Almost a month ago now, on the 19th of July, our little rainbow and baby of the family (Miss Alice) turned a big 2 years old! Like last year, I meant to write about it around when it all happened, but as it always falls so close to the end of term and at busy time of year, we unfortunately got so busy and swept up in the start of the Summer holidays that writing about it all just passed me by!

I suppose being an end of July baby, this could be a sign of things to come. Thank goodness she has her Dad’s laid back tendencies with things!

This year it was another simple affair, which I am also quickly realising seems to go a long with Alice’s chilled nature. As it was her 2nd birthday (and by family tradition we would normally have their first party), we soon realised unlike her siblings she doesn’t particularly mingle with any kids her age on a regular basis that we would think to invite. She has a couple of girls at church but barely will go near anyone, and then her cousins are all spread out and so we decided that we would have a simple family picnic on the green and a family day out at the weekend.

The weather was great on her birthday and I spent the day with her at the Deep in Hull with a friend and her son from the village whilst the kids were at school. She loves fish and animals and had a lot of joy and excitement from this trip. That evening Grandma Smith came over and we headed to the village green for a picnic tea with lots of her faves. It was so chilled that we didn’t even have a cake for her, but rather she was simply delighted with a little chocolate cupcake and candle (that she soon realised was not edible!).

At the weekend we headed to the coast and took her on a boat ride, followed by chips and an ice cream on the Harbour. It was a lovely evening and a great way to celebrate Alice. She quickly cottoned on to what “A Happy Birthday” meant and she thoroughly enjoyed it all!

At 2 I want to remember her belly laughs and how she laughs at “goggys” (dogs) whilst signing “dogs”!

I want to remember how she stands on her tippy toes to put the bathroom taps on and then laughs her head off as water sprays every where!!

I want to remember her brilliant horrified face and the way she turns her nose up at any foods you push her way that she doesn’t like.

I want to remember how she says “bah-bye” to anything that disappears, how she adores her daddy and watches him leave for work from the bay window, whilst shouting “bah-bye daddy”.

I want to remember how she goes nuts and panics over the teeniest of creatures and calls them all “piders”!

I want to remember how much she loves playing with her siblings, how she fights them back and how cheeky she is with them!

I want to remember how loving and kind she is and how every morning on the way to school she signs birds as she hears them in the trees!

I want to remember how she climbs up on to the counter tops and then sits on the window sill to help herself to the fruit bowl!

I want to remember how she loves to pick daisys on the school run, hates being in the pram and can undo her car seat and climb out (every journey!).

I want to remember how she snuggles, holds my little finger instead of my hand and how she hold my shoulders when I carrier on hikes!

I want to remember how girly and pretty she is in style and how everyone loves her big blue eyes and blonde curls.

Happy 2nd Birthday Alice (even if it is rather late). You are fierce, loving, really nuts and life is better with you in it!

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On Sunday as I was sat with Megan in church, she rolled her eyes, let out a sigh and not very discreetly protested “ugh this is sooooo bawing”! It is moments like this, and how she shouts “cheers man” at drivers as we cross the road, or “I am living the dream” every time she does something remotely joyful, that crack me up and reflect her cheeky character at this age.

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Yesterday Megan turned 4, a day she has been super excited for for a good few months, and one that was thoroughly enjoyed by us all! This year it was all about Paw patrol, still some frozen, and a desire to have her own baby to look after (thanks Grandma). She requested “dippy eggs and pink milk” for breakfast, which she finished off with some marshmallows and a morning of playing with her gifts.

Her day out was a toss up between swimming or a farm, but her desire for treat central led her to wanting to go a fairly local ice cream parlour with play area and animals. She loved every minute going wild, seeing the animals, indulging in a teddy bear ice cream, “living the dream” and having mummy and daddy’s attention all on her! We then had dinner out with Grandma and a cake to finish up! It was really lovely, simple and as I say, enjoyed by us all. As this year is a party year, she will also be celebrating with friends at the weekend, another exciting prospect and a great hello to being 4 years old!

