Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Tuesday - "Nannie Day"

Around a similar time 4 years ago I wrote how Snaffles and my mum were spending their last day together just the two of them. It is now Munchie's turn. Their last day together before the summer holiday starts, Snaffles will then join them on their Tuesdays through the summer and after that school looms for Munchie.

When I wrote the similar post 4 years ago at least my mum knew it would only be short lived and that Munchie had already arrived to fill her empty Tuesdays up again.

For over 8 years my mum has given up her only day off of the week up to care for my boys. Even though the daytime childcare is not needed any-more she will continue with the after school collection and the school holidays.

I am hugely grateful for this, I hope my mum knows how much of a help this has been. Both financially and emotionally. Munchie calls Tuesday’s his “Nannie day”. He loves Tuesday’s. I love Tuesdays as its always easier leaving him with someone who he loves.

I get little messages about what he has been up to and photos of their fun together. I


 don’t have to worry about him being sad or not being 100% as I know she will look after him just as well as I could. If he is worn out from long days at nursery he can rest on his Nannie days.



She has helped him grow into the little boy he is.

School events that fall on a Tuesday are usually attended by my mum instead of me. Whilst it is sad when I can’t make events it is so much easier to know that they have someone there watching them.

The boys have both spent their toddler days with my mum in different ways. 

Snaffles had weekly visits to my Grandads house. Tuesdays were fish and chip lunches at my Grandads and then sweets from his “secret” stash under his chair. Snaffles can still remember this and recently pointed out the fish shop they used to go to.

Munchies days have been filled with other fun. Park trips, paddling pools, school runs, soft play and visiting family. I think my mum was surprised at how quickly the school run came around each Tuesday. He has got Nannie wrapped around his little finger and he knows exactly which cupboards house the cakes and biscuits!



I don’t think Munchie has twigged that going to school means he won’t get to spend the day with Nannie but hopefully he will make up for that when she collects him from school.

They will be looking forward to school holidays even more now that it will mean whole days with Nannie.


I am not quite sure what my mum will do to fill her day off when they are both at school. I am not sure what I will do with my day off either. It is going to feel very quiet and take a while to get used to it. 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Bye Bye Nursery

I have now done my last ever nursery run. Not just last ever for Munchie, last ever. On Snaffles last day at nursery, Munchie had already been born and I knew we would be repeating the cycle again soon. This time it is different, it is very final. There are no more baby days for our family.

Both boys have spent an awful lot of time at nursery. Snaffles was not even 6 months when he started at nursery (maternity leave was less in when he was born) and Munchie was 10 months old when he started.

Between both boys we have spent 8 years doing the nursery run. I try not to think about how much we have spent on nursery. For some periods of time we have spent more on childcare than we have on our mortgage.

It is money well spent though. They are like another branch to his family. They know his likes, dislikes, food tastes and moods. They have hugged and consoled him when he is sad, poorly and hurt. They have seen him though many accomplishments and worked together with us on things we have been trying to achieve. There are many things that he will tell or show us that he can only have learnt at nursery.

He is very excited to be leaving. He has 6 weeks of summer with mummy, daddy, his brother, nannie and friends to look forward to. He will go to a few activity clubs for days we have struggled with childcare but no more nursery. He is ready and excited for big school. He loves nursery when he is there but getting him there recently has been a battle, one that has ended in tears on several mornings. I know he enjoys it when he is there but he has just outgrown it. Many of his friends have gone off to Pre-Schools but due to our working hours nursery fits better with our lives. This means that Munchie is one of the oldest at nursery, having been there for over 4 years he has just had enough there and is ready for something new.
  
He has taken cakes and a card for his nursery workers (“Aunties”)  and cake for his friends. 


I am sure he will miss his friends once he realises that he is not going back but he is very excited about school. Snaffles hadn’t grown up familiar with the school and was more nervous to start. Munche has done the school run with me since he was a baby. He has been to Christmas shows and classroom visits to his brother and knows more what school involves. He is very excited to be joining his brother at school.


We just need to survive the summer and the painstaking process that is staggered school starts and then by mid-September I will then have both children in full time school. PHEW!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

10 Years...

This time 10 years ago, I married Mr C. We met when I was 17. Some family members felt that college, a part time job and a boyfriend was too much and that my studies would suffer. Thankfully we proved them wrong and even several years later I continued my studies around a full time job, home and pregnancy.

