Back to school – The child that’s left behind

Back to school – The child that’s left behind

With the rush of back to school and the pride I feel in seeing my beautiful babies growing up, there’s that little part of me that is feeling a Little melancholy.

My strong, kind and caring Garreth, the biggest of my babies, has started Year 9. The year he makes decisions that can affect the rest of his life.

My beautiful and caring Seren, my first daughter, has started Year 4. No matter which way I think of it we are getting closer to Secondary School.

My amazing and sensitive Macsen. Reception. He’s the first of mine I haven’t taken to the school gate on the first day of reception. Instead his taxi picked him up at 805am and I kissed him goodbye at the door of the taxi. It doesn’t matter though, he is attending a school he loves with the education he needs.

 

Enfys. Oh, my sweet, dear beautiful, Enfys. Her first day in nursery. Despite her development delay she was ready. The Friday before term started we received the confirmation that I:/ support would be funded. She has been met at the gate by a wonderful member of staff who has cared for her like her own, and by the third day she recognised her and waved before taking hold of her hand. Enfys has had such a huge journey to get here and she isn’t letting anything stop her.

Having these four at school, Anwen is the child left behind. Waving her siblings off every morning this week has taken its toll. She simply isn’t used to being on her own with just me for company.

In all the excitement of going back to school it’s easy to forget the child that is left behind.

Honestly? I’m looking forward to the adventures we can have together, just me and Anwen. We can be girls who do breakfast. Ladies that lunch. We can wander around the village doing nothing in particular. Things that were harder with the two of them at home.

My dear Anwen is about to learn the joys of a life when school runs aren’t so frequent. the joys of not having to be home within 2 hours to pick one of her siblings up.

So, while I say Anwen is the child left behind, she isn’t really. Yes, she is the final child left at home… but in no way is she the child left behind.

Things you didn’t know about raising many (but could probably guess)

Things you didn’t know about raising many (but could probably guess)

Raising children is a hair-rinsing experience. Raising a large family can be likened to a day out at the Zoo with a bunch of monkeys.

Watching old programmes like The Little House on the Prairie you would be forgiven for thinking that large families in one house always get on. While every night does consist of a whole list of good nights being said here are the things that it didn’t teach me.

You’re outnumbered

If you have never dealt with several children in public, I’ll tell you what it’s like.

Have you seen a farmer herding his sheep with his dog and moped? It’s like that, only without the dog… and the moped. You are outnumbered, outwitted and out of control. Just as you’ve gotten 4 of the sheep heading in the right direction, 1 decides the opposite direction looks more appealing.

Laundry is the bane of your life

Every family has plenty of dirty laundry but while their toads are manageable in our house the bottoms of the laundry baskets are proving elusive.

If my washing machine isn’t spinning, the tumble dryer is, and my kitchen always looks like a walk-in wardrobe.

I tried giving washing a miss one day. . . Never again. Dirty clothes spilled out of the baskets, across the landing, through the hallway and over the kitchen. How 7 people’ could make that much dirty laundry in less than three days eludes me.

Mealtimes resemble chinner parties.

These days it’s just easier to have everyone help themselves otherwise no-one gets a hot meal and we don’t sit down together.

There are 1.5 million plates, 2000 pieces of cutlery and 5000 cups that need washing after every meal.

Every evening, the dishes are a mammoth task, I’m tempted to start using paper plates.

Bath night sends shivers down my back.

Bath nights in our house consist of a production line. One in, one out, until everyone is done.

There are more semi naked bodies than you would find in a sauna and the laundry basket fills quicker than it’ll be emptied.

The shower gets turned off more times in 30 minutes than it rains in the UK every year. The shampoo bottle empties like a bottle of Malibu at a party.

In two words, it’s bedlam.

Raising many is a beautiful experience

It’s hard, it’s frustrating, it’s exhausting. But its also beautiful, rewarding and exhilarating.

The bond the siblings share is fabulous, and the love they share is obvious to anyone who meets them.

So, although it’s like herding sheep, with never-ending laundry baskets, and continuous dinner parties, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Large Family Holidays – A week at Wild Meadow

Large Family Holidays – A week at Wild Meadow

We have recently returned from a great summer holiday in a beautiful eco cottage set in the heart of the countryside.

 

About Wild Meadow

We found Wild Meadow by accident. It was mentioned by Helen at Treasure Every Moment and when I saw it I knew it was going to be our next holiday. Holiday homes within our budget that sleep 7 are few and far between, they do exist though, as wild Meadow proves. Should you need more space there’s even a Shepherd’s Hut available on site to hire separately.

Wild Meadow is located just outside Presteigne, Powys. As I explained to friends, it has the benefit of appearing to be in the middle of nowhere but not in the middle of nowhere.

It’s a beautiful cottage and the owners, Andrea and Jonathan, are truly lovely.  Me being me, I had to ask how, and why, they did it. It turns out they walked into it all by accident. The cottage took 3 years to complete and Jonathan, as a carpenter, did much of it himself.

 

There are so many opportunities to let the children run free at Wild Meadow. With hills to run up and roll down, traditional tree swings, a pond, and a vast meadow to explore. It’s just what large families need.

The cottage also boasts large family necessities including a washing machine, tumble dryer, and
a dishwasher. This meant we could pack light and still have clean clothes. Not to mention the time saved with the dishwasher – every meal is more a dinner party than a family sit down.

The Location

Wild Meadow is not far from the England-Wales border, 1 mile outside the border town of Presteigne.

There’s plenty of things to see and do in the area including walks, parks, castles and museums.

