A bonus afternoon walk with Daddy.

It’s been a funny couple of days here that have ended happily with a bonus afternoon with Daddy.

Monkey has been a little poorly this though not too bad and I thought it was just a cold. Then he had one spot in his mouth that concerned me a little so I kept him off preschool that morning and spoke to a Dr who thought it was just an ulcer. As he seemed fine in himself he was back to preschool that afternoon.

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This was my attempt at taking pics to send Daddy but he would not stand still! Haha love him!

Then I noticed a couple of spots on his back. And one on his front. I mentioned them to hubs and he felt they were unrelated as he had had chicken pox before. I wasn’t convinced and then over the course of the afternoon more and more appeared and they started to itch. Chicken pox it is! Fun! Though honestly he is still fine in himself so is handling it really well.

Hubs had to stay away that night. They were taking a customer to court for not paying their bills and to avoid rush hour traffic in Birmingham decided to stay overnight. Though bless him the m6 was closed so I ended up on the phone directing him round to avoid the closure bless him.

The next morning LM gave me a delightful 5.20am start. Yawn. And with yet more spots I knew it was going to be an indoor day for us. It wasn’t too bad and the brilliant news was that hubs’ company won the court case and he was able to come early. Bonus!

After chatting to some lovely people online I was already planning on a little afternoon walk with the kiddies (to help dry out Monkey’s spots and give us all some much needed fresh air!) and when daddy arrived early and wanted to stretch his legs after a long drive we all headed out together.

The little ones adored having daddy for a bonus walk and LM even walked in the right direction and held his hand. Doesn’t happen for me haha.PhotoGrid_1457112172119

Both kids had a lovely run around.PhotoGrid_1457112279135

And we all enjoyed the fresh air and exercise. Daddy had to step in a couple of times to prevent a very determined LM from running into puddles! Love the shot of her swinging through the air after grabbing her.PhotoGrid_1457112426666

So not very exciting and just a local walk but it was lovely and did us all good. There was also bubble blowing, hide and seek and lot of other running about but for once I kept my phone in my pocket for the majority of the walk and just enjoyed the moment.

Just a little note regarding the chicken pox, there is a chance that it was misdiagnosed when we thought Monkey  had it before because he only had a few spots but the Dr thought that was what it was. Or it could be that he just had a very mild case and therefore didn’t create the antibodies for it.. He only had a few spots that time, whereas this time he is covered so no doubt in my mind he has it this time! 

“Walk this way…” or how to persuade your toddler to walk in the right direction!

I love it when little ones start to toddle about, they are so cute wobbling about and of course they want to walk everywhere. It is lovely… But it does mean it takes a long time to get anywhere! I remember going through it when Monkey was little and LM is exactly the same.20160211_122839-1

They get so easily distracted and very rarely want to walk in the direction you need to go. Because obviously it is more fun to walk the opposite way and have you chase after them! So what can you do about it? There are reins, which while I can see the point of, I have never been a huge fan of and neither of my kids have been that happy about wearing. There are other ways too, that take a bit of effort but that can help persuade them to walk the right way without tantrums or having to wrestle them back into the buggy.

N. B these are all safest on paths well away from roads and where they are safe to roam, otherwise reins or buggy it is, like it or not!

1. Playing hide and seek.

Kids love hide and seek, so while I may feel a bit daft hiding behind a tree or the buggy shouting “where’s mummy gone?” it works and it is lovely seeing LM run towards me with a huge smile on her face rather than cheekily running away from me! Especially good when there is an older sibling who can do the hiding :)PhotoGrid_1455205768266

Yes I am taking this picture while hiding behind the buggy shouting “where’s mummy gone?”  haha thank goodness Monkey loves hiding so much and is happy oblige when he is with us!

2. Chasing a ball

We also have a ball on the bottom of the buggy these days, and rolling a ball for a little one to chase along the path is a brilliant way to get them going in the right direction! Sometimes it feels a little wrong, basically playing fetch with your toddler… But it works so hey ho! Plus they have fun too.

Less good with a sibling around as they tend to take over haha

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3. Bubbles!

Kids love bubbles don’t they? So this is a lovely way of tempting kids to walk towards you or in the right direction. It works with older siblings around too as they enjoy it as well.PhotoGrid_1455220601995

The only downside is when the bubbles blow the wrong way and the little ones follow them in the opposite direction….

So there we have it, my go to methods to help persuade LM to walk in the right direction. They don’t walk every time but more often than not thankfully! Do you have any tips for persuading your little one to go the right way?

