Tuesday 30 April 2013

"Art must take reality by surprise."

Every now and again i get Seth's book from his book bag for his nightly reading and there's a nice surprise in there, some lovely work that he's brought home from school. Last night was one of those nights and it really put a smile on my face. Inside i found a great picture of me, strangely looking very clean shaven? maybe he's politely trying to tell me I'm a scruff bag?

There was also a very cute drawing of Opeie too. These drawings are great to keep and its lovely to see how his drawing is developing over the years.

 My brother is nice because he's kind and friendly.

A very thoughtful Mrs M

We all get stressed out around the house at some point, as a stay at home dad there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get things done. My main stress causer is the fact that we seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time cleaning the house yet there is so much 'stuff' crammed into our home that it never looks tidy. Mrs M did the stay at home parent thing with Seth so she fully understands that its the little thoughtful acts around the house that make all the difference. Most children fully crave your attention which is understandable but sometimes you really need to get things done so its these 'little thoughtful acts' that i really appreciate.

On Monday mornings i go to pick up our food shopping for the week and although that doesn't seem very stressful, putting the shopping away can be. Opeie insists on holding on to my legs or trying to help unpack the shopping which although helpful can also be a little dangerous with all of the obstacles on the floor. As Mrs M leaves after us, after heading out on the school run she sets up toys in the hall to keep Opeie entertained for when we walk through the door with the shopping. simple, effective and very thoughtful.

Yesterday morning when we came back Mrs M had left us a picnic basket with a blanket, books, drinks and snacks, everything we needed for a relaxing time in the garden while the sun was out. Unfortunately it was far to cold to go out so we ended up having our book reading picnic on Seth's bedroom floor. The little thoughtful things really do matter and its these caring acts that really strengthen our relationship and keep us a happy family.

Monday 29 April 2013

"Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child's growth as vitamins."

Opeie loves everyone that gives him attention, he's a very loving boy and is happy to dish out the kisses and cuddles. The one person that is sure to get his undivided attention though is 'Grandad', Opeie adores him. We have a great relationship with Mrs M's parents (Gary and Ruth) and we always love spending time with them. Grandad really interacts well with the boys but i always knew he would after the countless times Mrs M has told us about her childhood. A few days back they came round to see us, Opeie and Seth were reading on the bed and within seconds of me saying 'Nanny and grandad are here', Opeie had leapt up, shouted Grandad and ran to the door.

We had a good chat as we hadn't seen them for a few weeks but Opeie and grandad happily sat together reading book after book and trying on super hero masks. I think that this kind of interaction is so important and really forms a great bond.

Ive recently been let down and am really disappointed by my own dads lack of effort made towards Opeie, so having such a good relationship with Mrs M's family is really important to me. It's nice to know that The boys are getting the love and affection that they deserve from their grandparents. I think that Gary also understands why its me at home as the stay at home parent and that's really important to me. Both him and Ruth are always commenting on what great parents me and Mrs M are and thats always nice to hear from someone else.

Gary and Ruth have done so much for us over the years and i like to think that we have been there for them when they have needed us. It's important to make an effort with the people that care about you and it is something i will always make sure the boys fully understand.

Sunday 28 April 2013

$£%&@!**$%@&.....Brains!!! @£$!%&*£@$&!£@%$&*.......BRAAAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNNNNSSSSSSSS!!

We lost a lot of good men today, they may have turned in to flesh eating zombies but they served our team well.

Today was D-day! The morning that Seth had been going on about all week. Excalibur martial arts (seth's Tae Kwon Do class) had organised a Nerf war to celebrate their sons birthday and it seems to be an annual event with these guys. To prepare ourselves for the big day I had brought myself and Seth new weapons as Seth found reloading our other guns difficult due to his muscle condition. I got the guns that could hold the most bullets thinking that would mean less reloading but when they arrived and Seth realised he couldn't load them on his own we had a week of stress and anxiety. Concerned that he would be open to attack it was obviously playing on his mind a lot especially at bedtime (when is he going to understand that best friends stick together and I'll always be his wing man).

