At first a little reluctant then eventually realising the fun to be had in a water fountain. Stopping in the middle of a busy street to forget everything and splash in the water; soaking trousers and shoes and squelching all the way back to the car. A perfectly carefree moment.
This week we had our very first ‘school run’ experience. Lucas had his first settling in session in pre-school with me and as the twins were being looked after we were able to walk to the school hand in hand. This walk will be the first of many, I don’t have a car in the week so we will always have to walk it in all weathers. I’m sure in a couple of weeks I will be fed up; it isn’t far but walking at Lucas pace it takes close to half an hour and the thought of getting us all ready to go out, whatever the weather, twice a day is a little daunting. Despite all that there is something so sweet about the walk to and from school. It gives us time to talk in a way we probably wouldn’t in a car and there are things to see on the way. Lucas chatters most of the way and there is a far bit of dawdling as we pass a fire station and a fishing pond. Walking there and back with him, just us two. isn’t something that will happen very often, if at all so this walk was particularly precious. On the way back we were able to talk about all the fun he had and lay the ground work for next week when he is on his own. As we headed out of the school’s road a car pulled up with a Mum and little boy he had met that day, she shouted to us that he wanted to say goodbye to his friend. As if I wasn’t emotional enough that nearly tipped me over the edge and I watched as they waved to each other imagining the years ahead as he adds new people to his life, some of them may even stick. I met my best friends when I was not much older than Lucas and we are as close now as we were then.
There will be a time when he doesn’t need me to walk him to school and he probably won’t want to tell me about his day so when he skips along, holding my hand and singing his own songs it is a lovely moment to remember.
Today Lucas had his very first session in pre-school. I had no idea what to expect from him; how can you tell beforehand what they will make of it? It’s such a different situation for him and even though we go to playgroups this feels more formal. The home visit went so well right up to the end when his teacher had to leave and take the class teddy with her, cue Lucas wailing and hiding under the table! Since then he has been a bit cautious when I’ve mentioned school and his new teacher but this afternoon he happily set off with me on our walk to nursery. He was only in for an hour and I was able to stay with him. I tried to hold back a little bit; he doesn’t often look for me in playgroups and he didn’t really today. As we went it he hung up his hat and bag on his peg then ran off into the classroom; once he was in I saw him turn and look for me but a quick nod from me was enough for him to carry on exploring.
As I sat back and watched him playing with the other children today it really made me realise that he will be fine. I’ve been saying it all along but you never truly know how they will react in that different environment. I felt so proud of him; he is usually friendly to other children and can be so sweet. Like all three year old’s he has his fair amount of tantrums but I’m starting to see that the fiery side of him we get at home is slightly more controlled in a different environment. He tidied up after himself and found toys to give to other children and he understood that he needed to take turns (maybe having two baby brothers interrupting all his games has helped!)
At the start of September we had a form to fill in from the school and one of the questions was ‘What do you most want for your child during their first nursery year?’ I keep coming back and looking at this question and trying to decide what to write in the small box underneath. The truth is I’m not sure what I expect Lucas to gain from nursery or what I particularly want him to learn from the experience. I suppose we all wish for the same things when they go out into the world on their own, that they will be safe and happy. I would like for him to make friends and for him to carry on improving with his language. I want him to have fun and to look forward to going into the classroom. I want him to enjoy his time there and to feel secure. He came out today and chattered and sang all the way home, he was full of smiles and couldn’t wait to go back next week. He just seemed so energised from the experience and seeing him like that makes the letting go worth it. I need to remember that next week when he goes in without me and a whole new chapter starts.
This Summer we have been testing out the Ergo Baby 360 Carrier. I am totally new to baby wearing so I wanted to see how it fitted into our life, if it made a difference and what situations we used it in. I wrote a little bit on my first impressions when we had been using it for a few weeks and since then my love for the Ergobaby 360 has only grown so here is my full review.
I think anyone buying a baby carrier does their research so chances are you will already know that Ergobaby 360 is a very reputable baby carrier, well made, sturdy and ergonomically sound for your little one. I find it very comfortable to wear and easy to put on however you do need to make sure it is adjusted correctly for your build. I put it on once after my husband had worn it, didn’t tighten the straps enough and could feel the strain on my shoulders. That is the only occasion that I have felt any discomfort and it never feels cumbersome or heavy once it is secured correctly. You definitely become more confident wearing it the more you try it and I wore mine around the house first to get used to it.
