Saturday, 24 March 2012

Treasure the moments

Today we somehow managed to be organised enough to do a shop and be home with it all packed away, in a tidy flat, before lunch time. (I know, a miracle, right!?) so we lunched on sandwiches, packed a bag and by 1pm we were at the beach!


The boys are at a super age right now. Jellybean listens (occasionally) to what he's told and will stay close by - unlike last summer when trips to the beach meant an exhausting day of fetching him back to our spot - and Midget Gem isn't quite brave or big enough to do a runner (and would also rather stay close to his big brother who can do no wrong!)

There was a moment today that will forever be engraved in my memory for its total perfection. Sitting with my feet buried in the warm sand, looking out to sea. Husband of wonder had Midget Gem by the hand and was walking him to the sea for a paddle. Jellybean took Midget Gem's other hand and the three of them strolled across the sand together.

I wanted to reach for my camera, but it would have meant turning away, risking missing a second of the perfect moment to try and preserve it. I couldn't risk it - so instead I just watched and smiled, to remember it for always.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Jellybean is a very sharp, very cheeky, hilariously clever two-almost-three year old.

Here are some of his more recent awesomes.

Last night he toddled through to the lounge when he was meant to be in bed;
"Jellybean, why aren't you in bed?"
"I just wanted to check if I wanted a cuddle. Actually I do!"

His Daddy was getting him ready for a bath;
"When I am in my bath you should cry Mummy"
"Cry!? Why?"
"Because you miss me so much, of course! I won't be long though. Silly Mummy."

"Jellybean, you're so literal."
"Daddy, you're so big-rul"

"Mummy, Daddy, I am just off to my work. I will be home later, so you be good, ok?"
(seconds later)
"Silly me, I do not go to work, I go to play, YOU go to work! Then you buy me nice things. Can we go to the shops?"

"Actually tesco is not my favourite shop. Asda is my favourite shop. Take me to asda now please?"

I love him :-)

"turn that camera off now, Mummy. I am trying to watch Pingu and it is my favourite show and you are putting me off. I do not want to say cheese right now actually."

Catching a glimpse

There are times when you look at your children and you catch a glimpse, just a tiny glimpse, of who they are going to be. Of them as an adult.
I still wonder what they will do, where they will go, what will hold their interest. I wonder who they will love, who will love them (everyone, surely!?).
I wonder if they will enjoy school, how tall they will be, if they will like sports and be team players. I wonder what kind of books they will read for pleasure during their A levels. I wonder if they will ever think we made the right choices for raising them.
I wonder all of those things and how they will look, how they will sound. If they will grow beards in adulthood.
I wonder every time I look at them who they will be - and desperately wish I could pause them as they are, right now, just to hold on to the wonder of them just exactly as they are.

Then I look at them as they sleep, and in their faces, peaceful, resting, with the busyness of the day held at bay, I catch a glimpse. I see exactly what they will look like. Who they will be. And I know that whatever they choose they will be these same boys, always.

And I am so proud.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Dinosaur Train

One of the things I love most about being a blogger is the opportunities we get to review things and learn about new products or cartoons or characters before they're everywhere. We got to review Olly The Little White Van cartoons just before the big launch - and now we've been lucky enough to be sent a review copy of The Dinosaur Train, a new show from Nick Jr

Dinosaur Train, created by Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), is set in a whimsically realistic, prehistoric world of jungles, swamps, active volcanoes and oceans. The show stars Buddy, a curious, funny and intelligent T-Rex, in a family of Pteranodons, who is cautious, but always ready to jump into action and start asking questions about the world around him.

In each episode, while on the Dinosaur Train, Buddy makes a hypothesis and begins searching for the answers to his queries with the help of his mum, the Conductor and the new dinosaurs that he meets on the train. When Buddy isn’t taking exciting trips on the Dinosaur Train, he is plays with his siblings, Don, Tiny, and Shiny and anticipates their next adventure.

Dinosaur Train will help children ages three to six to apply scientific thinking as they discover new types of dinosaur species, compare and contrast dinosaurs to today's creatures and embrace the living sciences of paleontology and natural science.
Each 22 minute show features two animated episodes. Based on input from paleontologists, science teachers and early childhood education experts, Dinosaur Train promotes critical thinking skills for preschoolers based on an engaging and creative curriculum.

