Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Just when you think it’s safe … here I am again!  I’m never going to win awards for prolific blogging but the intention is always there to post regularly and that’s what matters.  Isn’t it?

So, when I left you all back in January (eek!) Son No1 had just had his surgery and was back home.  I believe I was waxing lyrical about how proud I was of my boy … and I’m bound to do it again … unashamedly.

IMG_4710The past weeks have whizzed past.  Lots has happened in GGHQ, lots of work has been done by the Junior GGs, Son No1 has dyed his hair purple, Mr GG has gone back to work, I got a wee car so, happily, no more zooming around in the Great Behemoth and six weeks ago this little girl joined our family.  Harley Quin has absolutely won the human hearts with her antics … Princess Leia, however, is not so smitten and is generally living upstairs although, on the occasions when she has to come downstairs, she gives Harley a hiss and a swipe … we live in hope of harmony in the future! 

Son No1’s six weeks of being completely non-weightbearing passed smoothly.  He quickly became adept at whizzing up and down stairs on his hands (although not in handstand style as one doctor assumed) and made sure he missed out on as little as possible.  In early March he returned to Glasgow for his bright yellow casts to be taken off in readiness for learning to walk once again.  To begin with he was incredibly weak, his legs struggled to obey the signals from his brain, his feet railed against being in a position that was alien to them and he found it exhausting to travel even the shortest distance with his walking frame.  However, once again I was left in complete awe of my son’s strength of character and determination and within two weeks of the casts coming off he was doing this:

Physio is ongoing and unpleasant but my boy is working hard (when reminded) … he doesn’t enjoy physio at all and is still in some pain but he is an amazing lad.  I feel truly blessed to be able to call him my son.

Life has carried on as usual around Son No1’s hospital adventures.  The younger boys have particularly enjoyed some extra days without school work when we were at appointments.  We spent a lovely day at the National Museum of Rural Life where Son No2 appeared quite at home in a tractor.  We celebrated Down Syndrome Awareness Day with our odd socks … I was particularly touched by the readiness of my lad with OCD to take part, I thought he may find odd socks a step too far for him but he embraced it happily.  Son No3 has continued building and creating with his Tinker Crates (my favourite is the wee robot clip below) and is beginning to ponder moving on to the more technical Eureka Crates. 

ede56320-e116-4e8d-b701-751e4e483a5aAt the beginning of March I escaped to Northern Ireland with four dear friends.  We went primarily to go to a conference where Nancy Guthrie was speaking but the time together, eating, laughing, crying and just enjoying each other’s company was incredibly precious.  I am so thankful for their friendship and encouragement and for the knowledge that they are praying for me just as I am praying for each of them.  I am truly blessed to call them my friends.

A few weeks ago my Dad reached the milestone of 60 years since his ordination.  To mark the occasion we all travelled to Cumbria for the weekend for Dad to preach in the first church he pastored as a young man back in 1959.  It was a special time and we all enjoyed the weekend even managing to fit in a wee game of crazy golf for some of us.  I am so very thankful for my Dad.  He has remained faithful to his calling throughout his life and has never lost his passion for and love of the Word of God.  I am truly blessed to be his daughter. 

As a wee aside, one of the funniest moments of the weekend has got to be my misplaced confidence in letting the boys pack for themselves.  One boy (I’m not saying which) accidentally took his younger brother’s trousers and nearly ended up going to church like this!  
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Back home Mr GG and I continue in our quest to live simply.  The dream is to have a small-holding one day but, for now, we continue to make wee changes at home using what we have as efficiently as possible.  For the past few months I’ve been making my own laundry powders, shower gels and soap which definitely seems to be making a positive difference to Son No2’s skin … result!

Well, I’m writing this at the table in our kitchen, my favourite room in our house.  The back door is open for Harley to come in and out despite the fact she’s fast asleep at my feet.  The sun is shining, birds are twittering about in the trees and the chickens are quietly clucking as they dust bathe in the garden.  There’s an air of tranquillity and I like it.  The sun reminds me that summer is approaching and, with that, the anticipation of a holiday from school work.  As much as I love home education and wouldn’t change it for the world, this is an exhausting life and I find myself looking forward to the holidays just as much as I did when the boys were in school.  I am immensely proud of how hard my sons have worked over this past year and look forward to all that they will achieve over the coming months but, for now, we’re all looking forward to slowing the pace a little, going on some adventures,  and relaxing together.

