A couple of weeks ago we bought a new picnic basket and blanket (one that was big enough for all of us to sit on). We have been waiting for the weather to brighten up ever since. The children were so excited to enjoy a picnic together that the first sign of a sunny afternoon and we had packed up the car to go enjoy a picnic on the beach near Nana’s house in Lytham.
The weather was very windy last week (as I’m sure most of you experienced) and at the beach with nothing to shelter you it did take the edge off the warmth. The children didn’t mind this, as they were wrapped up and running around playing. Nana & Grandad weren’t so sure but were brilliant coming along anyway to enjoy the children’s first picnic on the beach of the year.
We had raided the local Booths of all things chocolatey, made some yummy ham and cheese sandwiches (the children’s favourites) took some cherry tomatoes and diluted some cordial. The beach is literally 5 minutes walk (10 with teeny legs) from my parents house as they live just off the road that runs parallel to the promenade and I’m so looking forward to this Summer with James only working down the road. We intend to go with Daddy to work every sunny day and go hang out with Nana by the beach before Judah starts pre-school in September.
It was great down at the beach, because it was windy, there was no-one else sitting there. A few dog walkers, runners, cyclists going past but we pretty much had the run of the place to ourselves. We enjoyed our picnic and then the children had fun running around and playing. Eden was in a ridiculously chatty mood. I’ve never heard her talk so much. She must have just felt extremely happy. It was lovely, she had us all chuckling as her chatter didn’t stop.
I feel very grateful to have such by DeleteAd” href=”#29741380″> beauty so local and accessible, especially with us not having a second car yet. It means that yeah, our Bucket List adventures may have come to a halt for a while (not that we can’t get around with public transport, it’s just not as easy with two toddlers), but we can spend a Summer by the sea.
It has been such a lovely month having time with the children all together. 20 days we had them all together for in the end, and it was amazing. They really bonded so well, Judah has struggled a bit since but it won’t be long until the girls are back again. There still were not many times that I was able to get the camera out and try and capture them all together though.
Eden is now crawling every chance that she gets, she wriggles off in the hopes for food she can scavenge usually. Judah will never really look at the camera, but the girls bless them, the girls are always ready to pose. So, we just need to spend more time making sure that we take Eden out of the pram and try to capture moments where all four of them can be in front of the camera. I’m sure taking part in this project will feel easier when they’re all that little bit older and I can tell them where to stand (and stay) if they want to get some chocolate *chuckles.*
So this picture above, the first one I took of the four of them at the start of our 18 Days (that turned into 20) of Summer remains my favourite for the Siblings shoot this month. I love how all of their clothes kind of match, even though it was completely unplanned. I had just collected the girls from their Mums so they were wearing the clothes they had gone back in the Sunday before. I love how they are all relaxed and giggling happy. It marks the start of a beautiful season for us all.
I look forward to many more beautiful photos of our precious minions as this monthly Siblings project unfolds.
So as you will know if you’ve been reading we had our beautiful girls for 18 Days but due to our whereabouts (down South) and their Mum travelling to where we were a day and a half after we would’ve had ‘hand over’ we thought it made sense to keep the girls down with us a little bit longer. So, we changed our plans, sorted it out with the girls Mum who of course was missing them but could see it made sense for the girls not to do the long journey twice more than was needed. This meant we got to have an extra full day with the girls. Hence this last post to tag along with our 18 Days of Summer.
As we had failed to make it to the museum the day before (it was closed) we planned to venture out that way again later in the day. Shayla and I had been out in the morning for our stepMummy and Daughter time which you will have seen on last weeks ‘Just the 2 of us‘ post. We hadn’t gone anywhere though before we had spent time choosing which hairstyles they wanted from the cute girls hairstyles app again:
Shayla chose the ‘running braid’ which was fantastic for the following day too. Both of them looked great when they’d been messing in the water for a while as well.
