Playtime at the park & fun with flowers

After Monkey’s little accident this week and an easy day to make sure he didn’t reopen his cuts, he was in desperate need of burning off some energy! Thankfully there are a few parks within walking distance of home and though it was a tad grey I decided to trust the weather forecast and pop out for him to have a run around.

WP_20140829_10_50_04_Pro (2) WP_20140829_10_51_10_ProIt was lovely to see him running about and climbing with such a big smile on his face. The swelling on his face has gone down a lot now so my over-protectiveness has calmed down a little…. though I am a bit more worried than normal about him taking a tumble as I think it wouldn’t take much for his cuts to open up again!

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Thankfully though there was no trips or stumbles or slips and just lots of fun and giggles. We sat together on a spinny thing (no idea what you would actually call it and no photos of us both on it as I was trying to make sure neither of us fell off it) and just hearing him giggle his heart out and shout wee was lovely for the soul. Somehow Monkey hurting himself so badly really made me remember how precious he is and with my preggo hormones at the moment I am being a properly soppy Mummy and it was just lovely seeing him having so much fun!

this is the spinny thing :)

this is the spinny thing :)

Our little Monkey loves flowers. Even before he could say any words he would regularly be found picking daisies and dandelions on our walks. This hasn’t changed and he still loves picking up flowers whenever we go out. For a while he called them “Bowers” but his pronunciation is improving so we are now at “fwowers”. As per usual he spent quite a bit of time with flowers at the park. Carrying them around, taking them down the slide with him, and then a couple of daisies made their way into his pocket for the walk home.WP_20140829_10_55_43_Pro WP_20140829_10_59_23_Pro WP_20140829_10_56_40_Pro

It was a lovely little run around at the park and nice to see him so giggly and happy :)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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An emotional week

This week the word I am going for is emotional. It has been full of emotions, both happy and … less happy this week.

P1040196Starting with the happiest, we were at a wedding last Friday which was just beautiful. You can read more here but it really was wonderful and they had so many personal little touches to their day that it was a bit emotional. During the ceremony I teared up right at the start as  instead of walking down the aisle to meet him at the alter, the groom left the alter and came and got her. He took her hand and they kissed before walking up the aisle together. I just thought it was a beautiful moment and makes me tear up even thinking about it. I hated walking up the aisle at our wedding, with everyone staring at me so I wish we had thought to do this at ours!

Hubby and I were also full of pride when we came home as Monkey handled our absence amazingly well. Our little man really is growing up right in front of our eyes.

Unfortunately then the week turned a little gloomy. I was really tired and in quite a lot of pain with my pelvis after standing a lot at the wedding and spending about 6 hours in the car there and back. Tiredness and soreness sadly makes me a tad on the mardy side so there was a grumpy couple of days at the beginning of the week! Poor hubs!

By Wednesday I was feeling a lot better and a day catching up with friends while the kids all played made me feel back to my normal happy self. Then that night, disaster struck. I have no idea how it happened, I was in the kitchen getting the last bits for dinner, hubby and Monkey were sat at the table. then I heard some very odd scuffly noises and saw hubby leaping in a panic and then scooping Monkey off the floor. Somehow, Monkey had managed to fall off his chair.

This is the boy that loves climbing and scampers up climbing frames and is running about all day without coming to any harm. He sits on his chair in the dining room, the chair he sits on at least twice a day, and manages to fall off. It may not sound that bad yet, but he must have landed right on his face as he is a mess the poor lamb. Hubby scooped him up for a cuddle and then we realised there was blood everywhere, it was pouring out of his little mouth and even after we managed to slow the bleeding we really struggled to console him.

Twitter2893c65Honestly we haven’t seen him so unhappy for so long since the days of colic as a baby. Of course he cries sometimes, and has cried a lot during illnesses but we always manage to soothe him with a combination of cuddles, singing, stories, tv but on Wednesday none of these worked and we were really worried. It was clear he was in a lot of pain and was really stressed out by the fall.

I then had a bit of inspiration and we gave him an ice lolly, in the hope that the ice would help his wounds, make him a bit numb, take the taste of blood out of his mouth and hopefully take his mind off of it.Thankfully that and a bit of Postman Pat on the TV worked and soon enough he was back to his usual happy self again. Phew!

His poor little face though is so swollen and sore looking. He seems to have bounced back from his ordeal but hubby and I are taking a lot longer to recover from the stress of it all. I’ve honestly been an emotional wreck and couldn’t stop crying the next morning. I’m partially blaming my preggo hormones but seeing his swollen little face just broke my heart and I have just been worrying non stop. Rationally I know it is fine and he will heal but it just looks so awful and painful. It really is horrendous seeing him hurt and that’s only a bash on the face. I can’t imagine what a wreck I would be if anything serious happened to him, heaven forbid!!

I’ve also been well and truly on over-protective mama mode, not like me at all, but I am terrified that he will bash his lip and re-open the wounds so have been insisting on a lot of calm indoor play at home to avoid any more dramas while it heals. Not easy with a hyper toddler who loves to run around like a little loony!!

I also know it’s daft. He’s a toddler. He’s clumsy and sometimes he is going to hurt himself. I am not one for wrapping kids on cotton wool as I know it is part of the rough and tumble of childhood. I also know that you can’t protect them every second of every day, it’s just not realistic. Who would have ever thought he would do so much damage falling off a chair that he climbs up on and gets down from by himself multiple times every day? I just don’t want him to have another knock that reopens it or makes it worse!

It has definitely been an emotional week in our house, how has your week been?

The Reading Residence

#GetGoodSummer Week 9, One week to go!

I can’t believe we are on week 9 of #GetGoodSummer! This summer has gone by so so fast, but with the weather lately it does feel like it is pretty much over.

So anyway, where are with our goals?

Goal 1 was to clear the baby room and we definitely checked that one off the list at the start of the summer!

WP_20140827_14_02_55_ProGoal 2 was to decorate the baby room. We haven’t finished yet but we are making progress. The room is completely painted now and yesterday we had the flooring fitted! We have gone for some ultra hard wearing vinyl, which is pretty expensive but our hopes are that we never really have to put any other flooring down – it has like a 15 year guarantee on it! We like hard floors as good for spills and messes but with it being vinyl its not as cold as some hard floors can be. It looks lovely too!

Hubby also drilled holes to get the black-out blind up, and we just need to cut it to the right size now. We also got some gorgeous curtains from our sister in-law who doesn’t need them anymore – some lovely pink gingham Laura Ashley ones, they are just gorgeous! We need to buy a curtain rail before we can put them up!

Now the flooring is down we can finally get the furniture sorted out in there and then we will need to get the wall stickers on the walls, though we aren’t wanting to rush that as it may be a challenge!

Overall though Goal 2 is going well and hopefully we will get a few more bits done in there at the weekend!

Goal 3 is the goal we are failing at so far. We have not really got anywhere with sorting out the lease on my flat. We were recommended a property lawyer and hubby called them, but sadly they weren’t available. He left a message but hasn’t had a reply so we are pretty much at square one with it! We will try and get started over the next week but there is now no chance we will complete that one by next week! Boooo! :(

Goal 4 went really well and has been a lovely fun goal – catching up with family and friends that live far away before baby comes along. We have done pretty well with that one and Baby day is getting ever nearer now!

Goal 5 was to get organised. We have done lots on this one too though there is still more I want to do – which is organise baby things. Now the flooring is down in the baby room and we can get the furniture set up, it is also time to get the baby boxes out of the loft. Time to see what we kept, what is in good enough condition, and what we need to stock up on for baba’s arrival. I am hoping to get a bit more of this done during the last week of #GetGoodSummer, so keep fingers crossed for me on that one!

How have you got on with your goals? One week to go!!

Mummy & Daddy take the night off!

On Friday morning hubby and I left the house at about 8.15am and headed off to Hereford for a wedding. Monkey? Monkey stayed at home, in the care of his Nanny & Pops! This was quite a big deal for us. Before we had Monkey and when he was a tiny baby we had grand ideas about leaving him with the grandparents fairly regularly so he would get used to it from a young age and it wouldn’t be a big deal.

In reality things didn’t quite work out as we planned (when does it ever, with babies?). Colic didn’t help matters and I always found leaving him behind difficult when breastfeeding – having to express extra milk before the event, trying to ensure he would drink out of bottles, having to find somewhere quiet to express your engorged boobs while at an event (trying not to get any on your fancy outfit) to relieve the pain. Not simple or stress free, in my personal opinion. We did manage a couple of days like this but didn’t actually have any events or plans far away, requiring an overnight stay, when he was very little so always came home for the night.

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Baby Brain at 30 wks & Bump goes to a wedding!

30 weeks pregnant. Wowzers, when you put it like that it is a little scary! I swear I was only just 20 weeks?? Blimey! So what is going on? I’m not sure I can even remember because Baby Brain is well and truly here. I am forgetting all sorts of things that I really shouldn’t be forgetting. I am getting names and dates muddled. I am committing to things, forgetting we already have things planned. I ordered shopping to come on Thursday night so my Parents and Leo would have food over the weekend while Hubby and I were away but somehow ordered it for the wrong week. Meaning hubby had to go out Thursday night and buy everything instead (on top of doing a load of other things to prepare for leaving at 8am the next morning to get to a wedding). Continue reading

A Summer Meadow

Last weekend my Auntie Maggie came to stay. We had a really lovely (and thankfully very relaxed) weekend with a lot of playtime. Considering Maggie lives in South London Monkey has a great relationship with her, we have seen a lot of her this summer and it has been great for him and he loves her to bits. In many ways she’s a bit like a 3rd Grandma!

He was really excited to have her come to stay and wanted Maggie with him all the time. After a short walk together, Monkey decided he didn’t want to follow Mummy & Daddy home, and instead dragged Maggie away in the opposite direction to have a slightly longer walk! We were all a bit surprised but as I may have mentioned (once or twice) he is getting much more independent lately!

We didn’t want to go too far while she was up and mainly just pottered and went on a few local walks. On Sunday my brother joined us too and we all walked to a little field a few minutes from our house. It is a slightly random field, surrounded and hidden by housing estates, roads and a lot of trees, there is hardly ever anyone there, and even though hubby and I grew up in this area, neither of us knew it was there until a couple of months ago!

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At the moment it is particularly lovely as it has the feel of a gorgeous summer meadow. I know they are just dandelions and other weeds but being greeted by the sea of yellow was just lovely.

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My older brother Paul had popped over to say hello so he came with us and we all had a lovely relaxed time in the meadow. I say relaxed, I was sat relaxing on a rise while Monkey made everyone else run around in circles and chase him etc.

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Just a lovely little ordinary family moment :)

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Plum & Blackberry Crumble & a Plum-Picking Adventure!

We have a lovely little ‘pick your own’ farm a really short distance from where we live. I vaguely remember going as a child to pick strawberries and had planned on taking Monkey to pick strawberries, but alas we missed the season this year. My neighbour went though and also went recently and said they had the most delicious plums! Plums aren’t a fruit regularly eaten in our house but my neighbour really wanted Monkey and I to join her and her kiddies on a pick your own expedition, and I thought Monkey would enjoy it so off we went.

