Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Education of Circumstances

It's been a very educational few days for Emily, due to real life events, namely the transfer of power from one prime minister to another and the extensive flooding. Today we had a citizenship day, which is code for having spent most of the day watching news 24, lol. Between watching the news coverage, talking with us and browsing some pertinent websites, Emily learnt a lot about the structure of the British government system, the way the Houses of Parliament work, voting rights, constitutional issues, the role of the monarchy etc etc. Oh and (very) modern history too, if you include all the "looking back at the events of this government" type things that have been on recently.

Actually, on a separate note, but prompted by all the "end of an era" look backs that I've seen, it is quite a strange feeling looking back on the last ten years and wondering what Emily will make of these times, historically and politically, when she's older. Without getting into politics, I've largely been pleased with the "Blair Years" (which seems to put me firmly in a minority, lol), but regardless of anyone's political viewpoint, watching the handover of power today was quite emotional for me personally. In May 1997, Jon and I were newlyweds, I'd just started a new job and we seemed to be permanently settled in Bracknell. Having grown up in the Thatcher years, there was a tangible sense of excitment on the morning after the election that I can remember clearly. We could never have imagined then that ten years later we'd have a daughter, be home educating, be self employed and be hundreds of miles away from our home turf. All entirely unconnected to a new prime minister, granted, but it's just the way it prompts you to look back in time. Mind you, I like it when the UK does an "occasion". I like the traditions and learning about the protocol and the ceremonies (or lack of them in this case). I'm kinda holding out for a royal wedding soon for much the same reasons!

Anyway; the other real life issue this week has been the flooding. We're fortunate in that we haven't been affected at all personally - even on the worst day it never progressed beyond "very wet" on our road. Just two minute's walk away at the village stream it was a different story though and some houses there were very badly hit. The little Scotter bridge at the end of our road was shut at various points due to a crack in it, and one of the main roads near us (the Asda road, for those who know where we are) has been closed for a while due to another collapsed bridge). On Monday night, Jon went out to his psychic circle but was turned back by police near the railway bridge on the Gainsborough road due to the flooding; it was still shut last night so Emily and I missed yoga.

Again, lots of educational stuff in there. Emily and Jon have gone for lots of walks over the last three days to see what was happening down at the stream. Some photos: First of all, the road bridge just at the end of our street, which carries the main A159 over the stream. On Monday night, the water was already flooded and high, but you could still see the archway. By Tuesday morning, the same bridge, the archway had vanished.

This was one of the seats on the bank of the stream, plus a stark reminder that not everyone was as fortunate as us:
More general photos of the scene:

And finally two taken this evening, in a lovely bout of sunshine. The village ducks don't seem to mind the situation, but even after well over 24 hours without any rain, the water has only just subsided slightly below the arch of the main road bridge.

Away from the floods and the politics, Emily's been very busy too. She's done a lot of work on magic squares (her "homework" from Jackie, lol!) - she worked out about 30 of them and then used her art program to produce some beatiful tesselation designs using the magic square patterns. We've finally started work on the long awaited Europe project in Geography, and Emily has been labelling maps of Europe with water and land features, ahead of plans to look indepth at each country. And Harry Potter fever mounts. I'm not sure if my small excited person could possibly get any more excited!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Kickathon Success!

Emily did her sponsored kickathon for the Brain Trust this morning at karate, in memory of George's son in law who died from a brain tumor this time last year aged just 34. Emily did 350 roundhouse kicks, which was fantastic as she'd been aiming for 150! She would have done more but there was some confusion among the blackbelts who were holding the pads - some were letting the children change legs as often as they wanted, some (like Emily's) were under the impression they could only change legs once. Oh well. She's raised over £100 in sponsorship, so we're really proud of her :-))) She also got to have a fab play with Mei Lin and Jasmine who were there to support George and for Mei Lin, who's only two belts away from her adult black belt despite her age (guess it helps when your Dad's a master, lol!) to take part in the kickathon.

In other news I'm finally done with my deadlines for the weekend. Emily's been out this afternoon with my Mum and Dad choosing a new tree for the garden and beautiful purple rose bush. Jon's psychic insight into the whereabouts of my Mum's long lost camera proved correct - he told her a few weeks ago when she was looking for it that it would be found but it was "in the wrong case". We all thought that meant camera case. Today my Dad went up in the loft to get down a *suit*case they haven't used since last year and weren't intending taking this year - the camera was in there, instead of in the case they thought they'd packed it in.

