As we headed down the M62 on Saturday Morning I witnessed a rare occasion between my oldest 2 of love, friendship and harmony. It began with a sweet little voice saying “Let me help you Megan”, and was far from the usual battles, screeches, crying and fist fights we experience on journeys any longer than 10 minutes!

“Let me help you with your reading, your sums and your writing” he said, and she agreed! They giggled, praised and even had brief moments of silence whilst they concentrated on the “tricky” words and sums and it was one of those moments where family life just feels wonderful and the universe is in harmony. It’s a moment you look at and wonder why everyday isn’t this lovely? And why are these moment feel so brief and rare? It was an ordinary moment, something easily overlooked but one that made us smile to see them being the best of friends! It was an ordinary moment you imagine when you dream of your family and soon realise it is very rarely this normal!

Theses two go through phases (as most siblings do) of either being little nutters and the best of friends, or winding each other up and fighting – there is rarely a middle ground and both extremes send me mad! Then there is the fact that Ethan is a school year older than Megan, and Megan being at the younger end of hers, obviously isn’t anywhere near Ethan’s level of understanding and ability. Ethan knows this and has a tendency to pick on her, laugh at her and shout the words out before she has a chance to decode them in her reading book. It makes me sad and snappy, whilst he finds it hilarious, and whilst she gets mad and upset. It so annoying and revenge is always just around the corner from Megs!

I laughed when the school suggested I get him to help bring her on at home with her reading, writing and numbers, because I knew what a mean big brother he could be to her and I thought it would be counterproductive and end in tears…but Saturday proved to be quite the opposite, and even more amazing was that it came from Ethan as a desire to help his little sister, and Megan was so chuffed with what she was doing!

Our Saturday was far from the action packed day we had originally planned due to a family emergency, but it was a day of great importance/necessity and family time all the same. Whilst I can’t wait for a 7 seater again (for longer journeys especially), to give them a little more space (because the scraps they have are painful to listen to). Looking over my shoulder and seeing their cute little smiles, and being a witness to the love and bond between them in that moment was just beautiful.

It so often seems that its all about the he said, she said, and it drives us mad! I forget how good these too get a long the majority of the time and it is always a lovely and heart warming moment in life to be reminded of that and see your kids getting along. It is a beautiful moment to see them helping one another, laughing together and praising each other. It’s lovely as a parent to hear the sweet and mighty words of “Let me help you”…

The Ordinary Moments
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I have so many memories associated with the city of Leeds. From McDonald’s Milkshakes and chatting to homeless people with my dad as a 5 year old, to visits of my cousins at probably the same age! Then there are all of the shopping trips with friends, The dates, Theatre visits, meals and Karaoke nights and general hang outs in my 20’s, to more recently the countless adventures with my little family. Leeds has been my home for the last 9 years but with our impending move, we are coming to the end of an Era.

I have loved Leeds for about 12 years, and when I had an opportunity to move here in the summer of 2008 with my best friend (and now Sister in law) I grabbed it with both hands and never looked back. It is a city I know well. A city I feel at home in and a place that has evolved and changed a lot even in the few short years we have been here. I suppose that in itself is very representational of how I too have done the same from being here in its midst.

Leeds is where we dated, where we became parents and where we built a home together. It’s a place I will remember with fondness for all of the adventures in my 20’s to the adventures with my children from being small to now. But our time now is coming to end and it feels strange…a little emotional, but most definitely right for us. I will miss so many things about living here, and of course so many people too, but what we are moving onto is something we hope will be great for us all, and better for our future and general lifestyle.

And so yesterday, with our move hopefully just a couple of weeks away, we spent one last day together down the familiar bustling streets of Leeds. We visited the shopping scene, ate at Subway, and wandered around the market… just one last time as residents of this awesome city. We spoke of memories here, and acknowledged that this quite possibly is the last time in a long time we will be here together as a family. We remembered how we would visit Lush, The Lego Shop and Apple store as an ordinary day out on the train before the kids started school. We remembered the weekly museum visits when they were little and how the city changes with each season. We remembered friends past and present and the great times we have shared with them. And we lapped up our ordinary moment of city living one last time.

Over the next few weeks we will be packing, moving and starting a new chapter. Life in Leeds will be a thing of the past and any future visits will be as guests! It has been a chapter and series of chapters that have been jam packed with beautiful memories and incredibly hard times too. A chapter of great lessons, falling in love, changing and personal growth. Chapters of friendships and lost friendships…laughter, tears, heartache, more love, babies and copious amounts of fun.

Leeds is where I became a mother 4 times over, where my children learnt to walk and talk. It is where I made great friends and grew in numerous ways. It is where we faced huge struggles but also felt abundantly blessed and happy. It has been home to our ordinary moments for so long, but it is now the end of an era.  And whilst we are excited to move house, I am pretty sad too to be saying goodbye to this City I love so much!

I will miss the spontaneous fun of jumping on a train and being in its heart in 10 minutes. I will miss lunches at Costco and browsing round the markets with friends…the museums on our doorstep, and Ikea and the Cinema 5 minutes from our home. I will miss city life, but I am excited for country life. This has been a great adventure of wonderful highs and incredible lows, and the time is here that we must move on and forward in life away from its familiarity, and it has never felt so right. Its the end of an era and goodbye to our ordinary…but it is also hello to new adventures, friends and memories yet to make.

The Ordinary Moments
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As a stay at home mum my days are spent with our little ray of sunshine, Alice. It has, and still is a huge adjustment to have gone from 2 crazy energetic kids to one small chilled out baby. I love my role, but some days do feel a little bit of drag. Most days though I enjoy the freedom, feel blessed to have this time with her and love the time to get things done together.

Like both of her older siblings, parents and the majority of our family, she LOVES her food. Weaning has been straightforward, easy even, and she will eat pretty much anything! I have gone from buying mostly jars and pouches in recent weeks (convenience) to serving up whatever we are having. That or left overs from the day before, and its working so much better (and she loves it all the same)!

With meal time being one of her favourite times of day (to the point that she will cry when I say “all gone”), I have noticed that as I sat her in her Bumbo seat (and now her high chair), she starts to dance. Like a little dinner dance.

It begins with a few leg kicks, some bum bounces and ripples up to her arms before a little squeal is let out. With eyes fixated on my every move, her little body wiggles around in anticipation for what will be served up today, and I can’t help but smile at how excited she is.

Once the food arrives, and as she enjoys each morsel, the dance goes from a full body zumba-esque to a simple toe tapping. It has kind of become a joke with us all – “ay up the toes are tapping, dinner must be ready” (said in a forced Yorkshire accent)!! And It’s all rather cute and joyful.

It is one of those things that make me smile each meal time, and one of the many ways she brings joy to our home.

There really is nothing cuter than a little baby dancing for her dinner. It is an ordinary moment in our days together, an ordinary moment at meal times, and something I don’t remember the others doing. I hope I always remember her doing it though and especially the joy and laughter it brings to us all! Thank you Alice for your love of food and dancing tendencies to brighten our days.

 

 

 

The Ordinary Moments
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I can’t remember a time recently when we have spent a Saturday locally. For so long our weekends have been packed with visiting family, days out to wonderful places and just being super busy. This Saturday however was not, and we welcomed a day to hang out locally, do very little and just be drifters!

We decided (at the request of the kids) to hit up the Odeon and watch “Boss Baby”, which has proved to be a great bribe at bed time this week, and turned out to be both funny hilarious and heartwarming. It was super chilled and just a lovely morning together. Alice did fab, the kids sat throughout and we all enjoyed ourselves.

By the time we came out, it really felt like Spring was in the air, and so we made a plan to nip home, park the car and grab the scooters! We went out on a mission to have fun in the park and for them to try out a few skills at the skate park. It was a lovely walk/run down, some more laughs, a few naughty episodes and a brave a little boy taking the plunge. Megs saw some mates, and we wound up in town for a spontaneous wander around the “St Georges Day” event.

I find that a lot of weekends we over plan or try to cram so much in. We get over excited and always have a million things we want to do, so moments where we have a break…time to hang locally and drift a bit is just lovely. It was nice to be reminded that some Saturday’s can be just as great spent locally, doing our ordinary little things, down our familiar streets, town and park. Moments spent doing the same things we have done so often since they were little. I just love the excitement as they whizz fearlessly down the pavement to town, and I love the loud laughter coming from the dark chairs of the cinema – ordinary moments I hope we will have many more of!

The Ordinary Moments
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