Sunday 31 January 2016

"A child educated only at school is an uneducated child."

After all of the excitement of the Christmas holiday it has been a smooth transition back in to our weekly routine of adventuring for me and Opeie and school runs and making sure Seth has everything he needs. Going back to school wasn't all doom and gloom for Seth though as  it gave us the chance to get back in to meeting him from school on our Micro scooters and adventuring around the local lake. We don't live anywhere near the school so we can't scoot home. Instead me and Opeie park the car a distance away and pack Seth's folded scooter into my backpack and tie the zips together to hold it in place (stylish).

Last week me and Opeie scooted to the school and could see Seth in his classroom getting ready to come out. When Seth got to he said that his friends had said "woah! is that your step dad? his scooter is awesome!". I maybe the cool scooting step dad now but it will soon be the embarrassing scooting step dad during his teenage years I expect, so I'll lap up all the cool points I can get now haha.

After a day of school, the scooters are great for taking in all the things outdoors, talking about the weather, the animals we can see and planning all the things we are going to be doing throughout the week, Scooting is perfect father/Son bonding time. It is also great for burning off that excess energy and giving Seth a chance to let out his crazy side.

Happy scooting ya'll.

Friday 22 January 2016

"Water is the key to life, but in frozen form, it is a latent force. And when it vanishes, Earth becomes Mars."

Despite the coldness and having to layer up this time of year, there is something so exciting for the kids when the temperature drops, especially first thing in the morning. being able to look out of the window and see what has frozen over is great. Opeie spotted a bowl of rocks from the beach that we had left outside and he was fascinated by the sheet of ice on top and the cold water sitting below.

It didn't take long for the ice to melt, especially as Opeie had been stabbing it with a knife so we ventured out into the garden to see what else had frozen over. Luckily we had nor really done mush in the garden so any container that was left out there was full of water from the rain and had a great frozen sheet across the top. Our frozen finds had us taking a trip to the supermarket for balloons and food colouring to fill up and leave outside for making bright coloured ice orbs. Sadly it wasn't quite cold enough last night and tonight's weather is looking the same, so we've now given them a head start in the freezer Brrrrrrrr!

Thursday 21 January 2016

"Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time, for everybody"

It was no surprise that after our trip to the Tate, Opeie wanted to recreate his favourite pieces in LEGO. A great activity for exploring neoplasticism.

"Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit."

Continuing our trip to London last week, me and my mini counterpart had another morning for adventure before jumping on the train and heading home. The Tate is always somewhere we love going, so we made that our next destination. I find the gallery so relaxing and we both love casually walking around taking in all the pieces displayed there.

Its always interesting to hear Opeie's views an what he is seeing, you cant beat the imagination of a child and he picks up on so many things that I don't notice right away. Some of the pieces were a great source of inspiration for him and he informed me of all of his fun arty ideas.

Opeie was drawn in by the colour and simplicity of Piet Mondrian's pieces and he had packed a sketch book and pencils so it gave us a chance to sit down and draw. The Tate is so peaceful even if it is busy and we could have sat there all morning drawing but there was more art to be looked at before we made our way back home.

There was a great exhibition by Simryn Gill, which was a series photos of people from the artists home town in Malaysia, with their faces hidden by tropical fruit. Opeie thought it was very entertaining.

Opeie was desperate to get in on the action, so I found an apple from out of my back pack so that Opeie could join in the fun....

We ended up staying in the gallery all morning and then headed to the train station to get home. It was a great end to another cultural trip to London. We adore London but only in short bursts as it is so busy. Tired but smiling we made our way home to a snowy Shropshire.

Monday 18 January 2016

"A museum is a place where one should lose one's head."

When I was young if someone had have mentioned the word 'museum' I'd have been filled with dread. Museums from what I remember, were 'the worst!'. I assumed that this was the norm and most people felt the same way but as it turns out I was very wrong. As I spent a lovely evening with Mrs M's family over Christmas, I got chatting to her auntie Jo (who is a lovely woman) about something completely unrelated to museums but during our conversation it clicked why I had those feelings and why I was negative about a lot of things during my childhood.