When we first started dating I still had a midnight curfew. That might not sound too strict but I didn't finish work until 10pm. I remember getting changed in the staff toilet and then being collected from work by Mr C. 

Getting engaged and buying a house together at such a young age also raised a few eyebrows too. Most friends were leaving for university and experiencing freedom and here were we, settling down together. That was 15 years ago. 

I was 22 when we married, we had been together for 5 years by then. 

 
This is us not long after getting together. 

Some may say we missed out on opportunity by settling down together but I prefer to think that we experienced those opportunities together instead. First holidays, first houses, first real jobs, first trips around the country and many other things we discovered and experienced together. 

This is our first holiday together in 2001. I can't believe how young I look, I barely look old enough to be travelling without my mum!

See, they even had selfies was back in 2001 too! 

We are very different people to those we both were 15 years ago. We know ourselves and each other much better now. We know what effect our actions have on the other and what things mean the most to each other. We know what compromises to make for the good of each other and our relationship. Some are worth making, others we know we will just have to put up with.

10 years of anyone's life is a long time, you experience a lot in 10 years, job losses, illness, bereavement, family fallouts, new friendships and the general ups and downs of life. Mr C has been there for me through all of my ups and downs.  I know he always has my back no matter what.

All those years ago, marriage seemed like the fairy tale ending some girls work towards. What I have learnt since though it that marriage is just the beginning, the beginning of new lives together, lives where you have to constantly strive for what matters to you. Marriages done just tick along. They need commitment, time, effort, and dedication. It's not an easy journey. You need to fight for what values are important to you and let the small things slide. If I am cross with Mr C he usually knows it's serious or important to me.  Marriage can be hard work at times.

I think having our separate (and very very different) hobbies helps our relationship. We each have time, space and friends away from the other. Places we can retreat to when we need a little space or hobbies that we can both sit next to each other at home doing. 

Mr C recently said that I look the best I have done in all of our years together. This probably meant more to me than he thought.  Whenever I look at photographs of when we first met and the girl he first fell in love with I am faced with a very slim 17 year old in short skirts and crop tops. In my mind, I can never compete with that image.

I am several sizes larger, much older, have more wrinkles, a "mummy tummy" and far less time to spend trying to make myself look half decent.  I know I have aspired to an unattainable image but it's reassuring onto know that image is not how he prefers me. 

This is us at a friends party last weekend. 

Its strange to think that in a few more years, Mr C will have been in my life longer than he hasn't been in it for.

We shall be celebrating with a meal in tonight and then we are escaping for a child free weekend in a few weeks time. 

Here is hoping we make another 10 years.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

While We Were Away

Given how absent I have been on here recently I thought I would share a few photographs and general bits and bobs about what we have been doing. They wouldn't need an entire post to themselves so maybe a general round up will give me the chance to share what we have been up to while we have been missing from here. 

Swimming 
Swimming takes up a decent amount of our spare time and the children's activities. Between both boys we now have 3 swimming lessons each week. Munchie has just moved up to an ASA Stage 2 group. There is no picture of him celebrating with his certificate though. He really isn't happy about moving up a group. I cant imaging many children receiving a certificate would sulk! 

Snaffles attends a Rookie Lifeguard course once a week and also a swim club once a week. He is half the size of most of the others in the lifeguard course but manages to hold his own in the group. Being so small and light he is very popular in the group. Everyone wants to partner with him as he is easy to tow. Not so easy when he then has to tow them though! 

He recently got his 200m swimming badge too. We had been away the day before, back late and all tired and we considered missing his early 9am swimming lesson. I am not sure I would have managed 200m on that day but he was still wanting to try and go even further! 


Family Days Out

I guess the nicer warmer weather means everyone is busier than usual. We are trying to make the most of the summer and plan days out. As always, we are big collectors of our Tesco points and use these on days out where we can. We recently converted our vouchers to Lightwater Valley vouchers.


It wasn't the warmest of days but the boys still really loved it. It was perfect for the ages they both are. 


Snaffles thinks he is the cool dude at the minute. He tries to push his luck more than I would like but on the whole he is a good egg most of the time.


School Holidays

The last half term break was my turn to have the week off with the boys. I don't usually take the full week. We stagger days with each other, family and friends to spread the childcare out. However, I think we all needed the time together so I booked the whole week. I am not ashamed to admit that I find a whole week alone with the boys really really hard. If we have a bad/tense day together I find it hard to move on the next day. The bickering, arguing and struggle to please both at different ages takes its toll so I tend to stick to shorter periods of time off so that I enjoy it more. The thought of the whole week off was a little daunting.


However, not only did I survive the week we had a really really nice time together. 

We went to a farm for the day. Yes it really was cold enough for hats and gloves! 

We also baked, went on bike rides, went to the beach for a day and also attended some children's activities at a garden centre. I also managed to spend very little, other than the farm entry fee which was nice.


Family

One person you hear very little about on here is my mum. She is a very big part in all of our lives and the boys adore her. We see her several times a week but each time the boys see her they go running to her shouting with excitement as if they haven't seen her in weeks. Its lovely to see them getting on so well with her. 


I couldn't help share this photographs of Munchie taking flowers to his Nannie on her Birthday. 

Maybe I should pimp him out as a flower delivery boy? He makes a very cute delivery boy I think.

Hopefully I haven't forgotten anything too important, Better late than never for sharing these I guess. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

10 Tips For Family Camping

This post first featured on my blog in 2013. We have camped a fair bit since then so I thought I would update the post and share it again.

We are currently in the process of booking a camping break for the summer holidays and I think my mum might even join us for a few days. We are thinking of the Peak District, its not too far away but plenty far enough to feel like a holiday. It is also very pretty and had cakes named after its towns. What isn't to love about that?



1.  Choosing your site - We spend yonks looking for good sites. We prefer rural farmers sites as opposed to holiday camp-sites. UK Campsite is great for looking at facilities, sites by area and reviews. It also tells you how many pitches the site has. If there are more than 30 we are not usually interested. We look for things like location to activities, pubs and shops and also whether they accept group bookings from single sex young groups. No group bookings tends to means a quieter site.

2.  Flat pumps - flip flips might be fine in the day but not so great in the night when you need to make a toilet run and have socks on and the grass is dewy.

3.  An umbrella - for night time toilet stops in the rain.

4.  Entertainment for the children- both outdoor and inside tent activities so you have something for all weather. We have a football, cricket set, Frisbee, crayons, books, top trumps and toy cars. 

5.  Carrier bags- for dirty clothes, sandy clothing, rubbish, keeping clothes dry in shower rooms and general emergencies. Large reusable bags also work really well. If your shower floor is wet and dirty and there are limited dry areas then you can stand in your large bag for life to get dressed.

6.  Plan a meal - think about what time of the day you will arrive. Add on an hour or so to allow you to erect your tent and get everything set up. Cook something at home so that all you need to do is reheat it. It will save you rushing to get set up and find somewhere to eat or a shop as soon as you get there. Or choose a camp-site near the chippy!

7.  Single air beds - even if you are camping with a partner I would recommend buying two single air beds rather than a double. With a double you feel every movement your sleeping partner makes. You can keep the air beds together with a fitted double sheet. It also means that in the event of a puncture only one of you is sleeping on the floor as opposed to both of you.

8.  Fleece blankets - if you are sleeping on air bed you need to break up the cold air in the bed with layers of blankets. One between the tent floor and the air bed and another between the air bed and you should do the trick.

9.  Ignore the children's bedtime routine - the sooner you accept that bedtime is out the window for your camping trip the sooner you will stop feeling stressed on an evening and start enjoying the extra time with the children. They will drop somewhere and at some point in time.

10. Keep Doors Closed -  You wouldn't stay at home and leave all the doors wide open so try not to do the same when you camping (unless it is really really hot). Leaving doors open to bedroom areas not only lets bugs and creepy crawlies in, it also lets the warm air out and the cold air in. If you are having to go to sleep in a freezing cold then then you are going to have a bad night sleep. We usually keep the bedrooms closed all day and close off the living area around tea time. It helps us to keep the tent a nice temperature for sleeping.