Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween

We got back from Blackpool just in time to carve our pumpkins…..

…and I managed to get both of them to let me pick the design!!!!!  I had seen a cool idea on the internet and really wanted to try it!

Once I told them what it was they were both very keen!!  I drew the design on for them and they cut them out.  Noah’s is on the left and Caitlin’s on the right!  (Austin was asleep!!)

Noah had also asked to go trick or treating so I said I would take them.  I still feel funny about trick or treating….I have no objections to people calling to us I just feel weird knocking on strangers doors.  We always put a pumpkin out to show we are happy for people to call so we called at all the houses near to us that had a pumpkin or decorations up.

The kids had a great time, although Noah was funny…he was giving his sweets out to everyone he met, especially the adults who didn’t have their own sweets!  He has also shared his sweets with everyone each time I have said he can have some.

I think we will be eating sweets for weeks to come!!!!!!!

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Blackpool Illuminations

Back in July Gemma spotted an offer for cheap travelodge rooms so we each booked one for during the lights.  We parked the cars and headed down to the Pleasure Beach where we waited for the dancing fountain show.  The kids had a great time running in and out of the jets, but we’d told them not to get wet as we had no spare clothes and were intending to stay out until the lights got switched on…..

…of course Noah got his timing wrong and ended up getting quite wet….so we put him in here….

It is a big people dryer that blows warm air at you!!  The others managed to stay pretty much dry….

…we tried out the maze but it wasn’t very pram friendly and we never did make it to the middle, but they enjoyed it.

We also saw a magic show and went on a train ride with apparently scary tunnels!!!!

and had some chips that were served in a little bucket with a spade!!  I liked those!  And candyfloss….

…and the kids went on a ride…

…and we just missed the actual switch on, but I don’t think the kids noticed.  We got back on the tram and went to the very end of the lights where I discovered that even though I go to the lights every year I have always missed the best bit!!!!!!!  I just thought the lights were the overhead ones like these…

…but Gemma showed us the start of the lights where there are massive displays on the side of the road like this…..

We had a chippy tea by the big lights…you have to have chippy tea in Blackpool!!  Got back on the tram and went back to check into our rooms.  We just about managed a few drinks in the bar before everyone was too tired and we went to bed.

The next day we went to Stanley Park which was great.  There is a massive playground which in the summer must be amazing…but probably very packed!!

…then it was off for lunch before heading home.  It was a fantastic weekend, think we might stay over for the lights again, and definitely go to the start of the lights!!!!

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Dinosaurs and Amy’s birthday

We all went over to Liverpool for Amy’s birthday and we went along to the dinosaur exhibition at the museum.

It was quite a short exhibition but the models were really good….Noah loved them

 

 

 

 

There was also a computer where you could create your own scrapbook of the exhibition which we can access at home…

Austin was very unsure of the big model so Nanny took him through while Noah had a proper look.  Caitlin seemed to have got used to them by now and also stopped to look.

 

After the dinosaurs we went back to Nanny’s to give Amy her presents and cards.  Caitlin had drawn a split screen camper on her card, not really sure why she pictures a camper as being a splitty since we have a bay, but split screens are the coolest and her picture totally from memory was ace!!  It even had a spare wheel on the front…”because some do” she said!!

 

 

 

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Cinema and Christmas lights

It was the switch on of the Christmas lights in the Trafford Centre and last year they had real reindeer so I thought it might be good, then a friend asked of we fancied the kids cinema there so I thought we could do both.  We turned up over an hour before the cinema was due to start and it was already fully booked so we had to go and see a full price film.  We picked the lion king….

I realised I need to be more careful which film I pick in the future…Caitlin was inconsolable when the dad lion died!!!!!  We had our packed lunch in the cinema and then afterwards we had a wander around the shops while we waited for the lights switch on.  I saw this shop sign and thought it would make a cool picture…I took one with all three of them in but it didn’t save (I had my old camera and it does that sometimes)

We also had a look at the nativity…

I had noticed that it was really busy and I then discovered that it was Steps who were switching the lights on (I would have prefered real reindeer!!!) and apparently people had been camped out since 8am!  Having tea was a bit tricky as everyone was saving their place in the food court ready to see Steps!

We kind of got to see them…..

…then they switched the lights on which was a real let down as the Trafford Centre was all lit up and there weren’t that many lights so it wasn’t that obvious when it happened!!

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Ponderosa rural retreat

We got a discounted ticket to the Ponderosa rural retreat along with a couple of friends so we all arranged to go over half term.  We bought some animal feed but they weren’t very keen on feeding the animals….

We went around to the indoor area which was very very smelly!!!!!

I can’t remember which animals were at the beginning but they had just been cleaned out and so were marking their territory which was very potent and very disgusting!!  We moved quickly out of there and into the pet section where Noah and Austin both held rabbits….

In the next section were the reptiles which were out of their tanks….

It’s funny, these are the only animals Caitlin isn’t scared of.  She refused to go near the rabbits but was happy to stroke the snake and would have held it if she got the chance.  She must remember Tye, my snake….

We then went to go on the pony rides but we were a bit too late so we had lunch and played in the beach area.

Then the ponies had finished their break and they all got a ride.

Caitlin surprised me by going on the biggest pony without even a second thought…seems she was happy to ride it but not feed them!

Even Austin got a turn on a little pony which he loved!!

By the end of the day Noah and Austin were happy to feed the animals, but Caitlin still wasn’t sure.

Our ticket included a little ice cream so we had that before going home….

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MOSI

Today was the first proper day of half term and I was looking after Caitlin’s friend so we went to the museum of science and industry.  It’s ages since we’ve been there, with school it’s really hard to go.  I don’t like taking Austin because I always worry I won’t make it back in time for school pick up!  They had loads going on for the holidays, in the engine room there was wax crayon painting…where they drew a picture with a crayon then made it stand out with paint on the top…

..they all loved that and we left our paintings to dry while we looked around the rest of the museum.  There was more colouring in the polymers in sport exhibition which the girls loved.  Austin spent all his time there playing golf with a plastic golf club, and Noah watched them press car bodies out of recycled plastic sheets!!

We ate lunch by the side of the steam train ride which they all loved watching…

…and so we went on….

There was just about enough time to go to Xperiment and lift the mini, I love that bit!

We then had to rush to catch our train and in the process forgot to collect the paintings…there were a few tears from Caitlin but apart from that little blip it was a great day….

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Camping in Alfie!!

Just in time Richard got Alfie back together…well together enough to set off!!!  We were a bit late and so the people we were meeting all went on ahead.  So we packed Alfie and all got in….I got about 50 metres away and it was completely impossible to get into gear so I stopped and got out!!  Richard thought I was exaggerating and so had a go.  We’d get going then as we tried to change into 2nd gear it was nowhere to be found, we’d lose momentum and gain a queue of traffic behind us and come to a stop…with some beeping and bad looks!!!  Richard limped (with a lot of gear crunching) about 3 or 4 miles away and again came to a complete stop….next thing we knew a car pulled up just in front of us and someone got out.  Turned out they had seen us having trouble and had turned around to come and help us as they have a bay camper same year as Alfie!  While he was asking if he could be of any help Richard was messing with the clutch pedal and it suddenly popped back into the right place and all looked much improved!  The friendly campervan man followed us for a while but since everything seemed much better we waved him off and he turned back to his original destination and left us to it, and so we were finally on our way……. 

Finally we arrived at the show…busfreeze…and had a much deserved drink!  We went to the show with 2 sets of friends and their kids.  One of them had brought a caravan (Betty) so we made a little square out of all the vehicles!!

 

The kids had a fantastic time watching films on Dave’s tele in his blue van (which you can’t see on the picture above) – his is a really modern VW camper….which me and Cath really didn’t “get”…it just looks like a transit van with a bed in to us!!  We then hung our curtains..which caused many laughs at us doing that in the dark and so close to actually needing them!  Noah then asked to go to bed, so we posted him onto the parcel shelf in 2 sets of pj’s and with a hot water bottle and a duvet!  Soon after Caitlin asked to go to bed too…..

You can just see Noah peeping out at the back of the van from under the pile of duvet!!  Caitlin has got the school bear…Barnaby…for half term so he had come too!!  I totally forgot to take a photo of all of us crammed into Alfie which is a shame since all 5 of us somehow managed to sleep in just one (almost) double bed!!!!!  I was convinced since it was the end of October we would be freezing but it turned out that the weather was amazingly good to us and so with all the layers we’d all put on, we were boiling!!  Noah kept flinging his duvet onto Caitlin who in turn kept plonking her legs on top of mine and Austin’s heads!!!  Austin also managed to take up almost half of the width of the bed leaving me and Richard with the other half between us both!!!!!!!  We didn’t get a great nights sleep but it was a lot better than we expected!  We now have many plans for improvements for next time!!!

