Friday, 23 September 2016

All your little things.

A little snippet about our little lad lately...

My whirlwind of a dude is almost 2 years 8 months old at the end of this month and it seems to have come around so fast. I guess thats always the way when you have a new baby coming into the family but it really is overwhelming for me at times. I'm not sure if it's because he's my only boy but he seems to have grown the fastest and changed the most in the less amount of time. It really is so bittersweet and Something I find hard to come to terms with since being a Mama. That something is change. I love to see them grow, be healthy, happy and learn about the world, being themselves, but it all seems to be going to rapidly, onto next stages, chapters before I've managed to soak up the current one. My little boy is currently obsessed with teenage mutant ninja turtles, and will sit with his little figure collection and play so contentedly, he will then include the huge rubber dinosaurs Grampy got them all too and will just be in his own little magical world! He's such a split personality at times and I love him so much for it, one minute he's the calmest and most chilled out person, then he goes into complete 100mph chatterbox mode (this is usually from 6am) then had the power struggles or moments where he resembles a tiger going bonkers. This is usually triggered but the usual toy dispute, being tired (he gave up naps way before his 2nd birthday), or hungry (it's such a challenge to get him to enjoy food most days, usually dinner time, he's a snacker that's for sure!) The tales of being two ay?

Something I have always loved as a Mama is when they walk right up to me, chuffed as anything with a bundle of hand picked flowers, dirt, leaves, 'treasures', you name it. Little things that they see as absolutely precious and they're giving it to me, someone they love lots. It makes my heart all warm & fuzzy and it never grows old. I look at these photos of my little lad a few weeks ago over the Summer holidays and I remember it so clearly. He shouted after me, handed me these daisies from our lawn and said " I like you Mum" in his sweet little chatty voice, counting them as he lay them into my palm. The look on his face is just so sweet. I just love it when I can really see how pleased he is to have handed something over that he found all by himself.

 These are the little things I never want to forget in my journey of Motherhood, My bigger girls still do this as well and I will welcome it for as long as they do. 

Simple acts of affection such as handing out little flowers from child to mama.
Those lovely long lashes, that little nose with little freckles appearing, that double fringe cowlick that has a mind of its own, this thoughtful gesture of a daisy - My beautiful little boy.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Splash! Water play ideas for little ones.

Something that's always been a hit with our little ones is to create time in which they can play with explore different opportunities with water and more recently using a water table.

We were recently lucky to have been sent a cool water table from the people at Little Tikes. We set it up at their Grampy's house and he said it was very easy to set up, we then filled it up with bubbles and warm water, then adding more using his water butt. It's at a great height for little ones, Phoenix is two and a half and suits his height great, Yve's and Halle were joining in just as much as they could either stand or sit and it will be perfect for when Élodie is standing too no doubt.

This table comes with different activities including a ball launder, and ferris wheel, a pouring towerand more. It also enables them to each have a section to play with or to help each other like Yves was with Phoenix when using the ball launcher. The bright colours of the table are pleasing on the eye too, something else you can incorporate into the play with toddlers by naming and familiarising with the different colours.

When you look on the Little Tikes website, you'll see that theres a whole variety of slightly different themed water tables to choose from. This one is the 'Spinning seas', suitable from age 2 years+ and retails at £49.99.

Water tray ideas:

Create perfumes or magical potions adding leaves, bubbles, stones, petals, and even mud pies or brownies. The girls absolutely love this one, they usually add lots of mint and lavender from the plant area too which makes it smell half decent!

A vehicle washing station: Phoenix really enjoyed washing and splashing all of his vehicle collection, creating a little car wash on a smaller scale.

Baby bath station - The older girls loved doing this, we did make sure we didn't use the babies that were made from fabric though as they take ages to dry even in the best of heat!

Using utensils, measuring jugs to mix, splash and pour.

Adding food colouring to reveal "magical mermaid pools". We love this one, dunking the barbies into deep green water and bubbles was lots of fun!

Dinosaur splash! Little Phoenix is a little dinosaur (and ninja turtle) obsessed and he absolutely loves dunking them into the water, making them 'swim', and having a wash.

Play water fights! - Endless fun here!

I could think of so many more, and have seen some great inspiration about online, but heres a few we've tried and loved. Here's some images of the Little Tikes water tray from the other week when Yve's & Phoenix were enjoying the combination of water play and burying dinosaurs in the sand (with the help of water to make better castles too of course!)
This expression on her face cracks me up. It was captured mid-point of where she was very carefully transporting water into the sand tray where she could make better sand castles. the motion was so funny!
Someone loves the bikes this day instead ;)

This post was meant to go up over the summer but due to being poorly, it's set me back but even though you'd think its more relevant to Spring & Summer months its also lots of fun during the Autumn and even winter. Splashing and creating mud pies with toy friends never grows old it seems!

*Disclosure - We were sent the Little Tikes water table for the purpose of a review, all thoughts and images are my own.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Our Siblings in September 2016

September came around in a flash right? 

This month marks the time that our biggest girl starts year one, and our second big girl starts foundation. TWO of our four littles in primary school and I'm honestly in sheer denial. Its also the month our littlest lady turns five months old, and our little boy is continuing to dazzle us with his conversation and understanding of things at the tender age of two and a half. I could talk for ages about the whole starting school situation but that's another post waiting, floating around in my brain until I can find the words to describe!

This month so far, the four of them have been playing a lot more as a whole unit as littlest lady has been getting more and more active (watching them in her walker waiting for toys to hand, or rolling around on her play mat - with them included!). 

As the end of the summer holidays approached we did have moments of bickering but that's only natural when age/personalities clash and just siblings in general right? The one thing that's always been consistent though is how they will always make up, and also how much they're loving on their baby sister. They are all so caring towards her and love to know she is happy, they love to lay beside her on the play mat, bring her toys, sing or talk to her and of course the big hugs, especially at bed time. Phoenix does this thing lately where he wipes her mouth with her bib if she's dribbling, makes sure she's got toys to hold and snuggles his face into hers, eskimo kisses and says "just one kiss Mummy?" with his one little finger pointing up gesturing just that. I never doubted he would be a wonderful big brother, but as theres a slightly bigger age gap between them than the big girls I wondered if it would be different some how, but it isn't, he is just as loving and aware of her being here and that we need to be gentle around her head, her little hands and about putting things near her mouth. He does his own thing a lot more but always comes back to see her at the play mat, he just loves to know she's okay.

The bigger girls have taken comfort in both going to school now, I think Yve's is loving the 'biggest sister' element showing Halle the ropes etc. I look at them both walking into school & I can't believe come this far already, it really does tug at my heart strings a lot, everyday. 

It's a funny thing that they're all so close in age, but there's still the age differences in between, Phoenix loves to join in with the big girls, but can sometimes get frustrated when he can't do it as fast, or understand the board games they play. Then Élodie is getting much more active now but is still obviously limited as she is only small. We often say "the big girls", "the bigger three", "the little two", "the baby" in conversation and then wonder how these labels go hand in hand as they're all so close but also so far apart.

I look at the four of them and i'm in amazement and still shock that I made them all, I carried them all and birthed them all. All of them in less than 6 years, so for those days when I feel like i'm failing at everything at least I can have this to remember everyday. They light up my life with such richness and I couldn't be any prouder of them if I tried.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Eating out with Kids, including our thoughts of Thaikhun.

When it comes to eating out as a family it can go either way, hit or miss. It's completely pot luck half the time but also admitting that we'll more than likely eat our food semi-warm is the only consolation. Sometimes though, the kids actually enjoy the food as much as us adults do. I believe that if they're truly hungry, and find the food/situation fun then this can sometimes help contribute to having a wonderful family meal. 

