Showing posts with label family of six. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family of six. Show all posts

Monday, 20 November 2017

I Think We Are Done

It felt like this day would never come, and in some ways I think I will always be broody.  As I see women walk past me, their prominent bumps ahead of them I feel excited for them, a little envious that they are at the beginning of this journey, they still have all the best bits to come.  I cuddle a newborn, and sniff that beautifully milky scent on the top of their head, hold them with their head resting in the palm of my hand, feel the weight of them curled up on my chest, and I feel desperate to hold my own baby in that way again.

But it isn't a new baby I want anymore.  It is the babies I already have.  I would love to go back in time just for a little bit, to savour those final moments of pregnancy, knowing how everything is about to change.  I would love to hold my newborn sons and daughter again, to take in all the small details that I may have missed the first time.  To feel the warmth of them, to watch their tiny fingers curl around mine.

I would love to be back in that new baby bubble, where nothing else matters, where you lose hours a day just watching them sleep. 

But I don't want to give up what we have now.  As Cora started taking steps, using her voice and becoming more independent, we are moving on to a new stage.  The end of nappies and buggies, slings and cribs is in sight, even if still a long way off, and new adventures will soon be possible. I want to visit new countries, watch our children enjoy and explore them without the limits of a baby.  I want to go on days out, visit theme parks without a pushchair in tow and I want to watch my children develop their sibling relationships just as they are.


Four is busy and loud but it isn't too busy or too loud.  We fit in our car and in our house, we can remember each child's name (although we may have to say the other three first). They always have a playmate or a partner in crime and it feels just right for us.  As much as I would love to do it all again in some ways, I don't want any more children, I think four is our number.

I am going to try and enjoy these final months of having toddlers in the house, celebrate those lasts because I have so many memories of the firsts, and the seconds and the middle ones too.  I know we have new adventures ahead of us and I can't wait to see what they are.


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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Me and Mine in September

September is coming to an end and it definitely feels like Autumn. Dylan is back at school and Archie is ready to start full time on Monday.  My boots have come out of hibernation (although my sandals are not yet packed away) and I have a blanket on the sofa for when my feet get chilly in the evenings.

I don't feel ready to say goodbye to summer yet but the beautiful reds and browns that are covering our walkways are forcing me to embrace everything that comes with October.  September seemed to pass so quickly, too quickly for us to manage a family picture but there is nothing like last minute and we asked Ed's brother to take one whilst we were at my niece's soft play party this morning to make sure we get one taken! The photos are far from perfect, but then so are we.


This month Mummy is loving buying Autumn clothes for the children, doing my daily steps by lunch time thanks to all the extra school runs, getting into our new routine now that we are back to school and the rich colours in the park.

Daddy is loving his new desks, settling in to the house more, listening to Archie's singing and watching Black Mirror.

Dylan is loving being in year two, seeing his brother in the playground at lunchtime, playing 'pets' with Archie (they pretend all their cuddly toys are their pets) and planning Halloween.


Archie is loving starting school, collecting Autumn things from the park,  his taster school lunch session last week and snuggling under blankets on the sofa.

Finn is loving his two afternoons a week at nursery, wearing a backpack, watching Dinotrux and playing outside in the rain.

Cora is loving shoes (wearing them, carrying them, rearranging them), playing with her wooden bobbins, walking in the park and having naps in her own bed.


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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Butlins for a Bigger Family

We spent the Halloween weekend down at Butlins Bognor Regis and I was really impressed at how well they catered for bigger than average families like mine.  Having four children means we are often too big for one room and many holiday companies seem to be geared up to two child families.  We stayed in the Wave Hotel as they have interconnecting rooms and it meant we had a brilliant space to sleep and relax.  Each room has two bedrooms, a master bedroom with a living area and balcony and then a kids room with bunk beds.  We therefore had four bedrooms between us which was perfect and would accomodate families much bigger than ours.


I loved the size of the room - the kids room is compact but with plenty of storage and bunk beds.  The boys loved that they had a light each and a TV each at the foot of their beds.  The wall was full of shelves for storage and the underwater theme was really fun.


The master bedroom was light and spacious and easily fit a travel cot in for Finn.  There was lots of floor space and we brought toys with us like Cora's playmat to keep her occupied.  Each room has a balcony too which had a table and a couple of chairs on.  It wasn't quite the weather for sitting outside but we did use the balcony for drying swimwear and people watching.  


Each room can sleep up to 5 (with one in a cot) so families of six or more need to book adjoining rooms.


We had the hotel dining package which meant we ate our breakfast and dinner at the Deck restaraunt each day.  It was absolutely brilliant and there was never trouble seating us.  Many tables were designed for bigger families and there were always plenty of high chairs as well as space for the buggy when we needed it.  The buffet style was ideal as we could all eat whatever we fancied and there was no keeping toddlers entertained whilst we waited for food.  There was plenty to suit little ones with a low down serving area full of kids favourites like fish fingers and peas as well as Ella's Kitchen pouches.   Dylan preferred the adult food though and that was no problem at all.


The indoor kids rides were suitable for children under 1.5 metres and adults are not allowed to accompany the children.  Finn on his own would never have ridden on one, but with his brothers he loved it and there is no minimum age.  Lots of them were set up in fours which was great for families like mine.  


Although my children are all still young, they already have different needs and there was so much for each of them to do.  The soft play area had one side for more independent children and then another side for younger ones.  There was also a playtime area with one half specifically set up for the youngest guests with soft shapes, walkers and toys and then the other half had arts and crafts, animals and other toys for older toddlers and young children.  Everything seemed so well thought out and there was nothing there that seemed harder for a larger family.


I am not sure what the official ratios are for Splash Waterworld, but we were able to take all four children in together quite happily and the design of the pool with so much shallow water made it safe and easy to watch all four.

I would really recommend Butlins for a break with a larger family.  There is so much for everyone and it is all so well designed that there is never an issue.  Everywhere is pushchair friendly and despite it being busy there always seems to be enough space.  We definitely intend to take our four little ones back. 


If they could make the giant deckchairs just a little bit bigger though, that would be great!


We are working with Butlins and our visit this weekend was in exchange for a review.  
All thoughts and opinions are completely my own. 




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Friday, 30 September 2016

Me and Mine September

It has been such a warm September that the shorts and summer dresses haven't quite been packed away yet.  We have spent more time at the beach than I imagined and less time splashing in puddles.  It has been a month of adapting again after a wonderful summer and we are slowly falling back into a routine - even if the morning bit isn't coming back so naturally.  

I can't find the remote for my camera and trying to get six people in a photo is challenging, especially when you are relying on one adult to keep them all still whilst I run back and forth trying to set the timer!  Archie thought it was great fun to stay still and then run off as soon as I pressed the button.  We managed one where nobody is actually crying and we are all pretty much in focus so we are putting it down as a success.


This month Mama is loving Instagram stories, that she doesn't have to pack away her sandals just yet, quieter days with just the two babies and getting a bit more sleep (thanks Cora!)

Daddy is loving having more time with the children, Pizza date night, playing computer games with the boys and Magnum ice creams.

Dylan is loving starting swimming lessons, being in red class, playing Pokemon and after school playdates

Archie is loving preschool, drinking cups of tea, the number 45 and playing on the tab.

Finn is loving Malted Milk biscuits as we start the milk ladder, playing ball with dogs in the park, having Aunty NatNat around again and dancing

Cora is loving swimming on a Wednesday, going into some of her next size clothing, Mama milk and tickles around her neck.



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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Holidaying with Four Children

We have recently returned from our first holiday with four children and we had a wonderful time.  I never expected to write this post feeling rested and refreshed but actually our short break was exactly what we all needed and I have come home with happy memories and significantly less stressed!  

We decided for our first trip with four aged five and under that we would stay in the UK and we picked a caravan park down in Sussex for a Monday to Friday break.  Being a family of six, caravans become one of the easiest places to stay as we can all fit in one unit, we have the space to eat our own meals and spend some down time and we can put the children to bed and still stay up together as a couple.

I chose Combe Haven site for many reasons, the location, the facilities and the fact it had a couple of clubs that worked for both the big boys ages.  I will be writing more about that soon though.  The boys love caravans and so they were really excited when we revealed where we were off to and they loved the lifestyle of a caravan park - having the doors open so they could come in and out, scooting around with new friends, eating bbq's outside and having all the ammenities within walking distance.


One of the best ways we found to enjoy holidaying with four small children was just to relax.  Usually I like to plan all sorts into our days so that we make the most of our time away, but we took it slower this time and followed their lead more and it made everyone a bit more relaxed.  We made the most of everything we had paid for already - the holiday clubs, the swimming pools and parks and the big open spaces that come with being on  a caravan site.

It was Cora's first holiday and being only 2 months old it is rather hard to say whether she enjoyed it or not.  Her brothers loved having her around though and asked for cuddles even more than usual.  In the absense of play mats and toys we put her down on a duvet on the floor or in her carrycot and they enjoyed having her as part of their play.  She had her first experience swimming and she was relaxed and content in the water and she slept really well in the caravan so we are considering it a good holiday for her too!



So after 5 days experience, I thought I would share my top tips for travelling with lots of little people.

1) Don't plan too much into your days.  Some days the boys just wanted to explore where we were, or they needed a lie in, or they just wanted to spend some time together without really doing much.  We went out and did something every day, but keeping it simple kept everyone happier.



2) Choose your accommodation wisely.  We went for the three bedroom above the two even though both would fit us all in and we upgraded to the prestige caravan too as I wanted us to be comfortable and to have space to spread out.  Obviously if you are planning to be out all day every day then it isn't so important but if you are just after a change of scenery and are planning on making the most of where you are then it is worth going for the best you can stretch to.

3)You don't have to go far to get away.  We ended up chosing somewhere that was less than a two hour drive from our home.  It meant that we didn't have to worry about a long car journey with a newborn but it felt far enough from home to be novel and we enjoyed exploring somewhere none of us had been before.  The boys would have happily had a holiday in the same town we live in, as they were just excited to have our undivided attention and a new home for the week.


4) Let the children pack their own bag.  Ours took a trunki and although I found the contents rather random (apparently they needed one pretend egg with them), they loved the build up excitement of packing and the toys all got played with (even the egg).  I added in some extra Lego Duplo which was a great idea as all three boys could play with it when they wanted some time inside.

5) Matching clothes are actually really useful for keeping an eye on them all and to help locate any children that have a tendency to wander off (Archie).  I can't resist a bit of matching anyway but I feel like I have a real excuse when we are on holiday! I pack one outfit for each of them into a fabric bag before we go so that each morning I just grab a different bag and know that I have everything I need to get all four ready for the day.



6) Whilst you have come away to enjoy family time, divide and conquer is still a great motto.  With four it isn't easy to give any of them one on one time, but there were evenings when one of us would stay at home with the babies whilst the other took the bigger boys to the arcade so that they could have different experiences. 

7) Staggered bedtimes can work really well.  Ours normally go to bed at the same time at home, but the small caravan bedrooms meant it was easier to put them to bed one at a time as they were not going to go to bed nicely if they went together.  It worked out quite well as they all had a little one on one time whilst one of us read them a story and tucked them in.  Each night the order changed depending on who seemed the most tired.


8) Try and pick one thing each to fit into your holiday.  You can't please everyone all the time, but everyone getting an input makes it a holiday for all.  Dylan was desperate to go to the arcades, Finn wanted  to swim and Archie loved the park.  Ed wanted to have a bbq together outside and I wanted to have a little time to sit outside and just read my book (Cora was too young to express her wishes but she loved having her naps in the pram outside during the day)

9) Time things right and make use of nap times to do things with the older children.   We went swimming a couple of times and never had to take all four in the water as there was always one asleep.  We were allowed to take the buggy on the side of the pool which made it so much easier and meant that the child to adult ratio was more favourable!

10) Relax and enjoy it.  It will never be as easy or relaxing as holidaying with one or two, but watching them explore and bond and enjoy themselves is amazing and having four children is no reason not to go away.  







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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Me and Mine June

Well June has been exciting, the newest member of our tribe arrived this week and I am now the mama to a beautiful baby girl as well as my trio of boys.  She was born on the 27th meaning that our Me and Mine photos for this month are incredibly last minute as we were waiting to see if she came early like her brothers and then being caught in the newborn bubble meant that we left our photos until tonight which was a complete and utter disaster.  Nobody wanted to take them, especially not Finn and the light was starting to go.  I managed two photos before they refused to sit on the bed so this is what you get.  We made it into a picture though, we recorded our family this month and that is what matters.


Mama is loving having a baby girl, breastfeeding again after so long, that she got her homebirth and being able to lie flat on my back again.

Daddy is loving time off work, his new 7 seater car, squishy newborn cuddles and watching the Euros.

Dylan is loving having a little sister, learning about Pirates at school, meeting his new teacher ahead of year one and helping Finn learn to walk

Archie is loving showing everyone his new baby, stroking baby girl's hair, singing his numbers very loudly and team Umizoomi

Finn is loving climbing on everything, taking selfies on his toy phone and saying Cheeeeeese, learning the actions to his favourite songs (wind the bobbin up) and strawberries.

Baby girl is loving cuddles, milk, more cuddles and more milk


Next month hopefully we can get some nice shots of the six of us, or indeed in focus would be an improvement, but this seems to sum up the first three days of life with four under five.
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