Category Archives: kids

TBTBlog – Logan in the snow

And we’re back for Throwback Thursday Blog! This week I’m feeling excited at the prospect of some snow. We haven’t had ‘proper’ snow here in a long while, a mere dusting every now and again, but I think the last good covering that hung about for a bit was in 2013. 4 years ago. That’s a long time. Where Kiba comes from in Germany, winter always consists of snow. Plus the cold. I remember when I spent time there for my first winter, and the day time temperature never got any higher than -10C! Now that was a shock to the system, but boy oh boy did I enjoy the snow! I’ll have to find you some photos for another TBT blog, although I did just find this one of Kiba taking a photo:

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Logan did see snow before 2013. In 2011 for his first Christmas at 6 months old we spent it in Germany. My parents came out beforehand for a visit, and then flew back home for Christmas. I do believe the snow had started to fall by then. We were flying home in between Christmas and New Year for a 2nd First Christmas with my family. As we got to the airport the snow was coming down thick and fast on top of a good layer already on the ground. Our flight was delayed, and we watched nervously as the snow continued to fall. After the plane was de-iced it turns out we were the last flight out, and then the last flight in to the UK, as the snow had begun to fall here too! Ours didn’t last that long though.

Fast forward to January 2013, Logan is 1 and a half years old. Snow begins to fall, and as it starts to settle, then accumulate, I think we all steadily got more excited.  We were living at my parents at the time, and they had huge patio doors, so I taught Logan something my sister and I used to do. Taking a cushion and lying down, looking up at the snow falling. It was always so pretty, and kind of magical, looking out for the largest snowflake. By the next morning we had a good amount, and the biggest child, Kiba, got let loose to go play while we watched from the warmth of the lounge!


It didn’t take too long to convince Logan to go out and have a play, and to inspect Daddy’s snowman! So we wrapped up warm and headed out, Mum meanwhile took photos of us from the inside, although I do believe she did come out with us in the end. I am also pretty sure we took the video camera out with us, so I shall have a dig about and see if I can find the footage for you all. For now, photos shall have to suffice!


I think Logan thoroughly enjoyed the snow, although was never overly keen on how cold it was! In 2014 (I think) my parents bought Logan a lovely green sled, and since forth it hasn’t really snowed enough to ever use it! Both kids would seriously love some snow. I lot of people hate the disruption it causes, but it really is remarkable, the joy it causes, and the sheer beauty of it. I’d love some snow! If we don’t get a good dumping this winter I will admittedly be disappointed. I remember the snow days and missing school to go and play, making snow angels. I’d be sad if my children won’t get that. In any case I’d love to go over and visit Kiba’s family next Christmas, or any after, as I know we’d definitely get some snow then! (And have I told you how amazing their Christmas markets are?!)

I know a few of my family and friends answers, but, who wants some snow?! There’s a weather warning this weekend for some, and I’ve personally got my fingers crossed! I’m guessing it’s something you either love or hate, what side do you lie on?

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Keeping the tradition of St. Nikolaus

Long time no see, huh? Sorry about that, seems I had fallen off the wagon a bit. I’m hoping that I can hop back on and get right on track, but realistically that may not be fully until after Christmas, as I am sure you all know, Christmas can be a very hectic time! Actually, today’s post is Christmas related.

As most of you know, Kiba is German. Before meeting him I had never heard of St. Nikolaus Day, despite knowing of St Nicholas; his origins and becoming known as Father Christmas. If you look it up you find that over Europe there are a lot of variations of how people celebrate this one legendary man with a lot of names. Basically though, St Nikolaus or whomever you call him, comes to check on children to see if they have been good, and leaves treats if they have.

“Sankt Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a stick (eine Rute) in their boots instead.”
– Wikipedia on Saint Nicholas Day in Northern Germany

I was introduced to this idea when I first spent time in Germany in December 2010, even though it is for children really, as I had never experienced it Kiba convinced him Mum that him and myself should get a little something. So we did. I got a cellophane bag filled with chocolate, and some money. Later when we picked up some of his siblings from Kindergarten I found out that even they celebrated, each child had a clementine. I thought this was a lovely thing to do, and knew I wanted to do it with my own children (I was pregnant with Logan at this point).

