living arrows

Living Arrows 2020 – 3/52

We did so well getting back into the normal routine in the first week back at school, then last week it all went out the window.

Luckily it went out the window in the best possible way.

We were invited to go to Bluestone for a week as part of their blogger programme, and we jumped at the chance.  It was a very last minute thing, so Steve and I decided to surprise the children and not tell them about it until we were on our way.

So we picked them up from school on Monday, with the car all packed up with our things.  What was so lovely is that they were both just really excited to have their daddy pick them up from school, which hardly ever happens.  Then they were confused by why their toys and blankets were in the car.  And then when we told them halfway there where we going they were beyond excited.

We’ve been to Bluestone a few times now and it is one of our favourite places, full of loads of amazing family memories.

The weather wasn’t the best while we were there this time but we managed to avoid most of the heavy rain, and spent most of our time in the pool, the adventure centre and the new Serendome.

That’s where I took this week’s photos.

 

The dome is described as being like a big umbrella, so it’s like being outside but under cover.  Which means that you still need to wrap up warm in the winter months.

Nerys and Rhys both loved it in there, running around and exploring the different areas.  We went in a few times, at different times of the day, and were always surprised by how quiet it felt.  There are several different areas to play in and explore, so no one spot ever felt crowded.

I’ll be writing more about our trip soon so you can read more about the Serendome and the winter lights festival that we also got to see while we were there.

 

We all had an amazing week though, and Steve and I won serious cool parent points by surprising the children and taking them away.

I think we’re also now all ready to jump back in and crack on with things, which I wasn’t quite ready to do in the first week back after the school holidays.

So for us, it feels like the new year starts now, after a total break from reality.  And I now completely understand why so many people go away, or at least start booking holidays, right at the start of the year!

 

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Siblings project Jan 2020

The siblings project – January 2020

Along with living arrows and the me and mine project, the siblings project is something I really look forward to keeping up with each year.

I’ve been taking photos of the children together each month for this project since January 2017 and it’s something I want to keep doing for as long as I can.  I absolutely love having this push to make sure I capture at least one picture of the children together each month.  And I am so pleased to have all these photos to look back on, to see how the children and their relationship changes over the months and years.

This month’s photos were taken on a walk around Cwmdonkin park as we tested out the walkie talkies that Nerys got for Christmas.

 

The children were both so excited to split up and test the walkie talkies out, and luckily they were as good as we’d all hoped.

Once they’d mastered the art of pressing the button, waiting a few seconds and then starting to talk we were off.  And it really was fun, which seems almost silly seeing as we use mobile phones to chat while we’re out and about all the time!

We bought Rhys and Nerys a few things this Christmas that they could use/play with together and I love how happy they are about it.

It does make me laugh though that out of all the presents they had the thing that has been most played with and enjoyed is a simple pack of Uno cards.  We’ve played so many games already and it’s so much fun.

I’ve loved seeing how quickly the children picked up the rules, and how well they take it when they’re close to winning and then someone makes them pick up 4 cards.  We’ve talked a lot in the last few years about being a good winner and a good loser when you play games like this and I think that message has pretty much sunk in luckily!

 

We had such a lovely break over Christmas this year and the children loved having that time with each other, and with their cousins who were visiting from the Isle of Man.

I think we’re all ready to get stuck back into the old school routine now, but at the same time I’m already looking forward to half term when we can just take a break and enjoy some time all together.

Living arrows

Living Arrows 2020 – 2/52

The first week of the new year back in the school and work routine went pretty well for us.

I had to wake the children up in the morning for the first few days as we all adjusted to having to get up and out the front door again, but by the end of the week they both seemed to have shifted their sleep patterns back to normal.

We were eased in to the routine a bit with cubs and rainbows not starting up again for another week, so we just had yoga club for Nerys and Taiko drumming for Rhys after school to fit in.

What was really lovely to realise was that the afternoons are already staying lighter, longer.  Before Christmas it was dark by the time we headed back to the school gates at 4.20 when the clubs had finished.  Last week though I suddenly realised it was still quite light at that time.

And on Friday when I was waiting around with Nerys for Rhys to finish his club we were treated to some gorgeous golden sunlight.

