Showing posts with label Oliver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oliver. Show all posts

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Breaking the rules



Ollie isn’t well this week – nothing serious, just a typical kiddy cold with a bit of an infection thrown in for good measure {and possibly early onset man-flu, he’s showing all the signs}.

He’s been subdued, tired and very cuddly. And although I don’t particularly enjoy having a poorly child on my hands, the one thing I am quite liking this time round is the chance it gives us all to break the rules.

I’m talking bowls of ice cream for every meal, unlimited TV and DVDs, not having to sit at the table until dinner has finished, being excused from tidying up, no baths for two days because he didn’t want to, day {and night} sleeps in our bed, me laying beside him tonight as he drifted off to sleep.

It has really made me realise that so often when it comes to raising small children, our job as parents becomes so much about shaping them into socially acceptable little beings that it's easy to forget the fun. Teaching good manners, being neat and tidy, how to be responsible, polite and kind. My goodness it’s so exhausting. For everyone.

I read a post a while back about Belinda’s Can’t Say No Day. Genius. It really resonated with me and since then I’ve tried my hardest not to respond to all of Ollie’s requests with ‘sure, I’m just unloading the dishwasher and then I’ll be there’ or ‘yes, no problem, let me just hang this washing out and I’ll read you that story’. Really, housework can wait. And these past two days of putting everything on hold because we have to has shown me that the boring things really don’t matter, it’s being ever-present that does. And breaking the rules and having ice cream for breakfast makes three-year-old boys so very happy. 

Would you be game enough to have a Can’t Say No Day? Do you enjoy breaking the rules?

Friday, 12 October 2012

{this moment}

Don't fall over in amazement everyone, it's a true story. I am linking up for the second time in one week. I know. 

Having watched dozens of beautiful {this moment} photographs pop into my feeder each week (always from this lovely lady and from a number of others too), I've decided to play along...

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember. 



"I'm just reading her stories Mama"

Linking up with Soulemama.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The best thing about Autumn



There is just something about Autumn in this country that is so satisfying. Watching the leaves turn amber, the days become crisper and the food we eat become more warming, wholesome and hearty.

I mentioned it the other day, but one of the most magical things about Autumn for me are the grand old Horse Chesnut trees and their beautiful seeds.

We collect conkers wherever we go at the moment. Ollie loves it. There really is a simple magic in rooting around at the bottom of a tree for unopened nuts, then cracking them open and finding the shiny brown treats inside.

We collect bags of these ‘conks’ (Oliver likes to shorten every word possible, it must be the Aussie in him!), bring them home and use them for sorting, as cargo for trucks or food for the farm animals.

It’s funny, in Australia I worried about how we would cope with the weather in England. After seven years of sunshine and mild winters, I thought we might struggle. But we seem to be managing fine so far. Come rain or shine, finding the little pleasures in this country is coming easy to us. It must be the familiarity of home.

What's your favourite season? 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Couldn’t be any cuter



The other day Ollie was doing a little bit of post-preschool colouring. Calm and collected, he sat at his little white table for what seemed like hours, carefully colouring in every single car in his Cars colouring book, until the pens practically ran dry.

Lila wanted in on the action. Desperately. And so, I set her up at the opposite end of the little white table, with a few crayons and a piece of paper.

And there she sat for half an hour, possibly more, making marks on the paper, carefully choosing her crayons, alternating between the colours, happily colouring away*, just like her big brother.


It was one of those lovely little moments that bought tears to my eyes. So freakin cute. Beyond cute in fact.

I’m so glad I captured the moment. Lila’s first proper picture and a brother-sister moment to treasure.


And just as an aside. Is this a girl thing or a personality thing? Because there is absolutely NO WAY Ollie would have sat for that long at the age of one, drawing a picture. He would have chewed the crayons, bashed them on the table and then tried to fling them across the room, before climbing on the table and trying jump off. The difference between the two is really quite staggering.

Are your children quiet colourers or noisy mess-makers? 

*In case you were wondering, she didn't do that big blue & red squiggle. That was me, showing her the way!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Please tell me this is normal? {and when do you blog?}



I’ve been pondering something recently. Nothing overly new or exciting - just that annoying old ‘time’ thing again.

You know, where you feel like you never have a minute, how you’re always running behind yourself and never quite catching your breath?

Just a few short months ago I was living happily in smug-land, blissfully unaware that I was doing so. I had a baby who slept two or three times a day for a good chunk of time, a toddler who was at daycare three full days a week and who still slept for 1-2 hours at lunchtime and a husband who left the house at eight and got home around 5.30pm. I even managed to hang-on to the cleaner we had when we were both working. Life was good.

I didn’t realise it then, but I had a lot of time to do all the things I needed to do – including blogging till my blogging heart was content. In a clean and tidy house. 