However, the air of tranquillity will soon dissipate as, any moment now, three hungry boys are going to descend on the kitchen hollering ‘What’s for tea?’ ‘When will tea be ready’ ‘I’m starving’ … so on that note I’ll sign off for today and leave you with this …

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Road to Nowhere

You know those days that start off with one thing planned and then end up flying off in a totally different direction?  Sometimes the diversion isn’t pleasant and sometimes it’s absolutely brilliant!  Well, Friday was one of those brilliant days.

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Fridays are usually kept free in GGHQ … they’re an opportunity to catch up with work that’s not been finished or to go out somewhere or just to chill.  It was another beautiful day so I thought I’d take advantage of our Historic Scotland membership and visit Cairnpapple Hill … enjoying time out in the fresh air along with learning a wee bit more of the history of our beautiful country.

All three boys and I piled into the Great Behemoth, set the sat nav and headed off arriving safely at Cairnpapple Hill with no wrong turns (not altogether usual for me). 

We sorted out the backpack with bottles of water and snacks, checked our shoes, tied hoodies round our waists in case it got chilly as we climbed … and turned round to see this …

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Nope!  Never!  Not on your life!  Are you wise? 

There is no danger I’m going anywhere that has a sign warning of a bull in the field.  It appears I wasn’t alone as Son No2 & Son No3 jumped back into the Great Behemoth and shut the doors.  I mean, it wasn’t as if it was an empty warning for at the top of the wooden steps we were about to start climbing was standing the most massive bull I have ever seen … or so I thought … as the bull lumbered forward a few steps we realised that, quite clearly, she was definitely not a he!  But anyway, Cairnpapple Hill may well be very interesting, have a lot of history and be somewhere we would have enjoyed visiting but it’s never going to happen!

Climbing back into the Great Behemoth I had a quick search to see what else was nearby and, most importantly, free.  We landed on Malleny Garden, a National Trust for Scotland property in Balerno, Edinburgh.  Setting the sat nav once more we took off flying along country roads (I’m sure I’d love being a rally driver) and landed safely at Malleny Garden.   

Wow!

 It was beautiful, peaceful and all four of us enjoyed spying different plants and trees.  We even found a pond with tadpoles in it (and even more importantly, my water magnetised son stayed dry!).   

It was a lovely way to end another good week here at GGHQ which included an afternoon out for Son No1 and I visiting another home educating family.  There is something special about time alone with one of my boys, sometimes it’s not so easy to arrange but we both enjoyed our time together as we travelled, chatting together, laughing about funny things, trying to find solutions to problems and, of course, listening to music.  The afternoon was great in so many ways … I benefited so much from talking with another HE mum who has years of HE experience … we compared notes and talked about things that worked and things that didn’t.  Son No1 loved spending time with lads his age and disappeared off on a quad bike exploring. 

Last week also saw our long-awaited trip to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow for Son No1’s spine MRI.  It was the first MRI experience for any of us and wow, it was noisy!  Unfortunately tics mean that it’s hard for my lad to stay still but he tried really hard and the radiographer was confident that she had managed to get the best images she could.  Now for the long old wait for results … we couldn’t make the original appointment given so the next available is October!  Thankfully we’ve no real concerns about the results, the MRI is more to rule out any problems before making a decision on surgery on my boy’s legs. 

And because I can’t post without mentioning any of the less human members of the household … our chickens are now all laying eggs … in true GG style the white hen lays brown eggs and the brown hen lays white ones!  And Princess Leia is maintaining her disgust at the arrival of chickens, refuses to go into the back garden where they are, preferring instead to spend her time sitting in the plant pot glaring at us … whoever says animals don’t have facial expressions!  She’s going to get a wee fright soon as that pot is ear-marked for the leeks to be planted in!