They had a nice easy lesson today so that students could conserve their energy for Saturdays main event and as the older children and adults classes follow his we had a couple of hours to kill. Seth has been asking for weeks if he could go on the Bridgnorth cliff railway and our extra time loitering round Bridgnorth made it the perfect filler. We had Seth's friends from school William and Matthew and their dad Steve with us for company which made it more fun. Before going on the cliff railway though we walked along the city walls and admired the one remaining wall of the castle. Seth spotted a cobweb on the railings and with a very serious face asked if it was a medieval spiderweb? Genius!

After our mini adventure and cliff rail ride we headed back to base to prepare for battle. The leisure centre hall had been transformed into a battle zone with cardboard box barricades everywhere you looked and a camouflage netting covered maze in the centre, a role playing delight for all the kids (and us eager big kids). Mrs M had kindly filled my bag with face paint so quickly got the boys ready for their imminent scrap.

Seths taekwondo teacher had come up with an elaborate storyline and from just looking at his get up you could tell that he was really in to it. As he bellowed out commands us grown ups chuckled at he rear, the problem was us old timers at the back with our intermittent hearing had no idea what he was saying, so oblivious to any role playing that had been set we took the unclear directions and translated them in to something us dads could understand 'if its under 5 feet tall shoot at it'. The kids were darting about at crazy speed and for the first time I was really feeling my age. It seems that (although I had never seen them before) a couple of the kids had taken an instant disliking to me and were hell bent on unloading ALL of their ammo on me. (On the drive home Seth informed me that its because I have a villainous beard).

Everyone was having a whale of a time and I was most impressed by the 6 year old sniper that managed to shoot me in the jugular, quite the marksman. Seth and William were joined at the hip and whenever Seth managed to sneak up on me he managed to get me on the face which was closely followed by a second bullet from William. I seemed to spend most of my time picking up darts and reloading until a young lady called Emily started bringing me handfuls of ammo she had found, what a little angel. (sadly i didn't get a photo of her).

The final battle was understood by the grown ups clearly, as the children built one large barricade to hide behind us big kids were a pack of zombies coming to storm the trench. The children shot at us to try and fend us off and i lost both arms in the process but managed to get to the wall. As the zombies were tearing at the walls the children (especially the ones that had run out of ammo) were screaming excitably, it was a lot of fun.

It was two hours of mayhem and not eating since early that morning was taking its toll and i was getting very tired. So as everyone flattened the boxes for recycling we made a hasty get away (sorry guys). We definitely look forward to doing that again next time.

Thanks Excalibur and Happy Nerfday Reilly

Saturday 27 April 2013

"There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed."

Do you ever have moments that question your own parenting? I know I'm a great dad, I think as a parent if you can't say that then there is something seriously wrong with your relationship with your children. Despite this there are times like last tonight when I question wether it should be me at home with the boys.

After picking Seth up from school we got home and did the usual messing about and general boy time playing that we do. Then it was tea time so I asked Seth to entertain Opeie while I started the food. Opeie as usual was very hyper because his brother was home. He came in the kitchen to see me and we had a cuddle and then he asked to get down so he could go and see his brother. He walked off and within 20 seconds there was screaming from the lounge. I dropped what I was doing and ran to the lounge to find Opeie lying on the floor and really distressed with blood in his mouth, my heart sank and I felt really sick. I picked him up to make sure he was Okay and asked Seth what happened, he had walked into the lounge door while drinking from a bottle and obviously cut the inside of his mouth also his top lip was really swollen. He was really shook up and every attempt I made to calm him down failed miserably.

This was the first time I had been at home alone with Opeie when he had hurt himself and I felt awful (was this my fault?). In previous situations when he has had an accident Mrs M has just got her goods out and he's had some milk instantly calming him down but unfortunately I am ill equipped for such situations rendering me the obsolete parent. So should I be the one that gets to be the stay at home parent?

