This was the first school holiday in ages that I really made the most of. Last Christmas, while it was nice to be off work, I got a terrible bout of tonislitis which meant I missed out on really being able to savour that family fun that we all so enjoy. The previous Halloween, although we did get to do some bits and bobs, Adam had been suffering from croup, so he was laid up then. Before that it was a summer that other family members got sick, and before that all I can recall is being enormously pregnant, sick, bloated and fed up! So this half-term I was very excited to plan some fun things for us all to do together. I wanted to do at least one new/interesting/fun thing each day with the kids – so I called it my Half Term Bucket List.
We enjoyed a great mixture of simple fun and a few special ‘days out’, Day one was an afternoon at the park, for the first time in what seemed like forever that we actually saw blue skies above us. It was FREEZING cold, but we wrapped up warm and the kids just loved getting out in the open after being cooped up all winter.
They got thier wellies on and stomped thier way around the paths, meeting some gorgeous doggies and playing in the play area. Adam particularly liked outwitting me, and running off when I wasn’t looking – he’s a cute one and faster on his feet than me. (Well, it wouldn’t be hard!) We headed afterwards to our local frozen yoghurt/ice cream parlour, where we had some treats…well, I’m all for healthy eating but a treat is important for happy memories!
Day Two it POURED from the heavens so we headed straight for our local soft play cafe; a great place for the kids to burn off some steam and for the grown ups to enjoy a decent coffee. Of course, due to the weather outside the place was packed to the rafters, and because Adam is too big for the ‘baby’ area, but not steady enough to go it alone in the bigger area, I had to brave it in there with him and literally follow him around like a bodyguard – I was hip deep in toddler soup and the noise was an insane babble of happy, boisterous kids. My two were happy and that’s all that mattered.
Day Three was our proper ‘day out’ to the local Wetlands Centre. I’d never been to Castle Espie before, and it’s only a half hour drive or so from where I live; so I was glad to get there to experience it with the kids for the first time.
We donned our coats, hats and wellies (except for the G Man – he doesn’t own wellies and now has one less pair of loafers thanks to the mud from the rain the day before) and headed off for a day of bird spotting, lego animal exhibits, walking and exploring around the Castle Espie grounds. After a lovely lunch of locally caught fish and chips, the kids were mega excited to take part in the puddle jumping competition – and I was SO smug that I actually thought ahead and brought them a change of clothes. No rookie parenting mistakes for me anymore!
Day Four was the wee man’s day that he normally spends with Granny and Granda, so they were kind enough to take him for a few hours while Amelia and I did a major spring clean of the house. We gutted drawers out, cleaned, polished and hoovered. I made it into a game for her, she got involved in writing her ‘list’ of jobs which we ticked off and she earned a few pennies here, fifty pence there, for her work. We played music on the iPad and sang at the tops of our voices. Didn’t cost a penny. Anyone who knows me knows that cleaning is actually listed as one of my hobbies on my CV. Not kidding. So we managed to ‘kill a few dead things’ as they say, before we headed to collect Adam from Granny’s house. Of course, within three minutes of him returning to the house you couldn’t tell that we’d accomplished anything! After we brought the wee man home, we watched ‘Calamity Jane’ for the first time. A movie that is close to my heart from my own childhood and I loved being able to share it with them. I wasn’t sure it would hold thier attention as they’re so used to those brightly coloured cartoons, but they were captivated by the songs and the antics of Calam and her pals. Amelia is still singing ‘Windy City’…
Day Five. Cinema. What else? The movie of Amelia’s choice was ‘Alvin and the ChickMunks’ – I didn’t want to correct her pronunciation, it’s too cute anyway. The G Man looked after Adam (who, afterwards I’d heard had a TWO HOUR nap) and Amelia and I took ourselves off to enjoy some popcorn, ice-cream and giggles as Alvin, Simon and Theodore entertained us. She really loved it.
Day Six was a packed day. Amelia has her drama class after lunch so when we collected her we headed off to the swimming pool, as we hadn’t been in ages. It doesn’t cost much for a family ticket and they both just loved the lazy river and the fountain, and splashing about with each other. Even Nana came along to watch and wave at them as they sploshed and swirled around in the water.
Day Seven was a birthday party for a girl in Amelia’s nursery class. Talking about ending our week of family fun with a bang! Even Queen Elsa was there to sing with the children and there was an unending amount of sweets and treats.
Great half-term. Next time we’re going to tackle the butterfly farm, ten pin bowling and the zoo. Can’t wait.