Sunday, 25 June 2017

No hat Sunday!

And breathe! Well, saying that was a manic week would be an understatement! Work wise I have been in Norfolk, Birmingham, Nottingham and Dundee! My feet have barley touched the ground. Amy and the girls have had the same type of week although despite the mayhem, both girls crowned it and ended in glory in getting a good work badge on the same day! This represented the last chance they could ever do this, as Lucy winds down from Junior school. The wording on both their certificates was exceptional. Lucy's teacher commented that her application to her learning and work was outstanding and Anna was complimented for taking on the challenge of improving one of her weak areas in her spelling head on and with hard work. A fine effort girls. Not much else to report really as we played catch up this weekend, although really impressed with Lucy's assistance and helpful nature in helping me clean the whole house yesterday, a first! (for cash though, so she could go shopping with her friends) Anna,  pictured (no hat) describing and exaggerating the size of the beasties sadly found in her hair last night. Amy the 'nit nurse' duly stepped in and treated the critters. After tears and several more checks this weekend, the all clear has finally been given. Neither girls, especially Lucy like this state of affairs and worry hugely about catching nits. It is strange that having nits has no bearing on your levels of personal hygiene at all or anything you do, but yet carries so much stigma and worry amongst their peers. Never mind, they have all come out in the wash, metaphorically speaking! Thank heavens they decided not to pay me a visit! Happy to share many things with my girls but not these. Has made me itch all weekend!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

What's the best job in the world?

This has long been a debated topic throughout mankind as to what the most amazing job has ever been - astronaut, inventor, prime minister, professional footballer. Today I can end this debate and categorically cast my vote and enthusiastically sing from the roof tops that being a dad is the best thing I have ever experienced. It has been Fathers day today and I have spent the day with my girls in the glorious sunshine (perhaps too hot today) and enjoyed them in all their imperfect, sarcastic, comedic and affectionate glory. We hung out at the Dinosaur park with the rest of Norfolk and splashed, giggled, argued, ate so much ice cream, collected our medals and then spent out in the gift shop. Anna kicked off the weekend of 'pride' when she lifted the 'managers player of the season' for the Fakenham Ghosts Under 9's yesterday. Described by the coach as fearless, organising the last line of defence, a great defender, the way she brings the ball forward is outstanding and 'captain' material. If I am honest I was holding back the tears with a big lump in my throat. I even got to present her with the trophy as the sponsor and got the biggest hug! Lucy got herself up very early and without assistance made me some cup cakes as a present and they are delicious and do not disappoint! Also a day of firsts as Anna just asked me to lift her hair up and do up the chain on her necklace. Not sure I would ever do this for Wiggle! Thank you girls for being you, giving me a great day to put into my memory bank and giving me the privilege of being your dad xx

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Lessons being learnt all the time...

I am not sure Anna really enjoyed being away this weekend, I think the homesickness kicked in and she struggled to understand and deal with the dynamics of a large group. Calling us over the weekend upset that another girl who had showed her kindness was 'not her friend anymore and was spending time with other people'. Anna had failed to understand that people do not belong to us and are free to do as they choose. Through this act of kindness when not feeling confident and worried, she assumed this girl would be there for her for the whole weekend. Anna simply applied how she supports her friends at school. She sees it as her responsibility to care for any of her class who struggle or get upset, sometimes this causes her much conflict. She is very caring in her nature and gives all of her heart and soul into friendships. It is just the flip side and a great life lesson for her to think about and chew over. I think she did enjoy quite a bit about her trip away but we are still talking through the emotional dramas first! I am glad we went through with it and held our ground (well done Mrs Hammond). This will build her confidence and slowly cut the apron strings as each trip away goes by over the coming years. As much as we all missed Anna, and we did terribly, a surprising side effect emerged. It was a real pleasure to spend time with Lucy. We engaged with her more as an adult, she was involved in conversation in more detail and clearly relaxed without the sibling rivalry hanging over her. I think at times we should make more of an effort to spend time with the girls as individuals. It is lovely - they have such differing interests. After all they will be defined as individuals in their futures, not just being a sister. It is definitely some food for thought. I would not do anything to jeopardise their close relationship and they do have one, despite their constant rows and protests about each other, but I did enjoy hanging out with my eldest girl. I can feel a date night coming on, we have not had one in ages Looby Chick?

Friday, 2 June 2017

Off on her first big adventure...