A Winter Nature Walk

Some mornings it is completely bonkers in our house. So bonkers that I feel like if I don’t get myself and the children outside immediately then I will completely lose my sanity. Ever feel like that?

Wednesday was one of those mornings and thankfully it did not coincide with a torrential downpour type of morning. So by 9am (it was a no playgroup day) the kids and I were wrapped up warm and out on a walk in the cold foggy morning. And you know what, it was mainly lovely.PhotoGrid_1452254000135

LM was being really grizzly but she loves getting out (often presenting me with shoes and coats when to illustrate her point) and Monkey jumped at the chance to go out too. He said he wanted to find conkers. I did point out that it’s not really the time of year for conkers but said we could go to a good conker spot and see what we could find.

It wasn’t too far away and when we got there I let LM out of the buggy for a wander while Monkey and I searched. We found lots of conker shells and half a conker that had been half-eaten presumably by squirrels. No pictures of it though as at this point I wasn’t planning a blog post (bad blogger). Then Monkey found a stick who he decided was “stick man” of course. The kids were very cute wandering round and exploring and it was lovely.PhotoGrid_1452254165376PhotoGrid_1452254235126

Then LM got grizzly (I did say it was mainly lovely) so it was back in the buggy and on we went. I decided to continue the nature hunt theme though and Monkey and I looked at all the different colour berries and were talking about why the trees were bare etc. It was lovely and LM was enjoying looking at the berries and bits too.PhotoGrid_1452254458452

There was the obligatory bit of hide and seek (Monkey loves hiding…. All the time) and LM got out a couple of times too to explore the bushes etc. PhotoGrid_1452254582188

It was freezing but lovely and just nice to get out and escape the insanity that being indoors a lot can result in at this time of year!

Our Little Toddler – 11 mths

So a little while ago I wrote that our baby girl had taken her first steps, and she has been wanting to walk more and more since then but she hadn’t quite had the confidence to really go for it – preferring to hold on to Mummy or Daddy. Suddenly though this week that has completely changed.

In one day she went from doing maybe 7 unaided steps at a time to literally walking around the whole house. I text hubs at work as I knew he wouldn’t believe the difference in the space of 1 day! So now she is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I turn around and there are literally moments of “where is she?” and  run off to find her in the showerroom standing banging on the glass, or in the new utility room trying to eat a receipt.

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So childproofing has become uber important again as she really does want to explore every inch of the world now that she can, and at this point in time she currently wants to put EVERYTHING in her mouth. So the floor is being swept multiple times a day to prevent her eating any bits of stickers or dirt that has been walked in, stairgates and doorgates are being shut and I need eyes in the back of my head!! Letting her roam around outside is interesting as she loves it but she makes a beeline for stones and dirt and wants to put them straight in her mouth.

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We say no but she is so cheeky that she just finds it funny and gives a big grin and carries on doing it anyway, grrr. So I sound like a broken record, no don’t eat that, no not in your mouth, over and over and over again!

I love seeing her toddle about though it just shows how much she is growing up and becoming less and less of a baby now. Her brother is adoring her newfound skill and is so proud of her for “walking all by herself!” For the first time ever they played together in his playhouse, playing peepo through the windows and they both loved it. Monkey enjoyed it so much that he ran up to her and shouted ” can I give you a cuddle?” and then squeezed her so tightly. Melted my heart I can tell you! They are going to be such lovely playmates for each other and I already love seeing them have fun together.

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I remember feeling that walking was such a game changer when Monkey started walking properly, and it is a game changer again now but a new phase that I am so looking forward to – though it certainly brings challenges of his own!

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LM’s first steps at 10 mths

Yep our little lady is walking! She has been walking holding on to our hands for a while and has clearly been desperate to walk… and now she has started. She took a couple of steps a few days ago to a bed upstairs but it was sort of a “did she?” moment between Daddy and I. Then this weekend she has really been going for it.

She walked to me first and then spent ages getting way too excited about her achievement and throwing herself forwards instead, lol! Then she took a couple of steps to Daddy, then to her Uncle Simon and then she was on a roll. If we try and stand her up she doesn’t get her balance right and she just flies as she tries to run rather than walk. But if she stand herself up and gets her balance she can do it. Here is a little clip of her (you may have seen some of it on social media) during her first attempts.

The most she has managed so far is 6 steps but I know that this will soon be expanding. I have just been reading back to when Monkey really took off walking at 11 months. It was April 27th, 2013 when I wrote that he was starting to walk, then on May 14th 2013 that I said he was walking pretty independently (I love having this record of the kiddies!) So I know this really is the start of toddlerdom.

