Getting outside in the Winter months

It’s really turned a lot colder here lately and winter is well on the way. My little toddler can be inclined to laziness and would probably be happy sat in front of the telly all day long (I say sat but she rarely actually sits still, she climbs and fidgets and wriggles and goes and potters and comes back again) but she likes the tv on and she likes to be inside. While that is all well and good some of the time, I don’t like that much TV time for her, and it does both of us good to get out and about.

Fresh air is good for her and there is so much to see and explore outside of these four walls… Plus I go a bit stir crazy indoors. A change of scene and some fresh air really refreshes me and makes me a better mummy the rest of the time, so I definitely need to get outside, whether madam likes it or not.

It can be tricky to persuade her though, especially now it is cold and wintry out, and the more she says no the harder it is to motivate myself when it is cold too, but still, it is necessary. So I have a few tricks to tempt madam out the door even on the cold days.

Bubbles

I’m yet to meet a child who doesn’t like bubbles and they are used regularly in our house to get us outside. A wand is my preferred tool as it is easy to get big bubbles, but I will use whatever we have. photogrid_1480488042325

Both kids enjoy a good chase of some bubbles and I must admit I think they are so pretty… I may have 1 or 2 (thousand) pictures of them!

A ball

Simple choice but again it works, both my kids like a good chase of a ball and giving it a good kick about. We have had some lovely sibling moments out with a ball too. (and some less lovely moments in truth, they are siblings after all!)

My bike

Thankfully LM loves a ride on the back of my bike and even seeing her little helmet will get her racing to get her shoes on. We are lucky to live very close to a country park with gorgeous views and lovely play parks. The other day LM didn’t want to get down and play, but she loved seeing the ducks on the lakes, shouting “choo choo” near the train tracks and neighing at a horse in a field, and I got a bit of exercise too.photogrid_1480487652791

Friends

One thing LM is, is sociable, and our girl loves seeing our friends and family. One sure way to get her out the door is the promise of seeing some of those. We have some very good friends who live close by. Their eldest is at school with Monkey and their youngest is a little older than LM. Add the promise of meeting them for a bike ride and well LM is literally running for the door (seriously she did this yesterday, I have never seen her move so fast as when I suggested we get on my bike and go out with them ha). The kids have a lot of fun together and LM adores their Mummy the most of all I think haha.photogrid_1480515042662

Food

I don’t use this too much but there have been a couple of times recently where I have persuaded LM outside with the promise of a treat. Bribery I know but sometimes the end justifies the means and we ended up having a lovely time in the garden, away from the tv, all thanks to half a mini twix bite (I may have eaten the other half haha) !photogrid_1480487761201

Winter can absolutely be a time for snuggling up in the warn with a hot soup of a warm drink… But it’s even more fun to snuggle inside when you’ve had lots of fun outside first. You can see a few more simple ideas for playing outside in the Winter here.

Do you like getting outside in the Winter? What are your top tips for getting the kids outside?

My word of the week, is “outside”

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Our 2 yr old and her ways

Ah toddlers, they really are funny aren’t they? And hard work, quite a lot of the time! Our little lady at just over 2 is now a fully-fledged toddler. I love watching her learn and find the funny ways she likes to do things generally very amusing… Though sometimes they can be really exasperating! The good thing with a 2nd (and presumably 3rd,4th etc) child is that you’ve seen much of it before and know they will grow out of their little quirks and obsessive habits, so I am more entertained by them this time.img_20161123_160756

So what do I mean? Well let’s start with some of her OCD style habits. Things have to be done in a certain way at the moment or all hell can break loose. Food in particular is easy to get wrong. Heaven forbid I split a chunk of cheese in half so her brother or I can share with her, no, it has to be the full chunk (I buy these little pre-cut chunks of cheese, yes pricey but oh so handy as an after school snack) or she screams and shouts ‘yuk’ and just won’t go near it.

I made the mistake of helping her break apart a peanut snack bar yesterday thinking it would be easier for her but wow was she not impressed by that! Drinks have to be in the right cup with the right lid (ones that meet her approval that is) and food has to be prepared and served in the right way. She’s basically a creature of habit and likes the repetition. It’s also about control, I know, as she gets to control so little in her life.