Seems stupid now as I write this what was going through my head but it was almost like I felt like this one little accident was going to undo all of the great parenting I had worked so hard on prior to this event. I guess that some of it is down to some serious insecurities that I have but I feel like the fact that I'm at home with the boys instead of Mrs M I'd frowned up on by a lot of people so sometimes I feel like I am being watched more carefully (I know, the Ramblings of a crazy man right?). Mrs M knows what a great dad I am I always put them first so I shouldn't really be questioning that. And once I had calmed down a little and logic kicked back in I realised that you can't be watching your children 100% of the time it's virtually impossible, you just need to minimise the hazards around the house as a deterrent.

Well he didn't calm down properly for 40 minutes. It was clear what he wanted and as I said before I was unable to offer him those. But it was time to pick the boss up from work and as we got in the car i think he realised that and began to relax a little. As soon as Mrs M saw him she went into stress mode but gave him what he was after and he was a different boy. Some swelling went down soon after and the little stunt man was back to his almost usual self. Just goes to show there's nothing better than momma's produce. I guess i need to get used to these trips and falls, i can't stop them all and i think i need to come up with some new distraction tactics, either that or grow a pair of breasts!!

Thursday 25 April 2013

"Ribbit, ribbit, a tadpole exhibit It's a transformation no one can inhibit"

A few days back I read a post over at snowingindoors about a visitor they had in the garden. It was some form of bug that they had never seen before and was unsure what it was so put it down to them discovering a new species, amazing I thought but why do we never get anything interesting in our garden? Well today I was proven wrong. After dropping the troops off at their destinations and pulling up outside the house. Opeie said 'baby rabbit', this is now part of Opeie's daily routine, we get home and go straight up to see the rabbits. We stopped at the kitchen first to get the veg peelings from last night and then we headed up to find a new friend had moved in.

Opeie got to have a stroke of all the babies and was running about excited. We hopped from run to run letting them out of their hutches when I spotted a pair of eyes popping out of the water in a bucket that was in one of the runs. The bucket was black and the water was a little boggy so i couldnt see what it was so i put my hand in to fish it out (yes i am either brave or stupid). Opeie's initial response was 'ewwww.....yucky' but as he walked away quickly he obviously thought about it again and turned around saying 'frog' and then decided to come and investigate.

We decided to call him 'Gerald' after Opeie's new favourite book, fingers crossed he's still there tomorrow morning.

"He didn't talk words - he went Boing Boing! instead!"

I've said it so many times in posts but Opeie is a bookaholic, he goes through books like they are going out of fashion and can quite happily sit in the nook of my armpit and have 10-15 books read to him one after another. Although he does watch TV occasionally he would definitely choose books every time if given the option. His most recent favourite book is Gerald McBoing Boing by Dr. Seuss.

The book is an adaptation of a short movie made back in the 50's which I also managed to track down and he loves too. The story is about young Gerald McCloy who when learning to talk at the age of 2 doesn't speak words he goes "Boing, Boing" instead and his crazy noises develop over time. It is a great story and something a little different, although the father in the story would definitely benefit from going on one of those government run parenting courses.

The rhyming is amazingly written which you expect from the good Dr. and although Opeie can't read the book himself the still manages to finish off the lines as I'm reading because we have read it so many times. He's always quick to jump in with the "Boing Boing instead" before i get to say it. I hope his love of books continues as its building good structure for his reading as he develops.

Here's the short movie if your interested in having a look...

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Super baby Vs the deactivated rockets

As much as I love cleaning the house and doing the washing, after dropping the boss off at work and Seth off at school I had a good think about what me and mini me could do for an hour or two to keep us out of the house (and out of trouble). I wanted to do something inexpensive as we're saving at the moment so after weighing up our options I asked Opeie if he fancied having a look at some planes, he excitedly said 'yes'.

Cosford RAF museum isn't far from where we live and all you have to pay is parking. I've been before and although it really isn't my cup of tea I thought it might be something a little different and something Opeie might enjoy. To start with though Opeie had other ideas and on the drive there he decided to get some shut eye. It worked out well though because by the time we arrived it wasn't open for another 40 minutes.

