Sunday, 29 September 2013

Silent Sunday ...

A Walk in the Park ....

I went for a walk in the park this week on my own and that doesn't happen often, or at all. Ever. But I have a new camera and the children scatter like leaves on the wind whenever I unleash it so where better to go than the park where leaves would actually be falling off trees, it being Autumn and all that.  ...

But the Park was being stubbornly un-Autumnal, the sun was shining and the leaves were still, mostly, on the trees

The ducks were basking ...

And grapes were growing in the park's formal gardens

WHAT!  This is Yorkshire at the end of September.

 *Tuts at nature*

But I did see a squirrel. Or should I say I saw a squirrel just after it had jumped/thudded/fell out of a tree and landed, with an inelegant thump, 2ft away from me having to fill in an accident form with: "Squirrel landed on head." *Shudders*

The squirrel was equally surprised ...

And probably a bit embarrassed. But not for long....

"Who you looking at?"

Monday, 23 September 2013

Making A Personal Statement

The TeenTwins are in the early stages of applying to universities and this involves writing a Personal Statement. Not something I remember doing when going through the same process 30 years ago, though I remember very little beyond the sheer terror that I wouldn't get into university at all. Oh, and the sheer terror that I might. They are complicated times.

The Personal Statement has, the TeenTwins have been informed, to be 4,000 characters long (including punctuation and spacing). It is, apart from the eventual A-level results presumably, THE singularly most important piece of their university application. It's their one opportunity to sell themselves beyond the stock application form and before making it to the interview stages. It's a foot in the door that could open or slam shut depending on how it reads.

In a Personal Statement students are supposed to convey their hopes, aspirations, ambitions, skills, strengths, experience, commitment and passions. Not only do that, within the confines of 4,000 characters of course, but while ensuring there are no similarities to anyone else's Personal Statement passing, as personal statements do, through an obligatory anti-plagiarism software sweep on their journey into the UCAS system.

(I just hope they have a software system in place to deal with twins and most definitely the TeenTwins who, despite their best efforts to be thoroughly individual, have experienced the same education, have much the same interests and have participated in the same events, at the same time. *Looks hard at UCAS*)

 Personal Statement, an early draft from TeenTwin2
Anyway, the TeenTwins Personal Statements are almost, very almost, done. It's been a tiresome process punctuated with lots of:  "I'm writing my Personal Statement and I can't.... wash up/ go shopping/ clean my room/ fold my clothes/ stop shrieking/ smile/ do anything but grunt.... because I AM WRITING MY PERSONAL STATEMENT" emitting from the depths of their bedroom. Yes, they even share a bedroom.

This weekend I got to read their almost, almost very nearly, finished Personal Statements. In 4,000 characters, the TeenTwins have each expressed their characters with great eloquence and summed up their achievements, ambitions, expectations and enthusiasms elegantly and entirely differently. They both sound amazing; adult, clever, clear and focussed on a bright future.

And I bawled my blooming eyes out. Obviously.

When did my baby girls get all grown up? WHEN? It's not two minutes ago since I was bringing them home from the hospital (on Christmas Day in the snow, since you're asking) and not above three minutes since I was shouting at them for the state of their bedroom. Oh hang on, that was three minutes ago. *tuts*

In just a year's time they will be, all gods willing *crosses fingers, arms, legs and plaits hair,* leaving to go away to university. In just a year. A year.

Frankly, I'm not sure I'm ready for that. Not at all. Not yet.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Dispatch from the Trenches....

Stomp, stomp, stomp. A large BOOM rents the air. Our correspondent sticks her head out from where she has been clearly sheltering. ....

"Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once: We are in a state of war.

Alright, the enemy is, to all intents and purposes, a 12 year old girl but you should NEVER underestimate a 12 year old girl. The Tweenager is fighting for her independence with the fervour of a zealot.

I, as a veteran of earlier campaigns (TeenTwin I and TeenTwin II), can be sure that the current policy of sulking, floor-stomping and door-slamming are just initial skirmishes at the start of the long battle ahead. The Tweenager is assessing her opponents, she's judging our strengths and our weaknesses and preparing to mount tactical assaults when we are at our weakest point..... (after three glasses of wine on a Friday night or in the middle of a particularly gripping bit of the Great British Bake Off)..... And so we must remain ever vigilant, one lapse in concentration and she'll be painting her bedroom walls black before we can muster even a token defence.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Visit to Brickshire

The Boy likes Lego. No, actually, he LOVES Lego and I'm not ashamed to admit that I have actively encouraged this love because I, shh tell not a soul, love Lego too.

After bringing up three girls whose interest in Lego stalled when they discovered Ello, which they adored and of which we still possess a terrifying amount, I was absolutely determined that The Boy would discover the passion for the classic brick which I remembered fondly from my own childhood, though that simple brick has grown up slightly more than I have over the past 40-odd years.

So we were hardly going to miss the Brickshire Lego Display at Wakefield Museum this weekend. Though, of course, I didn't let The Boy know that I was as excited as he was because he's already quite capable of exploiting any weakness with extreme cunning and a twist of charm (though some people just say that I spoil him *rolls eyes*) But at no point did I want to promise him The Earth. In Lego. Not when he's already got a mass f*ckton (a technical term) of it already.

Silent Sunday ...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Gallery ... Selfie

I'm joining in with The Gallery this week and the theme is "Selfie"

I know everything there is to know about selfies, you can't be the mother of a couple of 17 year old girls WITHOUT knowing what a selfie is. The pair of them are usually waving their phones about and pouting. A lot. But me? Well, when I first saw The Gallery theme I thought I'd give it a miss. "I don't do selfies," I thought. "Uh huh, not me," I thought.