I don’t think we did it the year Logan was born, or even the year after, he’d of been too young to really understand, but after that Logan has chosen a pair of shoes or wellies to clean. He caught on quickly to chose the newest and/or cleanest pair to then pop somewhere for St. Nikolaus. We’ve never popped them outside as I’m sure with the weather here in the UK they’d of ended up soaked! Over the years he’s had a mixture of gifts, always a chocolate santa, some other chocolate like coins, and often a small present like a toy car.

This year both kids eagerly  cleaned some footwear and popped it out in the hallway. Once they were both fast asleep I split the chocolate coins, penguins and snowballs between them, and  both got a Lindt santa too. They were both up early and I heard many shouts of CHOCOLATE as they disappeared down the stairs with Kiba. Taya took no encouragement to dig right in, and Kiba had to confiscate her welly boot and bring them back upstairs to me! Unfortunately he left it within reach, so when I said they  could down while I got dressed (Kiba had left for work at this point) so as I came down the stairs I was greeted with a very happy toddler stuffing her face with a chocolate Santa!

When Logan was in Preschool I mentioned it to them, hoping maybe they’d look in to it and adopt the tradition themselves. They never did, but maybe I should have been more forthcoming and outright asked them? I’m too shy for that I think. However, that preschool closed, and is now run by a Montessori Preschool, which Taya will eventually go to when she turns 3. I think they’ll be quite happy to offer a clementine to each child, but we shall see. It’s actually kind of scary that that is only a year away.

I love having our St Nikolaus present as a family tradition, and it’s a perfect way to get the kids excited for Christmas, for the impending arrival of der Weihnachtsmann, Father Christmas, Santa, or whatever name you like to call him! I’m going to write another post all about some of our Christmas traditions, so look out for that, and in the mean time, tell me about the traditions you have in your family? Or between friends?

Klean Kanteens – Why I love them, and so should you!

A few years ago I can’t say I’d heard of reusable non-plastic bottles, let alone Klean Kanteen. I, like many, many others had grown up having plastic reusable bottles, and as a parent you are bombarded with loads of different options. Different styles, different volumes, different colours. You get the point. But as a parent, I realized that despite being reusable, they really didn’t have that long of a life, especially with kids. They’d break or be impossible to clean. I’d end up throwing them out and replacing them with an equally disappointing bottle. After Taya was born I discovered Babipur. You all know that of course, as I am slightly obsessive. Through them I was introduced to the world of Klean Kanteen, who make stainless steel drink bottles and food canisters. My initial reaction was how much?! and I kind of backed away from them. I was a product tester for another company at the time and got asked to try another brand of stainless steel bottles. Taya loves hers, and although initially I was impressed it did have one of two bad points. This made me wonder back to the KK’s (Klean Kanteens) and I read more and more good things about them on Babipurs facebook group ‘Babipur Hangout’. Eventually I asked for my first one for my birthday.

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I got the 12oz Wide Vacuum Insulated Cafe in Neptune Blue. I instantly fell in love. Not only is it a beautiful colour, but it is amazing! My only regret is that I didn’t get a slightly bigger size. For tea it is the right amount, but I’d never say no to more hot chocolate! Being insulated it keeps hot drinks hot for 8 hours, and cold ones for up to 24, and no, that is not exaggerating! It really does keep them that hot, that hot in fact that you’re better off making it at drinking temperature, so you don’t scald yourself! (The outside doesn’t get hot in any way, perfect to have round kids!) In the summer, My mum took the kids, my friend and I, and we went and watched the Red Arrows perform at the coast. I made myself a KK of tea at just before 9:30am. I had a few tentative sips enroute. By the time we got to the coast, parked and walked a long way back to clifftops due to awful parking (thank goodness for my Pride Connecta!), watched the Red Arrows and then by the time we got down on to the beach it was 11:35. Picked up my KK and took a swig. My Mum look absolutely horrified and said “You’re not still drinking that, it must be cold tea now!” I actually laughed. Passed over the KK asking her if she thought it was cold. She burnt herself. She was absolutely amazed at how hot it had kept it, and my friend was pretty impressed too. I know I’m a bit mean at letting my mum get burnt, sorry Mum, but a lot of people just don’t believe how effective they are!

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Technically it says you shouldn’t have milk in there, but it’s perfect for hot chocolate! One clever mama has said she’ll be filling up her kids KKs full of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve so it’ll be perfect temperature by the time they wake in the morning. Now I think this will be perfect for any parents who may need a coffee or tea fix ready for that early start. It’s kind of perfect for any parent really, being leakproof it can be chucked in your bag or under the pushchair, and is a staple on any day out over the winter for me!

