Wednesday, 27 July 2016

My son didn't sleep for 5 years and I know how it ends

I have one of those kids.

The one that never sleeps.

I speak now from the other side (barely).

My sweet sleep-stealer


I am there.

It does exist: The Elusive Other Side.

I have spent HOURS on the fucking floor, at the end of beds, hovering at the doorway, waiting for the child to SLEEP.

I have read books on repeat, ad infinitum, hoping for that elusive moment where he is finally asleep...

Courtesy of www.crappypictures.com


I have tried sleep training, sleep cry-ing-it-out, sleep being-especially-nice and being entirely firm and shouting and crying and being so nice it hurts.
 Bribery, sticker charts, happy words, angry words, empathy.

I have been through the works.

I have had doctors, health visitors, friends, family, neighbours' opinions, hearing tests, sensitivity tests, blood tests...

Sometimes they Just. Don't. Fucking. Sleep.


I am speaking completely as a soldier from the other side of the war: in all honesty there is no secret 'thing', no tricks, no manipulation.

I'm so sorry.

The only bloody thing that has worked in the end, in the long run, at the end of the day, is TIME.

I've had all the books, the parenting manuals.

The bloody hypnotising rabbit.



I tried night lights and splitting the boys up and bunk beds and separate beds.

We had the family bed (my poor back), the floor bed (don't ask!) the sleepovers, the late nights, the early nights and the fairy lights.

Audio books. Done.

Sitting outside the door. Tick.

End of the bed.  Oh the endless hours.

Being a total bitch and telling him he HAS to go to sleep because we can't keep doing this, okay? You are a big boy now, you have to be able to go to sleep on your own...please...mummy has lots and lots to do and I'm just here, you can still see me, you can still hear me...while he sobs and pleads and begs and it all ends in tears from both of us...

Years.

Not days.

Not hours.

Not months.

Years.

Somehow...inexplicably...probably after one of those very very rare nights of sleep when Ethan was 4 years old and we had maybe had a holiday and some food and were genereally totally caught off guard, we decided a third child would be a magical addition to our brood.

Somehow.

Don't you judge me - being a parent is filled with the complete absurdity of spending a lot of time in absolute despair while also spending a lot of time in complete love and adoration for what you have made.

We had our third baby.

And LUCKILY, very very luckily, he is a dream to put to bed (much like the first).

Magically, Ethan has settled.

We have still had our problems.

It's not been perfect or smooth-sailing or completely a black-and-white progression, but somehow...it's good now (fingers crossed, touch wood etc etc)

He goes to bed alone.

In his own space,

He stays there all night.

Very occasionally. he gets into our bed and sleeps with us, but it's really not often (my back is a lot happier.)

Someone advised that I should write a piece to tell you all my secret of getting my son to sleep: I have no secrets.

There are no tricks.

He decided he was going to stay in his bed.

Some nights he still asks for s, but it's not half as bad as it was.


I know you came here on the promise that I was going to help you to get your kid to sleep.

I think what I really want to tell you is trope-y as fuck and a bit shit.

It will pass.

Your baby will stop being a baby.

He (or she) will consider himself (or herself) big enough to do it him (or her) self and they will do it.

And gradually, oh so slowly and surely, it will dissipate.

Suddenly it will be something that you used to do.

In the meantime, I suggest you do what you need to do.

I have regrets, sure , we all do as parents.

I DO NOT regret:

Putting him into nursery to get a break.

Buying more wine/beer to 'treat' myself after a particularly difficult session of getting him to sleep.

Trying absolutely everything with gusto.

Tapping out and letting my husband/mum/whoever else do it (so they can also realise I'm not making this shit up).

I DO regret:

The crying it out - it was fairly obvious he was never going to go to sleep this way and it made bedtime an absolutely awful process for both of us.

Not just letting him sleep in our bed when he requested it; there's an innate thing in a child to be nurtured - I don't know whose agenda I was playing to when I denied him that nurturing.

Not just going with my instincts and making a family bed. Or feeling judged for my feelings.   I was never FOR co-sleeping, but it sure as hell would have made or lives a helluva lot more easier if I'd simply just went with my gut feeling and let him go in the bed with us, if that was what it took to get a good night's sleep.

I'm sorry I have no magic cure.

I absolutley know what you were hoping for.

All I can say is, I have made it.

I am there.

There is an end.  It will come.

Hold on.  Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to your kid.

It will pass.