With our children, some things are still quite difficult. Enfys can’t walk that far and Anwen is still very young. Hiking is out of the equation (I’m not fit enough for a start!).

We did, however, make the most of the park at the Offa’s Dyke Visitor Centre, Croft Castle and Ludlow Castle and one of the farms in the area. The rest of the time we spent exploring the meadow.

Is Wild Meadow equipped for large families?

Yes! Definitely! The Cottage has 3 spacious bedrooms with 1 king bed, 2 double beds and a single. We didn’t use the downstairs double because Enfys and Anwen slept in a travel cot. There’s also the Shepherd’s Hut that can be booked separately which sleeps up to four people.

The convenience of a washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher just increases its positive values.

The space to run around outside means that the kids are never bored, and if the great British Weather plays a rubbish card there are plenty of toys, games and DVDs provided.

I will happily visit wild Meadow again. In fact, Jim has already requested we go around his 40th birthday in April which we’re currently looking into.

Five Tips to Get the Most Out of  Your Family Photoshoot

Five Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Family Photoshoot

Whether you have a special occasion to celebrate, or would like to include the new arrival on your family portrait, you might be thinking about a visit to your photographer’s studio, so you can commemorate the special moments, and remember how cute your kids were when you have to deal with teenage tantrums. Making the most out of family photoshoots is a challenge for most mothers. You will need to coordinate everything, and the results are not guaranteed. Below you will find some tips on how to get ready and get the best possible portraits on a budget.

Image via Pixabay

Browse Portfolios

To select the right family photographer for your family, you might want to check out different local businesses’ portfolios. Check the finish, the lighting, and the colors, and make sure you find something that resonates with your style and preferences. You will also have to check the pricing structure of the photographer, to make sure you don’t have to pay extra for prints and DVD-s.

Arrange Hairdresser Appointments

Once you have selected the photography studio or mobile photographer, you will be able to book yourself and your family members in for a hairdo. It is always best to get the kids’ haircut done first, as they can get moody, and might take longer to get used to it than you. Find a family-friendly hairdresser, or a mobile stylist, if your kids are nervous about going to the salon.

Get a Friend to Do the Makeup

If you want to save money on professional makeup, you can get a friend to do it. We all know that one person whose lipstick color is always perfect, and every hair on their head is in place. That person will probably feel valued if you ask them to do your makeup for the family photo, and they can later take credit in front of your friends for the quality of images.

Pick Your Clothes Early

One of the hardest things will be choosing the right clothes for everyone and matching the styles and colors. Check out Nicki’s for inspiration, and find the right style that resonates with your theme and family. It is important to have backup outfits if you have smaller kids, as they have a habit of making a mess of their clothes right before the photoshoot.

Choose a Theme

Image via Public Domain Pictures

Once you have the outfits and the hairdresser appointments sorted, you might want to choose a theme for your photo. It might be about the new arrival, everyone standing around, or a truly traditional family photo. From a bold family portrait to one representing family values and ties, you can get creative with your portrait theme and create a truly unique and meaningful image.

Whether you are celebrating the arrival of a new family member, or want to commemorate a special event in your family, such as going to nursery or Holy Communion, you will have to start planning as soon as possible. Choose your photographer, outfit, looks, and theme, and you will be able to capture the happiness and togetherness your way.

Family Relationships Are A Dying Art, Let’s Do Something About It

Family Relationships Are A Dying Art, Let’s Do Something About It

You often stumble upon people complaining about things such as dinner conversation, how it is a dead art and people need to learn to get off their phones for one moment and actually learn how to spend time with each other face to face. While those claims are not exactly baseless, the epidemic of looking down at your phone during dates and family dinners alike has spread all over the globe; there are more important things at hand which are suffering from the same kinds of problems. People often feel alienated by those closest to them, their wives, husbands and children often seem somewhat distant making it hard to keep up those priceless family relations which can help keep a family together for much longer than just until your kid celebrates their 18th birthday. Family life is starting to be a lost art, but we should not stand for it, if you need some ideas or inspiration as to what you can do to start rebuilding those waning bonds between you and your closest ones, then keep reading.


Image source: Pexels

Family activities

What brings people together more than spending time together? Not much, that’s the point. If you wish to get your family more involved, whether it’s your significant other or parents or children, you need to find some common ground. In this case, that common ground is something you can all participate in together, which will allow you to bond over random things and give opportunities to actually talk and interact. Of course, it might be hard to find something which everyone is interested in, but there must be at least something universal enough to get everyone on board. Movie night has been a family favourite for decades, regardless whether it’s at home on the sofa or at the cinema. The silver screen is one of the few things bridging the generation gap for several generations now, making it a pretty safe bet. Another thing which is almost certain to work is taking a day off for some minor family travelling. Traveling always fills us with that sense of adventure we miss in everyday life and going somewhere outside of your town is sure to present things in a new light.

Image source: Pexels

Heart is where the home is

No, you didn’t read that wrong. People often underestimate the importance of a home in which everyone feels at ease and ready to rest. Unless you have a homely and comfy home atmosphere in your house, chances are the post-work or post-school stress and tension doesn’t go anywhere even if you’re back home, and we all know people are usually most willing to open up whenever they are relaxed. Of course, easier said than done, but with a few improvements here and there and some quick furniture shopping on sites such as Danetti, you should be good to go. As we all know, like many things in life, setting the right atmosphere is all about the little things. Something as minuscule as new lighting or even just different light bulbs for your existing lights can work wonders. There is a lot you can do, so if you feel like delving deeper into some of them, feel free to read this handy article which goes through a few ways in which you add more homeyness to your house.