And Emily and I have been having lots of fun leaving each other Harry Potter related messages in the bathroom scrawled over the mirror, bath and tile with bath crayons. As you do :-))

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sizzling Solstice

Well, OK, the weather wasn't sizzling, unless you count the lightning :-)) but we did have a very pleasant Litha celebration on Thursday. It was a bit of a rush as Emily had been out at tai chi all morning and we had Grandad's birthday tea to sort out in the afternoon. We didn't have time to do half of what we really wanted to do, but we did get the tree decorated, so it's no longer a Beltane tree, it's now a Litha one :-) Lots of glittered sunshine shapes, crystal beads in sunshine colours, oak leaf bundles for the Oak God, tissue paper flames and the lovely clay sun symbols we made last Litha.
Oh, we also managed to hang some crystals outside on the small (but rapidly growing) potted cherry tree that Emily has next to Merlin's grave. There's hardly been any sunshine since then, but the idea is that the sunlight will catch them to make the rainbows dance over the grave; Emily thought Merlin's spirit would enjoy chasing them as he loved doing that when he was here. Deep breath. Here's the Midsummer Fairy with Nagini the Giant Snake, back inside just after hanging the crystals:
Emily took her Kickathon sponsorship form with her to tai chi and she and Jon explaind what it was all about - lots and lots of people there sponsored her, bless them, so she was very chuffed about that. The Kickathon is taking place at karate tomorrow. Assuming Emily manages about 200 kicks (she can do 150 odd without pausing for breath, lol) she'll raise about £50 sponsorship, which is pretty good I think.

Yesterday we went to our friends for the day and cuddled the most adorable week old jet black kittens. Awwwwww!!! Needless to say, Emily is keen to take on two of them if they're looking for homes for the kittens when they're ready (they may decide to keep them all) - apparently she'd call them Severus and Voldemort, ROFL. It's not going to happen though; not this time round. It wouldn't be fair on elderly Cassie Cat to put her through the upheaval of more kittens. It took her about three months to get used to Romeo and Juliet, and now she wouldn't even have Merlin to share the burden with. So no more kittens for us. They are adorable, though!

Yesterday Jackie did lots of maths with the girls, looking at magic squares and their esoteric and cultural background; Emily was fascinated with that. I did some history with them, looking at the differences in childhood through historical periods - each girl researched a particular area, made notes and then "taught" the other two what she had learned. That worked quite well, so I think we'll do some more of that next week. We were going to do some science too, on the topic of density, but they were having such a ball playing that it seemed a shame to interrupt them!

Today Emily's been busy writing down her theories on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, doing jigsaws, playing with Ello and bouncing on the trampoline. No ballet today since we've opted out of this concert thingy. I did get a letter from the teacher yesterday letting me know when Emily's lessons for September will be - on Monday evenings, yay! This is the first time ever they haven't been scheduled for Saturdays. This means she won't be able to go to football practice on Monday nights BUT she will be able to go to the football practice on Saturday mornings instead plus all kinds of other things that always crop up on a Saturday.

Since it's the weekend, I've had to do my traditional "oh, it's the weekend, I'd better work on some deadlines" thing, sigh. Before we go away I've got six sets of BBC work to complete, the huge amount of work for the new press agency contract to finish, plus the two normal monthly press agency contracts both of which have deadlines set for whilst we're away. Eeep. Did have a very promising conversation with the editor who rang about the book proposal - looks like that will be going ahead after all, although fortunately I don't need to add that to the list of stuff that has to be done before we can leave.

We've also got no less than three separate Grandad hospital appointments in the next fortnight, plus he wants to go back to the docs, plus he's got a dentist appointment, shopping trips, opticians, prescriptions to put in, prescriptions to pick up, etc, etc. And we're still waiting for one Grandad hospital appointment to come through, which no doubt will be scheduled for the week we're supposed to be away....which will mean cancelling our holiday, naturally. I'm not very impressed with these hospital appointments. One is for the diabetic clinic which he only went to five minutes ago and which they said he didn't need to go back to for six months. Instead of which this will now be his third visit there in three months. They never actually DO anything, and he doesn't listen to their advice in any case. Another of the appointments is for an angiogram pre-screening, which, according to the bumpf that came with it, is just so that they can talk the patient through what an angiogram involves, take his medical history and check his medication. OK....except he's only just had an angiogram during the hospital saga, so that's only a few weeks ago, and they're well aware of his records and medication. So that's another pointless one. No wonder the NHS never has enough money.

