Wednesday 27 May 2015

"a picture speaks a thousand words"

Tuesday 26 May 2015

"Remaining childish is a tremendous state of innocence."

Warning the following post includes fully grown adults acting like children, in Ikea!!!

When we decided that i was going to be the stay at home parent the first 6 months were a little lonely. Yes i had my best friend permanently attached to me and watching him develop day by day continues to blow my mind but ill be honest, back then the conversation really wasn't that riveting. Some days i was just longing for adult conversation or pining after Mrs M to come home from work so i could feel human again. I know that probably sounds awful but that's just how it was sometimes. As we began to venture out of our comfortable little bubble where the only inhabitants were us i was wary about letting people in. I had been let down by many people in the past so my guard was definitely up.

going to toddler groups and usually being the only dad there was daunting at first and there were a few classes we attempted to go to where we were made to feel quite unwelcome. But we persisted and were rewarded with some pretty great people to hang out with. Over the last few years we have built a small army of great friends and i feel like the more trusting side of me has returned.

Ive talked about many of our friends on here but as i ran around Ikea last week acting like a big kid i realised that two of the people i hang out with a fair bit have had a bit of a bum deal on the blog so i thought id drag them into the limelight. Tabiitha and Dawn have been awesome, If you're a parent with children at school you will more than likely have a lot of parents that you say hi to every day and have no idea who they are or what they are like, well Dawn was one of mine. She was the first person i ever spoke to in the school playground and although we didn't speak properly again for two and a half years we said "Hi" every day.

We eventually started talking and became friends and Tabiitha joined the team, we had plenty to talk about with her being from Birmingham originally too, although she still pines after Brum and i couldn't wait to see the back of it. Since then our friendship has blossomed and i feel really lucky to have met the both of them. They were unexpectedly there for me and Mrs M when we really needed someone and it meant so much to us when they jumped to our aid. I know that this sort of post isnt usually the sort of thing i write about but as the blog is a diary for the boys to look back on i think it is really important for them to know who has had a big impact on us or has helped us out along this awesome parenting journey.

It's lovely to know i am at a point in my life where i am surrounded by great people. Opening myself up to new friendships has definitely made me a better person and this new found 'welcoming people into our life' has had a positive impact on Opeie. He still has his innocence and it'll be a long time until his views are jaded by not so friendly people but he needs to learn that friends are important and when you care about your friends you'll do anything for them.

Thursday 14 May 2015

"It won’t last. Brothers and sisters are natural enemies! Like Englishmen and Scots! Or Welshmen and Scots! Or Japanese and Scots! Or Scots and other Scots! Damn Scots! They ruined Scotland!"

Last weekend we got to hang out with our friends Sam and Jamie as they were down from London, it was an afternoon on chatting, eating and some daring scooter stunts out the front of the house from Jamie, a perfect afternoon. Not long before they were due to leave the boys asked Jamie what he wanted to do, to which he replied "LEGO!", it was like music to my ears. So we all headed upstairs to make good use of the short amount of time we had left. We got on to the subject of LEGO trains and showed Jamie our huge box of track and he said 'there's 25 minutes before we have to leave, shall we build a track?'. Neither me or the boys are going to turn down something like that so got building.

It didn't take us much time at all before we had pretty much every piece of track we own down and connected and Jamie was loving it. The track building and train driving went on for a little longer than expected as us boys got a little carried away (as we always do when LEGO is thrown in to the mix). Eventually though Sam and Jamie had to leave. What Jamie left us with though was a train building session that took us right through to bedtime only to be picked up again as soon as the boys woke up.

Its that time of the year again when a new series of LEGO Minifigures is released and I can be found in our local toy stores feeling up blind bags to complete our collections. I'll be honest I'm not really a fan of the Simpsons but i did love series 1 of the Minifigures and i was excited about getting my hands on the second installment. It was LEGO Simpsons series 2 that was fueling our rail themed build and me and the boys were really getting into what we were creating. We needed an interesting way to review the series and the rail build gave us the chance for some fun, colourful pictures.

Series 2 has a great cast, the series includes...
  1. Groundskeeper Willie
  2. Mrs. Krabappel
  3. Julius Hibbert
  4. Comic Book Guy
  5. Fallout Boy
  6. Professor Frink
  7. Waylon Smithers, Jr.
  8. Patty Bouvier
  9. Selma Bouvier
  10. Hans Moleman
  11. Martin Prince
  12. Homer (Sunday Best)
  13. Marge (Sunday Best)
  14. Bartman
  15. Lisa with Snowball II
  16. Maggie with Santa's Little Helper
 Some of series 1 crept in to our building as Opeie was getting far to excited about the bright colourful train with a curly slide on the side. I never thought i would be that interested in the LEGO rail sets but being able to make custom trains to go with different LEGO themes gives our playing so much diversity. Sadly as much as we would love them we don't own either The Simpsons House or Kwik-E-Mart so being able to knock something up like this for the new range is why i adore LEGO so much.

As i said our Simpsons train build continued the following morning when the boys woke up and later on that day we had to pop out for supplies after Mrs M drilled through a water pipe while putting up a mirror (a story for another time maybe). We were only missing one character from series two so while out we popped into our local Smyths for a spot of bag feeling. Thankfully it was a short visit and we found Comic Book Guy in the forth bag we checked, result! We got home and continued our LEGO build by transforming our batman station in to a Simpsons themed station. Aquaman's news stand soon became a comic book shop and the Riddler's pizza shop became Apu's rail side convenience store (LEGO is too awesome!).

