One of my favourite things about where we lived in Leeds was certainly the lovely school the kids attended. It was small, religious, filled with lovely families and just a short walk from our house and the park. We all fitted in well, had lovely friends and whilst the new school looked good on paper, you never really know.

This week saw a big ordinary moment associated with moving house – Starting a new school and for the first time in my life as a school mum we have done school runs on the bus and train!

On Monday morning we were all super excited to get into our new flow of life whilst living at Grandma’s, and caught the bus opposite her house up to the school (15 mins away) to our soon to be new village. We had a lovely tour and met their classes and teachers, and everyone was just so lovely. They wear daffodil yellow and bright blue, instead of the purple we were used to, and things are done a little differently too. But they have so many great things for the kids to do, and whilst unknown to us we were delighted immediately and left feeling very excited to start the day after!

Living away from the school for the time being, it has of course meant that we can’t just pop our shoes on and leg it round the corner in a mad dash like our usual school days have been, arriving in the final second. We rely on public transport or family for the moment, and so I have been way more organised on a school morning than I ever have been!

We have gone by bus (which here is a complete rip off), And then the train too which was a great adventure for us all…mostly though we have had the kindness of family drive us up daily and they have enjoyed seeing the kids go to school and come home with an array of stories.


I am incredibly grateful that their school is so lovely, that they are so happy and that starting school again has gone so smoothly! It is a small village school with small classes, in a beautiful setting. They are all friendly, the kids feel included and accepted, and they have been eager to go in every day and have left with smiles on their faces (what more could you want?). I am so excited about it, about their teachers and the clubs, the stuff they do and the fact that if I want to I can go have lunch with them too (or take them out and have a picnic) – what a bonus feature! I seriously feel like I am living the dream.

Yes it is a whole new way of life to that we have been used to, and I never imagined that something so ordinary as going to school would become such a great adventure – but oh what fun we’re having and how much we have to look forward to in the coming years here!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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I have avoided my blog this week as I have just felt utterly exhausted. It is a feeling that is all too familiar, and a tiredness that comes as a result of my heart being sad and my head trying to accept the news of loss. You see on Tuesday my dear Granddad passed away – he went home, and I’ve felt pretty numb and melancholy ever since.

I do not cope well with loss, I mean who does? But for me it resurfaces the pain and emotions I work hard to suppress and keep a lid on day in day out. I find that grief for new people takes me back to places I do not want to go and I end up having a mess of the sadness of them mixed in with the sadness of losing my baby and others. Therefore other than a sentiment on my social media, I have avoided talking about it with few people aside from my Mum, Dad, Nath, Sisters and Cousins, and have done well not be too emotional though I do feel so inside!

I now find it rather odd to now be writing about all of this under the heading of an “Ordinary Moment”. Everything about my granddad is far from ordinary; he was unique and one in a million, and his passing is far from an ordinary event or moment in life, but has been the main event of my life this week. To lose someone that was such a mighty presence in our family stands alone as a moment that is both incredibly sad and heartbreaking both in our family, and news that radiates to be sad to many that knew him.

I find that life is made up of moments that on the surface may be seemingly ordinary to others and yet are huge to us. We are a close family, he was a great example to us…a strength, friend and teacher to us all and this week has been full of moments that have been made better by my family, as we all share in the same love and appreciation for who he was in each of our lives. He was funny, and one of the greatest men we have been blessed to know. My sister summed it up perfectly when she said “To know granddad was to love him…our loss is heavens gain” – how very true!

I have felt sad but have enjoyed a week of laughing with my sisters, cousins and family all the same as we have shared our treasured memories and stories of this great man we were blessed to call “Granddad”. Reminiscing is good for the soul, as is being with the great family that have come as a result of 2 people falling in love (possibly around) sixty something years ago (?!).

I love my cousins; they are some of my closest friends and I have felt blessed that that relationship has meant we can lean on one another through messages, chats and long afternoons sat on the beach! Apparently I am not the only one that finds solace and comfort in the beach when my heart is aching as yesterday some of us gathered to the coast where we have fond childhood memories with family and grandparents and we had a beach day. Some went in the sea whilst others just sat with snacks and the kids looking out to sea and chatting and laughing about all sorts. We then ate dinner together and laughed some more.

How grateful I am for cousins, sisters, aunts, uncles, beaches and of course parents that can share in these memories of someone so special to us all. How grateful I am for great teachers and examples in my life in the form of Grandparents.

With loss on my mind and in my heart it is hard to find meaningful things to talk about on my blog right now, I have a few reviews I need to process this week and we are moving Thursday and Friday so it will be a really odd and busy week. But I will tell you that my Granddad was such a mighty presence in our family, and thus will be a great absence, and that is very sad news to accept. And whilst it has been a week of not sleeping properly and feeling out of sorts with this news, and knowing I must grieve at some point soon, thus resurfacing sadness already present, it has been a week of feeling incredibly grateful for the gift of such great grandparents, and friends in my sisters and cousins all of whom have given greatness to my life and are an example of the roots we share!

 

 

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As we headed down the M62 on Saturday Morning I witnessed a rare occasion between my oldest 2 of love, friendship and harmony. It began with a sweet little voice saying “Let me help you Megan”, and was far from the usual battles, screeches, crying and fist fights we experience on journeys any longer than 10 minutes!

