Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The end of an era - preschool leaver

Today was the boys last day at preschool.

I say preschool but it is nursery too so he has been going since he was 9 months old. 

It's only a small setting and although he has had his own key workers he interacts with all the staff and it feels like one big family.

We've had our up's and downs but he has loved his time there! He is sad to be leaving but at the same time he is excited about starting big boy school.

Yesterday was the first of his leavers parties - pirate themed - full of mini activities to keep them entertained.

It was a great evening and the children were handed a gift and presented with a memento from their time at the nursery.

I wondered if I might be overcome with sentiment when I felt myself choking up during the last parents evening last week. Yep sure enough as we were leaving bang it hit!
The boy through his nursery years
I'm not sad about O leaving and I am so ready for him to start school but this is an end of an era for him and for us. It's such a hard job choosing the right setting for our precious babies. Watching O grow and develop through the years has been good to see and this partly to do with help from his nursery teachers. Especially the one who taught him to practice being still! 

The boy is excited for school but he is also sad about leaving his home from home which has had pretty much the same staff all the way through. So, how do you cheer up a sad preschooler? Tell him we will go to CBeebies land! That done the trick :-)

It gets better because in every issue of the CBeebies magazine from 16th July - 24 September you get two free kids tickets to various Merlin attractions, including CBeebies Land, when accompanied by a full paying adult. Tickets are also available for Legoland, Chessington & the Sealife center so there's a lot of money to be saved! 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

12 years - wow!

Today I'm celebrating 12 years of marriage to my soul mate, we were married young, so I'm sure many thought we wouldn't go the distance.  

In the early years I used to be thinner and he had hair. 

We bought our first flat together the year after we married and enjoyed making it our style.

Then we enjoyed some holidays.
Paris - my favourite city (so far)
We knew a family was on the cards, once I had qualified as an accountant, so we decided to holidays in places which wouldn't necessarily be there to travel to once the family was old enough. 

As a snow lover the next stop was the Ice hotel - *coughs not just for the vodka honest. It was amazing and I will find away to take the boys here when they are old enough to appreciate it.

Then our lives took a knock after the husband, a fit healthy 20 something, unexpectedly had a seizure out of the blue with no history of epilepsy. You can read about it here. It was also the year I qualified!! 

Undoubtedly the toughest part was him not being able to drive for the year. Just before he got his licence back we jetted off to the one place that kept me going through all the evenings and weekends studying. It had taken me 6 years to qualify (AAT & CIMA) and the Maldives trip was my promise to myself once I had those precious letters ACMA after my name.

It was just what we needed - to have fun as a couple in the sun sipping cocktails and snorkelling with out worrying about work and driving logistics. One of the best holidays ever!

Licence back, study done it was time to make two become three. The first few months after the boy was born was probably the toughest we have ever faced as a couple as we adjusted to this new little person and how he had changed our lives. 

Thinking our 'free spirit' could do with a playmate (so we might one day get a lie in whilst they play happily together) we went on to make three become four.

So hubstar you are my childhood sweetheart since I was 16 and I honestly wouldn't know what I would do without you (apart from tidy less.) You make me smile, you make me 'happy' biscuits, you take the boy down stairs at 5.30 so I can get another hours kip. You make me proud, you are a brilliant dad and you are my ever loving husband.

Since becoming a family we don't get much time to ourselves but to mark our 12th anniversary we have managed to convince the grandparents to have the boys for 24 hours. It will be one of a few nights we have had off in the past 4.5 years as a couple.

It will involve cocktails, a rib ride, spa treatments and a stay at a lovely new forest hotel - bring it on! Love you husband! Here's to the next 12 years #happy

Monday, 14 July 2014

How to survive Peppa Pig World

We don't live far from Paultons Park, the host of Peppa Pig World, so when we won tickets in the Hampshire Top 10 attractions fathers day competition we saved ourselves a few quid and headed along for the boys last term time trip. We used to have season tickets so here's how we maximise a full day at Paultons Park.

1) Get there early and head straight for either the windy castle or helicopter ride if the queues are short do these now! Do not get distracted by the fab looking Carousel it will still be there in half an hour. The helicopter ride is the longest queue due to how the ride is loaded. (IMO it's not worth the wait but little people don't understand this)

2) As soon as you have done these make an exit to the tractor ride & wave runner located to the side of Peppa Pig World. These will have virtually no queue and you even get chance to have your picture taken.

The little 'coin' rides scattered about the park are on free play so no change needed just go up and ride as many times as you like. Perfect for when younger siblings are waiting for the big brother even if they won't use them properly.

3) Make your way (not through Peppa Pig World) round to the train entrance it is just the other side of the cafe in front of the carousel - again expect little or no queue. It's a nice little ride around the outside of Peppa Pig World so you can scope out what's to come later. You will see ducks and possibly geese as you make your way round.

4) The carousel is not to be missed - the little ones will love it and even if you are in a carriage some of them move! The braver ones will want to be upstairs.

5) Make your way through the gardens spotting the wildlife and maybe even stop for a picnic in this peaceful spot. Perfect for pushing smaller tots to sleep too.

6) Let lunch go down by making the most of one of the play parks scattered around the water kingdom or let the kids run free in the splash park. You will find Mr Whippy ice-cream at the kiosk here too.

7) The short queues will mean you can complete the magic carpet, log flume, digger ride, seal ride, sky swinger, dragon ride (if you don't mind feeling sick!,) trampolines, bouncy castle, flying frog (over ones can ride with an adult), rabbit ride and astroglider in no time at all. In fact you could do them over and over again.

8) Walk through the land of the dinosaurs to restore some calm and spot the dinosaurs.

9) Keep left in the gardens to exit by the stinger - if there' a queue it moves really quickly and you don't even have to be a meter to ride this 'proper' roller coaster.

10) Walk through the wind in the willows and marvel as the little people glow up under the UV light.

11) Short queues again on the Viking boats, Kontiki, teacups, jumping jacks & pirate ship.

12) Go past the tortoise house and back into Peppa Pig World through the penguins.

13) Leave the helicopter ride till the end but you'll be able to make your way round Peppa Pig World with shorter queues, less buggies and screaming children around so it's much more enjoyable.

14) Stop into the 4d cinema for the final viewing.

15) Promise Mcdonald's for tea - it's a 2 minute drive at Ower just before you head back onto the motorway and will ensure you pass through the shop which you have to go through to exit with minimal tantrums.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The eye test

The boy has recently been saying he was seeing small buttons coming down from the ceiling making different shapes & bright lights coming down when it was bedtime. A colleague said I should take him for an eye test to rule out any problems rather than assume that it was his imagination. His eyesight was perfect so no sign of being short sighted like mummy and daddy yet.

The optician was very good and took a picture of the boys eye which he asked me to take a photo of.

The optician thought he saw a small pigment on one of O's lens so we were sent to the eye hospital to rule out a detached retina. Extremely rare in a four year old but needed to be checked because left untreated if it was he could lose the sight in that eye.

Luckily it was not a detached retina but the eye hospital did notice he has an intermittent squint. This is when the eyes are trying to go off in different differents. He was managing it well and I hadn't even noticed it before! To be honest it was hard to see when they were pointing it out to me so I didn't feel bad for not spotting it. 

In the boys case his vision is good and he is doing well at controlling it himself so they will just monitor him every four months to make sure things don't deteriorate. If his vision gets worse they may look into giving him an eye patch or glasses to strengthen the muscles in his eye.

They also told us that when he squints/ covers one eye when in the sun or tired it is his way of dealing with the squint. His muscles are probably tired so it's harder for them to keep his eyes straight which results in double vision. He naturally covers one eye to combat this - clever things children. 

We were also told that they monitor it as they only have until a child is around 8 to correct any issues otherwise its too late. Scary stuff so if you notice your child squinting, covering and eye or it looks like they have a lazy eye ask your gp to refer you to get it checked out.