It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

We have arrived at the last day of term. And after spending last night sobbing like a baby in a corner of the school hall as Miss Tinks played Mary in her very first school nativity (believe me, I was a wreck!), we awoke this morning to find there had been a visit from Jack Frost in the night (cue many questions about Jack Frost and how he leaves the frost, why he leaves the frost, who leaves the rain/sun/snow etc. Ever wish you’d never said anything?). One thing we all agreed on however, was that it is most definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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And these from my morning walk in the orchards with the hound.

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I don’t know about you, but I like to turn the entire month into a sort of celebration, the anticipation and build up is almost better than the actual day for me. My parents did so much to make Christmas magical for my brother and I, so I intend to do the same for my children. The hubster takes a bit of convincing with the whole thing. If it were up to him it wouldn’t even be mentioned until Christmas Eve. He does get involved eventually, with the odd “Bah humbug!” thrown in here and there for good measure- just to remind us that he couldn’t possibly be enjoying it. Although, to be fair, once he is in the spirit he does pull out all the stops to keep them magic alive…

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I have been getting the decorations out bit by bit throughout the month when the Dandelions are at school. I’m reminding them daily that we have an invisible elf watching over them, ready to report back to Santa and put them on the naughty or nice list. We’ve done the invisible elf for a few years now, never quite been organised enough to do the elf on the shelf thing- it looks like fun though, so maybe next year.

We are attempting to do at least one Christmas activity a day throughout the month. We’ve had letters to Santa, writing their Christmas cards, the village church Christmas market, Christmas light spotting, carol singing with their school friends, making bunting and lighting our advent candle daily…

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We’ve made some cinnamon dough decorations for our tree and to give to Grandparents. They’re ready to go in the oven and dry out, then it will be time to go mad with the glitter and sparkle!

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I’ve also had some fun putting together a few Christmas craft projects. Christmas pot pourri and cinnamon candles being just a couple. I love how the candle looks in the centre of the pot pourri and it smells wonderful!
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And of course there is the great tree decorating ceremony!

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The Dandelions will be finishing school in an hour and I have a Christmas movie night planned with snowman soup, popcorn and The Grinch. And I have just had the phonecall I have been waiting for…the hubster is “driving home for Christmas” as I type. Let the merriment commence!

Merry Christmas from The Dandelion Patch!

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Well hello! (waves) Yes, I know I have been absent from the blog for a fair few weeks now. Life has changed dramatically for us and we have taken some time to adjust now that we are no longer part of the army bubble. So, I figured it was time for a little update on the status quo for the Dandelions, the Hubster and me. And, what better time to get back into it with the big “C” word just around the corner. But before I launch into a glitter filled, cinnamon scented, bell jingling post about the festive season, here is that update…

Since being discharged in September, the Hubster has tried several different jobs in an effort to retain some self esteem and be part of the work force. Unfortunately for him, all were pretty heavy going on his back and he had to make the difficult decision to stop trying these things before he ended up in a worse situation with the injury. He is in constant pain as it is and to continue pushing himself in the way he was would only have made things worse for him. This is something that he has had difficulty coming to terms with, he has always worked so that I could stay at home with the children and to suddenly be unable to go out and provide for his family was a hell of a blow to his inner caveman.

However, it’s not all bad news, as he and a friend of his (also about to leave the army) have decided to go into business together. Meaning he gets to stay in the logistics trade, where he is familiar with the way things work, but in a role that is classroom based and therefore less of a strain on his back. So they are busy setting things up as I type and should be up and running by December. Exciting and busy times ahead.

Injury wise, we may have made some kind of progress. He has seen a civvy GP who, after a very concerning examination during which he discovered that the Hubster has no feeling in his lower back or abdomen at all, is referring him to Addenbrookes hospital where they essentially will begin the process all over again. There is also now an underlying problem with his hips that is likely to be a result of the back injury, which of course needs to be looked into. A tough time ahead in that respect, but hopefully light at the end of the tunnel.

The Dandelions have, in true forces child fashion, settled in to their new school and routine easily. They are enjoying being near their Grandparents and seeing their cousins often. Dinoboy has been having a little trouble with the work load in school as it is substantially more than at his last school. But with all hands on deck at home and at school to help him through, he is making good progress. Miss Tinks has fallen into full-time school happily and is loving every second. She has amazed us both with the speed at which she is learning. And, proud Mummy moment, she has been chosen to play Mary in the class nativity- rest assured I will be a quivering wreck that day! Zoom is enjoying pre school and has a lovely group of friends that he just can’t get enough of.