On our way to the museum we found an exquisite little fabric shop that had the most gorgeous fabric swatches. We bought some to create bunting for their school sports bags that we’re making, you’ll see more about that in a future post, some cute buttons, gift tags for the thank you biscuits that we made later in the day.
The children loved it in the museum, it made me laugh though. Why do children always go straight to do something they could’ve done at home?
There were ready made templates of flowers and cats etc. on the tables for the children to draw around and scissors provided to cut them out with. This was a nifty little idea, and one I intend to use. I have some card that I will make some templates out of for our craft time, probably more like Peppa Pig and Minions from Despicable Me, but it will rescue me having to stop what I’m doing to draw them all the time *winks*.
Eden was much happier once we were outside and back in the sunshine, we headed to the beach, not before picking up supplies to make biscuits first.
We headed to the splash pad again, as they had enjoyed it so much on James’ birthday. It was lovely to see them all running around and having fun. It makes my heart smile.
As we all walked back down the prom I felt sad knowing that tomorrow they would leave. I also feel so proud seeing all my family together, I feel so blessed to have my hands so full. I just wished we could all swan around Worthing forever in the sunshine and never return to real life, but alas, that cannot be so. I’m sure many of us wish this at some point, not always about Worthing *chuckles* but when it’s been one of ‘those’ holidays that you just don’t want to come back from.
When we got home I made them sausage and tomato pasta, ‘my favourite’ Shayla said with delight, as we had been talking earlier about her favourite food. She seemed shocked that I remembered and we were having it *bless.* It’s the little things that matter to 4 year olds.
I didn’t want them to go to bed so we made our thank you biscuits which you can read all about here. It was the perfect day, I loved hanging out with all of them. It was really special even though we didn’t really do much at all. I want to remember days like this forever, and it makes me grateful to be able to blog about it.
What was your favourite day this Summer? Is there a specific holiday that stands out when you look back that you wish had never ended?
It has taken me a couple of days to be able to write this post. Wednesday morning the girls mum and partner came to collect them from James’ parents house whilst we were down in Worthing. This is not too unusual although it is usually myself doing all the drop offs to them and usually when we’re all at home (up North).
Pick ups and drop offs have become a normal part of our blended family life, but normally we haven’t had the girls for nearly 20 whole days. The girls were very excited to see their Mum after so long of course, but also sad for our time to end. Emma was down for her sisters wedding so we exchanged in the part of the world where she and James had been a couple. We were so excited the girls were going to be bridesmaids. They haven’t seen this side of their family much as they’ve been living up in Preston since before Shayla was born. It was all very exciting.
When they left, Judah was confused, we had all been conversing in the front garden and then they left. He just stood there not understanding where they had gone and why he wasn’t going. He has seen Emma’s face many times before but this time he was confused. I don’t know how it works in the mind of a 2 year old, but it was almost like he’d forgotten a time where they weren’t around all the time.
I brought him to the house, cuddled him on the sofa and just sobbed. I had always said to James loving the girls as my own and marrying someone who already had children from a previous relationship wasn’t as massive an issue to me until we had a child of our own. The fact that the girls live split lives is not ideal, but it is unavoidable. They need to see their Dad and they need to see their Mum. Judah’s pain at also having a split life by default seems so much more unfair. That’s why (although we had stopped trying when Eden was conceived after I had miscarried again) we had wanted to have two close together. The girls are each other’s constants as they go between both homes and I wanted Judah to have someone who didn’t leave. It was like he understood this too. He left my side to sit beside Eden and gave her a kiss on the head. My heart wrenched. They had each other but I could see he was sad.
The silence was deafening. I never realised how constant noise for 20 days could become normal and once the incessant chatter of the girls was no longer there, it just seemed so still, almost eerily. Very unnatural all of a sudden as we returned back to four from six. The six we had been for our 18 Days of Summer (and a cheeky bit extra). I was reminded how blessed the girls are as I sat there sobbing, to have so many people in their lives that love them so much. I guess it’s a good problem to have.