20161127_144215Food is very much an area of contention for us, with her refusing to try anything new and sometimes even refusing favourites. We went through this with Monkey and though still quite particular he is so much better now and eats almost anything we give him, even if it can take some persuasion at times. So we hope LM will do the same and it will get easier over time. In the meantime we do what we can, thankfully she eats a lot of our regular favourites, curry, thai curry, my homemade soup, the right pasta in the right sauce and the right type of tortellini, my homemade carbonara and a few others. The rest of the time we make it and she either eats or she doesn’t, which basically means that she doesn’t. It feels wrong at times making a meal that I know she won’t eat but while I obviously make sure she eats most of the time, I can’t run the rest of our lives around her fussiness and I absolutely refuse to make her something separate.

She’s so particular that even a slight variation will mean she refuses her food and that can turn her off for good. We gave her a different brand of baked beans once and she hated them so much that she now won’t eat or even try any other beans, which is a real shame! I once gave her the same shape tortellini as normal but that had a different filling, and even though to be the difference was barely perceptible, she knew and dissected them and only ate the pasta and not the filling. It took a while for her to trust that her regular tortellini was the right one either though thankfully she is back to loving those again now. Anyway, I don’t get as stressed about this as I did with Monkey as we have been here before and just hope that she will eventually come out the other side. The downside though is that eating out is a nightmare, she is so particular that she won’t even eat a pasta and tomato sauce or carbonara as it isn’t the same as ours and we can’t even fall back on beans on toast in a café anymore. Sigh, she will grow out of it, she will grow out of it, she will grow out of it.

It’s all a variation of the same thing I think, being in control and liking repetition and the familiar. She’s the same with toys in that she likes to play with them in the same way over and over. We have a postbox colour matching game which she loves. When we started playing and she didn’t understand the concept of matching the colours, I would say no when she went to put a letter in the wrong postbox. Now even though she knows the colours and where they go, she will imitate me, putting it up to the wrong post box and saying ‘no.’ She’ll do this to each postbox before putting it in the right one. It is cute but a bit repetitive for me haha.

She also loves jigsaw puzzles at the moment. She loves making them then immediately breaking it up and starting over. Usually until I can’t take it anymore and we’ve done the same puzzle together at least 5 times, and try to distract her with something else! I am impressed with how good she is with them though and she is improving all the time. Her favourite is a big farmyard puzzle and we talk about all the animals as we make it. She like starting with the horse (she neighs rather than says horse) then it’s all about the moo and the baaa and the “buk buks” (chickens lol!) As soon as it is completed, with a shout of “I did it!”, and “ta laa” (her version of ta daa) with her hands thrown in the air… then she immediately crouches down and breaks it up ready to start again haha.

Towers are something that I think all toddlers love to build, and LM is definitely no exception. The duplo is out a lot now and she even builds them out of her brother’s lego too. She is funny though as I’ve noticed a real trend lately where she has to match the colours. She’ll build an all red tower or an all green one. If she runs out of that block she may change to another colour and keep going with that one but she really doesn’t like a multi-coloured tower when she is in that mood!20161127_135013

When something isn’t going the way she wants then the frustration can lead to a major meltdown. I mean she really goes for it. Throwing herself on the floor face first and oh the screams! I try and not worry too much as I know it’s just what they do and when it is because I won’t do what she wants, well she has to learn that things won’t always work the way she wants them to. But her screams are so loud that she turns heads for miles. I try to be stoic and make a daft comment like ‘oh you are noisy’ or ‘I know, it’s the end of the world’ mainly for the people around me so they know nothing terrible has happened, as seriously her screams are bloodcurdling!!

Moving back to cuteness and another of her ways that is seriously cute is her love for teddies recently. Her brother was the same at this age and it is adorable. She just wants to be surrounded by her favourite cuddly things. They surround her in bed at night and when we come down in the morning she almost always demands that they come down too. I pick her up with her blanky and her faves… then it’s “bear” for the polar bear “buh” for the blue bus, “wah wah” for the duck “baby” for the baby doll and some less decipherable noises and pointing for the others. It got to the point where we literally couldn’t carry them all so started using her blanky as a sack to carry them down in haha. She loves snuggling on the sofa surrounded by them all and it is adorable. Again I know she will grow out of it so this is one of the ones I’m making the most of while it lasts.photogrid_1480255141249

