Through your eyes – at the beach

When we tell you we are going to the beach, your eyes widen and a huge smile appears.  In the car we tell you we will go for a swim and make sandcastles – and if you are really lucky you might get an ice cream.

We arrive and you announce we are ‘all done’ and start telling us again we are at the beach.

You are patient as we unload the car, slather both yourself and your brother in sunscreen and walk towards the beach.  As we walk through the park and get our first glimpse of the sparkling ocean, you point at it excitedly and keep saying ‘beach beach beach’.

Your excitement is obvious, you want to walk on the sand and help us set up.  You become impatient as you get changed into your swimming gear, and yet another layer of sunscreen is applied.

We pick up your bucket and shovel and you take your Dad’s hand as you drag him towards the water, all the while shouting ‘beach, beach, beach’….. just in case we didn’t know where we were!

I sit in the shade with your baby brother and can feel the cool sea breeze touching my face and the hot sand between my toes.  I feel overwhelming happiness as I watch you pulling your Dad towards the water.

I watch you come to a sudden stop as you get closer to the water, you look up at your Dad with an expression of uncertainty – the water here is different, you are used to the calm stillness of your pool at home.  You tentatively make your way closer to the water, as the first ripples of water touch your feet.  You shriek with delight, your whole face lights up and you look up at Dad to make sure he is still there and has seen it to.

As the water rushes back out, you again call out with excitement, your feet sink into the sand and you find the whole experience to be hilarious.  The waves again roll in and I can see your confidence grow, as you start to splash around in the water.

A larger wave comes in and you tumble over, you quickly get up and after a quick look at Daddy to make sure everything is ok, you cackle with delight and ask for more!

As the time passes, and you become more sure of yourself, you hold onto Daddy’s hand as you begin to explore, stopping to look at shells and rocks on the sand.

You run your hands through the sand, picking up handfuls of it and letting the grains gently run between your fingers.  You help Daddy dig a great big hole, and think it is great when you need his help to climb out.

When it’s time to go, you do protest.  There is so much more you want to experience, but you begrudgingly hold our hands as we walk back up the sand.

beach

Linking up today with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Toddlers and Patience

Toddlers and patience….  Two words that don’t really go together and I’m not sure if they should even be uttered in the same breath!

We have decided to be crazy adventurous and drive the 1700km from Brisbane to Bendigo next week.  To make things even more insane fun, we are leaving on Friday and need to arrive by Sunday morning, as the boys are being baptised that day.

Let's hope he is this happy during the long drive.

Let’s hope he is this happy during the long drive.

Now, Liam is not the most patient little man.  It was only last week that he was getting quite cranky when he had to wait for his milkshake and toast when we were out for breakfast…. so the thought of him having to sit in a car for a looong time is a bit of a worry.  Even on short trips, he is now starting to pull at his harness and tells us that he is stuck – he obviously doesn’t quite get the concept of seat belts!

When a milkshake is this good it's hard to wait!

When a milkshake is this good it’s hard to wait!

Our plan is to load him up with a few of his favourite books, trucks and cars – as well as having plenty of snacks to keep him amused.  We’ve also got audio books and a couple of CD’s we can play along the way – I am thinking of ‘forgetting’ to pack the Wonky Donkey though…..

As much as I love our iPad, and will be downloading a few kids apps in case we get desperate (a big thanks to the Multitasking Mummy for a list of great kids apps), I am hoping we will be able to survive the trip without resorting to technology to keep him occupied.  As kids, we travelled the same trip many times and survived without watching movies and cartoons along the way and I am hoping we will be able to teach him that he doesn’t need to be kept occupied every second of the day, and sometimes he needs to be able to just sit back and watch the countryside fly by.

Have you ever gone on a long road trip with a toddler? Please hit me with any suggestions you have to keep them amused!

PS.  I know there is a VERY strong possibility we will have the iPad out and cartoons playing by the time we hit the NSW border…

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

 

A milestone not listed in any baby record books

Yesterday I had what may possibly be my best parenting moment yet (asides from bringing both of the boys home from hospital of course).

