‘You have brains in your head,
You have feet in your shoes,
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.’
It seems as though it was only yesterday that we were stashing school jumpers and book bags into the boot of my car and heading off for celebratory end of term ice creams and now we are bundling ourselves up in raincoats and heading back there again.
This summer I have loved being at home with the kids and I was so sad this morning when I knew I would be waving them off for another year. Don’t get me wrong, they were definitely ready for some structure and routine and to see their friends again and they both really enjoy being at school (for the most part…) but it was sad to think that yet another year has flashed on by.
Meg is now in the juniors which means a whole other playground, on the other side of the school. It means walking herself into school in the morning and walking out to meet me at the end of the day. It means me trusting that she won’t get an idea into her head and go off a-wandering. I’m sure she is more than ready for the responsibility; I just don’t know whether this mama is ready to give it to her yet!
I am interested to see how Eli will fare now that he doesn’t have his big sister on the playground with him either; he spent a lot of time last year in her shadow, knowing that he could always rely on her to be there and although I think it will be for the best, for him, I think we are in for a bit of a ride over the next few weeks as the reality of that really sinks in.
I carried on with my yearly tradition this year and I was surprised that Eli’s answer hadn’t changed and interested to see that Meg’s had. Her first year she wanted to become a doctor because she had experienced something quite horrendous at A&E just a few weeks before and had taken it into her head that she wanted to be a doctor so that other children wouldn’t be hurt. But we’ve known for a long time that she has always wanted to work with animals and I am intrigued about whether this will be a long standing dream that she has.
Eli says ‘builder’ when he really means ‘engineer’ as he wants to work with James when he gets older. If James is still working of course *cough*
So there we are, another new year.
I am looking forward to autumn, to curling up under blankets and reading when it’s raining outside, to clearing out the house and getting ready for a new season, to planning our holiday which is just 7 weeks away and to having an excuse to bring out all of my snuggly grey knitted jumpers as well! Oh, and a bit of peace and quiet during the day.
I have so little to update you on for the fourth week of our summer adventures. For the first time ever the kids attended a summer camp which ran Monday-Thursday and lasted pretty much all day. Meg attended a dance themed camp and Eli went to a football one (no gender stereotypes here…) and although they both loved it, I found it a lot harder than I thought I would.
It was held in this huge secondary school, just less than 20 miles from our home and parents said goodbye at the front door, leaving their children for the entire day. I felt like this was such a big step; probably quite similar to school for the kids in that they had to self-manage their belongings and their lunch etc but a huge deal for me; entrusting the care of my children to people I didn’t really know for a whole four days!!
After a little weep on the first morning, and after they came out that first day chattering away about how much fun they had both had, I gained a little bit more confidence. But still, it was a pretty big thing for this mama.
However, what the week did give me was the chance to catch up with all the freelance work which I had been putting to one side, so although I didn’t get to enjoy any adventures and I did miss the kids (shhh don’t tell them!) I did manage to get a whole heap of work done which was a good feeling. And it was quite nice to have the chance to recharge as well for the final one and a bit weeks before the kids go back to school.
Over the weekend we managed to tick some more things off our summer bucket list too (more on that in September) when my brother and sister in law came to visit and we spent the day at Southport Pier playing tourists. We went to the arcade, had fish and chips at the seafront, walked along the pier eating doughnuts and generally just had a brilliant time.
Sunday we headed down to see my parents who live in the East Midlands, although it is just me and the kids as James had to head back to work after the bank holiday (boo) and he’ll be coming back to collect us later this week. We’ve had a lot of fun though and the sun has decided to show up for an almost last hurrah which is fab.
So a bit of a different week for us this week. When we head back home it will be last minute rushing to buy school shoes, label new uniform and make sure that everyone is squeaky clean and ready for the start of the new school term. But I know I am certainly not ready for the kids to go back yet!
I feel as though the summer holidays are shooting by so quickly and I have done a terrible job at keeping the blog updated. I think in part the last week has something to do with it; we went from brutally awful weather to glorious sunshine and I wanted to get out of the house and really make the most of it.
Well, that’s my excuse anyway.
I am still caught up in the balancing act between spending time with the kids and getting my freelance work done. I managed to reduce the load right down but there are still times when I find myself at my desk, wishing I was in the garden watching Meg and Eli play.
They need me so much less now but I’d still love to make myself a part of their games if I could!
So following on from our (rather wet) adventures in Wales we took things at a slower pace for the first few days. James was back at work and everyone else was a bit grumpy and tired so we tended to just mooch around the house and the garden.
We did venture out to the beach on one of the days and despite the horrible weather with gale-force winds the kids did still venture out into the sea. As Meg told me, ‘it’s what wellies are for Mum.’ Rightio.
Possibly the only highlight of getting blasted in the face by grains of sand and having my hair whipped into a salt-tainted frenzy was the fact that I got to see a red squirrel for the first time since we moved up north. Hurray!
Then we had the stunning weather we had so hoped for and that saw plenty of water play in the garden.
We had a lovely day out exploring Tatton Park in Cheshire.
And the Martin Mere Wetland Centre.
The rain is back now of course, typically, so we’ve ended the week with a visit to another trampoline park. This one was a little further away and bigger than the last one we went to but the kids still had a really good time and although it was busier than we had hoped, the hour seems to last for ages and they do really get worn out by it.
And what else is there to do when you’ve exhausted yourself on a trampoline and the rain is still hammering down on the window? Movies and treats!
The summer is undoubtedly a hectic period and it’s difficult to find time to sit down and gather together all my thoughts on the things we have been up to. It’s also more difficult to find a spare moment to myself with six weeks to fill for Meg and Eli too!
Usually I drop off the grid a little bit on the blog and I know that others in the community do likewise as we all go adventuring and memory-making but I’m going to try and be a little better and at least give you a snapshot into what we have been getting up to. I might forget for a week or two but do pop back and there will almost certainly be something for you to see.
If not, then my Instagram account is the place to catch up with us over the summer as I will regularly be found over there. Do pop by and say hello.
But onto the first week! It was kind of a cheat week as the kids were still at school on Monday and Tuesday so I had a bit more time to rush around getting all kinds of last minute bits and pieces done and preparing for the start of the holidays.
We’ve had a few slow mornings which have been perfect; after the longest school term it has been truly blissful to not have to rush uniform and breakfast and finding reading and homework books but to just take things at our own pace.
Of course Eli is such a high energy boy that we couldn’t spend all day at home so we have also tried to combine movie watching and chilling out with some time outside as well. We spent the first day in the pinewoods near to our home; one of our favourite places to be and it’s always so quiet.
We saw, literally one other person the whole time we were out and although it was clouding over when we first set out, the sun soon showed up and we spent hours just running through the woods, up and down the dunes and generally having a merry old time.
The kids favourite game at the moment is Harry Potter so I just found myself a comfortable tree stump and read whilst they scurried about pretending to be in the Forbidden Forest.
We also took advantage of a summer offer and headed to our local Trampoline Park; we couldn’t have chosen a better day either as it rained for almost the entire morning.
In and amongst all the busyness there was even time to go and meet a very special new addition to the family. I tried to leave my broodiness at the door but really…it was very difficult!
I hope that you are enjoying the summer break as much as we are!
One of the things I love about where we live is the fact that we have so many great outdoor spaces at our disposal. There is the beach just a short drive away, the estuary, plenty of countryside and woodland to explore as well. And there are so many places that we haven’t even discovered yet!
One of these places was a Fairy Glen which we have driven past a number of times but have never managed to get round to visiting so when we were at a loose end on Sunday afternoon we decided to finally give it a go.
What a wonderful place to have discovered!
There was a lovely little stream which followed alongside the path and was the perfect place for the kids to wade; if the weather had been a bit nicer it’s definitely the kind of place you could brave bare toes but unfortunately it was just a bit too muddy; it didn’t stop Eli splashing and wading in his wellies and he ended up very wet by the end of our walk.
We came across a waterfall and decided to divert from the main path a little bit; this led to lots of exciting ‘exploration’ where the kids ran ahead and tried to find our way back and guessed which way we needed to go.
I think we probably actually got a little bit lost as there were some definite hairy moments but this just added to the sense of adventure for Meg and Eli.
Pepper was also in her element although she ended up so muddy that she had to be forced into the water before we left. As strange as it seems, she is a dog who does not enjoy water so this would a feat in and of itself!
One of the things I particularly enjoyed was our ongoing discussion about where the fairies might be…it was a fairy glen after all! We came across this huge rock face which had water dripping down from somewhere…cue lots of discussion about this being the place where fairies come to drink; I love the imagination of children.
James also had a pretty good time, taking the kids out into the water and showing them points of interest in the surrounding environment. I think it might be safe to say that he had as much fun as they did at some points.
This has to be one of our favourite finds in the local area and we will definitely be returning to see what else we can find in the near future.
Perhaps we’ll bring some spare clothes next time though for this little boy who is very drawn to mud, grime and getting wet!