Growing and swimming

At the weekend we went swimming as a family for the first time in a few weeks. I used to go at least once a week when Andrew was little, but now that I have 2 under 3s, it’s impossible to go on my own and I need to wait until we can go as a family. There aren’t many times that our handily very local pool is free when we are all able to go (when Daddy isn’t at work and the boys aren’t asleep). So it was great to seize an opportunity while we could and head to the pool.

We have used the Delphin float system with Andrew since he was about 14 months old, because he was getting so distracted in the pool and wanting to swim off on his own and not be held be me all the time. I decided that floats were easier than arm bands, which I can’t stand blowing up, and you can take one float of the 3 on each arm away to reduce the buoyancy a little at a time. We took it down to 2 a little while ago and he coped very well, and today we thought it was time to try with just one on each arm. He did very well and knew exactly what he had to do to keep afloat by kicking his legs hard, and only needed a little more help than he had done with the two floats per arm.

Andrew at 14 months old modelling his Delphin floats. Can’t believe Joel is this big now!

At one point I saw a noodle float – one of those long cylindrical floats that they seem to use with teaching kids how to swim and in aqua aerobics classes. I tried him with one of these when he was having his distraction issues before I bought the arm floats, but at that time he wouldn’t keep hold of it as he wanted to grab toys and generally splash about and didn’t understand that it would help him stay afloat. But this time he fully understood that this long float could help him, and he was happy to swim with it under his chest with one hand holding on to it and still have a hand free to grab toys. So we took the last remaining Delphin float off each arm and just let him use the noodle, which he loved. Of course we kept a close eye on him because he did occasionally let it slip from underneath him, but was generally able to right himself.

There is usually at least one of these noodle floats in the pool we go to, but now I’m looking out for a cheap one to buy, because then we’ll have it wherever we swim and also at the local pool if it’s busy and someone else is using any that are there. I’m hoping this will now encourage him to swim unaided and give him confidence to do so. I want to avoid paying for expensive lessons as long as possible, and I’m hoping that my knowledge of technique from my competitive swimming days will help me teach him how to go from just splashing about to purposefully moving in the water.

Joel is now starting to get very nosey in the water, just like Andrew was, and is less happy just to be held and swooshed about by us like he used to. So we put the arm floats on him instead, and he was happy to have a bit more freedom and independence. He still needed supporting under the tummy otherwise he tended to float onto his back which he’s not keen on. Having seen how well Andrew has got on with these floats and that it clearly hasn’t impeded his learning to swim as he didn’t seem to get overly reliant on the buoyancy, I’m glad we can now use them on Joel too.

It’s exciting watching my boys grow and develop their water skills, and I’m so glad they find swimming a lot of fun, because that’s the most important thing at this age.

Fun at Wimpole Home Farm – #CountryKids

We love the fact that we live so near to the National Trust’s Wimpole Home Farm near Cambridge. We’ve been several times since we’ve had kids (and a couple of times before!) and we never get bored of it. The Wimpole Estate is a large area of land with a mansion house and a working farm with animals that are reared for milk, meat, eggs and wool. There are also extensive grounds that you can wander around and picnic in.

The last time we went was the August bank holiday Monday, which was a lovely warm day and we had a wonderful family morning out before Daddy had to go to work in the afternoon. We arrived early and ours was one of the first cars in the car park, so we bought our tickets and wandered around a bit by the entrance to the farm until it opened. As National Trust members we still have to pay to get into the farm, but is is much cheaper than the standard ticket and well worth the price for a good value family day out.

Wimpole 1 Collage

An excited Andrew was looking forward to seeing the animals, so as soon as the gate opened he steamed ahead on the path down to the farm. As we approached, we stopped to see the donkeys and goats in the first field by the reception. The first thing that Andrew spotted once we were actually inside was a tractor that you can sit on and pretend to drive, so he and Joel had a turn on that together. We also stopped to watch a baby cow having its milk from mummy, and then Andrew had a go at ‘milking’ using a milking simulator – a couple of cow sized teats hanging off a bucket of water!