Tina McCann, Nickelodeon UK’s Managing Director, comments: “Dinosaur Train is a typically beautiful animation from the Jim Henson Company. We love the show with its whimsical prehistoric world that delights and entertains whilst teaching pre-schoolers about dinosaurs and natural science.”

 I wasn't sure whether we were going to like this once I'd taken a look, Jellybean is more into cars than dinosaurs - but the fact there's a train made me hopeful we'd be ok, and I was right about that.

The train was the thing that drew his attention really, but once he was drawn in he actually sat in the middle of the sofa with his juice and watched the whole DVD - which he never does. His attention span is tiny for TV normally, but he seemed to really like the characters and the story - he liked the train and the conductor, and afterwards he was chattering away about the things he'd learned.

All in all I'd say that made it a hit - if he sits still to watch it and chats about it afterwards it's really caught him, and if it can catch my busy toddler for more than a few minutes it's good in my book.

I like that it's something he'll learn from whilst being entertained, and it's one of the first times I've seen him be interested in something that isn't all about cars and trucks and things that go! 

I also think the characters are really cute and fun. I like the colourful scenery and the backgrounds in each scene. Anything colourful and educational is going to be a winner in my book. 

I was also pleased that the cartoon, originally American, obviously, has been voiced with British accents which is really nice to hear as so many Nick Jr shows are still American and though very similar there are some small differences in the language that can be confusing for such young children. Thank you to the creators for that little touch! 

Thank you to the lovely PR, Louise, who contacted me to send this through and thank you for the goody bag too - lots of fun things to play with in there! 

Disclaimer; I was sent the review DVD for free with a goody bag but the views are all my own and honest. 

Our little holiday

After the Flu of Woe a few weeks ago I am still not entirely back to myself - but I was relieved that I'd already got some holiday booked from work (meaning I've basically missed ALL OF MARCH) because it meant that a; I got to rest some more and recover more and b; I got to go and see my family oop norf!

I love visiting Cumbria - it's just the most beautiful place, and it smells right, and the water makes for awesome frothy showers and magnificent cups of tea without having to filter it. Best of all it has cuddles from my parents, laughing with my family and lots of opportunities for showing off how super my boys are!

We always plan to go a lot of places and cram a lot in to our visits up north, because there are so many people we want to see and there's so much we want to do. As usual we had to knock a few of those things off our list (because we were there for four days, not four weeks) but we did manage to see a significent number of our friends and family, and I got to cuddle the two little beautiful babies two of my very best friends have produced.

I got to relax, to sleep in, to let someone else take care of the boys so that my lovely husband and I could have some time to ourselves, I got to plan a story I'm writing in more detail, I got to read some of my book and have a soak in a bath, I got to play outside with my children and I got to beat my husband in a time challenge at the adventure park THREE TIMES IN A ROW. Not that I'm smug or anything...

I also thought it would be a great idea to perch myself on one of those bouncy-things-on-springs in the playground to amuse my children. I did amuse Jellybean, but not because Mummy being silly is funny - more because it IMMEDIATELY pitched me onto my arse on the floor in a very painful manner, followed by whacking me in the leg for good measure. I tried to leap up like a gazelle (or something else dainty and fast) and style it out, maintaining eye contact with the very nice Mum on a bench who was trying really hard not to laugh at me! It didn't go well. I don't think walking directly into it, smacking my shin and falling over again was very effective as far as styling it out goes...

There was also The Incident in my Dad's garden where Jellybean pitched himself into the pond. Luckily the lining is ripped somewhere so there was only an inch or two of water, and he slid in feet first. There was, however, a LOT of stinky pond weed that he coated himself in. He did a great impression of John Wayne walking back to the house trying to stop his trousers touching his legs! Poor little mite! I did a reasonable (ok, terrible) impression of someone who wasn't terrified/furious. 

I love my family, and I love our visits up north, and I love switching off and being foolish with my husband as if we have no responsibilities. 

Him very gently falling off the rope bridge at the adventure playground ALMOST trumps me smacking my arse (again) by being far too heavy for the zip wire - which led to wood chippings in my butt crack. Which was nice!