Our Easter Holidays 2017

The Easter holidays are over and I honestly can’t believe how quickly they have flown by. We’ve had lots of ups and down but mainly ups, thankfully, and lots of fun as a family while Monkey was being off school, so I thought I’d share a little run down of our adventures over the past couple of weeks rather than trying to write separate posts about what we got up and what is going on.

I’m going to start with the negative first as there has been a bit of a shadow cast over the last couple of weeks that I’ve hinted at but not really talked about. Deep breath, here we go. My amazing aunt was, very sadly, and shockingly diagnosed with cancer just before the start of the holidays. My aunt, who is the fittest 70 yr old I can imagine, who treks all over the world. She came back from a trip to Sri Lanka in February and got a cough. The cough got worse so she saw the Dr, they did an x ray and referred her to a chest specialist. It got worse and they got her in for a scan. The scan revealed an aggressive tumour in her lungs, another on her spine and cancer in her liver and kidneys. This all happened incredibly, incredibly fast and it was hard to catch our breath. They started radiotherapy, then she lost the use of her legs and was admitted to hospital. The speed this has happened has been mind-blowing and there’s obviously been a lot of sadness and coming to terms with things. We don’t know what the future holds exactly but we so know that she probably won’t be with us into her nineties as we had hoped previously.

I’m not going to go into it more than that, and it may sound like I’m being cold and matter of fact but that’s the way I have to handle it. My aunt is an amazing lady and she is positive and upbeat and we have to be the same on her behalf. And I have to live my life. Below the surface I am obviously incredibly sad but I can’t let that overwhelm me as I have the kids to focus on and to think about. We’ve explained to monkey that she’s poorly and the Doctors are trying to help and that they may not be able to. And that is how it stands at the moment. I’m sure you can imagine that this has dominated the last few weeks for us so I couldn’t talk about our Easter hols without mentioning it. Well I suppose I could, but I didn’t want to.

Moving on to the lovely things we have been up to during the holidays. It got off to a brilliant start with some tree climbing for our Monkey, a lovely family bike ride and some gruffalo spotting while enjoying the gorgeous sunshine. Sadly that Sunday night our Little Miss had croup. It was nowhere near as bad as she has had previously, she didn’t have the wheeze (that they call stridor) just the horrible bark like cough. She even slept ok, while hubs and I were awake and worrying for half the night! So we had a quiet day on the Monday as her cough thankfully became more normal. Hubs took Monkey to work with him which he loved.

On the Tuesday, hubs had some time off work so he came on a bike ride to our local country park with us which was really lovely. The kids had a whale of a time in the sand and water play area there and we had lunch together in the café. That evening my stepdad popped over for tea that evening as my mum was down in London with my aunt.easter 1

That night I drove down to London to see my aunt and my mum. Hubs and the kids had lots of fun together the next day with another cycle ride and café trip :)easter 2

I was feeling pretty drained on the Thursday after the trip to London but we had previously arranged for a day out, going on a bear hunt, at our local country park. The kids loved it, though Madam did have a major tantrum (as she wanted to go to feed the ducks while we were on the trail s couldn’t) which I struggled to deal with with everything that was going on, though thankfully I had a very good friend there who supported me through it. She did get over it and once I explained that the bear was just a man in a suit, she liked him, and she loved the journey back on the little train, so all ended very happily.bear hunt

On Good Friday we did a couple of errands, one of which was looking at bikes for Monkey’s birthday next month. We were planning on just looking but there was a fantastic one, which was on offer over the holidays, and because only the display model was left available we get an even better price for it, so we couldn’t resist. It’s bigger than we thought we would get, with 20″ wheels, but Monkey is so tall and the smaller ones just felt like he would grow out of them so fast. It is much bigger and heavier than his previous bike and while he is fine when he is riding it, he did start off with lots of wobbles when he was standing up, starting or stopping bless him. My older brother came over that afternoon so Monkey loved showing him his new bike and we all went out to help and encourage him. We also did a bit of easter baking on the friday, with easter nests and some Creme egg brownies, yum!easter 4