As for me? Well, I have got a part-time job at the pre school that Zoom attends and will be going back to work in the next few weeks- eek! All these years I must admit, I didn’t think I missed it, and couldn’t see how it would be much different from being at home with my Dandelions. But, having spent a few mornings in the setting as a parent helper, I quickly remembered how much I loved my job.

Spain is still very much in the forefront of our minds. Hubs and I managed a child free few days there last month- I know, child free!!! During which we made a final decision on the area we want to live. Now it just remains to find the right house. However, Hubster’s treatment has to be a priority at the moment, if the civvy doctors can make any progress where the military didn’t remains to be seen, but if there is even the slightest chance of any improvement for him then we must see it through.

So there you have it. Stand by for glitter and sparkle coming soon…

A word from “The Hubster”

Sunday 21st September 2014- the day my husband is medically discharged from the army. We will no longer be a forces family. I could fill this post with a lot of emotionally charged drivel about how it’s hard and unfair, but I won’t. Because nothing I feel can ever compare to what he feels. Instead, here are a few words from him:

“On the 6th Oct 1998 I joined the greatest club that you could ever imagine. I had my arse beasted from being a little shit to a bloke. I then joined the best Battalion in the British Army (1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment). In this time I made some true friends and had the best time of my life (Londonderry 99-01). I had the privilege of serving under and with some absolutely first class blokes. I ended up as a REMF in 2008 with the RLC until injury on H14. During this time again I met and made some absolutely brilliant friends. Unfortunately in 24 hrs time I will no longer be a Soldier in the greatest Army you can find. I borrowed my kit for 22 years but have to hand it back a bit earlier than I wanted. Ladies and Gents its been an absolute pleasure thank you.”

Nothing can take away what he has done for his country and for that I will forever be a proud army wife! All it leaves is for me to end this in true army style by saying the words;

“END EX!”

A song for veterans.

I pledge allegiance to the back to school routine.

It’s that time again people. Three sleeps until school starts! 

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 No more lazy mornings, where breakfast can be eaten whenever we choose. No more lounging around in pj’s watching cartoons until lunchtime. No more playing out in the garden until it gets dark. No more spur of the moment trips to the park. No more grabbing the first clothes you see because no school run means no “yummy mummies” to compete with. 

Instead it’s back to ramming breakfast down the Dandelions throats while barking orders at them in my best Sargent Major voice. Hastily throwing food into lunch boxes and quietly hoping nobody checks the nutrition content. Frantic searching for that one school shoe, that even though you placed it carefully alongside all the rest has somehow managed to do a disappearing act 10 minutes before you have to leave the house. Tears and tantrums about getting dressed and hair brushing. Searching for the hairbrush that is never where you left it. The last minute “I forgot my PE kit!” just as the front door is opened. More frantic searching for the PE kit that has fallen into the same abyss as the lost shoe and the hair brush. 

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It’s back to five second showers, grabbing the least dirty pair of jeans and a t shirt, yanking a brush through my hair, searching for a scarf to hide that stain on my t shirt and running out the door hoping my shoes match.

And, once again the hubster has somehow managed to find himself a “must do” course to go on, therefore leaving me to face the madness alone. 

However, this year I am ready for it. Routine must prevail and thanks to the power of Pinterest I am completely in control. No, really, I got this shit handled! 

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 I have, rather ingeniously, spent the last few days scouring Pinterest for amazing back to school plans. Ok, maybe it was weeks. Actually I kind of got lost in there for a while (so much pretty in one place should not be allowed!) but it was all in the name of sanity. 

So, with my new found knowledge in mind, I pledge allegiance to the back to school routine.  

This year on the first day of school, I will not fall out of bed in a wine induced haze…

itemImage_111_6_11_20_7_57…scratching my head and desperately trying to figure out what day it is because the schools couldn’t make life easy by gong back on a Monday could they? No, they picked Thursday, I mean really, it’s practically the weekend!

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 My mornings will no longer involve me taking the form of a zombie rising from the dead!

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 Instead, while the Dandelions still sleep soundly, I will rise happily from my blissful slumber before skipping gracefully from under the duvet and dancing downstairs to embrace the morning routine.