It is different to other Ergo’s in that you can carry your baby in four positions, on your front, inward and outward, in a hip carry and on your back. All positions are comfortable for the baby as the carrier holds them in a sitting position with their legs up and outward rather than letting them dangle straight down. I’ve tried out all the positions and I can manage on my own but I like to have my husband around for security with the back carry! My twins are still a little small to sit comfortably on my hip; they are just big enough for a back carry and we tried that out for the first time this weekend. We just needed to pop to the shops and as it was so sunny decided to walk so I thought I’d try out this carry so I could look at things in the shop comfortably. It was little Arthur in it this time and he was more than happy and as usual fell asleep.
Before we received the Ergo 360 my twins hadn’t been in a baby carrier so I wasn’t sure if they would take to it straight away but both of them love to be in it, in all positions. Arthur particularly loves to be on the front, facing inward and always, always falls asleep in it. We had a family BBQ last month and I was able to wear Arthur the whole time; when he nodded off I popped the little hood over him to support his head and to shade him. It was lovely to be able to chat to people and even eat a burger knowing he was content and secure, much more relaxing than having to carry him in my arms. Brandon is the more nosy of the two so I have used the front outward carry with him when we went to have a picnic in a gorgeous park. They had some beautiful walled gardens to visit and he was able to see everything and touch the flowers as we walked around.
I love the freedom it has given us this summer. We’ve done things that we wouldn’t ordinarily have done if we would have had to take a double pushchair. We spent a whole afternoon at a local beach and explored the sculptures they have dotted all along the shore. I was able to paddle in the sea with my eldest as Arthur watched the waves pass under our feet. When the babies are in the carrier they get to experience our outings in a totally different way, seeing things from a different point of view, being able to reach out and feel something as we pass by.
Me and my husband love to walk and one of our favourite walks is to visit a church ruin in our town. Old buildings fascinate us and we love the history behind them. We couldn’t have reached this spot with our double pushchair but with Brandon in the carrier we made it and took some lovely photos while we were there.
All in all the Ergobaby 360 carrier has helped us have a fantastic summer outdoors. We were going to buy a lightweight double pushchair for the twins as they got older but instead I will be buying another Ergobaby. For us it is a better investment; we can just grab two Ergo’s pop them in the car and go on an adventure knowing that we aren’t restricted. Our twins will happily sit in them and watch the world go buy, my husband loves to wear it and my Mum is itching to try it out (I am always wearing ours so she hasn’t had chance yet!) It means we can walk along holding Lucas’ hand freely and easily follow him round a park, visit ruins over hilly ground, make it into shops and cafes that aren’t big enough for a pushchair.
There are more things I want to do this Autumn and I can’t wait to show the twins conkers on the trees and collect the changing leaves. I’ll be using it for our visits to the library and when we have two we are looking forward to ditching the pushchair and going a little further afield. We can catch the train into Liverpool or Manchester and go round the museums. For our family, the freedom is absolutely the best thing about using the Ergobaby carrier but personally I also love having my babies so close, being able to hear their little chatters and squeals as they spot something. I can feel them breathing against me and see their eylids flutter as they start to nod off. They can watch Lucas prowling around them and giggle as he tickles their feet. It has just become a part of our life now and I always pick it up as we leave the house just in case.
Disclaimer – We were sent the Ergobaby 360 carrier free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This box may have just been toy of the week! All three of my boys have spent so much time playing in it and it is still going, although for how much longer I’m not sure. They never keep still so I’ve struggled to get a decent picture of them but I love this one. I’d popped Brandon in it and seeing all the fun he was having Lucas wanted to get in too, he squashed right next to him and the sat wriggling next to each other while Lucas shook the box ready for take off (at this point it was a plane). So much fun to watch the way they all play together with the most ordinary of objects.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Word of the Week, via The Reading Residence, but this week seemed like a perfect time as it’s all been a little quiet on the blog. I think everyone has those periods when things aren’t going quite right, nothing major just a lot of hiccups that kind of throw you off your stride and make you anxious. This year has been crazy and I think that now we are starting to slow down, I’m in a good routine with the kids and I can look back and think just how busy we’ve been. I like to think we’ve done the best we could but having three little ones puts a strain on everything else as you try to muddle though. I had a wobble last week as we haven’t had a fantastic summer, I think my expectations were too high for what we could actually do and I start to worry that we aren’t doing enough ‘fun’ things with the children. That night I sat and looked back through my photos on my phone and realised how silly I was being; as I look back to the photos from February I realise how far we’ve come and as I swipe though them I see smile after smile, I see baking and colouring, bedtime stories and garden picnics, I see my twins holding hands and them up on their hands and knees, Lucas watering the flowers and playing at the park. Every photo holds a special memory (even the one of the twins crying in their high chairs side by side!) and I think we are doing alright.