The Saturday of the Easter weekend was a beautiful day and with rain forecast on Easter Sunday we did our little easter hunt then instead. Monkey loves a good map so I made a little map for the kids to follow. We tend to just give the little eggs, and this year we gave them some little troll toys too (they aodre trolls atm). They get so much choc from all their relatives so they don’t need much from us! That afternoon my little brother and his fiance came over too.easter 5

Sunday was a roast dinner for lunch at my mums which was lovely and another little easter egg hunt there. Monday we had Hubs’ family over, including his aunt and uncle from Yorkshire for a lovely bbq. I didn’t take many photos but that afternoon we went back to hubs’ brother’s house and the kids loved playing their cats and tortoise including giving the tortoise a bath!easter 6

Tuesday was a quiet day for the kids and I as hubs took my parents down to London to visit my aunt in the hospital. This kids and I pottered at home and went on a bike ride to play on the play area. We also had a bit of a princess party which you may have seen! The kids were so good and it was nice to have bathtime fun with them as that is normally hubs’ time with them.easter 7

Wednesday we visited one of our favourite farms with friends and had such a lovely day. Just so full of fun and probably the fullest day I’ve ever spent at the farm so there was a tired Mummy and children that night!easter 8

Thursday was nice and chilled and we saw hubs’ parents for a play in the morning and just had a little play on another local play area in the afternoon. My phone also broke on Thursday which was just a pain, then when I took it into be repaired I was persuaded to upgrade as I only had 1 month left on the contract instead. So apologies for the pants pictures at the play park here, they were taken on a temporary phone.easter 9

Friday was at the park with friends in the morning, testing out my new phone. (more to come on that in a separate post) and we had a fab time with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. That afternoon was at My mum’s house for the afternoon for some snuggles and hot wheels fun.easter10

So there we have it, 2 weeks went by in a flash! As mentioned there were definitely ups and downs but on the whole it was really lovel, My house is a tip though so I’m ready for monkey to be back at school, no matter how much fun we had!!

Little Miss at 2 1/2!

Our little miss is 2 1/2. She has grown up so much recently that she really seems like a proper little girl now. Her speech is coming on in leaps an bounds and her personality is really showing through – especially the cheeky, defiant side!IMG_20170408_201124_214

We had her 30 month check with the health visitor this week and I had quite the booklet to fill in. It was quite nice to do though as I was able to tick that she could do almost everything they asked. There were some on there that I didn’t even know she was able to do until I asked her either so that was a nice surprise. I was especially pleased that she has mastered jumping in the last couple of weeks (finally!) so was able to show off her jumping skills quite nicely haha :) honestly she is jumping everywhere and off everything as a result of learning how to do that!

As I mentioned above, her speech is really flying now, with new words appearing all the time. She is trying so much harder now too. Whereas previosuly if you asked her to try and say something, she would either ignore you, or say “yeah” but wouln’t actually try. Now she is properly repeating everything an trying to say anything you say. Reading a book she tries to say the words back and s of course her vocabulary is increasing all the time and it is adorable. So many family members have melted at her saying “Tahtu” (thank you) or saying their names in a more defined way.

Some of her recent words are: Hi, Bye, Hur hah (hurt hand), Zhezure (treasure), Hewo (hello), Bees (please), Reh (Red), Purpuh, Kink (Pink), Bu, Gee, Yewoah (yellow), Butfwy (butterfly),Or atroh (paw patrol), trow (trolls), ahdrow (eyebrow), tat (cat).