Jon has been supposed to be going for a six monthly blood test at the doctors; we've put that off for a month already, now we're putting it off again. I don't think he's been for a doc appointment of any kind yet in 2007, which given his diabetes is a bit off. Time to attend to our own needs is getting pretty thin on the ground. We've also been putting off various trips with Emily for the last three months or so, again due to lack of time. I think I'm going to be making a resolution come September when the school kids are back safely tucked away - it's time we put our own needs and wants first for a change. Naturally, we need to take care of elderly relatives and it's not Grandad's fault, for instance, that he's ill. I probably sound heartless. *Shrugs*. Jon's Dad is much loved. He can be extremely demanding, however, and given his regular moods and cruel put-downs of Jonathan in particular, that doesn't sit very well with me at times. Those who've been in this situation may know where I'm coming from. Those who haven't should try walking a mile in these shoes. I just don't think the brooding resentment we're starting to feel, in this demanding atmosphere, is doing any of us any good at all and it certainly isn't helping the father/son/daughter in law/grandaughter relationship. There has to be some give and take. Much as we may love someone and have a sense of duty towards them - Emily only has one childhood, and when her needs and wants are also being sidelined, something has to give.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Positive Vibes

Must get back to updating here more often; can't remember much of the last ten days! It has been a largely positive time, though, I'm pleased to report.

We've been very, very busy, with lots of Grandad appointments and other bits and pieces going on, so we don't seem to have sat still very much. Grandad's ex daughter in law (as in David's former wife, not Jonathan's!!) plus two of his grown up grandchildren came up from Somerset to visit him last Saturday, which was nice. He hadn't seen Carol for nearly ten years, not since we moved up here, so I think he was chuffed. In honour of our visitors, lol, Emily and I had a HUUUUGE clear up of our dining room/Emily's work room. People who have visited it in its previous incarnation wouldn't recognise it now! We now proudly have a lovely corner sitting area with Emily's altar table and festival tree in it too, and two settees. The rest of the room has been thoroughly cleared out and all of our educational stuff sorted and neatly arranged. And no clutter!! What's more, we finished clearing up on's Tuesday and it's still tidy! This is a record, believe me.

Emily's been a busy bee education wise recently. She's finally getting to grips with times tables, since we've gone for a different approach of spotting the patterns in each, instead of pure rote learning. She's also doing fantastically well with spelling. Can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but we're using this Speling Power system, which seems to be working really well. And yes, one day, I might go back to using something produced in the UK. If and when anything half decent that isn't stuck to the ridiculously inadequate national curriculum is produced over here. Emily's also been doing more history (we're still on Egypt, sigh, but she's still enjoying herself). She's starting to struggle a little with the latin now; the course has reached a point where the grammar gets harder and there's much more to remember. She's still keen to carry on with it though, so we're perservering. It's just a matter of practice, really, and there are some things that just have to be memorised, there's no way round that.

On Friday, Jackie, Mei-Lin and Jasmine came round for the day, which was lots of fun. Emily's making surprisingly easy work of long division, which Jackie has been teaching. It's rather curious how she can get Emily and her girls to sit down to maths without a murmur of complaint...yet when I wanted Emily to practice what she'd learnt the next day I had a rather different reaction. Rolls eyes. Still, apparently it works both ways - Jackie's girls work beautifully for me with Emily, but evidently aren't so enthusiastic when she wants them to do something, lol. Anyway, apart from Jackie's maths session, I taught the three of them about air resistance with lots of messing around with parachutes. In the afternoon, we all made gemstone wishing trees to celebrate (early) Litha and the summer solstice.
The girls played happily all day when they weren't "working", with trampolining, drawing, nintendoing, polly pocketing and barbieing. This Friday we'll be going back to theirs, for more maths from Jackie (I'm loving passing this responsibility!!) and for some creative writing and history from me.

