Sunday, 3 December 2017

Graduation day!

Yesterday was a great and proud family day. Amy received her Masters in Education in a ceremony in Hertfordshire. I could not be more proud of her and this achievement. In the context of being a mum, a full time teacher and me working away. Completing that dissertation and to a positive standard in the face of all those challenges is nothing short of inspirational and remarkable. It was a good day to be a Hammond yesterday. Anna, I am afraid was a bit camera, so no pictures including her (for a girl who spends much time sorting and gelling her hair, this is a bit of a contradiction!), but she did share in the day, as we all did and we would not have missed it for the world. Amy was a bit nervous and wobbly, not surprising having to go up on stage in front of hundreds of people! The day did see me drift off and fantasise a bit as to what it would be like to watch the girls graduate in the coming years, what if any would be their chosen subjects. At present my money is on drama or teaching for Lucy and sports or science for Anna? Wonder whether I am right? In the meantime, well done Mrs Hammond. Job well done and no we cannot afford your doctorate! xx

Monday, 27 November 2017

Every sensible man knows...

Every man knows the marital rules when he commits to the woman he loves for the rest of his life. Know who is in charge. Know who is the primary decision maker. Know when not to argue. Know when to bow to your wife's expertise, counsel and always give her the impression she is in control! I am only joking, and do not share any of the sexist views above, but I had to share this picture that Amy sent me in a text message, which simply implies I need to see marital approval for anything moving forwards. My argumentative nature seriously resists this in how I have relationships with my wife and my daughters. In truth I never really do learn from my mistakes and often argue way too much. Slightly worried the kids will cotton on and send me their own stamp of approval to give me before I can proceed with anything. This is potentially the problem with being outnumbered by the fairer sex in my house.  I was thinking about getting my own stamp to send to Amy and the girls when financial requests come in, although that could be taking it one step too far? Still thinking about it though!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Growing up so fast!

The pace of change in the lives of my girls continues at such a rate that I hardly have time to catch my breath and think it through. None more so than Lucy. Everything if changing so fast. Her level of independence, her insight into the world and she is bounding confidently into new situations every day at school and home. What I have been really impressed with is her discipline has been maintained in a new environment with more distractions and things going on. She does her home work without us pushing her to a high standard, she is walking herself to school in the mornings without drama (almost - apart from the odd phone call when I am in Leicester for example asking me where she has put her gum shield for hockey. I am a parental god and I managed to know where it was hundreds of miles away!) and managing her time and workload really well. I am really impressed with her and her attitude in how she is handling and embracing a massive new experience and change in her life. Of course, the down side is a significant increase in pre-teen strops, emotional reactions whenever I open my mouth or give her an instruction, but you can't win them all!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Dealing with the youtube generation...

Now I like my peace and quiet and the evenings often pose the only opportunity to wind down and get some grown up thinking time in after a mad day of work and family tasks. With the girl's bedtime getting later and later, this window seems to be getting smaller and smaller. However, strange things have been happening in the Hammond house this week and it is like I am not party to a big secret (by the expression on their faces, you know I am right, they are up to something or so I thought...) All the Hammond women are disappearing earlier and earlier upstairs, leaving me to contemplate my thoughts with relative ease. Something is not quite right. The truth behind this mass exodus and leaving me in charge of the remote controller without any resistance is internet and mobile phone related. There have all disappeared to play on their phones and gadgets is what it is. Antisocial lot! It is really great to see them go off and find their own space, but I am not sure how I feel about this new development as yet. Lucy has been moving into the 'going into her room' space for a few months, but Anna is normally downstairs trying to negotiate more time with us and this has not been the case for a few days. I am away tonight and having had an accident and banged my head this evening and wanting to rest, I could not stop her calling me. Still it was good to talk to her. Confusing times to be a dad!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

I think she might be a bit too big for Boudicca's chariot now!

I do enjoy a 'date day' with my children. It does sadly work out better if it is just one of them. Being able to spend some time with each of the girls on their own is like magic. Last week, it was Lucy and I who set off for Norwich castle museum and lunch. I have to say the exhibits have not changed in years, but we still had fun! I love Lucy's attentive and inquisitive nature in a museum, her thirst for knowledge  and her interest in finding out about the past. She does not miss a trick and at times has a photographic memory, remembering all the exhibits and facts about each era. She had, however, outgrown some of the interactive areas of the museum, specially for children, such as a ride on Boudicca's chariot. She is growing up into a strong woman, one that even the Iceni Queen herself would be proud of! We did both regress and really enjoyed the colouring in of a castle with ghosts and potion making (I made Anna a sarcastic - 'make you wear a dress' potion!). We chatted and talked rubbish all day or gobbledegook as Lucy would say. I loved my day with my girl and look forward to freeing up some time with Anna in the coming weeks too. xx

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Spending time together...

Having caught Mrs Hammond for the tail end of her birthday and showered her with the biggest non surprise birthday present ever in her 'Iwatch', I got to spend a great day late last week with the girls on my own. Tip for all those men out there, who do not know what to buy their wife, listen to the very loud hints! We did what Hammond's do best - a spot of fossil hunting, some chips by the sea and then popped into the arcades to win lots of swag. It was so relaxing and just what I needed having missed them terribly last week. No arguments, just a hint of sarcastic banter and two children with a very competitive nature to outdo me and each other in who found the best fossils. Not great hunting on this occasion, but we did find some great ones that other people had left by the beach café! My father/child bonding time continued over the weekend as Anna and I had a football date watching the East Anglian derby in the bistro (with victory). I had great delight in working out and telling Anna that Ipswich had not beaten city since before Lucy was born. 'They're pants!' she said. Can't agree more, local footballing bragging rights are always a pleasure. One more day of work and then more time with Amy and the girls with a long weekend coming up. All I need to lift me up, is time with my girls doing simple things and I am a happy man..

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Celebrating from a distance....

My baby girl is twelve today. It has been a strange experience in celebrating her birthday with her from such a distance and not actually seeing her. I really do feel like I have let her down. As I write though she is partying and spending time with her friends and I am sure thoroughly enjoying herself. Part of my role as Lucy's dad is one of provider and in the world of being self employed, I go where the work is and often personal life takes second place, especially in the service industry of the care profession where I operate. I have the weekend and Friday off to make it up to her, but that at the moment just seems like placating my guilt. Amy is so in tune with how I feel and organised a FaceTime call this morning at 7am, when I could watch Lucy open her presents. I am eternally grateful, that my wife supports me and understands the difficulty I have in balancing work with home life. It was wonderful to watch and I found the whole experience quite emotional, shedding a tear or two. It was not the same as being there, but it has made my day. Happy birthday Lucy and know that the day you were born changed my life for the better. I am blessed to call you my daughter and you have grown into such a generous and loving person that I am extremely proud to have been involved in raising you. If I am involved it is a modern miracle you are turning out so well! Your birthday presents this year such as the laptop to use for high school, just show how much you are growing up. Have a great rest of the day and I will see you in a couple of days for the biggest hug you have ever had xx