It is qute a bitter sweet moment really. I am so proud of her and am looking forward to all of the fun that toddlerhood brings… but I am a tiny bit sad too. We have decided to not to have any more babies… for many, many reasons and I am 100% happy with that. But this means she is our last baby, and walking means she’s not really a baby anymore… she is becoming a toddler.

So I am drinking in her gorgeous, perfect, chubby baby thighs, and loving watching her little botty wobble as she crawls across the floor and trying to enjoy and memorise every moment.

LM end of baby days

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Running & Hiding

Most evenings at the moment, in between tea and bathtime we have been making the most of the warm light evenings and having a short family walk. It’s usually a little cooler out at that time of day so it is nice to get out of the house and get some fresh air – plus it is nice to have a bit of exercise.

We don’t generally go very far, but there is a lot of exercise going on because it is not exactly a gentle stroll. Not with Monkey around. Because his favourite thing at the moment is running and hiding. And, of course, we have to join in.

It’s great fun actually, running around trees and bushes, changing direction to try and catch each other out and shouting “Boo!” really very loudly. Then we run to the next tree and the same begins again and this lasts for a lot of our walk.

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Although confined to her buggy, LM really enjoys it too, and giggles away when we jump out from behind the trees!

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I also just have to share this daft little video with you. When I was a kid these bushes had passages cut throughout them and hours would be spent playing in there and building dens. It has long since overgrown since then and I thought all of the passages were gone but found an opening so couldn’t resist taking Monkey in to hide!

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Dalby Forest, Yorkshire

While we were on our holidays in Yorkshire at the end of April (yes I know that it was a while ago) as well as visiting castles, seaside and abbeys I wanted to explore some of the natural loveliness of the North York Moors too, which were on our doorstep.

So on a slightly greyer morning we headed on up into the moors. Literally, up, as there was a huge incline on the road from where we were staying (near Thirsk) up into the moors, the scenery was amazing with forests and moors and cliffs. I had seen some information about Dalby Forest online and thought it looked like a great place to go and explore the scenery.

There are numerous trails suitable for all abilities, from accessible routes for buggies and wheelchairs, to more adventurous walks and mountain biking routes. The forest is huge too with so many different parts to it, and we really barely touched the surface on our visit.

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We started off at the visitor centre to buy a trail map and look at a couple of accessible routes. I really wanted to do a walk that made the most of the amazing scenery and views, but it was a very grey misty morning so as there was not really any chance of seeing the gorgeous views we started off on an accessible track near to the visitors centre (The Ellerburn red trail).

Taken with Lumia Selfie

I’m afraid to say this was a mistake, as the first leg of this track was a bit dull. It was definitely accessible but there wasn’t really anything there. I was hugely excited about exploring the forest and I didn’t really feel this route allowed that. It all went a bit to pot as I got confused and took a turning that wasn’t a turning and we ended up on a very inaccessible bit of track and had to carry the buggy back up a slope. I was in a foul mood and LM was getting grizzly so we headed back to the visitor centre. I think the second  bit of this track was much prettier and we probably should have carried on… but we didn’t so hey ho!

Back at the visitor centre we enjoyed a lovely little picnic and Monkey had a whale of a time on their amazing play-area – which is huge and fantastic with different areas for all ages.

dalby playarea

With LM asleep and the mist burnt off by the sun we headed to the trail I had originally wanted to go on (the Crosscliff view trial) in the hope of seeing some views. Straight away it had the feel I was hoping for surrounded by gorgeous woodland with the sunlight dappling through the leaves. While still accessible, it was a bumpier track, though LM still managed to sleep through it in the buggy.

We reached a viewpoint and were not disappointed with gorgeous views over the forest out towards the coast.

crosscliff view trailUnfortunately we had by this point realised we had left some of LM’s milk at the cottage…. so had to head back to the car to find a shop where we could buy some ready made formula before she woke up!

So our visit to Dalby Forest was shorter than planned but it is beautiful.  It is £7 to park there for the day so all I would say is choose your trail with care as you want to make the most of the time you are there, and I wouldn’t recommend the Ellerburn red trail particularly as there wasn’t much to see on the initial leg of the trail. The playpark is brilliant and there are others in different areas of the forest too.

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A lovely ordinary Sunday

February was a bit of a month. It was very busy for all of us and sadly, full of germs too! Illness aside there was lots going on including the big build up to the wedding of one of my best friends on the 28th. As a result it has felt very hectic and hubs and I have been a bit shattered and run down as a result. The day after the wedding, the 1st March, the sun was shining and we decided to get our lives in order a bit.