Honestly though that list could go on and on as there are so many more words every day. I am really pleased with her progress and know it will only continue. She starts at pre-school in a couple of weeks and I know that being around all the other children will help her speech two. Yes thats right, I said she starts pre-school soon. My little baby is going out in the world for 2 mornings a week in two weeks time. We are both so, so ready for it. We went for the induction and she loved every second. Her closest little friend already goes which helps but honestly she is such a sociable little thing that I am sure she would be fine anyway. She is such a different child to her clingy big brother so I know she will love it.IMG_20170410_135705_270She really is quite feisty, and well that is putting it mildly. She is deliberately naughty in a way that Monkey never has been really. I tell her not to do something, so she does it all the more. She always wants whatever I say she can’t have or whatever is difficult, and then screams almost endlessly when I say no.

Last week we went on a bear hunt at our local country park, but she wanted to o some of the things that we normally do there, like feed the ducks. The answer was no because we were doing the bear hunt an oh the screaming lasted forever. To start with everyone else on the outing was understanding, but as it on there were comments like “is she ok?” “oh she must be tired” and I felt like the awful parent intermittently ignoring her, or carrying her like a sack of potatoes as we had to catch up to the rest of the group and her big brother who was way ahead. She wasn’t tired, she was just tantrumming. In the end another mum let her ride on her buggy board and then sit in her pushchair. I can’t say I was hugely happy about the situation but I recognise that her tantrum was affecting everyone and wasn’t about to get into a parenting argument so just bit my tongue and thanked them. The trouble is that she is so darn cute that people melt over her but in my opinion she needs to learn that screaming doesn’t get her her own way, or even attention.IMG_20170413_200214_004

So we’ve used the naughty spot a lot more over the last week. The trouble I find with the second child, is that it is easy to sometimes let things slip. I fully recognise that I have let her get away with things and not been consistent with her at times for want of an easy life. But I always tend to find that that actually makes it harder in the long run an the time has come to be a bit firmer. The good news is that she totally gets the naughty spot now. She sits for her two minutes and apologises at the end. She is put off by even the threat of it much of the time, but when she isn’t then I have to follow through, I just have to.

So yes, she is a complete diva at times and such a madam who really knows how to push my buttons. But she is also lovely, and yes, completely adorable. She just loves to show off to all her realtives and pretty much wraps them around her little finger haha. Even out at a local soft play she had an older girl pretty much doing her bidding for her!lm 212 1

She is so full of fun too. She adores being tickled and loves to mess with people to make them laugh, So much larking around and cuteness. She’s become a lot more social too recently, saying hi to everyone we meet, and wanting to hold hands with other children, which lets face it, is just gorgeous.lm 212 2

We had a bit of a time with her being scared of dogs an cats recently, but thankfully things are improving on that front. She has gone from screaming in terror to waving and saying hello an bye bye to dogs and she even stroked her uncle’s cats at the weekend. We’ve just tried to be really positive about dogs and cats and said things like “aren’t they lovely?” instead of “dont worry, they won’t hurt you” as that didn’t seem to help (maybe it reinforced the idea in her head she needed to worry and might hurt her, who knows, the fear came almost out of nowhere so I have no idea really). She was much better visiting the local farm this week too and stroked a horse and a sheep which she would not have one previously. She also loved washing her uncle & auntie’s tortoise!lm 212 3

One of her favourite things at the moment is to go on the “chair” which is the seat on the back of my bike. She’s always loved it and since her brother has been doing so well on his bike we have been out on it nearly daily, and it is such a relief that she likes it on there so much!She adores the film Trolls, as we all do to be honest and she loves dancing around to the music, which again,, we all do haha. Otherwise her favourite thing to watch at the moment is still Dora, especially the episode with the blimmin mermaid haha. The songs get so stuck in my head!IMG_20170412_105837

She loves things pink purple, pretty and girly. Much as I have to admit it irks me slightly (will get into that in another post). She always wants the pink or purple versions of things an I’ve relented and bought her a pink cup as she always covets other children’s pink cup and refuses to drink out of our blue or other coloured ones. It just wasn’t worth the argument every time haha. She likes a pretty bow in her hear or a nice dress. She recognised Elsa & Anna on her frozen pyjamas this week, and loves flowers too. Such a girly little girl… but having said that she is fearless an climbs everywhere, loves spinning on spinny things at the playpark and as I mentioned above is now jumping off everything too so I don;t put her indresses too much, mainly for practicality! She’s clumsy too and falls over a lot so her little legs are always covered in little bruises poor thing!

She has a little bit of a thing for stones at the moment, or “roh”(rocks) as she calls them, spending ages digging around in the dirt and filling her pockets with them. She likes rlling them down the slide in front of her, then moaning when she can’t find them at the bottom. She also has a thing for putting things up her nose, which I am less than happy about, and yes, some smaller stones have gone up there too, which is really not great! She is fascinated by those little holes in her face though and almost permanently has a finger up there. I hope we are getting the message across that she stops putting things up there though! Daft child!

This is a bit of a rambly post but just a little update on our little lady as she is now, as she is growing up so so so fast these days!lm 212 4

 

 

Textured Painting, 35 mths

Monkey loves painting and given a choice it is often a go to activity for him. Most of the time I am happy to let his imagination take the lead but a few weeks ago I thought I would spice some things up and introduce him to the idea of painting with some new textures.

We had fun with bubble wrap..

Bubble wrap painting

cotton wool balls..

cotton wool painting

scrunched up tin foil..

tin foil painting

pipe cleaners..

pipe cleaner painting

and feathers.

feather painting

It was great fun and such a simple activity. Monkey loved seeing the different results for each of the textures and we talked about what they felt like.

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday
Mini CreationsMy Bored Toddler

5 fun ways to play with Pom Poms

What small child doesn’t love playing with little fluffy pom pom balls eh? They are widely available, pretty cheap and, I have found, really quite versatile. Here are just a few of the simple fun activities we regularly get up to with the lovely fluffy things.

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When we first started doing this colour sorting game, Monkey was a bit haphazard and certainly couldn’t name all of the colours. Now he knows all of the colours and will sit quite happily organising them into muffin tray holes without any involvement from me :).

 

The downside being that because he finds it quite easy it doesn’t keep him occupied for long… hence the creation of this list of activities!

Make a pom pom rainbow (sort of)

We don’t have all the colours of the rainbow but after sorting them into colours he likes lining them up, to make a ‘rainbow’

pom pom rainbow

Roll them down a tubepom pom tube

 

As a fun way of putting them away I used a kitchen towel tube, otherwise known as “Monkey’s telescope” to roll them back into their container – which of course became a fun game all in itself.

WP_20150407_10_22_17_Pro“Post” them in a tissue box

 

Monkey still wasn’t done with the pom poms though and found that an empty tissue box made a great receptacle for them to be posted through. I am sure he is not alone but this little lad loves to post things!

Play Pom Pom Football

Running out of ideas for things to do with them, I cut the tissue box in half, stuck each side on the tuff spot and created a mini game of pom pom football. I wasn’t sure how effective it would be but Monkey absolutely loved this. His aim was rubbish, poor thing, but he had great fun knocking it about all over the place and I am sure that he will improve over time! The downside of this particular activity is the high probability of pom poms ending up all over the living room… but it could be worse, they are only pom poms after all :)

pom pom football

So there we have it, 5 fun ways to play with pom poms. You can of course always get crafty with them. So far the only crafty things we have done with them is stick them to a piece of paper (and they usually fall off) but I have seen some quite clever crafts with them too. But the best thing about the activities above, is that you can do them over and over without having to buy more. We all know how kids love repetition!

Do you have any other fun ways to play with pom poms?

#ToddlerApprovedTuesdayMy Bored Toddler

Monkey turns 3…

My little Monkey turns 3 this week and I can’t quite believe it.

Monkey is 3

Three years since I became a Mummy! I look at him running around and chatting and singing and lolloping like a teenager and I wonder where he came from. Do you ever feel like that? My friends look at me like I am potty when I say that, but sometimes I find it hard to  reconcile him with the baby that was created inside me.

Don’t worry I am not going to get all deep or profound, I just want to make a little record of everything that makes Monkey Monkey, as he turns three. The good and the bad. As he simultaneously amazes and frustrates me on a daily basis!

A lot has happened in the past year and he really has grown up so much, sometimes he seems so mature… but of course he is still a little tot really. Considering the fact that he was barely speaking at all this time last year, his speech is incredible now and improving all the time. We are suddenly realising that a lot of his babyish pronunciations are being replaced by the correct word. For example “cuityet,” became “biscuityet” and is now “Biscuit.”

He now questions everything ‘What you doing?’ ‘Where’s daddy?’ and my most recent favourite ‘What’s it all about guys?’ to hubs and I – not sure where he picked up that one! Like a sponge he is picking up words and phrases all the time and parroting them back, sometimes in the right context but not always! He is really trying to grasp the concept of time too, and sometimes he gets it right ‘we saw Uncle Simon yesterday’ and other times not ‘I went to play group tomorrow’ or ‘we going to the traypark (playpark) yesterday ‘

His imagination is amazing and just growing all of the time. He held up a piece of bread the other day and announced ‘look it’s a whale’ (and it was very whale shaped) then took a bite and said ‘now it’s a boat!’ In the same way that he saw a whale in his slice of bread, he sees letters everywhere too, in shapes that form in his bath bubbles, in the sand pit and in the lentils we play with. He loves letters but has retained his love of numbers too, randomly counting to 40 on a family walk, and reading the side of a measuring jug we are playing with, so he recognises numbers in the hundreds and thousands!

His imagination is helping at playtime too, playing with trains the other day he grabbed some cuddly toys and announced ‘tickets please’ and made them all give him pretend tickets, and he gives all his toys voices too which is just adorable. On another occasion, we had loads of fun playing with his motorbike outside where he wheeled up to my ‘petrol station’ (the swing) and paid me to fill up the tank (using a bubble wand) then I had to give him his keys, hehe. Almost everything has the potential to be a rocket ship too… with crayons, toy screws, cars and all sorts being vooshed around the house until I made him a very basic rocket which he loves!

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He sings all the time and at the moment his favourites are the Postman Pat and Bob the Builder theme tunes, which he knows pretty much word perfectly (even if it does sound a little like ‘Postman Pat is a black and white cat’ sometimes).

He is such a caring little boy for the most part frequently giving us all (including LM) cuddles and saying ‘I love you so much’ which melts my heart everytime. He quite often asks us ‘are you ok?’ and when he is playing with cars now tells me to be careful so I don’t slip… potentially as a result of seeing me slip more than once!

He loves helping (which is great as it is often a good way to persuade him to do something) and particularly loves helping Daddy in the garden.

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He also loves making his sister laugh, which is lovely.

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On the flipside he is going through a fearful phase and seems to have a little separation anxiety. He has been having ‘bad dreams’ and getting scared of things he isn’t usually afraid of, including episodes of Postman Pat that he was watched many many times before.He says he misses us when he goes to playgroup and gets upset about going even though he does have fun when he is there. He is increasingly jealous of LM now and wants our attention when we are looking after her. Again getting upset at times which is hard.

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He had to go in the buggy so he could play with the toys that are there for LM!

 

But then he is so contrary too and sometimes when we give him our attention he doesn’t want to know… but of course when we are busy he desperately wants our attention. He would swear black is white sometimes and if we say no we don’t have something, he will insist we do, which when we really don’t is incredibly frustrating! Though I suspect he is just being a normal three year old so try not to let it irk me too much.

Although we have times where he drives me a bit crazy, for the most part he is such a lovely little boy and I am so proud of him and I can’t quite believe he is my little boy.

Ethans EscapadesNot My Year OffLittle Hearts, Big Love

Water Bead Play – 35 mths old

About a year ago I tried some water bead play with Monkey as I had seen so many great examples from other bloggers, but he just wasn’t that interested in it. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when we tried again, and he had a whale of a time playing with them. Just goes to show that just because they aren’t ready or don’t enjoy something once, it is always worth trying again. I set up the Tuff Spot with the water beads and a few other bits and bobs from the kitchen.

