"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Thursday, 27 January 2011


Up around nine for me.Milly had asked me to wake her at ten thirty which I did :-)
Breakfast and Friends DVD for Milly, routine morning jobs for me.
Disappointment, when a call from Alan about having to work late one evening threatened to disrupt plans for a sleep-over next weekend :-(
Luckily a way round it has been found - so it is back on :-) 
Lunch for me. Dressing - whilst watching Friends for Milly.
First singing lesson for Milly with the lovely and very talented D:-)
Lunch for Milly.
Journey to Gym and pool.
Five minutes on exercise bike and then five minutes on the treadmill for me.Milly started on the bike but decided she wasn't liking it today and went on the treadmill.She decided she wasn't keen on doing that either today and went off to get changed.
Pool, a tetchy Milly and a tetchy Mum....Words had - time to think whilst swimming separately for a few minutes! Came together to play - peace....
Sauna for me - watching Milly practising handstands, time after time after time.
Ten minutes later back in the pool.Milly had a great game to play.Handstand competition, X Factor/Britain's got talent style. 10 contestants - all Milly - performing to be entered into the competition .My job was to judge each contestant and clap if they had been good enough to move onto the next round.Then they performed 2 rounds that I had to score and we had to remember which contestants got the highest scores from the two rounds!Good job Milly has a good memory...
I lost count of how many hand stands she did !!
Five minutes in the Jacuzzi for me whilst Emily carried on practising her handstands.
Home to make tea in double quick time with Al,Simpson's for Emily.
Tea and chat at the table for us all.
Tickle fight and play with Skelanimals for Milly and Alan whilst I washed my hair and made a call.
Milly went to bed to listen to story tape - hoping to sleep.
I snuggled on the sofa to watch TV whilst checking Emails and blogs :-)
Milly back down as she couldn't sleep...
Blogging then bed.....

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Nursemaid with alternative ointments and positive thinking thrown in!

I was making cottage pie this afternoon when I burnt my fingers very badly! Milly heard me squeal and rushed through from the living room where she had been watching Scrubs.She watched me as I held them under the cold water and when I had dried them off she stroked my hand gently before exclaiming " Wait there, I know just the thing!" She came back down with toothpaste ( she remembered seeing it on the film, Just my luck ) She put a blob on and I rubbed it in ( was a little dubious about it but more than wiling to give it a fair go! ) As I went back to stirring the pan on the stove I was saying " Ow, oh it hurts," and general wimpy comments ;-) She said " Mum that is very negative thinking, say, this is hurting right now but I choose not to focus on it!" I said that and then added for good measure " in five minutes I will feel no pain "
Milly was going out of the kitchen at this point but commented as she went " That's maybe taking it a little far Mum!"  Don't you just love her ;-))
Oh, by the way, the fingers are hardly hurting at all now!

Monday, 24 January 2011


I am sitting at my desk - supposedly doing next weeks Menu and food list - I keep getting distracted.

 Facebook and email stuff keep calling to me but the most amusing distraction came from Milly.
She came up behind me asking "How do I look?"
As we had bought her some new lacy fingerless gloves and a handbag today ( early Birthday presents )  I thought she would have created an outfit to show them off to me.
I paused and before looking round said that I was prepared to be stunned:-)
Oh... how stunned was I!!!
She had padded out one of my bras with socks and had a halterneck t'shirt on and the gloves.
It was absolutely hilarious ( if slightly disconcerting to see her with 38f *boobs* ) to watch her prancing around :-)

We have had a wonderful day.
A very good friend and her son came to visit this morning.The children enjoyed playing and we enjoyed chatting :-) Maria also brought Sushi and cake so that made the visit even more special ;-))

