September. A month which marks new starts to so many parents. This year saw the youngest start at school full time and as such my life has changed again to fit in with that. It’s felt like I’ve been juggling everything since she was born and the fact that she’s now out of the house for six and a half hours a day makes a huge difference in my daily life. The morning school run and all the after school and weekend extra-curricular activities are still a huge juggle (especially as we have an hour round trip to school!) but for six and a half blissful silent hours I can actually hear myself think and go to the loo in peace. Fellow juggling parents you will know exactly what I mean here and why it is such a big deal! Alongside that her older sister started in Year 9 and her brother kicked off his final year at primary school.
Her start at school also signifies the start of me trying to get my working life back on track somewhat, and catch up with all the jobs that have been sitting on my to do list for the last five years. My list of things I wanted to achieve in September was massive, and unrealistic, but I’m pleased to say that at least some of them have been achieved. I also feel like I’ve got a pit more of a plan of what the weeks and months ahead might look like too. A few curved balls have derailed and delayed plans a little bit, but I’m hoping to get them back on track pretty soon.
So, just what have I been up to?
Well, both my husband and son celebrated birthdays in September. For one we went to a 1940s weekend at the Milton Keynes Museum and managed to see a Lancaster flypast. The other involved taking a bunch of Ten and eleven year olds go karting. Pretty sure you can work out which was which. It was also the month when my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. As we have no childcare around locally it was also the first wedding anniversary where we’ve actually managed to go out and celebrate. A luxurious brunch back where we went for our first date was absolutely perfect and it felt so good to actually be able to have a conversation without interruptions from little people.
To fit in with my mum going on a U3A trip there I also managed a day exploring Bletchley Park. Somewhere I’ve been several times before, but never before without children. With my ticket valid for a whole year I plan to go back again and again until I’ve actually had time to explore all of it and take in all the fascinating stories of the code breakers who worked there in the war.
The start of the new academic year has also seen the beginning of another academic year as a school governor. This is my third year as chair of governors at an infant school, and my eleventh year of being a governor overall, and I think it fair to say that I’m in the swing by now. It’s a volunteer role that takes up a lot of time, but is also incredibly rewarding too. As is always the case at the start of an academic year there is plenty of reading to do and just absorbing all the latest edition of Keeping Children Safe in Education and reading all our relevant linked policies has taken a while. I tried to intersperse all that governor reading with a few books though and September saw me finish reading A Knight for a Knave (and watch the film version, Kes) and Death and The Penguin.
All the kids’ extra-curricular activities have also kept me on the road. I’ve now got two in Scouts as well as one in Squirrels so sewing on badges to a uniform or camp blanket is a regular activity. The youngest is still attending swimming lessons (Swim England Stage 2 at the moment) and my son is doing weekly karate classes (he had his purple belt grading yesterday) in addition to an after school football club. There is a weekly performing arts class for the youngest and the oldest is this week auditioning for her school drama company. I’ve also finally taught the big on to crochet in preparation for a new school crochet club that she’s trying out this week. Despite being left handed so seems to have mastered being able to do chains and last night’s lesson on treble stitches hopefully means she’s on her way to her first granny square. If that isn’t enough there’s also homework for the older two and daily reading for the youngest. All to be squeezed in between sleep and school.
We’ve also been catching up on all things medical this month. Orthodontist appointments, a long-overdue ENT appointment and two of them at regular dental check ups too. One day soon I might even get round to booking the eye test that was due in September last year for me.
I have managed to carve out a bit of me time too – although nowhere near enough. My September WI meeting involved learning all about Special Effects make up and props and model making. Absolutely fascinating and not something I knew anything about beforehand. I’ve also squeezed in coffee with a couple of friends and made a point of actually spending evenings on the sofa with some great TV. Bake Off, Task Master, Celebrity Race Across the World and Only Murders In the Building are my current favourites but I need to get back into the habit of doing more than just sewing on Scouting badges whilst watching. With the exception of crochet lessons for the oldest I’ve not picked up any knitting or other crochet in far too long. I also had a fantastic night out with a friend hearing the wonderful Rev Kate Bottley speak about her new book. She was so utterly lovely and down to earth and it was a delight to hear her speak.
When it comes to work I’ve been plotting behind the scenes trying to get my portfolio of blogs back up to speed. I got to do my first toy review in ages over on Penny Plays and also hosted friend and fellow blogger Becky Goddard-Hill as she launched her new book on Penny Reads. I also wrote about the Andrey Kurkov and Lucy Worsley titles I’ve recently enjoyed and finally got round to re-publishing the recipe for my Gran’s Ginger Biscuits that I make for each month’s WI meeting. I also finally documented the Encanto patchwork quilt that I finished for the youngest’s bed. As well as featuring my trip to Bletchley Park I’ve also featured The University of Oxford Museum of Natural History over on Penny Travels after visiting there in the summer holidays. I also had grand plans of using this site to tell you all about the work we’d done at home this last month, but to do so would need us to have actually done something at home, which we have utterly failed to do!
October will not only feature half term, but also an attempt to start tackling all the jobs that need doing around the house and garden. Watch this space for progress on those…