Thursday, 24 July 2014

DIY footings

With the boys stuff taking over more and more of the house we had an idea to convert the loft into a playroom. All well and good but I didn't like the idea of a dormer so the plans were changed and we are now extending.

The problem is we live in a semi and the previous owners extended out to the side a little bit - pointless but its now the husbands inside shed. This restricts the side access so not even a wheel barrow can fit through - bit ideal! 

Extensions need footings - 1 meter deep footings and ours is a total of 15 meters long. With no access for a digger the only option is for them to be hand dug. Sixteen tonnes of earth to be hand dug and moved round to the front during a heat wave in a sun trap south facing garden with no shade.

Not surprisingly we never heard back from the ground workers with a quote. The husbands employee was offered the work and became our digger whilst we shifted the earth in buckets during the evening. We did have a bit of help from some friends too.

This isn't a quick process and the 1 meter depth meant the garden was unsafe for the young one.

We moved what we thought was the last of the earth under torch light ready for it to be grabbed and removed.

Unfortunately the cement guy ordered us the wrong truck so we are still left with two tonnes to be moves into grab bags!

Then this happened.

We blocked off the street for 3.5 hours whilst concrete was pumped into the foundations.

We have reached a milestone! Although the process of having concrete pumped is quicker it does leave you with a mess to clean up after! We have a few days to move all the left over concrete - they don't tell you they will leave you with approx 2 tonne of cement when you book the pump!

This weekend is the final push to tidy up the drive and move the earth and cement into grab bags before the building materials arrive. 

Then we will happily hand the project over to the builder and the DIY baton can take a rest whilst we regain some control on our lives!

Sorry if we haven't called/ texted, sorry if you've popped in and the house has been a tip but all our spare time in the evenings has been consumed by foundations! 

Give us back our splash parks!

Dear Totton Council,

This year lots of parents have noticed that you have scaled back the opening times on the splash parks from 10am until after lunch. Not to mention closing them earlier too and it seems criminal to see these good facilites going unused.

Not to mention the fact that hazel farm is still closed despite the completion of the refurbishment - why is this going to waste?

This means Salisbury Road pool is busier especially now the school children have finished for the summer. Last week I could enjoy watching my two sons play happily in the water together.

This week my four year old head was pushed under the water by an older boy (approx 10-12 years old) when he was sat in the middle of the pool! I was on the verge sitting with my one year old. I had to leave him with a stranger to rescue my four year old from the water bully. I raced across the pool and reached them just before he did it again! The boys excuse was 'he was annoying me.' I have his photo which is available on request.

When the poolside assistant turned up I raised my complaint and he allowed the boy to stay! This meant I couldn't allow my son to safely use the pool again  - who is the pool meant for?

Why was this water bully not evicted? Previously the pools were supervised and I truly believe that if you would like families to continue using the facility that you need to reintroduce this.

Is this part of a bigger plan to scale back the opening times so people don't use them? Not provide supervisors so families won't go for fear of their children being drowned by older children? Is it your aim to close these completely and by making these changes you can justify that the facilities aren't being used by the target audience?

I understand that budgets are being cut but these facilities are very popular. If you need more funds why not charge a small fee to use the facilities?

Yours sincerly

Angry parent

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