We were first up out of our group, although not as early as we had feared!!!  The kids were full of beans and ran around singing harvest festival songs while Cath very kindly cooked our breakfast as we hadn’t quite got the cooker back in!!!!

Since we hadn’t really had proper tea the bacon butties went down very very well!!!!!

In fact the bacon butties were the only proper food we had all weekend…there was a ridiculous amount of junk food, everyone kept coming over and giving more biscuits, chocolate puddings, rocky road..etc etc… Noah was in his element!!!!!!

Once we were done getting ready we headed over to the show where they all picked out their favourite vans…. Austins….

…Caitlin’s….very shiny of course!!!

…and Noah’s…complete with sirens…obviously!!!

After checking out lots of other vans I decided I didn’t like the curtains I’d made!!!  So I am planning to make them again, slightly differently (on tracks rather than wires) and in the lime green fabric that was my first choice originally!!  It was then time for a few more photo’s before home time….

….and Alfie with Eddie (with our kids and my Godson in front of them!!)

..I think H was tired and ready for home!!!!  So we set off for home all very tired, but thinking our first proper outing was a pretty good success!!  Now we just need to do the seats and covers properly and also fit the hammocks so that it’s not all 5 of us in the one bed!!!!!!!!!!

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The trial…

Well….Caitlin went for her trial.  I thought she was trying out for the gymnastics school, as in just jumping the queue for lessons with a view to progressing onto the competition team.  Turns out she was actually trying out to join the competitive squad!!  Given she has never done gymnastics before this term it’s no surprise she didn’t get in.  But it wasn’t an outright no.  The woman assessing her was amazed she’d only had 7 school based lessons and did seem impressed with what she could do, but said she was very young and too “raw”.  She has given her some targets to work towards and has asked to see her again in a few months.  She also spoke to Mark, the school coach, and gave him some things to get Caitlin working on.  So not a yes but still very positive and she seems keen on practising her exercisies….so we shall see!!  To be fair when we watched the girls in the team, they were all quite a bit bigger than Caitlin and all amazing!!  They were so bendy and back flipping all over the place!!!

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A very pleasant surprise!!

Today I went to collect Caitlin from her after school club.  On Wednesday’s she does gymnastics…  Today when I arrived she said she had a stomach ache so I told her to get changed and we’d go home and see how she felt.  I noticed she had a certificate and she had been awarded level 7 gymnastics, so I made her think about that and how good it was.  As I was waiting for her to finish getting changed Mark the coach came over and asked if I was Caitlin’s mum.  I said yes assuming he was about to tell me she wasn’t feeling well…  He told me he has been watching Caitlin since week one of gymnastics and has noticed she has a real talent.  I was completely amazed and very pleased!  I knew she was really enjoying gymnastics but had no idea she was good at it.  He then asked how I would feel about her trying out for the south Manchester competitive squad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Funnily I had called that gymnastics club last year to ask about her joining as she has said she wanted to do gymnastics for ages.  I was told there were no places and the waiting list is so long it is closed…I explained this to Mark and he said yes they have closed their waiting lists but they always look out for talent at the school clubs they coach at, and since she looks good she would skip the list and get a place!!!  She loves going so I’ve agreed to a trial with the competitive team and we’ll see how she gets on!  I am so proud (and still a bit amazed!!) hopefully she’ll enjoy it there as much as she does at the school club.

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Parents evening for Caitlin

This evening was parents evening for Caitlin….and it was fantastic.  In the past they have always been very complimentary but also a bit vague as to where she is up to.  Her new teacher was much more informative.  She said Caitlin is extremely well-behaved and always gives 100%.  She said Caitlin often stays at the table completing her work way after all the others have given up and moved on, she really does try her hardest.  She said her handwriting is fantastic and her drawings are way beyond what she would expect for her age.  (I really must post some of her pictures, they are really good and very detailed.)  Her writing ( as in word-formation and sentence structure rather than letter formation) is also great.  Her reading is what she would expect and she is good at maths although she is lacking confidence in maths and doesn’t believe she is capable of it.  Her target is to build on her confidence in maths and to continue to improve on her handwriting.

So a fantastic report, we were very pleased!!  Noah doesn’t get another parents evening until later in the year so we were all done after speaking to Caitlin’s teacher.

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