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In the summer it keeps drinks cold too, so just as good for days out in the summer too. On Sports day I even put ice lollies in for Taya and her friends to have while the boys ran their races. I did have to cut them to fit, and they had started to melt, but I reckon with a slightly bigger KK and some ice they’d be perfect for taking icy treats out and about.

Lots of people use theirs to get takeaway drinks, I don’t as I can’t afford it mainly, but just think of all the cups you would be using then chucking away if not? With this, it’s just a simple clean where you take the lid apart, and then it’s ready to use again and again. All in all, if you are considering an insulated KK, don’t dither, just get one!

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Since my first KK I then wanted to get a reusable water bottle. I didn’t want to keep buying plastic bottles of water when out, so I asked for one for my birthday. I couldn’t justify an insulated one, although that would of been awesome, but I asked for the 27oz classic loop in tidal pool. It compliments my Neptune perfectly colour wise, which suits me to a tee. It has been great for days out! Kiba and I will generally share it, or use it for backup when the kids run out of their drink. With the loop cap it means that I can use a carabiner to  attach it to the pushchair when I’m using it. I’m normally quite bad at drinking enough, especially on days out, but this has helped me stay hydrated and remind the kids to also drink!

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I soon realized that I’d love the kids to have one each. Although I was a bit nervous at how rough they are with their belongings, I was getting sick and tired with how dirty Logans got, and how utterly impossible they are to clean. I haven’t made the jump with him yet, cost has prevented us so far, but my awesome friends got Taya her own for her 2nd birthday. She was gifted the Kid Kanteen 12oz Sippy, in school bus yellow, which is such a gorgeous colour. Taya is used to a 12oz bottle, so I wasn’t worried about the weight, as they are a bit heavy when full (be mindful of toes, Taya dropped her other stainless steel bottle on her toes and it hurt, a lot!) but as she was used to the straw on the other would she take the sippy spout? Nope! She downright refused it. I was slightly heartbroken to be honest. I then remembered I had a spare sports cap lid, and although it isn’t recommended for under 3’s I gave it a shot and…

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…Tada! She still prefers her other bottle, but she will use this one. And so will Logan, so I know he’d love his own. He has asked for one, and I really do want to get him one if budget allows us too. I’d probably get him a slightly bigger one as he does drink a fair amount. Being stainless steel they do not retain any smells, or flavours, which is amazing, as I am sick to death of the stink from Logans bottles. I think these would be a lot more durable too, all plus points that are pushing me towards getting him one. Plus, wouldn’t another look pretty in our collection?

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I have a couple of other Klean Kanteen items on my wishlist, particularly the stainless steel straws. Again, they’re reusable and have a silicone tip, and although they may seem expensive, by cutting out the need to use plastic straws feels like a big win in my eyes, and I am sure the planet would be thankful. Plastic one use items are making the news a lot recently as there has been a shift in way people see them, they are damaging to the environment, and now we have that chance to make a difference. I’d highly recommend in to looking in to reusable products, maybe not necessarily Klean Kanteen, but although they seem expensive, they are so, so worth it, for your benefit and the planets. Team Heberling are very much Team Klean Kanteen here, as well as Team Babipur and like to think that we try our best to do the best for our kids future.

Hope you enjoyed the blog, feel free to ask any questions, sorry if I waffled on a bit, hope I didn’t miss anything out!

Autumnal Chicken Pox Adventure

Wahoo! It’s finally half term! 10 days with both my kiddies lies ahead, alas I’ve caught some sort of lurgy along with Taya, but, I have to make the most of both kids being home, so as long as Taya is up for it, and Logan doesn’t catch it also, we shall be having lots of fun! Hopefully! 

Talking of the lurgy links in with today’s #ThrowbackBlog going back to October 2014. Logan caught chickenpox at the end of September. He wasn’t happy, he was very itchy and wasn’t impressed of being housebound. As he started to scab over we decided we just had to get out, but obviously didn’t want to go anywhere that we could pass on the pox. So we visited both the beach and the woods, the fresh air did us all the world of good and it was nice for Logan to burn some energy off. Today’s photos are from our trip to the woods. I actually believe they may have been taken on Kibas birthday.