Our first cuddle - 5 days old

Our first cuddle – 5 days old

Drumroll……   Liam said ‘love you Mum’.  Ok, so maybe it sounded a little more like ‘ruv you mum’ – but I’m going with it.  To say that my heart melted would be an understatement, I was so overcome by emotion it sent a shiver through me. Initially I wasn’t sure if I had heard him right, and asked him to say it again just to be sure (and I just wanted to hear it again!), and there it was –  I was right.

After a week of illness and a suspected case of the measles (thankfully the test was negative), hearing these three beautiful words nearly bought me to tears.

Once again I am reminded of just how special my little boy is, and that I don’t think I could love him anymore if I tried.

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

Enjoying some Mummy & Liam cuddles before Aiden was born

What has been your best parenting moment?

Happy Saturday everyone x

What’s next?

We met with a financial planner last week who put the questions to us – where do we see ourselves in 5, 10 and 20 years? From a financial perspective we were able to rattle off a plan… but from a personal perspective I was stumped.

This is a strange feeling for me.  I will admit I may have some control issues (ok, if  you were to ask Scott he will say I have a LOT of control issues), and in the past I have always needed to have a plan – whether it be in regards to career, health, financial or personal goals.  Generally I have been able to achieve most of these goals – albeit some have taken longer than others, and have taken a greater toll on me personally than expected.

To be honest, I’m exhausted…  Our five year journey to start a family has been tough.  Now that we have ‘achieved’ this (hmm, there is probably a better word than this?), we haven’t really thought about ‘what’s next’??? In fact, does there have to be a what’s next?  It seems as though we are expected to have plan in place – we are asked if/when we will have another baby (seriously I was asked this by a midwife when Aiden was less than 24hrs old and in NICU), when am I going back to work, what school are the boys going to, when are we going to toilet train Liam, when are we planning a trip to visit family…. and the list goes on!

It seems to be a constant question throughout life – when you start a relationship it’s’when are you moving in together’? Once you are living together – ‘When are you getting engaged’…. ‘When are you getting married? When are you having kids? When are you having another baby??  and so it goes on.

Is it a ‘bad’ thing to just stop and enjoy life for a little while without having a plan in place for our next life goal?

I’m making the decision to enjoy our family and life right now.  Instead of worrying myself about what I should or could be doing, or what I need to do next, I am going to give myself some ‘time off’ and LIVE life for awhile.

What do you think, do we always need to have a plan?

Let's stop and enjoy the view

Let’s stop and enjoy the view

Linking up with the Essentially Jess for IBOT

Art Overload!

Since Liam was quite young, I’ve always encouraged him to draw/paint/create.  As well as it being a great activity we can enjoy together, it’s also a brilliant sensory experience for him.

Our artist in action on his 1st birthday

Our artist in action on his 1st birthday

The above resulted in a great memento of his first birthday

1st birthday

1st birthday

This may have created the ‘monster’ I now have, who loves to draw and paint any chance he gets (especially it seems when he is dressed up ready to go somewhere – oh well, it could be worse!).

This morning I spent some time going through Liam’s PILE of artwork.  As hard as it was, I have parted with some of the ‘lesser’ creations (I feel terrible even writing that), as if we continue to keep EVERYTHING he creates the house will be overrun in no time.

We have a couple of display areas throughout the house – my favourite is the display in the study which I updated this morning.

 

It's a wall of art!

It’s a wall of art!

I used removable hooks from Bunnings (around $7 for a pack of 20) to hang the string from, and I also used the same hooks to hang the canvases from.

Once Aiden starts creating, I have no idea how I’m going to display/store it all!  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Keeping it in perspective

It’s been a chaotic morning.  We headed out to meet a good friend for a catch up and both the boys decided not to co-operate (the signs it was going to be a crazy day were there when we were getting ready to leave).  Aiden was easy to sort out: feed, wrap up and he will drift off to sleep.  Liam on the other hand……  In all fairness, the chocolate fondue platter my friend and I were sharing was VERY tempting for a toddler, however I was hopeful the babycino I had bought for him, and his trucks and books would keep him distracted….  this was not the case.  We had a lot of crying, cuddling and chocolate ended up everywhere – the plans for our peaceful morning went out the window.

Too tempting for a toddler!

Too tempting for a toddler!