Anna is a home bird, she loves the security and familiarity of our family home and mainly hanging out with her mum. Often, as I have said, she struggles with new things. This morning she set off for her first ever couple of nights away without her parents to the academy residential trip. She was naturally worried and scared. Last night there were tears and upset, as she did not want to go. We persevered, Amy was brilliant with her and gave her many cuddles and talked her through it. I am afraid I would not say it was my finest parenting hour, when I could not help loosing patience. I am really proud of Anna for taking that leap and doing something she was very frightened of. She must have packed half the house last night and has every eventuality or emergency covered! God knows what was in that case. We gave her the spare mobile phone and popped into Norwich to shop for all her birthday presents. Clearly by the time she got on the bus, she had settled and was sitting with her friend. She must have called us six or seven times this morning to give us an update as to where she thought she was and how far away she was too. At one point, declaring that she thought she was in London! Then after lunch, the calls stopped, which meant she had arrived and was busy doing fun things and having a great time. The wonders of modern technology have allowed us via twitter to see pictures of her and the girls all having fun, which is just the reassurance we needed. This is a big thing for us as well. Our baby girl is growing up. Have a great time Wiggle and see you on the other side (Sunday!) A big well done, I could see her biting her lip this morning and taking a deep breath as she was about to board the bus..

Monday, 29 May 2017

This girl loves her Pizza!

Nothing makes a Hammond happier than sunshine and good food. Once again this weekend we have been treated to both, as well as a bit of the wet stuff. Rock pooling at West Runton provided a picnic in the rain, Cromer provided sunshine and ice cream and Mrs Hammond provided a barbecue feast for Grandma and old friends yesterday. It has been a home day today, clearing bedrooms, housework and catching up on jobs, much to the girls disgust. 'I was not born to clean' stated Anna in a sultry mood this morning. 'Neither was I', was my reply! After such a great weekend, we cannot sustain the levels of food and entertainment we have all weekend. We still have the rest of half term to get through as yet! So as we finish off a practical day, I am typing having completed my work, Amy is asleep on the couch (Mrs Hammond you surprise me!), Anna is watching Star Wars and Lucy is sewing in her room on her patch work project. Pretty much a normal family then. We may all be doing separate things, but the house has a lovely feel about it today. After all it is home...

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Where's Anna?!?

Jamie's game at Carrow Road is a great way to spend a May Sunday afternoon in the glorious sunshine, even better when spent with the girls. We rocked, boogied, ate way too many sweets, shouted till hoarse and enjoyed the footy together. I have to confess to barely knowing who any of the celebrities were, I must be getting old. Lucy was animated and excited all afternoon in an attempt to get the autograph of her favourite 'YouTube vlogger' - alas her efforts were in vain. Anna and I did manage to bag both the autograph and firm handshake of John Ruddy for the last time with sadness on probably his last appearance at Carrow Road. Thanks for the memories big John and the fine saves. The bottom photo sent to me by a friend in the crowd behind us is proof that no matter where you are in Norfolk Anna can be spotted in her distinctive hat and even in a large crowd. It does come in handy if she wanders off to identify her! Thanks for a lovely afternoon girls xx

Another member of the family also progressing...

When she arrived in our home, I cannot lie Inkey was a bit of a mess - a nervous, worried and not really healthy looking dog. It been over a year now and she is turning into a lovely family pet and one that is now firmly embedded into our lives. Whilst she still retains some of her old traits and worries such as she is scared of the microwave, howls when the house phone goes off and really does not like any strange men coming to the house, she definitely feels safe and loved now. She is still very much a beagle as she loves to empty the kitchen bin, eats her fair share of cat poo and could not be trusted off the lead! There have been times when she has urinated on the carpet and cost an arm and a leg at the vets (everything that Inkey has is not covered by her insurance) that I have not felt the love or owner bond. She is cheeky, greets you when you come home (sometimes more than my uncommunicative girls!), starting to become playful and adores a cuddle with the girls. The change in her behaviour I think is so wonderful is when she comes home from her walk, she bounds with pure and unrestrained excitement, legs a flailing everywhere and leaps through the dog flap into her home. She loves being part of a family and we love her. I do wish I could drag some more enthusiasm out of the girls at times though in walking her though, but I do confess to enjoying the peace and quiet of a walk with the dog sometimes though too. Just me and her, my thoughts and the sunshine...