18 Days of Summer #19 – Overtime

18 Days of Summer #19 – Overtime

Overtime - 1

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:


Isis went for this 'double dutch braided tie back' inspired by Heidi Klum
Isis went for this ‘double dutch braided tie back’ inspired by Heidi Klum

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.

This will be great for sports at school, or swimming
This will be brilliant for sports at school, or swimming

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?

museum 1
look at the concentration

museum 2

 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*.
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Judah thought this skeleton was a Pirate – he may be right
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the girls weren’t impressed with these hats, they refused to point to one they would wear
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‘want these out Mummy’ – drawn straight to the “toys”

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.

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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.

splash pad 1
Judah was a lot braver this time
splash pad 2
our lovely ladylike children pretending they could urinate like men
splash pad 3
gorgeous Isis
splash pad 4
beautiful Shayla

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.

mini me


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.

Shayla enjoying her food
Shayla enjoying her food

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?


Water of Life – Compassion UK

Water of Life – CompassionUK

We were nominated pretty much as a family to do the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’  I have been watching the videos, reading the news articles – ‘Is it pointless?’ ‘Should McMillan have stolen the idea?’ ‘ALS needs awareness and money for research,’ ‘ALS give only 27% towards research of funds donated.’  I one hundred percent know that ALS did need awareness raising and I think the ‘ice bucket challenge’ has been awesome to do that, and has certainly had everyone talking whichever viewpoint they take.  Do I feel as though my money will make a huge difference this late in the game when where the money goes is in question anyway?  I don’t know.
I have been mulling over what we would do if nominated for a while.  So, I decided (and double checked with my husband) that we would donate to ‘Water of Life with Compassion UK.’  £48 covers the cost of a Water Filter that runs pretty much forever.  Anyone, who can get to it can use it for clean water.  It can transform an entire community.  We decided as a family and with my mother-in-law (who was going to donate to Oxfam for clean water, equally important but we had found a specific project so she joined in with us) that we would donate the £48 to buy a water filter.  The girls were so happy that as a family we had managed to provide this.  It feels as though we achieved something with our ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, something tangible.  Again not to detract from it’s original purpose as I thoroughly agree with the function it served.
 The girls were so excited to actually carry out the challenge.  To be honest, if it wasn’t for them I’m not sure if we would’ve gone through with it.  Judah did not enjoy it, he cried as he thought we were hurting Daddy when he created a big reaction.  Isis was amazing, she hardly reacted at all and trust me there was plenty of ice in the bucket.  I was very impressed with her lack of drama, especially as she usually needs a plaster if she scratches herself.  She nominated the ‘other mummy,’ Kerry her Mum’s partner, and Shayla-Rae.  When their Mum came to collect them I informed her they had been nominated *chuckles.*  Kerry said that they had been waiting for the girls to do it with them anyway, so that was nice.  The girls will be able to do it all over again.  The joys of being part of a blended family.
 My husband, ever the performer, made a very melodramatic video to stay true to form.  Judah was very upset though, I think Daddy’s acting, although completely unconvincing to myself, was too good.  He thought it was funny by the time we got to mine, but he didn’t quite understand what we were doing at first.
 So I guess in conclusion whatever anyone thinks, whatever your opinion we had fun completing this challenge and we managed to fund something substantial that we can remember for years.
Please feel free to comment below, I appreciate all opinions even if they are contrary to my own.


18 Days of Summer #12

18 Days of Summer #12


 Today was a very long day, as the alarm was set for 3:30am.  Today we were travelling down to Worthing, West Sussex.  This is a 6 hour drive if you drive straight down with no stops and there’s no traffic.  I had all the children with me and James was travelling down on the National Express (hmm… wonder who had the better deal?).
After everyone was ready, and I’d finished sorting boosters, isofix’s, seatbelts it was just before 5.  I had been throwing up all morning, don’t know if that was because it was early or the anxiety, but it was horrible.  Anyway, we were on our way.
The first part of the journey was great, I drove the first 3 and a half hours straight.  We listened to music, I had to sing along to some upbeat Beyonce to keep myself awake.  The children did some dancing to their church favourites, the babies mostly slept.  Shayla was fantastic, giving Eden her bottle, feeding her a banana and putting her pacifier back in when she wanted it.  She was being an amazing big sister as she was stuck in the middle between the two babies.
We finally stopped at Beaconsfield services as it was getting close to 9 o’clock and we were just outside of London.  I could see traffic was going to become a problem so I cheered at the sight of a Starbucks.  It was quite funny actually, I cheered, ‘yay, a Starbucks for Mummy, woohoo!’ and Judah exclaimed ‘yay, ‘Donalds for Judah, woohoo!’  The girls were in hysterics.
breakfast 1
Isis enjoying her pancakes
breakfast 2
Shayla had a sausage and egg snack wrap

breakfast 3

breakfast 4
Judah also had pancakes (minus the syrup *wink*)
breakfast 5
breastfeeding tip when travelling with 4 children, 1 that may run off (pack a bottle)