Our ‘normal’ is constantly evolving but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We do the best we can with what we have at each given time. We strive to keep the children and their needs above our own, it helps when potential rows can arise between ‘us and them’ and prevents us from even becoming ‘us and them’ as we all work together to do what’s right for the girls, and James and I remember to focus on how it can least negatively affect Judah and Eden too.
Judah hasn’t quite been himself since they left, but he will adjust as we return to our routine. The girls will have been bridesmaids today and I’m very excited to hear about it. I know they will have lots to tell us when we see them next week.
So today should’ve been our final day as our big blended family for the summer holidays, but we managed to extend for a day and a half. The girls now go back on what would be Day 20 in the morning. I have so enjoyed having this time, and I would have the girls all the time but of course they would miss their mum too much. They haven’t mentioned her since Day 10, but I think that’s because they know in their head that this is coming to an end and they will see her soon. I am starting to really worry now about how it will affect Judah when they go back. We let him drift off to sleep in their bed before moving him across for the last 2 nights, the first night Shayla and him were holding hands and tonight he was hugging her when James went to bring him back to our room. I am now thinking this was a big mistake, it will just make it harder for him when they leave *sniffs*.
Today the battery for the DSLR was left on charge so the pictures we snapped were taken on James’ iphone, so apologies for the quality, but these are our memories. We had a relaxed morning, Isis caught up on reading this blog, I like that it increases her vocabulary, she will ask me what words mean and then I catch her using them in sentences throughout the day *winks*, educational as well as editorial content. Of course the girls chose their cute girls hairstyle again:
and Isis went for the beach look with her already wavy locks…
I wanted to buy some sea salt spray (I fancy the Lee Stafford one) to encourage their natural waves to have more definition and stay throughout the day, but we didn’t really make it to a chemist that would stock it today. I will stock up before we get the girls again. Shayla’s hair just needs a little bit of water and it’s curly, but Isis’ hair is very straight, the only way I’ve EVER been able to get AND KEEP it curly was when I had her sleep in rags, which was the best way anyway as there’s no heat involved. I’m sure the sea salt spray will help it have that beach wave look.
We sat and watched some television whilst the babies napped and got ourselves ready for when they awoke. Eden woke first so we made sure that she ate some lunch at that time, then when Judah woke, we all got out of the house as quickly as we could so as to not waste the day. We had planned to go to McDonald’s for them to have happy meals and then go to the museum. We went to McDonald’s but when we arrived at the museum, it was closed *sighs*. Open 10-5 Tuesday to Saturday. Of course we had ventured there on a Monday. So, I tell the girls, we’ll come back tomorrow and we ventured just a little bit further to the soft play centre around the corner.
Children LOVE soft-play centres, us as parents usually do not. I like it when I can go and join in ie. with Judah, I have a great excuse, but with a baby too that doesn’t really happen anymore. They all had a great time, James and I discussed how extortionate it was. Eden practiced her standing, she cruised around a little as well, I was very shocked at how strong her little legs are becoming. However, I don’t think I would encourage this anywhere else as she did bash her little face as she crumpled a few times, not that she even flinched as it was all padded, but at home she would have certainly injured herself. Good tip to remember that babies can practice cruising at soft-play centres.
The girls were off doing far too thrilling things to stop and be photographed, plus they were usually surrounded by other children as they all shot through the older side like they were on ‘the eliminator’ assault course from Gladiators.
After the soft-play centre we perused some shops and then went for ice-cream before heading back to our holiday home (James’ parents). It was nearly 7pm now so we all just had a quick pizza dinner and hung out watching TV in bed together before they went off to sleep. I love the ordinary moments such as these, where we don’t do anything particularly special but I know that they will remember feeling secure and loved as we all just piled around the one bed watching TV together.
Tomorrow we will attempt the museum again and we’ve all been nominated for the ice-bucket challenge. I was hoping to avoid carrying this out but the children are very excited and so we must comply. We will do this in the evening and then have nice warm baths afterwards.
