So Martin and I are having a lazy morning, no noise, no rush, no need to hurry to get up. We have a leisurely breakfast planned and then a walk and lunch in a pub somewhere and a long chat about our future plans.

Then there is the phone call!

The one from the kids which says “We’re all wet, we’re coming home at 10.30” as I wasn’t on the phone to them I could say the words in my head not just think them it went something like “what do you mean they’re coming home early, we’re supposed to be having a relaxed day together – grrrrr grrrrr grrrrr”. So in no time I have gone from completely chilled and relaxed and wondering where we should walk and lunch to feeling disappointed agitated and wondering how I can manage my disappointed feeling and not let it ruin the whole day (this was not really successful have felt edgy and grumpy most of the day).

Anyway we decide we should get up and at least enjoy breakfast in peace and by ourselves.

They seem to be taking longer than we expected to come home so we at least got some of our conversing done.

When the girls come home they’ve gained two Dawsons (we have Jonathan coming back later with other Dawsons) This makes no difference to us as by the time we’ve got our own girls back a few other kids (who seem very at home here – in fact Caleb often walks in and great martin with “Hello Daddy”) msake no difference really.

We then deal with muddy clothes and children and Ruth starts with her usual baking.

More Dawsons arrive with Jonathan and to my relief his car seat!

Tea and good conversations follow and then Dawsons all leave.

Rebekah can’t decide whether to cycle to the swimming pool or not. Rain decides her so we all decide to do a bit of house/van work and the Ali is going to come over.

I’ve volunteered to do an extra Sunday Funday at church tomorrow so I’ve been making play dough and Jonathan is choosing a Veggie Tales DVD

I made some lovely poffertjes – just as they are ready Thorne handily turns up.

You eat them traditionally with icing sugar and butter but I rather like chocolate spread and Baileys!

Kids play demons, I escape to blog and try and feel happy by listening to strange Radio 4 plays and Martin continues on the van.

At some point I will need to kick out extra kids and eat dinner but for now I am enjoying living with radio 4 and ignoring everyone else!

So aside from my sniping at everyone the day has been OK, even pretty good in places – but not what we had planned. I’m not good at appreciating what has come about if it’s different to what I had been expected but after the poffertjes I definitely started to feel better!

So today looks like being a good day.

The girls need to head out to there expedition. I have to drop them off at the car park and then take Jonathan to his friends to sleep over and Martin and I will get all of Friday afternoon, evening and Saturday until about 4pm alone together.

I have managed to run out of time and haven’t checked out where the car park is – Martin and Rebekah both assure me that all I need to do is go down the road by Chessell Pottery (run by my friend’s sister, nice but expensive) and carry on.

This turns out to be wrong.

I am already running late and I am pretty sure we are on the wrong road – there is no red book in the car and so Rebekah phones Martin and he tells us we are indeed wrong. eventually after much snapping we get there, only to find out we should have been there half an hour earlier. Honestly my kids never give me the actual information!

As we have been travelling towards Brighstone the weather has been getting worse and worse and the fog denser and denser!

Nice chat with friends then off to Chale Green Stores so I can buy something yummy to go with dinner from their deli.

As we head on towards Shanklin the fog is worse and worse and then suddenly clears.

I drop off Jonathan and then head home – child free for a little while. I love being with my kids but I also love being just with Martin (and I love being by myself) it’s just a matter of each in the right balance.

Martin is going to work until the evening and I am going to pootle about buying yummy things to eat and cooking. However first we decide to meet for lunch at the Life Boat Inn. I love meeting up with Martin from separate places makes it feel like we are out on a date! Loved it.

Bit of shopping, nap, reading, cooking.

Lovely relaxed dinner – just what I wanted loads of lovely salad, bacon and cheese potato skins and garlic chicken.

It was so lovely to have a quiet peaceful evening , just to rest and relax in and to plan what we were going to do with ourselves tomorrow.

So Thursday I am up relatively early as as we have not yet reached the end of the month I decided to make bread rather than buy any.

This was a bit of a risk as I adapted Paul Hollywood’s cob loaf recipe to have about 1/3 whole wheat flour and some seeds in one loaf. Until I started using this recipe my home made bread always had a rather dense worthy texture but this recipe always turns out very well. He said in the TV program that one of the main problems with bread dough is that it gets too dry and to knead it with oil rather than flour, so I’ve been doing that and it’s worked well. Although when I tried to do it with bagels they got too oily and turned out like doughnuts.

Kids got up and put up the tent in the garden and did the breakfast dishes.

You’ll see that Ruth stands around looking confused in both photos!

Jonathan watches on from the kitchen sink.

We’ve got friends coming over in the afternoon so Ruth made some biscuits. She wanted to make gingerbread men but the man cutter has disappeared so she made gingerbread elephants.

I’m feeling very content cooking in the sunshine. the garden seems very spring like and I am enjoying looking at hugely. Washing drying on the line, new growth in the herbs and daffodils almost in flower.

We just had time for a nice chilled out cuppa before our friends arrive for lunch.

We spent the afternoon with friends over eating, chatting, playing cards, playing on the wii and computer and doing Hama beads.

A lovely afternoon for all of us.

As soon as our friends leave we are in to fast mode to get the kids fed and ready for circus skills. So quick pasta and pesto and Martin heads out with the girl to Circus.

Then I sit with Jonathan watching Human Planet and pop the dinner on for me and Martin.

Girls back from circus, more West Wing and bedtime!

So given that it is so wet we have managed not to go and support the library workers strike, the spring walk has been cancelled and so has the star gazing evening.

So that leaves me with big kids to get to Newport for swimming, cinema and shopping, and a tired and tummy achey Jonathan and the Save the Library Rally and general Stop the Cuts thing in Newport.

So we get back from dropping off big kids and Jonathan is a bit pathetic! So we settle down with duvets on our slouch and listen to Monday’s episode of Big Toe Books. Jonathan listens and does his Nature Detectives bird word search and I drop off! Then he is still drippy so sits and watches 3 episodes of Blue Peter back to back. At some point in the proceedings we have managed to get some soup down us.

Then we head off to the library to support the strikers stopping on the way to look at the bracket fungi on a tree stump.

We headed down to County Hall to join with the people making general protests about the cuts.

I liked the Pugh Porta Loo

Little Bo Pugh leading his sheeply conservative counsellors - they block vote on everything.

Some supporters thought a dictionary borrowed from the library might have helped this banner!

the wonderful Mick Watson

Mick ended the meeting with his wonderful song “Long Walk To Newport” hear it on the Ventnor Blog.

My plan had been we’d head out to Ventnor and pick up chips to eat on the Downs watching the stars with friends – instead, because of the weather, we went home and had fishfinger sandwiches with baked beans or peas and finished off with tinned peaches – really posh nosh at our house tonight!

Bins out, living room tidied, Jonathan off to bed, tent semi erected in the living room. And relax!

I usually only blog the days were something of at least vague interest happens – but I am trying to blog all week so here goes with a nothing at all really day. It’s OK for us to have some days like this they balance out the very active days.

Start of the day persuade everyone to get up to take Rebekah to her dentist appointment – result teeth are growing live with it and take painkillers and Bonjella. Others read in the car while we go in and then buy some Anbesol which seems more effective than Bonjella – personally I think you should use Aloe Vera for everything but no one else here agrees!

So home (having gained one Dawson and with one on the way later) and some lunch. I feel very tired and later a bit ill so head off for a bath and nap.

Girls make custard creams.

Jonathan plays with the megabloks dragons – Samuel arrives – both play megabloks dragons.

Girls make pasta (not too successful I understand) and sauce which smelt good but I didn’t feel like eating it.

There is some video watching, playing on the wii etc going on.

Then it’s bed for the boys – not sure how successful this was as Ruth heard them playing on the wii at 1.30 and I heard them playing Lego at 2am – after a whispered exchange with them I think they actually went to sleep!

The girls watched a video and went to sleep on the sofa bed.

Martin and I re-watched some West Wing and we went to bed.

Now it’s Wednesday morning – still not feeling great and given that it is bucketing down we are not going to the library strike this am but will aim to go this afternoon.

Boys alternating between dragons and Wii and girls playing demons.

I usually find if I spend too many days not at home I get very stressed and things get a bit out of control at home. However last week didn’t feel like that despite the fact that we were out everyday and the one day we were at home we had friends over. I attribute that to the fact that I have two weeks off work and so I feel more relaxed and also that everything fitted together well last week without feeling like we are needing to shoehorn things in – it could also have to do with that fact that no one was premenstrual for a change!

So to counteract the stresses I usually feel when we are out too often I try and make Monday a quiet at home day, I always sort the washing and then it just gives me space to get things in order in my head ready for the rest of the week.

So today is a typical Monday.

Girls paper rounding – managed not to wake either of them up in the middle of the night!

I’m up early and listening to Pray As You Go then getting banana fritters for those of us who are awake or about to be. Pot of tea on the table and fritters hot from the pan in front of Martin as he gets up – think I deserve mega wifely brownie points (or at least an I Love You Because text).

Martin goes to work, girls go back to bed – Rebekah nursing a toothache – I get on with the sorting of dry washing – one of my least favourite jobs and probably the reason why I have had to allocate a specific day for it to be done.

Jonathan surfaces and I manage to persuade Ruth – who appears not to have gone back to sleep after all – to make him fritter while I carry on with the washing maintaining my sanity only with my wifi speaker and radio4 iplayer programs!

My heart sinks as my first words of conversation with Jonathan are “can I do my mega bloks dragons?” “Yes but you’ll need to wait until I finish the washing” is what my mouth says, “not those flipping dragons !” (well I say flipping because after all it is a family blog!) is what my head says.

If you have never struggled with Megabloks creations (I think in this case a ruined castle and a pirate ship) It’s like dealing with IKEA flat pack furniture but without the benefit of any of the pieces fitting together! The parts fit together like Lego does but the pieces don’t all stay attached so when you get one bit in somewhere else something falls off. This means that when Jonathan wants to play with them I have to actually build them!

Today however Jonathan put together quite a few bits (if the local authority is reading this please note evidence of progress – the ability to read plans, put together fiddly bit and not throw a tantrum when they don’t stay together – things that were not developed last time we did this) and we all succeeded to produce the buildings without tantrums.

While we were doing this Ruth was alternating between reading Facebook and more on water borne diseases. Rebekah opted for cooking Delia’s veggie sausage rolls and mince pies (we have some mincemeat left over from Christmas) and then a look at water borne diseases and mosquitoes – the debate of the morning is is malaria water borne or water based disease – more internal thoughts “I don’t know – ask your dad he is the one doing this course with you!”

Lunch – luckily there is left over rice for lunch so we have egg fried rice . Even this isn’t straight forward – Jonathan wants rice and peas no eggs, Ruth wants everything except onion , only Rebekah and I want everything – I manage this without using every pan in the kitchen and disappear to blog about yesterday while they clean up and then lounge about in our laundry decorated living room playing Mario carts or reading.

Note the attractive washing decorating the room!

Ruth heads out to pass the mantle of the paper round bag and try and buy a pepper and some mushrooms with the few pence we’ve all scrabbled about in old purses and pots to find! Due to a bit of a miscalculation on my part we’ve spent almost all the food budget already this month – hence the scrabbling – we have a full freezer and cupboards so I’m planning on more scrabbling and using up my stock luncheon voucher (the only problem with them is that the shops don’t like taking too many of them so I need to do that in dribs and drabs).

Time for a second lunch, sausage rolls and mince pies and a cuppa and some reading time.

Then Jonathan’s back on the mega bloks dragons – I have now had to fix the castle 3 times (the ship holds together better so hasn’t needed any repairs yet), Ruth has disappeared upstairs again and Rebekah is also mooching in her room.

So definitely a much lower key start to the week than last monday – but also fairly typical in the mix of our lives.

Jonathan helped with making some pizza dough. While it was rising we started the potatoes chitting.

And then onto one of the never ending delights for a parent with youngish children – nit combing! To make this less boring we watch the next Human Planet program on the iplayer.

By the time we’ve done this the dough has risen and we have pizza for tea!