Category Archives: Holidays

Summer time fun

So here we are, well over half way through the school summer holidays. We’ve had some quiet days, some fab days out and our family fortnight – including a week in gorgeous (if not always sunny,) Cornwall.

The holiday is, as always, flying. I’m now almost half way through the two weeks, which is my least favourite fortnight of the year, where the older two are with their respective other parents and Richard is back at work. Following straight on from our family fortnight where all five of us were together, the difference is well….stark. Finn has noticed too – he’s asking for the others multiple times per day, irrespective of my repeating where they are each time.

Right from the very first year that Ellie went away like this I’ve always found that if I allow myself to think about it too much, to dwell on it, then the ache of missing her becomes much bigger. So, from the very first year I’ve always kept myself busy. One year I went on holiday so I wasn’t at home where she normally was, other years I’ve worked long days and last year with the added dimension of being home alone with a baby (ahhhh!!!!) I meticulously planned every day for Finn and I to be doing things.

This year has been different – I haven’t planned most days and I hadn’t really had time to think about it much until it was here. So as I hit the half way point I can’t help but feel surprised at how well it’s gone.

I obviously still miss the kids and I look forward to the moment Richard comes home from work, but Finn and I have had lots of fun. Most crucially (and I don’t want to tempt fate as we’ve a week to go) we’ve spent lots of time on our own but still had a good time!! I’ve managed to do some jobs around the house as well as spend time focussing on Finn and I feel like we’ve made the most of our quality time together. There’s no doubt that at 19 months old Finn is more often than not great fun and I’m going to treasure these moments. Here’s some of them…

Finn responds to my asking him to ‘smile for the camera’:

Finn helping mummy with the washing:

Snuggles before nap time:

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Welcoming the summer holidays…

Well we are officially now just three days away from the school summer holidays. At the start of this 14 week term it seemed such a long way away but, it’s here in a flash. Of course the end of term always seems to be incredibly busy with sports days, assemblies, reports and especially so this year because our biggest boy is finishing primary school and Ellie is going on her first residential with school tomorrow.

On top of that of course there is Finn who is having his own end of term excitement as lots of the baby groups stop over the summer, so there are parties and goodbyes all round. He even got a little present from one of our favourite groups which has gone down very well…

pop in and play present for the summer 15 Jul 16

So with the holidays literally almost upon us I’m pleased to say that my initial feelings of ‘what on earth will we do with all those days’ have now been replaced with feelings of excitement and anticipation – who would have thought! It’s all down to some detailed and nifty planning, offers to meet up and do stuff from some wonderful friends and family, and the fact that I can now more often than not put Finn down for naps without having to go out for a walk.

So I am raising a glass (literally) to the last week of term and look forward to seeing if best laid plans and all that……I will obviously let you know!

Summer holiday reflections

So I’ve been totally remiss and not posted for pretty much the entire school holidays! The result is of course that I feel guilty (odd maybe, but true!) and that I have LOADS that I’d like to share! So, I’m promising never to leave it that long again and sharing some thoughts from our summer.

1. The words ‘I’m bored’ fill me with dread.
Now this actually started before the school holidays and the thing is – it’s not just that they say the words, it’s that they say them when they can not possibly be true. For example:

At the school fair before the end of term, with her friends around her and an ice cream in her hand Ellie looked up at me and said ‘I’m bored’.

One Saturday, five minutes before going to a particular computer gaming store to spend some of his birthday vouchers (and not doing any other shopping) Nate sloped into the room and said ‘I’m bored’.

Quite frankly I didn’t know how I would get through the summer holidays without erupting when I heard these words which were ever more commonly used. I can however happily report that we did survive it and the use of those awful words has somewhat abated.

2. At age 7, Ellie has officially perfected the use of crocodile tears.
My daughter’s acting skills are getting better and better and over the holidays there can be no further doubt that her ability to put on and stop the waterworks has been absolutely mastered. The funny thing is during once such episode when I was (unusually) absolutely sure it was false waterworks, I informed Ellie that I knew they were crocodile tears and she simply stopped, said ‘I know’ and then continued without missing a beat. Children are strange but inevitably she did 5 minutes later realise her mistake having been totally ignored and gave up. Sadly it isn’t always that obvious and I have now spent many a moment watching my daughter crying and been completely lost as to whether it is for real.

