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Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

My gosh. It’s been just over a year since I posted anything on here… but hey, life with three little daughters and a full time job doesn’t leave me with much free time at the moment. But I’m off work for two weeks with the girls while the inlaws are holiday – they are our key childcare providers, so while they enjoy a well-earned break touring round Canada, I’m playing at full-time mummy for a while!

It’s a tiring job! Especially the mechanics of the school run with Terrorist Toddler Eve, whose passion for mischief and capacity to do the opposite of what she should be doing still knows no bounds. So, if you had been a bystander last week around school drop off / kick out times you would likely have seen a very frazzled woman, no doubt dressed inappropriately for the changeable weather, trying to keep pace with a sprinting toddler, while urging a dawdling 6-year-old and trying to calm a hysterical 3-year-old who gets into a terrible panic if Eve runs ahead or Lilly lags behind…

Anyway… here we are at the tail end of a bank holiday Monday. Eve and Isla have been tucked up in bed early, Lilly is lying on the sofa next to me playing games on an old iPhone.

We’ve had a really full day today. First we visited the Commercial Vehicle Museum in Leyland. Random, I know, but it was the hubby’s idea, as he’s currently learning to drive a large goods vehicle and so has trucks on his mind a lot at the moment!

It was better than I expected (and much better than the one in St Helens, which is one of the worst ‘museums’ we’ve ever had the misfortune to visit!) To start with Eve was quite well behaved, she really enjoyed pressing buttons and looking at the mini tram set. Of course, eventually she went downhill and started pegging it all over the museum, causing Isla to react hysterically, chasing her and screeching at the same time… only making Eve sprint even faster, of course. Eventually it was time to make our excuses and leave, but not before the girls enjoyed sitting on an old fashioned fire engine and ringing the bell, sitting on the top deck of an old bus, and even squeezing into a red phone box (none of them had the foggiest what it was!) and pretending to make phone calls.

Commercial Vehicle Museum bus stop 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum fire engine 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum fire engine2 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum mini tram set 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum Eve is lollypop lady 26.5.14

So all in all, a partial success!

We then headed back to pick up the bike we’d ordered for Lilly yesterday at Halfords. We rang ahead and it wasn’t quite ready, so we braved an hour in a local beer garden, seeing as the sun was shining. There were a couple of incidents when the girls decided it was fun to do a lap of the little path around the bowling green – first Isla falling and scuffing her knees, then Eve deciding to go off course and try to run off to the back of the bowling green, causing me to sprint after her, not sure where she was headed! In between all that, the girls played nicely (Naughty Pirates is their current favourite made up game) and didn’t wander off too far.

Unscathed, we headed off to pick up The Bike. We decided to buy one for Lilly after she took it upon herself to teach herself to ride without stabilisers a few weeks ago. We tried to teach her last year, but she was having none of it. Then this year, typical Lilly, she decided to do it, and she just did it. Same as with all her major milestones – walking, reading, everything.

Anyway the bike she had was old and too small for her. So today we collected her new bike and took them all to a local park for a ride.

Isla had her ‘cupcake’ bike, we took the Scuttlebug for Eve. They absolutely loved it, riding round and round, up and down the bandstand, all over the place. Lilly was fantastic on her bike especially considering it is much bigger than the one she’s been practicing on. Eve was a little bit big for the Scuttlebug, but she gave it her best shot (before she decided to resume her favourite hobby of randomly sprinting off towards a road or other danger, causing mummy and daddy to have to chase and tackle her to the ground!)

Bike 26.5.14 Bike 26.5.14 2 Bike 26.5.14 3

By the time we got home, me and hubs were shattered – as usual!

But luckily so were they and we got away with putting Eve and Isla to bed pretty early (sneaky mummy and daddy!)

Anyway, that’s bit of what we’ve been up to, hopefully I’ll be back with more before another year goes by!

 

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Last week we enjoyed another lovely week at Center Parcs – I think this is the fifth time we’ve been in the last three years.

For the second time we went to Whinfell Forest, in the Lake District, and were lucky to reap the benefits of the unseasonably sunny and warm first week of spring, in fact the best weather we have ever experienced at Center Parcs I think.

Make A Memory

For the first time we tried out quite a few activities – Lilly did Make A Memory (making a handprint in clay and decorating the box to keep it in), Little Kickers football, Active Tots (which, at three years old was probably a bit too babyish for her, but she still enjoyed it) and Party Hour in the Time Out Club (they play party games while the parents get an hour to themselves – in theory. That was, of course, the one hour of the holiday when Isla decided to throw a bit of an “I-don’t-want-to-sleep-in-my-pushchair wobbler). We also did the usual swimming and had a game of bowling, which Lilly loved.

Little Kickers

Other highlights included spotting frogs by the edge of the stream and Lilly helping me with the shopping by pushing one of the little trolleys (she was a little bit better at steering it this time!), and the animals we spotted from our window – all kinds of birds, red squirrels, rabbits and even a deer.

Visitor to our garden

 

Looking at frogs on the boardwalk

Sleeping wise we had much more success than last time. We learnt the lessons from staying in a two-storey house where Lilly wouldn’t sleep because it was a strange environment and because mummy and daddy were too far away (i.e. downstairs). We went for a single storey villa this visit and Lilly went off to sleep great every night and (except the first night) slept right through. (In fact, both girls even slept through my unfortunate setting off of the smoke alarm incident – a tip for other visitors: use the extractor fan while cooking…) It took Isla a little while to get used to the new place – the first night she went to sleep fine but then started waking up crying every hour. For a few days she protested loudly about napping in the cot. But it wasn’t a major issue and after a few days she was fine. As for Tony and I, we were so exhausted after all the walking and activity with the girls during the days we were asleep by 10pm most nights!

We decided not to hire bikes for ourselves this time, because it is a bit expensive and Isla is a little bit too small to go in the back of one of the carriages. But we hired one for Lilly and we were both impressed how good she was at riding it. Our main error was not hiring a helmet – our theory being that she wasn’t going to go very fast – but obviously we hadn’t accounted for the park being quite hilly in places and Lilly having not yet mastered the art of braking. Thankfully there were no accidents but in order to prevent them we had to stick close by her and hold onto the bike whenever we were going downhill – but to be fair we would’ve been doing that whether or not she’d had a helmet! But all in all the bike was a real success, she loved riding it and never complained about being too tired (which she always moans about when walking, even a short distance). In fact it even became a useful ‘exit strategy’ when trying to get Lilly to leave playgrounds etc without tears – “do you want to ride your bike now, Lilly?”

This time I really expected Isla to LOVE the swimming, because she really enjoys bathtime and splashing with her sister. But, just like last time, she remained very serious faced throughout the experience with an expression that seemed to say “Er, mum, you sure this is safe?!” I think it is the noisy atmosphere that she’s unsure of, rather than the actual pool. But there was less crying and screaming when it came to getting dressed again at the end, which made the experience less stressful than when we went in September! Mind you, they have the changing rooms so hot that by the time we were all dry and dressed Isla had gone redder faced than I have ever seen her before and we were actually a bit worried about her so dashed outside to cool her down.

Watching Lilly playing was a joy – she is such a sociable little thing and just loves other children. Whenever we went to one of the softplay areas or playgrounds she was making friends – all I could hear was her chatting away to other children and introducing herself saying: “I’m Lilly! I’m three!” She still doesn’t entertain the idea of sliding down any “tunnel slides” which she is scared of, even if one of her new found friends tried to persuade her to try it. She is brilliant at taking turns, to the point where she will happily let several children overtake her! There was one incident where a little boy was nasty to her (we didn’t see what happened) and she said she was going to “run away very fast” but apart from that it was all good. Isla had a little sit in the soft play areas too – there’s only so much she can do as she still can’t quite crawl yet, but she seemed to enjoy watching what everyone was up to.

And Tony and I remained steadfastly on the Weight Watchers – we expected we would fall right off the wagon and although we did drink wine every night we managed to resist the numerous chocolate, doughnut, cake, pizza and bread shaped temptations that were winking at us in the supermarket. We packed salads for our picnics everyday and because we were so active and too busy to sit and snack we actually both managed to lose a few pounds – result!

All in all we had a really great time with only a few tantrums from Lilly (including two in the car on the way back – making us worry a bit about our road trip to France in a few months time, but hey, that’s another story!) and we wished that we were staying a full week (although it is so blinking expensive to do that!)

With a three year old my recommendation would be to book plenty of activities for every day – one for the morning, one for the afternoon (allowing time for swimming of course) because plenty of activity and stimulation tired our little one out nicely. Take or hire a bike but beware of the hills! If you’re worried about them sleeping, go single storey. Don’t pay to reserve a villa in the central area only to realise that if you have bikes you have to go the long way round anyway to get to the village centre because the direct footpaths don’t allow bikes. Take some chalks for the blackboard in the villa if you are staying in a “new style” as it will keep the kids entertained for quite a while (and they never supply adequate chalks themselves)

But yes, we remain big fans of Center Parcs and I am already persuading Tony that we need to book another break for later in the year, when Isla will be a little older and able to join in the fun even more.

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