Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The McNees do camping

The McNees went camping for four nights 'and now they feel epic!' (robbed the catchphrase from the Moneysupermarket advert it seemed appropriate!)

To Anglesey we went with one to-the-roof filled car!
As we drove along the A55, the sun was beaming and we admired the numerous castles.
North Wales, to both Nathan and I, doesn't particularly bring back fond memories. Say the words 'Colwyn Bay' in front of the Hillary clan and we'll all groan as we remember the worst family holiday ever, when it rained every-single-day! There is also some memory of a dodgy dinosaur park etched in there too!
Nathan's experience too was one of wetness, on an A-level geography trip!
 In the sunshine the place looked lovely. We arrived at Ty Croes campsite and took around 3 hours to get everything set up right. This included a trip to Bangor to buy more tent pegs as we'd failed to pack one set - the scouts we are not! Everything was ready in time for the sun to set and a tea of Tomato soup.

During the night the winds blew and we woke to grey sky. Determined to make the most of the remaining dry weather we drove 5 minutes up the road to Newborough beach or Llandwyn as it is truly called. This was the beach of my childhood memory. Of that Colwyn Bay holiday there is one shining light - the trip to this beach. I remembered it was just so beautiful; a forest which nestled onto a beach with sand dunes and white sand, blue sea and the Snowdonian mountains as backdrop. 
On this day it was still beautiful but there was more of a grey sea to match the rain clouds and how the wind was howling!

The sand was in all our eyes so we retreated to the trees just as the heavens opened! We lasted all of 20 minutes, trudging around the forest in an attempt to be adventure hearts! The boys were not interested in doing a scavenger hunt, as stones were getting in their sandals. So we made haste and returned to the sanctuary of the car! 

After a long afternoon of driving and both Nathan and I at one point saying 'Let's just go home' (This became a competition between the two of us - whoever said it the least would win. The score remained 1-1 from this day until the end of our trip) and proclaiming over and over with great enthusiasm 'We're having a good time!'  to get the positive vibes going, the rain finally stopped!

Evening brought a fish n chip supper and a run out with the boys to use up some of that pent up energy.
We went for a walk at Newborough Warren, it was gorgeous. The light was amazing and highlighted the contrasting colours perfectly.

Rabbits galore 

wild horses

one tired little boy and Daddy pulling a funny face!

It was still a little windy as we tried to settle the boys to bed but I'm so glad to say that it was the last of the rain for our trip!

Bonnie Scotland

End of July we took a trip to Scotland to visit the beloved Andersons. Quite a treat the sun shone the whole time as the heatwave had also struck above the border- resulting in lots of outdoor play.

Stirling Castle

Picniced, played in the sprinklers, attempted to get the boys to listen to a child-orientated tour round the castle to no avail! Lots of ninja poses, dressed up, Charlie helped with child shepherding as he went to retrieve Ben. Will never forget when Joseph took the meaning of 'hands on activities' to a new level when he met a certain character in the castle - enough said lol!

St Andrew's

Home of;  golf, a lovely beach, a fab castle with underground mine and cafes which boast claims such as; 'Where Kate met Wils for coffee!'

Note that Joseph isn't underground with a hobo - that's just Gary adorned in his pageant beard! (We obviously knew that pageant beard was for the pioneer inspired British pageant not a beauty pageant as some of his colleagues had thought!)

The Hermitage

Lovely afternoon walk through the woods at The Hermitage to see the waterfalls and then back to a spot by the river where the boys went for a climb amongst the rocks and Nathan and Gary went for a swim.

It was such a lovely break. Saw lovely places and had some super chats with my friend Lynne :)

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fun on the iphone

Love this face

Summer break so far...

has included;

lots of mornings still in pyjamas until 11

a trip to Conysborough hall and Knaresborough with Aunty Caroline and Uncle Stuart (Boys posing for typical Knaresborough photograph from the castle)

Bike rides
Joseph is doing so well on his bike now and can start all by himself. just the brakes to go!

Teeth growing 

Fun on the trampoline and in the paddling pool at the Stilgoe's.

