Saturday 31 August 2013

"The fingers must be educated, the thumb is born knowing."

The boys are always being given nice things by family members and friends, it's lovely to know that people are thinking about them when they are out and about and spot things they might like. Our friend Michelle had found a very cute gift that made her think of the boys and when Chris came down to see us on Monday he brought it with him. I'm a little disappointed with myself for not thinking of this simple yet very fun idea myself.

The set is a thumb print card making kit and yesterday afternoon we decided to have a craft session and give them a try. It was a great set for all of us and opeie loved getting his fingers dirty and making a mess.

Seth really got into the card making which was great as it gave us something nice to sit down and do together. Innevitably as with all craft activities Opeie lost interest after about 20 minutes but I'm sure as he gets older he will get in to designing things a little more.

After making the most of the cards and the stickers provided we decided to freestyle our own cards and while Opeie's recent new hobby is to copy everything his big brother does, Seths is still to copy me (which i think is adorable). Its very cliche for me i know but i decided to use my thumb prints to make the Avengers...

In great Seth style though he out shone me all the way with his amazing drawings. I'll never get bored of seeing the little characters that he creates. An excellent mini craft session and a great way to spend an hour or so, thanks Michelle. xx

Thursday 29 August 2013

"Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!"

We had been looking forward to the August bank holiday for quite sometime, we didn't have anything huge planned but the fact that Mrs M was off for a three day weekend was reason enough to be excited. Sadly Friday came and due to unforeseen circumstances Mrs M ended up quite ill and basically sofa bound. Obviously she was well looked after with no shortage of foot rubs, i made sure her nails were painted and eyebrows were plucked as i know this is the best way to get her relaxed. (I know how to treat my girl like the princess she is).

We had arranged to see our friend Chris ( on bank holiday Monday and Seth had picked somewhere fun for us all to go, but Mrs M still wasn't feeling great and the thought of a long car journey really wasn't appealing, so we decided to venture somewhere a little more local. Unfortunately after driving most of the way there we had to turn round and find a different route due to a serious road accident.

Some bad navigating from the back seat and a couple of bad turns and our journey ended up a two hour stretch, not what Mrs M had hoped for being wedged between two car seats. Chris kept us occupied though with a barrage of terrible jokes that I can only describe as awful 'dad humour' (god help any children he may have in the future).

After our epic journey we finally arrived at our destination, desperate to get out and stretch our legs. The temperature had risen substantially since the morning so I was a sweaty mess. Seth was desperate to show Chris the dry sledging and Chris proved to us once more that he's as big a kid as all of us. The new gym mat/sledge has certainly been getting some use since being given to us by our friend Gareth (he's yet to come and join In the fun though). We all had a great time apart from a few near misses with the gravel at the bottom of the hill.

After a good few rides of the valley we headed back to the car to get the boys wellies on and go splashing. I don't know what it is about splashing in streams but Seth loves it.

Spending time with Chris is always a lot of fun and the boys love him to bits. Being a photographer he comes with the added bonus of taking great photos of the four of us together. Although we're always out together visiting nice places, one of us is always behind the camera so we actually don't have that many of us all together.

It was soon moving towards tea time and I think tummies were beginning to rumble so we decided to head home. It was a great afternoon, topped off with some yummy food, cups of tea and a few games of countdown on the boys blackboard courtesy of Seth Vorderman. All in all a great bank holiday Monday was had by all. Thanks Chris, for the photographs, TERRIBLE jokes and of course the great company.

Monday 26 August 2013

Saturday 24 August 2013

"Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!"

It takes a very creative person to see something interesting in nothing. Yesterday while Opeie was playing with his toys on the floor in the lounge he suddenly got very excited and began to repeat the word 'Christmas'. Not having a clue what he was going on about and thinking it was part of some game he was playing i briefly left him to it. The 'Christmas's' got louder and it was soon clear that i needed to get on the floor and see what had got my boy so excited.