Thankfully this is not the norm for us when we go out – if it was I don’t think I would take the boys anywhere!  I’m still not sure what the cause of this mornings crankiness was, however they both slept for 3 hours when we got home and I’m not complaining!!

It got me thinking how 12 months ago, if I had been in the same situation I would have freaked out, and probably left as quickly as I could and gone straight home – possibly in tears!  Now with the two boys and a bit more experience with this whole ‘mothering thing’ whilst slightly embarrassed that I spent the majority of the time consoling Liam, rather than talking to my friend, I’ve bounced back pretty quickly (and the iced latte I bought on the way home helped!)

I know it was only yesterday that I listed the things I am grateful for, however after this morning I’m doing it again to keep things in perspective!!

* I have two healthy (and normally happy boys) that I get to spend all day with

* We still got outside and to enjoy the beautiful sunshine

* I am blessed to have wonderful, understanding friends!

* Both boys slept for three hours when we got home

* I’m now watching Liam lining up all of his cars to show Aiden

* Did I mention I got an iced latte on the way home? Coffee fixes everything!

What do you do to unwind after a crazy day?

 

The best part of baking

Apart from the finished product, one of the best things about baking is eating the leftover mixture.  When we were kids, my sister and I would always argue who was going to lick the bowl/beaters and who got more than the other (actually we still do!)  Looking through the photos I took yesterday when we made Raspberry Spiked Brownies – I think we will have to start having the same argument with Liam!  Needless to say, he wasn’t very hungry at dinner time!

 

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Two boys, a plane and me…

Traveling is stressful.  Traveling with a toddler and baby can be very stressful…  It’s not only the stress of getting yourselves to the airport and settled on the plane, but it is also the stress that strangers can put on you.

If you have travelled with kids beofre, you know all about the look…   You know the one where they stare at you with two kids and grimace, hoping you will not be sitting anyway near them. Then there are the eye rolls and stares you get if one of your kids dare to grizzle or make a sound.  When you are getting these looks BEFORE you even get onto the plane, and you actually overhear people commenting how they are hoping you are not sitting near them it’s a little off putting to say the least!

My little traveller

My little traveller

Over the weekend I had the pleasure (not sure if that is the right word?) of flying to Melbourne with both of my boys for the first time.  Liam was a frequent flyer when he was younger, but hasn’t flown since he started walking and it was Aiden’s first trip.  I wasn’t too worried about Aiden, how I was going to occupy Liam and keep him happy was my big worry. Talking to others who have flown with toddlers I was given a lot of advice from feeding them lollies and giving them an iPad to play with to giving them phenergan so they sleep. Whilst a sleeping toddler sounded enticing, I decided against ‘drugging’ Liam and came up with a plan to keep him happy and occupied for the 2 1/2 hour flight.

My top tips are:

  • Be super nice to the check in staff and ask if you can be seated in a row with a spare seat. If you are flexible about where you sit, this can be easier to accommodate
  • Keep calm and be flexible – a bit tricky when you are a bit of a control freak! It’s tough when your toddler is having a ball tipping their strawberries out onto the spare seat and then putting them back into the container – but if it is keeping them amused and its not hurting anyone, go with it (this was really tough). You can then make a game out of cleaning up with wipes (another 10 minutes is then gone)
  • Make it an adventure, we talked about going on the plane, looked at pictures of planes and at the airport we bought a toy plane he chose… this was a winner, he loved it and spent a large part of the flight playing with it….  the best $14.95 I have ever spent!
  • Pack their favourite toys, books and foods.  Liam LOVES strawberries, so we had a whole punnet cut up. He also chose 4 of his cars to take and we also had a few of his favourite books.
  • It sounds obvious but be organised!  I was packed and our bags were in the car the night before. I then had a list of last minute items I needed to pack before we left in the morning.  It made me calmer which in turn kept the boys calm.

I’m pleased to say the trip went well. The boys were fantastic with Aiden sleeping for most of the trip and Liam keeping himself amused until he fell asleep as we began to descend into Melbourne.  When getting off, I admit I gave a few smug looks to the couple I had overheard talking about us at the airport!

We are heading back home in a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to have another smooth trip – what are your traveling tips?

The BEST $14.95 I have ever spent

The BEST $14.95 I have ever spent

Linking up with the Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays