The Adventures of Lou, Gary, Ethan and Noah

A blog recording our journey in parenting and family life...

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Happy Blogday and Hello 2012!

Or thereabouts.. Well it has been a year or so since I set up this blog and, although I don’t get chance to write on it as much as I would like, I think I have averaged at posting at least once a week. I am quite pleased with that really. I have learnt so much about the blogging world, met fabulous people and had some great experiences. It has opened my eyes to the possibilities that are out there and they really are endless! The hardest bit is deciding which direction to go in.

There are still lots of things I would like to get sorted out on the blog this year; tagging, tidying and also getting a regular pattern of blogging. I would also like to move it over to Wordpress but all these things are on the “to do” list for this year!

Most of the significant events from our 2011 are recorded on the blog which is really great to look back on. I have also a huge amount of posts in my drafts folder that I didn’t get chance to finish! I havent even written about Ethan starting school and how well he has settled! So I think time management is something I definitely need to focus on for 2012. I am still setting myself fairly *low* expectations though. You can’t do everything with small children about!

Reflecting on the year I can see how the blog has changed. It started off as an opportunity for me to write down my personal thoughts and help me make sense of things but I have become conscious of it being a public thing. I don’t have huge amounts of hits and am sure the majority of my readers are friends and family but on the web you never know who is looking at it!

I have decided this year to also take part in Project 366 over on a new blog. At the moment it is quite good fun to do though I am sure as the year progresses it will become more of a challenge!

Another aim for this year is to do a writing course. I would love feedback on my writing (think I am just hooked on education!). Noah get his 15 hours free childcare from September so I will have more time to devote to this. In the meantime I am going to make the most of being with him and having fun together.

I am also planning on getting a bit more fitness into my life! I love food so am not going to go down the diet route - healthy eating will surfice and I think coupled with a good exercise routine I should get myself feeling healthier and able to enjoy life to the full. I am very excited about the Summer, getting the tent out again and going on lots of camping trips with the kids (fingers crossed for sun!).

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Next step to the rescue!

Sitting about in pj’s eating chocolate and drinking bucks fizz whilst watching films is great fun in the festive season but soon talks its toll on the (increasing!) waistline.  I know there is nothing else for it but to ensure 2012 includes much more exercise in my life. As a good friend reminded me we don’t want to be “40 AND fat”, Ahem, very true! Fitness is also something I feel strongly about as it definitely helps you in mind and body to really enjoy, and get the most out of, life.

There is no excuse to look really good whilst you are working out as Next have designed a fab collection of workout and post workout clothes in collaboration with the fabulous and inspirational Davina McCall. I have a couple of Davina’s workout DVDs and they really are amazing, particuarly when you have small children and can’t get to the gym. Once the kids are asleep you don’t even have to leave the comfort of the living room to have a good workout that you can really feel the next day.

I am loving all of the range!

The everyday shoes featuring F.I.T technology come in a great range of styles and are very reasonably priced at around £30.

And the fitness range is, as you would expect, very stylish yet practical.. especially love the cuffed joggers and burnout vests and tshirts. This again, is well priced and quality is ensured with the Next branding.

I hope that Next choose me to try out and review this fantastic range on my blog! Fingers crossed xx

Filed under fitness

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Meeting Santa - 2011

We have met quite a few Santa’s this year. The first one was very special however and took place at the East Midlands shopping outlet. Santa arrived on a sleigh pulled by reindeers which trotted along the road, down the hill and into the carpark - it was awesome! We had just arrived and they trotted right past us! Santa was very jolly and waved hello to the kids. He looked like a proper Santa - even his beard looked authentic!

We had a walk around whilst Santa set up his stand and listened to the brass bands and children singing carols. There were some very friendly elves who made balloon space guns and swords for the boys. As this was about the third week in November it was a good way to get into the festive spirit!

We queued in line looking at the reindeers to visit Santa sat on his sleigh. Ethan’s first words to him were “ey up my duck” which made me laugh.