Ok, so I was feeling really pleased that we seemed to have gotten over the worst of the potty training, but the last few days, I guess things have been hectic and we’ve not been as focused on Judah. Today is day 18 of our 18 Days of Summer and it has been pretty full on for him as opposed to when we just spend most of our day pottering around at home and he has a bare bum and his potty around all the time.
He has done so well this last week considering we forgot to bring a potty down with us and he’s been going on the toilet but we have had more accidents in this last few days than we’ve had since we started put together. Not that it’s a lot, there are still more successes than accidents, but in comparison to how he was doing, definite regression. Today I bought a little step for him from Babylove in Worthing, they have lovely clothes and a great selection of all sorts of accessories, everything you could need for babies and toddlers. Although Judah was having a little strop because I wouldn’t buy him another pair of wellies (to be honest, I would’ve bought him them had he not been tantrumming and asked nicely) and they didn’t have a time machine for me to fast forward to when he’s four, so they don’t have everything you could want, but most things *winks*.
I’m hoping with a little step to help him be able to just take himself to the loo now that this will be helpful, also in a couple of days we’ll be travelling home and we’ll be able to resume his normal routine. He has loved this time with his sisters and I will be so sad for him when they go back to the ‘other mummy’s’ especially as he won’t then see them for a week. We will have to keep him very busy, but I guess it will hopefully allow us the time to reestablish routine.
Regression is not a negative thing, it just means that your toddler has taken a step back in their routine with toilet training. This can be for many reasons, for us it has blatantly been the disruption in routine and moving location a few times in the last couple of weeks. I am sure that once the holiday season is over we will be back on track. I am still immensely proud by how well he is doing. Today we had no accidents all day and we had been out at soft play and perusing shops. So, when we’re vigilant I know that we can make it a more successful journey for him.
So, the above horrendously blurry photography is down to the fact that I have somehow broken my DSLR. I don’t understand what I’ve done to it. When I press the capture button, it doesn’t take a photo. I have spent most of the evening trying to figure out exactly what I’ve done. The odd photos that I managed to capture today were as I was pressing random buttons to get it to work. It seems to take pictures when I press the lock button??? Totally baffled. Perhaps Katie at MummyDaddyMe will be able to help? I may end up going to a shop for advice on Monday. It’s James’ birthday tomorrow so I’m very unhappy that I won’t have the camera. Guess the mobile will do. So, anyway back to today….
Today was another very slow starter, James’ parents were packing to travel up to Shropshire for their holiday. We didn’t want to disappear off without saying goodbye properly. I thought it was early they were leaving, but it was closer to lunch time that they left. Was lovely to see them off but as we weren’t sure at what point they would go, we hadn’t gone off to get ready etc until after they’d gone, and then that was lunch time, so James sorted that out whilst I tried to catch up with blogging (procrastinator). I am really struggling with having to blog everyday, but I am so close to the end of our series and I have enjoyed looking back over the last 15 posts just earlier as I was updating my pinterest. I know the children will appreciate being able to relive the memories as they can access the blog posts at any time. This information just makes me feel guilty for not making today more exciting for them though.
In the afternoon Judah had a nap, as did Eden, Isis played Rayman on Uncle John’s PS4 and Shayla sat watching a movie by my side whilst I was blogging perusing twitter. When I had finally finished the post that took forever we went out to go get craft supplies to make James’ birthday cards from the children for tomorrow.
Once we had supplies we were heading to the beach. Now we have not had any accidents from Judah for days now. Typical that the one time I didn’t have spare clothes with me, it was only a short walk from the house, he decided to throw a tantrum, lie in the middle of the street. When he finally calmed down and got back onto his buggy board I could see he’d had an accident *oops*.
As we didn’t have any clothes with us, we just ended up heading back to the house *sighs*. Felt like it had been a rubbish journey for the girls, but to be fair they had picked up some gorgeous flip flops from ‘Accessorize’ in the sale ready for next summer if we don’t get the sun again this year.
The girls and Judah made cards for James for his birthday tomorrow whilst he stuck some chicken nuggets and french fries in the oven. Really pushed the culinary boat out tonight. Sometimes I just want something quick, in the oven and bam! everyone’s eating. We then all piled into our bed to watch ‘Princess Diaries’ on the TV. Then about 8:30 everyone was in bed. A pretty uneventful day really, but tomorrow we will be busy celebrating a certain someone’s 29th birthday. Hoping I can figure out what to do with the camera for tomorrow so that I don’t miss any magical memories. I love my iPhone but since I smashed my iPhone 5, I’m not down with the lesser pixels on my iPhone 4S. Need to fix the DSLR.
Well James is sound asleep now and ‘Happy Gilmore’ is on TV. I guess I should just go to sleep, it’s a big day tomorrow *smiles*, I’m looking forward to the celebrations!!
Today was a slow starter as we all took our time getting ready. I seem to be lagging after all these busy days in the mornings at the moment. I’m not sleeping very well which isn’t helpful when I’m trying to keep four children entertained. It’s been really helpful having the inlaws around as they help keep the children entertained and allow us to rest a little. Don’t know what we’ll do when they’re away next week.
As usual the girls chose their hairstyles from the cutegirlshairstyles app.
Shayla went for the knotted headband that Isis wore last week
Isis chose the ladder braided ponytail. This was easy to do but I don’t think it’s my favourite. She liked it though so I guess that’s what matters. The difficult thing with four children and 2 that are still so young is that sometimes we have to work around naptimes. We have never had a strict routine with naps. Judah got himself into a routine at one point, but then it would change with different things that we needed to do etc. sometimes he gets woken up because I have to. I don’t have the time to just sit in the car for a couple of hours if he’s fallen asleep on the short drive to the supermarket. However, saying that, when we can allow them to rest when they want/need to, we do. Eden went for a nap, so we started to prepare to go out for a picnic when she awoke.
The children were hard at work helping prepare the picnic with their Nanny.
Once Eden was awake we packed everything up and headed out to ‘Brooklands’ for a picnic. We hit the playground first as we weren’t sure how long we would have the sun for, then it was time to eat, then we managed to go on the train ride before it was time for us to go and visit family. Here are some pics :
We’d only put 2 hours on the carpark and the weather seemed to be turning so we then headed to see James’ auntie. The last time we saw her was the day of her son’s funeral so it was strange to be back there. We had the children though, that was nice, Shayla has never even met them before as she was born up North where I met James, the last time they saw Isis she was in a buggy, so that must’ve been before she was 3. Was nice to be with family. We are looking forward to when they come to visit us at the end of September which will tie in with Shayla’s 5th birthday party, so that will be a joyous time.
We headed back once it was time to get back for dinner. James’ parents nipped to Waitrose on the way home and we all had pizza for dinner. I’m trying to eat better but as I don’t seem to be losing weight anyway (4 weeks of being good) and it was a one off, I caved and joined them. It is difficult to eat right when you’re not cooking for yourself isn’t it? Well, that’s what I find. Not to seem ungrateful, I have felt really blessed having so much help with the day to day things us Mum’s have to do, but I am looking forward to getting back to meal planning *coughs*, sad I know.
The rest of the evening was spent with James’ mum and his brother having to do the ‘ice bucket challenge’, James loved being the one to sort out the ice-water, he’s quite sadistic like that sometimes. Here are their videos:
After dinner they all watched a DVD of a childhood holiday with James’ late cousin in it. It was a special bonding time for the family, I was upstairs blogging whilst Judah and Eden slept in the room. I was sad not to be there for James, but knew I needed to catch up with blogging and didn’t want to be doing it after he came to bed. The Matrix was on television when James came to bed, I was so excited to watch it with him but just ended up falling asleep.
Does anyone else love ‘The Matrix’ as much as I do? Was gutted to miss it, think I will have to watch it when we get home *chuckles*. Tomorrow, James’ parents head on holiday and I plan to make cards with the girls for James’ birthday Sunday. First birthday where I haven’t bought James dozens of presents due to finances. He’ll be 30 next year so guess I can spoil him then…
Today was a strange one, I woke up late after barely sleeping the night before and then needed to just get ready and get on the road to go and see my best friend in London. My friend is great at cleaning up Bugaboo’s and is debating starting a little business out of it as she’s starting to get some demand. With great success in ebay in the past we sorted it so that she will sell our Bugaboo Donkey and we picked up a Bugaboo Cameleon 2 from her. So, we now have the Cameleon and a buggy board with a seat for our monkey prince. Excited to see what he thinks of it. Also, so pleased to have a really girlie pram for our little baby princess. Everything is soft pink and she looks adorable in it.
I headed up to London and arrived for lunch time. I just took my littlest one with me, so she could try out her new chariot. Was really nice to have some one on one time with her even if it was mostly in the car. She is just so sweet and never any fuss. It’s very easy to forget she’s around in the hustle and bustle with the other children, but was nice to be just the two of us for a little while.
Charlotte has been my best friend since we were about 11 years old. We went to high school, college together, have holidayed and lived together for a short time before she moved down to London. I miss hanging out with her a lot, but don’t often get the time to realise it. Whenever we are together it is just like we have never been apart. We’re still the same people but with little families now. I have always felt sad that I wasn’t around for her more whilst she was starting her little family. My ex-husband wasn’t the best for putting me in a place to support others though, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too guilty (past is past and all that), I like to make the effort now though. I try and visit when I can, send birthdays and Christmas presents although, sometimes they’re delayed due to my posting efforts.
Charlotte’s children are 6, 4 and 2. Spike was born just 6 weeks after Judah. We always say how lovely it would be if we lived closer and the boys could be friends. Eden made herself at home stealing Spike’s toast. Spike also gave Eden her first taste of chocolate. So funny, anyone else would’ve got reprimanded by me (Judah was nearly 2 before he had proper chocolate, about 16 months before he tried white chocolate), but when it’s a little baby, I just had to laugh. Eden is a scavenger when it comes to food, she finds a way to get her hands on whatever is around, we have to be extra vigilant with her.
My main regret with my time with Charlotte is that I didn’t spend enough time snapping some pictures. Wasn’t sure if Charlotte would mind me papping her children for my blog. Turns out she doesn’t mind at all so next week when I go back, I will get some more of our children playing together.
We weren’t able to spend too much time with Charlotte as I had to drive 1 hour and 40 minutes back down to Worthing and I didn’t want to get stuck in the after work rush coming out of London. Eden cried for about 30 minutes on the motorway, it was horrible, but I knew the best thing I could do for her would just be to get back. She fell asleep after a while and as soon as I arrived back I gave her a long feed for comfort and extra cuddles.
James’ Dad had prepared some yummy food for when we got back. A lovely fresh tomato sauce and pasta. The children all enjoyed it. As soon as we had finished eating, I took some painkillers and went to hang out in the bedroom as my head hurt and the girls wanted to perform another show for their grandparents.
The girls chose some hairstyles after dinner so they were ready for their show. I put a zipper braid in both of their hair as I had been dying to try it out. I think it will be a great ‘Back to School’ style.
I then went to bed with the babies. James helped me settle the babies down for the night and we were looking forward to the next day when hopefully I wouldn’t have a headache anymore. Tomorrow we’re going to see James’ Auntie, Isis hasn’t seen her for a very long time and Shayla has never met them. Will be nice for them to meet familly and to show off how beautifully well-behaved James’ gorgeous daughters are. I love moments where they get to feel part of the wider family that their in. They are in a wedding with their Mum’s family next weekend and that will be an amazing time for them too. They will be absolutely buzzing when they come back from being bridesmaids, can’t wait to hear all about it.