Tuesday 29 July 2014

"Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you"

Week three of our 52 week LEGO Minifigure project and this weekend was spent at the beach. Sadly Seth wasn't with us but two of our great friends were and it was so much fun. The sun was out, we all got wet splashing in the sea and there was smiles all day it was the perfect summer day.

Opeie's excited words while splashing in the sea summed up our beach afternoon "most fun EVER!"

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Monday 28 July 2014

"Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community."

Seth is a huge fan of life simulation Games, if you can create your own community, stories  and alternative life then he's all over it. In the past though I've found that he loses interest gradually, that was until we received Nintendo TomoDacHi life for the 3ds. I'll be honest this isn't really my sort of game usually but I found watching Seth play this was really entertaining. It's been a while since I've seen Seth get this excited by a game but the fact that you can really use your imagination on this is definitely the reason why it's so popular here.

The boys love creating Mii Chatacters and with TomoDacHi Life you are encouraged to build character after character and then welcome each one in to the interactive world you have created to form friendships and sometimes romance, The more people you create at the start the more attractions you unlock. Seth has come up with some fun characters and thinks it's great that you can also pick different voices for the people you add to the game. Once you have created your character you also design their living quarters. I'm not sure if as a parent I should be worried but ALL of Seths characters live in jail cells, hmmmm....

We've only been playing this for three weeks and Seth has unlocked many new shops and attractions for his world, I get the feeling though that we have only touched the surface and game play has many more exciting features to uncover. The game makes you chuckle from time to time also with the crazy things that pop up during conversations.

There is so much to do while you are playing and the game play is really addictive, id actually like it for myself too, i was a little gutted that you can only have one game saved unlike many other Nintendo 3DS games but then this is a continually growing game so storage would be an issue. During play you can hand out songs you can become a musician with a variety of different musical genres...

Seth had an issue with the game when he first started playing, when in a very serious voice he told me about his concerns that when feeding your characters there were no healthy options. As the game goes on though more options become available. This only sparked more concern though when Seth realised that most of his characters didn't like spinach! they would'nt last 5 minutes in our partially vegan household.

With so much to do this is the sort of game that can keep you occupied for a huge amount of time. Every part of the game is personalised by yourself and you can be as creative as you like. If i had the game for myself i think i would just have Mii characters for every person i come into contact with, friends family the postman, it would be so much fun. on top of a community to build, places to shop, relationships to form there are lots of minigames to play and ways to earn money to keep your characters fed and entertained. I think this game is going to be around for a long time and i hope its the sort of game that comes with regular fun updates.

Ill write about the game again in a months time to see Seth progress as he seems to pick it up whenever he has a spare minute, on car journeys or sometimes if he wakes up early and cant get back to sleep. The 3ds consoles are amazing and i would be lost without mine now.

Well its time for the boys to have a bath now...

...and then maybe a little more family game time.

so until next time, happy gaming. 

Thursday 24 July 2014

"If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail."

I love living in Shropshire, there are so many beautiful places to walk around and spend our time. Yesterday I had a text from our friend saying she had found an amazing place to spend the morning adventuring with the children and she really wanted to show us. So being the inquisitive chap that I am I said how about this morning. I packed us a spot of lunch and typed the postcode in to my phone (which I would be lost without) and we started our journey to what our friend Emma described as a hidden magical wonderland.

'You have reached your destination' said my phone. Despite driving down this road many times I'd never noticed the place and this time was no different, I drove past it and continued for half a mile up the road before turning around to try again. I finally spotted the sign and as we drove down a drive of  interestingly pruned trees we were greeted by a friendly looking scarecrow... With a dog face...

Emma turned up soon after with Opeie's friends Wilberforce and Waldon and after a brief chat with Ralph a really nice chap that lives on the grounds our morning along this well hidden nature trail began. Well Emma was right, the place was amazing, in fact it kind of blew my mind as I really wasn't expecting it. The trail was like something from a children's book, caves, woodcarvings, archways, hidden huts, a stream running through and plenty to look at a long the relaxing walk.

We love hanging out with Emma and the boys and It's adorable watching Opeie and Wilberforce chatting away and playing. The boys waved sticks around and searched for interesting things to look at, occasionally we heard 'I want that stick' despite there being piles of sticks all over the place... kids!!! Its so important to get out and about taking in nature. Although we all love our gadgets there's nothing quite like being out in the fresh air investigating and spending time with people we like being around, having Opeie and being a stay at home dad has given us the chance to meet some really amazing people (you know who you are).

It was the perfect length walk for young children with more than enough to keep their imaginations running wild. Had it have not been for two very tired boys i could have happily stayed there all afternoon. I wonder what else is hiding in Shropshire??

Wednesday 23 July 2014

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."

I'm  not really sure why but sometimes I write posts (or start to write posts) and they never get published. This evening I clicked on my drafts folder and found 50 posts in there. I started clicking on each one, some were jibberish, some were clearly during a bad day, some where heartbreaking but some were just lost, never finding their way to the publish button. So this evening I thought I would post one from around this time 2 years ago, enjoy...

Although it's a very British way to be I try not to moan too much about the bad weather in this country. I like to think that as a family we are creative enough to make the most of any weather, braving all of the elements in search of adventure. That being said though I love how much easier everything becomes during continuous bouts of great weather. I don't crave days that are baking hot, in fact, they make me feel irritable. I'm more content with just being able to open up the back door at 7am and leave it open while I'm making breakfast. 

This was going to be a post about the things I love doing during the summer months but as I made a folder of images to use I realised that all the things I love could quite easily be done during the winter months, it just takes a little more effort to motivate myself.

The sunshine does put me in a great mood and I always find that generally people seem to be a little more friendly when the sun is out. The big exciting part of the summer for me is Seth not being at school. A woman in the supermarket today said "6 weeks is too long" (she was complaining about her child though) but honestly I don't think it's nearly enough time. The summer is all about fun but that doesn't mean you can't throw daily fun learning in there too. That muddy winter back garden with leafless dead looking trees that you have put up with for months becomes a dry warm and colourful platform for learning like no other, crawling around on your hands and knees looking for new friends in the bushes.

I love wrapping up and going to the beach out of season but warm days and sunshine means lighter clothes and not being restricted by coats and hats. you can run up and down the beach and splash in the sea care free.

Getting out on our Micro scooters has been a huge thing this summer, it's given the boys that extra independence and has been fantastic for Seth's mobility issues as he seems to find scooting effortless.

We love going out walking no matter what this British weather is throwing at us, in fact, its how me and Opeie spend a huge chunk of our weeks, fully embracing our surroundings, (throw in a picnic and there's really no comparison). These walks are so much nicer though when you can take off your shoes and splash those hot and tired feet in the stream, warm sunshine adds a much more relaxed feel to any day out.

One of my favourite things about summer, when I was younger was being able to take my indoor activities outside in the garden including simple good old fashion pen and paper. Suddenly you're not confined to the four walls of your room and every bush, tree and rock can become part of your creative adventure. You can let your imagination run wild, the summer weather for us really opens up our world to creativity.

Everywhere looks far more attractive when the sun is out and the summer gives you some great photo opportunities, flowers are in bloom, the sky is blue and everywhere is colourful and bright which is how I see my life and the beautiful family I have...

 In the hunt for summer pictures I found an old shot that made me well up (I always get mushy over old pictures of Opeie). It was taken almost three years ago and it made me think of just how happy we all were (and still are). The sunshine brings out the best in most people and it makes everything seem that little bit more fun. Summer will always be my favourite time of year, because...

...There's no holding us back from our adventures.