 They left mid afternoon and we went out shortly afterwards to go to the Gym.I never thought I would ever say (write) those words.I have never been a sporty type, I always had very physical jobs and enjoyed walking, but sport or going to the Gym just never appealed. M.E meant that for quite a few years I was unable to do anything. Over the years I have gradually been able to do more and walk further.
The Spa membership we have taken out was initially a way to make exercise fun for Milly and I - she loves being in the water - and because of the pool, sauna, and steam room. The added benefit was the positive impact they have on my aches and pains. Another plus was the freedom we have to go swimming as often as we like at any time we want to.
An unexpected added benefit is proving to be the exercise bike and the treadmill. Milly is enjoying using them and I go ( very slowly )  next to her.We have our music on and had such a giggle today.
From the Gym into the pool where we spent an hour and a half playing and having fun.When I go into the Sauna - Milly joined me for all of 2 minutes today :-) - I sit so that I can see her in the pool - she never stops - diving down for the plastic fish we take in or simply twirling in the water.We also have a few games that keep us busy and laughing ;-)
So much fun and what a really great way to connect with her.
The drive always includes music, interesting conversations and provides an opportunity to talk about anything that is bothering us - funny how much easier these conversations flow when you are not
 face to face.:-)

Alan has had a trial but has decided against getting a membership.He has a back condition that means he can't use a lot of the equipment in the gym and he doesn't enjoy swimming - he would go with Milly but  wouldn't go on his own. So it wouldn't be cost effective for him.

So far in the 10 days since we joined Emily and I  have been 4 times together and I have been 3 times on my own. I have been going later in the evening or stop off after I have been shopping. On these occasions I swim a few lengths but take my book, my phone, which has music and a Karma clearing meditation on, and I use the sauna and jacuzzi - much more about relaxation than exercise on those occasions.

Being with Emily so much is a blessing and I would not change a thing.I have struggled to find a balance though.I find I can't rest/relax as well at home, even when she is occupied with her own stuff ( this is happening more and more as she gets older ) I am always *on* anticipating and expecting a request for help, food or whatever. Having the ability to go to the pool to switch of totally and relax is already having a knock on effect in our daily life.I feel calmer and can be fully present in the times when I am with Emily knowing that I have the relaxing time at the pool to look forward to.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Costume day!

Woke very late this morning - 10.30! Me and Alan were in a tossing and turning competition last night though - neither of us could sleep - so annoying to be exhausted yet unable to drop off....

Quiet morning and then Emily and I went off to the Spa/pool we have just joined :-)
We had been going regularly ( a couple of times a week ) to a local pool with a slide and wave machine last year. They have made cutbacks and the wave machine and slide are out of action apart from a few sessions during the week and weekends when the kids are out of school.Not the time we want to be in the pool!

Having talked about it we decided to give this hotel a try.It was central and, with the new year offer they had on, it was within our price range. Luckily we had some savings to dip into to pay for it now and then I am going to save the money we would have spent on petrol and swimming costs going to the pool we would have visited and pay it back in.
It has a 20 metre pool and a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi and we also have use of the gym.Emily can use some of the cardio equipment if she wants to.
It is a little dated ( that's why it is in our price range I suppose ) but it is clean and -  importantly - quiet! Most of the time today we had the place to ourselves:-)

We played a Percy Jackson game ( the pool has greek gods and godess images painted on the walls ) the whole time we were in, the game moving from the pool to the sauna, steam room or jacuzzi and an hour and a half flew by. Best way to get exercise, having fun whilst you do it:-) we are planning on taking our books and fandex on greek myths with us so we can lounge and learn:-)
 I just have to make sure I don't overdo things and remember to float more than I swim -  it feels so good to be in the pool. Planning to go for an induction for the gym later in the week then we can use it if we decide to. Milly will be able to use her ipod and sit on the bike or treadmill and I have music and a meditation on my phone I can use whilst using the treadmill to walk.

So, just have to make sure we keep going to warrant the financial outlay.I don't see a problem as we both love being in the water.The loungers at the pool side mean that if I am under par Milly can still go in whilst I lounge:-)

These arrived today.

Great delight from Emily. She has been thinking for some time that she may become a costume designer.

Alans out at Tai chi and I have got a date with Milly to play with them tonight:-)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Over the last few years I have come to know myself better and have come to like myself more - most days ;-)).
In my fifty first year, I have a confidence about my life choices, that I have not had all my life.
I know who I am.
I am learning to accept myself - with all my failings and quirks and habits ;-))
I am a liberal minded person who can get on with just about anybody.
It doesn't matter to me if you have pink hair that has never seen a brush or if your are immaculately coiffed, your appearance is of no concern to me, it doesn't tell me about the person inside, so, I am more than willing to get to know you without making any judgements.

