Friday 30 November 2012

"At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet."

Today we travelled into Birmingham to pick up some print work for Mrs M. We arranged to have lunch with Chris too which was great. We were excited about having a catch up with Chris (or my 'Bromance' as Mrs M calls him) and we were excited about having lunch at TGI'S as we hadn't eaten there since we were in Florida earlier in the year, but more importantly i was mainly excited because the German Christmas market was on and that meant one thing...

The German Market will always be really special to me and Mrs M, it was on when we first met each other and it played its part in our very romantic first date and many nights out after. There was something about the atmosphere and the cold weather that made our nights out so perfect. Whenever the Christmas market is on and were there i get butterflies, probably sounds silly to most people but meeting Mrs M completely changed my life and she really helped me out over a pretty dark time in my life. She has definitely made me a better person, i realise that every day but around Christmas and being at that market it just hits me more.

The christmas we met it was very very cold and the one night we had been at the market standing outside wrapped up drinking nice hot blueberry mulled wine when it started to snow. It was such a lovely night and i remember standing there thinking how lucky i felt to be standing there with Mrs M. Since then every year we have been and collected our German Market mugs and that was what i was so excited about today.

We almost missed our Christmas mugs last year because of Seth being Poorly and having to head straight home as soon as we got there but luckily we got a chance to go again before it closed. This year we got in early but were planning on going there next weekend to spend some time with friends and fully take in the festive atmosphere.

Until then we will be using our mugs but not for mulled wine unfortunately, Mrs M favours her Madagascar Vanilla red Rooibos tea and I'm more of a Twinings Earl Grey kinda guy myself.

Thursday 29 November 2012

"But evil things, in robes of sorrow, Assailed the monarch's high estate. (Ah, let us mourn! - for never morrow Shall dawn upon him desolate!)"

A month or so ago i wrote a post about the Lego Monster fighters range that were released earlier in the year. I really wanted them as they were really interesting kits and the minifigures are great, At the time of writing the post i couldn't warrant spending money on Lego for myself, but as with a lot of toys i started to obsess about having them and within a couple of days i had brought the three smaller kits from the range. I'm terrible once a really start wanting something.

I was lucky enough to receive £100 in Toys R Us vouchers recently and although i was planning on spending it on the boys Mrs M told me to spend it on myself as we had already brought all of their Christmas presents. So i treated myself to two of the larger Monster fighters kits as i also had a 20% off voucher for that weekend.

One of the kits i purchased was the Monster fighters vampyre castle kit. I had been wanting this from the moment i saw it, I'm always drawn in by the Minifigures but i loved some of the new pieces in the kit that i had never seen before. I built the kit the night after i brought it and ive got to be honest i was a little disappointed. This kit is a little flimsy and after i built it i carried it in the next room to put it on a shelf and dropped it. there's no large base plate for it because the walls move which makes it a 'nightmare' to move around (see what i did there? haha). I rebuilt it the following night and put it somewhere safe (very carefully). Seth has played with it since and he kept apologising because things kept falling off, so not really great for playing with, especially for children.

Despite the flimsyness this really is the only problem. To look at its great and there are some really great features to the building and kit on the whole. The minifigures as usual are amazing and to be fair they make the kit. The vampire kind of looks like my friend Craig which is handy for if i decide to make a minifigure of him for a post like the one i wrote about my friends Chris and Michelle. The Werewolf didn't come with the kit but i think Seth must have found him and added him to the team.

I'd say that my favourite part to the building is the door that changes into a winding staircase, i was pretty impressed by it. If i had the money and was building a haunted castle on grand designs i would definitely have the architect pencil in one if these as they would be a fantastic space saving idea. I think our Kev would have plenty to say about it too.

There are so many little touches to the kit which make it so much fun, there's a trap door, spikes that move in and out at the entrance, skeletons hanging in the tower, book cases, potion bottles, spell books, an organ in the highest tower, which is a great touch...

I wasn't to keen on the front feature with the coloured gems at first but it adds to the building and is really good for the story when your playing. The monster fighters have to race to the castle to stop the monsters from taking over. Although the monster fighter mini figures are great we all favour the monsters here so they always come out on top. They all make friends in the end though as most of our toys do after playing.

Obviously the kit had to come with a couple of 'monster fighters' otherwise it wouldn't be much of a fight. They are great and i especially love their robot arms and legs. ive got some of these limbs from other robot characters so i might make a monster fighter Pauly to go with them (I'm sure that will be a post tomorrow now ive said it). The car that came with this set is great too, since building this i have also built the hearse kit which is really fun and i will write about that very soon.

Overall the kit is great to look at but the fact that the castle is not very sturdy really lets it down. It hasn't put me off though. Ive managed to accumulate all of the sets apart from the haunted house and the ghost train (which Seth has asked for for Christmas) so when ive built the others I'm sure ill write about them too. I'm really tempted to take this apart though and build it a lot stronger.

any way until next time...

Wednesday 28 November 2012

"Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game."

Today Mrs M had a lot of work to do at home and with Opeie in the house it's virtually impossible for her to get anything done. So I decided to take him out for a while to give her a bit of space to work. The weather was awful, freezing cold and pouring with rain so I decided to take him to an indoor padded play area down the road. It's the first time Opeie has been to one mainly because I don't really like them. They always seem dirty. They all have the same musty smell and you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some boisterous older children running about not watching what they are doing.

Mrs M rang ahead and it was the under two's session so I thought we should give it a try but not before Mrs M loaded us up with antibacterial hand wash. We're not freaks were just very wary about what the boys are putting their hands on. We got to the place and I was pleasantly surprised. The staff were lovely it seemed pretty clean and the £3 entrance fee even included a cup of tea, drink for opeie and a plate of biscuits. Doesn't get better than that.

Opeie's little face lit up when he saw the ball pit (he loves balls). We took our shoes off and headed for all the fun. 

We got straight into the ball pit and Opeie was a very excited little boy. It was really difficult getting a clear photo as he wouldn't stay still and who could blame him.

Seeing how excited he was I felt kind of guilty that we hadn't taken him before. Not only for the running about and rolling around in a ball pit but also for the interaction with other children. All the children there were around the same age group and Opeie clearly loved being around them squeaking with excitement.

I'm not sure if its Seth's muscle condiction but he wasn't very adventurous when he was younger, he would never climb in the play areas and was pretty scared at the thought of going up to the higher levels. Opeie is the exact opposite and is pretty fearless. He's always been a climber, it took him a long time to start walking but had no problems going upwards from a very young age and being there today this side really came out of him. I was genuinely shocked when he climbed up a padded ladder with very little help from me. At his age I didn't expect him to be so strong (I think he's going to be a tough cookie like daddy).

Well we had a great couple of hours, Opeie was so tired when we came out that i strapped him into his car seat and he fell asleep before i had even closed the car door... Adorable. When we got home we curled up on the sofa and he had a nice long nap so Mrs M got some extra quiet time to continue what she was doing.

Monday 26 November 2012

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds."

This weekend Seth decided that he wanted to build something from the 'Lego ideas' book that Chris and Michelle had brought him for his birthday. Seth has been going on about knights and castle's for a few weeks now and has decided that he wants to build a Lego castle. We looked through the book and there is a section on castles and knights, Seth spotted a creepy looking door to a villains castle and decided that's how he wants to start his build.

I'm not a big fan of trying to copy someone else's build, id much rather build something myself. Mainly because it means having to root around through our Lego boxes looking for specific parts. Despite this it was what Seth wanted to build so we got to it. we didn't have all the parts and had to freestyle it a little. We were missing the large horns and skeleton head so replaced them with snakes and bull horns which i think came out really well.

Seth was really impressed with our end result and it has been a great start to our Lego castle build and it has left us with a new home for the Lord of the rings mini figure that Seth got free from 'The Sun' newspaper a few weeks back.

I think the castle build will take us some time but keep reading and eventually the pictures will follow.

Sunday 25 November 2012

"You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me."

Waking up to Opeie in the morning is amazing,  tiring but amazing. In the 18 months he has been with us he has woken up anytime between 4-8am. Sometimes its so difficult to wake myself up properly and i end up sitting in the lounge with him feeling like a zombie. Having to put Barney or Mickey Mouse on that early doesn't really help in the waking up, feels like my eyes are taking a stand against these annoying programs.

This time of the morning is our special 'boy time' and its the only time that Mrs M can properly get into a deep sleep as throughout the night he is very demanding. Opeie's a huge milk monster. Today i got a bit of a lie in as Opeie didn't wake up till 7 which was great after the 3 hours sleep i got the night before.

All i could think about when i woke up was a nice big cup of tea and a piece of toast with peanut butter and jam on. Its amazing how much difference a simple cup of tea can make to your morning motivation. It really does kick start me into action.

Opeie as usual wanted to read as many books as he could grab and Seth got up and read a few to him too, which gave me a minute or two to fully enjoy my tea and toast. Well I'm fully awake now so we can begin the playing. I love the weekends when Seth is off school and we can spend some quality time together. Apparently later today there is going to be a HUGE Imaginext battle as yesterday Seth brought the Green Lantern with the remainder of his birthday money.

So let the battle commence..... well maybe after one more cuppa.

Friday 23 November 2012

"Life's enchanted cup sparkles near the brim."

Our kitchen cupboards seem to be packed with various drinking vessels for Opeie. Most of them to be fair should be disposed of. Some of them leak, some of them are a nightmare to clean and most of the others Opeie just doesn't like using them. The main problem in our house is the leaking. The cups cant be left for fear of them being spilled everywhere.

We were recently sent a package from Nuby with various items to try out and there were a selection of cups/beakers for Opeie to test drive. Firstly and most importantly they are all none spill which is great and means that i can fill them up and leave them around the house for Opeie as he never stays in one place for very long.

The prints are great on the patterned ones but when it comes to Opeie's drinking habits its all about the teats/spouts. While attempting to drink from one of the beakers with a wide spout we realised that opeie was really struggling and i had no idea why until Mrs M pointed out that he struggles because he tries to drink from them like he's breastfeeding.

Now that it's been pointed out its really cute watching him curl his tongue around the spouts. Opeie's favourites of the beakers are the two with the silicone soft straws, they seem to be the easiest for him to use. Sometimes he sits there confused for a minute as some of them have straws all the way down to the base and some of them need tilting. Its entertaining to watch him looking so puzzled.

The fact that you can buy replacement teats and spouts comes in very handy, especially if your little one is a chewer. They all worked out great but the overall winner was the easy grip super straw
perfect for out and about and leaving about the house.

The beakers with the sports style caps didn't work out great for Opeie but were very handy for Seth's drinks at school. Seth likes them because they are colourful and stand out from all the children's cups which is great because so far they have made their way home from school every night.

Although they were all great and Opeie loved trying them all out, his overall favourite is his monster no spill cup that i brought him from Asda a while back, which i love too because it goes with his other monster items and they look great.

Monday 19 November 2012

"Life in a box is better than no life at all... I expect."

We've got a poorly little boy at home today, he was up about 6 times in the night and has a high temperature on and off so we decided to keep him off school and it looks like he'll be off tomorrow too.We have to be so careful with him being sick after having pneumonia last year. We asked him what he wanted to do today and he decided he wanted to build a robot out of boxes that he could wear (excellent choice I thought). Luckily down the road there's a packaging warehouse so off I went to get some supplies.

I got home and Seth decided he was tired so he went to sleep for a while and Opeie dropped off on me on the sofa so being the nerd I am I saw it as a great chance to put The Avengers on. I didn't get to watch it all as the boys woke up and wanted the afternoon of craft to get under way. So mommy and Seth got to work on the helmet and me and Opeie started on the body. 

