Legoland July 2010 – Top Tips


A couple of weeks back we took the boys on what appears to be an annual trip to legoland, so here are my top tips:

  • Use Tesco vouchers to pay for your entrance tickets, or keep an eye out on the two for one deals.
  • Pack hats and sun screen!
  • Arrive early, the park opens at 10am, but the shop and entrance open earlier, avoid the queue and turn up early.
  • Pick up a lost parent sticker at the guest services area.
  • Start a back of the park and work forward, this way you will get on more rides.
  • Take a picnic - the food in the park is overpriced and not very nice at all.  We ordered pizza, garlic bread and chips and it was tasteless cardboard and the boys didn't eat it.
  • Take swimwear and a towel.  The splash area in Duplo world is great for little ones.  We went at about 3pm for an hour and it was fab, I even managed to drink a cup of tea!
  • The Clutch Powers 4D show is a must see, we all loved it.  We went at lunch time when the sun was at it its hottest (join the queue early to get good seats)
  • The boys laughed and laughed at the pirate show, a great time and place to eat your picnic!
  • The boys are too small for a lot of the bigger rides, which seemed to have the large queues, when they get bigger I may consider the qbot.  Take treats for the queues as it does get a little boring for children waiting.
  • We did the water rides just before going to the water area at Duplo World, giving the boys clothes time to dry out whilst they enjoyed the water.
  • Remember to get a parking ticket on your way out - yes you now pay £1 for parking.
  • Leave 15 mins before the park closes, or you will get stuck in the traffic leaving the park.




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Maxi’s Foundation Stage Graduation

Thursday was Maxi's last day at school in Reception before he goes up to year one in September.

This year has been a amazing one for my little man, one that I hope will give him a great foundation to all the years of learning he has to come.  The biggest part of this year has been his wonderful teacher Mrs Sayer and her two wonderful teaching assistants (Mrs Holmes and Mrs Jackson)


Mrs Sayer has a wonderful way with the children and they all adore her, she brings learning to life through play and is the perfect Reception teacher (which is why I was overjoyed to find out Mini is in her class next year).  Not once has she pushed Maxi too hard, she has a great grasp of his abilities and keeps him challenged.

Anyway Wednesday night was his graduation and he had a great time and didn't want the party to end.
 Maxi running to us with his Math certificate

All the children got a certificate and a book and then Maxi got a certificate for being the best Mathematician.  We were very proud indeed.
 
Dancing the night away




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Mini Makes Music

As you know the boys stayed at my mothers on Saturday night and when I went to pick them up yesterday we decided to go to the beach and have a picnic in a nearby park with my Niece.
 Little did we realise there was a council run event on at the park and it turned out to be a wonderful afternoon.


There as a wonderful couple who had a load of drums and were showing the children how to play them and Mini had a fab time.


He managed to keep in time (most of the time) and really didn't want to stop.  My niece also loved it.  Maxi decided he would rather play in the park with Grandma!


As we were leaving the chap came up to me and told me that Mini had a real talent.  I was ever so proud of him.


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The Boys are away and I don’t want to play ……

My Mum has the MiniMads for only the second time in their life.  Yes this is the second evening me and MadDad have had to ourselves and we have no intentions of going out (not that we could afford to anyway).

Before we had children we swore we wouldn't become parent bores, you know the ones......  the people who have no other topic of conversation apart from their children and guess what we are turning into them.

We decide not to bother with the grand dinner I had planned to cook, instead we settled for some cheese on toast with a cup of tea, none of the sparking wine either, as we sat in front of the television to catch up on some of those shows we have filled our Sky+ with.

We sat in comfortable silence, snuggled under the throw, punctuated by random sentences about how weird it is for the children not to be here and how sad I was that sports day was cancelled and how will find the cash to pay for swimming lessons again, especially as it is the week before pay day.  Then back to the snuggling and silence.

We trotted off to bed an hour or so later than usual, no having to get up for the boys, but as we reached the top of the stairs we both felt the need to go in to their rooms.  You see we do this every night as we go to bed, we take turns to check on the boys, to tuck them in and stroke their foreheads and give them an extra kiss, oh and to just watch them sleep.

I woke this morning at 6.20, which is what time Maxi is usually up.  My body clock hadn't yet got the message that he wasn't here and I lay still, not moving, breathing evenly as not to wake MadDad.  Over and over in my head the thoughts that I was boring, didn't have anything other than the children to take about, that I wasn't witty that we didn't have intellectual debate and worse than that I didn't even know what was a number one in the Charts, let along who where the DJ's on radio one. 

How had it come to this?  When did I stop being a person in my own right and transform in to a mummy?  

