I feel as though I start every monthly round-up by saying “it’s been a busy month” but, well, it has! Perpetual busyness or not, here are the best bits of July…
The first week or so of the month passed by in a blur of rollers and paintbrushes. The builders paused for a week so that we could decorate before they laid the wooden floor. When I say “we”, I mean I, as obviously Grizzly was at work. When he wasn’t at work, he entertained the boys so that I could paint more. My Dad helped me some days which was a God-send. It was an intense 5 days and 6 evenings and a bigger job than we really anticipated but needs must. However I did enjoy doing something practical and I had fun listening to the radio and jiggling my way around the living room.
If you’re nosy (like me) and like seeing what other people’s houses are like, you can see the finished room and fruits of my labour at the bottom of this blog post.
Before I knew it, term had ended and suddenly there were 6 long weeks stretching out ahead of me and 2 boisterous boys to keep entertained. It is terrifying how quickly time passes once your children are school-aged! Usually I like to plan what I’m going to do with the boys in the holidays. It is as though the plans are a comfort blanket for me and just having them might make it all a bit easier. However, between the renovations, Big Bear’s imminent birthday and our Adoption Celebration to plan, I just haven’t had any brain space to plan holiday outings. Consequently we are making it up as we go along and surviving one day at a time. “Winging it” I think is the technical term.
I’m not going to claim it has all been rainbows and butterflies (far from it) but this post is meant to be about all the good bits so I will save the challenges for a different post (I can feel one called Managing Boisterous Boys in the Holidays coming on…).
The lack of plans has meant that we have spent more time at home than we usually would. I have tried to dig deep to think of/organise wholesome activities to busy them with. I love to see the boys sitting still and engaged in a task that doesn’t involve an I Pad, but it’s something we rarely manage to achieve.
We spent a fun (for them: intense and organised with military precision for me) afternoon making biscuits. We used the cookie cutters and then when the biscuits were cool we decorated them. It took about an hour to clear up again, Little Bear ate pretty much a whole tube of icing and there was bickering over who was having which cookie cutter but they loved it and were very pleased with their creations.
We have also discovered special bubbles that you can hold and bounce on your hand if you wear the special purple gloves that come in the set. I wish I could post some photos as it’s very cool but both bears are very identifiable in them.
Another day, one of Big Bear’s friends came round with her mum for a play. They were off on their holidays so brought Big Bear an early birthday present. As he cannot in any way contain his birthday excitement, I let him open it. It was a box of Lego which he promptly opened and sat at the table to build with his friend. Little Bear, not wanting to be left out, climbed up to sit with them. Knowing that he wouldn’t manage to sit there long before wanting to interfere with the building, I was hit by inspiration – I was sure there was a box of Junior Lego in the cupboard which had been given as a present some time ago. We had put it away because at the time Little Bear wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t too sure if he was now but sometimes it’s best to give him the opportunity anyway.
Miraculously 3 children sat calmly at the table playing with Lego on their own trays for half an hour or more. The instructions are quite clear in Junior Lego so I sat with Little Bear and showed him the pictures of the bricks he needed and asked him to find them. I was a little panicked to start with as he didn’t seem to be able to match the items to the pictures, not even selecting the right colour of brick. We persevered though and soon he was scanning the tray and selecting the correct pieces consistently. I did most of the building but he did have a go and managed to put some pieces in place, which boosted his confidence. I was very impressed that he managed to sit there throughout the whole build and he was very proud of the truck and digger that had appeared. Both bears doing Lego side by side without incident! Wonders never cease.
We have had a lovely trip to a new park with our friends for a play and a picnic and Grizzly and Little Bear have been really busy with a new construction project. They have decided to build a fort in the garden. There is no room whatsoever so they have built it above the chicken coup! I’m very impressed with it, especially how quickly it has gone up. I think Grizzly likes it more than the boys do (don’t tell him!) and keeps adding bits, like secret windows and spy holes. Little Bear is a natural at DIY so helping out with real tools is ecstasy for him.
Big Bear seems to have really grown up all of a sudden and has much more of an attention span for calmer activities. We have decided to do a little project each night, just for 10 minutes to half an hour. So far it’s going really well and we’re both enjoying thinking of different things to do. @NowWeAreSix has challenged me to do a picture blog at the end of the summer to share all of #bigbearsminiprojects and I plan to do just that.
- Seeing my little non-fruit –or-vegetable-eating bear picking and eating strawberries fresh from the bush in my parents garden
- Big & Little Bear discovering a forgotten about whoopee cushion. Little Bear had clearly never experienced one before from the hysterical laughter that ensued.
- Little Bear’s excitement at choosing a birthday present for Big Bear. Equally his excitement at helping wrap and hide it. He has no concept of keeping it secret so has told Big Bear several times what the present is and where he can find it!
Project Home Improvement:
It’s finished!! Yeay! It’s beautiful and I love it and the upheaval and hard work was all completely worth it.
There are a couple of things I hadn’t anticipated about open plan living though: although there are definitely positives about being able to keep my eye on the boys all the time, it is a double-edged sword as I can no longer pretend to cook and hide from them in the kitchen!! The constant noise can be a little over-stimulating. Also, Little Bear tends to run around more as the space is bigger. However, I am getting used to these things and just seeing my bright green fridge can do wonders for my mood. The other down side is that the rest of the house looks really shabby in comparison. Time to start phase 2 then! The plans are with the council as we speak so fingers crossed and more about that next time. For now, happy nosing: