I think this may have been the longest break between blog posts ever... except maybe when I was feeling awful early on in Master R's pregnancy.
What a summer we have had! I honestly think it's the longest, summeriest summer of my adult life. Partly, I think, because we went to Ibiza in May, so the sunshine and warmth seems to have lasted forever. Partly, of course, that because today, the 16th September, is the first cold-windy-and-rainy-day we've had for some time. It looks like Autumn might FINALLY be planning to make an appearance.
We've had so many wonderful adventures during this long, long summer. Lots of them have been simple, garden based adventures. Cornflour, for example. That was a great afternoon of goo and fun. Actually, it turned into a whole week of cornflour, because I kept leaving the cornflour outside to dry, but we had a few showers that week, so it kept going gooey again, so I had to wait AGAIN for it to dry and become sweepable.
Make your own beach afternoons, using the tuff tray, sandpit sand and shells collected during our real beach days.
Random fill-a-jug-with-pebbles fun that you have to be under 5 to understand.
Dinosaur land, which I put up some warm evening for Master R and Miss O to discover in the morning. There were tyrannosaurs on the pebble patch and herbivores grazing in the heather garden. There was even a tractor load of penguins trundling down the rubber/bark path. That ended up staying up for a week too, and much fun was had, with dinosaurs chasing one another, climbing mountains, making friends, traversing the bridge etc. I have relished having a garden that we can get more creative in.
A little frog moved into the dinosaur tuff tray, actually. And yesterday, when we were watering, we discovered he is still living in the garden. I'm tempted now to turn our old ceramic kitchen sink into a miniature wildlife pond instead of a fairy garden. Just weighing up the pros and cons of pulling Miss O out of the pond multiple times each day!
We were eating cherries in the hobbit hole one day (Ok, I was. My children and soft fruit... kind of a waste of money and effort!) when Little R asked what the pips were. We talked about how they were seeds which could eventually grow into an entire cherry tree. Little R asked if we could plant them, so we washed them, dried them in the sun and planted them in a pot on the patio. We'll see if they germinate in the spring.
I've been working, in fits and starts, on dismantling the first of four pallets. Turns out those things are REALLY well put together. Miss O adored the pallet and decided it was her own personal bench/bed/horse to play on, in and through. Many a happy hour pootling about. Naked, obviously. Who needs clothes on a day so hot?!
The rubber/bark path makes an instant digger world. Just add vehicles! (Then spend the evening trying to smooth out the rubber which is heaped up randomly.)
Painting has happened too, and not just the lazy here's-a-paintbrush-and-some-water-go-mad-and-paint-the-patio brand. Real painting with paint!
Standard. Boy child with self-painted toenails. Not bad for his first attempt!
There has been the odd wet-weather day. Maybe a couple of weeks in total. But it's been the warm kind of wet, so we've enjoyed plenty of wet adventures. On this one, Miss O was wearing her ONLY pair of shoes. Felt a bit guilty looking at her, soaked through to the skin, while Master R was snug and dry in waterproof trousers and wellies. Well, he was, until he weed in them.
Note to self though; children wearing plastic waterproof trousers will travel down wet slides at considerably increased velocity! Even with my friend holding his hand he zoomed down and smacked his face on my knee! Whoops! Miss O, meanwhile, did not succumb to pneumonia. I was in flip flops and shorts. It was August. Pah.
We searched for the Gruffalo, and found mouse holes, rabbit warrens, owl roosts and very tall trees.
At West Stow, we counted THIRTY-SIX slugs in one area, which was fascinating. And Miss O demonstrated her intelligence and wicked streak when she decided that her big brothers hood was the perfect place to wipe her dirty hand. Genius child. At least he had his hood up - I think she'd have used his hair if not!
I just love outdoor adventures with my two. Gamboling about talking about leaf shapes, weeds, how plants self seed, why butterflies eat nectar, where rabbits might live and what that imaginary monster looks like. We've done plenty of that this summer.
And at least once a week we've made it to one beach or other. We have ADORED our beach days.
Just look at that sky, and the perfect sea beneath. This was our day with Chris in Aldeburgh. A perfect combination of windswept picnic, pebble gathering, ice-creams and...
... our first experience of model boating! They both loved it.
We've jumped in waves, bobbed in a giant inflatable boat, swum and built many a pebbly sandcastle.
We discovered a glorious hidden beach along the River Orwell and climbed trees. I had a wonderfully bruising (both to my ego and my buttocks) You've Been Framed moment attempting (and failing, obviously) to swing on a branch swing which was clearly designed for more nimble people than I POORLY CONSTRUCTED.
Miss O and I conducted some beach yoga (she did have her leg up too, the moment before Mum snapped this photo). Ahh, beach goodness. My beach cup runneth over. Unfortunately my photos runneth over not because Mum took most on her camera, and although I have a beautiful album of memories on paper, I do not have the digital files yet.
We've had other outdoor adventures too. We've been gymnasts:
And wildlife spotters:
Including some REALLY wild-life!
All three of them enjoyed the 3D maze at Thrigby, during our stay up in Norfolk:
And we've been farmers too, harvesting a bountiful crop of plums.
We've made plum ice lollies, plum crumble and we still have more stewed plum in the freezer for later.
Not everyone enjoyed the flavour fresh from the tree!
We've also been blackberry picking and we've been harvesting and eating lots of courgettes from the garden, where they have grown to gargantuan size. Happily, my children both like stuffed courgette if I use plenty of curry spices. "Curry courgette!" Little R calls it!
I haven't even included photos from our trip to the Dinosaur Adventure Park, or the BBQs we've enjoyed. There have been playdates, bouncy castles, library visits (Master R completed the Big Friendly Reading Challenge and received a certificate and medal), trips to the park and lots of paddling pool splashing too.
It's been an immense summer. Last night we enjoyed our probably-last outdoor dinner and now the rain is pouring down on my parched garden and we're trundling merrily into Autumn. Master R has begun his nursery school life and getting into the routine of gymnastics and ballet, Miss O is enjoying some time alone with me while he's away and we're contemplating getting a rabbit or two in the nearish future, since it's been a year since Honey passed away, and Auntie Kirsty's rabbit is SOOO cute and made them both so happy.
Life is good.
P.S. Life is particularly good now I'm on anti-depressants to combat my insomnia which had become HORRENDOUS. Not only do I now sleep, I'm in a much better mood every day!
P.P.S. More on further garden developments and some exciting superhero costume sewing later. Hopefully.