Wednesday, 6 July 2016

New Shoes

My littlest Blethering Boy got his first pair of shoes this week and he is super chuffed about them!

He loves his shoes.

I almost forgot how important these little milestones are for wee ones. And for us!

As a third child, I try really hard to not forget about all the wee things that make up Owen's babyhood.

It's not easy though, when we have so many other things going on.

Where most first-time parents are making everything about their littlest person, I am often caught unawares by the next stage.

It feels like my littlest guy, the one I wanted to hold onto the longest, is shooting up faster than I imagined.

With Thomas, it felt like I had an eternity of him; almost too much time.  I used to feel the strain of every minute detail and worried over the slightest thing. I did two baby books.  I wrote all the 'firsts' on a calendar. I made hand prints and foot prints and baby albums.

When Ethan came along, I felt the angst of dealing with two small children, picking at the small bits and trying my best to get through the day.

The two of them together were very hard work and I got little respite from that.

I always felt anxious for them to be more independent, to go to nursery, to spend time with others.  I needed the break, I needed to go to work, I needed them to play by themselves for a bit.  I needed to make sure they had good experiences and that I kept my promises and that we spent good time together as a famly; and we did.

And now, this third, sweet, delicious child.

The one we knew would be the last.

He fits in, slots in like we've had him forever.

We forgot the baby book.

We tried with the milestone cards (we really did).

But we are taking it all in.  Inhaling every moment deeply.

Every day I examine his face for changes.

I despair when he moves up yet another size in clothes.

His first shoes were a size 4!

We didn't spend £25 on his first pair, because we know a lot of things about baby shoes - how long they last, the liklihood of him losing one in the street, the grief and stress of spending wasted hours searching for the other shoe in parks and supermarkets; not worth it.

But he has shoes.

He is happy.

I wish he would stop growing!


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Shitty shitty day

Today was a heap of shite.

Today was awful.

Today I have spent all day cleaning just to have it all completely undone behind me by all of the boys.

I bought a new toilet seat last night which is, er, novelty, because basically I was pissed off at playing arse roulette every time I sat down because it kept falling off.

Now I have a horrid, twee, novelty one which says;

"If you sprinkle when you tinkle,

please be a sweet and wipe the seat!"

In a fancy font.  My kids have obviously taken it to be as ironic statement of intent - I gave a wry giggle as I lifted the lid to find tinkle all over it.

I would have hauled the buggers up for it, but I was also dealing with the sodden towels and soaked nappies after both husband and children had showered and stepped over/used all of them to mop up water spillage from the shower/bath that I chose to not fight that particular battle at that moment.

Both older boys have had haircuts today, and while I was very pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out (I did them myself) and the lack of tears and the good amount of sitting still from them both while I did it, I still had to contend with a day of clipping loose bits, sweeping up masses of hair (it gets EVERYWHERE!) and stopping the baby from eating various clumps.  He has a knack for finding shit you don't want him to have.

It's handy for cleaning the floor, mind you.

I'm trying to hawk all of my old baby shit on ebay and the like to make enough money so we can actually have food this month, but nobody wants any of it, which is leading to further bad mood-ing, only helped further by the fact I needed a new tyre anyway but now I need two, because there's a horrible slow puncture in the front one.

So, if anyone has a recipe for rubber ravioli, that would be grand.  I'm sure tyre tabbouleh could be accomplished somehow.  I'm sure I can magic it out of my arse like I can everything else!

We went out this afternoon for a drive (to get out of the house) and I took them to Toys R Us because basically I'm into self-flagellation of the highest order and I hate myself.

They spent the whole time asking for things/moaning about how we never buy anything and asking for more things.

I spent the whole time totting up in my head what Xmas/birthday season might look like this year and inwardly screaming.

We left TRU sharpish with promises of 'something' (nice, vague stab in the dark answer) at the next shop, which resulted in my spending of £4 of sacred food money on yet more stuffed animals with shiny eyes.

Fuck my life. What is with the animals with the shiny eyes?

I treated myself to some shapewear (woo hoo!) because basically I'm fed up of this weird shelf-thing going on at the front of my body due to three c-sections and carrying MASSIVE children. Tesco shapewear, very very cheap. Only the finest.

Which of course means it's probably going to be a massive inconvenience (think, rollydown and uncomfy and bulgy) and I am seriously going to miss that £5 at the end of the month, but it was almost worth it for the giggle I got from Ethan at mum buying the 'crazy pants!'

"It's so embarrassing, mum!"

I have had nothing but attitude from the oldest one all day - he is really busting my balls at the moment and I don't have a clue why - neither does he apparently.  Trust me, I've asked him.

I am constantly telling him off or calling him up for his manners, or cheek or behaviour and it's awful because he is my good one, he is my reliable one.  And now he's going through some kind of pre-pre-teen thing (I googled, apparently it's hrmones) and it's shit.  And it just makes me fear that the other two will do this too and I'll be left in a corner, crying at home videos of how cute they were when they were two and malleable.

We got home at tea-time, which meant digging deep for the energy to produce a decent cooked meal while the baby held onto my leg/ destroyed the kitchen/went into the bathroom and slipped on the still-wet floor.

The bathroom floor needs replaced because - hello- previous owner was a douchebag and put down the cheapest laminate flooring which you cannot get wet. Our bathroom floor has to be able to tolerate wet - they are boys, they are constantly pissing everywhere and they love to soak the floor while bathing.  We need, like, a sealed wetroom. That's the only way this is going to work.

It smells.  It's warped.  It's on my ever-growing to-do list.

*sigh*

Along with the front door, the hall, the windows, the bathroom light, school uniforms etc etc etc.

Well, off to bed.

More tomorrow.






Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Crazy Days

Today has been a terrible day.

Not feeling super today!

I'm shattered. I've been working straight for about a month now, I get little to no time to myself and we have struggled to make ends meet all month. For the last three to six months.

Today was a 'let the kids watch television without remorse' kind of day.

Today was a 'please help yourself to all the snacks' kind of day, and a 'please, I don't actually care what you are doing' kind of day 'as long as you leave me alone to actually ferment in my own shittiness' kind of day.


Sorry kids.


It's also an 'oh god, I feel so guilty day'.

Because I spent all day yesterday knowing I would be in charge, knowing that I had this opportunity to do stuff with my kids, but instead I tapped out.

 I sat down and went 'Nope. Not today, motherfucker.'

I am out of resources, both physically and mentally.

I flinched every time my kids asked for something, groaned mostly every time the baby wanted up and actually had tears in my eyes when after the third time of very nearly almost getting the baby to go to sleep (which he desperately needed) a delivery man knocked on the door, waking him up.

The door of the fridge fell off completely, pretty much nearly killing the baby and/or shearing my oldest son's legs and glass smashed everywhere, and once again there was a ton of washing, a ton of cleaning to do and a lack of appropriate healthy snacks to eat, meaning we were all filling up on guilty stodge (well, i was - the kids didn't blink, obviously).

There was no petrol in the car to drive anywhere more interesting, and it was raining outside and no money in the bank to make life even a tiny little bit easier.

Some days we wake up to text messages that tell us once again we are over the limit on our already-stretched overdrafts and I cannot count on two hand the number of times I have turned to Dave and said, "how are we going to do this?"

But we always manage.

Somehow.

I've done the Tax Credit calculator thing about a bazillion times attempting to work out how in the hell we cannot afford the childcare for next month (summer holidays, so extra childcare needed) and we have scrutinized our holiday leave, our ins and out and our what-we-can-do-withouts intrinsically.

We are tight on time, tight on money, tight on energy.

Like always, I've paid out more than I can afford in all of these things, promising myself I can catch up with them all: and I will.  I just need more time, money and energy. You know?

It's a gradual and slow incline, but we are getting there.

We have faced a lot of obstacles with illness and moving and car smashes and stuff, and it's definitely been no picnic. We have come out okay, intact. Still going.

But sometimes it just feels a lot harder than it is, and I always have to remind myself; we have our kids, we have our bodies, we have our health, we have our home.  We have food to eat (mostly) and we have resources.


Today was a bit of a tap-out situation though.


I've been working extra hours to try and make up the shortfall since changing hours after maternity leave and this, plus all the other stuff; end of term trips and events for the boys, trying to find money/things to sell/keep on top of housework, birthday bits for Owen etc

I've been doing crazy cleaning, trying to get things together for family coming over for Owen's birthday last week (and it still wasn't up to the standard I wanted it to be - another thing that fell by the wayside), running between the kids and trying to find meals that will satisfy the kids from our meagre cupboard store (thank goodness for free school meals!)

Trying to work out how in the heck we would feed/water guests and also make sure our youngest boy got a wee birthday gift (gawd bless xmas club at the toy shop!)

I am tired.

Knackered.


This is parenting without backup.


This is parenting without the available auntie on-hand, the grandparent on pick-up duty, the close buddy play-dates.

This is parenting on the hoof, with a wing and a prayer and being stretched to the edge of your limits.

Constantly.

Without let up.

This is parenting night and day and then night again and then day with work and school and other stuff, day after day and week into month after month.

This is endless.

This is feeling guilty endlessly for various things; the scrimping on meals because of time, the forgotten coats, the shirts that still have stains on after they've been washed, the certain feeling of judgement coming from teachers, other parents, family, friends for not fulfilling x,y,z obligation.

The endless attempts to make sure kids get alone time, craft time, more time, not too much t.v time, not too much screen time, that they are reading, that they get to express themselves, that they eat well and eat enough, that they are getting good experiences, that their shoes fit, that they have clean hair and teeth and everything else.

It's the hours and hours spent facilitating their every need and want and whim from dawn until dusk and in between, making sure we don't raise our voices when we are stressed, making sure that others treat them fairly and that they also treat others with the same regard.

We don't have clubs, or after-school care or babysitters.

There's no overnights or long weekends or few hours off.

There's no 'date nights' or 'couple time' or 'me time'.

There's a lot of midnight frantic tumble-drying.  A lot of crazy fiddling with numbers and dates and time.  A LOT of thinking outside of the box.

Instead we forge out our own time.

We craft our own special family days.

We make sure we separate fun from real life.  And we always take a picnic.

We take minutes to count our blessings and we try to do good where we can.

Life is not easy.

Life is difficult at best.

But there's a heck of a lot of happy.

Every day these boys get older.  And bigger.  And belong a little bit more to the world.

Tom loses yet another tooth.  Ethan comes out with yet another characterful announcement and Owen takes one (or seven) more steps across the room.

One day we will look back and miss this; the crazy days.  The busy days.  The fullness of life and the challenges and the open-mindedness it brings.

The creativeness.

Today was very difficult.

Today was very hard.  Today I needed another adult to pick up the reins.

But the years are short.

And if anything, this family is living proof that things are always changing.

Always for the better.

Slow but sure.

Knowing first-hand what we get through each day, I'm definitely proud of our achievements so far!

The best is yet to come.




Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Please Use Your Vote

Tomorrow is a huge day.



Maybe it doesn't feel like it to you, but it is.

Tomorrow is one of those days that will shape the rest of your lives.

Please.

I know at times it feels utterly useless, especially if you are busy, or can't be bothered because you think that your voice will not make a difference, but trust me, it does.

You have absolutely no right at all to complain about the outcome if you do not vote.

Use your vote.

Make your decision with thought.  Step away from the rhetoric, the political party nit-picking, the xenphobia, the hatred, the crazy 'predictions' about what will happen if we stay or if we go.

Think about your vote.

Think about the maternity leave you enjoyed.  The free movement between countries.  The human rights.  The education.

Think about worker's rights. The future of small independent businesses.

Decide how you feel about giving up environmental rights if we chuck away our European membership which helps protect our land, while the Tories approach fracking with a rub of their fat little hands.

Think about free pre-school education for all children, regardless of background.

Of all the other benefits of being the partner in a union.

Use your voice.

Be counted.

Vote #Remain





Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Summer Holidays: Mine and Theirs

6 weeks of summer holidays are bearing down on us all at a rate of noughts.



When I was wee, the summer holidays were amazing; 6 (or sometimes 7) weeks of playing outside with my friends late into the night.

I was lucky - where I lived we were free to roam the streets, as the streets were quiet and there were barely any cars.  The houses were all knitted together and there were endless places to ride your bike or push a scooter or a skateboard or go rollerskating without bothering anyone.

We'd meet at the park - without the aid of text messages or phones and we all had watches on our wrists so that we knew when to come back home for tea.

Sadly, my own kids will never really know the joy of this kind of childhood.  It was pretty free.

We lived our lives in hours of imaginative play.  We made our own microcosm of the world in the small area in which we lived.

There were acorn fights (bad idea), games of football (great idea) and skateboard tours (amazing idea).

On wet days we put on our raincoats and all squeezed into our dens, our hideyholes, mainly in bushes or broken down fencing and pretend we were spies or that we had a huge club of detectives who only met once a month.

We had our best bestest bestesest ever friends and we had our sworn enemies.  We loved and lost.  We fought battles.  We played massive tournaments that went on for weeks.

We used stones to draw on the paving slabs and we used our jumpers for goal posts (inevitably someone always lost their jumper).

We ventured out of our zones too - we went to the beach. We cycled as far as we could.

I doubt our parents could have imagined that we went as far or did as much as we did, but we did it all, and without any adult supervision; you simply came home at the agreed time and then went out again until the next time-slot, often begging for 'just an extra half an hour, pleeeease?'

Times have kind of changed and where we live kind of isn't conducive to sending kids out. They'd have to walk up and down a 60mph country road to get anywhere good.  And when they got there, the chances of meeting any other kids are slim to none, seeing as it seems to be less of a thing to let your kids roam the streets.

When I was wee, my mum didn't go to work, so I never had to go to childcare and anyone who babysat was generally doing it because I was already at their house, eating their food and watching their tv, as they did at ours when they happened to disappear in with me for hours on end.

I never went to Out Of School Club. I never had a childminder.

I was so lucky that I was able to stay at home and play.

As my kids gear up for 6 weeks of chilling and eating and going to different childcare venues (and staying at home with us for sometime I might add - we had to use all of our holidays between us!) and getting all of these 'paid for' experiences, like face painting and cooking and going to play centres, I can't help feeling a bit jealous.

It would be very nice to have a long break and lots of fun things to do.

But I can't help feeling a bit sad too, that they aren't going to be racing their bikes at the park without adult supervision, that they won't be doing stuntman-worthy tricks on the swings or seeing how fast they can go on the roundabout without falling off.

Those were the best days of my life.


Friday, 17 June 2016

One

Here he is, my golden-haired boy,

So much goodness for us to enjoy,

His little smile, his waving hands,

His wobbly stagger

His pull-up-to-stand


The way he babbles,

The cuddles and cosies,

The clap-a-handies,

the grabbing nose - ies!


Two bottom teeth sticking out,

Bright blue eyes,

An angel pout,


My 'silly bean'

My bundle of fun,

We've so much to do,

Now you are one.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Tea for Me - a review of Adagio Teas

My working week is pretty difficult.

I only work part-time and I have been lucky enough to score hours that fit directly around my boys' school life, but as a result I pretty much never stop.  I'm forever rushing between work and picking up children, food shopping and making sure the dog has been walked.

Between blogging, work, children, dog, degus, baby and all the other bits and pieces, there are some nights where I manage to go to bed without even doing the basics, like feeding myself!

I am knackered!

It's becoming increasingly important to me that I take whatever time I can to look after myself a little bit more  after all, if there's no fuel the fire cannot keep burning.

I was delighted when Adagio Teas asked me to review their artisan tea collection: finally, a reason to give myself 10 minutes and enjoy a little 'me time'.

Usually a cup of tea is a last desperate attempt by myself to gain back some spent energy.

The kettle gets boiled.

The teabag is chucked in the cup unceremoniously.

The cup is filled.

The cup sits.

The filled cup waits.

And waits.

And waits...

The cup gets cold.

M husband comes home and finds several manky old cups of black tea sitting around the house (sometimes I manage to take the teabag out, sometimes I don't).

*Sigh*

I love a cup of tea.  When I can get one.

Here's a clever thing though:

Look!  You put gorgeous loose tea into the tea maker.

You wait a bit and watch as the water changes colour and smells amazing.

Then...THEN...!

Look!



How cool is that!?

I have to say it is very satisfying.  I certainly won't be forgetting about my tea any time soon.

It's also very easy to clean and completely see-through, so you get to watch as the tea infuses.

Adagio have an amazing collection of gorgeous artisan teas from around the world.

My favourite from the samples I tasted has to be the Earl Grey Moonlight; an odd choice for someone who 'doesn't like Earl Grey'!

The tea itself is so fresh and full of flavour; as soon as you open the re-sealable bag you are hit with the most amazing fragrance.

It definitely forces me to make my tea-time more of an occasion.

If you love tea, give them a little visit at www.adagiotea.co.uk

You wont be disappointed!

Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of Adagio teas to try, along with an IngenuiTEA pot to brew them in.  I was not expected to write anything positive and I have not been paid for this post. All words and thoughts are completely my own and I bloody loved the tea - it was so good!

Monday, 6 June 2016

My Last Firsts (sob!) #petitfilousfirsts

Owen is my third and final baby, so those 'firsts' are a lot more poignant.