We may find common ground in our educational philosophies or our parenting styles. We may have a common interest in literature or film. There are many ways we can connect, for varying levels of  friendship.

We may, in fact, do things very differently and yet still have the opportunity to learn from each other.

 You may not want to make the choices we do and no one is saying you should - you must do what is right for you. Accept that others are different and allow them the freedom to follow their path without judgement. 

Being different is not bad, it is just different!

And as Emily and I like to say " different is good !!! "

Tuesday, 11 January 2011


I met with three very special ladies today.It is a regular monthly date.... to meditate ;-)

We started meditating together many years ago....about ten I think....can't remember exactly....maybe slightly less.
I can remember the first time I met them. We had all been going to the same Homeopath and when she set up a new meditation group we were all drawn to it. It involved healing through the Chakras.

We met for the first time at a church hall in Cockermouth. There were something like 16 of us began that course. I remember the first meditation, we all sat down and Sheila taught us about chackras and how to open them. She showed us how to protect ourselves and then we began. I remember the feeling that nothing was happening, I couldn't relax, my mind was a whirl, I had never even heard of Chakras;-) I was sure I would never, ever, get it.

It felt important though, this learning to meditate, so I kept going. Month after month it began to happen. Slowly I began to understand. I could switch off, even just for moments at a time, I could visualise, even fleetingly. The healing that happened during those sessions was immense. We all shared ( if we chose to) what the meditation had been like for us. Tears were shed and healing happened for all of us.

Some years later,Sheila's life was to change forever when her son was severely injured in a mountain bike accident.She was obviously in no position to continue the meditaion group.With hope that she would be able to return in the future, a small group of us continued meeting.The number gradually dwindled to just the four of us.

We gradually got to know each other better and, although we never met outside the group, they became the people I trusted the most.We had shared so much - it was ( is ) a very special bond. They were there for me at a pivotal time in my life.

After some time, we decided we didn't need to pay the hall fee's each month and we would meet in each others houses on a rota.This has continued and I never fail to feel uplifted after a meeting.
We have no problem finding things to talk about and the three hours we are together is never long enough:-)

I am blessed to have them in my life and thank them for their continued support and inspiration. 

Monday, 10 January 2011

Railway Children, days away, Lovely Bones, and Stories...

I woke late this morning and enjoyed the luxury of being able to lie in bed and allow my mind to wander. I love not having to rush up on a morning - some of my best ideas are formulated in the quiet and comfortable moments before rising...

We returned late yesterday afternoon from a short break to stay with friends over in the Northeast.
New (ish) friends, made over the inter-net, courtesy of Facebook:-) We have met a few times, but this was our first visit to their neck of the woods.
Milly was a star.She was anxious and we had some hairy moments to work through but she did it and the 45 minute train journey was probably just about the right length for her.
Off the train to be greeted warmly:-)

A very professional Am Dram performance of the Railway Children in the evening and an invite to the after show wrap party where the children had great fun playing tag on the set and in the runs behind the scenes.

We were treated to brunch and play the next morning. Charlie the dog stole our hearts:-)
We were sad to leave mid afternoon.
The train journey home was awful - not Milly and any anxieties - just me  - feeling travel sick :-(
She did a very good job of caring for me and allowing me to just sit with a cold water bottle held to my head. Very glad to see Alan when we got off the train.
Not a good journey, but it hasn't dampened my memories of a wonderful visit!

Today has been an at home day. We watched The Lovely Bones. Milly saw the trailer at the Cinema quite a while ago and was keen to watch it. I thought it best to wait til it came out on DVD - at least that way she could choose to turn it off or fast forward if she wanted to. I put it on our Love film list and it came last week. Obviously the subject matter is distressing, but it is a topic she has been questioning lately as she listens to reports on the news when we are in the car. There were parts where she had the pillow hugged tight and there were parts where she cried, but when I asked if she wanted to turn it off or have a break, she said no. Having read some of the reviews I was expecting a worse film. I have not read the book, although, from what I have read about it, it does go into much more detail. I thought -  as a film for Emily to watch - it managed to convey the story well, it got across the horror of the situation, and the evil of the killer, without in depth details/images about the deaths.

