braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘summer holidays

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I haven’t checked out since, um, before the end of term.  And I was doing OK before that, thanks to the heaps of exercise I was getting at various classes.

Yeah…

It’s fallen a bit flat.  Classes have been a no-go; they no longer accept kids over five years old in the creche (and I don’t blame them, really – would you want a bunch of school-age kids rampaging over the babies?).  I’ve also been revelling in no routine.  Which is good for feeling rested and relaxed, and blooming awful for getting anything done.  (I’m also heavily behind on my laundry.  Previous posts boasting of conquering Mount Washmore are shamefully inaccurate right now. We haven’t quite got to the inside-out underwear trick, but we have come close.)

Anyhow, I suspected I had put on a fair bit of weight when we went camping (marshmallows, beer, etc.), so I hid from the scales for a while.  Then, when I got back on the scales, they generally said the same thing for a few weeks.  Somewhere between 12 st 1 lb and just over.

I’ve been watching what I eat, but not particularly carefully.  I am trying not to make it feel like a diet.  Of course, that generally means I’m not losing any weight; it’s a fine balancing act, but at least I’m not gaining at the moment.

Of course, if I don’t get a move on I won’t lose any weight at all this year, so I think I’m going to have to keep the status quo for now and return after the holidays with a vengeance.   I know, I should be out there, enjoying the outdoors with my family. I just never seem to get round to it at the moment. (Current excuse is the house move – I’m constantly on the laptop either dealing with admin or trying to find somewhere to live.  I am relieved that the kids are quite good at entertaining each other without constantly resorting to the TV.)

Anyhow, watch this space.  I shall come back in September with half a hope of being fighting fit before the end of the month.  Maybe.

Just a nice day, really – a promise to a friend got us out of the house nice and early (chores still not done at bedtime, oops) – so we went to the park.

This wasn’t just any park, though.  This was a really good park.  If the two smallest ones hadn’t got a bit cold and fed up after two hours, I think we could have stayed indefinitely.

Shame the camera on my phone has a one second delay, though.

A bunch of mums from the school were meeting up at Stanwick Lakes yesterday, and invited us along too…

Stanwick Lakes was a new experience for me; I’d heard other mums tell me how great it was, but never really found out why.  Then, when I said we could come, they sent me a mysterious text saying, ‘bring spare clothes, towels and swimmies’.

I was mystified.  I couldn’t even get much of a look-in from their website, which seemed like any other nice place to go for a picnic.

But we piled into the car, loaded to the gunwales with food, baby stuff, towels, swimmies, clothes and drove the half hour to Stanwick.  As we traipsed over from the car park trying to find the others, I began to get an idea.

The adventure playground mentioned wasn’t just any adventure playground.  Aside from being the biggest one I’ve ever seen (the sort where you can expect to take a good ten minutes to work out where your children are), the playground design also happens to incorporate a good deal of water.  They have cleverly harnessed rainwater and got it running down at least half of the playground structures.

Of course, this also means there are the odd areas where it’s more of a bog.  And somewhere along the line more than a few children started sliding into it. This created a mud slide, incidentally right next to where we had spread out the picnic rugs.

When our relatively little ones had a go in it, they were covered in mud up to their knees with the odd splash elsewhere. We were thankful that they got tired of it and went to play in the rather cleaner water areas, washing it all off.

Then, when we were having lunch, some teens and tweens discovered it.   Egging each other on, one particularly large boy slid down and submerged himself in the bog.  The only bit of him that was not greeny-brown and slimy was the area around his eyes, which had been screwed tightly shut.  There had been a large splash, and we all inched further across the picnic rug.

Then he did it again, and again, and again, for about an hour.  We couldn’t help but wonder…Why? Surely once you’ve got filthy, there’s no novelty any more?  One of our picnic rugs got splattered, and so did one of the adults, slightly.  We became rather less than impressed, and thanked our lucky stars this was not our child.

But the kids were oblivious, and just enjoyed the day for what it was – a scorching hot opportunity to get wet and mucky.

Then the heavens opened and a thunderstorm struck.

We had waterproofs, but they were all of two minutes walk away in the car.   We all got utterly drenched, except for oldest one, who hid in a playground tunnel and started building a dam to stop the water entering.  Smallest one was particularly unimpressed.

But it was fine really.  We hurtled to the car, dried ourselves off (I thanked my lucky stars that I’d put all but one towel back in the car already), and then I slopped over to the ice cream stall and got us all lollies to eat while the queue to get out of the car park slowly dissipated.

I had to drive home barefoot…wet, muddy crocs are a bit of a safety hazard when combined with driving.  Then, once home, we all piled into the bath, which turned rather brown rather quickly, and drank hot chocolate to finish off the day.

English summers. They always surprise you.

Following a week of camping, tales of which I intend to regale you with over the next few weeks, we are back home. The long, hot, and probably rainy month of August has begun. 

I have imposed summer scrapbooks on the children.  It is of course highly probable that the scrapbook will have a few measly pages filled under duress and I will bin it before mid August. My optimistic side hopes otherwise.

As such, I thought it would only be fair if I made myself do a summer scrapbook too.  And since I’m a blogaholic, well, here I am with my first scrapbook entry.

Of picnics, paperback perusal, pants and precipitous pop-ins

If I possibly can, I try to follow a routine during the holidays. Everyone dresses before breakfast, everyone helps out with the chores immediately after breakfast, everyone cleans teeth, makes beds, tidies rooms. Pocket money is earned this way. Then they get to play, or have a treat.

Today’s treat was a trip to the park for a picnic.

Often, days like these are spent in playgrounds, trying to coax the older ones off the equipment to come and eat something, simultaneously trying to rein in smallest one’s ambitions beyond her ability. So it was a welcome change to go to a park with no playground for once. The most exciting thing in this park? Trees.

Of course, half an hour in – and after letting smallest one toddle around randomly for some time, I notice they haven’t been that hot on poop scooping; thankfully smallest one doesn’t notice/step in/pick up/eat any of them. The older ones played hide and seek.  It was a joy to watch.

After that, we popped into the library, where middle child had a really good go at reading a Charlie and Lola book out loud.  Oldest one had found an Asterix book, then remained immobile for over an hour as he devoured it from cover to cover.  Smallest one was determined to ignore the books, and instead wake up the sleeping baby nearby.  Upon removal, she was then very keen that the books should really be on the floor. I wasn’t sure which was the less desirable option, though I was relieved when the buggy owner left with baby still snoozling away in spite of smallest one’s efforts.

A quick spot of snakes and ladders (there’s an enormous one painted on the ground outside the library), a slight incident mid-game involving middle child’s underwear, then we headed back to the car to go home.

My phone rang just as I’d started the engine. The estate agent. Any chance we could do a viewing on the house in just over an hour and a half’s time?

Cue the fastest tidy up you’ve ever seen.  Less than 48 hours after our return from camping, the hall and living room is a bomb site.

I thank my lucky stars we at least implemented the holiday routine and had a relatively tidy kitchen.  I don’t know how I did it. I even had time for a two-minute shower…just as well considering I was a big ball of sweat after the tidying up was completed.  And I got the dinner started before they rang the doorbell.

Upon bidding them goodbye, the phone rang: loved one – away on business tonight. I told him he was talking to Supermum.  Wisely, he didn’t disagree.

I almost got the kids to bed on time too.

But not quite.