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It doesn’t make me particularly sad that she seems so big and grown up these days, and nor do I feel like time is running away that I need to say as in years past; “I can’t believe she’s 4”! I can believe it, and we have enjoyed some wonderful things with her since she entered our lives, that it doesn’t seem to have flown by too fast at all. Her birthday does always make me feel a little emotional yes, but more so because it was on her 2nd birthday that was pregnant with Poppy and she had the excitement of a baby sister. Again this year she has that to look forward to, but it doesn’t stop us missing a family member on these occasions, and I know I am not alone in these thoughts as yesterday over her ice cream she whispered to me out of the blue; “If poppy was here she would be 30” …. and later that night sent her restaurant balloon to heaven “so poppy can have my birthday too”. This is reflective of her kind and thoughtful nature, She has a wonderful innocence about her, enjoys age appropriate things, yet obviously ponders on things more meaningful and has something inside that makes her wish her sister was here too.
I love that she is aware of Poppy and desires some bond with her too, but of course it is that aspect that makes me teary on occasions like this. I worried last year as she seemed to be clinging to being a baby, but again I feel, looking back this was how she dealt with everything. We all miss poppy but are not sad that Megan is growing up, because 4 seems perfect for her and I feel she is ready to be heading to school later this year and doing all she is at this age.

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I want to remember not just how thoughtful, caring and kind she is, but how funny she is at 4 too; how great she is at telling elaborate tales and easily gets adults believing her (which just feeds them)! How she is very stubborn, great at being moody when things don’t go her way and how everything is everyone elses fault and never hers! How she is never without a graze, bruise or since this weekend and smacking into a wall from a rope ladder, a black eye, because she craves adventure and is WILD! Injuries or other people do not stop her, she bounces back and gets on with life.

I want to remember at 4 Megs that you loved Paw patrol, princesses, cheesy pasta (or any pasta for that matter), making things, Scooting and that you adore animals or anything to do with them. That you think by saying “ooo la la” that you are speaking Spanish and that you and Ethan do my head in talking like minions!!! I want remember that I can never figure out if its a tom boy day or girly day and every morning is a negotiation on what you will wear, as such your wardrobe is such a mix of styles, but rather cas with a girly twist! I love that you always know what you are going to be wearing and I love the time we spend together out in it, the adventures we have, hugs and snuggles at any time and with all of this personality I know you will go far because you are determined, bold and kind. You will make friends easily and and have fun in all you do because we see this is who you are. Yes 4 years ago doesn’t seem that long ago at all and I remember your birth-day as clear as anything, but so much has happened and been experienced that it is a wonderful thing that you are now a big 4 and its been great to celebrate that and you!!! Happy 4th Birthday to Miss Megsie!

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Run Jump Scrap!
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In both of our families we kind of have this general rule that when its a siblings birthday the budget is £5! Occasionally if it is a “big” birthday some of us may stretch to a tenner, but that is a very rare, flush move!

Whenever I have discussed this with others there are always 2 definite camps in response to it. The first is one of “wow that’s so good, I wish I could get away with only spending a fiver”! And the second is along the lines of “hmmmmm okay then” with a look of “your tight”! Either way when you have 10 siblings plus spouses to buy for just on one side and 3 plus spouses on the other,  2 sets of parents and like 12 nieces and nephews (and counting) the cost can quickly accumulate. So in order to avoid bankruptcy and still buy lovely things for one another we all hover around the £5 mark!

As you know (if you read my blog regularly) it was my birthday earlier this month and so aside from some lovely gifts, I also received some “birthday money” (I still love opening cards to some cash don’t you?)…the first was from my husbands parents, which I haven’t spent yet, but leaning towards a lovely coat from TK Maxx which I saw the other day (watch this space) and the other was a fiver from my sister and Brother in law! So here are my 3 purchases for £5…
Hearty Life

Last week I met a friend for the morning to wander around the charity shops, I was in search of a couple of new to me things, though at the time I wasn’t sure what specifically. But I came away with some very pleasing items that came to the tidy sum of £4.75!!