We’re really lucky in that we live in an area that has loads of natural landscapes to explore. We have heaths, woods, marshes, broads, beaches and many green spaces to explore. The particular woods we went to this day was just a short drive away, we literally parked on the side of the road and wandered in to the autumnal sunshine streaming down through the leafy canopy. 



Logan decided to take his (plastic) sword along, I can’t remember the particular reason, he could of been a pirate, a knight or maybe hunting Dragons or demons. He had a great time whatever he was doing. He mainly followed Kiba around, who I’m sure was looking for decent trees to climb. Logan mainly used his sword for the many, many brambles that covered the woodland floor. It made it slightly tough going, but to be honest we didn’t wander particularly far, and just let Logan have free reign to explore the area. 

After a while Logan found some charred wood, where it was obvious that someone had either tried to make a ‘campfire’ or were just burning something. Logan loved playing with the ash, and using his sword to cut in to the softer wood, breaking bits off. He was getting pretty filthy as you’d expect, but as he was enjoying himself we let him get on with it. We’re fairly relaxed with mess as it is, everything, including clothes can be cleaned. 



He’s still pretty darn gorgeous whether picking his nose or covered in spots! I’m glad we took the opportunity to get out and grab some fresh air, you sure do get cabin fever when you’re stuck in with a sick toddler. I encourage anyone who has a kid with the pox, if they’re feeling up for it, grab some outdoor time, away from the public, you’ll all feel much better for it. When Taya eventually has chickenpox then we’ll be taking the same approach, sometimes you just have to blow away the cobwebs and germs! 

P.s. The photos have an older watermark on them, it’s actually logans footprint from when he was a baby! 

So much to do, so little time

I am still here! Promise. I’m slowly getting back in to the school routine, which also means getting back in to fitting play groups, cleaning, mealtimes etc around school drop offs and pick ups. Also, Taya seems to have given up her daytime nap unless we go in someone’s car, which suddenly means I have less time to myself, which, as most parents know is a valuable time to get on with jobs or hobbies. 

On top of everyday household jobs and playing I’m slowly trying to catch up on editing and sharing photos. It is a very long and slow job. A large majority of my “spare time” is used to edit photos. It feels like I’m slowly starting to make a little progress, but I’ll be very happy once I’m finally all caught up. 

I’m going to set myself a couple of goals, and hopefully they’ll help me to get back on track, feel free to nudge me if you feel I’m failing, sometimes I need a bit of a kick up the backside. So here goes: 

  1. Get back to doing daily German lessons. Before Germany I did a good few months of daily lessons, but once we were back I fell off the wagon. I admit to not doing one since despite adding it to my mental to do list. 
  2. More regular blog posts. I’d like to do a minimum of a post a week, but preferably at least twice. If you’ve got any ideas, suggest away, I’ll make a list of ideas so I can just choose one and hopefully never have that “what should I write?” moment.
  3. Take part in #Throwbackthursday. I did for a while, then once again failed to continue. I’m already taking part in Babipurs weekly Instagram Challenges so this is just another way of being more present on social media. 

I don’t want to set too many goals for now, as I think I’m more likely to fail if I do! So for now these will do. I think it’s enough and hopefully you shall see a lot more from me! 😁

On the subject of time, take a look at my photo clock! I got it for Christmas and only just sorted the photos out. Watch this space for it to finally get on a wall! 😜

A New Chapter (Poem)

The house is so much quieter
there’s a small person missing here
The toddlers searching round and round
hoping her brother will reappear.

The time has gone so very fast,
was it really 6 weeks break?
Their childhood is flying past,
so quick, it makes my heart ache.

He’s starting on another adventure,
he’ll learn so much and grow,
but that little hand this morning,
it squeezed tight, not wanting to let go.

I put a smile upon my face,
squeeze back, and give him a hug,
“you’ll be fine” I say,
while the words give my heartstrings a good tug.

He’ll be fine, I’ll be fine,
it just all takes time to adjust,
Every parent and child must take the leap
in the teachers hands we entrust.

These children of ours, our womb fruit,
who we’ve raised all these years.
They now have another guiding hand,
and the thought may bring on some tears

but remember, never forget,
that although time may fly,
they’ll be our babies forever,
sit back, take it all in, have a cry

make memories when you can,
snuggle up, play games, make art,
even if you do nothing special,
they’ll know you love them with all your heart.

