Sunday, 5 May 2013
At last, a day when it was plausible for us to go to the sailing club! I spent the morning, in rather gusty conditions, demonstrating to a novice crew how to convincingly lose two races.
Nathaniel and Dorothea kept themselves busy outside the "club-shed" (named by Nathaniel).
In the afternoon, Ian took out said novice while I spent some time with a clingy baby, and Nathaniel and I took a walk onto the bridge. The wind had calmed down dramatically, and as we watched Sea Willow glide (maybe drift) under the bridge, there was a call; "Does Nathaniel want to crew for the next race?".
I have never seen a little boy scoot so fast. In fact I had no idea he knew how to do it (He's always been a bike rather than scooter child)! In three minutes, he was back in the compound, putting on his life jacket and racing down to the jetty. Steve ditched his rather heavier crew, and the two of them went to on beat everyone in the last race of the day.
You've got to admire him - Steve kept Nathaniel interested during the whole race (something about puddings was much talked about - I don't get it!), and managed to stay sane (in fact he muttered something about being a motorcycle for long periods of time as a child), while Nathaniel made motorboat noises for almost a whole lap!
Saturday, 4 May 2013
In honour of Finn's second birthday party, Thea put on her pretty dress and got ready to go out.
Finn's present almost made it out of the door still in its fancy bag, but it was very tempting to get it out and explore.
The highlights of the party for Thea were the little slide in the garden, LOTS of cake, grapes and playing with bubbles with Paddy (who was inspired by Thea to dress up!).
NB No comments about ironing please!
Thursday, 2 May 2013
At last! Winter is over. (I refuse to say anything more positive for fear of jinxing it!) The day started with Dorothea spending much time spooning poms poms into her South African bowls. This was intensely interesting.
Cheetah made a stage (I assume that he had some help), with speakers on either side. Each speaker had to be wired in using many tools, and once the sound was right, he and Nathaniel started on foldback and other accoustic refinements that would increase the listening pleasure of the audience.
We celebrated the weather by spending the morning in the park with friends. Nathaniel and D and P raced around the woods on wheeled vehicles, and worried other parents by climbing precariously into trees and pulling down branches to catapult things from.
Thea and F rampaged in a way that only they can. They found sticks and explored.
They chased the big boys, and Paddy took them on a adventure into the undergrowth.
They disappeared for some time, the only trace of them being the sounds of P coaching them through the branches: "F, step carefully over here, that's right lift up your whole leg. Thea, duck down so you down walk into the holly leaf".
That afternoon, after music, we rewarded ourselves for hard work (Nathaniel played some very fine long notes on his recorder, and was triumphant in his identifying of notes on a line on a stave) with an ice cream. To my immense surprise, both children adapted to sharing a cone very well and after a couple of tries were able to have two licks and then pass it on. Good skills!
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
There are two things that people rarely associate with Nathaniel; a) simple but drawn out imaginary games and b) cuddly toys. Although he is fond of Spaniel, Beagle and Herman (a mammoth), he is not obsessive about them. He rarely knows where they are, and all get is the occasional cuddle. It was a surprise to everyone when Nathaniel started being a cheetah. He has been a cheetah for at least a couple of days per week for the last few months, and spends a lot of time hunting gazelles. I have no idea where he found out about cheetahs (to my knowledge we have no cheetah books), or why he is so interested in them. And these two things are linked because....... When Ian was in South Africa he found a cuddly cheetah and brought it back for Nathaniel, now knowing how bothered he'd be. The answer: very bothered. Cheetah (as usual, he gets no name, despite my best efforts), is so very loved. He is taken everywhere and shown everything. I have to provide all meals with extra mice added (Cheetah's favourite food!?), and Cheetah has to have a drink whenever Nathaniel drinks. He has been taken to the sailing club and introduced to everyone and everything:
He has been taken to nursery every day and has watched everything from the "going home shelf". On the way, he sits to attention in the trailer, tucked under Nathaniel's straps and asks him questions. It took me a day of careful planning to convince Nathaniel that Cheetah was too young for creche (I was worried he's get lost in the transition between rooms and didn't know if there was a going home shelf in creche), and so Cheetah stayed at home, but Nathaniel told everyone about it, and was desperate to see him when he got home.
Cheetah has been treated to all sorts of activities. Here, Nathaniel has provided him with a photo of big cheetahs for him to look at (postcard from South Africa), and he is explaining it to him.
When we went to collect Thea from nursery, Cheetah needed to come to, and to see where he was going. So we needed a sling:
Then there was a drop of rain, and despite claiming that he didn't need a coat as it was clearly only a little shower from an otherwise blue sky, Nathaniel insisted that Cheetah have a cover to keep him dry.
Only then were we allowed to go anywhere!
Friday, 26 April 2013
We didn't have 34 degree heat, penguins or the furthest end of the world to explore today, so we had to be content with simple pleasures! We started off by taking cars for a walk in a wheel barrow:
And did some climbing on the newly named "picnic log".
We only had an imaginary picnic, but it was very tasty.
Then we played with friends and took a walk by the river in Bishopthorpe to the airstream coffee caravan for a drink, a snack of sausages and ketchup and playing with hula hoops and slides.