The six of us were recently invited to sample a complimentary meal & to try out the new kids menu at our local Thaikhun restaurant. I accepted the invite right away as from experience from when Mr T & I were invited to the VIP opening launch early last year & the food is undeniably delicious. I won't lie though, sitting down for a meal on a rare date night is the polar opposite to when you're sitting down with your four littles. They are generally good when we eat out but kids will be kids and sometimes boredom sets in while waiting, or when the conversation has ran its course/ attention span and its then the start of the "I need a wee" at any given second x3 saga.
So on arrival we were shown to our seat downstairs, we were offered help right away with leading our littles to our table, one member of staff even carried our little boy down the big steps for us to which he looked a little bewildered about! Once sat down we ordered the drinks we desired, and took a browse at our menus. The kids menu has had a recent change with that its in collaboration with Nat Geo Kids which includes a funky design, cool facts and some handy colouring crayons too.
When deciding our meals we were given our drinks, plus a couple of extra ones to try out too. The wait wasn't too long, we were showing the children the vibrant decor above them which included a canoe boat hanging, along with other canoe boats made into seating around the restaurant as well.
Thai beer & colouring in by Halle and Daddy.
To the right of our table near the walk way, Yves noticed that there was a Thai alphabet sheet which she loved looking at. Her & halle then starting singing the alphabet! Meanwhile, Phoenix was smiling at the kitchen staff behind us with his cheeky grin (and trying to climb over the seat at times!).
Sharing of drinks & distractions (to stop him climbing over the seat into the kitchen!)
Once the starters arrived we started getting stuck in, I had the Gai satay - delicious marinated chicken with peanut sauce, one of my favourites of thai food (the first photo in this post), Mr T had the tempura prawns, and we also had a try of the tofu wraps.
The children's menu came with a nice healthy alternative of carrot and cucumber sticks which Yves loved as these are two of her favourite things to snack on, the other two weren't convinced even though they tried but they are more fruit lovers as opposed to salady things.
 There mains were delicious, we got them all the grilled chicken option, the girls teamed theirs with noodles, Phoenix had the jasmine rice. It also included steamed broccoli & a choice of sauce. They all went for the BBQ, very tasty! Like any children, we have our fair share of ups & downs with their eating habit, one day they love something and the next they're on food strike or will only eat things that are yellow for example. We've especially found it even trickier with our little boy as he is more of a picky eater who will usually have a good breakfast, snack throughout the day, but 80% of the time goes on 'dinner strike' so for him to enjoy this was a lovely sight.

 The childrens menu also comes with the choice of water, milk or juice and even an ice-lolly for pudding. We thought this was overall a great value for money for the quality of the food. 
For our mains, Ty enjoyed the Geang Phed, A red thai curry for a change as opposed to his usual green curry, he said it was really flavoursome and the ingredients such as the pineapple and cherry tomato chunks complimented it well plus its a healthier option, win win.
I was going to have the chicken massaman but I always have this when eating thai food so I also went for something slightly different in flavour and texture. I went for the Khao Mun Gai Tod, this was fried chicken (reminded me of katsu chicken texture) with coconut rice, salad and a sweet chilli dip. I enjoyed the meal but wish it had more of a main meal sauce to it as opposed to the dipping sauce as the chicken was a bit dry without it. I continued to use my satay peanut sauce from my starter which complimented it well, but overall the food was lovely!
Ty opted for no pudding, but there was no way I was going without one! The desert menu looked really appealing to me and I was sat deciding for a fair few minutes! I was tied between my usual sticky toffee pudding (I 90% have this anywhere we go) that came with Thai whisky ice-cream or a 'Thai bounty' - a chocolate fondant with coconut ice-cream. I went for something different as was definitely glad I chose something new - it was delicious! It even came with a bit of spray cream & warm chocolate sauce drizzled on top too. 
I couldn't leave without sampling one of their hot chocolates too, and it came in this quirky dented looking mug which I loved!

Throughout our evening there, the staff were very kind, friendly and helpful ensuring we were enjoying our food and sparing a couple of minutes to chat to our littles. They even gave us a couple of additional tasters while there too which were also delicious. I love the authentic feel you get when in the restaurant, true to its Thai heritage, the restaurant is buzzing with vibrance, music and even mini singing performances from the staff if someone tells them its their birthday, the kids found this hilarious! The decor is stunning, colourful and eye-catching, something I imagine Thailand is like in the flesh, as told from my Dad who has visited there before. As mentioned above, I have written more about the Thaikhun background before so if you fancy a read just follow the link or visit their website.
On the way home, a spot of cheeky behaviour and faces ;)

I didn't take as many photos of us as I would've liked but in between the toilet dashes, the attempting to climb over the edge of the seat by Master P, we just wanted to try our best to enjoy our meal, our second meal out as a family of six as I think we did pretty well to be honest. We went home with full tummies, funny memories and at least a few pictures of this mouth watering food!
Thank you so much to Thaikhun for our invite, we'll definitely be back!

*Disclosure, We were kindly asked to have a complimentary meal at our local Thaikhun restaurant for the purpose of this review, however all honest thoughts and images are my own.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Our family in August 2016

As I type this we are in the last week of the summer holidays. To be honest as much as I feel like we need to have a little more structure back to our days I am really going to miss having my four at home with me. Having the flexibility to do as we please at our own pace, even though the morning wake up call has been between 5:30-6 everyday (plus night feeds for me!) I have enjoyed the slower pace of life, so have the kids - most of the time. 

It has been tiring at times, as I'm the main parent at home when Mr T works it can all be very tiring some days especially when I've not been feeling too well at times but over all it has been nice to have no structure to stick to. Getting back into time scales will be a shock to the system for us all I think but I'm sure we'll be back into the swing of things in no time. I have felt myself getting quite anxious as the end of the holidays is appearing as this time next week I will be kissing goodbye both my big girls at school. Our little Hallelujah is starting foundation, and Yves will be in Year one. I know they're both so excited, as I am for them for not being scared or worried, its just something I feel a lot, the past almost six years my whole life has been dedicated to being a Mama, I want to know they're safe, happy, and cared for, having the freedom to explore until their hearts content, and learning at their own pace. So when being put into a new routine of structure its enough to make any parent wonder. I know they'll thrive, they're forward for their ages, had great reports previously and the best thing is that this time they will have each other. I'm sure they will look after one another, especially on the big play ground. Halle is someone who has such a sass about her, confidence to talk to anyone of any age - even kids double her age to stick up for her baby brother when someone jumps the queue of the swing at the park telling them "I'll tell your Mum, I know where she is and who she is"! Very protective, and our Yve's has a heart of gold too who will want to know that her little sister is safe, so i'm sure that those two combined will be fine. (I'll still be fighting back or wiping away tears at the classroom door though, its okay to wear sunglasses indoors in September right? lol)

Our photos this month are from an afternoon by the river in Goring. A place Mr T and I stumbled upon when I was expecting Yves back in 2010. A beautiful little place that has lovely riverside pubs and pretty houses. Since then we've been back there when she was about six months old and this weekend as a family of six. The weather was sunny one minute, then very dark the next, we sheltered under the bridge, the bigger girls chose an ice cream each while Mr T, Phoenix & I opted for cake and cup of tea. We watched the boats coming in and out the lock, and then sat and reminisced for a little while. I know it sounds so cliche, but time seems to be flying by so fast, I think it happens even more so the more children you have. Its such a funny mixture of comments we get when we're out, some looks of shock, some wondering if we're all siblings without parents, or the usual one is that its such a lovely thing us having four of them so close in age. I look at our little tribe and still have moments of disbelief that they're all ours, I carried & birthed all four of these little people - our little family that we created. 

Sometimes parenting can be overwhelming, tiring, and they can drive us bonkers some days but its always out weighed by the most important things. The simple things. Like watching them grow, bond together and with us, gazing at their sweet little faces, feeling them snuggled up in our arms knowing that they feel comfort from us, listening to their lovely inquisitive conversation, and knowing that they love us so much just as we do them. 


Monday, 22 August 2016

Simple days with my favourite little people.

These summer holidays have been all about slowing down for us. As much as you possibly can with four littles aged 5,4,2, and 18 weeks but for us, the importance was to really try and live at a slower pace. Before the holidays, our usual Monday-Friday would include several car journeys on the nursery and school run everyday, having to keep to times and to be prepared with all that comes with getting the five of us out of the house early in the morning. 