 Opeie helped out finding a place for all of the characters and helped Seth build an extra cart with Dr Hibbert tending to and apparently very unwell Ralph on a stretcher. Patty and Selma became a couple of extreme sports rail surfers courtesy of Seth and before long everyone had their place in the build, everyone except Bartman and Fallout boy...

 Seth soon took care of that though by building them a rail side tree house as a base of operations, every super hero need a base.

 There really is no end to the fun you can have with LEGO and a simple "lets build a train track" from our friend Jamie, kick started a building activity that filled every spare minute of the weekend with those colourful bricks that we love so much. 

"You can not look at a sleeping cat and feel tense."

I am extremely content with my life and can honestly say that this is the best that things have ever been for me. No matter how good things are though i can guarantee that at some point EVERY single day Polly points out that hers is better....

...The end!

"Confidence comes from discipline and training."

With the new series of Ninja Warrior UK starting recently we have been catching up on Youtube while eating our tea. We're all big fans of people falling over and landing on their faces so the show has been an excellent source of meal time entertainment. Although people flying off things and shattering their ego's is great its also interesting to watch the extremely fit people tackle the crazy course with what sometimes seems like little effort. I doubt id even get past the first obstacle (I'd love to have a go though).

The boys have become miniature Ninja warriors, creating their own assault courses and setting each other tasks to complete, its very entertaining to watch. As Opeie's climbing class wasn't on today we ventured over to the town park as i had some shopping to do and i wanted to make sure he wasn't to bored. Whenever we go there we always stay on the play area suitable for his age group but as there was no one about today (no loud over excited older children) Opeie decided he wanted to put his Ninja training to the test.

 And when we got to the end Opeie excitedly hit the imaginary big red button. He hadn't had his fill of the course though and we had to go round it another few times. Its amazing how much stronger he has become over the last few months with the climbing, scooting and his new love of running wherever we go, hes turning into a proper little beefcake.

So we'll continue our training in hope that kids Ninja warrior becomes a thing Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii Ya!

Wednesday 13 May 2015

"The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas."

Last Christmas I wrote a post about a present I had received that really touched me. I met my friend Steve last year in Smyths while toy shopping and we got talking, LEGO of course. It turned out we were both huge LEGO enthusiasts and our friendship blossomed from there. I love that the boys are in to LEGO as much as i am but every now and again its great to talk shop with other nerds and Steve has been a fountain of brick information for me.

When I opened his Christmas gift to us, much to his disappointment (Steve's a mans man), it bought a tear to my eye as I'd never had anyone make a gift quite like it, it was one of a kind.

I loved the personal custom LEGO kit and it meant so much to me that when were contacted by And asked to review one of their canvas' I knew straight away that it had to be a LEGO print for the house and what better than a LEGO image of my beautiful family, created by a great friend. 

Moving into a brand new house in December left us with literally a blank canvas. Getting prints up and personalising the space where you spend most of your time is very exciting. I had never had a canvas printed before so I was blown away by the quality of the print that Wallcreate Sent back, especially as the original photo was taken from my phone. 

I was desperate to get the print up on the wall but I am yet to put it up still as I know exactly where it's going to go but I am awaiting the arrival of something else (none canvas related) to compliment it, so stay tuned for a future LEGO related post and you'll be sure to see this lovely print hanging proudly next to it.

Wallcreate have kindly included a 15% discount also (Code - giftsfromthepirates). So go and fill that empty space on your wall with something beautiful, we've all got one. This great canvas has got me looking at all the other spaces that need a little customising too and has given me lots of inspiration.

Friday 8 May 2015

"We all have a dinosaur deep within us just trying to get out."

 Mrs M had some work on in London and as always me and Opeie used it as the perfect chance to go adventuring. To Opeie, London means dinosaurs and new books (seems to have become a tradition everytime we go), so a trip to the museum of Natural History was definitely on the cards at some point over the weekend. We had mommy all to ourselves on the Saturday and we tried to make the most of it, especially as the sun was out (it was a little nippy though).

We attempted to go to the science museum on Saturday morning but as we had arrived later than expected the night before our visit didn't go to plan. After a few tired tears, Opeie perched himself on his favourite spot and fell fast asleep. We had a 25 minute walk to get to where we were having lunch and although trying to keep Opeie balanced without waking him up was a pain, it was lovely walking around London chatting with Mrs M.

We seem to end up in London a fair bit these days because of Mrs M's work and as i said we have started a tradition of new books whenever we visit (saying that though we seem to buy books wherever we go). Opeie has books from each visit and we always right cute notes inside the cover 'we read this sitting outside the Tate...' etc. Hopefully it will be something nice to have when he's older and possibly have for his own children.

While we were walking along the Thames Opeie spotted a gold Shaun the sheep outside the Tate Modern and got really excited. As we dipped in and out of the tube stations we spotted Shaun about a fair bit which started a two day 'Spot Shaun' game.

On the Sunday Mrs M had to go off and do some work networking which left me and my miniature counterpart to continue our adventuring together. Opeie was desperate to see some Dinosaurs and he always finds the huge selection of rocks entertaining. Id love to say its because he finds them interesting but instead he laughs out loud and says "there's another rock!... and there's another rock!!


I find London exhausting, especially when a chunk of the visit is spent with a four year old on my shoulders. He may have been up there and off his feet but i know that Opeie feels the same. So after lunch we decided to make our way back home. We love visiting London but after a couple of days there I've had my fill. Give me quiet and green Shropshire any day.

It was nice to know that while Mrs M was off working hard she was still thinking about us and continued the 'Spot Shaun' game, Baaaaaa!