Monkey absolutely loved it at the farm, so many open spaces to run about bless him and he just kept running around shouting “Berry, berry, berry!” lol. He was quite helpful with picking the plums, although he also tried picking some very underripe ones, and some less than lovely looking ones off the floor! He did try though!

plums

I didn’t realise they also had blackberry bushes and we love a blackberry crumble in our house so we picked some of those too. I was worried he would hurt himself on the thorns but he managed really well and actually tried to eat some of the blackberries and plums, though he isn’t very good with fresh fruit and pretty much spat it all out.

blackberries

We then had a play on their fabulous play park before we headed home. It was a lovely place and we will definitely go fruit picking there again!

playground

I wasn’t sure what to do with the fruit to start with as neither hubby or Monkey are big fans of fresh fruit, and I don’t really have the energy to make anything complicated. So it didn’t take long for me to decide to make a Plum & Blackberry crumble. I love making crumbles mainly because they are so easy to make, are absolutely yummy and get some fruit inside us (albeit with a lot of sugar involved!)

Here is our recipe for a lovely crumble. My fruit measurements are very vague and can be interchangeable with a lot of fruits. I originally used this recipe to make a rhubarb crumble, though with rhubarb you also need 50ml of water, which I left out in this case as the plums were so juicy in themselves!

Plum & Blackberry Crumble Ingredients

WP_20140816_19_15_38_Pro500g Fruit – in this case Plums & Blackberries – chopped/sliced thinly
100g Caster Sugar
100g Wholemeal Flour (can use plain)
100g Rolled Oats (Porridge oats)
100g Butter (we use unsalted)
125g Demerara Sugar

Plum & Blackberry Crumble Method

Preheat the oven to 180°

Place the chopped into fruit in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the Caster Sugar (and water if necessary i.e with rhubarb)

Put the Flour, Oats and Demerara Sugar in a separate bowl. Add the butter and mix in with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. It is ok if there are a few lumpy bits.

Sprinkle crumble mixture over the fruit as evenly as possible, and don’t pat down too much.

Bake for 35- 40 mins or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.

Plum & Blackberry Crumble

Serve with custard, or a good dollop of ice cream!

Plum & Blackberry Crumble

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Encouraging independence

With Great Auntie Maggie

With Great Auntie Maggie

I wrote last week that Monkey’s independence has been growing of late and that he is happier to spend less time with Mummy and Daddy these days, and is happy to be with family and friends. This is still very true and in fact he abandoned Mummy and Daddy at the weekend and took his Great Auntie Maggie off for a walk without us!

What may come (and has indeed come) as a surprise to some, is that we actually love this development, and have been encouraging it for a while. I understand that for many this stage can be bittersweet, as it is a sign that Monkey is growing up. That he needs us less. I completely understand why lots of mummies and daddies feel like this, but honestly, I just don’t. I love it!

I am a very independent person myself, and always have been. Maybe it is a sign of me being selfish but I really like that little added freedom that this step of independence brings. For a start it is still only a very small step and he still needs, and wants Mummy or Daddy a lot of the time, but as someone rightly said, it means for the first time in a long time, I can actually use the toilet in peace. Not every time but more than before!

It also comes at the perfect time as at 7 months pregnant I am less and less able to do all of the things that Monkey wants me to do, so if he is happy for other relatives to step in and do those things with him, then phew, is all I can say! As the next few months go by we are going to need to ask family to help more and more, even if just to take him to the park for half an hour or something so he gets a run around while I rest. The same will be true when the baby comes, especially as it is increasingly likely that I will need a c-section and will have the recovery time that comes with it. The more he is happy to do this of his own free will, the better really as hopefully I will fell less guilty about the things that I just can’t manage to do with him.

It isn’t just my pregnancy that makes us appreciate Monkey’s new found independence though, as we have been encouraging him to play a bit more independently for some time, and I do think this is important. I read an interesting article recently about structured play vs child led lay. The article suggested that many of us parents these days feel the pressure to engage in structured play with our little ones, to help them learn, rather than leave them to their own devices. The result of this according to the article, is actually detrimental to our children.

Simple Colour Matching GameNow with many articles like this I think you have to take them with a pinch of salt and actually I like to think the best approach is a bit of everything. I do want to encourage Monkey to learn, as he is a little sponge at the moment, so we do have structured play. Things like the colour matching game and we also do things like threading pasta on a string or some of our counting games. But we have been encouraging him to play a bit more independently for some time.