So, what did Monkey get up to with them?

He started by scooping them  and pouring them.

water bead play 1

At which point we discovered they bounce! They are funny and plasticky but also wet and slippery feeling which makes it great as sensory play. He had great fun picking them up and dropping them to watch them bounce!

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He then decided a car needed to drive through them (?)

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Before having more fun bouncing them again!

water bead play 2

Then Monkey decided it was great fun to squish them, first with his fingers, then using a rolling pin,

water bead play 3

Then with his fingers again. Check out the glee on his face?!

water bead play 4

I’m not sure how to describe what he did next, he poured the beads back into the muffin tray and started wiggling his fingers around to make the beads bounce around all over the place! Which he really enjoyed :)

water bead play 5

Whatever makes you happy Monkey!

As you can see, Monkey absolutely loved our free play session with water beads in the good old Tuff Spot :)

Do your kids like playing with water beads?

#ToddlerApprovedTuesdayplayathometuesdaysMy Bored Toddler

Proud of my Monkey

I only wrote an update on what Monkey is up to at the moment last week, but then he went and did two things that made me so darn proud to be his Mummy that I just have to share them.

Standing up for himself

We went on a playdate to one of our fave soft play places last week with good friends. Monkey and his friend were having a lovely time going up the steps and down the slide while us Mums were having a natter and playing with LM. Then to my right I suddenly saw an altercation.

A little boy, younger than Monkey but walking and talking (so difficult to gauge age) hit Monkey. I’m not sure why but Monkey was half climbing the step and had turned back and the little boy was standing on the floor and had hit him. Instead of hitting back, Monkey loudly and clearly said “Stop it!” to the other little boy (I hung back, it is always good to see if things can be sorted between themselves). Unfortunately the other boy then spat in Monkey’s direction and actually slapped him in the face.

Of course I intervened and started to say “Excuse me, that is not nice” but the boy’s daddy ran over and told him off and made him apologise. The point though? My lovely Monkey didn’t hit back, didn’t retaliate, but he did stand up for himself, using words, not violence.

That made me HUGELY proud of him. So proud it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. His skin is like mine and turns red very easily so he had a bright red cheek for a while and the thought of him being hurt by another child also makes me quite protective!

I was also proud as he didn’t let it bother him. He didn’t get upset by it or stop playing. In the not too distant past an altercation like this would have really rattled Monkey. He would have been scared of the other child and of all other children for a while. This time last year he was terribly afraid of other children after being knocked over. So the fact that he was absolutely fine afterwards is just another sign of how grown up my little Monkey is getting. Definitely a proud mummy moment!

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Naming his drawings

Slightly less dramatic but another proud moment was when Monkey was doing some painting at the weekend. He actually started to tell me what he was drawing. In the past when i have asked him what he is drawing or painting he has sort of looked blankly while he splodged paint around and said “I don’t know.”

This time though I didn’t even ask but he proudly announced that one painting was a plane, “Dusty Crophopper” from the film Planes to be precise, and that the blue splodges were footprints.

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Then, my favourite, he painted a rocket ship with fire coming out of it!

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His imagination is really growing lately and he is coming on leaps and bounds all the time and may be a daft one but again I was just so so proud of him for drawing actual things and telling me what they were.

Oh yes and here he is really proud of his “rainbow finger” too.

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I love being his Mummy :)

My word of the week this week is, proud.

The Reading Residence
Mini CreationsEthans EscapadesNot My Year Off

Tuff Spot Play with Lentils

After the recent success of the Tuff Spot play with water, I was keen to see what other easy activity I could come up with for Monkey that didn’t involve much prep but would keep him entertained. Ages ago a post from Loving Life with Little Ones reminded me how much fun could be had with lentils and I had wanted to get some out for Monkey to play with for a while.

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