We then took Beauty on a rainy windy walk, whilst Milly told me her new Story. Walks are not complete without a good story from Milly :-)

  She is tapping away on her laptop now. She counted up and has over 200 stories she has saved on her Laptop. The vast majority of them are the bare bones of stories, beginning chapters and may include - alongside the Books Title - character names or chapter titles. She has many book titles, some of them amazing and evocative, she records them all for later use. She seems to have very little problem thinking up an idea for a story, and is inspired by many different sources.

 I could worry that she will never finish a whole story, but I don't.
Her vocabulary is growing and some of the imagery she uses is fabulous. Her humour is also showing through in her stories. Milly works through things in stages. Her drawing is the same. The figures she creates have now evolved and importantly they have evolved into her own work - no step by step how to draw for her - she likes to do things her own way. The best thing about that is the end product is individual and unique - just like her:-)

Friday, 7 January 2011

Following on from the last post.Angel power, or just a coincidence;--)

Madness here today.Very, very busy.Packing and getting ready to go and stay over in the Northeast ;-) Many jobs to do as well and the day has just flown by.Time was getting on and the last thing to do was to go out for a walk with Beauty and as we had time left when we got back I decided I would take the opportunity to have a bath before getting ready to head out.As I walked through the sun room my book on Archangels and Angels caught my eye. I decided I would take it up with me and see if there was anyone I could call on to help Emily through her difficulties.

I got in the bath and opened it and  an Angel card nearly fell in the water. I caught it and this is what it was...

I have been told in the past that my Angel has turquoise colours and often, when in a guided meditation we are asked to surround ourselves with a healing colour. and the colour of the Angels skirt in this picture is the colour that comes into my mind.

The card says,

"Moving forward does not necessarily require you to have confidence in yourself .Confidence in God is enough,along with knowing that God works through you and with you in all ways. Lean upon us if your confidence wavers, and we will buoy your courage and faith."

I don't remember putting the card in the book at all and the page the book fell out of also had a prayer.
Healing a child...

"Thank you ,God, for my child's perfect health.Thank you for peace within my child's body.Thank you Archangel Raphael, for your powerful healing energy,which heals everything rapidly with each breath my child takes.Thank you, Damara, for gently comforting and reassuring me and my child.Thank you, Hathor,for clearly instructing me on how best I can help my child.Thank you Mother Mary,for watching over all of us and sending us your Divine healing love."

Angel card...

My Angel card for today...

" A chance meeting is no mistake. It is Divinely orchestrated as a catalyst to set the wheels in motion for the fruition of your prayers.Pay careful attention to new people we send into your life.You will recognize them by your sense of familiarity,comfort, and safety."

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Plans for the coming year....

The start of a new year - a time of resolutions and plans for the coming year.
We don't usually make any resolutions but we do talk about the kind of things we want to achieve during the year.This year, amongst others, the same things cropped up that we talked about last year. To eat healthily, to exercise more - you know the same things that half the country makes resolutions about.

We actually did do more exercise during the last year and also continued to eat a healthier diet - stumbled at  around the end of September and found it hard going to keep on track for a while and then munched and enjoyed many, very unhealthy goodies ( with no guilt )
 through the Christmas period ;-))
Getting back on track already and see no reason why we shouldn't continue to eat fresh, home cooked healthy meals this year.
On the *education * front, I never make any plans for the year.
In the early months I had files full of things I thought she might like to do.I spent ages trawling the inter-net for educational sites and bought many books / educational activities that I thought we could do. I soon realised the futility of this and stopped :-)  I have no idea what Emily will be interested tomorrow, never mind in a few months time. Her *education* is in her hands and she follows her interests with me facilitating by finding things online,in the library, buying items that tie in with her interests.I also find things that might open up new interests for her,sometimes that works others it doesn't. Because we are together so much of the time and talk constantly I am very well aware of her growth and the knowledge she is acquiring.This is not someone else's idea of what she should know at any given time, it looks nothing like school - although, sitting at the dining room table for over an hour the other day whilst she asked me to give her a spelling test, certainly did ;-)
I will have wobbles periodically - this is a given because what we do is so far from the norm - they come, and I resist the temptation to do anything to change things whilst I am in wobbledom ;-)
I work through what it is that is causing the problem and carry on as before.

