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Articles tagged with: Family

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #17 'Early Evening Picnics'

on Sunday, 26 April 2015.

We are a massive picnic family.  Anything that saves us washing up is always a hit in our books, but more than that, my girls' seem to think that eating on a blanket on the floor is really exciting.  We often have carpet picnics on a weekend, where we eat our lunch on the floor of the living room, but now Spring is officially here we have already managed to squeeze in two picnics outside- we really do all love them.

Mr E and I are still getting used to working alongside each other, it's been less than a month, but so far it is going really well.  The change, although huge and very scary, has been absolutely wonderful for our family.  It's great that he can be a lot more flexible than when he was working for another company, so on the odd occasion he has finished early to allow me to get more work done on a day I don't normally work, or helped with childcare if I have needed to pop out somewhere.  But above all we are just a team and we share and work together nicely.  And of course, sometimes working for ourselves can be wonderful when it comes to other things as well.

On Tuesday's the girls' go to nursery all day, it's their one day of the week that they do a full day.  But last Tuesday the sun was shining and we both decided to finish work a little earlier so we could go together and pick them up a little earlier than usual.  Both of them were really excited to see both of us there, normally I drop off and Mr E picks up or vice versa, but we stopped at the shop on route for essentials and then headed over to their nursery.  We then told them we were off for an early evening picnic to which they both so happy about, it really is the littlest things sometimes that make them smile the most.  We parked up at a little bit of open greenery near where we live, and armed with Peppa Pig cupcakes and other yummy treats, we headed off to find the perfect picnic spot.

The sun was setting and the light was gorgeous, and I took these few photos on my iPhone.  I sat eating my pasta salad and watched my two girls laughing and giggling together, sharing their food, and chatting about what they had got up to at nursery that day, and I honestly felt a real feeling of contentment.  There's been lots of big changes in our family recently and we are both working so hard, sometimes I don't feel like we ever switch off, and it can make me feel stressed and on edge.  Working from home and for yourself appears to be amazing on the outside, and for the most part it really is, but it can be hard to find that work/life balance and it can be tough at times.  But as I sat there on our picnic blanket watching my little family relaxing and having fun, it really brought home to me exactly why we do it.

For us.

For our family.

 To be able to be spend time with these girls and watch them grow.  

And to enjoy the most simplest of ordinary moments.

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My Sisters in April 2015.....

on Wednesday, 15 April 2015.

I had every good intention to get my 'big camera' out and take some shots of my sister's this month, but somehow here we are on the 15th and I left it right till the last minute. Of course I take photos of my girls constantly, but I like to try and take some photos specifically of them each month.  It's been a busy few weeks for us, we have been on a weekend to Bristol, had a lovely long Easter weekend, and been adjusting to a slightly new routine after putting our girl's in the same bedroom.

I was so nervous about putting Mads and LL into a joint bedroom, as well as being nervous about putting LL into a 'big girl bed' for the first time.  Don't get me wrong, it's not gone perfectly, but overall they have adjusted so well to being in a room together. They have been going to sleep a little later, which was inevitable really, but mainly due to the fact that they are up there chattering away. In actual fact it's very sweet listening to them giggling and having a conversation with each other, although a couple of times we have had to go up there and tell them to quieten down. Other than that though, it's going well so far and LL hasn't once tried to get out of her big girl bed- mainly due to us barricading her in with a cushion and a bed guard!

They are already as close as can be, they really do have the most special bond, and it's a truly wonderful thing to watch. They look out for each other, comfort each other if one of them is sad, and constantly want to be snuggled up next to each other. The other day I went to pick them up from nursery, it was a sunny day and so they were all outside in the garden. Obviously they are in different classes so their respective outside play areas are separated by a fence. For a minute I couldn't see either of them, but eventually I found them both hugging each other through the fence- it was the sweetest thing to see. Apparently if they ever bump into each other at nursery or have to go in the same room for whatever reason, then LL cries when she has to leave her big sister. I hope they keep that bond forever.

But at the same time of course they argue. LL is becoming more communicative every day, in fact her speech has exploded over the last week or so, although she doesn't pronounce words properly yet, she really is trying to say as much as she can. With this new found talking, comes more arguing from my two sister's- they bicker like a pair of old hens throughout the day- mainly over the iPad or their Toy Story characters, or any other toy. Mads is really very accomodating and will often 'give in' to LL, she is so sweet with her, but LL is more of a madam and often expects to get her own way- we hope this is just her age! 

Although just iPhone photos from me this month, I do like these photos. Their new bunk bed is still so exciting for them- they love to sit up on the top bunk and read books or play with their toys. LL of course needs lifting up there, but once they are up there they have a great time snuggling together. So I snapped some photos while we were reading a story at bedtime- most of the time we read together on our bed, but occasionally they will ask us to read on their bed.

They are a little blurry but I love how happy my sister's look...

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My favourite one!

 

*****
This month I am sending you over to have a look at have a look at Carie's blog- her three little people are guaranteed to make you smile as they do me every month!  