And then I looked through my Facebook photos and thought: "Oh."

I, er, DO do selfies. Apparently  *blushes*

*Tuts at self*

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

This is my entry for The Gallery. You can check out everyone else's at Sticky Fingers

You can put the camera down now, woman!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Day We Met Dr Who and Batman and....

Over the summer school holidays I tried to find Stuff To Do that was nearby, wouldn't cost an arm, a leg, my first born child AND would be fun for all the family. With children aged 17, 12 and seven, that's not as easy as it might appear. And I still have the scars to prove it. *Shudders*

But a week after the schools re-opened their doors, we found something that ticked all the boxes: the KnightCon Star Cars and Heroes day at Xscape in Castleford. A one-day event held annually.

We didn't even discover it was on until I saw a friend's status update on Facebook so we only arrived mid-afternoon having missed the parades but that didn't dampen our enthusiasm. A cursory search for information had revealed that there would not only be Daleks but also Stormtroopers. And a whole plethora of superheroes hanging around the "mall" all day. I even subdued by usual impulse to complain about the use of the word "mall." And I hate the word "mall."

Silent Sunday...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Son and Hair ... Again

I've blogged before about The Boy and his hair, but then he was five years old. Now a little over two years later he is, with startlingly predictability, aged seven and just starting the first week of Key Stage 2 and his hair is still quite long. For a Boy.

It's not me that keeps it that way, at least not any more. The same week we decided to subject the family to six weekly visits by a mobile hairdresser (a year or so ago) was the week I asked him if he would like his hair cut, not did he want it cut "properly" or "like a boy," I just asked if he would like it cut. He didn't and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Because I like his hair. I think it suits him. I like to play with it when we're stood at bus-stops or in a queue and I would, if it was cut short, miss it. A lot. I'd get over it though because it's not his hair that I really love . It's him.

Yet I've continued to breathe a sigh of relief every six weeks when Sarah, the family hairdresser, returns because all he asks for is to have his hair like Matt Smith (when he is Dr Who obviously, not the newly shorn version) and that can be achieved with a bit of gel and a skilfully wielded comb. So his hair is trimmed, tidied up and neatened but still it's undeniably longer than the average boy's.

That it's still long now he's reached the grand old age of seven has apparently become something of a bone of contention with some members of the extended family. Clearly of the opinion that it's me insisting his hair hangs permanently past his collar, there has been loud and pointed musings over whether The Boy would benefit from a haircut.

There have also been suggestions that because of it's current length, he'll go bald in later life. Because the weight and length of his hair will eventually weaken all the follicles and cause it all to fall out. Obviously. *Rolls eyes*

And more covert inferences that he will grow up with "issues," that are darkly muttered and tactfully unspecified, but are made all the worse by him wearing pink t-shirts on occasion *Rolls eyes even more.*

I have, let's not deny it, felt pressured. And guilty.

Next week, Sarah the hairdresser is visiting again so, not wanting to be guilty as so obviously charged, I have asked The Boy if he wants his hair cutting. I've asked him if he wants his hair cutting short. If he wants it cutting like So-and-So in his class or Whatshisname (but not Thingummyjig. I do have SOME standards).

I've asked him if he wants it cutting like a boy and, yes it made my heart sink to do so. The Boy is fully aware of the differences between boys and girls, he would have to been kept in a special cave at the end of the garden not to be so with three big sisters, but hair-length is not one he recognises.

And THAT might be down to Daddy. ACTUALLY.

*Puts thumb to nose and waggles fingers at  relatives*

And The Boy said he doesn't want to look like Whatsisname or So-and-so or even Thingummyjig. He said he doesn't want his hair cut short and I asked twice. Just to make sure...... 


This post would have been sponsored by It's Not Always the Mother's Fault. Com if it existed, but it doesn't, so it isn't.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Pictures of Summer

One of the things I've enjoyed the most while writing this blog over the last couple of years is taking the pictures that go on it. I'm not anything other than an enthusiastic amateur and use either a point and shoot camera or my phone camera, neither of which is anything special, but I've been pleased with the results....

..... Or at least I was until I idly picked up and played with a DSLR while out shopping a couple weeks ago that boasted a 35x optical zoom among other things. It made me go "Oooh" and then it made me go "Ahhhhh" and then it made me go: "I WANT ONE." I didn't actually throw myself to the floor and drum my heels in a tantrum but only because the salesmen was hovering, and I can't stand salesmen.

So my new ambition, apart from becoming Queen of the World and looking like Beyonce in a leotard, is to have a camera like that camera of my very, very own. Though the likelihood of getting one anytime soon, with four children apparently on a never-ending quest to empty the family coffers, IS going to be about as achievable as becoming Queen of the World.

Meanwhile The Boy has developed a passion of his own for photography and all summer has taken every available opportunity to waltz off and start clicking away like a mini David Bailey with MY camera.

Nevertheless I managed to wrestle it from him just enough to take a few photos over the summer months most of which though have been pictures of bees which seems less disinclined to pose for me that my own offspring...

These though, out of the literally hundreds of photos I've taken over the past few weeks, are my top five favourite photos (featuring people and not bees) from this summer

Boy meets dinosaur

Goes off to dream of optical zooms and mega pixels ....

Silent Sunday ...

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