Milly will continue to do what she does and Alan and I will continue to allow her the freedom to do that.
I am passionate about Autonomous education and my belief is growing as, more and more, we see the evidence of how it works.

Three years ago we were given a Terramundi Jar by my Sister and her husband. Last year we talked about breaking in to it but as it was only 2/3 full decided to leave it for a while and keep filling it and then forgot about it.
On Boxing day we decided to break it open - last year we had estimated it was likely to hold around a couple of hundred pounds and had earmarked it to go towards a wii .
Totally amazed to count £450.00!!!!
To help with our aims to exercise more and add to the walking we already do, we now have a wii and wii fit :-)
Not only is it helping to keep us fit it is great fun:-)) So many giggles.

We were in the car going swimming yesterday and chatting about many things and got round to what we wanted for the coming Year.I asked if she wanted to change the way we do things and she said most definitely not ;-)
We talked about the fun we had been having keeping fit using the wii and how good it is that you can have  exercise and have fun at the same time.

As we were talking a word suddenly popped into my head ....Joy....

I said that I thought it would be a good idea this year to do things that fill us with Joy.
Having talked to Alan, we have decided that is a good word to focus on this year.

So in a nutshell, our plans for life and our new year resolution, is to seek out JOY, in any way we can ;-)

Monday, 3 January 2011

For the record....

Between Xmas and New year has been one of the quietest times I can remember.
We visited my parents one day and Alan and I went off to Carlisle to spend his Xmas money on some much needed clothes.Emily spent the whole afternoon at my Mums,playing and baking.They all had a lovely time.We came back with a new wardrobe of clothes for Al, plus some other goodies.
Apart from that we have been at home.Long lie ins, lazy days, Wii playing, drawing, walking, playing Bratz, watching films and eating the remnants of the chocolates and cakes:-)

I had intended to invite people round, but as each day went by I just felt we needed time to ourselves and decided to leave the invites for another day.In no time at all the holidays are over and people are going back to school/work.

This quiet spell has meant I have had time to work through some things.

As this blog is primarily a record of our life I like to make sure I document everything.I don't always have the time or inclination to do that as each thing occurs but I do like to record it at some point.It gives a wider picture to anyone reading and helps me to put things into perspective.
 Alan has been suffering from Eczema and his arms have flared up over the last month or so meaning he has had little relief  from the itching and consequently very little sleep.He is being treated by a homeopath and also taking supplements to treat it naturally but needed more immediate relief.He managed to go to the doctors and got some medication to help and the last couple of nights has even managed some sleep:-) Once it is under control again he will be looking at possible triggers and continuing with the holistic approach.

For the last four or five months I have found my M.E symptoms have been more evident ,on top of menopausal symptoms.I had enjoyed being more active and doing all the things I dreamed of doing for so long.It is so hard to have a good, healthy period of time and then relapse ( sometimes for no apparent reason ) into poor health. I try to be positive and change the way I think and it has been this that has helped me through from the very dark days. In hindsight I should have listened to my body and taken a break sooner. Instead of looking at it as a backward step to the horrible place I was in for so long, I should have seen at it as simply a time to catch my breath before moving on again.

Alongside our ailments, Milly has been having a very hard time - I have asked her if she minds me writing this and she said it was ok - she has been very anxious about many things.The one causing the most problems, has been her anxiety about going out anywhere and not being able to find a toilet if she needs to go.
This is not a new thing for her,it has been with her since she was very young and we can remember many holidays where we spent an inordinate amount of time visiting loo's:-) Back then -  it wasn't a case of her worrying about going to the loo and being able to find one - she would *need* to go many times.The record was a cafe in France when I think we visited the loo 9 times during a meal!

I have documented here before that we have tailored our holidays (after discussion with Em,who actually does like to go on Holiday - just doesn't want to be away too long! ) to a shorter mid week break, within a three hour journey time,to alleviate her anxiety/dislike of being away from home.
 There are some that would say not to pander to these feelings, many would not even see them as valid.We take a different view and over the years we have lived with and helped her overcome many of her fears.There have been times when she has carried a huge rucksack everywhere she went ( in the house and outside) full of all her special things - in case of a fire.That has lasted for weeks at a time but once it was for months that the rucksack went everywhere with her .

