Monday, 18 December 2017

"For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward."


Its been a fun build up to Christmas this year mainly because we have decided not to go mad, buying things for the sake of it. When writing their letters to Santa this year, like every other year, we told the boys to just write 3 things that they wanted. You would think that this would be easy for any 6 and 11-year-old, the only difficult part being narrowing the list down to 3. For Seth and Opeie though it was a bit of a struggle. 

For a long time now I have been the sort of person that gets to Christmas and genuinely doesn't want anything. I am so content with how my life is that there is nothing that could make me any happier. All I ever want is a happy Mrs M and the boys. This has unexpectedly rubbed off on the boys, Seth especially. Opeie had one thing on his Christmas list that he really wanted and Seth simply said "I feel like i have everything that I need" which I thought was a very grown up and humble thing to say.

I like to think of Christmas as a time for making effort rather than it revolving around heavy spending. I like to try and do something special for the boys around the festive period that doesn't cost anything and this year I decided that I was going to make them both an advent calender. I had made them an advent in the past with the help of Mrs M, this year though I wanted to build them something using those lovable bricks.

At first I was kicking myself that I hadn't kept the LEGO advent calender we had bought last year as they would be great for reusing, all I would have had to do was design a cover for the box and I'd have been sorted. We ended up using the tray from our previous one as paint pots when crafting. Good old LEGO and their recyclable packaging. This years LEGO calender became my advent and mind started ticking away with ideas for the boys, I knew exactly what I was going to do.




Opeie has become a HUGE Ninjago fan since the LEGO Ninjago movie was released so it was a no brainer that his advent was going to be Ninjago themed. I decided to build his advent in the style of a Japanese temple with 25 doors to open. For each day a Ninjago character for his collection. Any LEGO enthusiast reading this with probably think 'that would cost a small fortune' but being a member of so many Facebook LEGO trade pages I managed to trade all of the figures for other LEGO items that we have. The advent didn't actually take that long to build and the look on his face on the 1st was amazing. Now on day 18 I get an excited little boy waking me up to tell me who he has got, its awesome.



I struggled at first for Seth's advent as he's not into any themes that come with minifigures. For Seth LEGO has become all about Technics. He loves playing with cogs and motors and working out how to make machines witch from an educational point of view is amazing. I decided to cruise the Facebook pages again and contact friends online looking for interesting Technics elements that he doesn't have in his collection. The problem I had though, was that I didn't know what style to build the advent (and I'm definitely out of my building comfort zone with Technics). That being said though I sat one evening and worked out how to make a remote control box which worked great but it looked boring so instead I decided to build a snowman with motor and receiver on the back so that Seth could open his torso every morning via remote and get to his LEGO Technic surprise.



Its been such a lovely feeling every morning watching them get excited about whats coming next and for me this is what Christmas is all about. A little effort goes a long way.


Monday, 11 December 2017

"Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood."



When I was woken at 6am on Friday morning by two very excited boys shouting "there's snow!!!", I pulled the duvet back over my head and thought 'all this for a light sprinkling' I need my sleep. 5 whole minutes of excitement passed before I was literally dragged from bed to join in with the prancing about. As I walked over to the window rubbing my eyes I wasn't expecting the magic that was going on outside. Despite my lack of motivation for getting out of bed that morning, I should probably point out that...


I can probably go as far as saying that when it gets to this time of year I crave it. If you don't mind the cold (Mrs M hates it) then snow can be the best fun. Ive never seen the boys get dressed so quick, we were outside just after 7am throwing snowballs (quietly of course). Gridlock traffic 5 minutes up the road on the school run soon changed to me u-turning my way back home so that we could have some serious fun. 9am and we already had a snowman built and that just kick started what has been an amazing 4 days so far. after the snowman was built we started building a snow base because lets be honest, a huge snowball fight was inevitable.


 It wouldn't have been fair, the kids having a base and not me, so we used a really useful box to make lots of snow bricks and built three walls for me to hide behind, it was the perfect way to protect myself from heavy fire.

Although Mrs M stayed in the cold for a lot of the time she popped out regularly with hot drinks and snacks for her three favourite snow brawlers and while I was out entertaining the kids in the street she baked and cooked our meals, it was a win win as far I'm concerned.


 With no sign of the snow leaving anytime soon and with Seth's school closed, today's snow fun was a morning of snowball fights, followed by sledging down the hills of a local farmers field, snow bliss.


To make things even more exciting, when we finally came in this evening Mrs M let us know that the school will be closed again tomorrow. So we can continue the snow fun for another day.







...and we finally got Mrs M out in the snow too! We'll make a snow bunny of her yet.


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