Not only I have been craving the slower pace, I felt the kids had too. Since giving birth to Élodie in April this year its all been a bit hectic in all honesty. We have tried to enjoy this chapter in our lives as best we can but while on the gear up to the summer holidays, rounding up to-do lists and general parenting in those whirlwind newborn weeks has felt like its passed us by ever so quickly, definitely bittersweet when you're trying to spend time with each child & trying to soak up all the snuggling our very last newborn. 

So these Summer holidays we've enjoyed a few days out strawberry picking, getting out & about, beach days but mostly we've spent time at home doing crafts, playing or in the garden. Another thing we've been enjoying is walks to our local parks together with the little two in their mountain buggy & the bigger girls on their scooters or pushing their babies in their prams.

Simple joys are really what its about when parenting four little ones aged 5 and under. Getting out the house can sometimes be a mammoth task & sometimes I wonder why I even contemplated starting it but when we leave, get walking or go somewhere simple it all seems to fall into place (mostly). Watching my littles take in the sights even if it is just to the shops, questioning why the clouds are forming shapes, picking flowers all around, keeping look out for crossing the road safely, climbing ever so high on the park equipment, going super fast on the zip wire - simple joys.

I can't believe our little Élodie is already 18 weeks old too, I feel like i'm blinking and missing it! The rest of these summer holidays I'm going to continue spending time with my favourite little people, making memories, soaking up as much as possible, remembering the small stuff and forever feel so thankful that we have each other. Come September I'm going to have TWO school girls to drop off each morning, so thats playing on my mind a lot, denial mostly, pride on the other hand but definitely bittersweet feelings as I just want to preserve this whole chapter, I sound like a soppy mess right? They drive me bonkers on a daily basis, but I bloody wish they would stop growing up so fast. Childhood is sacred, so we're going to do our best to make the most of it as a family. 

This has been a very rambly, random post which probably makes no sense but as I sit here at my desk thats gathering dust where it gets no action lately, and my sleeves stink of baby sick, I thought I'd write a little post despite the garbage punctuation, rambles and made up words. 

Do you like to get out with your kiddos, even if just for a walk?

How have you been spending your summer holidays?


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Our siblings in August 2016.

We're well into the Summer holidays now and with a few days of them getting in each other's face a little bit (maybe the excitement/switch of routine from finishing school and nursery?) they're really having lots of fun being around each other again. They've spent a lot of the time in the garden making up games, playing sports days, keeping watch of our sunflowers and making sure they're watered, and even enjoying toasting marshmallows on the bonfire with Daddy the other evening.

We've had moments of the middle two clashing as Halle likes to be "the mummy" and tell him what to do apparently but with all of them being very strong minded, this doesn't sit well which can result in explosions! Which are then made up in good time thankfully, sometimes with guidance from Daddy or I. Overall I think it's only natural and just part of being siblings to have some squabbles, but the most important thing is that they make up after any issue and for each little argument they make up for it in love and friendship ten fold. It's a funny thing really as when it comes to playing, it's mostly like there's a trio of them as Elodie is usually feeding or napping or playing on her play mat and the three of them are off doing their own thing but then they're always drawn back to her in doses throughout any game, always checking in to give a little peck on the cheek, or gooing conversation. I do wonder how the play dynamics will change once she's more playful with them and the toys, it's going to be eventful I'm sure! With each time I have hindsight on my side though! I'm sure it's going to be mental at times but just as wonderful as it has been watching the three of them grow together. 

The way they've been with Élodie really is just wonderful. In all honesty, before the birth I never doubted them for a minute but to see it in reality, it just makes me so proud of them all. They shower her with complete love and affection, always want to be holding, kissing or entertaining her and she loves nothing more than to watch them during their antics looking like she's itching to get involved too. They're always commenting on her "lovely podgy legs" or her smiley face and Yves has a new nickname for her which is "squishy". Halle still loves to refer to her as her favourite cousin and Phoenix is just in awe of his baby sister who happens to "love him too". 

Our amazingly bonkers but utterly lovely tribe of four. 
With an outtake for good measure. ;)

The Me and Mine Project
© Little Jam Pot Life. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig