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
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It feels like it’s been ages since I wrote an Ordinary Moments post. Remember my weekly blogs that talk in more depth about those little regular and ordinary moments in our lives that make life what it is? The moments that make you smile, and the moments you notice your children grow, achieve and change. The milestones and the traditions, the little habits of the family unit and our little ordinary love’s that day in day out all seem just that – so ordinary. But when focused on and remembered, accumulate to become the grand picture of life together!

We have had a rather extraordinary few weeks, and I suppose when you are busy packing for a holiday, and travelling, life is far from the ordinary and as a result those things are just taken for granted or overlooked. Life is dominated by the new, and the exciting and the ordinary moments just go with the flow. It’s only now as I look back on these weeks and adventures that I see that there was one obvious and constant ordinary moment that couldn’t be overlooked. There was one particular thing that throughout all of the new, all of the excitement and long drives from state to state that was ever present, and it was the thing that everyone noticed and commented on (aside from our English accents), and that was our little Daddy’s girl – Miss Alice!

I often joke with people that once I finished breastfeeding her at 9 months, that she deemed me as useless to her and began to gravitate towards Nath. But seriously, I swear she just tolerates me during the day til he comes in from work, and will often squirm when I pick her up or just scowl at me and toddle off!

We of course have lovely moments during the day; our silly mad moments of laughter and play, and we take wanderings around the village and adventures on the train. We have little dance sessions in the kitchen or lounge, and fun with snacks and games. But it is plain to see that despite these moments, she would much prefer to have her Daddy rather than Mummy, and that is just the way it is!

When she’s sad it’s always “Dada” first before me, and when he leaves the room she chases after him in a mad panic.

She cries when he goes to the bathroom (and waits outside if she can), and is heartbroken when he goes out to work.

She repeatedly kicks me out of the way if he brings her into our bed for snuggles, and dhe literally sprints to the door when she hears him return from work or a trip just to the car.

Alice will follow her daddy with her eyes around the room whilst he goes about his business and soon as he makes a wrong move, she jumps down to investigate where he went.

She is always watching, always wondering, and always following after her Daddy!

As soon as Nathan is in the room she lights up and a huge grin spreads across her face. If she is able to then she will run to him, and if not she whines with outstretched arms and wriggly legs; beckoning to him to come get her! When he picks her up to his 6ft 3 height, she nestles on his chest and looks so smug  snug!

She wants to be by his side always, or up on his shoulders, or just sat on his lap. She yearns to have him hold her in his arms and whatever he is doing she just wants to be a part of it.

She is allowed to play with his watch, his phone, and whatever she wants really. All she has to do is look at him with her pouty lips and big blue eyes, and much to her siblings dismay, will usually get her own way because she’s just “so cute”!

At bedtime she will lay in her cot crying “a-dada….dadaaaaa” until he comes and reassures her. If I go into her she is more sad, and then points at the door asking where “a-dada” is?!

She misses him when he’s out of sight, and adores to have him near when he’s home. She is the ultimate Daddy’s girl and is most content when by his side – it has been a dream for her to have him “home” for the last 2 weeks!

Megan and Ethan didn’t particularly favour either one of us in such a fierce way as Alice does with her Daddy, and even now it’s whoever didn’t say no, or made them do a chore that is the fave (it changes hourly)! But Alice on the other hand is all about Nathan, all of the time and has been for a while. Everyone sees it and most people comment on her being “A daddy’s girl”! Even from being with us for even a short few hours (sometimes minutes) they start commenting on how Alice is “A daddy’s girl”, and we all laugh and nod along that she totally is.

To us it is ordinary now – she adores her daddy and wants to be with him always and he is often the answer to her tears and despair! He is way softer with her than he was with the others and will often give in quicker too. He panders to her more than we ever did with Ethan and Megan, and it’s plain to see that the tiniest member of the family has him round her finger and wrapped up in her heart!

I find it quite funny sometimes, but mostly I love the ordinary moments of seeing Nathan with his cheeky little “Daddy’s girl” by his side! Its really cute and beautiful and also is rather convenient at bedtime and when we are out as it means I am hands free!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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This weeks ordinary moments is less about what I have to say and more about what there is to see, because in these pictures, the moments speak for themselves!

I took them on Wednesday morning, when like many around the country we woke up to lots of snow! Unfortunately our school was still open, but there was the added bonus that they didn’t need to start until 10am. That extra hour felt like such an adventure, to have time together in the morning to take it easy, and get kitted out and play in freshly fallen snow before school – it was brilliant. We decided to walk via the fields and it was a lovely adventure. When we came out on to the green, most of the village were in such good spirits meeting and greeting one another, and it made for such a fab morning!

We saw people pulling kids to school on sledges, kids laughing and beaming, and teachers off school having snowball fights on the green with the kids (and each other). There were snow angels and it was just a special day of beauty and joy despite the freezing cold.

I look at that day and see a fantastic ensemble of the ordinary moments of snow orchestrated by “The Beast from the East”!!!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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Yesterday morning was a lush day when we took a lovely family walk along the cliff tops at Bempton on the East Yorkshire coast. I haven’t been up there for years, and whilst there was a rather nippy wind blowing, the skies were blue, the sun was shining, and the kids were in great spirits. It was a great moment to share together following a hectic week, just being chilled and having lovely chats!

Owned by the RSPB it is a lovely spot to see over the surrounds bays of Filey and Flamborough for miles, and catch a look at sea birds in their natural habitat. They are over 300 m high and on a clear day like yesterday it just feels like such an impressive spot to be looking way down to the waves below, out to sea, and generally around the coastline! I used to often go as a teen with my own family, and it was great to introduce this beauty spot to the kids!

Alice is our main bird lover in the family (though we all seem to love being in nature). “Bird” was one of the first baby signs she mastered, and uses it daily even now. She often will get mega excited when she spots them flying in the sky or walking in the streets, and then points before making the sign. If she is near them then she chases them whilst pausing for a fit of laughter at how funny they are to her!

I love seeing their interests and personalities develop, and whilst we all love the outdoors, I love that this is a moment especially for Alice – our little bird lover!

Because the kids love creatures, and we are all great lovers of the outdoors, this year it just made sense for us to join the RSPB and have some lovely walks and up close experiences with nature. I liked the idea of helping preserve these lovely habitats, and that the kids could get a monthly magazine to read about seasonal animals and bugs, and that together we could go on the hunt for more wildlife in our local area. I thought it would be especially lovely in the Summer for our days out, and a great thing for Alice and I to venture out to on school days too. Its a great way for them to grow in awareness of life cycles and things, as well as a respect for nature and wildlife.

I like to imagine these up coming ordinary moments, and perhaps her growing excitement to go see the birds and wander the cliff tops of Bempton together with a little picnic!

It feels a little strange to be doing with the kids all of the things I enjoyed in my younger days, but then I love it too because it means that in these ordinary moments of family cliff top walks, I can share memories and tales of the ordinary moments of my childhood!

There is a lot of joy and peace in watching the birds and staring out to sea on a sunny day, and doing that with our little faves made for such a beautiful and relaxed morning together. The kids loved running and exploring, looking at the beautiful views and spotting birds! We cant wait for Summer when we can spend more hours exploring the coast and beauties of RSPB spots around us locally and further afield. The kids are so excited to go spot some puffins and invest in some binoculars, and I look forward to more moments where we wander along chatting and enjoying the outdoors together on sunny Saturday’s (or even midweek!)!!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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