When cousins come to stay (or just play for that matter), my food supplies deplete significantly, our home becomes untidy (insert trashed), and my ears ring with all of the extra noise and madness! We often joke in my family that when we have any of the nieces or nephews over collectively, It’s like a swarm of locusts have invaded our houses!

When cousins come to stay, the kids turn extra nutty and wild, and talk super loud and fast. When bedtime rolls around it’s like an invite to party for them all! And when cousins come to stay, they chat all night, and all they want to do is all be squished into one bed or den they previously made for the occasion.

When cousins come to stay, we get extra treats, we watch films and we have lovely walks. They play outside for hours, play lego and invent games and scenarios!

And when cousins come to stay I rarely see much of anyone because they are so engrossed in their games and clubs, and in their play and laughter, that they think it is completely the best thing ever and mum is only needed for food and snacks (Hello Locusts)! My Kids love each of their 14 cousins, they are their little playmates and these are the ordinary moments of when they get together with any of them.

This weekend, Ethan and Megan had 3 of their cousins come to stay; 2 on Friday til Sunday as my sister and her husband enjoyed some kid free time celebrating their 10th Wedding Anniversary, and then one tonight whilst my sister works a night shift at the hospital. And whilst it is all very chaotic, later than we would like nights, and food depleting by the second, we love that they have such a great bunch of cousins on each side and can spend time with their special friends. We love to see the growing bonds, the friendships, the understanding simply because they come from the same nutty family and we love time to get to know our nieces and nephews and have funny chats, and build memories.

Yesterday we took the kids and their 2 cousins to Burton Agnes Hall here in East Yorkshire, and let them run wild in the grounds for a couple of hours. It was a lot of fun in a beautiful place, and despite the madness of the weekend, we are all grateful for the extra fun and general ordinary moments we get to have when cousins come to stay with us.

The Ordinary Moments
Follow:

Every half term we tend to get together with the kids cousins on Nathan’s side of the fam, to play, have an outing of some description, and generally catch up. This October however, we thought we might miss out on the fun and our ordinary moments of cousin time, when we realised that with moving house our half terms were different! Thankfully (and thanks to a training day on Friday), our half term started a day early, and on Friday we were able to head down the road to Grandma’s house to see everyone and grab a piece of the action.

The plan was swimming and baking, yet as soon as we arrived, they all headed straight out of the door to the bottom of the garden to play in their newly built “Pirate Ship”! Here they spent a good couple of hours with one another playing, working together, chatting and hanging in their den. They played Pirates and generally just spent some quality time unplugged and outdoors with some of their best friends! Ethan was completely in his element… shifting hay bales, making plans and going wild!

It was great too because I had one of my sisters boy’s over, and it was nice they could all mesh together. After a fun morning of piratey play, we headed to the Swimming baths (6 adults and 11 kids) for more nutty fun, before returning to Grandma’s to decorate gingerbread bat biscuits and have dinner!

I love days like these. I love to see my nieces and nephews on both sides of the family, and catch up with our families. They are so ordinary I suppose, and so frequent, and yet they are nearly always moments of Joy for us all too. We love any reason to see cousins, play at Grandma’s, and have fun in the new pirate ship!  I always hope when I see them laughing and harmonious, that they will best friends throughout their lives to help and strengthen one another!

 

The Ordinary Moments
Follow:

I have avoided my blog this week as I have just felt utterly exhausted. It is a feeling that is all too familiar, and a tiredness that comes as a result of my heart being sad and my head trying to accept the news of loss. You see on Tuesday my dear Granddad passed away – he went home, and I’ve felt pretty numb and melancholy ever since.

I do not cope well with loss, I mean who does? But for me it resurfaces the pain and emotions I work hard to suppress and keep a lid on day in day out. I find that grief for new people takes me back to places I do not want to go and I end up having a mess of the sadness of them mixed in with the sadness of losing my baby and others. Therefore other than a sentiment on my social media, I have avoided talking about it with few people aside from my Mum, Dad, Nath, Sisters and Cousins, and have done well not be too emotional though I do feel so inside!

I now find it rather odd to now be writing about all of this under the heading of an “Ordinary Moment”. Everything about my granddad is far from ordinary; he was unique and one in a million, and his passing is far from an ordinary event or moment in life, but has been the main event of my life this week. To lose someone that was such a mighty presence in our family stands alone as a moment that is both incredibly sad and heartbreaking both in our family, and news that radiates to be sad to many that knew him.