Now? I have a little boy in pre-school for half days only, who doesn’t sleep in the day at all; a baby who is still a pretty good day-sleeper (although this week has refused it all), but makes just as much mess as her brother; and a husband who leaves the house at 7am and gets home at 7pm. And, shock horror, this one-salary family now has me as its cleaner (oh the first world problems). 

Actually, writing this makes it all sound so much worse than things feel. We’re all very happy, loving our UK life, having a wonderful time with the kids and even Paul’s commute isn’t too terrible. I’ve also had a lovely, lovely week (despite Lila’s sleeping), Ollie is loving his new school and I have finally found a decent yoga teacher.

BUT

When oh when do I blog?! And how on earth do I keep the house tidy when there are two children running around behind me making a mess everywhere I go?

No, I’m serious… please tell me it’s normal to start off in the morning with a (relatively) clean tidy house and end the day in an absolute hovel. I’m talking, breakfast/lunch/dinner things still left out, a crumby kitchen floor, toys all. over. the. place. Not to mention washing in the washing machine that I haven’t had chance to hang out, shoes scattered by the front and back door, clean washing to be put away etc etc… It drives me mad. Some days are better than others but there are times (like today) when I would actually die if anyone knocked on the door. I'm a clean person at heart!

So your suggestions on being a better housewife, or solidarity in telling me your houses are like this too would be much appreciated.

And then the blogging. When do you blog? I’m interested to know. Blogging when Lila sleeps would mean ignoring all of the above, blogging when she and Ollie are awake would mean ignoring them, blogging every evening would mean ignoring my husband. 

I have blog posts coming out of my ears and no time to write them. Sigh. 

There it is, a ranty rant about first world problems.

Give me some inspiration people – how do you manage time in your life? When do you blog? And please god tell me your houses are messy too?!

(and because I had no suitable photos for this post, you can have some of Oliver making a mess. As usual). 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

An {Outdoor} Education



Ollie started pre-school last week. He was going to daycare three days a week in Australia, but almost five months at home with me has made us all feel like we are starting back at the beginning.

I was tearful, so was he. We talked a lot last week about why Mummies have to leave the children, why babies can’t go to pre-school and that Mummies will always come back. He’s getting there and we've had tear-less drop-offs since last Wednesday. I couldn’t be more proud.

Thankfully, even despite the tears, everyday I collect him to words of ‘it was brilliant’ and ‘I had a really great time’. And one thing I am certain about, is that he is at the best possible place for him right now.

You see, we have been lucky enough to secure a place at a Forest School, a relatively new initiative in the UK, which offers children the chance to learn in an outdoor environment. Forest Schools are all about getting back to nature, inspiring young children about the natural world and learning through outdoor play.

For Ollie this means twice a week he walks up to a mile, with a backpack on his back and walking boots on his feet (which are oh-so cute!), to a number of woodland sites. Here the children take part in activities such as fishing, den-building, natural craft and cooking over fires built together as a team.They eat lunch outdoors, talk about their surroundings and do all of this come rain or shine.

If you’ve been visiting green tea & toast for any length of time, you will probably have gathered that we are a fairly outdoorsy family. I was raised this way and intend to raise my children to feel the same. So you can only imagine how thrilled I am that Ollie is being given this opportunity at such a young age. I truly believe this type of learning will mean so much more to his exuberant, physical little body and brain, than some of the more traditional methods.

Interestingly, more and more across the UK I see glimpses of a movement towards getting kids outdoors. The National Trust is an amazing resource, of which we are proud members. Our local area is filled with fantastic outdoor forestry parks and gardens with inspiring play spaces for children of all ages. And a number of schools I have visited recently all have outdoor classrooms, organic vegetable gardens and ‘wild places’ where children can roam.


Just last week I was contacted by a representative from Project Wild Thing, letting me know about their ambitious plan to encourage the nation to inspire a love of nature in our future generations.

In partnership with Channel 4, the NHS and the National Trust, the Project Wild Thing team are producing a feature length film about our changing relationship with the natural world, in particular our children's lack of outdoor time. “Increased traffic, lack of space, fear of 'stranger danger' etc etc has all conspired against our children to the point where parents feel they are safer kept indoors, or kept on a tight leash. Fewer than 10% of children play in wild places, compared with 50% a generation ago.”

Which is pretty sad, when you think about it.

To get involved, all you have to do is hop online and sign a nature pledge. It’s that simple and, if you’re British, you will also be in with a chance to win a holiday. You can also watch a short video trailer about the project right here.

I really do think initiatives like this are such a good way to make people stop and think. Do your children enjoy being outside? Or do they fear mud and rain? Are iThings taking over your life and theirs? I know that even Lila’s little face lights up when she sees my iPhone, which is scary given she has only reached her very first annual milestone.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are your kids suffering from 'nature deficit disorder'? Or do you embrace being outside? Will you be making the pledge?

*This is not a sponsored post and I received no payment to include details of Project Wild Thing on my blog. I simply believe in their cause and want to help to spread the word. 
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