Opeie was pointing under the dining table, 'Christmas, Christmas', but there was nothing under the table? could he mean the legs look like candy canes? did the nuts and bolts under the chairs remind him of sparkly Christmas lights? I had no idea and felt really guilty as Opeie was adamant that 'Christmas' was underneath our dining room table. "Am i going mad? what am i missing?".

Its situations like this that make me realise how differently we view things than our children. Out of pure frustration of daddy clearly being so slow Opeie crawled under the table and pointed at exactly what he was trying to get across. On the wall under the table there was a piece of plaster missing off the wall and what did it look like? what was it that daddy and his lack of imagination couldn't see without being told by his creative two year old boy? Clear as day there was father Christmas staring back at us. A simple thing of insignificance, A Defect and Opeie made it beautiful. Children are amazing and I'm so jealous of his innocence, i don't ever want him to grow up.

Ho Ho Ho!

"Knox in box. Fox in socks. Knox on fox in socks in box"

Do you remember the time when things were this simple?

Being able to chose whatever vehicle you wished to travel in and jetting off to whatever secluded and glamorous location you liked, not even been confined to this planet. Long distance travel wasn't an issue because you could go in to hyper speed or even teleport if you wanted to. There was no need to moan about the price of fuel going up because your transport ran off Orange squash, or Lego and as you can see from the photo above accessorising your outfit to go with your ride was a breeze (its like a cardboard fast and the furious).

Its amazing how much entertainment the boys can get out of cardboard. We've been attempting to de-clutter again so have been listing our unwanted items on eBay and filling up our local charity shops. Mrs M kindly brought home some boxes for packaging up but as i expected most of them didn't make it that far because big boxes in our house are like gold dust and on sight the boys are all over them.

The boys spent most of the afternoon playing in their new cardboard creations, one minute they were in rockets, then a motorbike with a side car. With the help of a coat hanger being attached to the front Seth's became a racing car and right before we left to pick Mrs M up from work they were on a boat that had hit an iceberg and they were desperately trying to rescue all of their toys from the dangerous currents of a violent sea. I couldn't help but think 'i wish we had a boat big enough for me.'

As the boxes had become flavour of the day and the sun was out we asked the boys if they wanted to take their new custom vehicles outdoor racing down some hills, I'm quite sure you can guess what their response was...

It was a lovely evening so we took a slow drive down to somewhere hilly to make the most of the cardboard super cars. On the way Seth reminded us of a snowman hedge that he had spotted the last time we had passed through so Mrs M jumped out to take a picture.

Sadly on arrival the boxes barely even got a look in as Mrs M's PT Gareth donated a very slippy Gym mat to the cause and it soon became the favoured hill sliding companion. As soon as the boys got on it the boxes were a thing of the past. It was early evening when we headed out so it was quiet and we made the most of our dry slope sledging activity. Even Mrs M got in on the action.


We left our sledging escapades in high spirits and were all having a great chuckle on the way home so just before getting back to ours i drove to somewhere that had made me laugh the day before. A house we had driven past a few times had given their already tacky lions at the end of their path a touch up. Orange and Red? really? i honestly don't know what possessed them but Mrs M found it equally as funny.

It was another great mini adventure for me and the troops and ive really enjoyed the making the most of our time after Mrs M being at work. Its been a great de-stresser for her too. I feel so lucky to have a great family and with next week being the last full week that Seth has off for the holiday we have a lot of cramming of fun stuff to do.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Writing from the drivers seat - killing time with a sleepy child in the backseat

It's been a while since writing one of my life from the drivers seat posts, Opeie hasn't done much napping in the car recently and with Seth being off school we couldn't really be sitting around for hours anyhow, it wouldn't be fair on him. Today though after dropping Mrs M off at work, the plan was to pop over to nanny and grandads so they could see the boys. Opeie was exhausted and soon dropped off so when we got there Seth went in to entertain the excited grandparents and auntie Lotty, and me? well I have this quiet half an hour to blog away.

I cant believe that there's only a week or so of the summer holiday left, i don't know where the time has gone. Seth has Informed me that he doesn't feel ready to go back to school yet and also that he would prefer it if he had the weekdays off and the weekends for school. I'm not sure the government and education board would go for that but you never know it may be worth putting in writing. 

The school years go by so much quicker as a parent than I remember them going as a child. I don't remember all that much of infant and junior school, i have really hazy memory around that time apart from dressing up like a tea pot, Morris dancing in the playground, and marrying my girlfriend from age 8-11 in front of the school for our leavers assembly while parents sobbed. (it was a bizarre way to leave school at 11), that pretty much sums up my school life ages 5-11. It's no secret that I hated secondary school, I did the work but I never felt comfortable apart from when I was in my art class, it wasn't a great time for me. That being said I did have some fun friends and time outside of school was always filled with adventure.

It would be amazing being a child again and I always say how i'd love to see things through the boys eyes for just one day. I don't envy them having to go through school though and as a parent that has been through a crappy time at school i do worry that they will have a rough time too. If our situation had been different we would be home schooling the boys but sadly that's not an option.

It will be interesting to see how the boys turn out, they are having a great start and are kind well rounded children with parents that will back them up with anything they decide to do so i think they will be just fine.

"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb."

If someone had have told me four years ago that in four years time you will be signing up to be a member of the national trust I'd have laughed in their face. I was a party boy through and through and I would never have been found traipsing around a stately home or castle ruins. Just goes to show how much my life has changed and as we sat in a valley coffee shop filling out our application i had a little chuckle to myself.

These days I've traded in the alcohol, late night partying and waking up and not knowing where I am for quality time with the three people I love the most. We asked Seth what he wanted to do yesterday and he told us he wanted to splash around in a stream with his wellies on so I packed the car and we headed on our way. Thankfully the weather was great, warm and with a sun that was shining bright. As soon as we had reached our destination, used the facilities and filled out our application it was wellie time and as soon as Opeie had got his famous and very glamorous pink sparkly Peppa Pig wellies on we were being pulled over to the nearest hole with water in it.

I'm not a huge fan of stomping through streams and turning over rocks but if it makes the boys smile then I'm happy to pop my wellies on and get wet. The stream was pretty shallow compared to our last visit, so Seth's plans at catching fish with his bare hands was soon shattered. Opeie soon got bored of looking down at clear water with nothing going on and dragged me to the foot of the valley where there was a rope climb and informed me he wanted to go up. Excellent i thought, my boy is going to be a climber, that's exactly how I was when I was young, always climbing trees and tall hills. It worked out quite well as while me and Opeie went climbing Mrs M and Seth continued their nature hunt.

It was a steep walk but surprisingly apart from steadying himself on my shorts for balance a couple of times he managed the hike by himself. A huge change from the boy a year ago who could only roll to get about. He was more interested in saying "Be careful daddy" every ten steps (i guess he knows first hand how accident prone i am). When we reached the top Opeie let out a loud 'yeah we did it daddy', looking very proud of himself.

Opeie spotted Seth and Mrs M from way up high and gave them a shout which echoed through the valley. They looked up and waved so we took a photo, not a great one but that's them smack bang in the middle of the picture.

After Seth had finished splashing around and me and Opeie had made our way down we went for a gentle stroll as Seth's legs were starting to hurt. Me and Mrs M being the grown ups that we are took it in turns to sprint up the steep hills while being timed to see who won (I'll let you decide for yourselves who you think was fastest). 
It was so nice being out in the middle of nowhere for the afternoon and spending quality time together. Although Seth Struggles to walk to far,pottering about was lots of fun. The only sad part of the day was the amount of dead bees that we saw. We're always reviving bee's at home with honey and our trip out as made us realise that we need a utility belt with a honey dispenser on it. We did spot one interesting bug though that was happily strolling about.

Well i guess being part of the National Trust now we better take advantage of all the beautiful places in the UK. We will definitely making the most of it over the next year and have already spotted some interesting looking places so stay tuned of the coming weeks. 