Joseph and Ngaika running away from Rachael!

A trip to Temple Newsam with Granne, Grandad , Aunty sarah, Emily and Isabelle.
Sleepover at Grandma and Grandad's.

Going for runs in the pouring rain in pants and wellies

Playing in the park at Humber Bridge Country park.

Lots of lego building (and learning to tidy it up)

Daily ice lollies

A few late nights and plenty of middle of the night rendevues with this little fella (not sure what happened to the fab sleeper?!)

Lots of freedom!

Loving it!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Dear Claire

Dear Claire,

On our drive home down country from Scotland last Monday, I thought of you. I wondered how you were  ;if you were still living in Edingburgh or had come home for another operation. It had been a few months since we'd messaged one another or even commented on one another's wall posts or photo. The thought was there that I'd be in touch with you soon. On Tuesday, your mum posted on your wall that you had suddenly passed away and were  somewhere now in heaven surfing on a big blue wave. 

It felt just so sad. You'd been through so much health wise. Relentless pain for the past three years and you wanted to live. I'm sure this desire to live had given you those extra months, when many without such fighting spirit would have already allowed themselves to be taken over to the next stage in life. 
That's where you are now - pain free and I imagine happy and at peace even if there is no surf - perhaps there is?!

 On Friday, I was able to go to your funeral. The dress I was going to change into got totally soaked with water in the car and so I ended up being at your funeral in a coral maxi skirt!! This wouldn't have been so bad except everyone else was wearing black! I know you wouldn't have minded! That or the fact that when I returned to the car, Joseph had just got out and was firing the gun he'd got free with his magazine! You were always so complimentary about our crazy, lively boys.

The service was lovely. The vicar spoke of hope through the resurrection and encouraged us to look at our own lives and evaluate how we were living. The music was meaningful - 'Bridge over troubled water' as you entered. The Adele song ' Feel my love' just so beautiful. 

When the rain

Is blowing in your face
And the whole world
Is on your case
I could offer you
A warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows

And the stars appear
And there is no - one there
To dry your tears
I could hold you
For a million years
To make you feel my love

At the end, after the final prayer, The Beach Boys 'Surfin USA' played us out. At that moment I felt my coral maxi skirt was quite befitting of your favourite place to be - the beach. Dougie and I walked over to your coffin, admired your photo and placed a kiss goodbye for now.

It was lovely to see Antonio.  Despite the sad circumstances, he looked so well and healthy. He looked so sad and it was moving to see him see his face lighten as he saw and embraced Dougie. Your mum's face did the same when she hugged him she said ' Aww Dougie you flirt!' 
Antonio told me that your mum had found you at home collapsed and that you'd been alone. I felt moved to tell him  as I felt so strongly when he was telling me that information that you had not been alone. I know someone would have come for you Claire to help you over to the other side. I think it was your loved Grandad H, who you went to the temple for a couple of years back but if it wasn't I know it would have been someone else.

After the service we took the boys to run off some of their energy at Humber Bridge Country park. They climbed the web climbing frame up and down and all around for well over an hour. My heart was full. The sky was blue and a masterpiece of art with the clouds. I spoke to Nathan of some feelings I'd had about who I was. I've felt Satan really try and get at me recently with negative thoughts. As I expressed this to Nathan, it was like a release valve. A pressure was released, I quietly wept and felt renewed. This is what your service had led me to do and I feel thankful. We had a really wonderful afternoon there. It is by no means a peaceful place being right next to the bridge with all it's traffic. Though you can't see it you can hear it. However, peace can be found anywhere. Peace is not a physical state but a spiritual one. That afternoon I found it there on my  picnic blanket, in the park with my two older boys climbing a frame, my baby climbing on me and my husband just listening.

Claire you are beautiful inside and out. I will think of you. There will be times in the future when I'll click on your wall, look at your photos and comment. Be at peace, continue to learn the doctrines of our Saviour's gospel. Teach others about what you know, and someday my friend, we'll meet again.

Love Kathryn x