 

As he is getting older, it is easier for him to have more independent playtime, where he potters and does things himself. Where he will push postman pat around in his pushchair, or drive a car up and down the arms of the sofa, or play with the plastic food in his mini kitchen and present me with pies and stews. This is my favourite kind of play, as it is all about his imagination and he is also learning at the same time. I guess it is the definition of child-led play. It is great, but, as any parent knows, kids aren’t always so obliging and  get bored easily, so they sometimes need a bit of prompting to fire up their imaginations.

rp_Rainy-Day-Play-400x400.jpgBecause of this a lot of our time involves me setting up an activity and then actually sitting back and seeing where his imagination takes him. He likes me to be involved but I try to encourage him to play on his own as much as possible. So once I have built him a train track, or have drawn a road for him, I then back off and leave him to it a bit. I guess it is independent play within a semi-structured framework?

Messy play and sensory play work on a similar basis, as while it means a bit of structure in that I am giving him the activity and the tools, I actually try and encourage him to use his imagination and see where it takes him. It generally involves a lot of mess but he has fun. And actually many of the craft activities I have tried to structure, with a result in mind, actually wind up being a bit of a disaster so I have learnt to have less of a goal in mind with messy or crafty play!

Maybe we are a bit cruel? Do we expect too much of our little two year old in asking him to be independent? I hope that it is good for him as we are teaching him life skills. In many ways he is incredibly lucky that he has our undivided attention. As a SAHM he has my attention all of the time, and I have worried in the past that that that may be detrimental in itself. Children at a nursery or childminder have to learn to be less dependent on their parents don’t they? If you are working then you cannot be there with them all of the time. Is my being at home with him encouraging him to be more reliant on me? Perhaps that is why I am enjoying the new-found independence so much.

As with many things parenting I am sure you can argue it from all sides and no-one really knows what the best thing is for any child, and I am sure the best thing is in fact different for different children! All we can do is what we think is best, and for us, for now, we will continue to encourage this growing independence and hope that it is the right thing to do!

Ethans Escapades

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The Reading Residence

Time Management as a SAHM

I hate being late, I always have done. As a kid my Dad always took ages getting ready and so we were late to pretty much everything. Whenever we saw friends or went to events it was like a running joke “Oh it’s the Pardoes, late again!” As a kid, knowing that it was outside of my control I hated the mocking, whereas it never bothered my Dad. My Mum, brothers and I would often be sat in the car ready and waiting to go while he was pottering around getting himself organised!

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Whether I would be so averse to lateness as an adult if it weren’t for this, who knows, but if anything now jokes are the other way round. It is extremely rare that I am late and often arrive at things early, and even if I try to be late (when it doesn’t matter) I rarely manage to be later than on time. It’s a bit ridiculous really but I actually find being late really stressful and I hate the thought of keeping people waiting. Thankfully hubby has similar feelings about lateness as I do though I can be a bit OTT if he is faffing slightly before we go somewhere – he is nothing like my Dad but I can over-react a little on occasion!

I have heard parents talk before about how they are never able to get anywhere ontime now that they have children, and I am not criticising, we are all different (and our kids are all different) but I haven’t found that to be true yet for me. Who knows, when I have two kids my anti-lateness feelings may crash and burn! If anything though I find it even harder to be late since we have had Monkey, because we are up so blimmin early in the morning!

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Rainy day play – draw your own road (26 mths)

I have seen versions of this before, and actually tried once before a long time ago, though Monkey was too young to really appreciate it at the time. I had forgotten about it entirely until I read this post by Carie at Space for the Butterflies. Seeing how much her girls enjoyed it made me keen to give it another go.

So, one slightly grey miserable day with nothing else planned and realising we were in need of some rainy day play, I decided to have another try and see if Monkey liked it.

Rainy Day Play

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