We do love our lists so we sat and worked out what jobs we wanted achieve this spring, and also what nice days out we hoped to have. Monkey loves lists too so of course he helped :). This was also when we decided to take control of LM’s routine so our day very much revolved around that.

In one of her awake times we decided to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine. With all the poorliness lately we have spent a lot of time indoors and we just wanted to get out and get some fresh air. We are very lucky that we are walking distance to a steam engine railway line, so after checking the timetable we popped LM in the carrier and wandered off there to see a train. We hope to take Monkey on a train ride at some point, but after his fears of seeing the trains at the National Railway Museum, we thought it would be a good idea to get him used to the scale and noise of the train first!

Although it was lovely and sunny it was really windy, which Monkey wasn’t at all keen on and there was a real chill in the air waiting on the station to see the train so he and Daddy had a lovely snuggle.

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Soon enough the train arrived and Monkey was so excited to wave to the train and all of the people on board. He cracked me up when the train was leaving by shouting “Follow that train!” over and over again! Bless him I had to explain that it was a little too fast for us to catch!

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It was then time to head home and have some lovely lunch. Just a short outing, and hubs was shattered from pushing Monkey on his trike (it is so heavy and unwieldy but with Monkey just getting over being ill we didn’t want to push him too hard or make him walk – good job as little did we know he was actually coming down with Chicken Pox too!) and I was shattered as it is probably the longest I have had LM in the carrier for some time and she is getting heavy!

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Hubs and I had soup for lunch but Monkey wanted bread and cheese. As we sat down to eat he exclaimed “This cheese is significant!” lol not sure what that meant, he has obviously heard the word and decided to try it out! As toddlers do! He did the same later, sometimes hubs and I call the kids darling, often when they are being grumpy. After lunch when I was changing LM’s nappy, Monkey came over and said to me “Darling… what you doing?” hehe hearing “darling” come out of his little mouth was so cute. He then wandered off saying darling to himself over and over. So adorable, he has called both hubs and I babe before too as we occasionally say that to each other. Thankfully Mummy & Daddy always return to favour though.

After lunch Monkey helped Daddy sweep out the car port (one of the jobs on our list) then both kids had lovely long naps in the afternoon which meant hubs and I got to have a bit of a rest as we were shattered. It wasn’t a massively exciting day or anything to write home about but just one of those lovely, ordinary days having fun with a toddler (and a baby of course) and sorting a few jobs out. After a busy month with a mix of socialising and illness it was lovely to just have one of these ordinary days, and I hope we get to have a few more of them this Spring.

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Escaping the screaming

Things in our house have improved quite a lot lately. LM is sleeping so much better which means we are sleeping so better. But that doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing, ooh no. Our little girl still likes to stretch her lungs randomly with mammoth crying sessions. Crying sessions that feel like they are designed to make me feel like a useless parent. Changed, fed, burped, refusing to sleep and basically miserable whatever I do (or don’t do, no matter how hard I try to remain calm, after a while the tendrils of stress just start nibbling away at me. My patience level reaches zero and I get increasingly snappy with Monkey when he really is just being a chatty little toddler, getting himself in a mess but not being naughty.

All I can think of to do is get them both out of the house. And hope it calms her down even temporarily! If not then at least we are all getting some fresh air and a change of scene.

Wednesday we did just that and miraculously the fresh air did pause the crying, if only for half an hour or so. It was a bitterly cold and windy day but it is hard not to smile and be infected by Monkey’s pure glee at just being able to run about. To race to a lamppost – especially when he stops every 5 seconds to shout “Ready, steady, go!” I’m not sure he really gets the idea of racing bless him!

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Ready, Steady, Go!

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Red-Faced Little Girl

It wasn’t the longest of outings as it started to drizzle and I didn’t have a rain cover for LM but it did us all good and by the time we got home LM was ready to feed and then had a lovely long sleep. Getting out of the house can work wonders on a tough day, and so can the smiles of my little boy, when I take a moment to lift my head and really see them!

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A muddy New Year’s Day walk!

After a few beautiful (if very cold) frosty days, we decided we should wrap up on New Year’s Day and go for a chilly walk around our local country park. Then New Year’s Day dawned and it was grey and miserable. No blue sky, no pretty frost. Just really wet and grey! But after some to-ing and fro-ing we decided not to let this stop us, to pop on our wellies and head over anyway.

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