1. £1.50 Checked Shirt
For some reason at this time of year I really love to wear shirts…I love them with skinny jeans and boots and knitwear. It makes me happy to see a selection in my wardrobe of shirts and blouses and I just love the colour and pattern varieties. This one caught my eye because it was black and white and the sleeves are a little puffy and come above the elbow with little buttons – its just cool!
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2. £2 Boyfriend Jeans 
The only jeans I have in my wardrobe are skinny in varying denims. I have seen A LOT on instagram lovely people wearing either mum jeans or boyfriend jeans with ankle boots and think it looks MINT! So when I saw this light washed pair with rips reduced to £2 in the charity shop, well they had to be mine. I wore them yesterday and they were so comfy and it was nice to have a fresh, alternative look to my usual skinny scenario.
boyfriend jeans3. £1.25 pencil skirt 
This skirt caught my eye because of its lovely print. I am certainly into animal print and wearing patterns and I like stretchy skirts for fat days and because they look good on my skinny legs!
I like stuff like this that will look great with sandals come summer, but look funky with various coloured tights through the winter too. When I saw it was only £1.25 I may have gone a little nuts “whhhhhhaaaaaaattttttt”!! Yes, even I get the occasional surprise at a charity shop!
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Soooo…If you think giving someone £5 isn’t a great gift or even tight, then I hope you will reconsider. To me this most certainly was a lovely gift, because it holds so many possibilities –  it meant that I could choose to buy not just one, but 3 new wardrobe pieces (and still have change for a freddo frog), but in past years It has bought me new Jewellery or a Dvd or CD from Amazon. At times if several siblings pop fivers in cards then I’ve put it together with other £5’s that show up for something a little more pricey.

Alternatively when buying £5 presents I buy in advance in the sale, look at offers and hang out at a local outlet. Either way round, don’t be fooled that £5 cannot enable one to have a lovely gift – why spend more??

Do you have budgets for your families for Birthday’s?

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I have enjoyed a beautiful day today with my lovely in laws filled with chats, laughter, good food and surprises for my birthday – And now I sit here racking my brains as to what I can I share with you about my week. Its clear to see that I’m pretty late this weekend with putting together my ordinary moments post due to both my birthday and a mad weekend, and I guess a little bit of writers block too… but what can I say? I am now 31 which will take some getting used to and actually feeling rather positive and very loved in life. I feel grateful for the lovely simple day I enjoyed that was made special by the people I was with.
V__B76A(2)I’ve thought over the last few days about what stands out this week? What moments were extra special and made life amazing, and to be honest it just hasn’t been one of those weeks. Whilst its been prep for my birthday and Bonfire night too, our week simply has just been an ordinary week of school runs, a bit of baking and outings with Megs, followed by kids parties and the general madness of family life. But isn’t it the small simple, ordinary moments that sometimes just make life Splendid?
InstagramCapture_b954f5f0-f127-45d3-8e46-e43dd8beadafWe have battled with a lot of cheek from Ethan this week and his new favourite word of “NO”, which has been quite tiresome, and I have also been rather busy with lots of things I committed to do. However it has still been nice to notice amid all of that, the little things … like the fact that Megan has developed a love for puppets, gets satisfaction from seeing animals in a pet shop and Ethan has excelled in his writing skills and likes baths on his own occasionally so he can lay down! I love that I have noticed and made use of the fact that they have both become more able in the kitchen with food prep and that they love to sing and role play most mornings from 6am!
InstagramCapture_92776c0d-f6dd-4df7-9b3e-9e54334efbfeWP_20151108_11_37_01_ProI haven’t had a particularly amazing action packed week, but my heart has burst with the lovely ordinary moments that have made me realise what a mothers love is and appreciate the individuality of my kids. I am grateful that I feel immense joy to see them discover new skill and interests, and that their little faces just make me happy to look at each day. Once again I have appreciated the love and relationships we share with in our families and just how lovely and joyful life is when you notice and appreciate the small and simple things that season the daily (sometimes mundane) routines of weekly family life!
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