My husband plays rugby so is out on a Tuesday night training, he plays all day Saturday & drinks with the boys in the club on a Saturday night and he meets with his school mates for drinks on a wednesday night. For ages, I didn't have a weekly night out at all. Then I thought what the hell am I doing... I need a night out too. Nothing too crazy as I am still breastfeeding so I know I'm going to have to get up in the night. However, a few hours to myself away from home is sorely needed. So Mum's movie night was born. I go every Thursday to the movies with my sister in law. She is also a stay at home mum with 2 kids so totally understands the need for a weekly activity that is cheap (we're both surviving off one wage after having had two for a long time!!) and guarantees a good time is had by all (those few hours are too precious to waste). It is brilliant. We take turns picking each other up, go via the drive thru to get a nice latte to take in and go to see all the cheesy girlie movies that you'd never get to see if you went with your husband or of course the ones with really nice lookin fellas that you can swoon over for a few hours. Last week we went to see Mamma Mia for the second time. I loved it. It's such a feel good movie. The whole cinema actually started clapping and cheering when it finished. I spend the whole film crying ( I don't know why really because I felt good watching it... I think it was all the stuff about friendship and mums & daughters). I'd recommend movie night to anyone. It's perfect for losing yourself for a few hours. However, you will be put striaght back in charge the moment you walk through that door. The only way for a complete break is to have a night away in a B & B. This is something else that I occasionally do for myself. Not very often because it takes so much organising (expressing and freezing breast milk etc). But every now and then I book myself in a little luxury B & B in the country somewhere and take off for the night. Sometimes I take a friend, sometimes I go on my own. I have a lovely dinner somewhere, take a walk in the country, read without interruption, have a long hot bubble bath and dry with fluffy white towels, sleep in crisp white cotton sheets, wake refreshed for a breakfast cooked for me and go home totally missing them like mad. Anyway, the point of this post is to remind myself that when it all gets too much, when I'm feeling totally stressed, unappreciated and lost - I must take a break. A break is good for the soul and helps to remind you to be grateful for what you have. As soon as you're away.. you miss them.
We recently went on a camping trip to North Wales. We try to go at least once a year with my sister in law, her husband and their 2 kids. It's always difficult to match up a free weekend with them and the weather has not been great. However, we managed to set a date and agreed we'd go whatever the weather. I always try to make the camping trip as special as possible and it was my husbands birthday so I had to double my efforts. I spent the weeks before surfing the web for camping ideas. Here's what I came up with:
For the kids:
- Campfire wishing powder (a mix of salt & sugar which when thrown onto the fire at the same time as making a wish gives off coloured sparks) - we've had this for the last few years and the kids love it.
- Coke can lanterns: Coke cans were split using a penknife to create a sort of chinese lantern in which you place a tealight, attach to a scavenged stick with a little screw in hook (brought from home for this very purpose) and then the kids can hold them whilst sitting round the fire or for going on night time adventures.
- Toasted marshmallows - another must have
For the grown ups:
- I made a massive pot of chilli which I had to carry for 3 hours on my knee as the car was so jam packed with our kit there was no room anywhere else for it. I also took my bargain find old fashioned jam preseving pan (a gigantic pan with a cauldron style handle) which was suspended by rope (my brother in law is our very own Ray Mears and always come prepared with numerous knifes, ropes, tarpaulin etc) over the campfire. The chilli warmed on the fire perfectly and we all ate like kings (why is it food tastes so good outdoors?).
- I bought my husband a hammock for his birthday which we attached between 2 trees next to the river near where we pitched our camp. We spent some lovely lazy hours just swinging watching the wildlife & boats. The kids also had great fun all getting in it together and playing magic carpets (they have great imaginations).
We had a lovely time playing about in boats, swimming in the freezing cold river, playing tug of war (my brother in law brought a rope especially for this purpose, learning to tie survival knots and singing round the campfire (my husband plays guitar). The only downside was we got told off by the camp warden for laughing too loudly ( can you even believe that!!!!!)
It's been a week for immunisations. My little boy had to have one. He is a brave little soldier. His bottom lip came out but he didn't cry. This time I didn't cry either. All the other immunisations I've welled up myself. My daughter has to have her preschool booster anytime soon. I haven't told her yet. I'm still trying to decide whether to tell her and prepare her or just turn up at the doctors and then spring it on her. I'm thinking the former but then again I don't want her to worry unnecessarily and she is a worrier. On the other hand she is so intelligent and I feel maybe I should tell her what is happening so she can deal with it in her own way. I've got to work that one out in the next few weeks.
She's been back to the dentist and had her filling and she was a star.....