One of the phrases friends use about me most is 'spinning plates', as in, 'Sars, I know you're spinning plates right now, but do you think you could ... [insert appropriate request / favour]'. This year, the plates seem to have been spinning faster, and there seem to have been more of them, so that rather than spinning 'em I feel more like I've been smashing them all over the floor. Everyone assures me I'm doing an okay job, but I'm sure I can still hear the sound of tinkling china echoing in my ears. I can hardly recall everything we've been up to since I last uploaded a blog post, though I can say it has involved new beginnings - Ava learning about life through seeing eyes; all of us becoming camping addicts (even Paul!!); Ava returning to nursery, Nath starting in reception and lots, lots more. I can't believe it is already half term, that Nath is now firmly settled into life at school, that Ava is properly on her way to a normalised existence, and that we have all emerged from a pretty hellish first two thirds of the year relatively unscathed. I still feel tears spring to my eyes every time I cut up greens (don't ask me why, but the action of doing it, the sight and the smell of chopped, raw cabbage just reminds me of the particular way my Nan used to chonk it down in the collander with a plate, one of the plates I have now inherited, and carries associations with all the roast dinners dished up to me, and then my family, by my Nanna, who died this year in April) and I still find myself peering into Ava's eyes every time I dress her to check they look okay... But yes, I think to myself, basically, things are okay again. Paul and I passed a milestone in July with our fifteenth wedding anniversary, and now, belatedly, we are going to celebrate, with three days in Madrid... without the children. Of course, there is no such thing as unadulterated pleasure. The organisation and planning to enable three small children to spend three days with their grandparents seems phenomenal, and then there's the guilt about leaving them and the wondering how we'll manage just the two of us, away for only the second time in eight years for more than a night on our own.... But surely, it's got to be good, hasn't it?