Over time the anxiety levels declined and she had been managing to go on journeys without any anxiety at all - even requesting trips,most notably London (will blog about that trip later, maybe just pictures but really want to log it on here!)

For some reason ( my own thoughts are that she has gone through a growth spurt - emotional and physical and her insecurities have resurfaced and are manifesting in a slightly different way) the anxiety has taken over.

There have been times she has wanted to go somewhere but she needs to know there is a loo there and if it is a new place she needs to find the loo straight away.We have had many tears if we have had to go on a journey and long conversations about the options to help her.
Unfortunately the timing for our much anticipated London trip coincided with the increase in her anxiety levels.We got through the trip having a had great time, I had to be incredibly patient, ( managed that 99% of the time) talking her through her fears - and inventive, finding many ways to access loo's around London at a moments notice! Managed to see the University College Hospital - which we probably wouldn't have noticed if we hadn't needed to find a loo in double quick time! It was a shame because we didn't spend as much time with Collen and Jerry as I would have liked - we really had to take each day moment by moment and have the flexibility to change plans if needed.

 She is happiest at home listening to her story tapes,playing and drawing, ideally she would not go out at all.

We have taken things slowly ( we have talked things through with her and talked about the steps she feels comfortable doing) she is now going on short walks round the village with us, ( she is still very nervous before going and we go through any concerns she has before we set off and help her to see the solutions) as we walk and talk the distance gets longer without her realising ( she is always in control of when we turn back ) we are up to about 45 minutes now.She will go on short car journeys to the Cinema etc but gets anxious if we are held up in traffic - she is ok as long as we are moving.If we need to go places that are going to take a long time we arrange it so she doesn't have to go.

In my mind a child who is happy and healthy but prefers to be at home, without the anxiety when going out is a different scenario to a child who is scared to go out and runs the risk of each trip becoming harder to do if small steps are not taken to help them move on.It has been wearing and upsetting and so worrying .

I always find that these things become more and more difficult when I stop listening to my heart and do what I know is right for us and in line with the way we want to Parent. I am not a perfect parent - far from it on some days! When I am in balance I am confident in our choices and I am not swayed by the opinion of others, not quite so easy when at a low ebb:-(  Everything becomes difficult and I step back into a more authoritarian style of parenting and loose connection with Emily and what is our natural flow.

It is easy to see why we have had such a slump in energy!

Ah well, lesson learned! It has taken time to get to the right head space and we have needed this time at home to recoup.

Life has been challenging over the last three months or so.It has been so easy to be dragged down and stuck in negative thoughts.This last week, having time to relax and to reflect has put things into perspective.

The reality is we have had a great 2010, many, many positive memories to look back on.We have a wonderful life with many wonderful people surrounding us.

Over the last two days I have felt my head clearing and have been bubblier - feeling much more positive and looking forward to the year ahead.I know the steps I can take to help get back in balance.We have some way to go to help Emily through this difficult time but I am confident we will do it and come through stronger than ever:-)

Life is good.
Onwards and upwards!
Happy New Year! :-)

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Build up and Xmas 2010...

On the Thursday before Xmas we had plans to go out with Lisa and the kids, unfortunately a leak in her bathroom roof meant we had to cancel the planned outing.Still really keen to see them all we decided to take them sledging ( on a hill in the village just made for that purpose ) and then go back to theirs for hot chocolate before coming round to mine for lunch.That gave Lisa a chance to rang the insurers.

 They had a wonderful game in the sun room - bringing down boxes of bratz and setting up a bratz world! Morgan (5) played happily alongside them with a box of fantasy figures Milly had brought down for him. He had great fun playing with some miniature spiderman/batman figures and Milly said he could keep them. We all took Beauty for a walk and then took them home on our way to a friends Xmas party - a tradition over the last few years .
Maria's Pixies party was great fun and Emily really enjoyed the fact that she was Maria's helper, looking out for the little ones during the games and at tea time ;-) I enjoyed chatting and drinking tea :-)

I had hoped to have had all the shopping and prep done before Xmas eve - didn't happen ;-)
However Alan and I worked together to get it all done on the morning .He went off shopping for food and to drop some presents off, whilst I tackled the housework.We were working towards sitting down together to watch Alice in wonderland at 2ish, before getting ready to visit a family friend to celebrate her sons birthday.It has become a family tradition and Xmas eve wouldn't seem the same without it :-)

Milly had a present to drop off for Amy and walked round to deliver it and ended up staying round at theirs for an hour.Milly said Morgan was happy to see her and gave her big cuddles - apparently he had fallen asleep clutching the toys she had given him .We really must make arrangements to see them more often and not wait til the next school holiday. 

