The week started off on Monday with Stuart going to his uncle's funeral. He has been diagnosed with throat cancer earlier in the year, and had spent the rest of his time back and forth between hospital/hospice and home. Unable to speak, he spent his time writing, much of which was used at his funeral, for what was a very moving service.
On a far happier note, Tuesday was Sophie's birthday. I always think first birthdays are so special, with the events around the birth still relatively fresh in your mind. To celebrate a year of discovery and growing, we went to the Monkey Forest near Stoke. Sophie loves all kinds of animals, so we thought this would be a lovely trip out. Somewhere where we haven't been before, therefore all our memories of the place are linked to her birthday. I think the rest of us had a great time there too, looking at free ranging family groups of Barbary Macaques acting as naturally as possible with groups of people looking at them.
We returned home in time for a tea party. Friends and family arrived (with my Dad and his wife seeing Sophie for the first time!) She wore her birthday crown with a heart appliqued to the front of it. I explained to the boys that each year I would add another, Alec pointed out we could fit 21 hearts onto it, not sure that Sophie would be happy wearing it for that long though! For gifts, we bought her a whirlygig bee. Again the boys have had their fair share of playong with it, trying to make it drift around corners! The boys got her some maracas, sleigh bells, and tambourine, which she loves. She also got a toy phone (in a vain attempt at getting to speak to people on the phone without her grabbing it off you!) and some wooden blocks which the boys build up into elaborate constructions, until Sophie smashes it down! Great fun!
She got beads on a wire from Grandma and Grandad, and some lovely mini IQ books and clothes from Nanny. And with the money she has been given, I can feel a trip to Myriad coming on!
It took Sophie a good couple of days to recover from her birthday, but she had a great time, and made lots of wonderful memories for us all. Happy Birthday Sophie Grace.
As the week moves on we start to focus on Stuart's impending hernia repait operation. Never going under a general anaesthetic before was a great cause for anxiety. Wills were written, just in case. And lots of questions were going around in our heads. Stuart took it all very much in his stride, remaining positive throughout. When it came to it, the procedure was straightforward, admitted at 1pm, discharged at 8pm! The waiting inbetween though was tough. However, he is home now, recouperating. The hardest part is gently stopping Sophie from clambering over him. You don't realise how often she wants picking up until you are not allowed to!
Thoughts are now turning to the return to school (on Luke's birthday of all days - he's gutted!) A week of quiet family time will be much appreciated!