Santa said to Ethan “ah i remember you from last year, i tickled your nose but you didnt wake up” Ethan looks perplexed!

Later on, he brought it up again “I cant remember Santa tickling my nose” No? “Did he have gloves on?, ah no i think he probably used a feather because cos (on a picture in the shopping centre) i saw he had a pen with a feather on!” Classic!

Since then we have seen numerous Santa’s, two within an hour of each other and even a carpark full on Santa’s on scooters! So, we are defintely going down the “Santa has lots of helpers” route. I have a feeling this first one was the real one though :)

Filed under christmas fun boys

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The inspiration behind my blog, and the whole reason for it, is my two wonderful little men.
I started my blog about a year ago and I can honestly say it has given my life a new focus. It has also opened up new opportunities and a whole new world to me.
However fulfilling motherhood may be it is, it can also be a little mundane at times. Writing the blog, and taking photos of what we get up to, has given me some creative balance in my life. I think I am also a little nearer to finding what I want to do going forwards (just a little!). 
I have met some wonderful people and made new friends through the blogging community. Reading their blogs has made me laugh, cry and generally feel much better at times. It is amazing really how connected you can feel to people who you rarely, if ever, meet in person!
This post has been motivated by the chance to win a Cybermummy calendar which has been created and put together by Tara at Sticky Fingers and Jay at Mocha Beanie Mummy. Thank you ladies!

The inspiration behind my blog, and the whole reason for it, is my two wonderful little men.

I started my blog about a year ago and I can honestly say it has given my life a new focus. It has also opened up new opportunities and a whole new world to me.

However fulfilling motherhood may be it is, it can also be a little mundane at times. Writing the blog, and taking photos of what we get up to, has given me some creative balance in my life. I think I am also a little nearer to finding what I want to do going forwards (just a little!). 

I have met some wonderful people and made new friends through the blogging community. Reading their blogs has made me laugh, cry and generally feel much better at times. It is amazing really how connected you can feel to people who you rarely, if ever, meet in person!

This post has been motivated by the chance to win a Cybermummy calendar which has been created and put together by Tara at Sticky Fingers and Jay at Mocha Beanie Mummy. Thank you ladies!

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We were invited to the Next HQ in Leicester to preview the Spring/Summer children’s collection. I was really excited as it isn’t often Noah and I have a day out together. Although it is just me and him at home, as he is pretty good at playing on his own I use the opportunity to get things done around the house, or (let’s be honest blog!). It is awful of me really and I should make more of an effort with him, like I did with Ethan but as we are tied to the school day (which goes sooo fast!) and he seems to enjoy being at home I take advantage!

Pictured are a few highlights from the day and some of my favourites from the selection (although there were lots and lots of lovely and very cute outfits to choose from).

It was great to have the opportunity to talk to the Next buyers and feedback our opinions on the designs and fab to see lots of colour in the range of boys wear. We also got reassurances that colour would feature heavily in older boys clothing too so they have more choice than the usual blue/brown offerings and don’t necessarily look like a mini dad! We know boyswear needs to be practical but it doesn’t need to be boring. I also raised by gripe concerning slogan tops and why the ones for the boys always feature the words “Monster” or “Trouble” and the girl’s ones are more akin to “Gorgeous” or “Princess” - talk about social stereotyping! Next aren’t as guilty as some children’s clothes retailers regarding this issue but I felt it had to be mentioned!

After we had finished in the “mock shop” we went for lunch at a nearby restaurant where we met JoJingles and Noah had a thoroughly great time dancing and singing with the other children. I have vowed to take him to more musical classes as he really enjoys it! 

Before we knew it it was time to head home with our goody bags. It was a fantastic day and lovely to catch up with some familiar faces as well as be introduced to new blogging mums. Thank you to the fab organisers- Ellie, Vicky, Laura, Christina, Chantelle and all the lovely ladies and gentlemen at Next HQ and Spreading Jam pr. Thank you for inviting us and all the best with the new collection! 

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We recently headed to the wonderful Wheelgate park to meet our fave characters Ben and Holly! It was just before Halloween so the park was decorated up with the usual ghosts and ghouls and looked great. We had fantastic crisp and sunny Autumnal weather and a fab day altogether.

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Pox wrecks half term plans..

This year October half term was quite special as this was the first one that Ethan has had since starting “big school” in September! 

I had been full on with planning all the treats we were going to do to give him a nice break from the classroom and school routine - lego play day at the library, meet ups with friends, lunches out, halloween parties and outdoor fun.

However, chicken pox had other plans! Noah had picked it up over two weeks previously at nursery and I was convinced Ethan would get it. I had been told it could take two weeks to come out so after two weeks (the Monday before half term started on the Friday) thought we were in the clear and perhaps was immune to it, or (shock horror!) had had it without me noticing (eek - although someone else had told me they can get it without getting spots!!).

Anyway, he came home from school on the Wednesday looking very tired and with a slight temperature. I checked behind his ears, which were where Noah’s started and there were a couple of small pimples in his perfect skin. Arrgh, after Noah’s breakout (which took 3 days and a trip to the doctor before I could accept that he had it as he was so well otherwise!) I could definitely recognise the early signs.

I went to his parent’s evening that night and told the teacher, who was surprised as he had seemed fine at school. But mother knows best and the next morning he had a few more spots and was much quieter than usual so kept him off school on Thursday. Here he is feeling very sorry for himself (with his lively brother joining in the fun)..

I felt quite sorry for him as obviously our half term plans were going to have to change (although glad in a way that he has had it now whilst he is young enough not to suffer too badly). The Friday of that week was an inset day so he only really missed one day of school bless him!

So what did we do??? Had a great time that’s what!

Since he was born I have filled our weeks with activities, playgroups etc and so this forced excile was actually really refreshing (although could have done without it being virtually back to back with his brother’s!).

  • We had a couple of duvet days, watching dvds in our pj’s curled up on the sofa swathed in pillows, duvets and blankets all day..
  • We played lots of board games (partic Orchard toys our fave!), read books, practised our phonics a bit, and did jigsaws
  • We drank LOTS of hot chocolate (mummy drank tea) and apparently Skips crisps are the best nutrition for the pox! 
  • We did some halloween crafts and painting (not much but a little nod to pumpkin and spider pom poms!)
  • We generally wrecked the house but nothing new there…

When he was looking less spotty (after a couple of days) and was feeling a bit better, we went out for walks to see the horses in the field opposite our house, watched a digger moving earth on a farm nearby and chatted to dog walkers. Generally pottered about without any timescales to stick to… it was fab!

By the Thursday of half term week his spots had dried up and he was feeling back to his normal self. With an energetic 2 year old and a newly recovered 4 year old in the house there was only one answer - Halloween Party Time at our local leisure centre. They bounced on the castle, played party games and ate cake and crisps to their heart’s content. But when we got back home the duvet came out again, perhaps we had overdone it!

I had already made plans to see friends from York on Friday and so we headed to the wonderful Rufford Park and did the fab Halloween Trail which is  great way to get kids to do a walk and fill their lungs with fresh air. We followed clues and (eventually!) found a mummy, a witch and a vampire hidden in trees, spiders and all the Halloween treats we love. Here are Noah, Matilda and Ethan with the Grim Reaper in Rufford Abbey ruins.

He was back to school on Monday full of excitment to see his friends again and even though half term wasn’t quite as fun filled as others I think he had a good rest and enjoyed it just as much!

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The Gallery 80- The Letter T
T is for Tractors! We just love tractors in our house. When Ethan grows up he wants to drive a real one..here they are practicing at Chatsworth House farm!

The Gallery 80- The Letter T

T is for Tractors!

We just love tractors in our house. When Ethan grows up he wants to drive a real one..here they are practicing at Chatsworth House farm!

Filed under Playtime