Wimpole 2 Collage

Next we went over to say hello to the shire horses, which were inside the stables at that point, but they also come out to do cart rides that visitors can hop on to. There were some turkeys in the stable too, next to the horses, which Andrew found very amusing, maybe because they were down at his level and he could wave to them. I think too that he hasn’t made the connection between turkeys like this and the turkey that we eat sometimes. Joel enjoyed looking at the rabbits that were across the courtyard on our way over towards the pigs.

Wimpole 3 Collage

Soon it was time to watch the pigs being fed, so we headed over to the pig sties and stood there while other visitors congregated in anticipation of the feeding session and the pigs got very excited. But nobody official turned up with the food for a while, and Andrew needed the toilet, so while he and Daddy went off, Joel and I waited and eventually saw the pigs being fed. There was a range of ages of pig, right from little piglets to teenage pigs to mummy pigs pregnant with litters more babies!

Wimpole 4 Collage

The next thing on Andrew’s radar was the small playground (shaped like a combine harvester) and the toy tractor maze – ride on tractors that you can drive around a small maze of hay bales. We spent quite a while there, and Joel enjoyed being pushed around on a tractor too. Then we headed to the bigger adventure playground that is tucked away in a wooded bit. It was still very empty at that time, so the boys had a good go on it without the busyness that I’m sure it would have had later on in the afternoon once more people had got that far.

Wimpole 5 Collage

Having expended a lot of energy climbing, sliding, swinging, running and more, Andrew in particular was getting very tired and we knew that Daddy had to be in work fairly soon, so we started to head back to the car, stopping by some more paddocks of animals (mainly sheep and chickens) on our way, waving to the inhabitants as we passed.

As always when we visit Wimpole, we had a fun family morning out, and we’ll be back again another time to do it all again. I can definitely recommend this as a great way to let babies and toddlers experience farm animals in a family-friendly setting. It’s also good for slightly older children to learn where certain foods come from, rather than just ‘the supermarket’!

 

Linking up with the lovely Country Kids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog
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Devon holiday – part 2: Fun on the beach

Last week I wrote about the fun we had at some National Trust properties when we were on holiday in Devon with both sets of the boys’ grandparents. This week I’ll tell the tales of our beach days on holiday.

Our first day at the beach was the Tuesday, and the destination was Looe in Cornwall. Of course we had all the inevitable jokes about needing the loo and so on, much to Tom’s annoyance! The sky was quite overcast, but it was fairly warm and there was no rain forecast, so we’d decided that a beach day was worth a try, and this location was good for the other family members that we were going to meet there.

Looe 1

It wasn’t too far a drive, and when we got there it wasn’t too busy, with plenty of space to find a good spot to put down all the paraphernalia that between us we’d lugged from the car park through the town and onto the beach. Andrew was keen to get playing straight away, and wanted to put his little swim/wet suit on, which was definitely worth having so that he could flit between the sea and the sand without getting his normal clothes wet or getting chilly from having just trunks on.

Looe 2

The first activity of choice was building sand castles with the substantial range of buckets and spades that Grandma and Pop have – some left over from the 1980s-90s and some more recent acquisitions. We even had little sandcastle flags to complete the works of art. Joel also joined in, though probably destroyed more castles than he helped make, and he loved the texture of the sand, playing with it in his hands and feet. It came as quite a shock to him that he couldn’t eat it!

Looe 4

After a little while, Andrew wanted to go in the sea, so down he headed with Pop and his little dinghy. Andrew absolutely loved the sea, which was good to see because last year he wasn’t so interested in it. He was happy to ride in the little boat and then get out and splash in the waves which were just the right height for him. There weren’t too many other people braving the sea, which wasn’t surprising given that it wasn’t amazingly sunny to dry off and warm up when they got out. Joel had a little dip too, and was more keen on it than Andrew had been in previous years.

Looe 3

Other activities that we got up to during the day included eating a picnic and playing frisbee. Andrew was quite skilled at throwing the frisbee….backwards behind him! That caused a few near-miss incidents with the people located near us – thank goodness for the Great British windbreak! At about 4pm we headed home and the two boys fell asleep almost instantly as we got on the road.