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #15 'The Day A Cycle Helmet Made Me Cry.'

on Sunday, 12 April 2015.

As I write this, my heart is beating a little quicker than normal, and my eyelashes are still wet with tears.  Mr E is downstairs preparing a risotto for us all to have for dinner, I am sat in our office supposedly working, and I have two little girls chattering together in the top bunk of their bunk bed, oblivious to the way they have made us feel this afternoon.  

It's late Friday afternoon and a couple of hours earlier Mads happened to spot some of the older children on our street playing out on their bikes.  She has always had a curious fascination with the two little girls who live next to us, as younger children often do with bigger kids, but bar a shy wave or hello if we happen to cross paths outside our front door, that has been it.  I don't know why but this afternoon she asked to go and play on her bike outside with them, and two other older boys who live across the road from us too.  She has never asked us before and being that she has only just turned four we said that she could, but that she couldn't go outside without us being there.

So we duly popped her little cycle helmet on, got out her bike and scooter, and Mr E pottered around our front garden pretending to weed, all the while watching her.  I was supposed to be working, but I stood at the window and I got the strangest feeling in the pit of my stomach.  A feeling of absolute pride watching her out there interacting with children a good few years older than her, a feeling of nostalgia remembering doing that very thing myself when I was a little girl, a feeling of nerves about the fact that she still isn't completely wise to dangers of cars or roads, but mainly a feeling of sadness about just how fast she is growing up.  My eyes filled with tears and I stood there blinking them away.

I watched Mr E lean down and talk to them all and I heard Mads say 'I am playing with the big boys and girls Daddy' while she was stood next to them.  At four, she is completely innocent, she isn't yet at that stage where she was embarrassed that her Daddy was outside watching her.  She said again excitedly 'I am playing with our neighbours' and they all chatted to Mr E while I watched on at the window.  After a while I went outside myself and sat on the doorstep with LL on my lap.   Watching our little girl riding up and down the street, with the retro ribbons on her handlebars very much the same as I had as a child, and her little helmet wobbling unsteadily on her head made me get butterflies in my tummy.  She had the biggest, most innocent smile on her face and above all she just looked so proud of herself.  Her cheeks were flushed red with excitement and she cycled along on the pavement while they all cycled on the road, as we told her she needed to keep on the path.  None of the other children had a cycle helmet on, to be fair we live in a cul-de-sac and although traffic can whizz round the corner, it's not really like you need to wear a helmet.  But Mads, our little girl, she always wears that blue and pink helmet- she's so very proud of it.  And now that helmet made her appear so little and small compared to her peers.    

After an hour or so, we told her it was time to come in, and she started to cry.  Big, fat tears rolled down her face and her bottom lip trembled as she told us she didn't want to. She did it in front of her new found friends, she doesn't yet have that filter that makes her realise that there are some things you don't do in public, melt downs over nothing being one of them.  She was so desperate to stay out but eventually we got her inside.  We stood in the kitchen and all of a sudden LL came up to her with her favourite toy 'Baa' and held it out for her to cuddle.  She said 'Here are Mads', she knew her big sister was sad and she wanted to make her feel better.

I don't know what came over me but I just burst into tears.  The feeling of experiencing this first milestone, combined with the tenderness in which LL gave Mads her toy, reduced me to sniffling like a baby.  I hugged Mr E and said to him 'I bet you think I am so silly', fully expecting him to proclaim that yes I was indeed a complete crazy person. But to my surprise he said 'I feel entirely the same away- I am not ready for this just yet.'  Indeed, now I am writing this some time later after they have both gone to sleep, Mr E and I have been chatting about it, and I am surprised just how much this small thing has got to him.  He says he feels very emotional about it all- about the prospect of learning to give her that little bit of freedom, of the worry, about the fact that his little girl is growing up so quickly.  

I know that it's probably a little pathetic to get so worked up about her playing outside on the street where we live, but I was just filled with so many emotions.  I still am to be honest.  There's no parenting rule book for this kind of thing and it just took us by suprise a little.  I'm so nervous about all the stages yet to come- teaching her that the world isn't always a lovely place, that there are people that could hurt her.  That not everyone is as kind and as beautiful inside as she is.  I am so sad about her losing that innocence, that pure child like innocence- the way she is proud of her Daddy stood there watching her, the way that she ran to me and hugged me because she was just so damn excited to be playing with the 'big boys and girls'.  

Until now, all our playdates and all her friendships have been closely monitored by us.  The little friends that she has made are mainly due to me being friends with their Mum's- they are chums of circumstance more than anything else.  It sounds ridiculous, but I also worry who she will become friends with at school when we are not there to influence it.  No mother wants their children to be friends with 'those kind of children' or worse still, have your child be the one that other parents are wary of.  The other day we were in the park and I was watching a group of three girls- they must have been about 11 or 12 and they looked so grown up.  They were wearing clothes that I would even wear, or perhaps a couple of years ago I would, their hair was styled in top knots and I am pretty sure they were wearing makeup.  They were playing on a roundabout and it struck me how they were so on the cusp of leaving childhood behind- they looked like teenagers and I overheard them on a couple of occasions about boys, but at the same time they were giggling loudly and freely as they held hands and tried to keep their balance.  That innocence of childhood and that beauty of childhood seems to be getting lost much earlier than when I was younger, I dread to think what it will be like in another ten years.

