29 August 2014

It's Time

Yes I know I've been absent without trace for the last 10 days *blows tumble weed off blog* but I've been busy breaking up fights having fun with my kids. This year I vowed to make the most of the 6 week break, (rather than wishing it away) and I think I've achieved that. But there are still 7 days to go and quite frankly, we've all come to the end of our fairly short fuses.

Am I allowed to admit that I was secretly pleased to read this Facebook status by a fellow blogger last week?

"Have had to ban singing and whistling. They irritate children and cause monumental fights apparently. How depressing is that?"

Don't get me wrong, I'm not into celebrating other people's misery, I was just relieved to see that I'm not alone. The reality is, that after 6 weeks in one another's company, it's time. Time for a break from one another. Do you recognise any of these signs? 

  • The let's-think-of-at-least-one-nice-thing-to-say-about-each-other game is being aired far too regularly.
  • All attempts to limit screen time have gone out the window - the whatever-keeps-them-quiet option seems more preferable.
  • The 'b-word' is heard earlier and earlier each day. No, not that b-word. B-O-R-E-D.
  • Similarly, the "I am not running a cafe" line is wearing thin.
  • You've tried pretty much every brand of wine in Tesco and your liver could do with a break.
  • A staple diet of crisps, fish finger sandwiches and kit-kats is beginning to take its toll on the waistline.
  • The thought of doing some cleaning seems like a welcome break - it would be nice to see the floor again one day.
  • A countdown tick sheet entitled 'How Many Days til School' has been erected in the kitchen and it wasn't made by you.
  • Lovingly prepared pancakes for breakfast, has been replaced with "get your own and make sure you clear up after yourself!"
  • You have a dolphin, a raccoon, a turtle, a panda bear and minions with various expressions cluttering up the house - yes, they've made every loom band creation You Tube has to offer.

Who is most ready for 'back to school' in your house - you or the kids? 

What would you add to this list of tell-tale signs? 

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16 August 2014

The Week That Was / Project 365 Week 33

I hold my hands up and apologise - the sudden change in weather this week was no doubt due to my remark last week about the wonderful weather we were having. Asking for trouble with that kind of talk! Every day this week we've had sunshine one minute and showers the next and sadly the flip flops haven't been out quite as much as I would have liked. 

Despite the weather, we've tried to enjoy as much outdoors time as possible. Can you believe the summer holidays are zipping by so fast? Here's what we've been up to in week 33 of 2014. Don't forget to look out for Reggie because he's back! 

Sunday - Our time spent in Wales is never complete without the obligatory photograph of cousins, this time with the addition of two dogs!

Monday - Our sweetcorn was finally ready to be picked! We had some for tea and it was delicious - so full of flavour.

Tuesday - The Teenager was in charge today. After dry skiing, she wanted to visit our local farm. This piglet was lapping up the attention.

Wednesday - The Tween made these butterfly cakes all my herself. Despite the radioactive icing, they were yummy.

Thursday - A day out at Claremont National Trust Gardens with friends today. The kids spent about an hour rolling down this hill and decided to throw a bit of human 10 pin bowling in for fun!

Friday - Today we met up with my friends and between us, we had 16 children! The boys immediately bonded over a game of football and as you can see, the girls made a bee line for the baby!

Saturday - The Teenager has spent another week fixated on loom band creations. She made these two little pen top creatures this week, which I think are rather cool.

* * *

What was your highlight this week? I hope it's been a good one. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


15 August 2014

Are our children growing up too fast?

Seven years ago, our best friends left this soil for sunnier climes and a more laid-back lifestyle. Despite experiencing periods of homesickness and the inevitable wobbles over their decision, all five of them have recently been declared Australian citizens. 

A few months ago, my husband's best friend returned to the UK for a fleeting business trip. I was aware that at one time, they had planned to return to the UK after gaining the freedom of citizenship. So I took the opportunity to enquire if this was still in their plan....

"Kids grow up too fast in the UK" he declared. Feeling a little protective of my homeland and most of all, the decision to bring up our family in this country, I immediately questioned his bold statement. Without really getting to the root, I dismissed it as unjust and entirely unfounded.

But his words have played on my mind ever since. Not so much that it tempts me to flee the country, but enough to make me watch my children with a concerned eye. Are they being forced to grow up too fast here in the UK?

During the summer holidays, I've spent a lot of time alone with my children (probably far more than is healthy, but that's a story for another day!). During this time, I've noticed two factors that could be contributing to our children's quest to grow up faster than they should....

1) We are too scared to say "no".

I think this comes back to peer pressure, sadly still as prevalent when we're 40 as it was when we were 14! Have you ever been swayed by the over-used "everyone else is allowed"  line?  Perhaps you're stronger than me. But now that we are entering the teenage years, I realise more than ever that as parents we must stick to our guns. We need to stand up for what we believe in and if that's protecting our offspring's childhood, then so be it. What better reason is there?

2) We make hasty assumptions.  

This week we did two things that we haven't done for a long while: visited a farm and spent the afternoon rolling down grassy hills. I think I had wrongly assumed that my 14 year old would no longer enjoy the fun activities of her childhood. I was wrong. Very wrong. And in making these assumptions, I realise that I have probably denied my youngest child opportunities that when they were his age, The Tween and The Teenager were still  very much embracing.

I think we have the ability to fall into these traps wherever we choose to reside. Perhaps the good people of Australia have a different outlook on life and therefore the pressures are just not the same. Whatever the answer, I am certainly going to be encouraging more good old-fashioned fun from my 14, 12 and (almost) 10 year old. No one is too old for rolling down a hill, right?

Do you think children in Britain grow up too fast? What do you think are the contributing factors? Are we partly to blame as parents? 

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13 August 2014

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Before the summer holidays kicked off, I created a 'Summer Bucket List'; mostly fun things to do together, with a few personal goals thrown in. As always, it is beginning to look as though I *might* have bitten off more than I can chew, so far achieving only five and a half out of the ten things on our list (you do the maths!).

But the point of my 'bucket list' was not to load on the guilt if we don't achieve all of them by the first day of term, but rather to motivate us during the long 6 week break, when we inevitably hit 'The Wall'. You know, that mid-way slump when mum is struggling to get her 'Fun Bobby' mojo up and running and all enthusiasm has left without trace. Have you reached that point yet? Let's just say that I'm really looking forward to going on holiday next week...

On a brighter note, one of the things on our list, was to grow butterflies and I am thrilled to say that this has been a runaway success (for the most part)....

Our exciting delivery of 5 hungry caterpillars.

The biggest surprise of all, was just how quickly they hatched, once the first one emerged from its cocoon. Yes, we managed to miss every single one of the pesky creatures!

On a more educational note, we were all amazed by the complicated way in which butterflies gain their colour. When first hatched, every butterfly was a rather boring brown colour but they quickly released a red ink, seeping into their wings over the course of days 15-20.

And right at the very end, as we watched them take flight, we failed to get a single decent shot of the butterflies taking off into the sky....or landing on us (as the booklet said they would) or even a nearby flower (again, the booklet lied!). We tried so hard....

My children had already witnessed the caterpillar to butterfly process as part of the national curriculum in year 1 but I really do think it is a worthwhile exercise with older children (and mummies who've never quite grown up!).

Have you hit 'The Wall' yet? 
What fun things have you done in the school holidays?