Summer 2012

Now that Autumn is here and Summer seems to be well and truly over, I feel it’s the right time to sumarize  what we got up to during the school holidays of 2012. In all honesty, I felt very anxious before the holidays, worried about what to do with the children and how to keep them occupied for 7 or so weeks. However, it turned out to be a really enjoyable time and here is a little about what we got up to:

Finkley Farm, Andover
A friend and her 3 little ones kindly agreed to take us to Finkley in return for a picnic lunch. So, one morning we set off on what was to be a really enjoyable day. We were blessed with fine weather which allowed us to see almost everything, play in the parks and picnic in the open air. The children loved playing on the ride-ons and tractors, taking it in turns to be pulled along in carts and scramble over various farm-like climbing frames. The girls became a little emotional over the tug ‘o war, Charlotte was adamant she was going to win and despite all her pulling power and obvious cheating she failed in a heap of anger and horror that someone else could possibly beat her. Meanwhile, her friend refused to give up, wanting to stay until she mastered the game, eventually having to be literally pulled away in tug’o war fashion by her Mother. All the children loved the various animals, from horses to turkey’s, pigs to goats, with the opportunity to pet and tease them, as children do! The parks at Finkley are fantastic, as are the indoor play areas, the children ventured off and explored until they could explore no more and after a scrummy and rather large lunch we indulged in ice creams and one final tour of the farm before returning home. A great day had by all.

Birthday Parties
Charlotte, with William in tow, were invited to a couple of parties during the summer that were quite memorable. First was a friend’s son from my post-natal group, which was held at Gambada, possibly the best indoor play area I’ve seen. Two hours of soft play and indoor activity was followed by a fantastic lunch with time to collect a funny balloon and slice of cake before dragging two very exhausted and played-out children home. Another memorable party was the daughter of friends from church, this was a very successful and enjoyable party held at the home of the family. The parents had organised the event in great detail (which really rang my bell), and included an outdoor splash pool (both my two had a fantastic time diving, sliding, splashing and screaming), then we all enjoyed a moment of quiet decorating biscuits before a lunch of fish fingers, chips and beans……….followed by traditional jelly and ice-cream. There was a treasure-hunt style game in the garden before singing happy birthday. The piece de la resistance was the most amazing fairy castle cake, made by mum and dad, everybody stood in awe at the creation. There was of course Charlotte’s party too which was also very good, although I am biased.

Various Play Dates
Most of summer 2012 was dampened by heavy rain, which resulted in many outdoor activities and events being cancelled. But this did give us the opportunity to visit friends and enjoy a cuppa while the children played. We met up with my best friend from church almost once a week, the girls are also best friends and, I imagine, the boys will be too. There was also time to catch up with a very dear friend of mine and her 3 boys, who came over on a (rare) sunny day and enjoyed the pool, it was so nice to spend time together with such a wise and interesting young lady. We also made new friends at PEDS at Hampshire Riding Therapy Centre, which is a fantastic group for diabetic children.  We met up with one mother and her daughter on a drizzly day in August, ventured out in the wet weather and explored Hillier Gardens in Ampfield, the children loved running about and enjoyed the rain in their waterproofs, while us mummies chatted and discovered things about each other. It’s a pleasure to meet new friends especially when there is something to share and talk about. Lunch in the restaurant was good and the children were well behaved, which was a relief. I didn’t feel rushed, as I usually do in a public eating establishment and it made the time enjoyable.

At Home
There were occasions when we were unable to venture out, due to not having the car or the fact it was raining so hard you couldn’t see far in front of you. So time was spend doing mummy things with the children. This is something I really have to work at, I have to be in the right mood, frame of mind and be prepared for it to end in a meltdown or lots of tidying up. The activities usually include building a tent or den, craft (glitter, glue, scissors and paint – sigh!), playing horses or cars, sharing housework in return for treats and watching tv or playing on the iPod together. I wish I could embrace this time better, I have difficulty ‘doing’ stuff with the children and expect them to entertain themselves. There have been many occasions when the children have wanted to show me something or play together, with my reply being some kind of excuse. I feel very guilty about this afterwards and know I should treasure and grasp at these moments as they will soon grow out of playing with mummy and the time would have passed. God is constantly reminding me to stop being distracted and ‘mother’ my children, I will master it one day…..soon I hope.

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