Instead of watching the film I decided to have a nice long bath and when Milly got back we left for the party a little earlier.
After Hazels Xmas eve party we had a very, very cold but enjoyable walk with Beauty.A cuppa and a rest before heading out to visit with some friends of my Sisters who had very kindly invited us along. Spent a very pleasant hour and a half  there ( there were lots of children there but Milly was unsettled/excited and keen to get home ) before heading back to snuggle down and watch The sorcerer's Apprentice in our new Xmas PJ's. I always buy a film for Emily to open on Xmas eve and we all always have PJ's to open.

We settled down to sleep around 11.30.Much, much earlier than last year! I no longer had to hang around waiting til she went off to sleep!Milly knowing about Santa has made the build up quite a lot easier for her but she was still very excited;-) She still wanted to do the traditional things,like our Xmas eve walk to listen for the sleigh bells. Santa always leaves a snowy footprint on the fireplace and she wanted to do that once I had told her how I did it!. We did however forget to leave out the carrot, mince pie and sherry!
We have never set a time that Milly has to stay in bed until on Xmas morning,we have always accepted it would be early and that it is part of the excitement of the day.. A few years ago we decided instead to arrange our day to suit an early start.this year Milly brought up about what time she might get up,she wanted to know a time.We did set a limit - and after discussion all agreed - not before 5 ....
We had been busy during the day and thought ( hoped ) she would be tired and not likely to wake up early.
Alan set up the bag of presents from Santa and we all settled down to sleep...
5 o'clock and Milly woke us gently.... She had been awake since 4.00!

And so we began our Christmas day...

             Skelanimal Tattoo's were a big hit!

Friends Box set - bought at a very good price from Morrisons on Xmas Eve - hours of fun to come..

A look of disbelief.Is this really what I think it is???

Is it? It is !!!

Oh my! It is so beautiful.An ipod touch:-)
Milly had been saving for a few months and had decided that any money she got for Xmas would go towards one.She also asked if we could save some of her xmas money and not buy any more gifts and put some towards it. Whilst I was researching them - so I knew what an ipod actually was! - what price they were etc - I saw a brilliant deal on Tesco direct. Alan and I decided to buy it ( to be reimbursed by Milly after Xmas ) instead of waiting til January.So glad we did!

So you think you know Lemony Snicket quiz book.

Manga, 20q, notebooks, DVD's, Beannie boo, Emily the Strange art book, and more...

Lemony Snicket autobiography.

Bath bombs, wooden chest to store special things in,nail-varnish,Phone (ipod) cover,Eclipse movie book,more Emily the strange merchandise,manga fairy shrinkles.A lot of lovely things from wonderfully generous friends and family.Set out near the tree where they stay for a week or so getting used and moved as the week goes by.

Milly asked me to take a shot of her writing in her new Emily the Strange locking journal, with new socks and nightie on and her new dressing gown nearby.The Lolo ball is always at her feet - its good to have something to jiggle when you like to move a lot ;-)

A leisurely morning ( Alan headed back to bed for an hour or so ) getting to know the ipod and checking out her presents,before getting ready to go to my Sisters for a late lunch.

Over the last few years we had tailored our Xmas days to take account of the early start and stayed at home, spending the day quietly.However after discussing it we were all keen to go to my sisters this year when they invited us.Alan and I had both hoped we would have a later start this year though ;-)

Got to my Sisters about 12.30 and around two o'clock a couple of Elves came along with wonderful glittery, sparkly, party head gear for us all to wear and the bubbly to go with the canapes and the party started!
A lovely family time, wonderfully hosted, with great food and good fun.

One drawback to such an early start is it can all fall apart later in the day :-) We all lasted quite well, but by early evening we were ready to head home and an early night set us back on track.