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Half Term Tales #3: Fancy Face Paint, Synchronised Climbers and Cuddles with a Blue-Shielded Knight

20 Feb

20130220-224047.jpg This gorgeous little princess is a little girl my friend Cathryn looks after – I hasten to add Thomas had never met her before…
20130220-224239.jpg How cute is this….?!
20130220-224248.jpg *melt…*

And finally… Will someone for pity’s sake please PLEASE explain to me how dogs manage to look so worried and sad and neglected for so much of the time??…
Just look at the eyebrows and see if you’re not suddenly consumed by compassion for that poor POORcreature…



A Sunny, Outdoor Kind of Week End

17 Feb

The sandpit got its first “outing” of the season! They spent hours in there, digging trenches and pouring water into them and building mounds for Lego forts and cars. The stuff boyhood is made of. 20130217-201236.jpg
Thomas climbed into the bottom part of an ancient cider press using the dog’s lead as a climbing rope…
…then decided it was all too much hard work…
A more (and rarer) civilised moment for Tom
Sam, on an outing to Looe in Cornwall with grandparents, also felt like a little impromptu lie-down. Runs in the family.
Brothers, contemplating the deeper things of life. Like chips and Lego and Top Gear.
Scooters and shorts – MUST be summer…!
That boy is too much of a thrill seeker for my liking
A little private whisper between daddy and the Middle One. Wonder what he was saying??
And the last one…not so sunny:
…those 4 boys sure do make me happy…

The Art of Bartering. By a 6 year-old

29 Jan

Ben: daddy if you let me watch some telly I’ve give you some money
Mark: how much
B: one pee?
M: thats not enough
B: two pee
M: not enough
B: well how much do you want??
M: at least 50 quid
M: then you can’t watch telly.
B: daddy you’re SOOOO tight.


Lip Service Nativity

9 Dec


ADVANCED WARNING: I think I’ve turned into the Grinch! Again.

(I know, this happens E.V.E.R.Y C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S…)

I’m sorry. Nativity plays are cute and that, but they are soooo tedious. So dull…

…Or is that just me…??

Having just come out of Ben’s second Nativity play of his entire life, I am fuming. Seething. Frustrated.

What a farce! What a shame

It wouldn’t have been be so bad if I could’ve seen Ben and he was actually doing something!

Instead I will just remember this year’s play as the one where my son didn’t do anything except sit on the floor in his PJs , with a tea towel round his head, among another 130 kids, being the ‘singing crowd’. He and many of his classmates found it pretty boring as it seemed there were only about 6 children there with main (read: i.n.t.e.r.e.s.t.i.n.g – or FUN) parts.

The “singing crowd” weren’t even prompted to STAND to sing their songs for crying out loud!!

How unfair. How frankly stupid

The little glimpses I managed to catch of Ben, from my cramped, tiny, child-sized seat 4 rows from the back, only served to reinforce the feelings I already had as I had walked into the school hall earlier… His little face was almost exactly what you would draw as a typical caricature of a tired, bored, SAD face. His eyes, each time they caught mine, were pleading with me to take him home.

I would really want to be able to look back one day and think of my children’s school Nativity plays as LOVELY and MEANINGFUL but I don’t think that’s about to happen. To me they’re just paying lip service to an event so amazing you can hardly put into words –  they just make me angry. And Incredibly Frustrated. (Did I say I was frustrated!?)

Every so often I come across a deeply meaningful nativity play, like the one Ben was involved in last year in Reception… Or the ones my Thomas takes part in every year, at his “special school“… Or the ones produced by Out of the Ark, who are a Christian-based primary-school-production company. If done well and your kids are properly involved, then sure they can be great.

But mostly, the experience I have had of them over the past 10 years have brought out irritation and cynicism in me and made my skin crawl.
And yes, for certain things I am a self-confessed, unapologetic Grinch.

Just sayin’…

Flag Waving

25 Jul

Although the picture is slightly blurry, I think it is beautiful and lovely and says everything about how we are to come to the King of Love…:
in simplicity and purity,
with an open and sincere heart,
with abandon and a complete lack of self-consciousness

And…with the desire and expectation that He will be blessed by what little I have to bring to Him.


17 Jul

>Now that we have moved I am getting to know all sorts of new fun activities to do in the area…

Devon really is a treasure trove of exciting adventures to have and amazing, beautiful places to discover!

This is what we are up to today:

…We live very near a really wonderful wildlife park called Paignton Zoo – you may well have heard of it, it is well-known worldwide!
Now seeing as pretty much all my friends were raving about how great it was, and how I absolutely must get a family annual membership as the value for money was incredible, …guess what?!

…I got a family annual membership!!

And I am in fact extremely delighted that I did as it is a great place for the kids to let off some steam for a couple of hours. There are lots of different areas for them to play and run around…

…as well as an enormously varied array of colourful, well looked-after exotic animals – meaning the boys will never tire of visiting…

It is mostly perfect for their needs – I would even consider popping there on my own for a while as it is a truly lovely, green and indeed peaceful environment – as long as you remain outdoors!!!

Which leads me onto this.

The only thing I find frustrating here is that they invariably ABSOLUTELY MUST spend at least one hour in the indoor soft play area… And being the person i am, those types of places make me anxious and irritable and make me want to curl up into a tight little ear-plug wearing ball. To me they are unbearably noisy, and stressful places. Loud, excitable children running around like lunatics, loud cannons that you can use to shoot plastic balls at other children, screaming toddlers and fussy babies….aaaargh, it is enough to make me come out in a rash!!!

The frustrating thing is that the kids love it and it is exceedingly good for them, meaning I have no choice but to sit there, patiently waiting for one of them to come and collapse on my lap exhausted and thirsty.
I guess it is one of those sufferings I have to endure for their good. There are many others, and they just help remind me that it’s not about me, and that parenting is a painful road of a self-sacrifice.

It could be worse.

Spencer Bear

12 Jul

>It’s nearing the end of Ben’s first year at school.
I cannot quite believe it – and what an eventful year it’s been…
Well, all sorts of things have been happening these last few weeks, to celebrate summer time, and the end of term.
Cos in Britain we like summer; British summers are what we do best.

Sort of.


This Friday my Benji got to bring Spencer Bear home  for a whole week end – and boy was Ben overjoyed!! He was SO proud, it almost made him an inch taller…!

Thankfully the only mishap was, that 5 minutes into the walk home from school on the Friday afternoon, poor old Spencer Bear lost one of his sandals  😦  
But the rest of the week-end was a great success, and Spencer Bear was made a HUGE fuss of – well, on the Saturday at least. Ben forgot all about Spencer Bear on Sunday morning so Spencer Bear got a lie-in while we all went to church. Alright for some! Humph.

Spencer Bear had a fun day on Saturday though:
he had a great time with the playdough

He climbed trees, fed the ducks and had a go on a roundabout

And at the end of the day he had a bedtime story

No wonder he needed a lie-in on Sunday!!!

Ben has been missing Spencer Bear today…
What am I supposed to do about THAT!?!???

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