MadDad it turns out had been laying there not moving too, awake, but not wanting to wake me up.  Oh how we laughed about that, we would rather let each other catch up on precious sleep than use the time making love, like we used to.  So we laid and cuddles and I talked about how I fell that I was a non-person, a mother.  That I had nothing intellectual  or interesting to say and that how our conversations revolved around the children.

"But the children are interesting to me and I love hearing how your day with them has been.  I want to know what they have been up to whilst I have been a work" MadDad told me.  Funny isn't it, I crave adult company and conversation, but when I get it, I have nothing to talk about other than the Children.  But then that is all I know nowadays really, that and the day to day issues of caring for a loved one as they get older (my mother).  

We do tend to stick to talking about the things we know about and experience and I don't want to bring every conversation down to my health (or lack of it), my mood (deep dark and scary), our finances (enough said) and as for politics (money again!).  So I talk about what I know, what I experience and  what I live and for me at this time in my life it is being a mum.

So we have resolved that if mum offers again to have the boys (and after speaking to her this morning, I am not sure she will be) then I will be more comfortable with things.  It doesn't mean that we wont miss them or go in to empty rooms to check on them though!



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Stepping away from this Blog with the Bad Stuff

Over the last month or do, my mood and therefore, by blog has become darker and darker and that really isn't what this blog was and should be all about.
 The boys asleep holding hands in our hotel in London (3rd July 2010)
So I have made a decision that I am going to go back to basics and use this blog to record what I do with the MiniMads over the summer, a journal if you like of our days and time together.  I may still do The Gallery and writing workshop (if appropriate).
Also summer holidays will be starting with a vengeance next week and I will have less time on the laptop, as I will be spending it with my children, therefore, I will have less time to visit all your wonderful blogs and comment.  Please bear with me.  I will try and read them, but may not have time to comment.
Thank you for all the comments regarding finding employment, firstly I am not cut out to be a child minder (I looked after a friends 22 month old yesterday and although it was OK, I couldn't do it everyday - no way, plus until my anaemia and other issues are sorted, I don't have the energy to give to my own children let alone others!).  Secondly I was in no way saying that my opinion was right, just that I want to spend time with my children, but last night MadDad and I made the decision that I may have to look for full time work (sad).
I have started another blog for my writing, musings and general moroseness here at Musings from TheMadHouse.
I have also decided that I am consolidating my reviews on to yet another blog TheMadHouse Reviews and will be reviewing for The Great Toy Guide and Mummy Reviews.
So thank you very much for all your comments and I do hope you stick with me over these coming months.  I really do appreciate all the comments every single one.
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Transition – We have hit a wall

I think we are reaching one, yes as I type. I have adored everyday I have been afforded as a stay at home mum of my two wonderful boys, but my oh my it has been hard. Not only mentally and physically with my health issues, but mainly financially and it looks like we have hit the wall.

We originally thought that we would manage on just one salary, but then illness came and smacked us in the face meaning that MadDad had to take unpaid leave to look after me and the children.  We were daft we relied on our credit cards to pay the bills over those very hard and tough months and we got in to a pickle.

We are still in that pickle and even though I try hard as I can I just can not make the budget work anymore.  What with two sets of school uniforms to pay for (done thanks to a car boot sale), clothes and shoes (yes the boys are growing at such a pace), swimming lessons, football lesson, school trips, cars to run and insure (yes I do need it, I have to look after mum as well as the boys and she lives in the next town and I live in a village that is even past the end of the train line).

We live a pretty frugal lifestyle.  I manage to feed us all on £50 per week, subsidised by the wonderful veg in the garden, but it is just not enough.
So I guess the transition we are in it that I have to finally accept that I need to find a job and it needs to be a job which will cover the child care and help pay the ever increasing bills and you know what, it scares me.  Yes for all the reasons I have blogged about before, but also for the fact that I didn't have my children to leave them with other people.  We never thought we would get in this pickle and it is killing me.  I am crying on the inside and the outside and working hard at hiding it from the boys.

The fact is a magic job isn't just going to appear, no one is going to come and offer me a great job writing for them whilst I remain at home.  I have looked for evening jobs, but I live in an unemployment black spot and the council closed applications for a position last week when the number of CVs they received hit 1000, yes 1000!

Yes I am bitter and upset about it all.  I have paid £13 in school trip money this month, just for Maxi and it is money I don't have, but how do you say that he can not go on them.  What really gets my goat is that Children on free school meals (we don't qualify) get to go on trips free and this will all double with Mini stating in September too.