I've been careful to try and pay attention to all of them and savour them all...one last time!
First crawl!

First time in the new highchair

First time pulling himself up to stand!

First 'big' climb!

First chocolate cake!

First snow day!

First proper bounce!

First time using the spoon (help!)

First swing

First meal in a restaurant!

First whole banana from the skin

First Santa visit

First Xmas

First teeth

First trip to the zoo

First long lie!

First cosies with brother number one!
Owen might not be a proper baby any more, but he still has a lot of 'firsts' to come, and I am so excited to share them with him.

I think one of my favourite 'firsts' has been weaning.

He's my third child, so I'm a bit more relaxed about what I feed him, but of course keeping an eye on things like sugar and salt, as well as other additives.

One of our favourite go-to snacks is yoghurt and we tried My First Petit Filous recently, a new yoghurt designed for babies and children, which is free from additives and low on sugars.

Owen really enjoyed it and was very happy to have more than one pot in a sitting!

Here's what Petit Filous have to say about their new product:



My First Petits Filous is a low sugar, vanilla-flavour weaning fromage frais, designed to introduce children to fromage frais from 6 months. The main ingredient is milk and all ingredients are 100% naturally sourced, so parents can rest assured there are no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or added preservatives. Not only is My First Petits Filous delicious, it has calcium and protein to help children develop strong bones from an early age and the low sugar content reassures parents that their child will maintain a balanced diet during weaning.

Owen loved the taste, and not to be outdone, Ethan was happily snarfling some too - boy loves a milk-based product!

And it's one thing I don't mind my sweet-toothed blethering boys having either!

Even if most of it does end up in his hair!

This post is an entry for BritMums #PetitsFilousFirsts Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Halfords Camping Guide: Inspiration and Tenting Fun

The sun is shining (for once) and admittedly, on days like these, we basically live in our garden.

Everything is done outside - the kids love it and go to bed at the end of the day filthy, but happy.

(They do shower.  Sometimes.  Under duress.)

As the school term draws to an end, our thoughts turn to summer holidays and time spent together, making new memories and having new experiences. We love trying new things.  My boys are full of adventure and I'm a bit of a ring-leader when it comes to wrangling up the gang and making them do new things.  After all, life's too short to sit on the shore!




Some of our fondest memories have been spent at seaside resorts, like Blackpool, but we have also spent a lot of time exploring the great outdoors and finding out what our country has to offer.

There's tons to do - beit theme parks, city breaks or a country escape, we really are spoilt for choice!

We live in Scotland, so it's not difficult to find some real beauty on your doorstep, or step into the wilderness and get away from it all.

Even camping in your own back garden can be exciting for the kids!

Being centrally located on a small island means we are also never too far from the sea, the hills, the countryside or the city.



A holiday or a getaway needn't be expensive either; Camping out under the stars in your very own tented hideaway can make for the perfect cost-effective and bespoke solution to enjoying the great outdoors - all you have to hope for is good weather!

Check out Halford's new Camping Guide for a huge host of ideas on where to go, what to take and how to keep the kids safe.
They also provide a brilliant tent guide to help you to choose the perfect tent to help make your experience as comfortable and accommodating as possible.
Available in PDF downloadable or paper format, the Ultimate Camping Guide UK 16 is the perfect companion for all of your summer camping needs.  It even has a great guide to Glamping, for those of us who like a bit more glam in our camping!



The boys have tried out camping a couple of times, most memorably last year in our new garden.  Granted, it wasn't far away, but when you are 4 and 6 years old, it's pretty cool; especially when there's a thunderstorm!

Luckily, I got to stay inside with my two month-old baby while the boys weathered the storm (ha ha ha!  Cheating - but I don't care!)

Dave was determined, after all the time and effort he had put into setting up the comfortable 4-man tent that they were going to spend the night in it (as were the boys!)

Dave also took the opportunity to have a few beers with our neighbour.

Needless to say, he awoke, hungover, beside Ethan, who turned to him at about 6am and said, "Dad!  Why do people do this?"

Needless to say, all is forgotten and they are keen to try again this year (tonight actually - as I write, they are filling the tent with all of the duvets and blankets from the house. There's no hiding for me tonight - nooo!)

I'm going to get wrapped up and have some fun (hopefully) while reading my camping guide to get some inspiration on where to go next!

Happy Camping!