The twins are eight months now and after me being sure it wouldn’t, it is actually getting easier. In fact I feel like now it is getting that bit easier I can see how crazy it has actually been. To be fair little things make me happy, like being able to sit all the kids at the table for mealtimes without us being sprawled wherever there was surface for a plate. Finally getting a bedtime routine sorted that suits everyone and being able to read a bedtime story to all the boys. Getting out for a walk most days with the boys and feeling like I can manage them and not to mention getting curtains up in our living room after two years!
I guess the whole point of this is that even with all the bumps in the road I have so much to be thankful for, my beautiful children, supportive husband and everyone else who has helped out. I’m thankful for family that have always been there at the end of a phone, who have helped out with frantic bedtimes, visited every week and brought lunch, friends who call in to give me some proper conversation when the house is chaos and I can’t get out, friends who will always tell me I look good when I forgot to brush my hair that morning, thankful to the people who tell us we are doing ok and always thankful for blogging, so many supportive people who see you through with their writing and even come back and read your own ramblings! I didn’t intend for this to be a soppy post but sometimes it helps to put everything in perspective and realise what really makes you happy.
September is one of my favourite months, every year I can’t help but write about how much I love Autumn. It is the season when I feel happiest, most productive and motivated. I have such fond memories Autumn’s; in September 2011 I had just become a stay at home mum, Lucas had just turned one and was off walking, ready to explore. We had so much fun that year, just us two and I have many, many fond memories. Sometimes he looks no different when we are out walking, still in wellies and a rain mac, still collecting the leaves and splashing in the puddles. I can remember that year and see the tiny boy I had wobbling next to me, chasing him everywhere. Now he is a little more reserved but sometimes he will still forget about the rest of the world and let loose. Just today he was picking up the fallen leaves and running along, flapping them like wings. So happy and absorbed in him game, so lovely to just stand back and watch.
Today is the day that you turn three years old. So much has happened this year and you turning three is only the start of more big events in your little world. Within a month you will be starting pre-school; this will be a great adventure for you and one I can see you are ready for. I can only imagine the fun you will have but I still will miss you terribly. This year I have seen so many changes in you, you became a big brother just a few days after Christmas and really you are a natural. You do have occasional moments of less than friendly brotherly feelings but as Arthur and Brandon get older I can see the love between all three of you. You are so kind to them; you will try to make them laugh when they are crying and offer them toys if they can’t reach them. You giggle when they do and you cuddle them while saying ‘my brothers’; you have become so affectionate this year and nothing is sweeter than hearing you say ‘I love you’ and getting one of your rare kisses.
Some parts of this year have also been so challenging and somedays you really have pushed me to the edge, I have no idea how you came to be so stubborn and strong-willed. You will push us to our limits sometimes just to see how far you can go. However, at the end of each night I always go to bed thinking of you. Even on the toughest of days you can make me smile; even if it is me telling your Daddy that you drove me mad! This still makes me smile because that is just you, this feisty little man, so full of emotion and drive. I always say that I am sure you will push us all the way though your childhood, that is just part of who you are and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Your speech has been incredible this year and I am constantly amazed at how much you can now communicate to us. The way you see the world is just fantastic, your imagination runs miles ahead of anything we could envisage but we are lucky enough that you can now explain it to us and we can join in with your games. You still go into hysterics over certain things, the word ‘salad’ seems to be particularly funny at the moment, and we have no idea what you mean!
You always seem to see the good in everyone, and approach people with such friendliness. Only this weekend we visited a playground and you strode right up to a little boy playing and chattered something to him so eager to make a friend. This part of you is so precious and I hope you never lose it.