I find that life is made up of moments that on the surface may be seemingly ordinary to others and yet are huge to us. We are a close family, he was a great example to us…a strength, friend and teacher to us all and this week has been full of moments that have been made better by my family, as we all share in the same love and appreciation for who he was in each of our lives. He was funny, and one of the greatest men we have been blessed to know. My sister summed it up perfectly when she said “To know granddad was to love him…our loss is heavens gain” – how very true!

I have felt sad but have enjoyed a week of laughing with my sisters, cousins and family all the same as we have shared our treasured memories and stories of this great man we were blessed to call “Granddad”. Reminiscing is good for the soul, as is being with the great family that have come as a result of 2 people falling in love (possibly around) sixty something years ago (?!).

I love my cousins; they are some of my closest friends and I have felt blessed that that relationship has meant we can lean on one another through messages, chats and long afternoons sat on the beach! Apparently I am not the only one that finds solace and comfort in the beach when my heart is aching as yesterday some of us gathered to the coast where we have fond childhood memories with family and grandparents and we had a beach day. Some went in the sea whilst others just sat with snacks and the kids looking out to sea and chatting and laughing about all sorts. We then ate dinner together and laughed some more.

How grateful I am for cousins, sisters, aunts, uncles, beaches and of course parents that can share in these memories of someone so special to us all. How grateful I am for great teachers and examples in my life in the form of Grandparents.

With loss on my mind and in my heart it is hard to find meaningful things to talk about on my blog right now, I have a few reviews I need to process this week and we are moving Thursday and Friday so it will be a really odd and busy week. But I will tell you that my Granddad was such a mighty presence in our family, and thus will be a great absence, and that is very sad news to accept. And whilst it has been a week of not sleeping properly and feeling out of sorts with this news, and knowing I must grieve at some point soon, thus resurfacing sadness already present, it has been a week of feeling incredibly grateful for the gift of such great grandparents, and friends in my sisters and cousins all of whom have given greatness to my life and are an example of the roots we share!

 

 

Follow:

I was surprised by how little we did this half term, especially as I was very eager to have the kids home again and get out on some autumnal adventures and museum visits. I imagined a fun packed week cramming in days out all over the place and gallivanting around Yorkshire together, but it wasn’t like that at all.

Whilst we did enjoy a day at the pumpkin patch midweek with friends, and a walk last weekend as a family, the majority of the “half term week” has been taken up chilling out together and not doing anything really at all very memorable. I think it was plain to see early on that whilst excited to be off school for a few days, and with every intention of having an adventurous week, both of them are still adjusting to the demands of school life and just welcomed a rest from any type of schedule as opposed being flung into a packed week.

And so with that, and when given the choice, they opted for a movie day and wander around town before making plans later in the week to meet up with cousins at Grandma’s (And when I say plans I mean we just all flocked on the same day – there was no real plan)! It turned out to be one of my favourite days though, it was nothing special just a quiet play day at Grandma’s. An opportunity for my kids to catch up with their cousins and for us all to enjoy some time with family.

20161030_183820

Ethan enkoyed a few hours out to celebrate his birthday with his grandma, whilst Megan played and I caught up, shopped briefly, and chatted at lengths about all sorts with my sister in laws. During all of this there were a couple of moments that caught my eye and that made my heart feel all warm inside…moments that made me happy for cousins! The 1st was when I heard little Megs discussing death and heaven with 2 of her cousins – their simple yet passionate perspective on the subject and what it meant to loose a sister and Grandpa was very very sweet. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw her sat so seriously and saw each of them so deep in thought.
The next moment was a little more trivial but equally as sweet, and it was when they all giggled together as one suggested the idea to build the track around the sleeping baby…

20161028_125138 20161028_125257

I have spoken before on the bonds and love my kids have with and for each one of their cousins, and I love how excited they get to see them. I love the moments where they laugh together or share whats in their little souls plainly displaying the trust and friendships the have. And I love quiet and chilled days at grandma’s where they are able to create these ordinary moments to look forward to next time.. moments like having a pancake breakfast together, followed by the ordinary moments of tractors in the garden, den building, mess making, drawing around grandma’s table, stealing nuts, building train tracks and watching “Shaun the sheep”!

Half term wasn’t anything particularly adventurous this time but it was a welcomed rest spent with special people, and as they have a bonus day off tomorrow we are all excited to see their other cousins and grandparents for lots more chats and chilled out family fun.

Follow: