list each term and we make sure we research it, so we have something to discuss with them.
Why not let your children interview you and you them.


My Thatcher Years 14

Mum was a SAHM. My Dad had gone to Grammar school and college and apprenticed at the “Dock” in the Engineering department. My Grandad was a blacksmith and had worked there from leaving school at 14, so you could say that shipbuilding ran in my blood. All the other males in the family either worked at the Docks, the steel yard or the chemical works. I grew up in Teesside an area of heavy industry born from iron and built of steel.

My parents were the first in their family to buy there own house and we lived a relatively good life. As a family there was two male incomes coming in to the house and we never really wanted for anything. We ate well, had great holidays and life was fab. I remember riding my bike after school to meet my Dad on the way home from work. We would get half way and he would stop the car and put the bikes in the back and go home together for a meal that my mum had cooked. We spent many a summer evening on my Granddad’s allotment where he grew vegetables cutting flowers and kept Hens. We would often build Dens in the nearby Nature reserve. Life was uncomplicated. My Dad was often to be found in the garage repairing car’s for friends or doing up one to sell for some extra cash.

I remember homemade clothes, family get togethers and riding my bike everywhere. I remember having to be home for 4.30 for dinner as Dad and Granddad got home at 4.15 and a meal was on the table at 4.30 every night. There was band practice twice a week and my Dad got his PSV so he could drive the Band Bus on a weekend to cpmpetitions. I remember sitting with my tape recording in the bedroom I shared with my brother taping songs off the radio trying to pause it before the presenter spoke, so that I could make mix tapes for the weekends journeys on the bus.

I went to a good primary school and an even better senior school and my Mum became a School Crossing Warden or LollyPop lady. We walked to school on our own from about seven years old and could often be found in the park after school fishing for guppies in the beck, carrying on at the golf links, crabbing at the boating lake or messing around on the beach.


My Amazing Gran 15

My paternal Gran died long before I was born, in fact she died long before my Dad and Mum got together and got married. However, she was always with us growing up. My paternal Granddad lived with my parents in the house that my Dad’s wages had helped pay for when my Gran was ill. Her picture always stood in pride of place on the dresser top in the sitting room and the wedding picture of my Gran and Grandad hung next to the one of my mum and dad on the wall and it hangs next to it sill on my stairs.


Bittersweet 45

I have been trying to keep myself busy these last few weeks. Trying to avoid the feeling that has been building in my chest, the rising emptiness that has permeated my whole being. I dare not stop, I dare not let this feeling invade for the tears will start to fall and I fear that they may never stop.

Perspective, yes that is what I have needed. It is hard to admit that I am still grieving, that I am scared and that I am so frightened at the moment. That living my life can be so bloody hard. That sometimes the fear paralyses me, that I want to curl up in a little ball and not to go on.


The Family Home 12

It isn’t uncommon these days for people to move in and out of houses and to buy, sell, relocate and leave home. So it is pretty unusual that we have a family home.

So let me tell you the wonderful story behind 132.

When my Dad was a young lad he was an apprentice at British Shipbuilders and was sent on secondment to Shell, at their Milford Haven site in Wales. Back then my Grandad and Grandma lived in a council house and my dad would travel on his motorbike to Wales every Monday Morning and come back one weekend a month, but he always sent his wages home to his Mum for her to put in his account.

One month he returned home, only to find out that he didn’t live there anymore! Yes it seems that my Grandad and Grandma had moved whilst he was away and he hadn’t received their letter in time. So the people who had moved in to the council house gave him the address of the new house that his parents were living in.


Let me introduce you to my Great God Daughter 13

My wonderful God Daughter, well she is the boys God Sister, her mum and dad are the boys Godparents and I was their bridesmaid (are you confused yet?) had a little baby girl on 27 October 2010. Now due to the fact that she ended up with a c-section and then it was far too snowy to travel and then with mum dying and her great grandma dying too, I haven’t had the chance to meet her until this week. So let me introduce you to the adorable Megan Alice……. There is something so comforting in holding a new life after losing someone close.  You can see all their potential and more »


Spending cuts to hit the North Harder – but what will they mean for you?

The wonderful Baby Genies post about the upcoming spending cuts really resonated with me today.  I am starting to wonder what is coming to the world.  I have blogged about make take on politics, the election and what I wanted to see before and it seems to be as though none of the politico’s were listening. So what will this week bring?  It seems to be that the word of the month has been fairness, although I fail to see what is fair about taking child benefit from families where one parent is in the higher tax bracket, especially is like us, I am not working. Nick Clegg also announced this more »


The Gallary – My Current Favorite Photo

I love lots of photo’s and favorite choice changes with my mood, the time of day and well the month, year and all that jazz too. At the moment my favorite photo is not one I took, but one that Mrs W from Clinically fed Up took when we were at The Mad Awards.  I love it because it captures the whirlwinds that are my boys. Then I have my second favorite one, why well this is because it captures all of us Mads, happy laughing and generally having fun. And you see that is the beauty of an image, it is a snap shot, a trigger of a memory, a more »


Manners Maketh the Man or Boys, but what is imporatant?

I have said many times that I want my children to be happy in life, but in order for me to be happy with them, I need for them to have a firm and good set of core values and beliefs, so below are a list of things we are working to instill in them. Respect for the opposite sex It is incredibly important for me that the boys, value, cherish and respect girls.  That they understand the differences and uniqueness and celebrate them for it.  I want the boys to become good men. Family To me family is everything, I want the boys to learn to love our family, to more »


When the Sun comes out to play, so do we

It is so much more fun when the sun is shining and we have been making the most of the last few days of MadDad being on Annual Leave, before I have the boys to myself for the last week of the holidays next week. Vanilla Scones from The Pioneer Woman – Yum Chocolate cakes – never fail to be eaten I tried this, not very successfully, but had a great day out. The boys went to Locomotion at Shildon, which is part of the National Railway Museum They had a brill time and are already asking to go back. We all enjoyed the sunshine in Saltburn yesterday (after football practice), more »


Jury Service

I have been issued a summons for Jury Service at the beginning of June.  I do not fall into any of the categories that are able to decline or are ineligible for attendance, but I just don’t know how to fit it in with our family commitments. I know that sounds such a terrible thing to say, but MadDad works and leaves at 6.30am and doesn’t get back in to 5.45pm.  I drop Maxi at school at 8.30am and then I look after Mini and my mum till 12.30pm when I take mini to preschool. I collect both the boys from preschool and school at 2.50pm and 3pm respectively, keep them more »


Five

The most destructive known hurricanes rate as Category 5Muslims pray to Allah five times a dayFive the number of digits on one hand or footThe pentagram, or five-pointed star   five elements: (water, fire, earth, wood, and metal) The five basic tastes are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. Maxi’s last night as a four year old Five for me is the age that Maxi turns on the 16 March. For five years we have been blessed to have watched you grow and developTo see you start to become the man you have the potential to be.You fill my heart with joy, with optimism and excitement.You have brought many smiles to more »


The Past in Pictures

Once I started scanning in pictures, well I couldn’t stop and I have asked my mum of I can have the family tin, which is a box full of wonderful pictures and things from our family history.   Look at those side burns, this is me and my wonderful dad.  I still have the rabbit, well mini has claimed it and my mum still lives in the same house, although she doesn’t have the bar or the wonderful mural on the wall in the sitting room. This is me and my wonderful paternal Grandad who lived with us.  I was his reason for living.  He suffered from cancer before I was more »


Been There, Done That 20

We have come a long way baby, we really have since 2000. I used to be a hard nosed career woman living in Berkshire with the love of my life. I  loved my job, I was good at it and relished the challenges it brought.  I managed projects, relocated 600 people in to a brand new 160000 square foot campus and I did it with time to spare and nothing but commendations.  I was super organised and a super organiser!! In 2000 my dad was fatally injured in an industrial accident.  They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, well this tested us all and MadDad was a tower more »


Social Club Childrens Party 7

I somethimes think that pictures can say things much better than words, but have to say a great big thank you to my wonderful sister in and law and the Ladies of Steel for putting on such a fantastic event yet again!! Cousins in the calm before the storm Kissin Cousins The Club looking all festive Best friends having a bop Mince pie number 5 Putting the world to rights! You can never have enough chocolate mum! Oh no, see the lip just starting to wobble Ending the night raving on the stage Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box The boys fell asleep in the car on the way home at more »