 

I will set the (oh so healthy!) breakfast table with a smile on my face and a song in my heart (because nobody should ever have to actually hear me sing!). I will leisurely pack lunches chosen from the array of previously prepared healthy and delicious Pinterest “lunch box hacks” in my fridge. I will find happiness (and a small amount of smugness) in the knowledge that all the uniform was lovingly ironed and hung and school bags were packed weeks before and everything is placed in our new school command centre (you see? Pinterest rocks!) making it all so much less stressful. I will dress in my carefully selected “school run chic” outfit (set out the night before- genius huh?), and calmly perfect my hair and make up, before gently waking the Dandelions for breakfast.  Because with Pinterest I can handle anything the little darlings throw at me, with Pinterest I am invincible! 

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So you see, I got this. I am not dreading it this year. I am clam and relaxed and organised. This year I can honestly say, I have every confidence that I will get to at least 7.15am on Thursday before I start running around the house screaming “Pinterest is evil!” and preparing to do this…

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 Before doing this…

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Let the madness commence! 

 

WW1 Cetenary

While World War One actually began on 28th July 1914, today, 4th August 2014, marks the centenary of Britain entering the war. More than 15 million men and women lost their lives as a direct result of the First World War. We owe these men and women a debt of gratitude and the least we can do today is stop and remember their sacrifice and be thankful that they were brave enough to stand and fight for our country and our future.

Tonight at 10pm the Royal British Legion is holding a worldwide event that anyone can take part in. Simply turn off all your lights and light a single candle in honour of those who fought, those who died and those who lived to tell their stories. There will be a candle burning in the Dandelion Patch tonight.

Lest we forget.

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Laters…

With the redundancies in the armed forces and the removal of the troops from Germany, being part of the forces community has meant saying goodbye to several regiments over recent years. Yesterday saw the disbandment of the regiment the hubster was serving with in Germany. Sadly, this has become a regular occurrence within the military in recent years.

The disbandment of this particular regiment though, has struck a chord of sadness in me that I wasn’t expecting. We spent almost six years with them and would have been there until the end if we could have been. It was a huge part of our forces life, with memories both good and bad and so many good friends.  I only wish we could have been there to say our goodbyes with everyone else.

But in this life, it is never really goodbye, only “See you later!” as we all inevitably meet again when we least expect it. That opportunity no longer exists for us as we come to the end of our forces life, but we will be staying in touch with many of our forces friends regardless.

So, with a somewhat heavy heart, I want to wish all of our friends over there, past and present all the luck in the world for their new adventures. Whether staying in Germany or returning to the UK, may you all have happy postings and find friends as wonderful as you!

 

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The washing line is raised, we are in residence.

The last few months have been absolutely chaotic in the Dandelion patch! Moving twice in three months has exhausted us physically, mentally and emotionally. But, we’re finally more or less settled in our last stop before Spain and doing our own heads in trying to make sure at least one of us has a wage coming in before September and that dreaded discharge date.

At the same time as planning our immediate future, we continue to make plans for our escape to Espana! If the weeks since returning from Germany in March have confirmed one thing for us, it’s that we want to get there as soon as possible. Our realistic plan is three years at the most, but we intend to do whatever we can to make it happen sooner. All dependent on the army and how fast things move after the Hubster’s discharge with all the red tape that follows. They don’t make it easy to get away, even after he is out, they will still be in control of our lives for a little bit longer!

In all honesty, if we had to end up somewhere in the UK, I’m glad it was here. The village is beautifully rural, the Dandelions are loving school and being close to their Grandad and the view from our bedroom may not be orange groves and ocean but it’s not a bad second.

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And the countless acres of orchards that our garden backs onto is pretty okay to look at too.

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That niggle is in the back of our minds constantly however, if we don’t make that jump soon, we will end up stuck here (I don’t want to sound “anti-England” it’s just not where we want to be). Dinoboy will be 9 this year and he is our main concern, we simply must get him enveloped in all things Spain before he reaches an age where he may struggle with the move and the language. We are very lucky in that all three Dandelions are very keen to get there too. They have spent enough time there to make that decision for themselves, they love life there as much as the Hubster and I do.

For now though, no matter how much we deny or dislike it, September 21st will be upon us before we know it, so we must concentrate on making this tiny village in Cambridgeshire our temporary home. So, to confirm we are in residence, and for everyone who knows about and appreciates my love of having a piece of line stretched from one side of the garden to the other; here is the obligatory washing line shot. We have arrived!

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