Yesterday we went to visit Hazel, Romy and Tansy. I had a fantabulous cuddle from the gorgeous Tansy while the big girls played on Romy's trampoline and busked (?!). Emily was enchanted when Tansy smiled at her - I think the prospect of potentially having a baby brother or sister at some time in the future no longer seems quite so horrific to her ;-)

Emily's been to her usual ballet, yoga, tai chi and karate lessons this last week, although she didn't go to football, but will get back to that regularly soon. The ballet fiasco continued - Jon discovered last Saturday that this "show" is actually a full scale concert on two nights at a local school. Had he not pinned the teacher to the wall with his hands round her throat (I'm kidding - I think) we probably would never have known. Anyway, the woman spent all Saturday morning shouting at the kids and had Emily's friend Kayleigh in tears and Emily nearly in tears, because they and all the others were struggling with the dances for this show. Next Saturday was to be the last lesson of term, with the concert the week after. Saw red. Decided Emily's not doing the damn show. It's simply not worth the hassle. She was very relieved - it's just not fun any more. So we've had it with ballet for now. Emily can start back in the new September term and we'll see how it goes from there. She's done two of the huge Plowright Theatre shows now, so she's had the "experience" and confidence boost that comes with that - she doesn't need to be yelled at for another week over a show nobody even knew about and which the teachers couldn't even be bothered to properly explain to the parents. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Jon's psychic development is really gathering momentum at the moment. At his circle meeting on Monday night another woman sought out him specifically to do some psychometry for her. He's getting quite a reputation :-)) She was exceptionally moved by the information he gave her about her late mother. Kerry was taking photos during the evening again, and all the ones of Jon are covered in orbs - no orbs on or near anyone else she photographed. Weird. Last night, Jon did a reading for me using a ring I wore constantly as a teenager (long before we ever met). Now, obviously, he knows me better than anyone, but the little details he came up with about that period of my life were very impressive!

The retail side of the business is still winding down, but we're almost done with tha now. Right on cue, lots of little things have been happening that seem to tell us we're doing the right thing in moving away from retail and into developing Jon's abilities and my writing. I've been offered a new commission from the press agency, which will bring in another £500 a month, which is great news. Also, something that happened yesterday right out of the blue was a bid odd - back in 2003, I was approached by a publishers about writing an astrology workbook. We worked on the project quite a bit with them and had the whole concept mapped out, they'd sent me mockups to fiddle with etc etc....but in the end, nothing came of it, they dropped the project because "it wasn't the right time". I'd been paid for my concept work, so I wasn't too bothered and forgot all about it. Yesteray, the editorial director rang up and spoke to Jon - the think the timing is apparently good now and they want to discuss going ahead with the book after all, after all this time! So, we shall see.

I think it's becoming clear to both me and Jon that there is life after retail. Dumping that side of the business, which we've spent nearly ten years building up, has been a huge leap of faith for us. It's been a scary few months, puncutated by lots of "what the hell are we doing? We must be insane!" moments, and lots of worrying about where the income is going to come from to replace the dwindling retail sales. But I'm getting the distinct impression that it's all going to work out rather nicely :-))) I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and there are very many individual things that have happened over the last six months that all pointed us down this path. When you add up everything together and start to look at the links between one thing and another, it feels very "right".

Tomorrow is set to be very busy; Emily and Jon are out at tai chi in the morning and Jon's out in the afternoon too. We'll be celebrating Litha/Summer Solstice and also Grandad's birthday, so we've got a festival tree to decorate as well as a birthday tea to prepare. Friday we're out, then Sunday is Emily's charity kickathon, plus we have masses of writing deadlines this weekend again. The really, really good news is that we've finally found a free week to go to St Bees, so we'll be heading off to the caravan on the 7th July. We were going to go the first week in July, but Jon's attending a reiki training course on the 6th, so we've moved it to accommodate that.

This means that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in cinemas while we're away, but fear not, I've booked tickets for me and Emily to hot foot it to our local cinema on Monday 15th, the minute we return. I'm glad to see they're doing early morning showings, and I'm VERY glad that we'll get to see it before the school holidays kick in :-// And then of course, at the end of that week, it's 21st July and the Deathly Hallows book will be released. Excitement is reaching fever pitch round here; Emily and I have discussed just about every possible theory a trillion times over, lol. She thinks Snape will die defending Harry. I'm really interested to see what happens to Draco, and I'm taking bets that Harry will die. Possibly. And that Lily was an unspeakable, somehow connected with working in the Love Room at the ministry. And what's with the riding a dragon thing on the US artwork?? Ooooh, the suspense!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tapping Away

Emily came back beaming from ballet yesterday morning: she got the results for the tap exam they did, and she got a distinction :-))) She's very proud, and so are we - not so much for the result, although obviously that's great, but for the fact that she stuck it out and did the exam in the first place, despite having been reduced to tears for several lessons on the trot.

I'm still not thrilled about the two dance teachers and the way these lessons are now conducted, but for the moment they're not working towards an exam - apparently they're doing a show on the 30th June so they're practicing for that instead. Only found out yesterday that there had been no lesson break for half term. In their usual style, nobody had bothered to give out a note to that effect, or even call all the parents in to tell them, or put a notice up on the board...nothing. We thought Emily had missed one lesson by being ill, but it turns out she's actually missed two (the second because we thought it wasn't on due to half term), and of course it had to be during those two that everyone found out about this show. So we haven't a clue what's going on. The mums I'm friendly with also have kids who missed the half term lessons, so they don't know either and I'll be dammned if I'm going to ring the bl**dy teacher up to ask. I'm disgusted with their communication skills, but then that side of it always has been a shambles. I'm sure it must be just a little show for the parents, as if it were the big Plowright Theatre show they'd have been practising for months by now.

We looked after Maisie for most of yesterday as Janette couldn't change her shift at work. Maisie's Dad dropped her off here with me while Emily was at ballet, and she stayed until 8ish when Janette came to pick her up complete with a lovely bouquet of flowers for me, bless her. Needless to say, Emily and Maisie had lots of fun; they spent most of the time on the trampoline, and when they weren't doing we made tree stump fairy houses together out of clay.

This morning Emily's been to karate, and she's spent the rest of the day out in the garden with Jon, boing-ing, gardening and picking a bumper strawberry crop. They're busy making jam at the moment. I've been stuck here working on two deadlines. I love weekends. Not.

During my occasional forays into cyberspace this morning, however (when brain dead and staring at an empty word doc, willing words to appear on it) I did come across a link to this Home Ed Harry Potter Summer School Curriculum posted on the Well Trained Mind Secular newsgroup. Basically, you can sign up to access dozens of lesson plan ideas for things like herbology, divination, charms, arithmancy etc. and there are also letter templates for inviting your child to participate, letters from the various professors, assignement ideas and so on, plus lots of creative ideas for making it all work and turning it into a magical experience for the young Harry Potter fan. What a fab idea! We did something very like this for Emily's 8th birthday back on the 2nd Jan, where we had a whole days of "lessons" and fun tasks based on Harry Potter. She adored that. I don't know that we'll be doing any of the stuff on this site as it's rather similar, but I do think it's great to have the resources in one place and lots of people have obviously worked very hard on the project. So I'm posting here for any fellow home-edders who have Harry Potter obssessed kids. Not that it's such fun for the adults, too, of course. It's purely for the kids. Really ;-))

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Death Eater Masks!

Ooooh, my daughter will be in heaven when she gets back from ballet. I was just, um, looking for something on the web, as you do.......something very grown up and business like, obviously......and I stumbled across these two new (well, to us) Harry Potter bits and bobs. Death Eaters and 20Q - two of Emily's favourite things in the world, lol.

Go here to view official Death Eater Mask Art and to download an art kit to create your own

Go here to help "train" the currently under development Harry Potter 20Q game.


(Is it nearly July 13th/21st yet?)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Great Week

At last, we've had a really good week. We were overdue one, I think! We started off really well on Friday when we went to our friends for the day. Emily got on fantastically well with Jasmine and Mae-Lin, who are actually 12 and 10, so older than I thought they were. Jackie and I got on tremendously well too, so that set us up in a positive frame of mind for the week to come. Thanks for the tag, Elle, will have to have a hard think about that one!!

On Sunday Emily went to a birthday party for twins of friends of ours. She had a great time there, but it served as yet another lesson about the myth of the benefits of school "social skills". Most of the kids there (not Trish's own kids, I hasten to add) spent much of their time calling the entertainer (who Emily adored) a "fat pig", trying to spoil his act and generally hassling him to death. OK. Who's bringing these kids up (and teaching them these oh so important school induced social skills) that they'd call **anyone** a fat pig, let alone in someone else's house, to the face of someone trying to be nice to them, who'd been paid for by someone else to try to give them some fun for an hour??? Once they'd finished that, they then trashed the beautiful garden they were allowed to play in, delighted in deliberately popping the treasured balloons of the littlies, and generally ran amok for a couple of hours. I was shocked, I have to say. Yeah, my daughter's REALLY missing out on those social skills. How can she possibly turn into a well rounded adult if she's not subjected to that kind of crap day in, day out? How will she possibly turn out to be a worthwhile human being if she hasn't learnt to be a such a rude, obnoxious, revolting little sh*te? Let's just say we're willing to take the risk. Sheesh.

