Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Getting ready to start school!

Wow, it's getting to be that time already! Next week is the last week of my son's summer holiday and then he'll be starting school. We have the school uniform, washed and ready to be worn, same with the school shoes and plimsoles. I have the name labels for everything and affixing those is on my to-do list this week.

I'm feeling pretty relaxed about my son and his first day. As the school is the same location as where he was attending nursery, he's very familiar with the surroundings and has spent a bit of time in his new classroom and met his new teacher on a few occasions. He is very excited about starting, which is great.

So far so good but there's other things to think about too. From what I hear and have read, the start of the year is always tiring and I'm to expect some grumpiness as a result while my son adjusts to the new day. My daughter and I will have a lot more time together as just the two of us, which will be lovely but I think she is really going to miss having her big brother around. She shadows him constantly and they are always interacting in some way or other most of the time these days. It will seem quiet for both of us without him around.

For me, there'll be new mothers to meet and get to know. I know a couple of people whose children will be in the same class as my son but there will be lots of new faces for sure. Just as my son will be busy making new friends, I'll hopefully be doing a bit of that myself.

Perhaps my biggest concern, silly as it might sound, is getting us all ready and out of the house in time in the mornings. As my son was doing nursery school in the afternoons we never had to rush out of the door in the mornings. I've always been organised with putting out clothes for the next day in the evenings for both children. My son wearing a school uniform will only make that simpler. I recognise I will have to prepare his packed lunch the night before, as much as possible, It's all about reducing what has to be done in the morning!

I think there will have to be a bit of adjustment to our morning routine and regrettably it may just involve me getting up a bit earlier! I plan on us doing a practice morning one day next week but instead of going to school, we'll go for a bit of extra breakfast as an end of the holiday treat. My son hates being rushed so I want to try to make it as relaxed as possible for him in the mornings. I am sure once we get into the new routine, we will both get to grips with the new challenges it presents.

How are you feeling about your child going to school, either for the first time or returning for the next year? What do you find the biggest challenge in preparing yourself or your child for the start of school?
photo credit

Friday, 23 August 2013

This week: summer holidays week 4

This week has flown by with not too much to show for it. I barely took any photos. After our holiday last week, we've stayed at home more and had friends over on a couple of days. I got out a play tent that we haven't had out in ages, possibly not since my daughter was born. My son thought it was new and didn't even remember it! They have both had lots of fun with it.
One day when we had a play date at our house, I hid a few animals around the garden and my son and his friend went on a hunt to find them. They enjoyed it and asked me to hide them another time. After finding them again, they then hid them and myself and the other mother had to go and find them. It was a surprisingly big hit.

My son has continued his swimming lessons and made some really great progress this week, with a different swimming teacher. He has loved it and I think we have all benefited from the bit of structure that those classes bring to our day. Having somewhere to get to by a specific time each day (in the morning convieniently) gets us up and out and we feel like we have accomplised something.

We had a rainy outing to the woods and a playground with friends one day. We sat huddled in a children's play hut eating our picnic lunch, sheltering from the rain! We had not forseen how wet it was going to be, otherwise we would not have planned the outing but as it was, it kept us busy for a few hours and a bit of wet never does anyone any harm!

How have you spent the week? We are over half way through the holidays now. Has it gone quickly for you so far?

Linking this post with the Play Agenda.  

Monday, 19 August 2013

Getting away from it all

We had a family holiday last week in rural Wales. We stayed in a cottage with barely any phone reception and no WiFi. We were surrounded by the natural beauty of fields, trees, woodland and apple orchards, no shops to walk to, no neighbours, no other houses in sight. It was lovely! The tranquility made a refreshing change.

We were busy during the day, out and about visiting castles, coastal towns and such like but otherwise we enjoyed lots of walks from our cottage and there was lots of open space for the children to run around in. We had lots of quality time together as a family, which is always nice.

I read a whole book during the week, a very rare occurence these days. My last book took me about eight months to get through because I find it difficult summoning up the energy or fitting in time to read when at home. We would go to bed at a decent time each night, again something we struggle to achieve at home.

I didn't miss the online connections I am so used to at home and realised as much as I love my blog, Twitter, sharing photos online, emailing friends and family, that stuff eats up a lot of my time and energy. It was really good to take a break and get away from it all. If I am honest, I probably slipped straight back into my usual habits as soon as we got home but I like to think I will be a bit more aware of how I spend my time and swap the odd evening on the computer for one getting immersed into a book instead.

Part of the getting away from it all, whether it's technology, busy city life, work or whatever else, is what makes a holiday a holiday and helps us relax and enjoy some of the simpler things a bit more.

What do you most enjoy getting away from when you go on holiday? Do you typically take a break or cut down on internet use when away somewhere with the family?

Friday, 9 August 2013

This week: summer holidays week 2

Just managed this one post this week, as we are off on holiday at the weekend. As well as keeping busy with the children, I've also been packing and getting ready for our trip. I'll be taking a week off the blog while we are away.
 Our week was a bit more low key than last but enjoyable nonetheless. The better weather made it easier to do some simple activities outside in our garden. We had lentils and dry spaghetti out a couple of times, which both children had fun with. I had also saved a big, tall box that I opened out and had them both paint on one afternoon.
 We got feet measured and new shoes for both children one morning, got the last bits of my son's school uniform ready for September. We met friends in the park one day but it was cut short by a heavy rain shower. My son has continued his swimming lessons each afternoon and is making some good progress.
Our one big outing for the week was to a farm to do some fruit picking. We went with some friends and had a great time picking raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. I have fond memories of fruit picking from my own childhood so it was nice to do it again after all those years with my own children. I bought some cream and meringue nests to make Eton mess using our freshly picked berries, one of my favourite British summertime desserts!
 How was your week and what did you and your children get up to?

Linking this post with the Play Agenda

Friday, 2 August 2013

This week: summer holidays week 1

I am calling this 'week 1' because it is the first full week of the summer holidays (last week was just three days). Overall, we have had a great week although with a couple of very rainy days, I realised I was not so prepared for rainy day activities as I should be! We went to the library on one wet day, splashing in puddles on our way and signed my son up to the summer reading challenge. He chose Cinderella and a book of stories about knights for his first two books to read and rate. Cinderella was awarded three stars (out of three)!

Another wet day activity we did was some baking. Riverford are running a kids' summer bake-off and providing a new recipe to make with your children each week. The first one was nutty banana muesli flapjacks so we decided to make those. Unfortunately we over-baked ours slightly so they were not photo worthy but they were edible! This was my first baking attempt with both children. My one-year old kept wanting to eat off the spoon instead of mix with it but we managed and they both took turns nicely. I can't find the link to the recipe but here's the next recipe they have provided, mini cherry tomato & pesto tarts, which we may try next week.
Mid-week, we had a big outing into central London to see 'We're going on a bear hunt', with some old friends we don't get to see very often. The show was great, the children all loved it. We met up with friends in the woods one day, another day we went to a fun outdoor play place with bouncy castle, lots of ride-on toys, slides, sand and stuff to explore.

My son started swimming classes this week too. He is doing an intensive holiday course, as he is a complete beginner. He does a 30 minute lesson every afternoon and is really enjoying it.
Looking back at my original plans for the summer and aims for each week, we have not done any messy play yet. We have done some drawing, cutting and sticking but not a planned art and craft activity. We are yet to post a postcard, although we have been talking about it...We have been to a local music class that is still running in the holidays and we have been outside when the weather allowed it. This week has gone quickly, which can only be a good sign though!

How was your week and what sort of things did you do with your children?

Linking this post with the Play Agenda.