When I think about it now and as I type this out it makes me feel a little sad that until I met Mrs M (29 years into my life) I had never been inspired by ANYONE! school had given me nothing along those lines and my work life was pretty much the same. Sadly I lacked inspiring parents too so I just bumbled along not aiming for anything. That all changed when I met Mrs M though and she inspired me from day one with her contagious energy and love of life. When she first met me she had her reservations as she thought I was a bit of a joker and didn't take anything seriously, she soon changed that though and set me on a path that continues to make a better person.

Anyway back to museums... I've never wanted the boys to feel the way that I did growing up and I like to think that the way we bring them both up is really inspiring for them. Last week me and Opeie ended up in London and when asked what he wanted to do he replied "can we go to the museums". I love that he is genuinely interested in museums and I think its because myself and Mrs M are so interactive with him when it comes to learning.

Our day of going to 'the museums' ended up with us visiting four back to back and having a pretty amazing day out together, despite the drizzly weather.

First on our list was more for me, but while looking at the images online Opeie had showed quite a lot of interest in visiting a museum that had a brain in a jar of formaldehyde (strange I know but he loves learning about the body). When looking at a '100 things to do in London for free' article  early last year I had stumbled up on the Hunterian museum. Situated in the Royal college of surgeons, the Hunterian museum houses an amazing collection of the macabre. Animals, body parts and oddities. I could have stayed in there for hours but Opeie made his feelings clear early on when he said "daddy, can we go to another museum now please?" "It's a bit scary, I want to look at things with pretty colours". I think that museum may be for when he is a little older.

five minutes walk and we were at our second museum. The British museum is in a very grand building and is full off really interesting items and exhibitions. There was a lot more for Opeie to ask questions about and we spent a lot of our visit chatting about greek mythology, mummification and knights. I was so busy yapping to Opeie that I missed the name of one of the exhibitions that was on but part of it was based around the day of the dead celebrations and all of the pieces were very colourful and interesting, which was exactly what Opeie was looking for after museum number 1.

Time to jump back on the tube and make our way to museum number 3. The V&A museum of childhood is one of our favourite museums to visit in London after our friend Sam took us there a year or so ago. I love seeing many of the toys I had growing up and the boys are always interested in the things that kept me entertained as a child. Its also interesting to see how things have changed when it comes to childrens play things. With games to play and an enormous amount of items for your visual entertainment it really is the perfect place to take your inquisitive little ones.

Museum number 4 and it was clear that Opeie was getting tired (his little legs had done a lot of walking, bless them) he was desperate though to squeeze in his favourite museum before we headed back to the hotel. Usually when we visit the Museum of Natural History it is all about the Dinosaurs but this time round it was the birds taking centre stage. Every time we visit we seem to find another part that we have not seen before and even though we have been quite a few times I could still happily spend an entire day just pottering around there. I find it fascinating and I can see why it is always on the top of Opeie's London to do list.

As sad as it is that I felt the way I did when I was younger, in some ways I am kind of glad. I appreciate this kind of thing a lot more because of it and visiting now as a home schooling parent and learning with Opeie is the most amazing experience and something I will never take for granted.

Ok so he might have had a sneak peek at the dinosaurs!

Sunday 10 January 2016

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."

As we took down the trees and the decorations last week we all felt a little gloomy as the house looks so bare once all the colour and glitter has gone. As we carefully packed away all the tree decorations we have collected over the years it made me realise that we needed the next installment of our Gifts from the Pirates fox hunt. Whenever we've been out shopping on the build up to Christmas and spotted a festive fox we've snapped them up straight away. So here are the sly ornaments that were making our trees look pretty this year...

Nanny and Grandad added an extra fox themed book to Opeie's ever expanding collection which was lovely. I love how family and friends pick up on the little quirks that make our family what it is.

Each year we pick a toy to sit on top of the tree (angels are so last season). We've had Holly from Ben and Holly, Cat in the hat and Miffy and this year foxes made their way to the top of two of our trees.

Nanny and Grandad again turned up a few weeks before Christmas and gave the boys a very cute Fox each that spent the build up to Christmas keeping each other warm on our stairs. It was a lovely little touch to our festive looking home, thank you Nanny Roo.

I'm already looking forward to what foxey treats next year has to offer.