It wasn’t fun being in the services with all 4 of them at once.  I had Judah attached to my wrist with his monkey backpack (to learn more about his backpack click here).  My handbag with all electronic valuables I didn’t want to leave in the car over my shoulder, the my pinklining yummy mummy changing bag across my body, carrying the maxi-cosi car seat with the other arm.  Luckily, the two girls walked closely by my side and are well-behaved, otherwise I just wouldn’t have been able to do this.

As I tried to enjoy my coffee, I had downgraded to McDonald’s coffee as trekking them all across to Starbucks wouldn’t have been fun, Judah started to throw himself in the middle of the floor.  Jo Public just walked over him as the hustle and bustle doesn’t stop for a toddler tantrum.  I wasn’t enjoying my coffee for much longer so decided to cut my losses and get everyone back in the car.  Judah was not very happy at this idea, and did the usual struggle to get into the car seat, can’t blame him after the long drive but I still had to get where I was going so in he went.  He proceeded to scream for about half an hour.  I just switched off.  I had to, he set Eden off.  The result was something like this …

 Don’t you wish you were me?  Isis found my backing tracks on Spotify, I use them for my Popular Music pupils, we decided to have a singsong as we got stuck in traffic.  Here’s a couple of vids, the singing isn’t amazing, we were just having fun, but the faces the girls pull, especially Isis made me chuckle.

and the dreaded song from the Ice movie that cannot receive it’s proper title around most children without setting off a reaction.

 Singing kept me chilled and relaxed as I could be.  We never needed to use ‘Turbo’ on the iPad, I was so impressed with their behaviour.  It could’ve been so much worse.  We arrived in Worthing just before lunch time, Grandad sorted them out with some toast and ‘Despicable Me’ on arrival.  I was very grateful to just sit and chill for a while.
chilling in Nanny and Grandad's living room
chilling in Nanny and Grandad’s living room

Nanny arrived not long after to see the children.  She sorted them out with sausage rolls, salad, grapes etc.  They were very happy and well-fed children.

We then decided as the weather had brightened up a little bit to go and have a perusal of the local surroundings.  I needed to go and collect James in about 2 hours time at this point, but he had the double buggy with him.  Nevermind, I wore Eden in my Simply Good Cozy Wrap sling and Judah could walk with his monkey backpack attached…. or could he?  We headed out anyway.

This all went well when Judah was enjoying himself and we were doing the things he wanted to do.  The children had a great time, running through sprinklers, playing at the park.  Below are some of the shots I captured.


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It all turned when it was time to leave the park and Judah didn’t want to.

judah's refusal

I could tell that it was going to start raining so we were headed for home.  Grandad walked ahead with the two girls and Judah decided he wouldn’t move.  I was probably only about a quarter of a mile from the house, but when you have a baby strapped to you and a 2 year old that won’t walk this is not a good combination.  It started to rain, literally throwing it down, we were drenched, I looked as though I had been fully submerged in water.  Judah was just led in the street refusing to come with me.  I was concerned about how wet Eden was getting, we’ve all got coughs and colds at the moment.  Grandad was long gone with the girls.

I wanted to reason with Judah, hoping we could come to an arrangement whereas, he walks home and I give him chocolate, but no, he didn’t want to be reasoned with.  I told him he would lose his Peppa Pig watching privileges and there would be no cake.  This didn’t work either.  To be fair, he’s 2, he was tired and didn’t want to walk.  The problem was, I was exhausted and just couldn’t carry them both.  Unfortunately for me, after strangers were coming up to us to stand with us with their umbrella’s, cafe owners running out to tell me I could come sit in their cafe if I wanted, the reality was I pretty much half carried him, and half dragged him home.  Alternating as I had the energy, it was horrific.  I got in with 2 completely drenched babies, and informed James’ dad that he would have to go and collect James from the train station as I needed to get the children into a warm bath and into some clean clothes.  This is not an experience I ever want to repeat.