While we were there, we were overjoyed to watch two different types of boats being removed from the water on giant trailers pulled by 4x4s. So back at home, we needed to construct an appropriate accessory for our matchbox jeep with trailer and rib.
Now it is decorated with pens as well!
We finished the day with a relaxing bath. Assuming you class swimming races, "wine" and "beer" making and hug-chases relaxing activities.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
It's one of the most pressing of middle-class dilemas. Second in importance only to deciding on black olive or stilton grissini at Waitrose, people everywhere are asking, National Trust or English Heritage? It doesn't matter where you live, there is always an equal split of places that you'd like to visit on a regular basis between the two, and no-one can afford both! We've solved this problem by joining neither and then complaining about it. So when Benningbrough Hall (National Trust) advertised a free weekend, we thought that we should go and find out what we were missing. Its only 15 minutes out of York, but we've never visited. We had lots of fun! And not just in the adventure playground. But of course that is where we went first. Nathaniel was a bit intimidated by the number of children running around, and had his first lesson on how to be assertive when waiting for a swing (he ended up in tears, but got his swing!), but Thea identified the slide that she wanted, and was off!
Unfortunately, the slide was a bit wide and busy for her to slide by herself, but Esther stepped in to be a seat while I was supervising Nathaniel doing something perilous.
The we made the most of a display of vintage cars and Nathaniel carefully identified the distinguishing features of a line of MG Midgets.
Then we took off through the gardens:
Into the woods and found a spider:
And a house:
And Nathaniel jumped a giant ditch and made a brilliant bridge with a mammoth log on which he scaled a wall. Lots of fun. I am almost convinced that the decision needs to be National Trust (but no Rievaulx/Whitby Abbey/Helmsley Castle........).
Ian missed out, but he spent time in somewhere almost as exciting:
Monday, 1 April 2013
The weather was forecast to be sunny (albeit freezing), so we headed up to the White Horse for a walk along Sutton Bank. Mikey and we were pretty keen to go, as we had never been up when the visibility was greater than 5m. Last time we were in a blizzard! The forecast wasn't as accurate as I had hoped, but it was still good to be out in the real outside. We climbed up the steps next to the White Horse (and Nathaniel did the lot of them without fussing once!), and enjoyed the view out across the Vale of York to the distant Dales where there was a thick layer of snow across the tops. It felt as if we were in the Highlands!
There was still a good amount of snow along the top of the bank (these photos are of where there was less), and Nathaniel enjoyed tormenting us by insisting that he was pushed through the snow. Which was a bit reasonable because it was frozen hard and must have been extremely difficult to cycle over the peaks and troughs of frozen footprints.
We bimbled to the visitor centre at the other end of the Bank for an extended coffee and cake which turned rapidly into lunch as well and playing with the exhibits. Thea was much more impressed with this part of the outing. I don't think that she had been enjoying the icy wind to the back of her neck, and us leaving her gloves in the house (she sported Nathaniel's spare socks on her hands), and the sort-of-windproof carrier cover in the car, didn't really help. Padding round a heated visitor centre was much better!
On the way back, the sun did manage to appear for a bit, and the wind had eased a little, making the ice melt enough for Nathaniel do get more proper cycling and warming everything up enough for Thea to fall asleep and snore in my ear.
By the time we got back to the cars, we were warmed by the sun and not ready to leave at all, so we went off for an adventure in the open-access woods. Vicki led the way in the hope of forever seeing over the next hill, and she and Nathaniel just about managed not to fall down any fox sets or into any streams. Why did we continue to bring the bike with us?!
Saturday, 30 March 2013
Nathaniel had a chocolate crispie nest from the kindergarten easter stall and was most taken by the fact that you could consume that much chocolate and still call it a snack, so he was keen that we should recreate the confection at home. Our first attempt was not successful, due mainly to using the "just melt chocolate method" using Lidl milk chocolate. A grey nest is not appetising! Attempt two used the standard chocolate crispie recipe and was much better.
Dorothea had a good go at helping, but quickly demonstrated where her interests lay:
She was, however, a bit better at looking after the mini eggs and moved them all backwards and forwards between cake cases, only eating 4 or 5 as she went!
Nathaniel was very dilligent and did the whole thing, measuring and stirring and decanting, himself. He even managed not to lick the spoon until the end. He's got so big and sensible!
Friday, 29 March 2013
The sun peered out for a brief few minutes and so we took off to the woods with the scooty bike. The story telling trees seemed a good place to play and we suddenly realised that Thea hadn't been to them since she could walk. First she explored around them while Nathaniel investigated the mountain biking qualities of his scooty bike.
Then they climbed. Well, Nathaniel climbed. Thea did a cracking job, but most of the "steps" were far too high for her to lift her leg onto, especially when wearing michelin-man-esque down-filled trousers and snow boots. She tried just leaning forwards and crawling with her knees, but it didn't really work, so she utilised one of her new commands - "Up, up", and found that me lifting her over the largest roots was much easier.
Then, onto whizzing down slopes. Fun for everyone. Nathaniel found precipitic roots to career off, and Thea stomped determinedly up steep slopes and then "ran" down the other side shouting "Weeeeee!"
Everyone was happy.