Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The Ayers household is having a quiet day after a day of merry making yesterday on Christmas Day.  We hope that all our family and friends also had a wonderful day.

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More on the festive season to come!

My Camera (by Lauren)

Here is Christmas Day 2008 as recorded by me (Lauren) on my new Camera...

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Click the photo to see more.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Road to recovery

The household has gradually been getting back to normal following our week of illness.  Even Jocey, who seems the slowest of us to recover, seems to be getting there now and hasn't run a fever today.  She still isn't eating like she normally would, but I am hoping that she too is on the road to recovery.

Lauren has had a good weekend as her tummy medicines kicked in.  Last week, she was vomiting whilst she was unwell, and had difficulty getting her appetite back.  She has become really skinny due to being repeatedly ill since the summer so we have been really worried about her.  Even Jocey, who is normally a good eater seems to have slowed down in terms of growth as she has been unwell so often this winter.

On Saturday, I took Lauren to a birthday party in Kingston.  It was the party of one of her friends from her old room at nursery, the infamous James.  Whilst she was in the 2-3 year old room, there was a time when she would often come home and say that "James did it" for various ailments, bumps and bruises!  I was never sure if there was always truth in the matter (one time Lauren complained of a sore neck and said that James had done it.  When I examined her neck I found a really large gland there which must have come up whilst she had had a sore throat; I am sure that that was the cause of her discomfort, not James!).  Thus I was a little surprised that Lauren was invited to the party.

However, they must have got over their previous differences as they seemed quite happy to play at the party.  James's parents were lovely and really welcoming.  The party was a lot of fun and Amanda's Action Kids were on hand to provide the entertainment.

When the cake came, it was spectacular.  It was an African theme with animals of the savanna on top.  There was a zebra, a giraffe, an elephant, a lion and I think a monkey.  James's dad told us that it had been really difficult keeping the cake a secret from James because the giraffe's neck was so long that a hole had had to be cut in the box to accommodate the head.  With the head sticking out, they had had an interesting time trying to stop James from destroying it before the party.

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As soon as the candles were out, James proceeded to take the animals off the cake and eat them!

Lauren had great fun and for the first time seemed to enjoy taking part in Amanda more, even though she (and a few others) were terribly shy to begin with.

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Here she is enjoying a bit of cake.

Last weekend, before we all became ill, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Snakes and Ladders, where we'd had fun before.  Last week, we also had a flying visit from Suzanne; Lauren and Jocey were really pleased to see their grandma.  I'm hoping she didn't catch our germs!

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Both Lauren and Jocey had a great time on the climbing frames, slides and swings.

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Here are two pictures of the girls hugging / wrestling...

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It's lovely that they are so affectionate with each other!

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You can see all of the photos from this month on our Flickr site.

Today, I've spent most of the day cooking and getting ready for going back to work next week.  At 10pm, I finally finished all the chores, baking, lunches and dinners for next week.  No wonder I got so run down and got floored by the flu last week.  Even my weekends aren't much of a break!

I've decided that I must be more careful with things and take more rest so as not to get so run down again.  It's horrible being unwell and no good for the family either.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

House of Lurgy

On Sunday, we were all struck down by the dreaded lurgy.  All of us have had sore throats, coughs and sneezes.  The poor girls have been running fevers too and have found it difficult to sleep at night.  As a consequence, we've not had much sleep either.

I've had the whole week off so far due to this.  I still feel awful and don't want to infect all my colleagues, who are working flat out as it is and I am sure would not appreciate being ill this close to the festive season.  Lauren is better and went back to nursery today but Jocey is still running a temperature.

I can't believe what a rotten winter we've had; we seem to have been constantly ill this year.  I do find winter in the UK pretty miserable at the best of times - this year has been particularly unpleasant.  I hope we're not ill over Christmas; that really would be the last straw!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I've had a brilliant morning at the new Westfield shopping centre.  I've had time back over the last two days for working last weekend, but yesterday was unfortunately taken up with work related stuff, so I basically ended up working from home.

Today, I dropped off the girls at nursery and had a much needed morning to myself.  I decided to head off to the new Westfield shopping centre; I felt it was time I did so after I had to bail out last time.

Well, I can say that I certainly wasn't disappointed.  Everything inside was light, airy and beautiful like shopping in a winter wonderland.  The staff were helpful and courteous and it wasn't too crowded initially.  Of course, after lunchtime it began to fill up with people getting home from work early.

Inside it was tidy, clean, comfortable and well laid out.  Everything (including lifts) seemed to be working.  There was a mind boggling selection of shops and places to eat.  I felt really spoiled for choice.

In the end though, I was very controlled and didn't go mad.  I bought a Christmas present for George and have some really good ideas for everyone else.  Now I'm going to see if I can get some of the things I've seen today online for less.

When we lived in Sydney, it was always our tradition on a Saturday morning to go down to our local Westfield shopping centre (in Chatswood) to have sushi and to go shopping.  I honoured that tradition today and had sushi for lunch; it put a smile on my face to be able to do so again.

I can't wait to go back to the Westfield again for more shopping heaven!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Work frenzy

Following my post about playing with dolls, I have had a chance to demonstrate our hospital's new simulator to our staff.  It all went extremely well and they were all excited and enthusiastic about getting to train on it themselves.

Some rather unexpected things have come out of that day.  Firstly, I am beginning to realise that I am leading on an absolutely enormous project which is getting bigger and bigger by the minute.  I have been approached by people outside the hospital interested in our simulator.  Some want to be able to train on it and others just want to learn more about what we're doing.

I have even been approached to do a research project with a really high powered team in medical education.  I was completely flabbergasted.

This afternoon, I am going to be interviewed by one of the local radio stations about the simulator.  Since I've never done an interview before, I am (and this is putting it mildly) pretty scared.

Looks like I'm going to be busy at work for the next little while!

Over the hill

Yesterday, I opened a letter for Jase which looked like junk mail.  I had to laugh when I realised what it was.


Poor Jase!  I especially liked the line "for people aged 50 and over"; I am pretty sure I put fewer candles on his last birthday cake than that.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Debriefing the debrief

I have spent the last three days (yes, all weekend...poor Jase entertained the girls all that time on his own without complaint) up to my eyeballs in educational theory and learning how to encourage people to learn through simulation.

Essentially, this involved playing with adult sized, highly sophisticated medical "dolls" which were programmed to suffer from all sorts of nasty conditions.  I worked with a fantastic bunch of people all weekend to come to the rescue of these dolls to save them time and time again from certain death.

After each session, we learned to debrief each other to bring out learning points for the whole group.  We then had our debrief debriefed in turn.  It has been hard work, at times stressful but in the end a lot of fun.

Playing with dolls is serious stuff.  I'm sure Lauren agrees with me.