I'm not ready to let her go and while I know, yes she wil always be my baby, I am going to have let her go and become the little girl she was meant to be without me at her side constantly.  September brings her first year at school and a whole new set of milestones.  She's completely ready, but I am not.  I don't want this stage to be over.  I am not ready to leave these days behind.  I know that there's a lot of excitement to come but that doesn't mean I don't feel painfully sentimental about the fact that my little girl is growing up so quickly.  Bizarrely just this afternoon I bumped into the midwife that was there throughout my pregnancy with Mads.  It seemed like yesterday that I last saw her.  She will have seen countless babies born since then, each special and the most amazing gift to their parents.  Each and every one brand new and ready to start their story.

Leaving the hospital for the first time, the first mouthful of food, and the first steps are just different parts of their story.  The story of their childhood.  As is the first time they proudly forget their shyness and play outside on their street with their new found friends.  I did that, way back in the first few chapters of my own.  It's nothing out of the ordinary, it's just another ordinary milestone and moment ticked off the list, something that will happen on many, many occasions...

It's just another ordinary moment that as a parent feels so very bittersweet.  But to a little girl who has talked of nothing but playing out with her new friends, 'the big children' since she came in, to a little girl who has gone to bed with a bit of a spring in her step and a new found air of confidence and above all to a little girl who is feeling so proud and that little bit more grown up than she did when she went to bed the day before- well to her it's the most exciting of moments indeed.

playing outside for the first time

Our Long Easter Weekend 2015...

on Wednesday, 08 April 2015.

The long weekend that everyone looks forward to each year has been and gone.  Ours this year was pretty low key and relaxed, having been to Bristol the weekend before we didn't plan any days out.  The weather wasn't great, but the sun came out just at the right minute for obligatory egg hunts and fun, and above all it was just nice to relax and see family.  

It was one of those weekends that felt really chilled out- we stayed in our PJ's until lunchtime one morning, I took the girls out to see friends so Mr E could get some work done, we ate our body weight in chocolate, and we made lots of memories with family.  My Grandparents from Shropshire came down to stay with my Dad, we love visiting them and I truly treasure the moments that we spend together.  We usually also go for lunch with my other Grandparents who live locally but they are in Italy at the moment so Easter Sunday was spent at my Mum's house just a few minutes from where we live. 

I switched off from work and blogging which was just lovely.  Mr E and I have become obsessed with this TV program called The Fall- it's a crime drama set in Belfast about a serial killer and a detective, and it is just absolutely gripping.  Definitely the best thing we have watched in so long, and we spent all the weekend evenings watching it- sadly we have nearly got to the end of Series Two already.  

Here is our weekend in photos and a little video...

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 On Friday we had a surprise date night as we got a babysitter right at the last minute.  We went for pizza and a few drinks, and it was a really lovely evening.

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On Saturday we went to my Dad's to see my Grandparents.  Every time we leave we take a photo of the girls and them.  As I take them I always get tears in my eyes, I find it so incredibly special to see my 93 year old Grandpa, my 89 year old Nana and my babies together.  

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 I truly truly treasure these moments.

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I am a pretty emotional person at the best of times, but these photos are so special to me.  Every time we see my Grandparents I send them a card afterwards with the photos we have taken and I know they take pride of place on the mantelpiece.

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We did some baking on Saturday afternoon- we made a chocolate, vanilla and mini egg cheesecake, it was delicious and we wolfed it down on Sunday at my Mums house.

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We woke up on Sunday morning and had a special pancake breakfast- the girls absolutely loved these bunny pancakes.  It's definitely the simple things that make them smile the most sometimes.

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Two little bunnies for my two little ladies.

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We went over to my Mum's for a delicious Easter lunch and of course the obligatory Easter egg hunt.

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We got one of those egg hunt kits from Tescos and there were lots of small eggs and one large golden egg to find.  Mads was SO excited that she was the one to find the gold egg.

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Loot.

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It was so lovely to watch them running around with such excitement on their faces.

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My grown up looking Easter bunny.

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She loved tottering around with her little basket but she kept dropping the eggs out and leaving a trail behind her.

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Oops.  Cue major panic.

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Happy bunnies counting their treasure.

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'Look what I got Mummy!'

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On Monday we went round to my Dad's again to say bye to my Grandparents.  The sun came out and we chilled out in the garden for a bit.

 


And here is a video of our Easter weekend...

 

 

It was a relaxing, happy and fun family weekend- sometimes doing very little is actually the times I treasure the most.  Why can't every weekend be a bank holiday? 

 

Check out our previous long Easter weekends here....

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