Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I’m probably a bit late writing this post as it’s January 3rd, most of the country is back to work and Christmas is a distant memory!

We’ve had such a busy Christmas with 4 very excited small people and a house that now resembles Toys’R’Us! It has topped off what has been an incredible year. 

Our year started with me quitting my job and having a complete career change. Gone are the long hours, long commute and stress I didn’t need. I now work in children’s services, much closer to home and see my own children far more. It’s amazing how much of a massive difference it’s made to my life and how much happier I am.

We’ve had 2 fantastic holidays. One as a family to Mexico, where we welcomed a new sister-in-law to the family. A stressful 10 hour plane ride was made a lot easier by the addition of 20 family members. They also helped a huge amount while we were away and discovered just how stressful 4 little people can be!

We also had the opportunity to have a holiday as a couple to Las Vegas. 

It was a bit of a belated 30th birrhday present to ourselves as our big birthdays passed us by in the blur of newborn twins. 

The kids spent a very enjoyable half term with their grandparents while we got to have a week of being grown ups again. Some people might not agree with our decision to holiday without our children but all of us had a great time and the kids had a much better half term with their grandparents than we would have given them!

While there, I finally got to visit the Grand Canyon. As a geologist, it’s one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit. We took a helicopter ride out to the Canyon and back and it was absolutely incredible. Definitely a tick off the bucket list. 

We also went to one of the most amazing weddings ever (which just happened to be my brother’s). He decided to get married on Tower Bridge in London with a party on the Thames afterwards. 

It was such a great location for a wedding and we had such a good time. Nothing beats a good family party and it’s not often that we get everyone together. 

This year is looking a lot quieter for us. I think holidays are on hold as we are looking to build an extension on our house. We bought our forever home when we were just a family of 4 and now we are 6 it’s getting a bit tight! I am so looking forward to having some extra space even if it does mean sacrificing some of my garden.

How is your 2017 shaping up? Is it looking like a busy, expensive year or a quite one that is just going to tick by?

Parenting Battles – The Car Seat

Parenting Battles – The Car Seat

Admit it, we’ve all been there! Usually it happens when you’re running late for an appointment or it’s tiddling down with rain. The child goes as stiff as a board and refuses to get into the seat or if you’re really unlucky refuses the car altogether.

We’ve had this happen a lot over the last few years but it’s usually manageable with a bit of bribery. That is until last week when the 5 year old decided he wasn’t having any of his new car seat.

The day started well. We’d been to the local country park on a Home Start day out. The kids had done crafts, played in the park, done some pond dipping and had a picnic. I’d been brave and taken all of them on my own and was feeling slightly smug that everything was going well.

We headed back to the car after several hours and I loaded the 3 smallest into the car while the eldest got himself in. This was no different to usual but things were about to get ugly! The 3 little ones were all ready to go and I went to do up the biggest ones seatbelt but he’d decided he didn’t want to be in his seat.

No amount of coaxing, arguing or fighting him would work. I tried for a good 20 minutes all whilst he was screaming at the top of his voice. It must have sounded like I was murdering him in the back of the car!

I eventually gave up and called Daddy in the vain hope he would listen to him. Kids always behave for their Dad’s right? By this point, the others were starting to get upset and I was sobbing that we were going to be stuck here forever! Daddy tried his best over the phone but failed miserably.

Knowing it wouldn’t be long until no. 2 started to try and escape his car seat and, faced with the prospect of being stuck in the car park forever with 4 screaming children, I did what all terrible parents do – I went to drive off. I’m not proud of my decision but thankfully all it took was starting the car and putting it in reverse before the child panicked and put his seatbelt on. If only I’d done that 20 minutes earlier!

I’m very glad he saw sense so quickly as I couldn’t have driven off knowing he was unrestrained in the back of the car. I’d probably still have been stuck in that car park several hours later when Daddy came home to rescue us!

This is a scenario I really hope won’t be repeated but knowing children and car seats, I know it will! What are your top tips for car seat refusers? How can I ace this in the future?

Term Time Holidays

Term Time Holidays

I’ve never really had an opinion on the ‘holiday in term time’ debate as I’ve never had children of school age before but, in the last few months, this has become a hot topic in our household. The reason being, we are off to Mexico in May for my brother-in-laws wedding and the biggest boy will end up missing 2 weeks of school.

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The holiday has been subject to much debate as it’s costing a small fortune and it’s money I had earmarked for our first Disney holiday. Although it’s not Florida, I love the idea of us having a family holiday with lots of extra pairs of helping hands nearby as attempting to fly with 4 small children fills me with dread. But,I hate the fact that B will miss 2 weeks worth of school.

We had no choice over the dates of this holiday as, due to the grooms job, he has to take his holiday at certain times of the year. I tried telling hubby that we shouldn’t really go as it’s not fair to take B out of school but that meant asking him to miss his brothers wedding which didn’t go down very well.

We’ve had people say that it doesn’t matter as it’s just his first year at school and he’s not going to miss anything important but, I disagree. All education is important. His first year at school is one of the most important as he is getting used to being in an educational setting while learning the very basics which he’ll need to build on over the years.

I know teachers hate it (my friends have told me as much) but I will be asking his teacher if there is anything we can do while we’re away so he doesn’t slip behind. I also fully intend to have B working while we’re away on holiday. I am on the lookout for a camera for him so he can take pictures and make a holiday diary that he can show to his friends when he gets home.

During a visit to the primary school before we made our choice, we discussed term time holidays with the headteacher. He wasn’t overly concerned about it and said as it was an exceptional circumstance he would authorise the absence for us. Unfortunately, since that meeting, the headteacher has changed! I now have to go and make an appointment with the new headteacher and hope she’ll authorise the holiday. I’m going to feel like such a naughty girl sitting outside her office before the meeting!

This will probably be our one and only chance to go on a Caribbean holiday with the children as the cost during the school holidays is ridiculous and flying on our own with 4 children is just stupidity! I know we’ll most likely have a great time but, I can’t get excited as I know B shouldn’t be out of school.

How do you feel about taking children out of school for holidays? Do you worry about the effect on their education or do you think that children are still learning while they’re away?

Tuesday Twinkler