Saturday, 9 August 2014

picnics and pirates

 I just love family days out, and today was just lush (that word needs to be said with a welsh accent).
We began with a trip to a nearby park in Ironbridge. Sometimes I am a mixture of proud and totally terrified when I watch the kids climbing. 

Aniah got herself to the top of this beam thing and was starting to cross it when she got scared and decided to go back saying 'this is just for big boys and girls', to which Gareth said 'Zakie crossed it'... Aniah is not to be outdone by her little brother, so at this point she very bravely crossed it. Zak had in actual fact not crossed it. Daddy fibbed, but it got her over her initial fears.

After Zak saw Aniah do it, he then figured he should also have a go!

Martha, Adam and their boys joined us there for a little picnic.

We then figured it was a good day to take some family photos as there were some beautiful flower beds nearby...

After a few photos, we walked along to a pirate ship docking to take the kiddies on a REAL pirate ship boat ride. Oh my goodness, we had some very happy children. 

How happy are these kiddies...

Captain Jack Sparrow eat your heart out!

We have walked along the Ironbridge road loads of times, but it was lovely to get a different perspective on this quaint little industrial town...

After the very pleasant boat trip, we headed over to BBQ lovin' - an American style restraunt near Shrewsbury. Lewis and Bethany also met us there and we all totally stuffed our faces on way too much meat and cheese cake. So glad my almost vegan mother wasn't there to see her glutinous children.

Zak is a total carnivore and ate his body weight in meat.

So excited for Bethany... she is ready to deliver her first baby any day now. Her and Lewis are great with the kids so I know they will be fantastic parents.

I feel thoroughly spoilt to have such delightful activities to enjoy with such lovely people. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

a quick whizz through the last few months...

The last few months have really flown by. At the end of June we moved out of our house of 3 and a half years and moved to a lovely new place with a fabulous garden and great rooms (albeit very dated decor).

Thanks to the help of wonderful family we were able to pack and move pretty straightforwardly. However, I was reminded during the packing process how much I really detest moving. On the plus side, I think I threw about 10 bin bags of rubbish or more away and sold a load of stuff at a carboot sale. 

The children didn't seem at all phased by the house move, if anything they love the new house more than the old one. We went back to the old house a week after to sort out some things with the new tenants and they both got very upset saying they wanted to go back to the new house!!


We decided it might be nice to make a little gift for our new neighbours. So I set the kids to work baking some lemon cookies...

Decorating (and eating) the cookies was their favourite part. 

Finally they decorated some bags to hold the cookies in before going around to introduce ourselves. The neighbourhood is delightfully quiet and most of the residents there are retirement age. The only noise around here is our kiddies shouts and squeals!

Other activities we have been up to include...

Making more food faces Picaso style!

The kids help Mummy clean (with a bottle of water spray). Zak bounced between cleaning and ipad on this particular occasion!

I've found a good way to use the free food mags that come in the weekly journal is to give them to the kids to cut out different foods and stick them into a disposable bowl/plate.  I have found this has a variety of learning and developmental opportunities including hand eye co-ordination using scissors and knowledge and understanding of the world. We talk about what healthy/unhealthy foods consist of and the foods they like and dislike eating.

While the kids were playing in the living room one day I remembered I had bought masking tape and had wanted to try out an idea I'd seen yonks ago. I explained to the kids that they needed to wait patiently while mummy did something, that they were not to rip it straight off again and no mummy wasn't going mad as they observed me frantically taping lines onto the floor.

Once I explained I had made some roads for their cars to go on, they had a great time lining up all their cars and creating make believe scenarios with them (lasted about 20-30 mins before I had to re channel their focus again)

Eventually they began getting bored with just cars so we involved a few other toys, like the rapunzel junk modelling stuff they made the other day (did I mention Aniah loves those carboard tube characters, well worth the old recycling it took to make them) and then we got the duplo to make a tower.

It was great seeing them play so well together. We had the odd squabble, but on the whole they were great. Aniah tends to be the bossy one telling Zak what he should do in the game and he quite happily goes along with it.

Bed times are an interesting affair. Once they are bathed, PJ's,  teeth are clean, had stories it is a battle to get them into bed and asleep. They try and come up with every single excuse in the book as to why they need to get out of bed...

