Nate’s Birthday

Nate turned 3 a few weeks ago and we had a wonderful time with both a birthday day, just family, and then a proper party a week later.

His birthday always comes so quickly after Christmas that it hits us like BAM and we are sat choosing presents again (even though he doesn’t need very much) and wrapping again.  Sick of the sight of wrapping paper haha.  It was all worth it though when he woke on his birthday morning.  I’m so glad it was a Sunday, so James didn’t have to take a day off work to be with us.

This year he unwrapped a Spiderman scooter, a Teenage Ninja Turtles dress up, Playdoh, a toolbox, a Nerf gun and some superheroes!  Each unwrapping was met with a grin and a gasp… so much fun watching him open presents.

I served the boys Brioche for breakfast and then we got up and dressed to take the boys out on their scooter/ skateboard.  It was freeeeeezing so we didn’t stay out long, just long enough for Nate to get somewhat to grips with how his scooter worked.  We grabbed a KFC on the way home and waited for Uncle Ryan to drop by.  He had a family ticket for W5 and we thought it would make a great birthday outing!

After spending a few hours in W5, we went to Nando’s for dinner.  It’s always a fail safe for us, the boys love the food there and they get all you can eat frozen yoghurt afterwards!  When dinner was done it was straight home for cake and bed.  Hulk cake that is.

A Whole Year Of Sibling Photos

Last year I decided to join in with a bunch of other bloggers, in taking at least one really nice photo of our kids each month.  The boys are running crazy or doing their own thing so often that it’s hard to get a nice one of them together.  They are also at an age now where they hate to stand still for photos, so one a month is quite enough.  I love being able to see how they’ve both changed!

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

Biggest Is Back At School

I am a little late in the day with Ollie’s back to school post with it being almost month 1 over but anyway.  Better late than never!

So… Ollie started his third year of primary school… it’s hard to believe how fast a school year goes!  Now the real work starts for him!

He goes to a really wonderful primary school in Belfast and we have never had any problems with it.  Ollie has always been happy to go to school and comes home either tired or excited about his day!

I was so surprised with how grown up he looked since his last day before summer break in June. He just isn’t a baby at all now haha!

I think this is the year that the real work starts.  For P1 and P2, he mainly learned through play and the moments of actually sitting still at a desk, studying, weren’t so long.  It’s different now… school isn’t QUITE as exciting and fun and his homework has doubled in both difficulty and quantity.  He gets a spelling and math test (or challenge as school calls them) every Friday and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he stays in school until 3 o’clock!

There have only been 2 days so far that he hasn’t felt like going to school… one of those was because of a fallout with a friend and the other was because he didn’t sleep very good the night before.

We are still figuring it all out… friendships are another thing.  As much as I want him to have close friends, I would prefer that he was friends with everyone because when there comes a time that he and his bestie have a fallout, he doesn’t know what to do with himself.  So that’s what I am encouraging.  That he be friends with everyone in school, not just a couple of kids… and that he make a special effort to look for the kids who don’t seem happy or that are standing along and to be a good friend to them and include them in the games he is playing.

He is making us proud.

Ollie was very lucky to be sent the Tools For School pack from Stuck On You.  Until now, he hasn’t required a pencil case or his own colours etc.  P3 is for big kids though and they need their own, labelled items.  How does one go about labelling individual pencils!? Ha!  Luckily that is not something I have to worry about because every item in the pack is labelled already.

The pack includes the case, a sharpener, scissors (with a safety case), a ruler, a rubber, a pack of colouring pencils, a pack of double ended felt tip pens and 2 wooden pencils with grips.  That’s all included and EVERYTHING has his name on it.

We love the quality of everything included.  The case itself isn’t chunky or bulky but is large enough to carry the stationery and also Ollie’s challenge book and homework diary.  He has to take those items everyday so it makes sense that they go in his case.  We even chose the picture on the front of it and figured since he was relatively new to riding his bike without stabilisers, that the boy on the bike would be a good fit.

Ollie was delighted when it arrived and couldn’t wait to take it into school with him!

30 After 30!

When I was 28 I made a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30.  At the time, the list didn’t seem all that insanely ambitious… but having just checked, I only crossed off a very small fraction.

I learnt to shoot in manual mode on my camera (though I am still practicing!), I started yoga (but have not yet mastered the splits), I made some new friends, I ate lobster again (more than once!), I tried a new hairstyle and we paid off a credit card.

A couple of my goals are currently in progress… for instance, I am sitting my driving test in August and I hope that I pass it this time.  We are attending a music festival on Friday (missing the mark by just a couple of days!), James and I have plans to hike Slieve Donard and I’m halfway through losing a stone.

As I turn 30 today though, I’m ok with having not completed my list but I am excited to write a list of 30 more things I would like to do as I enter a new decade (I know, sounds weird right?) and some of them come from my old list.  This time I am taking the pressure off and not setting myself a deadline/ time limit… and if I change my mind about completing one or all them, then that’s ok.  It’s my list! 🙂

So without further ado… presenting my 30 AFTER 30 list.

  1. Karaoke.  Nobody hears me sing.  So I’d love to step out of my comfort zone just once.
  2. Buy a KitchenAid mixer.  Fancy schmancy kitchen appliance… grown up or what?
  3. Let go of grudges…
  4. Complete my BA (Honours) in English Literature and Language.  Starting in October!
  5. Run a 5K.  This is happening in August!!!!  DONE.
  6. Travel!
  7. Attend a blog conference.
  8. Learn how to cook something fancy.
  9. Pay it forward.
  10. Read the news!  I need to be more aware of important situations in the world!
  11. Make a garden!!!!  Current garden is totally crap haha!
  12. Let go of broken friendships.  DONE.
  13. Spend more time nurturing quality friendships.
  14. Create and not touch an emergency fund.
  15. Eat at a Michelin star restaurant.
  16. Geocache.  We need to do this as a family.
  17. Establish my photography business.
  18. Write our will.
  19. Try raw sushi.
  20. Have a regular exercise routine.
  21. Drink more water.  People who say water doesn’t have a taste are lying!!!
  22. Redecorate…
  23. …and declutter.
  24. Learn a new language.  Maybe german!
  25. Take a salsa class.
  26. Own gorgeous lingerie.  How fun to have ONLY pretty underwear rather than functional.
  27. Say yes more often, especially to the kids.
  28. Complete another project 365.
  29. Give blood.
  30. Do volunteer work.

Why I’m OK With Turning 30

Tomorrow is the day I turn 30.  I will wake tomorrow as Emma v3.0.  In my head I am expecting to wake and feel entirely different but of course I won’t.  I’ll wake in the same bed and I’ll still feel like I’ve not slept enough (despite getting 7 hours probably)… my kids will jump on me the same and I will enjoy our morning cuddle time the same as I do every day.

I don’t think 30 is old… but it feels old for me.  Mentally I still feel like I’m about to turn 20… though when I was 20 I thought 30 was pretty old compared.

That’s ok though.  I think.  To feel a lot younger than you are.

I’ve completed an approximate 1/3 of my life.  That’s a little scary but also I look back at my 30 years and realise how much I have accomplished and I am so dang proud of myself… if my next 30 years and the 30 or so years after that are in any way as successful then I’ll have lived my life well!

I’m so good with where I am in life although it’s crazy to think it has only taken 10 years to get here… husband, house, kids… there is nowhere that I would rather be.

Do I have to wake up tomorrow and suddenly have it all figured out?  Nope.  And I’m not going to.  I’m so much more relaxed now, as an almost 30 year old, than I was in my twenties… I don’t care so much about strict routines… about what others think… or about unchecked boxes on my to-do list.  I’m still a worrier of course.  But more relaxed.  I’ve given up worrying about unimportant things or things that I cannot change.

Turning 30 isn’t something I can change… so I’m embracing it and all that it has to offer.  I’m even a little more excited than I am apprehensive!

Living Arrows 18/52 and 19/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” Kahlil Gibran

18/52

Ollie and Nate  //  Nate and Ollie still share baths.  They’ve shared baths since the day and hour we brought Nate home from the hospital and they have always enjoyed it.  Ollie has always had the perk of being the last one out of the bath, because he is older… I take Nate out first and Ollie plays alone while I get Nate dried and dressed.  They both enjoy baths differently, though each of them is a little timid when it comes to water.  I don’t know where that stems from.  Nate won’t sit on his bum… he sits on his hunkers for the duration of his bath because he is afraid of slipping and he won’t lie back for me to rinse his hair.  Ollie on the other hand, doesn’t mind lying down in the bath ‘practicing his swimming’ but get water in his eyes and there is a full scale meltdown. Aside from each of their little eccentricities, they LOVE baths!  They have a ton of toys in there and sometimes the bathroom ends up SOAKED.

19/52

Ollie  //  Recently, Ollie and I have butting heads.  A lot.  We have been so close to falling out so much recently and it’s really hurt our hearts.  I love that boy to PIECES and I know his strong will and independent mind are really good traits for him to have…. but his constant questioning and challenging me on everything I say is really hard.  When we aren’t having a run in, he is the sweetest and most sensitive little boy that I’ve ever known.  He brings me home cards from school covered in hearts, he tells me he loves me infinity hearts… and we always tell each other that we are BFFs.  On Saturday night, he and I went to Starbucks for a hot chocolate date.  It was so needed and so worthwhile just to have one on one time.  He chose a hat and a tie to wear with his shirt… and when we got our hot chocolate and cake he insisted I sit beside him, not in front of him.  I LOVED our date and in that small hour I learned so much.

Nate  //  Both my boys have been blessed with imaginations beyond our wildest dreams.  They don’t even need toys.  They can play with ANYTHING and the stories they tell could fill a whole series of books.  Nate has recently started to copy the things that Ollie does and that now includes a fascination with toy swords and wearing sunglasses wherever he goes.  He is obsessed with ALL things superhero…. Spiderman, Batman, Hulk… he knows all of the names. He is so full of beans and is on the move from the moment he wakes until the moment he falls asleep and finds it hard to sit in one place for more than ten minutes.  Even when I asked him to sit still so I could take a photo of him in his Batman onesie… he was still rolling around the floor and I got a couple of photos quickly when he sat back up.  There is no boredom in this house haha!

Linking up to I Heart Snapping and Ordinary Moments

The Training Wheels Are Off!

A huge milestone has been reached in our home… Ollie has learned to ride his bike without stabilisers.  This was the second attempt at having him try without his training wheels, but this time he decided to do it himself after seeing a friend ride on just two wheels.  He became adamant that he wanted to learn before he turned 6 (in just a few weeks!).  His previous attempt didn’t go well, I think the whole balance thing just has to click.  This time it clicked!!

He went out with James on the Saturday and in less than an hour he was home telling me he could do it!!!  He was still a little wobbly because he was finding the ‘push off’ a little hard to master but by Easter Monday he was riding like a pro.  He brought his bike with him to the church BBQ and he LOVED showing off.  Everyone made a huge deal about how brilliant he was to ride without his stabilisers and he soaked up every ounce of the attention.  It really built his confidence.

Now, his bike…. it’s pretty annoying because it has a police siren on it.  When we bought the bike we had no idea quite how loud it would be and I am dreaming of the day that the batteries run out.