Once James was home, I stayed in bed.  I laid in bed, in my nightie, breastfeeding the baby and then just stayed there.  I was completely zapped of energy.  You know that feeling when you’re about to snap and you go one of two ways, I could either… drown all the screaming children in the bath (obviously not an option but can totally understand why people do these horrific things, not that it is ever excusable, I guess that’s why they now make new mum’s watch the shaken baby syndrome videos on the maternity wards) or just switch off entirely for my sanity.  I chose to just switch off, I let the children run riot and I stayed in bed with the baby.  All the other adults looked after the children and I zoned out for the evening.  Eventually, when the children were going to bed I gave them all kisses and cuddles, told them I loved them, checked they’d enjoyed their dinner Grandad made, and said goodnight.

James came to bed later and we watched Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason that was on television, I say watched it, but I was asleep before they got to Thailand.

I was pleased with all we achieved today, but am grateful that I am not a single parent.  I think all single parents are amazing, I salute you and do not know how you do it.  You astound me, and I am very grateful I have a husband who can take over when I am at the end of my wit.


18 Days of Summer #8

18 Days of Summer #8

Today we were able to celebrate my Dad’s birthday as a family.  We were unable to attend the birthday meal my Mum hosted the weekend of his actual birthday as we had made commitments before anything was planned.  So, we took him out for breakfast at the local carvery.

We had to wait until 9am when it opened, so first the girls chose some hairstyles again :


Isis went for the triple braided tie back.


Shayla had the ponytail bow.  I was trying to distract myself as I was very hungry.  We packed up all that the children may need and when everyone was ready, off we went out for breakfast.

It was lovely all being out together.  Eden even joined in, munching a banana I had brought her and then some toast.  She looked so sweet sat at the table with everyone.  Judah was amazing considering how tired he was, he kicked off at one point, and I struggled to find somewhere that wasn’t fun for him to sit and do his time-out – this ended up being in the corner of the entrance.  The irony as he sat there performing on a mat that said ‘Welcome,’  I would’ve taken a picture but I hadn’t carried the camera with me to perform his time-out, as it’s not usually a moment that he or I would like to capture.

The girls enjoyed their huge breakfasts, we were all set up for the day and didn’t need to eat again (apart from the little guzzler that is Eden) until our evening meal.  They enjoyed clinking their glasses fruit shoots together with us, as we remembered that we were there to celebrate ‘Grandad’s’ birthday.

this one was still eating as we were trying to leave
Isis unhappy as I was making her finish the sausage on her fork

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 In our hasty dash for breakfast we had forgotten to put the Bugaboo Donkey back in the car boot so we had to go back to my parents afterwards before we could continue our day of fun.  Once we had the buggy in the car, we were off again, this time we went to play Crazy Golf.
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 Crazy golf was hilarious, it was like a massive free for all.  They were so excited because they’d not done it before that it was very difficult to get them to take turns or listen to instruction.  I had Eden with me so I couldn’t really get on to the course with them.  My sister ‘Auntie Jenny’ then arrived to come and spend the day with us, so she watched Eden for me and then I could go and snap some pictures of my little golfers.  They started to get the hang of it by about hole 8 of 9, so hopefully if we go again, Crazy Golf won’t be quite as crazy.
After Crazy Golf the girls were going to go water zorbing, on the lake so I thought we could head off the complaining if Judah got to go on the trampolines first.  He loves the trampolines bless him, jumping and singing for joy.  It’s so lovely getting to watch him do things that he loves.
 The girls decided to join in and sing whilst he was jumping.
Also, they made me laugh when they started telling him to leap, which Judah thought was the word ‘sleep.’  As, you can imagine, him lying down to sleep wasn’t really the best way of spending his 10 minutes that we’d paid for.  So funny!
Then it was the girls turn to go water zorbing.  Isis has been able to go a few times over the years, Shayla is only just old enough and really impressed us last time (which was her first time), so when she asked again, of course we allowed her.  This time she didn’t seem to dare stand up though, not sure if that’s because this time she was in a dress instead of leggings.  Mental note – bring leggings next time we’re heading to St Annes.
Next we took them to the children to go in the boats on the lake.  Isis decided she wanted to peddle with Daddy (although, I’m pretty sure he did most of the work).  I sat in the back with Judah and Shayla-Rae and Auntie Jenny (bless her) kept Eden on the shore, as she was ready for a sleep.  The girls wanted to play pirates.  So funny.  This resulted in us playing Bumper Boats with the other willing boaters on the lake, who I think had all wanted to play too but no-one wanted to offend anyone.  Our children just shouted at the other boaters ‘we want to crash into you!’ to which people said, ‘that’s what they want to do’ referring to their children.  So, a game of bumper boats was enjoyed by all.
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 We had to go back in after about 15 minutes (you get 45 minutes) as Eden was crying with Auntie Jenny, and a random lady was trying to take Eden off her determined that she would be able to settle her.  Why is it that complete strangers do this when it comes to babies?  I don’t see anyone offering to settle my screaming toddler when he’s having a paddy.  Poor Jennifer, we went back to rescue her.  She had sent the lady packing.  My sister makes me laugh, she looks sweet and usually won’t say boo to a goose, but if you cross her, she has some bite.  Love her so much.
I started to worry about not being able to replenish suncream at this stage, we all have very fair skin and we’d run out after the last application.  So, the children were allowed to go on the train and then the play park briefly and then we headed back to Nana’s cafe for a drink.
yummy chocolate milkshakes
sleepy Judah deciding what he’d like to drink
Auntie Jenny, the baby rescuer


