Thursday 22 January 2015

"The brain is wider than the sky."

In keeping with our learning about the body activity a week or so ago we decided to try another activity which me and Opeie had fun with last week. I had explained all about the brain and Seth had helped to tell Opeie about its uses and the way it controls our movement etc. To start the fun we needed to draw the brain. I drew the outline and Opeie had fun drawing all the 'wriggly worms' on.

We then talked about what things Opeie thinks about day to day. I'm always wondering whats going on in his little head. He has such a fun life and it would be really interesting to know how he interprets what goes on.

I started the fun off with a great quote from Opeie he'd said about 20 minutes before... 'i think gherkin sounds like a nice word but i don't like the taste of it', (i guess they are an acquired taste).

I love when Opeie and Seth draw pictures of us and when asked what he thinks about the most he said "Mommy and daddy" and got straight to drawing a lovely portrait of us both which i adored.

There was no surprise at all that LEGO was also in the top things that are thought about throughout the day. I'll admit i has hoping for him to completely blow my mind with something really obscure, but what he actually did was tell me how important me and Mrs M are, how much he loves his big brother and how much of an impact Polly has made on his daily routine.

an entertaining short activity with the always adorable little version of me

Saturday 17 January 2015

"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."

This week has been the first chance we've had to venture outside of the car around the new area we've moved to. We've done a lot of driving in and out over the last few weeks but I really wanted to get a feel for the surrounding area.

A few days back I realised Opeie's library books were a few days overdue. As we are only about a mile away from the library me and Opeie packed a backpack, got the Microscooters out of the boot and went on a mission in search of new literature. It was a a lovely scoot down there and everyone was smiling at us scooting together which was really cute.

Yesterday we decided to go for a drive to Carding mill valley, our popular summer hang out. The sun was out but the wind was fierce and it was freezing and when we arrived and realised that between us we had failed to put a big coat in the car for Opeie we hopped back in the car to drive home. Despite the disappointment We were still in the rambling mood when we got home so after kitting Opeie out with the correct winter attire we walked away from the house with no plans on where we were going (just the sort of adventure I love).

It turns out that if you walk 5 minutes from our road in the direction we hadn't been before there are miles after miles of farm land and a 6 - 8 mile woodland walk, it really is quite beautiful and i love having that on our doorstep.

It was cold and wet but the country walk was keeping us in great spirits. It was like being in a completely different part of Shropshire. Originally I'm a Birmingham lad but this is my home and the place I've always felt most comfortable.

Opeie is a huge fan of that classic toy 'the stick' and no adventure goes by without a new stick joining him along the way (well how else is he going to fend off trolls and hold back brambles?).

There was no shortage of animals along the way and Mrs M and Opeie fell in love with an adorable donkey we passed called Penn. Despite the weather (my hands were freezing), it was the perfect afternoon stroll and it is great to be a little more familiar with the surrounding area.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

"I'd rather be the king of kids, than the prince of fools."

As a family we can spend weeks, months even, planning and building a huge well thought out LEGO build. Which as you are probably fully aware, i absolutely adore as it is quality family time with the boys. I love sitting with them both, hearing all their ideas and then working together to come up with ways to make those ideas possible, it's one of my favourite things to do with them. Sometimes though we don't have an extended amount of time to do this, sometimes the boys need something building there and then and our building becomes a little more spontanious.

The release of the series 13 minifigures has got many LEGO geeks like myself excited, for me this has been the best series in terms of characters and has been great for our ever expanding collection of parts. It happens a lot with us that a single minifigure will spur on a larger build (remember Deadpool?, Wyldstyle? even The Joker got built an entire ice cream factory). This time round though two characters from series 13 gave us all the inspiration we needed.

When we saw the pictures of the series months back i was pining after the Hotdog guy, hes going to come in very handy. For Seth though it was all about the king and after seeing him built i can see why Seth started building a castle straight away. Months back our friend Steve had given us a big bag of castle pieces and Seth had been looking for a reason to get using them. The king minifigure sorted that out.

It wasn't long before Seth had built a castle for the big beard donning king and in what seemed like no time at all an army was being built, a mass of knights and soldiers ready to defend the throne.

Ready to move forward on their enemies, they instantly hit a rather important hurdle...

... they had absolutely no one to fight, which is right about where i got summoned upstairs to their room. In great Seth and Opeie style i was given minimal time to come up with some sort of army for king whats his name to fight and inevitably conquer in the process. I quickly looked about and spotted that Ming the Merciless looking chap from series 13 and decided on a baddie army with a magical element. I love building like this sometimes as i have no idea where to start so i just start literally piling up bricks on a base plate.

I wasn't liking it at first but the more small bricks i added the better it looked. lots of small grey pieces to make an uneven rocky surface and i even managed to use the large skull face piece that i bought years ago for 50p that had been sitting in our grey box (i still have no idea what kit it is off). Spikes on the doors and plenty of fire and it was pretty much everything the boys wanted from a bad guys castle. The female minifigures get a rough deal in our house, unless its Mrs M's minifigure the boys are usually playing with male characters (i am unsure why? could make an interesting future post thought). I made sure i used some as the main part of my army and built witches casting spells around a crystal ball.

Surprisingly since being rushed to complete the castle, we've not actually had the battle yet as the boys keep adding to the castles with new ideas and accessories but i am sure if the weather keeps up like it has there will be plenty of medieval LEGO brawling this weekend... 

...someone has got to save that poor princess locked away in the tower after all.

Thursday 8 January 2015

"I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat."

After an exhausting day yesterday, both me and Mrs M fell asleep around 8 putting Opeie down to bed. Falling asleep this early never works out well for me and after waking up at 12:30 to turn all the lights off downstairs etc i woke up again at 3:30 after a bad dream and that was me up for the morning. As i lay on the sofa on my laptop i realised what i was doing and started to chuckle. Since becoming a cat owner i have become that guy that sits and watches cute cat videos (much to my surprise).

Polly has become a massive part of our lives and i couldn't imagine not having her in the house now, even though Shes very independent and doesn't like being picked up at all. Shes not the sort of cat that sits on our laps at night and goes to sleep, affection is all on her terms (a little like Mrs M haha), but when she wants some fuss she will come looking for it.

She has no interest in running about outside and even if we leave the back door open she'll step outside for a sniff and then run back in to the warm. Despite not going out she has still made some new friends who visit her regularly through the glass. There's one sitting at the glass as i type this.

Polly has taken it upon herself to be our protector, she will sit on the arm of the sofa with us of an evening and while Opeie is napping she will usually be found close by watching over him. Having Polly about has been great for Opeie, especially as Seth isn't with us all of the time, They have become the best of friends and despite my negative attitude at the start of our cat owning adventure i have come to adore the beautiful yet grumpy little lass.

Now back to my cat videos...

Tuesday 6 January 2015

"Christmas is, of course, the time to be home - in heart as well as body."

Since taking Opeie out of nursery last year , he has refered to our afternoons together while Mrs M is at work and Seth is at school as 'Daddy nursery', which i love. Ive noticed over the last few months though when Opeie has mentioned the term, Seth has looked a little down, almost like he feels he is missing out on some of the fun that we have. A few days back i could hear the boys in their room and Seth was asking Opeie what we do at Daddy nursery. After Opeie excitedly listed off some of the activities we have done recently, Seth came downstairs and asked "can we do a Daddy nursery activity today please?".

Well i wasn't going to say no was I!! Plus the weather wasn't great and doing things at home during the Christmas break is great. There was a fun activity i have wanted to do for some time but just hadn't got round to it, probably because i couldn't find our big roll of paper. Moving house though had unearthed all manner of fun things we had previously misplaced. We started our activity with Opeie lying down on the paper so that we could draw round him...

I thought it would be interesting to get the boys to draw internal body parts. I wanted to see what shape they thought the parts were and the size using Opeie's body outline. Most importantly though i wanted to see where they thought these body parts were located and what they thought their purpose was. I knew that Seth knew this but i was using it as a 'Seth teaches Opeie' activity without him realising as Opeie really takes in everything his big brother tells him.

Seth was very much 'this is what it looks like and this is what it does!' obviously the things he has been learning at school have stuck. As expected his drawings were excellent and it was interesting to learn from Seth. He thought we had one very large lung for the "good stuff we breath in" and a small lung for the "bad stuff we breath out". Also the large and small intestine are virtually the same size. He had no idea what shape the kidneys were but based his drawing around kidney beans which was awesome. Seth also showed an interest in drawing testicles??, which looked like grapes on a thin string, not bad i thought.

Opeie, having very little knowledge of internal body parts was a little more creative with his drawings and descriptions. The stomach (i was informed) has eyes and a mouth, it smiles when it eats nice things like Broccoli and Chocolate but it has a sad face when it eats meat (I'm sure that will make Mrs M smile when she reads this). I also found out that we in fact have three lungs that are all stuck together, kidneys look like donuts and both intestines look like spears. It was cute to see that the heart was 'heart shaped' to Opeie but Seth had drawn a more detailed version of our very important muscular organ.

There were other parts i wanted us to go through but the boys were eager to put their sketches on Opeie's drawn outline out in the hall. We placed the brains on first and when Opeie put his just above where the stomach should be i knew it was going to be interesting.

The human stomach is usually located in the head! or so Opeie says. Seems a long way down for evacuation after your food has been processed in the torso area and sent back up. This may have been placed here though because of the smiley face (it did look cute).

Polly as always came to get involved and was happy plonking herself down in the middle of what we were doing (i wonder if we could do a similar activity with a cat shape?). Intestines in the legs and kidneys in the hips and wrists, it was turning out to be a very fun activity. They both knew exactly where the testicles were located (no surprise there though, remember the planetarium post?).

The activity is a two parter, the next part being me drawing the correct shape/size of the parts and showing where they are located. Seth did an excellent job of explaining to Opeie the purpose of each part drawn, all except the kidneys as he wasn't sure.

Seth wants us to draw around him next so I'm thinking we do a similar activity to talk about bones as Opeie is always talking about skeletons and skulls. Our afternoon of learning gave me a great idea for Opeie's home teaching and something that Seth can be involved with regularly too. A fun afternoon was had by all at Daddy Nursery and clearly Seth loved being a part of it and of course we loved him being there.

Monday 5 January 2015

"A fox is a wolf who sends flowers."

 I uploaded the photos to this post about a month ago and its crazy to think how many other fox photos we have taken since then. I cant believe what started as an occasional fox spotting almost 2 years ago has now turned in to this family game wherever we go. I can only hope this goes on in to the boys teens as it really has been a lot of fun. My favourite was the fox sticker we spotted on the back of a lamp post in Covent garden and a book about pooh that we spotted in the Tate the same day (including, yes you guessed it! Fox pooh).


I thought id finish the post with the ultimate fox, i randomly typed in LEGO fox in to eBay and this Chima fox popped up, how did i let this minifigure slip my attention!! Anyway until next time, happy hunting.