 

I don’t normally have the big camera with me on the school run but on the 10th of each month I try and take photos for the 10 on 10 project that I do to try and push myself a bit with my photography.

The challenge is simple, take 10 photos throughout the day on the 10th of each month.

This picture that I took of Nerys is one of the photos I took for that project this month and I really love it.  She was posting some of the thank you letters that she and Rhys had written for their Christmas presents, and was perfectly highlighted by that golden winter light.

Some times that hour that we have to wait for a club to finish can feel like ages, especially if it’s raining and we mainly just sit and wait in the car.  Now the afternoons are getting lighter though it’s actually really quite nice to have that one on one time with each child while we wander the local shop and wait for the other one to finish.  Because of course I couldn’t find clubs that they wanted to do that were on the same day!

 

Do your children do after school clubs?  

How do you find juggling them if you have more than one child?!

 

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Living Arrows

Living Arrows 2020 – 1/52

Here we go.

Back into the regular routine of school and work after the wonderful break from it all over Christmas.

Steve was still off work for the first few days of last week so we had time to just relax and spend time together.  We went into town on New Year’s eve to sort out a few bits at the bank and the post office then popped into tesco to pick up some pizza for dinner.

We let the children stay up until midnight and watched the fireworks on the tv together which they really loved.  Nerys in particular had been so excited about being allowed to stay up so late.

The rest of the week was very laid back, with time to play some of the games the children got for Christmas.  One of these new games was Hedbanz and, ridiculous spelling of the name aside, it’s been a lot of fun.

 

I had to help the children a few times to come up with questions to ask to point them in the right direction, but they’ve played quite a few rounds now and have always managed to get there in the end.

The other game they’ve really loved playing recently is Uno.

Rhys had found a version of it online that he’d played a few times, which my mother-in-law and I had both clocked.  So he ended up with a pack of Uno cards from me and Steve and another from his grandparents, which actually he’s thrilled about.  He loves the fact that now he can play at home and when he goes to their house after school!

I’d forgotten how much fun Uno is to play, and have really enjoyed playing it with the children too.  They’ve been fab too and we’ve only had quite minor whinges about it not being fair when someone was close to winning and then had to pick up 4!

 

The Christmas holidays ended on a bit of a high note for the children because we finally made it out to the cinema to see Frozen 2.

We’ve seen the first film more times than I can count and going to the cinema to see the new one was the one thing Nerys was really keen to do this Christmas.  I was a bit worried it wouldn’t live up to her expectations, but oh my word she absolutely loved it.

Both children came out saying it was the best film ever, even better than the first one.  And I’ve had ‘into the unknown’ running through my head ever since we left the cinema.

 

And now we’re back into it.

Back to the school run.  Back to packed lunches and uniforms and after-school clubs.

I’m ready for a bit of normality and to know what day of the week it is, but I’ll miss my little family this week.  It seems to take me a while these days to get used to them all heading off out to work and school after a period of time of us all being at home together.

It’s only a 6 week term though, and the last week of that is only a 3 day week thanks to inset days.  So it’ll be half term before we know it and I’ll be wondering where on earth the time went again!

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me and mine december

Me and Mine – December 2019

We did it.  For the third year in a row we’ve managed to get a family photo every single month for the me and mine project.

I remember feeling so proud when we made it the full year in 2017, after trying and failing to get regular family photos the year before.  And then we did it again in 2018, which I think is when I really started to get more comfortable setting the camera up while we were out and about to get the photos I wanted.

Now I don’t really give it a second thought as I prop the camera up somewhere and snap away with our remote trigger.  For December’s photos this year we popped the camera on a bench in Cwmdonkin Park and then sat down on the other bench across the path.

 

We’ve been to this park quite a few times this year, but this is the first time we’ve stopped to take family photos there.

Looking back at all the photos we took for the me and mine project this year it’s made me smile quite how many of them were taken at the beach.

A few were taken on our regular walks on Swansea bay, and then we also took some up on the cliffs by Mumbles, at the top of Rhossili down and by the rock pools at Langland.

 

And just to mix things up a little bit we also took some photos in Clyne woods and in the little park by the shops where we sometimes stop after swimming lessons.