“Let me help you with your reading, your sums and your writing” he said, and she agreed! They giggled, praised and even had brief moments of silence whilst they concentrated on the “tricky” words and sums and it was one of those moments where family life just feels wonderful and the universe is in harmony. It’s a moment you look at and wonder why everyday isn’t this lovely? And why are these moment feel so brief and rare? It was an ordinary moment, something easily overlooked but one that made us smile to see them being the best of friends! It was an ordinary moment you imagine when you dream of your family and soon realise it is very rarely this normal!

Theses two go through phases (as most siblings do) of either being little nutters and the best of friends, or winding each other up and fighting – there is rarely a middle ground and both extremes send me mad! Then there is the fact that Ethan is a school year older than Megan, and Megan being at the younger end of hers, obviously isn’t anywhere near Ethan’s level of understanding and ability. Ethan knows this and has a tendency to pick on her, laugh at her and shout the words out before she has a chance to decode them in her reading book. It makes me sad and snappy, whilst he finds it hilarious, and whilst she gets mad and upset. It so annoying and revenge is always just around the corner from Megs!

I laughed when the school suggested I get him to help bring her on at home with her reading, writing and numbers, because I knew what a mean big brother he could be to her and I thought it would be counterproductive and end in tears…but Saturday proved to be quite the opposite, and even more amazing was that it came from Ethan as a desire to help his little sister, and Megan was so chuffed with what she was doing!

Our Saturday was far from the action packed day we had originally planned due to a family emergency, but it was a day of great importance/necessity and family time all the same. Whilst I can’t wait for a 7 seater again (for longer journeys especially), to give them a little more space (because the scraps they have are painful to listen to). Looking over my shoulder and seeing their cute little smiles, and being a witness to the love and bond between them in that moment was just beautiful.

It so often seems that its all about the he said, she said, and it drives us mad! I forget how good these too get a long the majority of the time and it is always a lovely and heart warming moment in life to be reminded of that and see your kids getting along. It is a beautiful moment to see them helping one another, laughing together and praising each other. It’s lovely as a parent to hear the sweet and mighty words of “Let me help you”…

The Ordinary Moments
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I have so many memories associated with the city of Leeds. From McDonald’s Milkshakes and chatting to homeless people with my dad as a 5 year old, to visits of my cousins at probably the same age! Then there are all of the shopping trips with friends, The dates, Theatre visits, meals and Karaoke nights and general hang outs in my 20’s, to more recently the countless adventures with my little family. Leeds has been my home for the last 9 years but with our impending move, we are coming to the end of an Era.

I have loved Leeds for about 12 years, and when I had an opportunity to move here in the summer of 2008 with my best friend (and now Sister in law) I grabbed it with both hands and never looked back. It is a city I know well. A city I feel at home in and a place that has evolved and changed a lot even in the few short years we have been here. I suppose that in itself is very representational of how I too have done the same from being here in its midst.

Leeds is where we dated, where we became parents and where we built a home together. It’s a place I will remember with fondness for all of the adventures in my 20’s to the adventures with my children from being small to now. But our time now is coming to end and it feels strange…a little emotional, but most definitely right for us. I will miss so many things about living here, and of course so many people too, but what we are moving onto is something we hope will be great for us all, and better for our future and general lifestyle.

And so yesterday, with our move hopefully just a couple of weeks away, we spent one last day together down the familiar bustling streets of Leeds. We visited the shopping scene, ate at Subway, and wandered around the market… just one last time as residents of this awesome city. We spoke of memories here, and acknowledged that this quite possibly is the last time in a long time we will be here together as a family. We remembered how we would visit Lush, The Lego Shop and Apple store as an ordinary day out on the train before the kids started school. We remembered the weekly museum visits when they were little and how the city changes with each season. We remembered friends past and present and the great times we have shared with them. And we lapped up our ordinary moment of city living one last time.

Over the next few weeks we will be packing, moving and starting a new chapter. Life in Leeds will be a thing of the past and any future visits will be as guests! It has been a chapter and series of chapters that have been jam packed with beautiful memories and incredibly hard times too. A chapter of great lessons, falling in love, changing and personal growth. Chapters of friendships and lost friendships…laughter, tears, heartache, more love, babies and copious amounts of fun.

Leeds is where I became a mother 4 times over, where my children learnt to walk and talk. It is where I made great friends and grew in numerous ways. It is where we faced huge struggles but also felt abundantly blessed and happy. It has been home to our ordinary moments for so long, but it is now the end of an era.  And whilst we are excited to move house, I am pretty sad too to be saying goodbye to this City I love so much!

I will miss the spontaneous fun of jumping on a train and being in its heart in 10 minutes. I will miss lunches at Costco and browsing round the markets with friends…the museums on our doorstep, and Ikea and the Cinema 5 minutes from our home. I will miss city life, but I am excited for country life. This has been a great adventure of wonderful highs and incredible lows, and the time is here that we must move on and forward in life away from its familiarity, and it has never felt so right. Its the end of an era and goodbye to our ordinary…but it is also hello to new adventures, friends and memories yet to make.

The Ordinary Moments
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