Lucas what can I say about what you have brought to our lives? Three years ago you arrived to make us a Mummy and a Daddy, to make us a family and this year that family has grown and you have made us so proud as you became a big brother. To be able to say that you are my son is the best feeling in the world; you are unique in so many ways, so full of character. Only three years old and yet I feel like you have always been here. You have been so looking forward to your ‘party day’ and I hope you enjoy the celebrations. You are always happy around people you love and I’m sure it will be a perfect day. And remember, cake for breakfast on your birthday is always acceptable!
Happy Birthday My Sweet
We have tried to make the most of the summer but it hasn’t been easy. The weather hasn’t exactly been on our side and with three little ones to get out and the early stages of potty training some of our summer hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Still I still think we have managed a few fun days both in and out the house and I hope we have made some special memories.
Back at the start of the holidays I wrote about 50 Days of Summer with Robert’s Bakery; we were invited along to Delamere Forest to try out some of their delicious sandwich recipes and I have been using them in our picnics all summer. As well as the recipes I downloaded their pack to give us some inspiration for family fun, in fact I am going to keep some of the ideas for next year as a lot of the them will be great when the boys are a little older. The pack did inspire some of our favourite summer activities; we did manage a water fight in the back garden, some arty fun, plenty of walks, indoor and outdoor picnics and Lucas was treated to a Knowsley Safari Park visit with his Grandparents. One of my favourite ideas from Robert’s Bakery to end the summer is to create a scrapbook! I love this idea, something we can look back over as a family and remember our summer holidays. This would be great to do every year to see what has changed and remember all the places you have visited. There are so many photos I could include but here are some of my favourites. Notice the sun on our photos, it did come out to play occasionally!
You can still download the pack and as September is looking to be a nice month there is still plenty of time to use those picnic recipes. Here is another of our favourites; my husband particularity likes this one!
Traditional cheese sandwiches are high in fat and salt – ours is lower, because the cheese is bulked out with the carrots and other ingredients, so you don’t need so much. The carrots, raisins and sunflower seeds also give you a nutrient boost. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which the body can convert to vitamin A.
8 slices of Roberts 50% White 50% Wholemeal bread
2 medium carrots
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
100g reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
Low-fat olive spread
Combine the carrots, cheese, raisins and sunflower seeds. Split the rolls and spread with low-fat olive spread. Fill with the carrot mixture.
Disclaimer: We were invited along to the event to try out the healthy recipes from the 50 days of summer pack, all opinions are always my own.
I love weekends when there are no plans and you are just free to take the days at your own pace. This Bank Holiday weekend we hadn’t planned to do anything but I had a few leaflets for local happenings so I thought we’d just see what we fancied doing as the mood took us. Quite close to us is a lovely little park with a National Wildflower Centre attached (I must get here in spring next year as it looks beautiful) they run all sorts of events over the summer and this weekend they were hosting an Artisan Market. Never one to pass up a bit of moochy shopping and the gleeful amounts of cake that are usually at these kind of things, we went to check it out on Sunday afternoon. We are lucky that Lucas is at that age now when he will generally walk and hold our hand so we don’t have to chase him everywhere and we took the single buggy and our Ergo baby carrier to make it a little easier to get around.
It was the nicest day of the whole weekend and we had a lovely time pottering around, looking at the stalls and sampling the wares. I like going to markets and chatting to the people; they are so creative and outgoing and obviously have such a passion for their trade. I loved the man who used old 70′s comics to create the most amazing, photo frames, cufflinks, coasters and so much more. We spent quite a while there and couldn’t resist a Wolverine coaster. The letters in frames to hang on walls are fantastic, if you want to pop by his page and say hello it’s iloveupcycle. I also loved a lady who had the prettiest little handsewn baby clothes, Keksiä Kids, they were adorable. I wish I knew more girls to buy for as the dresses were so cute. Of course I couldn’t leave without cake, two amazing brownies from Treats Bake Shop and delcious muffins from The Muffin Mistress. I wish I had got a picture of Natalie Spencer Designs stall as they had the most beautiful cushions and pictures for children; very unique.
Sometimes it’s so easy to just go the the big stores when shopping but I’m going to try and make more of an effort to go to these small markets, especially when shopping for gifts. There are so many great quality products and it’s nice to know you are supporting a small local business. The boys were really good all day; there was plenty going on for them to nosy at; a steady supply of food kept them happy as well as a quick trip to the playground. All in all a great family day out and one I would happily do again.
I didn’t receive anything for writing this post – we just had a lovely family day out and I wanted to share some fantastic local businesses!