 

Nearer the end of our week away, on Friday, we had another beach day out. The weather forecast said overcast in the morning but brightening up later in the day, so we thought we’d believe it and head to the beach. This time we chose a more local beach called Mothecombe, just along the coast from Plymouth heading eastwards. The main reason we went there is that it’s perfect for little ones because it’s on the estuary of a river (The Erne) and is therefore very shallow and sandy. Even at high tide, you have to walk out quite a way before you can swim properly as an adult, so it’s just the right depth of water for little legs to paddle in or get a dinghy in.

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We arrived at about 11am, and the tide was coming in and almost at its highest. So there wasn’t much beach at that point, but we were the only ones there, so we picked a nice spot and put all our paraphernalia down. The same kinds of activities as at Looe were requested by Andrew and suggested by the adults. This time we’d also brought the body board, another throw back from yester-decade. The waves were just right for giving Andrew a bit of a go on it. At one point he got carried along by a bigger wave than he expected and he came off, but when he resurfaced he was laughing, which was good to see. Joel had a bit of a dip again, and enjoyed sitting in the dinghy, though not so much being sprayed with water by Andrew.

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Joel’s favourite activity was trying to eat the sand, and he got annoyed whenever a well-meaning adult, who was put in charge of watching him, stopped him! We all also enjoyed flying or looking at the kite, which again had stood the test of time from Daddy’s youth. I even had a dip in the sea, though had to walk out quite far before I could swim properly. I’m not a big fan of swimming in the sea, despite loving swimming in a pool, mainly because I don’t like to think about what’s in it – jellyfish are a particular worry.

MC 3

The tide started to go out from about lunchtime, and gradually the beach got much bigger. At the same time, the clouds started to part and the sun came out in force. We walked over the sand to where the river was much narrower than it had been – at low tide it’s actually possible to walk to the other side as the river is so shallow and narrow. There were some rock pools, and the grandfathers had managed to find a net in the beach shop when they went to get a coffee for everyone after lunch, so Andrew had a go at finding some treasures – a sea snail was his best find, and it lived in a bucket until we went home and it got put back in the sea.

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When the time came to head home because the tiredness signs were coming thick and fast from the boys, Andrew wasn’t impressed and screamed all the way back up the hill to the car that he wanted to go back down to the beach. We tried to convince him with various reasons why we were going home and that we’d come back another day, but in the end the promise of an ice cream from the grandparents as he’d been such a good boy all day won him over. Again they fell fast asleep almost instantly on the way home – the sign of a great day out!

MC 5

Linking up with the fab Country Kids, as always!
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Devon holiday – part 1: Outdoor fun at National Trust #specialplaces

Rather handily, Tom’s parents live in Devon, right at the end near to Cornwall, so every summer we go on holiday and stay with them. Everyone enjoys it because they get to see and play with the grand children, and we get a good rest with meals and washing provided. This year my parents came too, so the boys had a real fill of grandparent attention. We all had a lot of fun, and got up to lots of fun activities. The weather was pretty good for us, not that rain stops us, we just tog up anyway, but it’s nice to be able to get out and about in the dry. I’d definitely recommend all of the places we visited for young children, so if you’re planning on holidaying down that way with little ones, it may be worth taking notes….

This first instalment of what we got up to is all about the National Trust, which you can trust for a good family day out.

Having travelled down from the Midlands with Granny and Grandad on Saturday (we’d stopped for lunch at Tyntesfield, a National Trust property just off the M5 past Bristol, where we saw Gromit!), our first day for exploring was Sunday. We didn’t feel like driving too far, so decided on Antony House, a National Trust property just across the River Tamar into Cornwall. If we were to cross the river by bridge, there is quite a long drive around on the other side, so instead we got the ferry across to Torpoint, and Antony is just a mile or 2 up the road from there.

PicMonkey Collage (1)

We usually check the National Trust hand book or app for opening times, but as it was a weekend in the height of holiday season, I guess we didn’t think about it and assumed it would all be open from about 10.30-11am. As we drew up into the car park, there were only a couple of others there, and we noticed that it didn’t in fact open until 12 noon, and even that is only on Sundays in the summer – the rest of the year it’s only open mid week. After we thought about it some more, we remembered that this property is actually still lived in, so it’s completely understandable that they wouldn’t want the world and his wife pouring in every day all year round. But fortunately the woodland walk around the perimeter of the house’s gardens was already open, so we spent an hour wandering around the woods. There are two walks, signposted with green and blue arrows, which was perfect for Andrew who was happy to be our guide and look out for green arrows and point us in the right direction.