Monday 19 August 2013

Thoughtful acts and Opeie's drawings at 2

Little thoughtful acts are so important, they make day to life life so much happier. Yesterday i needed to pop out for an eye test and when i returned Opeie was standing at the front door to meet me clutching a beautiful card he had made me with mommy. I love receiving things like this out of the blue it really makes my day. These thoughtful acts no matter how trivial some may seem make everything seem just that little more smiley.

Opeie seemed very proud of his creation and rightly so. His little scribble drawings always put a huge grin on my face and the fact that he tells you what each one is is just adorable. Another great addition to my ever expanding memory box, thanks Opeie.

Saturday 17 August 2013

"The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten."

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Great film and Wise words! Although I've always known this, the past three years have been a shock to the system at just how true the words are. When you have children everything seems to go in to hyper speed so as a doting parent you need to be taking in every moment and grasping them with both hands. Earlier today Mrs M was looking through some old pictures and inevitably Opeie's baby photos cropped up. It had been a while since we had looked through them and I sat down next to Mrs M and was hooked.

It probably sounds bad and it may be just me but its easy to forget exactly what your children were like in the first weeks, of course I've got an image in my head (how I remember him), for me it was one of the first days I held him on my chest and I couldn't take my eyes off him, I was completely in awe of the little person we had created, but when I looked back on the old pictures and videos I realised just how much I had forgotten. He was beautiful, that has never changed but seeing him so vulnerable and new, made me instantly well up.

Looking through the old photos and videos is always amazing but it isn't great for Mrs M's broodiness which over the last few weeks has been getting considerably worse. Mine thankfully had gone into hibernation, that was of course until we clicked on that folder to be greeted by these baby pictures. I would love another child, maybe a little girl and I know Mrs M feels the same. It's such a shame though that we have such complicated pregnancies. That's probably a blessing though as I could see us with 7 or 8 if situations had been different. Mrs M's ultimate argument being 'what if things were different if it was a girl?" What if? When it comes to the 'wanting more babies saga' there's lots of what if's. sorry, as always I've gone off on a tangent a little.

Seeing the photos made me realise just how independent Opeie is these days, he just used to lay there care free kicking his legs and making funny noises. Everything was a lot more delicate, I was petrified I was going to break him some how so was wary of every little thing I did, a big change from the picking him up and throwing him about play fighting that we do these days. I had no idea what I was doing so in some ways would be looking over to Mrs M for some sort of approval that I wasn't making a huge mess of simple tasks, it soon didn't take long though for it all to come naturally.

Mrs M has been saying for well over a year "i wish I could have him as a baby again just for one day", she says exactly the same about Seth. I thought she was a bit crazy but I'm now starting to understand why. As they get older children need you less and less. Although its amazing Opeie having this new 'i can do it' way about him I do miss helping him doing the little things. He is becoming a great little man though, happy, curious, always asking questions and most importantly beautiful inside and out, when he wakes up in the morning the smile on my face is uncontrollable. I realise every day that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be, and I'm happy.

Sunday 11 August 2013

"The fruit derived from labour is the sweetest of pleasures"

Never before have i fallen in love with a piece of machinery, I'm not the sort of person thats ever bothered about 'stuff' and the things that we own. I don't tend to get attached to items like people do to their phones or computers but i would be gutted if anything happened to our new juicer. As we had been using our old one so much we thought it would be a good idea to invest in an industrial one as i don't think we were fully getting the benefits out of our centrifugal juicer.

Its a lot bulkier and doesn't really fit in with the kitchen aesthetics but since having it we've realise we had been slumming it with our old juicer as this beast can take on anything you shove down its chute. The boys are getting in to fruit and vegetable juice more now too which is great for their five a day not to mention all the health benefits that come with it. Seth likes to play a game where I make a fruit juice and sneak a vegetable or two in there for him to guess. Who'd have thought vegetables could be so fun.

There's even attachments for using it to make pasta, pretzels and bread sticks but most importantly for Mrs M is that we've already used it to make ice cream. (although I can't eat it due to not being able to eat banana's, rubbish!). Our healthy lifestyle continues with the help of our new juicy friend.