November, 2011 Archive

Where has my Blackberry been?

So today is the last day with my Blackberry Bold as tomorrow I take delivery of my new Blackberry Bold 9900. I have been rescueing the pictures from my old phone and was surprised how many there were and how interesting it was looking back at what the last year or so has involved.

My phone has been to Robin Hoods Bay lots…

There have been quite a few flights…

The kids have dressed up a few times…

It was there when we went up the Eiffel Tower…

There in Barcelona …

There at Alton Towers, Splash Landings…

There when we got Mollie…

And took a few pics of the campervans…

And also took some pictures of the hens…

And even there after a very boozy weekend…

What a blast .. lets hope my new phone has as good a time as this one had 🙂

Back to Being a Call of Duty Widow

So the latest Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) was released on the 8th November and my life again is revolving around helicoper attacks and machine gun sounds as Dave and the kids try to get as much game play as possible to level up and prestige. Evenings often involve Xbox Live sessions with guys from Bronco too so there isn’t a day in the office that doesn’t go by without talk of MW3 (or Battlefield3). I did a post 2 years ago now on being a MW Widow, but I have either got more tolerant, or embraced the game more.

Today I found a cool infographic that just demonstrates how popular the series of games is, and I’m really surprised just how fast the games sell. I know Dave was up at 6am on the day of release to get to Sainsbury’s early opening to get 2 copies. It also just shows how expensive the equipment is that they use in “real life” wars.. its pretty vast, and its great to see that the game company support the US Forces so well.

Brought to you by Modern Warfare 3 News.
Embed This MW3 Infographic On Your Site.

I love things like this!

It’s not often you get a fantastic time stamp like this but we have just witnessed ….

11 seconds, after the 11th minute, of the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, of the 11th year of the 21st Century

11:11:11 11/11/11

And me being a bit psychic and superstitious I regularly notice the clock at 11:11 .. not sure if its just a spooky occurence or that I check the time a lot.

A full day of work, then more

As you’ll all know, I run a really busy search marketing and web development company with Dave and its pretty none stop at work all day, and I always leave work with a full “to do” list for the next day which constantly grows.

I tend to leave work around 4.30pm so that I can go and sort the kids out and there starts the second shift of the day. I won’t stop doing stuff at home until about 8.30 – 9pm when I can finally sit down, watch a bit of tv and have a glass of wine. Whether its making tea for the kids, cooking tea and Laura and I (Dave has his own BodyChef food to eat which is all prepared), tidying up and doing some washing, sorting out the pets, making sure homework is done, sorting the kids bath out, and getting the bedtime routine underway.

For those that don’t know we have a new member of the household, our 17 year old niece who has recently joined the local school in the sixth form. She lives with us through the week, going home on a Saturday for her part time job and returning to us on Sunday. So we now have 2 young boys and a teenage girl under our roof so its busy and hectic but great fun.

Tonight was a typical night, as homework beckoned. Miles has just started secondary school so he gets daily homework, and Laura always has piles to do for her A Levels. A snapshot of tonight was Miles having to revise his French which brought back lots of the language I thought I’d forgotten, then onto Geography and making a model of an island which showed the height contours of the land – so lots of cutting and painting of cardboard, and then I helped Laura with her General Studies about the United Nations and Geneva Convention involvement in the Libya conflict.

When I am helping out with the homework, giving advice, or checking answers, I feel like I am regaining my education too. It’s like going on a refresher course and starting back at the basics of the main high school subjects. Its pretty time consuming but I love it and I have always said that if I wasn’t running Bronco I’d be a teacher.

Doom and Gloom for August born kids

Today there were a couple of articles on the BBC that were reporting on findings of a report that the Institute of Fiscal Studies have carried out basically saying that children born in August will not only struggle and be bullied at school, but are less likely to get into top universities and generally struggle their entire life with low self-esteem. So having a son born on the 29th August made me interested in the findings. Miles is the very youngest in his year at school, if he had been born a few days later he would have been the very oldest in the year below. Currently I think he is the youngest in the entire secondary school that he has just joined… scary thought!

In the article an “education expert and former teacher” describes kids like Miles as the “runt of a litter” … can’t say that I have ever felt that when I look at him with his class mates, but I certainly can relate to the problems in the current schooling system and the lack of understanding I think from teachers.

Fortunately Miles comes from good stock and up to the age of 6 or 7 he was always the top of the class and amazing teachers with his reading ability and maths. I would say that during his last few years at primary school I would kind of dread going to parents evenings as even though I would hear the reports of how good his work was and that he was in the top streams for Maths, I would always get the “but, he does tend to be a bit silly and mess around in class”. Numerous times I’d discussed it with the teachers to split him up from the other kids who would tend to mess, sit him by himself if needed, punish him.. whatever was required to make him behave or gain the maturity that was obviously lacking. He then started to fall back on his English and found it hard to write a good story (which is when we got a private tutor in) but there didn’t seem to be the extra help from the school and no real leeway in the targets that were imposed on the whole year group, so Miles was competing with kids nearly a year older than him. In a kids development, a year is a long time and there is so much to learn and take in, which of course makes a difference and should be accounted for in schools.

Parents of course have a massive role to play in making sure that the summer children have the extra support if they need it, rather than falling behind in class and struggling. They need to be encouraged to work that bit harder to keep up with their peers, and to take part in lots of activities to mix with older and younger kids, as age really shouldn’t be a defining factor. Miles outshone most of his year group in the area when he got the 12th highest mark for the 11+ entrance exam to the secondary school, so that was a brilliant achievement for someone who had just turned 10 when he took the test. This achievement only came from lots of hard work and determination to make sure he made the most of the opportunities.

So there isn’t a solution to the problem… as there will always have to be a cut-off point to split up the school years. I reckon that if Miles had really struggled he would have just dropped back a year to become the oldest in the year below, or we could have pushed for it I presume. There is so much pressure on kids (and parents) these days that all we can hope for is that they do the best they can, be as happy as they can, and get lots of support and praise for what they do manage to achieve.