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By the time we’d done that, the house and gardens were open, so we headed in with our picnic and found a nice spot on one of the lawns. We ate a tasty lunch, despite the fact that Granny forgot to pack the cheese, which then became the joke of the holiday every time cheese or picnic came up in conversation! Andrew and Joel enjoyed playing on the grass too whilst we stayed in that spot for a while. I had also spotted a slide across on the grass over by the other side of the house, so we headed over there and Andrew, once he’d been brave enough to go down the slide once (it was an enclosed tube so not quite what he was used to), had a lot of fun going down it several more times in the next half an hour. Meanwhile Joel was happy to cruise around the story time benches watching Andrew occasionally.

PicMonkey Collage (3)

After all that activity we stopped off at the tea room for a cornish ice cream. The boys were getting tired by then, so we made our way slowly back to the car and headed home. The littlest one fell asleep in the car and the bigger one didn’t quite as it wasn’t a very long journey home, so he napped when we got back for an hour. Although we didn’t get to see inside the house, we had a thoroughly enjoyable day outdoors, taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine and the boys’ and our love of being in the fresh air.

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A few days later, on Wednesday, we had another trip to a National Trust property. This time we went even more local, to Saltram on the east edge of Plymouth. The weather had been very wet in the morning, though we still got to the local playground and then spent some time with Tom’s extended family over lunch. After the boys had napped, we got in the car and arrived at Saltram just as the weather was looking more promising. First we stopped by the duck pond to admire the cute ducks, ducklings and teenage ducks/ducklings. Then the plan was for Andrew to ride his bike and for us to walk around the extensive grounds, after Andrew took a quick detour into the playground before he discovered that he couldn’t very easily slide down the slide in his waterproof trousers that we’d suggested he wear in case of puddles underfoot (or underwheel).

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Andrew sped off down the track so fast that he left us way behind him. We took it in turns to try and catch him up, first Grandma and Pop, then Tom and me, while Granny and Grandad took care of Joel in the buggy. We really had to jog, or even run, to keep up anywhere near him. Occasionally he would slow down to look at something en route, like the cows in the field or a woody bit with ‘off piste’ cycling possibilities. The route goes through fields to begin with, then turns a corner to meet and run alongside the large tidal estuary of the River Plym. So at that point we made him stop and carry on next to us – the adults walking on the side of the path nearest the river and Andrew on the inside, though he kept trying to break the human barrier.

PicMonkey Collage (6)

The circular route led us back to the car, and we all headed home having had a good dose of fresh air and a brisk walk (or jog!) As always, even though we’ve been to both these places before, they didn’t fail to provide us with a good day (or afternoon) out. The next instalment of our holiday adventures will focus on the days we had at the beach.

Linking up with the lovely Country KIds linky again 🙂

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Water balloons – #CountryKids

As the hot weather has continued, I’ve been trying to think of ways to have fun outdoors and stay cool. In the mornings we’ve mainly been going to indoor places to stay out of the sun at the hottest part of the day, coming home for lunch and a nap, then going outdoors about 4pm onwards when the sun is less directly blazing down on us. Our garden (or the communal garden of our block of flats that nobody else ever uses) is perfect in the later afternoon because it’s mostly in the shade of the building. The temperature has been perfect for getting the paddling pool out there in the afternoon.

Apart from the activities I wrote about in last week’s Country Kids post (‘painting’ with water on paving stones, playing with bath toys in the paddling pool), I came up with another fun game involving water. I remember having water balloon ‘fights’ when I was little, and thought that Andrew would love it too. He finds it hilarious when balloons filled with air pop, so I knew he would find this just as fun if not more so because he loves playing with water too. And we all need to be sprayed with cool water in this heat!

Preparations
Preparations

So when we were in town this week, we popped into Poundland and bought a bumper pack of balloons for, of course, one whole pound. Whilst the boys were napping, I started to fill the balloons with water, enough of them to fill the washing up bowl in the kitchen sink. I put the opening of the balloon over the end of the tap and slowly turned the tap on just a little. As these were only cheap balloons, I didn’t want to drench the kitchen even though I wouldn’t complain about an early drenching myself!