3. Time is a strange thing
It turns out that a 7 week school holiday (yes seven!!) can totally fly with the exception of the 2 weeks when Ellie is away at her Dad’s when it slows down to a snails pace. In the name of honesty I should add that the 7th week of the holiday was a week too far and there’s no doubt that Ellie was ready to be back at school and I was ready for that too.

4. Afternoon/early evening naps are amazing.
Whilst being pregnant has obviously been what has caused the development of this new habit of mine – it is a habit I would very much like to keep after our fifth family member arrives. What’s the chances?! It also has to be said that it doesn’t matter how you explain it – it is simply not possible to get a child to understand that you are feeling tired because you’re pregnant, not just because you are a) lazy or b) a bad Mum.

5. It doesn’t have to be all days out, does it?!
At the start of the school holidays I told myself that it’s ok that we don’t have big days out all the time over the summer – firstly, the cost is incredible, secondly relaxing and entertaining yourself sometimes is a good skill for children to learn and finally, they will appreciate the days out more when you do them. In practice, the first is true, the second might be true but the latter is definitely not.

So there you have it – my summer holiday reflections. Please let me know what you think and what you’ve learned this summer.

Finally, I will leave you with a picture of one of our favourite days out – one that cost nothing, but was great fun – the day we did some of Birmingham’s The Big Hoot. (Click here to find out more about The Big Hoot.)

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Being away from Ellie

I knew when Ellie’s Dad and I divorced that I would have regular times when Ellie is away from me and I knew it would be hard. By and large we’ve always had a regular pattern of every other weekend and some holiday weeks going to Daddy’s and it’s worked pretty smoothly.

To begin with, as I dropped her off, I always had a tear in my eye as I walked away. (Usually walking away as quickly as I could so that Ellie didn’t see.) I always knew she was in good hands and I always knew she’d have fun – but it was still always sad. That said, once I was home and busy it was fine and I can hand on heart say that when she was little those breaks were my single chance to have a little ‘me time’ and rest. Don’t judge me – I missed her of course, but I also truly needed and enjoyed that time.

Fast forward several years and this half term Ellie was once again away with her Dad. This time though, as the week went on, I realised something quite surprising – I really wasn’t coping with her being gone very well at all. I found myself sitting in her room thinking about her, daydreaming about what she might be doing and counting down the days until she was home. I’ve always missed her of course, but as I thought it over I discovered something I really didn’t expect – Ellie being away isn’t getting easier – it’s getting harder. I truly didn’t see that coming.

When I think about it, there is actually some logic in it. For a start, I’m less in need of a ‘break’ these days – partly because she’s older and partly because we’re now part of a bigger, supportive family of four. More than that though, and whilst I’m not suggesting we don’t have our moments, I think the crux of the matter is that time in each other’s company nowadays is just simply brilliant time: we laugh, we cuddle, we play and mostly – we just enjoy it.

I’ve no idea if it getting harder is the ‘norm’, or how I’ll feel as Ellie get’s older and hits new interesting phases (eeek Teenager?!) but right now there’s no getting away from the fact that when my girl comes home I’m simply whole again.

cuddle new

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I can…because I have children!

Shhhhh don’t tell anyone else, but did you know that being a mum (or Dad) is a licence to be a child again? It is – it really is!

Being a mum officially gives me a genuine reason (aka excuse) to do things that if I didn’t have children, would be frowned upon by anyone watching, or at least cause a raised eyebrow or two!

This summer I have enjoyed taking full advantage of this opportunity.

I spent a whole afternoon doing jigsaws – yes a whole afternoon. To be honest, Ellie wasn’t that fussed but I had a whale of a time. In the end Ellie flatly refused to do any more jigsaws but didn’t seem to mind if I did one last one.

I’ve eaten more sweets and ice cream than I can ever remember – I mean proper sweeties! I did share them (most of the time) but they were definitely mine.

By far the best thing this summer though was being a kid whilst we’re out in public … giggling about nothing in particular, singing songs with Ellie in the car with the window down and best of all … going on the park!

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So come on, do leave a comment about what you’ve done that was like being a kid again recently? If you haven’t, then I challenge you to do it – it feels great and it’s a small window of opportunity – I’m pretty sure there comes a point where our children will decide it’s too embarrassing and we will have to stop. Until then though …

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