Seth loves craft, especially when he gets to go looking round the house for things to add to his creation. Me and Mrs M love getting involved too. Opeie just loves being part of the team whatever were doing he's adorable.

The helmet started to look like a deep sea diving mask which was great and like most of our creations in the house that has a face, Seth wanted to put a moustache on it. We're all big fans of the moustache on our house. Seth then decided his robot must have sideburns and curly hair, oh and a large selection of eyes.

Mrs m said that it was a shame we didn't have a few rolls of tin fool in the house to cover it but then I remembered that I had a foil blanket on the cars medical bag (let's hope I don't have an accident and need to keep someone warm as Seth's robot suit lets in a breeze). Once I'd covered all the parts on foil Seth got into decorating them while I made a key for the back. (It'll be the one time Mrs M won't mind me winding Seth up).

The robot suit came out great although tomorrow we do need to make some arms maybe. We have a huge boots box in the house that Opeie has been sitting in today and Seth wants to draw a Batmobile  on the side of it tomorrow so watch this space (all the toys they both have and they are still blown away by a simple box). Obviously we don't like Seth being ill but the being at home part is great and Opeie has really enjoyed having his brother at home today.

Seth got really excited when he put all the parts on and started singing intergalactic by the Beastie Boys (one of his favourite songs). Well the activity certainly kept Seth mind of him feeling ill which was great so we will be filling tomorrow with fun things too.

Until then i think were going to have an up and down night with Seth tonight so  atrip to the doc's maybe on our list of things to do tomorrow. I wonder if he should wear his robot suit down there? hmmmmm.....

Friday 16 November 2012

'The peugeot entertainment centre'

Again I am sitting in the car waiting, but this time I feel very privileged as Opeie is awake and sitting on my lap with a big smile on his face. Mrs M has had to go somewhere briefly, work related and myself and the little prince are waiting patiently.

We did try and get him down for a sleep but he was having none of it. Thankfully
I remembered to pick up the iPad and were watching Yo Gabba Gabba and having a sing and a dance. Hooray for modern technology. I used to watch a TV in the car when I was little and waiting for my mom to come out of work, only a portable TV back then was black and white and the size and shape of a Dr Martens boot box. Also most of the TV viewing was spent trying to angle the ariel in awkward positions to get the best reception (happy days).

Well Mrs M came back and we headed off although it wasn't long till i was waiting again and this time the little angel had gone to sleep so I think it's time for me to read some comics or play my DSH. I hope i don't sound negative about being in the car waiting. It does give me a chance to do the things I enjoy for a short period of time in nice quiet surroundings. I also love looking back into the mirror and seeing that beautiful boy of mine sleepy and peaceful, I'm a very lucky daddy.

Thursday 15 November 2012

"They're heroes in a half-shell and they're green"

Weve started the Culling of Seth's room in preperation for Christmas and as much as i would love to keep all of our toys for when the boys are older, some of the things that haven't been played with for quite some time are just going to have to go to free up some space. Seth's room is literally wall to wall toys and although we haven't gone mad this year for Christmas were still going to need room for the new things that both him and Opeie get.

First to go which to be honest I'm not to fussed about is Seth's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. I used to love them when i was younger so i started buying them for Seth when he decided that he liked the cartoon. They haven't been played with for a very long time and do take up quite some space.

We did have quite a lot of fun playing with these even if now i do think that the cartoon is quite annoying. Well tonight Ive listed them so that will be a bit of extra space. A few months back i was going to buy krang and the technodrome as i saw them on ebay for a reasonable price and I'm kicking myself now as having them in the collection would have really upped the price.

I still think its such a shame when toys lose their appeal and they are sold on, especially if the boys are anything like me as i spend loads of time wishing i still had many of the toys i used to play with when i was younger. Hopefully Seth wont be wishing he had these. I'm only selling them really because in comparison to some of his toys these never really got the attention they probably deserved. Its nice to know they will probably go to a collector or someone that will really appreciate them.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

"It's kryptonite, Superman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home."