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Once both boys were awake, I lowered the washing up bowl full of balloons out the window onto the grass (we live on the ground floor) and then we headed out into the garden ourselves.  Andrew then decided to transfer all the balloons very carefully into the paddling pool where I’d sat Joel down. We played with them there for a while before I picked one up and threw it. I was surprised that it hadn’t occurred to Andrew to do this yet, but once he’d seen me do it and witnessed the pop and splash moment, there was no stopping him. He absolutely loved it, and it was quite an effort to persuade him to leave a couple for when Daddy came home a bit later, as I was sure he would enjoy the cooling off too 😉

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Andrew decided he’d rather not have a nappy or pants on!

The balloons worked perfectly, just what I was hoping for, so I thought I’d share it on here and link up with Country Kids, the amazing outdoor fun linky by Fiona at Coombe Mill. Take a look, there are some great ideas! And just a note to say that I won’t be linking up next week as we’ll be away on the boys’ first trip abroad, to celebrate my (special) birthday. But I’ll be back the following week, no doubt with tales of our German adventures. See you then….

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Number and letter fun in the sun – #CountryKids

With all this glorious sunshine, it’s not been at all difficult to entertain two little ones who love being outside. It’s been lovely just to spend time in the garden, and to go to our favourite parks and open spaces.

The paddling pool has been a big hit with both boys, though I can’t believe how small it looks to me now – the last time we had it out we only had an 18/19 month old as opposed to a nearly 2.5 year old and an 8 month old taking up their space in it. With some bath toys in it, this provided hours of fun throughout the week, starting at the weekend when Daddy was around; we’ve had it out both in the garden and on the balcony.

Sun fun 1 Collage

Sun fun 2 Collage

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We’ve also had some fun with numbers and letters this sunny week. Andrew is very into them, and he enjoys saying them out loud whenever he sees them written somewhere. One afternoon I took a beaker of water and a paint brush outside and told him that we were going to do some painting. He was excited, and was intrigued to watch me ‘painting’ with water on the bricks of the drive; he then had a go himself, and was fascinated to watch our artwork disappear (pretty quickly in this heat!). We painted a few things on the bricks that were warm in the sun, but his favourite was of course the letters. I heard of this idea a while ago, I think when talking to a friend at a group, but I can’t actually remember who, when or where now. But it provided some cheap and cheerful fun on a sunny day.

Sun fun 3 Collage
The photos don’t seem to have come out as well as I’d hoped, but I think you can get the idea

One morning we popped up to Anglesey Abbey, our local National Trust property. I blogged about this for Country Kids earlier in the year when it was much colder and Andrew went everywhere with his yellow coat on. Since that time, Andrew has made a new game which we have to play whenever we go, he won’t let me get away without it! There is a path that leads through a part of the gardens with lots of shrubs in, and for each specifies/variety there is a little plaque with a number on next to the plant. I presume there must be some guide book that you can take out with you which tells you what each number is, though we’ve never done that. Andrew’s game is to ride along the path on his bike and shout out all the numbers that he spots on his way. Sometimes they are obvious, and others are hidden under leaves and harder to spot. He would happily go up and down this path all day if he could. Here is (quite a long) video of him playing this fun game!

Sun fun 5 Collage
There is also a new activity board near the water mill that tells you all about how flour is milled there. Andrew is fascinated by the wheels that you can spin around on it! One of the wheels (the far right) is a pizza – he particularly likes that one 😉

So that was our week of outdoor fun in the sun. Let’s hope the good weather continues!

Linking up with the fantastic linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog – Country Kids
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

King’s College Family Fun Day – #CountryKids

There are many perks of working for King’s College in Cambridge as Tom does. One is of course that he gets to walk past the amazing chapel every day as he goes into and out of his office in the old building next to it. Another is the free cooked lunch that he is entitled to every day. One that we all get to enjoy is the Family Fun Day, which takes place on the Sunday after exams finish in June every year. This year it happened to coincide with Father’s Day. It starts at 1pm and goes on to the evening with a barbecue and music.

KCFF 1 Collage

It’s organised by the JCR – the undergraduate student committee, a kind of college-based student union – and they invite all the students and staff of the college. There are several bouncy castles/ inflatable games (suitable for both big and small people), giant games like Jenga and Connect 4, face painting and ice creams during the afternoon. Last year Andrew was still a a little young to really appreciate it, but this year he loved it!

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First up were the bouncy castles. As we came to the lawn, where for once we were allowed to walk, we saw the big inflatable fun things and immediately Andrew decided to run towards one shouting “It’s a bouncy castle!” excitedly. Daddy dutifully followed and took their shoes off, and that’s where they stayed for the best part of a couple of hours, running between the different ones. I do think it looks slightly incongruous to see big red and blue bouncy objects in front of the historic buildings that are King’s College with Chapel, but I also think it is lovely that for a few days every year the college are not afraid to do this kind of thing (there is also the May Ball where this kind of thing is allowed).

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Meanwhile I sat on the lawn and had a rest while Joel was napping in the buggy. Once he’d woken up, we went and joined the older boys and had a bit of gentle bouncy fun. I even went on a few times with Andrew while Daddy had fun with Joel. I particularly liked racing Andrew along the assault course inflatable – he was actually far better than me at climbing up the cargo net to get to the slide at the end!

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We then spotted that the man who was doing face painting had arrived and west up and was starting to paint some faces – there was a chart queue of girl students who wanted various things done from pretty flowers to a dalmatian dog! Andrew decided that he would like a face paint too, and he wanted to be spot the dog. So we waited in the not so orderly queue, half hoping that one of the girls would take pity on an impatient toddler every time one of them got up with a finished face, but they were all too keen to get it done.

KCFF 5 Collage

Spot then decided that he liked the look of the ice cream cart that had arrived when we were queueing for the face painting. We had been thinking that it was probably about time to go home, but as Spot saw more and more people flocking to join the queue for a Toni’s Ice (famous around these parts), he insisted that we should get an ice cream. And it wasn’t too hard to persuade us.

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So we got the boys back in the buggies and got an ice cream each (except Joel) to eat on our way home. We’d had a great time, but Andrew was getting tired and Joel (as usual) had refused to feed when out so would soon get grumpy. We weren’t as hardcore as the student revellers who would stay until it got dark (and who probably wouldn’t be woken up at 5am the next morning). Sure enough, Andrew dropped off after he’d finished his ice cream and Joel fed enthusiastically when we got home. It really was a family fun afternoon for us all.

Linking up with #CountryKids over at Coombe Mill’s blog again this week 🙂
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The ball and the Abbey – #CountryKids

I love the fact that we live only 10 minutes drive from our local National Trust property, Anglesey Abbey. The Abbey is actually an old house (not a church as you might expect) set in a lovely large area of land with gardens, lawns, fields and woodland, perfect for little legs to run around in and let off steam. There is also a spacious cafe with yummy food and a toddler toy table which keeps Andrew amused for hours!

Quite often we meet friends up there, and it’s a popular meeting place in the week for mums with young children, especially NCT groups and the like. Sometimes I decide at the last minute to head there on my own with the boys when we have an hour or so in the afternoon after Andrew’s nap time with nothing particular planned and no errands to run. This is what happened earlier in the week.AA Collage 1

Andrew insisted that he take his new foam football that Granny and Grandad kindly gave him in a damage limitation effort with respect to Joel, windows and other breakable objects. Even though I said he could take an outdoor ball, he wanted to take this soft one – I’m not one to argue too much with a determined toddler when the matter isn’t a serious one.

He had a lot of fun kicking it up the paths, over the fields, along the lawns, and under the trees (avoiding the beautiful bluebells hiding under there). As we reached the lawn by the house, where we’ve seen croquet being played a few times so I knew it was alright to have a ball on, I was quite glad that it was the soft ball after all, as Andrew was keen to kick it and we seemed to be so near the old house with its delicate windows (not that he can kick it high yet, but you never know when he might learn!)AA Collage 2

Just around the corner from the house we walked into a bit of garden with a high hedge around it because Andrew spotted a few steps that he wanted to jump up and then run down the grass slope next to them. This little game lasted a surprisingly long time. There were also some urns on plinths in this bit of garden, and Andrew said hello face to face with the lady carved into the side of one!