We fall in to a forgotten category of people, who's mortgage is a chain around their necks, we are in a tied in deal and it is crippling us.  Add to that massive gas and electricity payments, council tax, TV licence, phone bills, food, insurance, and then the dreaded credit card payments (how could we be so stupid).

I am happy to take advertising on the blog and do sponsored posts (within reason).  I would love a small regular income from writing, as anything helps, but I am not sure it is going to be enough.

So I have bought the local paper, I am scouring the Internet, I have been in to Tesco's and I am making an appointment to go to the job centre.  I need a job.


This post is part of the writing workshop over at Sleep is for the week and inspired by prompt 4. Share your experience of a difficult transition. A moving ‘from’ to ‘something new’.

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The Gallery – Can you see What it is yet? – The Reveal

The Reveal


The origional image is a crop of this image, which was taken when we were in  London.


Have you guessed what it is yet....  Look there are little people down below!


Yes it is the London Eye


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The Gallery – Can you see What it is yet?

For this weeks Gallery over at Sticky Fingers you  have to take a photograph of something everyday, but take it at a different angle, from a different viewpoint, using a close-up zoom, whatever - something that makes that everyday object look totally different.

And we all have to guess what it is.





So this is my entry, if anyone gets it right, they might even be a small prize, you never know!



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Bringing out the Lioness in me

Just don't go upsetting my cubs in front of me, as it will bring out the lioness in me.  She has surfaced this week and I am still upset and angry about how my boys, Mini in particular has been treated.


Every Monday there is a youth group at the local church and although I don't attend church, I want the boys to have experience of church and the fact that this is help in the church itself, rather than a hall really appealed to me, in such that it demystifies such a quiet place.

So I registered the boys and they went for the first time a fortnight ago.  They had a great time, I collected them, no one said anything to me, apart from the fact that it wasn't on last week.  

So we got all ready to go this week, after taking Maxi to the doctors.  We arrived and I apologised for being slightly late (the GP ran over, nothing unusual there) and the boys went to play with their friends, when a lady stopped Mini and told him, he wasn't allowed to stay.

She brought him to me and told me he was too young and they went insured, but there are other four year olds attending, so I questioned her and said how could mini be too young and the others aren't?  She then went on to say that it is a health and safety issue and he asked for help in wiping his bottom.  At this point he burst in to tears.  Now he doesn't ask for help at school and yes occasionally at home he will ask for us to "check" his bottom (to be fait Maci does now and again too), so I said that it was possibly down to him being in a new environment.  To which she responded "we don't want him here and I have spoke to the Vicar".  I asked her why she hadn't telephoned me prior to our coming and that this wasn't an appropriate conversation to have in front of everyone, but she wouldn't budge.  She was happy for Maxi to stay, but not Mini.

So I took both boys home with me and it then took me an hour to calm Mini down.  All the time Maxi was telling him he would help wipe his bottom if that was all that stopped them from going.  Mini wanted to know why they don't want him, what has he done wrong, don't they like him?  I managed to hold it together until MadDad got in and then that was that I was in tears telling him what happened.

I couldn't find the Vicars number to discuss this with her, I was far too angry to go back and talk to the Youth group organiser, in fact I am still so upset about the way this has been handled.

I managed to speak to the Vicar last night and expressed my concerns over the way it has been handled and the inequality of it all, but I am waiting for her to come back to me.

And I am stewing, yes Mini is hard work, yes he can be challenging, loud, he doesn't always listen, he can be cheeky, insubordinate,  naughty, downright infuriating at times, but is this the reason that they don't want him there?  What have I done wrong?  He does come across as boisterous, but he is also loving, fun and a joy to be with.  I can not believe that they have made their decision based on one session with them.  It breaks my heart and I don't want Maxi to go without Mini and truth be told, neither of them understand what the problem is.
The longer it takes the Vicar to ring me back the more I think about it and reflect on the even, they are better ways to do this, without upsetting me and my children.



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Children’s Craft Showcase – How to make paper flowers


This is a really simple way to make flowers for someone special, not for any reason, just to say I love you.  They would also make a really great gift to say thank you to any teacher at this time of the year.




Materials

Tissue Paper
Heart Punch or template and scissors
Paper Straws (Art straws - 99p from The Works)
Paper brads


Method

This is such a simple piece of craft, that Maxi actually made all of our flowers (roses) which we took with us to see The Wiggles and give to Dorothy.

Use the punch to make heart shapes out of tissue paper

With a single hole punch make a hole in each at the point end



Place you tissue paper petals on to the paper brad



Place you brad in to the end of your paper straw.



Keep going until you have a bunch of beautiful paper roses (we gave ours to Dorothy the Dinosaur, when the boys saw The Wiggles)


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