 We left the girls with Nana, they wanted to join her going food shopping.  James, Judah, Eden, Auntie Jenny and I went back to attend the boys hairdressing appointment.  Judah’s fringe needed sorting after the lady near us butchering it about a month ago, and James was going for his routine hair cut.  I was getting sick of my hair just being flat to my head all the time.  With two babies there is no time to be spent styling my hair.  I remembered about 6 years ago, the last time my hair was this length I had a block fringe.  I asked the barber to chop me a fringe in whilst I was there (he’s a friend) and he gladly obliged.
Judah having his fringe fixed, he never performs for Pete, he must trust him
selfie taken infront of my grandad, I was trying to be discreet hence the serious face

I made a broccoli and cauliflower cheese bake, well, James and I did, Eden started screaming so James took over, for dinner which went along with my Mum’s ‘chicken recipe’ (original title I know) that she was making for my Grandad.  The children then had ice-cream for dessert and were in bed for just after 8.

They were thoroughly tired out and fast asleep by the time I got back from driving Auntie Jenny home.

Tomorrow 10 days left start counting down which makes me feel sad, but I will try not to think about it and just enjoy the time that we have left.  We’ll be heading to the cinema tomorrow evening to watch ‘The Unbeatables’ in 3D.  Only £3.50 in the small St Anne’s cinema ‘The Island‘ which I think is an amazing bargain.  It will be Judah’s first 3D movie, I’m really looking forward to his reaction.

18 Days of Summer #6

18 Days of Summer #6

Sitting down to write this whilst all the rest of the familiy are asleep in bed (I am sat in bed next to the hubster who is fast asleep), I am very tired after a busy day, but I feel very blessed.  Today was one of those days that my heart just feels so full, full of love, joy, pride of how blessed and lucky we are to have such amazing children.

As I mentioned last week at some point, I’ve been asked to sing at a funeral tomorrow of a good friend.  They wanted me to play piano and to sing, but I know that I’ll be emotional and it’s been a while since I’ve accompanied myself for such an occasion, so I called a friend yesterday to see if they mind playing for me, then all I need to do is sing.  He kindly agreed, he was a friend of the gentleman that died too, so he saw it as an honour and a privilege.  However, this meant that we would need to practice, so as we finished the conversation yesterday, we arranged a practice today at 10am.

A friend recommended a hairstyle for the girls to try today – the ‘mermaid braid,’ I definitely have not perfected this one, but the girls loved it and the tighter version I put in Shayla’s hair survived all day, and looked great when they were playing in the water.  Definitely would recommend as a swimming do.

Isis' looser version
Isis’ looser version
Shayla’s stayed in all day
As the girls are always so well-behaved (not a brag, they just are and I know that we are very lucky) and into music, I thought I would take them with me.  They were so excited to be in my friend Keith’s studio.  I explained to them that it was where I recorded some songs I wrote when I was 16.  They were amazed by how long ago that was *shudders*, so am I.
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lovely moment, Isis singing in the studio I recorded in 15 years ago
lovely moment, Isis singing in the studio I recorded in 15 years ago

The girls had a go at drumming too, I think we’re going to need a music room instead of a playroom as these children get older.

Isis sang for Keith, a friend of my parents who helped me record an album of songs I wrote at 16. It was such a special moment, I sat down at the piano and played Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ and she just went for it. I was so proud that she didn’t go all shy on me, she shone like the little star that she is, and Keith said that he will gladly record a song for her for free anytime that she wants. So lovely, we’re thinking of maybe doing a little family album of songs for Grandparents for Christmas presents. I know James’ parents would especially adore a recording of Isis as they’re always trying to capture her on their phones when they come up to visit.

