Autumn has happened. It’s been fairly mild here and many parts of the country experienced the mildest Halloween since records began.

The Bookworm has only asked to wear her gloves three times thus far, and she has cold hands.

Things have been busy this term. The biggest difference to our family life is that I have a part-time job. It’s going well, and has really helped pay for Christmas treats, and kind of let us live again.  I am a deli assistant in an Italian restaurant. I get to eat lots of yummy traditional, regional, high quality Italian food. I like this. The major blow of a part-time hospitality job is the mandatory weekend work. Even though most regularly I only work Saturday evenings, it can make weekend trips up North, to the Midlands or to the South tricky. I do feel very lucky though as the staff are great and the management do accommodate where they can.

Autumnal adventures at Erddig, featuring over 130 varieties of apple!

The Chaphas started in nursery for two days a week. This has helped him no end and he doesn’t even cry when we drop him off now, nor is he particularly bothered when I go to pick him up. The flow of my week, now that I only have the kids three days, seems rapidly fast. I am hoping it will force me to plan better, as if not friendships, time with Adam and for myself could get squeezed out.

We did plan enough to do Halloween hot dogs for our street. Even though Halloween isn’t really on our radar in terms of celebrations, it is and now will always be an annual excuse for hot-dogs. There have been a number of people moving in and out of the street, and we hoped this would be a good way to meet those who we had not yet seen. Now there are some slight complication to meeting new people on halloween. Some costumes are very convincing, especially zombies. So unless people look like the walking dead on a Monday morning, identifying them is interesting. We were really touched that a new couple on the street who we only met the week before came out and helped us do the hotdogs and bought half the food. The Chap and I posted little invitations a few days before. He was hoping to see some dogs. He loves dogs. We were chuffed that over five families came and said ‘hi’ and complimented us on our efforts. I even cooked the onions well.

He also likes donkeys. And giraffes. And turtles.

I have just asked Adam how he is; his answer was ‘that’s a big question’. On the whole he’s feeling positive. He has started hanging out weekly with some friends to make some music, which has been great fun. November/December means lots to do in terms of planning and scheduling. We have The Bookworm’s party in a couple of weeks (previously we have gone big with her birthdays – we may have set a difficult president for ourselves). Our church have a few things coming up in the next couple of weeks and Adam will be on carol-playing overload come December. It’s a challenge, having busy lives, but helped by reflection, communication and forward planning.

We are really enjoying running the kids’ church twice monthly in a community centre. Seeing the kids having fun, making new friendships, building in confidence and learning about Jesus is a privilege to be part of. Our church recently put on a fireworks evening which was cold, yummy and colourful. We had over 100 people in our friends’ house, filtering through the kitchen, utility room and garden. Spectacles included homemade toffee apples, firework-shaped biscuits, bead crafts for the kids, eating doughnuts from a washing line, toasting marshmallows, sparklers and of course the fireworks themselves.

So, onward to the start of the festive season. We are adding to our family traditions in the run up to this period. One firmly set in place in the giving of new pyjamas on the week leading up to Christmas. We often visit family over the Christmas period and appropriate nightwear is a must. Adam and I went to see a local festive theatre production called The Flint Street Nativity. It was very funny. Although for me, I cannot fully engage with Christmas until Bookworm’s birthday is over. Adam can engage with festive merriment anytime from September.

What are your family traditions? Suggestions in the comments below!


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