I’m also making the most of her learning to talk as it is such a cute phase. the things she comes out with! As I mentioned above she calls animals by the noise they make now, apart from cats, which is a chat haha. She loves naming body parts which is adorable and after calling every adult she knows “mama” for some time, she is now starting to call me mummy and daddy is daddy, which is lovely. She wanted Daddy’s attention in the bath the other day (he was dealing with her tired and grumpy older brother) and I just heard her shouting “daddy, daddy, daddy” till he said “yes LM” and she held her foot up and said “Daddy I got toe!” so sweet! She really likes to make her feelings known now that she can too, and can often be heard shouting ‘waht way’ from the buggy or car seat pointing in the direction she wants to go in (Often screaming when we go a different way lol). I’ve put together a quick video of her latest chattering mainly for my benefit tbh but you can have a look if you so fancy.

There are some things I can’t wait for her to grow out of, but some of her ways are just adorable and I want to enjoy them as much as I can. As hard work as she is sometimes I adore attaching her learn and explore and seeing her grow up right in front of our eyes.photogrid_1480256571218

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Soft Play in and around Peterborough

With 2 children under 5 I have frequented most of the soft play places around our local area on more than one occasion. Love them or loathe them there’s no denying that kids like them and they can be a lifesaver on rainy days. So I thought I would share a little bit of info about the soft play in our local area to help other mums finding their way in the world of soft play.

The Play Barn at Sacrewell Farm

We love sacrewell farm and the play barn is brilliant. It is cleaner than many a soft play I’ve seen and the kids adore it. There are different areas for different ages and it really is great. The entry cost is high because you get entrance to the farm too. We were given membership as a Christmas present last year and have definitely made the most of it in th play barn alone, let alone visiting the rest of the farm, so it is worth considering if you have little ones.
Food:
There is a kiosk in the soft play that is open at weekends or holidays and a café in the main farm entrance building. Food is reasonably priced but you can also bring your own food. There are a lot of picnic tables in the play barn and no problem whatsoever having a picnic inside or out.
Parking:
Loads of free parking outside the farm.sacrewell

Big Sky, Orton Longueville

A classic soft play this, a huge building with all sorts inside, big guns that shoot soft balls, a race track, tunnel slides, ball pits and a bouncy castle. They have recently redone the younger kids area which is now fantastic. The rest of the centre could do with some attention though as some of the aforementioned guns don’t work and the carpets are pretty filthy. Fairly expensive and I’m not a fan of having to pay for adults to come in when obviously adults are only there to accompany and supervise children. It’s not like a theme park after all.
Food:
There is a canteen serving some pretty basic but acceptable food and I’ve also never had any problem taking my own food for the kids.
Parking:
A fair bit of parking round the back however I would imagine it would be completely full at half terms and weekends (I’ve only been during term time). It is on the number 1 bus route though.big-sky

Activity World, Fengate

Similar to Big Sky in that is a purpose built soft play. Could definitely do with some attention though as some areas really are filthy. It is fairly pricy and also charges for adults like Big Sky does. They do however give you a discounted reentry if you return after 7 days with your receipt. It is also huge and the kids love it.
Food:
There is a canteen which serves a limited amount of food. You cannot take your own food in and I have a friend who was even charged for tap water for her child.
Parking:
There is a good amount of parking, I’ve never had trouble getting space even during half term though it does get extremely busy.activity-world

The Yard, Stamford

Much smaller than the likes of the above but still a decent sized soft play with a smaller area for babies. Only charges for children which is a plus and is in better condition than Big Sky or Activity World.
Food:
You aren’t allowed to take your own for food in. The food they serve is yummy though and not too expensive.
Parking:
The parking here is limited unfortunately and I have had to park on adjacent streets a few times as there are only a few spaces in the adjacent car park.the-yard

Selina’s tea room at Calmababy, Woodston

20160313_094729Much smaller than any of the above and not soft play in terms of slides or ball pits but this is a very lovely cafe with a large indoor play area attached to Calmababy. There is also an outdoor play area for in the summer but quite a lot to entertain little ones in the playarea indoors while you have some cake and a natter. No entry charge.
Food:
Lovely food and reasonably priced. It’s primarily a café so you can’t take your own food in.
Parking:
Quite a lot of parking in the car park, it can get busy at peak times as it is for Calmababy swimming pool too.

