Annual Update

We have decided not to write a Christmas ‘newsletter’ to put in with cards this year: we know that many people don’t like it and this way we will save paper, ink and effort!

Jane started this blog in 2013 so we thought we would put an annual update here for those who want to know what we have been doing this year and to share some pictures.  Welcome if you have got a card from us and found you way here and hello to anyone else reading.

As usual the year begins with January, this was spent recovering from Christmas and preparing for Emily’s 7th birthday party.

February began with a family meal in Sheffield for Emily and Rob’s birthday which Jane had to miss as we had all been unwell with bad colds.  Emily’s party was on Rob’s birthday, she had a pamper party, not quite Rob’s thing, but there was plenty of cake!

The theme for the party was rainbows and the girls had their hair and nails done and faces painted.

We are now making plans for her 8th birthday!  Where does the time go to?
In April we had a weekend in Scarborough.
As the weather began to improve we decided to take down our old summer house and replace it with a trampoline for Emily to burn off her energy, it got a lot of use through the summer and not just from Emily the neighbours kids seem to like it too!
The summer was not a good time for us.  Jane’s grandma Olive passed away in June after having an angina attack, she was taken to hospital as initially was thought to be ok, but deteriorated and died 2 days later.  We were able to spend much of her last day with her, but she died just after we left, some of the family were with her so we take comfort that she was not alone.  She was 94 and still living alone in spite of being almost blind and with poor mobility.  For the funeral we included rainbows again; Emily wrote a poem 

Rainbow by Emily Shaw (great granddaughter, age 7)

Rain and sun together makes a rainbow
Always bright and cheerful
It is colourful and pretty
Now when it is fading it goes lighter
By now I think rainbows are brilliant
Over to you! What do you think?
Wow, now I think the rainbow has gone now.
and Jane stitched the rainbow picture above again, without the number, for the service sheet.  We left Olive in the garden of remembrance with her dear husband Frank on their 75th wedding anniversary.
The day after Olive’s funeral Rob’s grandma Margery had a fall at her nursing home and broke her hip, she was admitted to hospital, but was not well enough for surgery, she died 2 weeks later. Margery was in a nursing home for the last year of her life due to Alzheimer’s disease.  She was happy there and we celebrated her 90th birthday with her there in November 2013.
Between funerals and sorting out family affairs we managed a holiday in the Lakes in a caravan.  We did have some issues with Emily’s behaviour she was very unsettled with it being such a difficult time and did not really enjoy being away from home, but we survived and enjoyed a boat trip on Lake Windermere and a visit to Beatrix Potter’s house and the Beatrix Potter visitor centre.  Emily enjoyed the facilities on the site and we had good weather.
We also managed a trip to London during the school holidays.  Emily has never been before so was rather overwhelmed by some of it, but she loved the London Eye and we had a hotel next to Tower Bridge.  The thing she enjoyed the most was a trip on the underground!!  Thankfully much of the underground is now wheelchair accessible, but it meant she didn’t get to go on one of the long escalators, we went down in 3 lifts.  We couldn’t get near Buckingham Palace as it was changing of the guard when we got there.  We spent the final day at the Tower of London and saw the amazing display of poppies in its early days and thanks to arriving early got in to see the crown jewels without having to queue.  We ordered our own poppy and it arrived last week.
Emily moved into year 3 in September (that’s J1 for those of you not familiar with the numbering they have now).  She is doing well and has been doing some interesting projects.  They got to go on a trip to a nearby by Stately Home as WWII evacuees 
Emily’s school went into special measures in 2013 and there have been a lot of changes in school, they are on the third headteacher and most of the staff left.  School converted to an academy earlier in the year and they are making good progress.  It has been difficult for the children, but we decided that moving schools would be more disruptive, a few children did leave, but majority stayed.  Emily loves the teacher she has this year, she is newly qualified and has lots of fresh ideas.
In September we were excited to get a brand new car.  It is a Golf Estate, smaller than our last two cars now we don’t need to carry a pushchair and my wheelchair, but we may need to travel lighter when we go away!  It is a Motability car which is a great scheme, but due to benefit changes coming in the next year or so Jane (and many others) will no longer qualify for Motability, but we hope to get the option to buy the car we have as we really like it.
Emily enjoys going to a gymnastics class and loves singing and dancing, like most little girls she is mad on Frozen.  We took her to the cinema on recently to see Paddington which we all enjoyed and hope to go and see the new Annie soon and Get Santa some of which was filmed in Rothwell.  Going to the cinema is a new thing for us as Emily has always been scared, but now she will sit and enjoy the film, although she does get bored with all the adverts and trailers before it begins and can’t understand why she has to wait for the film.
Rob continues in the same job – there are frequent changes of job title and reshuffles – but basically its the same.  He has been there 15 years now, so is one of the old boys now.  It is now 8 years since he had cancer and annual checks show that everything is ok, he remains well on his medication regime.
Jane’s health continues to be poor and she lives with daily limitations and frustrations, but tries to keep positive and knows there are others worse off.  When she has the time and energy she writes her blog about life with ME and craft projects.  The craft projects always take a long time, but she has almost finished a quilt and enjoys making stitched cards and button pictures.  She had planned to do other things, but life gets in the way and energy is very limited.
Next year we are planning a loft conversion; we are running out of space and it will mean Emily has her own space when she is older. She is planning the decor already, it has to be blue! Its a big undertaking for us and one we have talked about for years.  I am sure that it will take a long time to be finished and inhabitable and we have to clear out the rubbish first.
Well I think that is about it for this year.  
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year
With love from Jane, Rob and Emily.

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