We left our friends home and went back to our holiday home (my parents), I made and packed up a picnic, James had snagged some bargain priced roast chicken the night before as Booths were closing up, so I made chicken sandwiches.  We took apples, raisins, drinks, and some Peppa Pig muddy puddle chocolate bars too, and off we went on our travels.  We decided to go on the bus to save on car parking at the other end and headed to St Annes on the Sea.

our little bus crew off on their travels
our little bus crew off on their travels
practicing their ballet stretches whilst waiting for the bus
James looking confused by the bus ticket
smiling – that’s better
Eden looking after Judah’s kermit

We went to visit Nana at work, she wanted her work colleagues to meet the children and then we were off to the paddling pool near the beach to eat our picnic (I was hungry by now for sure).  The girls munched down all their food, Judah had fallen asleep as we were getting off the bus, so he napped as they played for a while and then was able to join in.  He’s potty training at the moment, so as soon as he woke, poor child was put on the potty, then had his sandwiches – which I have NEVER seen him shovel down so fast as he was so excited to go and play in the water.

picnic time
picnic time
strawberry munching Isis
cute holding hands
they figured out it was warmer if they stayed low out of the wind
Judah shovelling in his sandwiches
getting his big sister
crazy bendy child
I love this photo, he’s so happy
telling his sisters what to do

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The weather was warm but as we were on the seafront it was VERY windy.  Judah was shivering but refusing to come out of the water as he was having so much fun.  Ended up making a judgement call after about 20 mins of them all playing that they would all come out and we’d head to the trampolines.  My mum had finished work and had come to join us by this point.  We got them all dry and back into their clothes and off we trekked.

walking with Nana
Isis loves the trampolines
My two bouncing girlies
having the time of his life
cheeky face
he loves trampolines, can you tell?
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As we were walking down to the trampolines, Judah spotted ‘the beach’ well, he wasn’t happy, screaming and performing because he wanted to go on the beach ‘like it beach!’ he kept screaming.  Obviously, I didn’t want him to be sad or feel like he was missing out but I knew that he would love the trampolines and nobody else wanted to go on the beach today (we’ll be going another day).  He was tired from all the playing in the water and trying to keep his body warm.  So, into the Bugaboo Donkey he went.  Ooh, he wasn’t happy, lots of screaming, lots of typical stares from people walking past, assuming that I must be throttling my 2 year old.  He watched the girls on the trampolines and had to calm down dramatically before I would let him even contemplate having a go.

He did eventually calm down and he loved his time on the trampolines, he has a little one in the playroom at home, and he just loves to jump.  He had a great time.  When his time was up (it was £2.50 for 10 minutes), the screaming recommenced as he didn’t want to come out.  We had told him it was ice-creams next, which meant that he walked off the trampoline of his own accord, but then being 2 changed his mind once there was no more bounce beneath his footsteps. It’s hard being 2.

Again, he had to calm down, this took longer as there was an audience, we knew he’d had a lot of excitement and was upset so he couldn’t go and choose his ice-cream until he’d done a wee on the potty.  Not normally a problem for him, but he decided all of a sudden he was embarrassed to go on the potty (which he had done several times already that day).  Nana and her friends left for a coffee (don’t think they could cope with any more screaming) and he focused on my voice then, calmed down, went on the potty and was able to choose an ice-cream (he went for an ice-lolly) to eat on the walk back to the bus stop.

He walked all the way back to the bus stop, it took us about 25 minutes with his little legs, and then when we got off the bus at the other side, he walked all the way back to Nana’s house, about 15 minutes for his legs.  When we arrived home I realised how proud I was of him and the day he had done, no accidents all day, even though we were out with multiple distractions, how far his little legs had walked, for the first time ever really.  We had been aiming to go to the Blackpool church service our church is running at the moment, the children wanted to go, but again we made a judgement call, they’d been out in the sun all day.  They had been so well behaved and we would be pushing our luck to try and take them to church for a 7:30 service.

So, we stayed in, got a chippy dinner and watched ‘Matilda.’  The children had a wonderful day and were telling me about their favourite parts, Isis’ and Judah’s was the trampoline, Shayla’s was the paddling pool.  I had a lovely time realising how blessed James and I were, and look forward to more days out.  We are a third through our days now, and that makes me sad, but still 12 days to go.  Tomorrow I am singing at a funeral, so it won’t be the most fun of mornings/early afternoons, but then we will go into Blackpool to do something fun, so I’m looking forward to that.

I’ll leave you with a little clip of the crazy children doing an impression of their Father falling off the roundabout the day before, but for some reason in the water.