"there is a monster in my room" ... "no there isn't son, Daddy boxed him and flushed them down the loo"
"I'm hungry"
"I need a wee"
"Aniah/Zak jumped on my bed... bite me...singing too loud... took my toy"
"too hot/cold"

the list goes on and on.
We have tried numerous tactics to get them to stop the madness - rewards for the first one to get to sleep, smacked bums, sleeping beside them, ignoring... it's really hard. Anyone with any advice of what works, please share.

There are moments during the day that are pure madness and I am counting down the minutes until bedtime, however there are other moments that are pure golden syrup sweetness and joy to behold.
These ones for example...

Aniah noticed Zak didn't have his helmet on in the park while playing on his bike and ran over to help him put it on. One of the wonderful things about having an older sister... they look after you so sweetly (sometimes).

Seeing all three of my gorgeous boys sleeping side by side. Pure melt your heart moment.

Tettenhall Pools...

We have had a phenomenal summer in respect to the weather. I can't remember another summer like it. As a result we have spent as much time as possible outside. One of our days out consisted of visiting Tettenhall pools. Esentially, a place for people who live too far away from the beach to go to cool off. 

My awesomely cool 3 month old. Aniah's idea...

Trips to the park...

We are so lucky to live very close to an awesome set of parks with various activities for the kids. This summer they have also had fair rides which the kids have been keen to try (don't do these too often as it drains the purse significantly)

Woodland walks.

The nearby forests and woodlands are a brilliant place of exploration and imaginative play. Something I miss deeply about my childhood home is the tranquillity and wonderful escape of the countryside surroundings. As much as possible I try to ensure they get a good amount of 'untamed' nature to explore in.

On this particular adventure I went on with my sister, we got absolutely covered in mosquito bites, but on the plus side found a huge rope swing very similar to one we had as children growing up (we called ours 'the big swing' - very original).
What I love to see developing in our children is their boldness and courage to try new things. I watched with pride as both our children climbed high into the trees and swung out on this huge rope swing without a seconds thought.

Monkeys in the shop...

Water play in the garden...

Zak makes his own fun sending oats down tubes..

Did I mention how cute these boys are?!

Shaving foam painting...

So we had a lot of shaving foam left over after Aniah's party and this is what the result was...

If you've ever read 'Dogger' you'll immediately know what I mean when I say Aniah is just like Bella from the story. She takes a gazillion toys to bed with her every night. I'm surprised there is enough room left for her!

Sadly, Aniah's new birthday bike was pretty naff and didn't work very well... as a result we went and bought another bike which works very well and as you can see she is in love with it :)

I am having major issues with Zak and poop. I am on the cusp of potty training him because he is constantly doing things with the smelly stuff. It's pretty normal for him to take his nappy off and leave trails of brown stuff behind him. But the other day he took his poop escapades to a whole new level by throwing the stuff out of the bedroom window leaving the evidence on our living room window. Yuk! We later discovered that it was his sisters coaxing that induced him to do it in the first place.

Lovely Bennie...

Ben has really calmed down in the last month or so. He is a completely different child to the on we had at the start. He laughs and chats away and only ever cries if he needs feeding or is over tired. 

At 3 months he found his feet!!

The weather has been brilliant on the whole this summer, however we have had the odd stormy day. One of those days included our day at the town park fun day extravaganza . We had seen the weatherforecast, so decided it might be appropriate to get the waterproofs out.

This act was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I can't think what they were called, but they did this really funny dance routine on these trollies.


After an hour, the rain really started coming down so we ran for cover at the water park shelter. The kids decided it would be great fun to go into the water park and get even wetter!

In an attempt to try and preserve the plant pots and grass, I have sectioned off a portion of the garden that is now 'theirs' to do with as they please. That way whenever they start digging somewhere they shouldn't I can direct their attention to this little patch!

Day trip into Birmingham...

Sea life centre...


The kids can be pretty fussy eaters sometimes. I tried dippy eggs with them about a year ago and it did not go down well at all. I decided to give them another try recently and found that Zak still really didn't enjoy the experience, and Aniah only eats the whites. Ah well, perhaps I will try again in another year.  

Visiting toddler groups...

I find toddler groups very renewing. Meeting other mums, being able to see the kids channel their energy doing fun activities without having the huge mess to tidy up by yourself.

Playing with cousin Joshie...