Thursday, 24 January 2019

Memories of Christmas

Oh I have so much to tell you and show you.
But let's start from the beginning, shall we? Christmas 2018.

One of my favourite days of the year - dressing the house for Christmas. I like to start as early as possible, on the 1st December. This may mean taking the day off work, as was the case in 2018. I like to put a Christmas film on the telly, and nibble on chocolates, whilst merrily decorating. This year my dear friend Ann sent me this sweet decoration, complete with Tommy's name. It arrived in the post, addressed to Master Tommy, and to say he was excited would be an understatement.


"It's Santa's car!" screamed Tommy, when he saw this. Each year I like to buy a new ornament for the tree.


Okay, this year I may have got a little carried away. Blame owning an Etsy shop. Because you can't help peeping at other shops, supporting small businesses and praising talented people. As soon as I saw this I knew I had to have it in our home.


Another purchase. I adore this quote. It was one of the first quotes I used for my Etsy shop.


The village school really entered into the Christmas spirit. Tommy's classroom even had their own Christmas tree. The nativity play was adorable. Tommy won best dancer at the Christmas party. The whole class enjoyed their first school trip, to a local farm to make their own elf (Tommy's was called Cheeky, his fav food was pizza and fav activity was watching telly!). The school bazaar was lots of fun, Tommy even high fived Father Christmas. And he couldn't stop talking about their Christmas lunch, with a visit from the man in red and white. Here he is in his uniform (in need of a haircut!) very proud of his snowman.


The elf on the shelf, times two, was back in our lives! Here they are colouring in. Thank you for these Auntie Wendy, Tommy coloured a fair few for the cottage. So did the elves.


Writing his letter to Father Christmas. In his Spider-Man suit. Well, he is still learning to write, but he did write his name at the end, after I listed his wishes.


We went to the local pub on Christmas Eve, to meet our friends, Tommy's school friends, and their parents. It was a lovely atmosphere, luckily we got the sofas next to the fire. We walked back a little later than expected and Tommy opened his Christmas Eve box. This contained reindeer food to sprinkle in the garden, a Santa sign for the front door, Santa's magic key (in case some items were too big for the chimney) and Christmas puzzles and chocolate.
Here's what we left for Father Christmas.


He's been! I can't tell you how magical this moment is.



Christmas lunch was at my parents house. I usually make Christmas crackers for the table. This year I wrapped little presents for the table, with tags from Etsy. My mum has been poorly recently but very proud with how she coped on Christmas day and how important it was to her that she cooked the (yummy) Christmas dinner.


Christmas evening is always at Mark's brothers and my sister-in-laws. Tommy gets to play with his cousin and we get to drink Prossecco and eat cheese. Perfect.









Saturday, 22 December 2018

Now he is five

Now he is five.
I was ever so well prepared for this birthday. Knowing Tommy would be at big school, I booked the village hall and Optimus Prime entertainer, months and months in advance. I wanted to invite the whole class as a way of getting to know all his school friends and parents too.
I forgot one teeny tiny thing - his birthday weekend fell in half term holiday.
I proudly circulated the super hero invitations, within plenty of notice for the special occasion, and then proper panicked when I received lots of, "Sorry, would love to come, but we are away for half term."
In the end, a respectable amount participated. And Tommy still loved Optimus (oh yes, I worried about this too, kids can change their mind like the wind!).
Looking back I do chuckle to myself. I really wanted to make a good impression and for Tommy to be popular. But when the big day arrived, Mark and I ventured to the village hall and hid in the kitchen for ages as we were too shy to speak to the adults!
Finally we pulled ourselves together and set the table and offered drinks to parents whose names we kept forgetting.
The main thing is, Tommy had a blast. Even if he did crawl under the table when we sang Happy Birthday to him, we had to coax him out and bribe him with cake. Apart from this, he was running around like a loony and playing nicely.
And the entertainer was worth his cost in gold. The kids were mesmerised by him. So were the adults when he break danced for his grand finale.
Now you are five, dear Tommy, I wish you the happiest, most exciting days ahead. Because we are very proud of you. You light up our lives and we love you to the moon and back again.

Dancing!



Mesmerised.


Cake.


Birthday cake.



Break dancing.


The night before his official birthday.


The birthday boy.

Friday, 9 November 2018

The award for ‘living the closest to school’ goes to...

Three years ago, Tommy entered Little Adventurers, still in nappies, with those short little legs, unsure of himself, and cried when I left the room.
His last day was a whole different story. A little boy, shouting out, "Bye, bye!" to anyone and everything. A little boy in Spider-Man pants, his confidence had grown leaps and bounds.
Because it was time for the next chapter.
Big school.
We are ever so fortunate to live in a tiny village, in a little cottage, with the village school literally behind us. One class per year, it's far from intimidating, with the local park used for games and a real community spirit.
I would like to say that this transition period was smooth, but that would be a fat lie.
It was rocky.
The settling in process lasted for three weeks. Every day for three weeks Tommy cried. I have realised he is not big on change. He is a cautious boy. And to be fair to him, just before he started school, he was at home with me every day. I was working from home, thus he got used to watching cartoons, playing with his transformers, and generally being at home with his mummy.
Every morning for three weeks I would walk him to the school gates and there were tears. Some mornings I literally had to push him through the gates and hand him to his teacher.
I would look at envy at all the other kids, running excitedly in the playground, waving enthusiastically at parents/grandparents.
It was tough. I hated seeing his face crumple. Every day I would walk home to log on, with a heavy heart.
It certainly broke the ice with the other mums, they were all very sympathetic, assuring me he would soon be running in and forgetting to say goodbye.
Finally, he got the hang of it.
Now he waves me goodbye, with a big smile on his little face.
He's made friends, he's writing numbers and letters, he's got his confidence back. He's doing great.
And so am I. I can now walk home, my spirits lifted, ready to log on, knowing he's having the time of his life.

His induction day went well - probably because Mark and I were there too. And Paddington.


I purchased this for Little Adventurers, as a thank you for all the love and fun they provided Tommy.



The night before his first day. I was definitely more nervous than him.


Posing and laughing in his uniform.



His first day over with.


Thank you auntie Wendy for the card to treasure forever.

Friday, 19 October 2018

And then it rained

You know I told you all about the heatwave in my last post? Well, it had to rain at some point, right? And the garden needed it, the hose pipe ban needed it, we all needed it! But what Mark and I didn't need, was it to rain during our weekend away.
It rained during our weekend away.
And not just a little.
I'm talking torrential rain here.
The type of rain which is determined to make you wet, despite umbrellas, boots and rain macs.
That's what happened to us, on our weekend away to Southwold, to celebrate Mark's birthday.

We arrived, all excited. We walked along the seafront, then the heavens opened.


Luckily there's a pretty cool amusements room on the pier, and a fab restaurant. We spent a long time here, avoiding the rain. Delicious lunch courtesy of Auntie Wendy (thank you!). Tommy particularly liked the chocolate ice-cream, can you tell?!


In the end we had to brave the rain. It was proving here to stay. We made a dash to a pub for shelter (Mark didn't mind the pub stop, Tommy thought it was hilarious splashing in the puddles). Then we made another mad dash to our holiday cottage.


Look how wet he is! Even with rain mac. We actually had to put the heating on to dry our clothes.





We found some games in the cupboard, Guess Who and Snakes and Ladders. Then Tommy chilled on his iPad, whilst Mark and I opened the wine.


It was still raining in the evening, luckily the cottage was situated on the high street. So we ran to the nearest restaurant for dinner. Mark doesn't like me taking his picture.


The next day was a different story, the sun was out! Well, for about two hours. I'm afraid we didn't even get a chance to use the beach blanket and bucket and spade, but we did walk along the seafront and buy an ice-cream. Oh and watched the Punch and Judy show.




We hit the shops. Tommy also loved the vintage shop because he spied a small Spider-Man and a big Spider-Man which we bought with his holiday money.






So long Southwold! You were wet, yet fun. And Tommy has big Spider-Man and small Spider-Man in memory of 'and then it rained'.


Thursday, 11 October 2018

That was summer 2018

So the heatwave is over.
Boy was it a hot one, during the summer of 2018. We were all a sticky, sweaty mess. But at least it didn't rain hey. Well actually, a little rain would have been a welcome break. Oh never satisfied are we...!

Below are a selection of my summer memories. It was fun. And hot.

As is tradition, we kick the summer off at a friend's house and garden. All kids welcome.



We spent many a Friday at our local pub. With weeks of continual sunshine, I would turn my lap top off at 5pm on the dot, pack Tommy's bike full of Transformers and remote control cars, then we would stroll across the cricket green to the Green Man. Mark would meet us after his day in the office and we would dine al freso. And the journey home would consist of an ice-cream from the village shop (affectionately renamed by Tommy as The Chocolate Froggie Shop), whilst sitting over the cricket green. It was the best ever start to the weekend. We also attended the beer and sausage family fun day at the Green Man, with friends.







The cricket green hosted a fun day, with Pimms for the adults and face painting for the kids. We finished back at our friends house who literally live behind us, and around the bend.


We spent many an afternoon in the forest near our cottage. Climbing trees, building dens, walking dogs, hanging out. It was nice and cool in the forest.


We had a fab time at a family birthday. Note the tent for kid's shade. The adults all squashed under the marquee to avoid the burning sun. It was a particularly hot day.


It was even too hot for the garden, sometimes.



The local strawberry fair was a great day out. And actually not a scorcher.




One of my favourite places, Hylands House and gardens. A short drive away, something for everyone.


There were plenty of these.


And feeding the ducks.


And this was me! I actually had a tiny tan. See ya next year summer, it was amazing seeing you again.