I really want Seth to write all of the posts about his birthday presents. It may take some time but we will get there. Its hard to get him to write during the week as he's usually pretty tired after school. We had William stay over this weekend as a late birthday celebration for Seth as that's what he had asked for.  Even though he was shattered when William went home (after their late night and 5am get up), i still managed to squeeze a post out of him, cleverly asking questions while we were playing Lego. So here he is...

"Me and pauly have been playing lots of Lego batman on the Xbox and on one of the levels we had to defeat the joker boss. It's a big joker robot. After that level you have to defeat Lex Luther in a big Lexbot. When we were in Florida mommy and Pauly brought me a Lego Lexbot which I love but I bet me and Pauly could make a better one couldn't we Pauly? Seth we could make a better anything!!

I like using the lexbot when I'm playing with my mini figures I pretend I'm playing the levels on the game. When I was playing a few weeks ago I said to Pauly that I would like a joker bot for my birthday. The joker bot was my last present to open and I was really excited because I wanted to battle my mini figures.

 We went out to the art gallery at Wolverhampton there were these headphones and this man was saying 'this way to Wolverhampton' in a funny voice. We did some drawing too, we had to draw things that happened in 2012 I drawed some of my birthday toys, mommy drew some of our rabbits cause weve had loads of new rabbits. Pauly drawed the avengers sign because there was a new film and he drew a golden ring because he gave one to mommy when we were at Florida.

 When we got home William came round in the car and he brought me something for my birthday when I opened it was a Lego batman bot and a cool batman car. I really liked them and I thought I could use him to battle the joker bot and Lex Luther. I was thinking I can't wait for William to come for the sleep over so we can play with them together."

Well that's two down, plenty more to go yet though. Hoping to get them all done by Christmas. Thank you William, Matthew, Vicki And Steve that was very kind of you, and if your interested in what Seth has to say about other presents so far click here.

Next up i think will be Nanny Roo's present which apparently was the highlight of Seth's day.

Saturday 10 November 2012

'Building a better future'

Much of the boys time at home is taken up by building, which as you can probably tell from many of the posts written, i love. Don't get me wrong I'm an action figure geek and i love a good Batman battle with Seth's figures but the variety of play that you get with Lego really cant be beat. The idea of having a toy that lets you just think of anything and then build it is genius and its obvious why Lego are such a HUGE company.

It's unsafe to leave Opeie playing with Lego alone because of the small parts, he's still into trying to put everything he finds in his mouth so the fact that Lego also make Duplo for younger children is great. We can happily leave Opeie playing alone briefly and not have to worry about him choking or getting pieces stuck up his nose etc. Also i think its great that you can use these on the large Lego base plates to build on.

Its not just Lego that we use in the house for our building, there's lots of different building materials for kids on the market these days. When i was younger i loved my Lego but i was also a big fan of Stickle bricks which i used to play with when having a break from the Lego.

While in TK Maxx last week when i wrote my post about Seth wanting to buy a present for Opeie to say sorry for busting his ball we also spotted these which i had to buy to try out as they reminded me of the Stickle bricks, their made by Fisher Price and their called Clipo. They are also great for Opeie to play with as the parts are large and the colours are great.

Recently in TK Maxx again we spotted these building blocks also which Seth has been loving at the moment. I think that because of his muscle condition he finds these easier to build with because of the size as he does tend to struggle with the smaller Lego pieces. Ive been on the look out for more of these blocks so expect another post about these very soon as i had a great find. These are also made by Fisher Price and are called Trio...

If anyone reading this knows of any other interesting building materials for children like this then please let me know. were always on the lookout for new things to try. Ive been meaning to try and get a picture of some interesting building pieces that Seth uses at school so if  do i will add them to this post i have no idea what their called.

Lego will always be our main building material due to the versatility of it and you can be sure to see many more posts about the things that we have built.