This is perhaps the first time that the summer holidays have been a big thing for our family, as in previous years it hasn’t made much difference except for everywhere being busier! At the beginning six weeks seemed like such a long time, but the days soon began to slip away from us. This is what we’ve been up to, to the best of my recollection (which isn’t great as I sometimes struggle to remember what we did yesterday!).
We’ve had lots of playdates and days out with cousins, friends and neighbours.
Getting a decent photo of three children is hard enough…
… so eight cousins is almost impossible!
Colin has taken all three children on some lovely days out to beaches and museums, which gave me some much-needed time to catch up on housework and work on decluttering. I did a thorough declutter before Esther was born, but somehow stuff has a way of accumulating again. Minimalism is very appealing to me but I’m not sure we’ll ever really get there.
The children and I also had some lovely days out with my mum, whilst Colin did a week’s work for my brother who is renovating a property. Colin has always been good at working with his hands, so he enjoyed doing some physical work for a change until he fell through a ceiling on his last day! He has also been quite busy preparing lessons for next year. As well as his existing role, he will also be teaching two or possibly three subjects from September, so he’ll have a lot more work to do outside of school hours.
Esther just keeps growing and growing! Her favourite things right now are babies and cars. Her newest signs are again, baby, book, clean, dirty, more and swimming, and she says so many words now that I’ve lost count. She sings along to a few songs and does the actions for “twinkle twinkle little star” and “incy wincy spider”.
She loves to point at and name body parts. So far she knows eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, ears, head, hair, hands, elbow, tummy, bottom, legs, feet and toes.
Over the last few days she has started to run properly. She likes to jump on beds, sofas and trampolines, and tries really hard to jump on the ground. Although both her communication and physical skills are pretty good, she doesn’t have much of an attention span yet and doesn’t tend to stick with an activity for very long (unless you count going on the slide again and again and again!).
The guinea pigs have grown so much since we first had them. They squeak excitedly and come running to the hutch doors as soon as we open the balcony door. We do have a ramp but they have learned to jump in and out of their hutch, and they love scampering around on the balcony. They climb on our laps and are happy to be stroked, but they hate being picked up. Pepper has a habit of nibbling on absolutely everything, so we have to be a bit careful with fingers and toes! Patches used to be more timid than Pepper but is getting much bolder.
Aaron and Tabitha had a week-long course of swimming lessons and made lots of progress. One morning they had one-to-one lessons with some newly trained instructors, and then got a free diving lesson in the deep end afterwards! Aaron’s front crawl is coming along really well and he has begun to learn breaststroke. Tabitha’s best stroke is backstroke but she is gradually getting the hang of front crawl. They both seem to spend most of their time under the water, which is quite amazing for children who used to make a fuss if they got a single drop on their faces! We took them out for brunch at an American diner after their last swimming lesson.
Tabitha was very excited to do the butterfly kit from Insect Lore again this year. The caterpillars were tiny when they first arrived but grew so quickly that you could see a difference within hours! They took their time to pupate but all five successfully emerged as butterflies. We released them in Auntie Jennifer’s garden and, unlike last year when they stuck around for a while, all but one flew off straight away.
We took my parents down to Trago Mills for the day and went on some of the rides for the first time. The menfolk enjoyed the go-karts but the children not so much; poor Tabitha looked terrified and rather green! We also explored the shop and garden areas.
I applied for and was offered a university place to do the final year of my Childhood Studies degree, starting in September. However, after consideration I have deferred it until next year, as I will then be eligible for some funding. The extra money will allow me to do something like hire a cleaner, so that the children get the best of my attention rather than me trying to spread myself too thinly. I was looking forward to studying again but it makes more sense to wait.