Kiddicare

As with the above, a bit of a lose link to soft play. It is a play area in the cafe of Kiddicare. It has a soft floor and loads of toys for little ones to play with while you have a cuppa. Some weekday mornings childminders pay a visit so it can get a bit full. Free to use and not bad when your kids are little but not much good for older kids. Sort of a pre-soft play play area I guess!
Food:
Being free to use and attached to the cafe it is frowned upon to bring your own food and the food there isn’t too bad.
Parking:
Plenty of free parking

Brewers Fayre, Hampton

Slightly odd one but there is a soft play attached to the Brewers Fayre in Hampton. There is a fee to use but it is not very much. It’s a bit dingy and tired but the kids enjoy it and there is an area for little ones as well as older ones. The opening times are linked with the restaurant so are a bit unusual but I believe it opens earlier one morning a week for a coffee morning. Call them for more information.
Food:
It is attached to the restaurant so I think that generally the assumption is that you will have eaten there first or will be eating there. But I have fed the kids snacks at the tables near the soft play without a problem.
Parking:
Shared with the restaurant and Premier Inn so it can get quite full. Don’t park in the McDonald’s opposite as you could be fined if you haven’t bought anything in McDonald’s.brewers-fayre

Wyevale Garden Centre, Crowland

Quite a nice sized soft play that both my kids have always enjoyed. An area for younger ones with big soft bricks to stack, a ball pool and a decent slide. There’s also an outdoor play area and entry to the soft play is not at all expensive
Food:
You can’t take your own food as it is part of the cafe. Some of the food is a bit pricy in my opinion, though if you order early (before 11.30) and can get breakfast beans on toast is quite reasonable.
Parking:
Ample parking at the garden centre.crowland

Van Hage Garden Centre

There is a fairly small soft play area in the garden centre cafe, in a families area that has its own counter. It is small and quite dark but the kids had fun in there. Ok for while you are waiting for food but not great for a long visit I wouldn’t say.
Food:
You can’t take your own food as it is part of the cafe. They serve a few things from the counter in the family area or you can get things from the main cafe too.
Parking:
Loads

So there you have it, a bit of a run down of I think most of the soft play and stay and play cafes in the area. Please let me know if  you know of any I have missed, there is one in Whittlesey but I was unable to go in the one time I tried as it was busy and I haven’t gotten round to returning but it is supposed to be pretty good.

All of the above information is correct to the best of my knowledge and based on my most recent visit. I haven’t included entry prices as these are obviously subject to change. This is all based on my own personal experiences and I haven’t received any payment for sharing this post.

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Giving myself a kick up the backside

I’ve been struggling a little lately. It happens from time to time I find, being a Stay at Home Mum isn’t always easy and as our children are constantly growing and changing, nothing stays the same for very long and it is oh so easy to suddenly feel a little lost.

It’s hard to explain exactly how I feel but put simply, the house is a tip. I’m frustrated with LM a lot and the TV is almost constantly on. Now I’ve been criticised before for saying that using the tv to entertain your kids makes me feel like a bad mum as of course it doesn’t make you a bad mum. But the truth is that I haven’t been only using the tv while I clean up or do other important things. I’ve been sticking it on as I don’t know what else to do to make LM happy. Then instead of doing some jobs I sit and play on my phone.

That isn’t what being a SAHM is, not to me anyway. I’m not saying that it isn’t ok to do that occasionally but it’s when the balance tipped and that was happening more and more that I knew I was not OK with it. Continue reading

Me and Mine Sept/Oct 2016 – an autumn walk

I’m a bit late joining in with the fab Me and Mine linky this month. In fact I wasn’t planning on joining up at all as the only shot I have of us as a family this month is one on our bikes, which isn’t the best.img-20160924-wa0000

But then today, after a slightly odd morning with ratty kiddies who are coming down with colds (and therefore slightly ratty parents too) we decided to get out and get some fresh air on a little autumnal walk. We found the most conkers I’ve ever seen in my life and had a good old nature hunt in general.photogrid_1475411475375

Then during a little game of family hide and seek we managed to grab a few very happy family selfies.
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We had a lovely walk and as always a bit of fresh air did us all the world of good. So this is us, at the beginning of October, enjoying autumn.20161002_123809_000-268

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Little Miss at 23 mths

It’s hard to believe but our little lady is almost a 2 year old. She is growing up so fast lately and while I normally just do an update every 2 months, she has already changed so much in the last month that I want to record it all, as I can see her being very different again by the time she turns 2 next month.20160923_155849