 

I really love how these photos capture our year.  These pictures of us, together, at one or another of our regular spots for weekend walks.

I can’t wait to do it all again in 2020!

Living Arrows

Living Arrows 2019 – 52/52

So here we are, the last living arrows post of the year.

I know it’ll confuse me a bit when I look back on these pictures one day, because Nerys’ picture looks like it could’ve been taken on a warm spring day, not in the middle of Christmas week!

We’d been for a walk to the local shops and then popped into Cwmdonkin Park for a play and to test out the walkie talkies that Nerys had desperately wanted for Christmas.  She got so warm on the walk there that by the time we got to the swings her coat and hat had long been abandoned.

 

Learning to get herself going on the swing, and then swinging really high, is one of the big skills that Nerys has mastered this year.

She can be quite persistent when she wants to do something, and this was something she was determined to be able to do.  Now she just looks so confident and so comfortable up there, swinging up to the sky.  Those baby days of pushing her in the little swings feels like a lifetime ago.

 

Rhys has had a pretty big year too, in terms of the things he’s pushed himself to do.

He’s really surprised me a few times with the things he’s put his name down to do, and the things he’s tried even though he’s been really nervous.

He went away with school on his first overnight residential trip.  He took part in an urdd swimming competition with some other children from his school.  I was surprised that he even signed up to do it to be honest, and a bit bemused when he ended up doing the butterfly race when he’s not really learnt that stroke yet!  But I was unbelievably proud of him for stepping up and going for it, and keeping going even when he was clearly not going to win.

And he ended the Christmas term at school with a very spirited performance in the concert, winning over the audience with his dancing and inflatable guitar playing.  This from the boy who, last year, was too nervous to even join in with the hand actions to the songs.

 

Both Rhys and Nerys have joined new clubs this year and I think we’ve got a good balance at the moment of activities and down time.

They do cubs and rainbows and have both settled in really well in their packs.  And they’ve started doing some after school clubs too; yoga for Nerys and Taiko drumming for Rhys.  They’re both still really enjoying these clubs and I think it’s doing them good in terms of their confidence as well as the skills they’re learning there.

 

All in all it’s been a pretty good year for these two.  

Christmas has been really lovely, with plenty of time spent together as a family, and with their cousins on Steve’s side who we don’t see all that often.  I’m so happy we still have another week to enjoy before we jump into a new year and back into the school routine.

I’m hoping to see my sister and her girls at the end of the week, and we’re going to try and get to the cinema to see Frozen 2 before I give in and read all the spoilers online!  The children are mostly excited about new year’s eve though, because we’ve told them they can stay up until midnight to watch the fireworks on tv.

Who wants to place bets on who of us ends up having a snooze on the sofa before the clock reaches twelve o’clock?!

 

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Living Arrows

Living Arrows 2019 – 51/52

I have two rather excited children on my hands.

They made it in one piece to the end of term and are now counting down the days until Christmas morning.

The last week of term was what you’d expect really, a whole lot of fun and not much learning going on at all.  They had toy day on the Friday which is always a hit, and the children were actually pretty good about deciding what toy to take in with them.  Rhys took in two of his pokemon soft toys and Nerys opted for a pillow pet (so she’d be comfy if they watched a film!) and one of her babies.

 

And the family festivities have started as well now that my brother-in-law and his family are over from the Isle of Man.

They all went with Nana to see Father Christmas in his winter wonderland at Poundffald farm at the weekend and had an amazing time.   We’ve been a few times now and it’s always been really well done, with brilliant staff and a really magical experience for the children.

 

The fun continues today with all of us heading off to the panto in Porthcawl.

I actually can’t remember the last time I went to see a pantomime so I’m quite looking forward to this, and it should be a lot of fun with the 4 cousins together.  I have a feeling things could get a little bit rowdy!

We’ve then got a quiet day planned for Christmas eve, maybe popping out for a walk if excitement levels get a bit too high for staying indoors.  Then we’re up at my in-laws for the day on Christmas day which will be lovely.

We’ll open stockings first thing, and then have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast before heading up to see the family.

Do you open all your presents early in the morning, or do you just do stockings first and then the rest of the presents later in the day?

I love hearing about how different families do things at Christmas!

 

Living Arrows