Happy 70th Dad!

So whilst the rest of the world is celebrating Valentine’s Day – it’s a different celebration in our house. My lovely Dad is 70!

Now 70 sounds REALLY OLD (but then having a daughter who turned 40 last year must make you feel really old).  This is me with my Mum, Dad and sisters at my 40th party – don’t we all scrub up well? (and isn’t poor Dad outnumbered?!)

Libby's 40th - Homers

We have lots of family stuff planned over the weekend – including a photoshoot for all 17 of us – 8 adults and 9 kids (the poor photographer!) and meals out.

And maybe Dad and I will fit in a nap (this was us after the Queen’s speech the Christmas before last!)

P1000076Happy Birthday Dad – love you bucket loads. xx

Grandad Graham

We are family – I’ve got all my ‘cousins’ with me!!

According to Wikipedia ‘A cousin is a relative with whom a person shares one or more common ancestors. In the general sense, cousins are two or more generations away from any common ancestor, thus distinguishing a cousin from an ancestor, descendant, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. However in common parlance, “cousin” normally specifically means “first cousin”.’

And I am lucky that I have brilliant ones – seen here along with my sisters (well, one of my sisters and one sister’s arms!) at my ‘epic’ (well I’d say that if I was younger) 40th birthday party earlier this year.

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And I love that my children and their cousins recreated this photo last Saturday at my Great Aunt’s 80th birthday party (although this photo, and party, was less booze and boob filled!!)

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Having a big family is great – my parents went from no grandkids to 7 in 7 years – and then I had an extra couple for good measure! And whilst it’s noisy and chaotic when we’re all together – it’s also great fun.  I wish we could do it more often – but geography doesn’t permit.  So until next time cousins – ‘cheers’ x

Great Grandparents

I am very fortunate that I still have a Grandmother around – my Mum’s Mum – and also an ‘honorary’ one!  

The honorary Grandma is actually my best friend’s Grandma – but she’s been in my life for almost 30 years – and she thinks of me as one of her own grandchildren.  One of my favourite memories of her and Grandad (who sadly passed away last year) was the ‘post A levels’ holiday my BFF and I went on with them to a camp site on the west coast of France.  

Back when we were 18 and carefree!
Back when we were 18 and carefree!

We had our own mobile home – but spent lots of time with G&G as they are just such fun.  Grandad would go and fetch the croissants for us every morning – but rather than leave them on the step whilst we did the teenage thing of sleeping in, he would construct a tower from tables and chairs and balance them on the top so we could see them when we opened the caravan curtains!!  

Honorary Grandparents
Honorary Grandparents

And then there was the infamous night of the ‘bad moule’ – where I was throwing up what looked like concrete and Grandma was convinced this was to do with dodgy shellfish (not the 2 litres of French white wine my 18 year old self had drunk!!)

Grandma helping me home on 'bad moule' night
Grandma helping me home on ‘bad moule’ night

When we got back to the UK – and got our results – Grandma took great pleasure in shouting out of her door that her Grandaughters had got 8 A levels between them!!   One of my kids’ highlights of this summer was actually going up and down on Grandma’s stairlift!!

Stairlift

Both honorary Grandma and my Nan are the same age (and spookily went to the same school in Birmingham as girls, although didn’t know each other) – which means they were both about the same age as my eldest daughter at the outbreak of World War 2. When the children have done projects about World War 2 and evacuees they were able to talk to my Nan all about it – as she was evacuated from inner city Birmingham to Burton upon Trent.  She talks of going into school in her best coat, with a tag around her neck and her gas mask and being sent off to a school in Burton where local families could come and pick who they wanted.  I don’t think it was a particularly enjoyable experience for Nan – and she came back to Brum as soon as she could as she missed her family so much.  How amazing that someone can talk about what happened to her when it’s a topic you read about in the history books or see in films – and how lucky my kids are to be able to talk to these ladies with such interesting history.  

Nan and Grandad (who sadly died in his early 50s – and yet seemed like such an ‘old man’ to me back then) met, married and went on to have my Mum and 4 other children – so even more kids than me!  But no washing machine / dishwasher / fridge / car – it was a much more physically demanding role than for me now. Seeing Nan in her warden controlled flat now, eating her M&S meals as it saves cooking for just her – I can’t imagine her running a house with all of those kids in those conditions – she must have been such a strong woman (even at just over five foot tall).

When I was expecting baby number 4 my consultant wanted to induce me (apparently it’s risky with number 4 or more to go overdue – and I’d had to be induced with 2 of the other 3 anyway, with the other one being a week late when he came of his own accord, so induction was likely to be on the cards at some point).  It was November 2011 – so the fact I have massive number OCD meant I wanted 11th November (what a cool date of birth would that have been?) – but he was already fully booked for c-sections.  So instead we went for November 9th – my Nan’s 83rd birthday – what an exciting present for her – her 9th great grandchild (to add to the 12 grandchildren). As she pointed out – at least we’d remember it when she’s gone (always glass half full, that’s Nan!!)

83 years difference - to the day!
83 years difference – to the day!

My parents do a lot for Nan as geographically they are the closest of her children – and when they’re away I take on the mantle of ‘milk deliverer and bill payer’.  Nan always says ‘you don’t need to come, you’ve got so much to do with the kids and business’ – but I know how much it means to her – and I know how much it would mean to some of my friends who no longer have their Nans to go and visit. So a (china) mug of tea and an egg custard at Nan’s little flat it is! 

4 generations
4 generations (one with really bad fluid retention in her legs having just given birth……..)