The most important thing I want to record is her speech. As with last month she is chattering away constantly and she obviously means what she says (even if we haven’t a clue) but there are more and more recogniseable words and they are so adorable. She says ball, shoe, chick, chair, share, book, hat and “it’s too hot”  in addition to “I wan dat”  and “It’s all wet.” She also makes some amazing animal sounds, for a long time she has done a great lions roar (and a fab pirate’s arrrr, thanks to her pirate loving big brother) but she now makes fab noises for sheep, cows and pigs too. She even mooed at a van that had a picture of a cow on the other day haha. She also loves numbers, and though the only recognisable one is 2 she loves to imitate counting, pointing at things and saying ah, two, bar, jee, da. She’s also very cute with hide and seek and she loves joining in with that. She doesn’t really even cover her eyes properly but loves counting then looking for people haha.

LM playing hide and seek, counting then looking for Daddy & Monkey

LM playing hide and seek, counting then looking for Daddy & Monkey

Much as I haven’t been in a rush for her to start talking (as I know she won’t stop when she’s started) I will be glad to say goodbye to the grunts and whines to indicate what she does or doesn’t want!

She has shot up recently too and I think I was in denial about how much until I put her in a pair of leggings that only reached her mid calf haha. Definitely growing up. We’ve had some interesting time with clothes in the last month though. Largely due to the heatwave we had she spent a lot of time running round in the back garden naked and enjoying the paddling pool… Which has led to a slight aversion to clothes. She just doesn’t want to get dressed at all some days, and spends ages trying to pull them off. Thankfully she hasn’t mastered that skill yet as it definitely isn’t warm enough for nudity anymore!photogrid_1474655653893

She also has a serious aversion to shoes at the moment. I’ve had her feet measured about 3 times in the last month and keep checking her toenails to see if there’s a problem as she just keeps moaning about them and wanting them off! With her boots and wellies she can get them off herself and no matter how many times I’ve put them back on they have come off again so she has spent a lot of time running around our local area in socks I’m afraid. With her actual shoes she is less good at getting them off herself so thankfully I can get her to keep them on.

One thing she doesn’t have an aversion too is a good hat though. For my little lady shoes may be optional but oh a hat is essential haha. She rarely leaves the house without a hat on or a hood up, regardless of how weather appropriate her choice is hehe. She does look cute in a hat though so she gets away with it!photogrid_1474656426951

Another repercussion from all the nudity was that she started weeing a lot in the paddling pool. As our girl has never liked being in a wet nappy and now walls around holding her crotch and moaning if she has done a wee, we thought we would try and introduce the potty. She basically sat on it for a bit then got up and wandered into the paddling pool to do a wee. She does the same in the bath now. We have a special seat for the loo and she likes to sit on it before bathtime at night. But she just sits on it then gets off and does a wee in the bath haha. So we are trying to pick her up when she starts weeing and put her on the seat as at the moment she clearly has more association with weeing while standing in water than she does with sitting on a potty or a loo. She’s still so little though so I am not in a huge rush. I know many girls are potty trained by around 2 but Monkey wasn’t until he was about 3 1/2 so while we will encourage her I’m not going to push her if she isn’t ready.

Food has been interesting lately. With some absolutely mahoosive meltdowns at the table and the complete refusal of some foods. After eating a cheaper brand of beans at my aunts which were apparently not to her liking, madam now refuses all beans and any meal with them in. Which is such a shame as I used them to encourage her to eat other meals too (not always very successfully mind you but at least she would eat the beans) but not any more. Sometimes it was totally unspecific, she would barely look at the food and the screaming would start. So even food she actually really likes was being refused just for the sake of it almost. Oh and the screaming and the writhing to get down from the table. Such hard work. Other times so will dissect the food that again I know she likes. Pulling it apart or mashing it all up. I try and ignore as long as she is eating something but it is so hard. This last week has been a bit better so I’m hoping the upward trend will continue. I am also comforted by the fact that Monkey was very similar at her age but as at least grown out of it now and with the right encouragement he eats pretty well. So I am hanging on to the hope that this is just a phase that LM will grow out of!photogrid_1474660602873

The good news related to food is that she has been doing really well with the move to cutlery. She still eats with her fingers most of the time but when she does use cutlery she is doing so well with it. She’s really got the knack of scooping her brother’s her brother’s leftover porridge out of his bowl and eating our poached egg and toast from Mummy and Daddy’s fork! :)

Another big change recently was that we moved her from a cot to a big girl bed. It was something I was really nervous about, but with her brother moving from his toddler bed to a big bed it made sense to do it now. So we made the change and prepared for the worst. Which basically meant hubs was to deal with it while I sat down with a wine glass. We read her story and put her to bed and waited for the inevitable patter of tiny feet getting out of bed again. But they never came. She kicked the wall a bit and wriggled about and went to sleep. For the whole night! I couldn’t believe it! She was still in her bed the next morning and waited for us to come get her before she got out.photogrid_1474722327679

I’ve been waiting for the bubble to burst ever since, but it hasn’t. She’s been such a good girl and she just loves that bed and was clearly ready for the move. She fell out a couple of times the next day bless her but even got herself back in the last time. The other issue was that she has discovered the socket next to her bed where the monitor is plugged in so she has turned that off a couple of times. We’ve covered it over though and so far no more problems thankfully. She loves her bed, yay!

Now that her brother has started school it is nice I can concentrate on this little lady a bit more and do things just for her rather than trying to accommodate them both at the same time. I’ve started taking her to a gymnastics group which so far she loves and it’s just lovely seeing her play. Her fine motor skills are really growing and this week she has mastered hanging monkeys from the tree on the monkey games she loves. She was so proud of herself with that!

She’s such a girly girl and given that I’m not I have no idea where she gets it. She loves dolls and playing with people and houses and things. She also massively loves pink and if you sit her down with crayons she will get all the pink ones out and lines them up or just holds on to them which is lovely. She is getting into actually drawing though and is doing really well with holding pens and pencils. She also loves bracelets and bangles and anything sparkly too which is very cute. On the flip side though she absolutely loves climbing and is obsessed with balls, particularly kicking balls at the moment. She’s incredibly active and is constantly wanting to get outside to run, scoot (albeit a bit slowly still) , climb, and she has even wanted to sit on her brother’s bike a lot lately,cheeky madam! She loves books and constantly wants a story to be read to her and as she likes people toys she also loves all her brother’s lego and the little people in particular. photogrid_1474723590773

She’s also a massive show off and loves attention. Whenever any family comes round she gets hugely excited and goes into serious show off mode, being ultra cute and running around like a loon. She’s already learning to love the school run too for the attention she gets from other mums in the playground while we wait to pick her up. She adores all Monkey’s friends too and desperately wants their attention to… Which they usually give her haha. Her extremely loud greeting hasn’t changed either and she does it to anyone she is happy too see or wants attention from now. Loud girl! (See this post to hear for yourself!)20160924_145213

On the whole I think she is doing so so well and while she drives me potty at times with the toddler tantrums and whinyness I do generally adore her and I can’t quite believe my baby girl is going to be 2 soon!

Monkey’s first week at school

So this week saw a big change in our little household. A change we have been preparing for for a long time, yet still seemed to creep on us. Monkey started school!  It’s just mornings this week, and afternoons next week before going full time the week after that. Doesn’t he look so grown up though?20160916_140615

After a few tears on arrival at all of his settling in sessions in July, we fully expected the same to happen in the first couple of weeks. We had done our best to enthuse about school and to focus on all the great things he would do, and though we knew he would love it when he was there, we really thought there would be some initial tears.

So we were hugely surprised when the time came and he gave us each a big kiss and a cuddle, smiled and said “see you later!” before getting stuck straight in to playing with connex. Hugely surprised and obviously hugely proud too. Our boy! He had said on the walk to school “I won’t cry, I cried before because I didn’t have my uniform, but now I do. So I won’t need to cry!” I don’t care what his reasons were but the fact remained there were no tears and by all accounts he loved every minute. photogrid_1474031586082

It’s notoriously difficult to get out of kids what they have gotten up to at school, and having experienced this at preschool too, we try to ask a number of questions through the rest of the day to prompt him (what song did you sing? Do you read any stories? Did you do any drawings? Etc.).  Not like an inquisition just as part of conversations through the rest of the day. So it was we discovered he had sung a song and had an apple for his snack (or a couple of bites at least haha). We also knew he had played with the water wall outside as he came out in a different top to the one he went in wearing!

The drop off on day 2 went just as well and that day he was due to stay for lunch. I’m obviously nervous about how much he would eat but his teacher had said they encourage them to eat a good amount of their mains before letting them turn their plate round to eat their pudding. He was very enthusiastic when he came out about his meatballs and pasta and carrots bless him so I think that went pretty well.

On the 3rd day he read a book about a diver, built a pirate ship out of a plank and wheels “and everything else” outside. He ate a banana for his snack (only teeny bites apparently but still better than we can get him to do) and he also got a badge for his “house team” and his team is yellow. He adores his badge and is so proud to wear it everyday haha.20160916_141757

Unfortunately that night at bedtime as he was running in to LM’s bedroom to say goodnight to her, he tripped and fell face first on the floor. There was blood everywhere and he went into school the next day with such a swollen lip that I had to tell his teacher. I managed to get Monkey to tell me later that she had asked him and found out he had told her what had happened. Then he did a drawing of a hospital and a Dr’s note. He then announced at dinner that night that the drawing was in his pocket. On inspection of his trousers (which had been swapped for shorts as soon as we got home as it was a hot day) I found a very screwed up piece of paper that was indeed his drawing. 20160915_172216

It was a hospital with a person in a window who was “daddy when the Dr bandaged his knee but he’s all better now though he can walk now he can’t run but he can walk.” Love his verbal diarrhoea descriptions of things.

That afternoon playing on our neighbour’s trampoline Monkey’s friend landed on his head and his sunglasses cut his cheek. Thankfully it didn’t look too bad the next day as starting to worry the school will think we are harming him or something!

Friday morning we thankfully got him into school before the rain started and by all accounts he had a lovely time. He apparently played outside in his splashsuit twice and sang a new version of humpty dumpy which he loves and thinks is hilarious.

The afternoon school run was pretty miserable with the rain but I think I will just have to get used to those! Next week is going to be a bit odd as he is just going for a couple of hours every afternoon, but then the week after it will be full time. I’m so so proud of our boy though, he has handled it all so so well. I’m proud of us too as obviously we did just the right amount of preparation for it with him to give our boy, who can be very nervous of change, the confidence to go in happily. We have a schoolboy, seems a bit hard to believe really.

As for how I coped.. well I was more emotional than I thought I would be for the first couple of days, which I wondered whether was because I was so geared up for tears from Monkey that I didn’t know what to do when he was fine! I was so proud but it was also a bit of an anti-climax. I’m not much of a crier, or that good at showing my emotions at times and I was just so so focussed on making sure Monkey was fine. So when he was fine and didn’t actually need my help or reassurance I just felt a bit odd! So I had a few snappy irritable days and feeling like I wanted to cry over absolutely nothing… then eventually talked through how I felt with hubs and a couple of friends and as often happens with me, felt like a huge weight had lifted and I have been alright since really. I need to learn not to bottle things up I really do! Enough about me though as this is Mnkey’s adventure and we are so so proud of how he has taken it all in his stride!

How did your little one settle in to the first week of school?

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Ethans EscapadesBest of Worst

Siblings September 2016

We’ve had such a lovely summer holiday and the last month has seen so many gorgeous moments between our lovely pair that I don’t really know where to start. As such I apologise for the glut of images but I can’t help snapping away when they are being adorable with each other, and this linky does give me the opportunity to show those images to the world.

So, as ever, my children love to mess with each other. It’s pretty equal and both usually give as good as they get, and are tolerant of each other, resulting in lots of lovely giggles. There are times when one isn’t in the mood but those times are rare and they generally have so much fun together. photogrid_1473602607206

They love playing together and although there are times when LM messes up what Monkey wants to be doing (like running over to stand on the picture he was painting when we were painting outside last week, before running off with a huge cheeky grin on her face!), there are more times when she just plays alongside him. I particularly love how they sit and play lego together in his bedroom. So cute! photogrid_1473603516697

Monkey is so overprotective of his sister and always wants to make sure she’s ok. Sometimes I have to tell him that he should go and have fun as I am there to look after her. He doesn’t always think I am doing a good job though, so I am not sure what that says about my parenting haha. In truth though he thinks he is a parent too I think which is lovely but I do wish he wasn’t such a worrier sometimes. Still, it makes for some lovely moments where he says he is looking after her. photogrid_1473685688524

The loveliest recent development is that LM, who is not the biggest of hand-holders at the best of times, now loves to hold her brother’s hand. It started on a recent outing where we had a stand off going and LM would not walk the direction we were going. We were trying to move on so she would catch up when she wasn’t getting our attention for her behaviour, but Monkey, with his over-protectiveness, did not approve of this method. He did not like that we were leaving her behind so I announced “I will go get her.” Now, if hubs or I had gone and taken her hand to lead her then all hell would have broken loose, but, miraculously she allowed Monkey to lead her by the hand. photogrid_1473604113753

From then on she has not only allowed him to hold her hand but actively demands he hold her hand sometimes, which we do find completely adorable.photogrid_1473607111665

Monkey doesn’t always want to comply with her demands, it has to be said, but is a bit of a softy and usually relents. I love this video of a very reluctant superhero gradually giving in to his little sister’s demands and holding her hand!

Another little development has been an addition to our bedtime routine. Once LM has had her stories read, it is time for her to say goodnight to her brother with a kiss and cuddle. Just adorable! 20160912_142002

I think that covers most of their recent cuteness together! When this post is published Monkey will have only just started his week of mornings at school and I think LM won’t really have missed him much. But I get the feeling that as he starts doing full days that she really will note his absence. I wonder how their relationship will change as a result.

dear beautifulEthans EscapadesBest of Worst

Hello Autumn!

Well, it’s official, we are now well into September and Autumn has well and truly arrived. There’s lots I love about autumn but if I’m honest there are some things I don’t love about it too.

What I love

Every outing can turn into a nature trail

Monkey is constantly on the hunt for acorns at the moment and I have had to explain it is still a bit early for conkers. In addition to the usual sticks that come home with us even after the shortest walk, we now have leaves and acorns and all sorts of other bits entering the house on a daily basis. Hubs is less than impressed by this haha.photogrid_1473574575444

Blackberry picking!

We have already been blackberry picking 5 times locally and once when visiting Auntie mags. We’ve had 3 blackberry crumbles already and a freezer filled with blackberries. Always great fun foraging with the kiddies and yummy free food afterwards, win win!photogrid_1473575030571

Crisp air and sunny skies

I’ve always loved a fresh autumn day and though we aren’t quite there yet this year I am looking forward to those crisp mornings.

Puddle jumping

While I don’t exactly love the rain that autumn can bring, the kids do adore puddle splashing and we’ll I adore their happy faces. Thank goodness for waterproofs is all I can say!photogrid_1473575386322

Kicking up leaves

Always one of the best autumn activities and I am looking forward to kicking the leaves with both kiddies this year, especially LM as she is older and I think will appreciate it more this year.

What I don’t love

Big horrible spiders

Yes at this time of year the big beasties find their way inside. We’ve actually been really lucky since moving in here and haven’t had many… But already 2 this year so our luck ha changed. I’m less terrified of them than I used to be and really try and put a brave face on for the kids, but in truth they still scare the bejeesus out of me and make me feel quite nauseous. Eurgh definitely not something I like about this time of year.

A big beastie running across the floor the other night

A big beastie running across the floor the other night

Getting darker in the day

We often get out in the late afternoon with the kids and have lovely evening walks in the summer so I’m not looking forward to the darker evenings. Especially not in winter when it is dark around 4pm! Just not the same being outside in the dark. Also, since becoming a runner this will really test me, not so nice running through the local woods in the dark is it? So I guess I will be pounding pavements with street lighting instead through the winter!

Germs

With colder weather inevitably come germs too. One of my friends’ little boy has already come down with croup this year and I so hope neither of ours get it again this year! Absolutely terrifying when your little one is struggling to breathe in the early hours and just hope we are luckier this year! Even without croup though we are bound to get a heck of a lot of germs, especially with Monkey starting school. The coughing through the night and covering everyone with menthol rub and just generally feeling rubbish while trying to parent a poorly and ratty child. Yeah not looking forward to that aspect of the next few months.

We’ve had a really wonderful summer this year, so full of smiles. While there are definitely downsides to the colder months so far we are having a fun autumn (it helps that the weather has still been really good, on the whole) and will no doubt have tonnes of fun over the rest of autumn and winter. I just hope we aren’t too unlucky with all the germs this year!

What do you love and loathe about autumn? What’s your favourite time of year?

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