The sleep thieves and I

Long time no see huh? I really do apologise and hope this post may explain, mainly to myself, why I’ve been utterly crap at doing anything the past couple weeks, and it also serves a huge, huge apology to everyone who has physically been with my grumpy arse, I’ve been in a foul and odd mood and I’m sorry if you got caught in it. I love you guys really. 

So, sleep thieves? I’m sure you all are aware of at least one in your life for some reason or another. I have 2 regulars, 3 if the kids each count as their own. The other is my Fibromyalgia, sometimes it causes insomnia, sometimes I’m just too damn uncomfortable to sleep, other times it’s the cause of medication. These past 2 weeks have been awful for sleep, and as you all know this has a great effect on yourself, and everyone around you. 

I’ve never understood “sleeping through” and the utterly ridiculous notion of expecting babies to sleep all night. It is not natural. They wake due to a biological design to prevent SIDS. Their stomachs are little and need filling up little and often, overfed babies “sleep through” due to their little bodies having to basically shut down so their stomach can catch up on digestion, it is not a sign of a good baby. It is normal for them to wake. I don’t know about you, but I still wake at least once a night, to pee, to drink or just because. So I’ve never expected the kids to sleep through, which they never have. I can count on both hands the number of times Logan has and a similar amount for Taya, although she did have a period of long sleep before the dreaded 4 month leap. These days Logan (6) goes to bed in his own room, and whenever he wakes, which can be anytime from 10pm through to 6am, he comes in to our bed for the remainder of the night. Taya (2) breastfeeds to sleep in the evening on the sofa with me. She’ll either stay in my arms or on a beanbag until we go up to bed. We co-sleep, we have her cotbed sidecarred to ours. There she’ll either sleep or sleep-feed all night. She’ll generally wake between 2 and 8 times. It can be tiring but it is so, so much easier co-sleeping, just roll over and pop a boob out, no need to fully wake up even. However the past couple weeks Taya has upped her waking to 10+ a night. It was so draining. I was exhausted, I was touched out, I didn’t want her touching me. But I kept reminding myself it is just a phase, it will pass. And it has, she’s slowly going longer again! I don’t see either of my kids ever sleeping through, but maybe they’ll get there one day, and if not it isn’t the end of the world. They’re only little for such a small amount of time, I’d rather cherish them, I’ll be able to sleep well in years to come. 

Old photo of our sleep setup. Taken at a ridiculously early time after Taya had a poonami. I still only get about the same amount of space.  

My second sleep thief, the one that causes the poor quality sleep is Fibromyalgia. I’ll go in to that in more detail another time, but just so you know now, I ache and hurt, a lot. I can cry from the painful aching at times, and getting comfortable at night is a never-ending struggle. 2 weeks ago I started to reduce my medication in preparation for changing to another, hopefully more helpful one. Whereas the actual aching and pain didn’t increase much (it hadn’t been working too well obviously!) the side effects, or withdrawal symptoms were horrendous. Despite the junior Dr telling me to just stop, I knew you had to reduce it slowly, although I could only do so 300mg at a time as she wouldn’t give me any lower, so I felt the effects. I’ve had a constant headache, I’ve felt sick, tired, grumpy, and I’m pretty sure I was a nightmare to live with. At night I was suddenly struck with more insomnia, I’d lie awake for hours, my anxiety would kick in and I’d worry myself to sleep. I’d wake up so sore from being in one spot for too long. I could go on, but I’m sure you get it, it was a horrible couple of weeks. I’m glad I’m finally off those tablets, and hoping that these new ones have a better effect. I can only hope. I still feel tired most of the time, a mix of my thieves all together and the general day to day aches take their toll, but I try and never let it slow me down. Sometimes I just have to, but mostly I smile and get on with it. 

So, here’s to some good nights ahead. I hope you all get some good sleep, even if you don’t get a full nights, make the most of the time you do get! Here’s some more photos of sleepy Taya, as I never tire of photos of her asleep 😍

Aren’t holidays supposed to be relaxing?

I don’t think we really did any relaxing, in our sleep perhaps, but most of the our holiday was packed with family visits and trips. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to do really, and next time we know for definite that we will do 2 weeks rather than just the 1. It flew past so quick, and after not seeing most of Kiba’s family for 3 whole years, 1 week really didn’t seem enough time. Despite all the visits I suppose you could say we did have some downtime, mainly while we were waiting for certain things, like people, transport for others etc. but compared to the complete full on craziness that is visiting family/kids/pets I don’t think it counts as relaxing. Even at the outdoor pool I don’t think I truly relaxed, who does with small kids and water?! However, despite all this I can definitively say that you do not need to relax to have a good time*. So, I’m going to give you all an overview of what we did in our week away, to give you a bit of perspective of our holiday and why we never got to relax, and how I managed to take 2,214 photos.

Day 1, travel day, 282 photos. Drive, ferry, drive. Read this post if you’d like more detail.

Day 2, 78 photos. The kids needed time to settle in to their new environment, so we took it pretty easy in the morning. We spent time with Kibas Dad and half sister. We met all their animals, dogs, cats, ponies, goats, geese, chickens and rabbits. Obviously Taya thought they were the best thing ever. In the early afternoon we went and said Hello to Kibas Mum, (and her husband, 3 of Kibas sister, 1 of his brother, and 1 of his nieces!) where I didn’t take any photos as it was all very over-whelming. I spent a majority of the time asking the kids to put a crying Taya down as she did not want to be picked up by people she didn’t particularly know. Again we met their animals, a large number of dogs, cats (including 13 tiny kittens!) and rabbits. Again, Taya thought this was the best thing ever. Logan not so much, he isn’t the biggest fan of dogs, but he surprised me by how he jumped right into playing with the kids. The language barrier really didn’t bother him. He did later tell me that he enjoyed himself as they treated him like a King, he didn’t even have to take his own shoes off! We then headed off back to Kibas Dads for a BBQ, and a short stroll up the road.

Day 3, 317 photos. We had a late morning after spending some time with Kibas Dad, but then headed off to Kibas brothers. From his we walked the 20-30 minutes in to the city. We had a good look around, and got some postcards, and then ice creams, as it was a lovely hot day! We then walked back to near his brothers to grab a kebab and play in one of the local parks. I’m surprised but Logan walked the whole entire time, he did moan, but he still had loads of energy left. Early afternoon we headed off to Kibas Aunts, to see her, his uncle and his two cousins. Taya was again ecstatic that they had kittens (She is a breeder!) and we had cake in the garden. We then walked to the local school to use their play area, football and basketball facilities. Logan definitely got rid of all remaining energy there! He was pretty exhausted that night understandably.

Day 4, 263 photos. It was a bit more of a dreary morning, but we decided to head up to Burg Plesse, or Plesse Castle, as despite always looking at it as we drove past, we’d never visited. Taya quite rightly kept calling it ‘Tangled’ as it has one tall tower, and is pretty impressive as well as being pretty old,  and the views were absolutely stunning! I wish we’d have visited it sooner, and we’ll definitely go again. There is a restaurant inside now, so you can only really explore the outside, but that was cool enough on it’s own. It soon started raining and we left to go back to Kibas mums for the afternoon, with lots of playing outside with the kids and dogs.

Day 5, 381 photos. In the morning we had a bit of a wait for Kibas Dads transport to arrive, but then we moved our cases to his Mums house for the remainder of the stay. After a quick play outside we decided to go to one of the many outdoor pools in the area. We took one of Kibas sisters with us and had a great time. I honestly have no idea why I have never been to one before, and can only hope that we can go back soon! Kiba and his sister loved jumping off the diving boards so I got some photos of them, albeit from a good distance away. Mr Skinny Logan was having a blast (although I forgot his goggles, bad Mummy) but he got cold very, very quickly. He needs some fat on him bless him! May invest in a wetsuit/drysuit to help him enjoy water play longer, as he loves it! So I ended up on the blanket on the hill, feeding Taya who soon fell asleep, with a wrapped up cold Logan next to me, watching the rain clouds roll in. Later we headed back to our new “home” for more outside play, where all 3 of Logan & Tayas cousins joined us, along with Kibas Sister and BIL, it got very noisy then, but was also a lot of fun.

Day 6, 325 photos. In the morning we let Taya have a play in the kitten room. I never said no to this, they were so, so cute! Later on we went in search of another castle, the castle ruins at Hardenberg. It was pretty impressive from the road, and it did take us a while to find out where to park, we ended up asking for directions. Obviously this wasn’t the most visited castle ever as the path around it was a bit difficult to navigate and was up on a cliff! I was very glad that Taya stayed in her Connecta! After a walk round, looking at the ruins and watching the lizards running we soon concluded that you couldn’t actually get in to the castle, unless on a tour, or for the registry office. Which was a shame, but we had a good wander nonetheless. Afterwards we went and picked up Kibas brother and headed off to his sisters (the one with the kids cousins, am I confusing you yet with siblings?!) for a BBQ. The kids had the most fantastic time playing with each other, they have a huge garden, where Taya fell in love with the trampoline (but only when she was the sole occupier!) and the food was delicious, with yummy ice cream afterwards! It was a thoroughly lovely evening, and probably the most relaxed I ever got.

Day 7, 97 photos. We visited Kibas Dad in the morning for a bit. I think we may have then been to ToyRUs possibly, I am not sure, I haven’t got the best memory and am admittedly using the photos to work out what we did when! We went back to base for a bit, before heading off to Kibas Aunts for a big family get together & meal. A very yummy meal at that. We also met Kibas grandfather, his Opa, who I have to say is a bit of a character! He’s one of these very typical older generation, with a bit of craziness mixed in, and the ever intense being that I feel I’m particularly sensitive too due to anxiety. Plus you know, the language barrier and the fact that Kiba used every opportunity to not spend with him, even if it left me with him! However, he did give us some money. We also headed back to the local school for more football, before finding a new play area which was lovely, and Taya had a good old swing while the big kids played basketball.

Day 8, 310 photos. Mainly a day of goodbyes and mixed emotions. Firstly was Kibas Dad. I think this was the toughest one, with him being terminally ill it was never going to be easy. Then it was back to his Mums for more playing in the garden, and the final sister had turned up too. We took a trip to their local playing field for football with Kibas siblings, Logan took an impressive tumble on the way and ended up with a mighty cut to the knee, which did bleed a lot. If you’ve seen us in person since we’ve been home I’m sure you know all about this. He’s worn shorts to show it off and is often accompanied with some oohs and aahs. It didn’t stop him joining in with the football though! After a good runaround we headed back, where the cousins and co turned up for a play and then their Goodbyes. I made a faux pas by spoiling a surprise, Kiba told me they’d be hopefully visiting us at Christmas. What he didn’t say was that it was a surprise. So I mentioned it to the eldest child. Oops. I feel terrible that I ruined her surprise, but I was genuinely excited too! (It was so Kibas fault!) Despite the people living in the house saying they’d be getting up in the morning with us to say goodbye there was still a lot of pre-bedtime tears too, and last minute gift giving.

Day 9, 161 photos. Drive, ferry, drive. Again, if you want to read about it in more detail then read this post.

So, a grand total of 2,214 photos later, and 9 days, we are home, and I think just about recovered from our adventures. I can’t wait for our next grand adventure as a family!

* I should really point out that growing up, we have never been a sit by the pool kind of family. We go somewhere new to explore and visit places. So maybe I don’t know what it’s like to truly relax?

The long road home.

So, we’re home! To be precise we got home at 22:40 on Sunday night, and since then it’s been a tiring blur of washing, tidying, shopping and play group this morning. Figured I’d give you a run down of our journey home today, and then shall do a rough overview of our holiday in another post. So, Sunday…

We’d set our alarms for 4am, with the aim of leaving the house by 5. The ferry wasn’t due to leave till 2pm, with boarding from 12:30, but with a 5 hour drive ahead of us we wanted to give ourselves an extra 2 hours for stops or traffic, and in the end it was a good decision. The family we were currently staying with, Kibas mum, her husband, 3 of Kibas sisters and one of his brothers, had all decided to get up to say goodbye so we attempted an earlyish night, which probably did not end up as early as we’d have hoped. 

I was rudely awoken at around 2am by a breeze coming from the previously closed window above my head. As I awoke I realised Kiba was standing there and as I asked what was up he replied with the short answer “I need to pee.” Ah. At his Mums to go to the loo at night meant going downstairs and getting through a room full of dogs that didn’t particularly like our night wandering, as we’d previously found out with many growls and barking, so I could see his predicament. I heard him attempt to get down only to retreat with the growls following him. After a bit more muttering and pacing he decided to pee out of the window, much to my amusement. It still makes me want to giggle thinking about it. 

4am came, and the final preparations were sorted. The goodbyes were hard and came with a lot of tears from Kibas mum and sisters, the hugs were long, no one wanting to let go. But 5am soon turned up and we set off, not long before the sun began to rise. I’ll admit that this time on the 5hr leg of our journey my tiredness got the better of me and I drifted in and out of sleep in between admiring the views, hoping it wouldn’t be too long before we were back. We took two stops along the way, first so Kiba could pee, and I could give Taya some milk, and the second as Taya was crying as she wanted to breastfeed again, and was getting quite upset. Luckily we’d allowed for extra time. 