He woke up soon after opening and we headed in, I wasn't sure how he would react to seeing the big planes but he seemed excited at the thought and as soon as we walked through the doors he was hooked. The first thing he spotted was a cardboard cut out that he said was "silly". Just past there were the doors to the outside, He loved the large planes that were out there.

After looking at the planes out side we headed to the cold war exhibition and nothing could have prepared me for the level of excitement that was brewing. Opeie at the moment loves rockets, if its a similar shape to a rocket, then its a rocket, if hes running fast hes a rocket, when hes shouting out 'super baby' with his arms out, he's a rocket. I really cant remember why it all started but rockets are definitely flavour of the month. So when we walked in to a room full of missiles Opeie was in his element and wasn't afraid to make it vocal.

This little rocket is apparently called 'baby rocket'

We walked around for quite some time and the little rocket enthusiast was really taking it all in. Opeie was in one of his clingy moods but selfishly from a smitten dads point of view i like days like this. Lots of kisses and hugs for me (I'm so greedy) and a boy that doesn't want to let go of me, whats not to like?

Opeie was really having a great day and it was putting a huge smile on my face.

After going round this exhibit twice (i think Opeie was worried he may have missed something), we headed over to the next hangar. When we stepped outside the weather was beautiful and made the afternoon so much nicer. I'm really glad the weather is finally starting to perk up it makes me want to get out more and be doing things.

There was plenty more planes to look at in this hangar but Opeie had clearly got a taste for rockets and wanted to turn around and head back to look at them. I love that he has got to that age where he is in to everything. It makes days out so much more fun and its great how now he can really get involved with me and Seth when were playing, this though is probably making Mrs M's craving for a little girl harder as her little baby is becoming one of the lads.

Coming somewhere like this when i was younger wouldn't have been my idea of fun and as i said at the start of the post it isn't usually my cup of tea but having my excitable little boy with me made all the difference. We were only there for 2 hours but i had a great time and its left Opeie with an even stronger need for rockets

Monday 22 April 2013

Ho! Ho! Ho.....ld on a minute that's a Gnome not Santa.

When i was younger there seemed to be Gnomes everywhere, people would proudly show them off on their front gardens and although some of them were a touch creepy they always gave the garden character. I'm not sure if not seeing them about much is because they are not seen as 'cool' anymore or more likely a sign of how our world is these days. People seem to pinch or break anything if you leave it out.

Despite the lack of them on gardens we can be sure that recently they are making a comeback in our local Asda, giant ones. Opeie loves them and always says "Ho! Ho! Ho!" as he thinks they are Santa.
 While we were in there a few days back Mrs M noticed a paint your own Gnome and she picked one up for me and the boys to paint while she was at work. The boys were really excited about getting stuck in. It seems that painting a Gnome is far more entertaining than the rocks we had painted a few days back. But luckily because of our previous craft session we had all the acrylic paints that we needed.

I usually find when painting things with the boys the finished item ends up an all over greeny brown colour as Opeie seems to dislike washing the brush off between colours. This time though the boys took their time and did their best not to go over the parts they had already painted. It kept us occupied for an hour which was great because the boys lose interest in things not long after that (unless it's Lego of course). When Mrs M came home from work she was greeted by our new friend proudly flaunting his amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I'm not sure how well he will hold up in the garden through British weather conditions but either way Mrs M was very impressed. I'm determined now to buy a few more and let the Gnomes make a comeback in our garden.

Saturday 20 April 2013

A fitting quote for me and Mrs M.

The Dr. Sums me and Mrs M up perfectly!

"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine."

 I am feeling far to tired to be sitting at the computer this evening so tonight's post will be photo's from our day (i say that but Mrs M has just put some rubbish on the TV so i may end up on here all night), Enjoy.

Opeie launched a banana at a sheep and he wolfed it down, oops!!