The whole area of land around the property is full of little bits of hedged off garden, perfect for a game of hide and seek. Over the several years that we’ve been visiting the place, we’ve often discovered hidden statues as we walk through the various gardens – even having been umpteen times, we’re still to this day finding new bits of garden with plants and works of art in them, as the land is so extensive and varied.

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We have been into the house before, which is fascinating, particularly an intricate clock that chimes spectacularly every hour, but that was back in our pre-kids life. One day we’ll take the boys in, but they’re still too young to appreciate it, even with the kids activity sheets. In any case, it closes earlier than the time we usually make it up there in an afternoon, which was the case this time too.

The weather was fairly kind to us. It started off overcast and quite chilly, but Andrew was warm enough running around with his bright yellow fisherman’s coat on. It did start to rain a couple of times, but didn’t come to much, and we’re used to being out in worse than that. Joel spent the whole time snuggled up warm and dry asleep in the buggy.

As the afternoon drew closer to closing time, we headed back to the car through a short woodland walk. There was no time for a refuelling stop in the cafe today, and besides, it wouldn’t be long until dinnertime anyway, once we had crawled back into Cambridge on an unusually busy road (it’s not normally busy going into town during rush hour, but I think there had been some incident on the modern road wonder that is the A14 so cars were being diverted!) Despite the journey, we had a fun afternoon and I’m sure it won’t be too long until we pop back again.

Linking up with the lovely #CountryKids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog again 🙂

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Baby crawl

I’m trying to make sure that Joel goes swimming as often as possible. As I myself was a little water baby and have loved swimming for as long as I can remember, it means a lot to me to take my own babies swimming and get them confident in water. When Andrew was Joel’s age, we went swimming once a week together, sometimes more often. I know that second (and third/fourth etc.) children will never get the same experience as the first, and generally I accept that because I can see the good points of being the second as well as the bad. But if there’s one thing that gets to me, it’s not being able to take both boys swimming on my own.

We go as often as we can as a family as well as with grandparents whenever we’re with them, which seems to have worked out at once every 2-3 weeks since Joel was 8 weeks old. So I was particularly happy when the boys naps/feeds/meals conspired in our favour on Sunday afternoon and meant that we had a time to go swimming. Plus it was drizzling so we thought swimming was better than going for a walk anyway.

Now Joel is desperate to crawl. He can see his big brother (an advantage of being a second child) and clearly wants to follow him. So he has figured out how to go backwards and turn around on the spot and generally he lies on his front flapping his arms and legs A LOT! If I put him down on the floor on his back, he immediately rolls onto his tummy and starts his attempts to move (and conquer the world 🙂 ) Watch this video if you want to see some attempts to crawl on land, including leg kicks and arm flaps that would serve him well in a swimming pool, especially towards the end of the video.

We’ve been joking recently that he looks like he’s swimming on land, so it’s lovely to watch how he reacts in water when he’s on his tummy (again he doesn’t really like being on his back, just like on land). He does the same crawling action, flapping his arms and legs, which of course looks so good in water – baby crawl! In fact he looked more like an adult swimmer than his big brother who, as usual, was busy flitting between playing with different toys and being upright in the water a lot of the time rather than just swimming back and forth on his front.

Although it’s been a few weeks since our last swim, I was so pleased that both boys took to the water just like ducks, happy to splash and play in the pool. I think the most important point about swimming at this age is just to have fun and get used to the water, which we seem to be achieving, so that makes me happy too. Hopefully it won’t be long before we go again, probably the weekend after next, and Joel can show us some more baby crawl action!

We still don't have any photos of Joel swimming because we always go in the pool all together. But here is my artist's impression of what he looks like in the water ;)
We still don’t have any photos of Joel swimming because we always go in the pool all together. But here is my artist’s impression of what he looks like in the water 😉

Bank holiday fun – #SnapHappyBritMums

bank holiday fun

This morning we went to a park about 10 minutes drive from Granny and Grandad’s house. Andrew -aka the Duracell Bunny – absolutely loved this slide, which he went up and down about eleventy billion times (or it felt like it!) It just shows that the simple things can amuse toddlers for hours. It was amazing to have such nice weather too. Hope everyone else has had a lovely bank holiday as well!

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