Anyway. On Monday - fanfare, please - Grandad came out of hospital!! That's it now, touch wood. He'll have some follow up outpatient appointments, but he hasn't had any actual pain for a long while now, so we're hopeful. Also on Monday, Jon had a very successful night at his psychic cirle. He did a psychometry reading for a lady who had wanted one done at their open evening, but didn't get time, so came back especially to see him on Monday. He took the pendant she gave him and sat in the corner for a while building up impressions from him. Apparently, she was practically in tears watching him from a distance because the gestures and movements he was unconsciously making were so significant to her and the person who had given her the pendant. When Jon called her back over to tell her what impressions he'd formed, Jackie's daughter Kerry took a photo of him doing the reading. Right over the whole side of Jon's face is an enormous orb :-))

With Grandad finally home, we've had time to do a ton of work this week. Emily's done maths and spelling until it's coming our of her ears. In biology she has been studying the parts of plants, plant lifecycles and plant nutrition, with that old favourite experiment involving white carnations and jars of food colouring/water. In chemistry she's been working on the properties of acids and bases, and has made her own indicator paper from boiled up red cabbage and blotting paper. She had a lot of fun with that, testing vinegar and ammonia as control acid and base, plus dozens of other items inbetween. We're still loving the Real Science for Kids series. Next week we're onto the next pyshics lesson which will involve making batteries from pennies, lol.

In history we're catching up, having not done much of the History Odyssey series during May. We're still on Eygptians. I'm kind of torn between on the one hand knowing Emily's done all this before, and wanting to hurry her along to reach the bits we haven't looked at before....but on the other hand, she's having a ball and really seems to be benefiting from going back over Ancient Egypt and learning a lot more than she did two years ago, so.... she's got the rest of her life, after all, let's linger! At various points this week Emily's made a step pyramid from sand blocks (play sand mixed with glue and cut into blocks) and she's also done several real payprus paintings using payprus from Egyptian Dreams and artist's ink.

We've also done lots of latin, some art and some Italian - or at least, we meant to do some Italian, but I've lost the Rosetta Stone CD that Jon bought for me. Sigh. It'll turn up. If I haven't accidentally thrown it away. During the week Emily's also been to ballet, yoga and tai chi.

Today we went to Jackie's again for the day, which we've got plans to turn into a regular weekly thing. Emily, Mae-Lin and Jasmine had a wonderful play (with much borrowing and lending of dolls clothes between the three of them, lol). Jackie taught them all a very impressive maths lesson for an hour, and I taught them to use personification in poetry, which went down well; all three worked hard on producing some great poems with lots of thoughful imagery in them. All three girls also made scones together, which were rather yummy. Emily made heart shaped ones because it's Daddy's birthday today :-))) He was very chuffed when we finally got home with them - we thought we'd be home about 2 but it was gone 4 by the time we got back. Next Friday they're coming to us; I'll teach them about air resistance (yay! parachute experiments!), Jackie will do some more maths and we'll all do a craft project together too.

Our later than planned return meant that Jon's birthday tea was a bit of a rush to prepare, but we've all had a nice family dinner this evening with all Jon's favourite things. Emily, me and my Mum and Dad bought him various spiritual pressies, including a wooden laughing buddha statue (one of his spirit guides) and various meditation CDs, crystal and DVDs by the teachers on the psychic development course he went on recently. Jon's Dad bought him a hypnotherapy course, which is actually more for me than for Jon, but he'll share it with me too.

Tomorrow Emily's off to ballet again and then a friend is coming to play for the rest of the day, so it's busy again, but at least we're finally feeling that we're getting stuff done, which has to be a plus!

Oh, and both Juliet and Romeo had great fun at midnight one night playing with this bug. I haven't had a chance yet to try to identify it, but it was huuuge. Jon heard a commotion outside the door and went to look - guess they thought it was a new toy, although I'm pleased to say it lived to tell the tale!