We got close to the Hook of Holland before Kiba needed the toilet again, and we decided to get some food, so used my Google maps to find the closest McDonald’s. Now, if you haven’t driven over in Holland let me tell you now, the roads can be quite confusing! On a roundabout in most places you can go round and exit, in your lane, but if really need be you can change when safe to do so. In Holland you have one chance at choosing the right lane, as they are all separate, so we did go wrong a couple of times admittedly. Eventually we got to McDonald’s for around 11am, so we decided on an early lunch and quick play in their play area for the kids. By 12 we decided to head to the ferry. 

After checking in we surprisingly were allowed on straight away, no waiting about whatsoever. We were right near the front and this time remembered to take a photo of deck and coloured stairs so we wouldn’t forget. The only bad thing of boarding early meant we had a fair wait until setting sail, although even that was slightly early. We settled on the sun deck at first, after Taya had walked in to a post on the way there, (she has a tendency to not look where she is going) and Logan was thrilled that there was a ball available to play in the basketball/football cage. Taya was thrilled that she could open and shut the door of said cage. Taya then fell off the bench getting down off my lap, so wasn’t in the happiest of moods. We set sail and she wanted to breastfeed, so I ended up missing one of times I think is most exciting to watch overboard, leaving the port. It soon got quite windy and chilly, so we decided to venture inside and made our way to the playroom. I’m pretty sure Kiba had a good nap on the floor in there, Logan either played on his DS or watched the Curious George cartoons that they had on. Taya happily played. I chatted briefly on messenger and played with Taya. We stayed a good while before going for another wander, only to head back shortly for the children’s entertainment. 

This time it was an older gentleman called Adrian. He did a mix of magic, Punch & Judy (and the Dutch equivalent) and balloon modelling. He was a very interesting character who spoke his mind, knew his facts, and was very engaging with his audience. Logan once again managed to get picked, and came away with a pretty awesome balloon t-rex hat! Taya slept through the whole thing, she only fell asleep as she was hiding from Adrian, so it was worth going to see for both kids! 

We spent the rest of the trip in a space next to the stairs, as there were yet again no inside seats available. The kids thought this was great though as they could crawl under the stairs! They had fun chasing each other, looking through their books/magazines and playing with the playdoh grab bag I had bought them, and I also finally got Logan to write his postcards, better late than never! As we started to come in to port I took the kids for a walk on the sundeck, and let Logan have a quick kick about before heading to the play area, while waiting near the top of our stairs. Soon we were allowed down and we packed up in the car. It took forever to get off the ferry, for being nearly the first on we were left nearly till last to get off. And that’s where we began our wait. 45 minutes. It took 45 minutes to get through UK border control. Taya was miserable for most of it, and Logan fell asleep in that time! We were within the last 10 vehicles to leave the port. It was slightly ridiculous. 

Finally we were on the final stretch, less than 2 hours till home. We did stop off to grab a baguette and drink for Kiba and I. The kids had eaten all our snacks On-board the ferry, and we weren’t going to pay €5 for a sandwich! So we’d waited, and even though they weren’t the best, it was food and it was good. It gave us the final energy boost for the drive, before then I’d been struggling to stay awake again, but now I could keep Kiba company in the drive in to recognisable known territory. The light quickly faded, and we arrived home in the dark, just as we had left it. We got everything inside and it really didn’t take long before we all collapsed in to bed, deep sleeps all round.

Two days later and I still feel tired, and unorganised, but we’re slowly getting there, hopefully regular posts will also be back to normal soon. If you’ve got this far in yet another long post then thank you. 

A quick snap, I took a lot of photos, shall share some another time, so keep an eye out!

T-minus 1 week until 15hr+ roadtrip!

So, yea, you read that right. In one week, on Saturday, we’ll be setting off to visit family over in Germany for a week. We’ve decided to drive, for different reasons, but that does include a 15 hour plus trip. 2 hours driving, 8 hours on the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, and then another 5 hours in Europe, but that doesn’t include breaks, or leaving extra time so we won’t be late for the ferry! So next Saturday could end up being very interesting. Wish us luck. 

We’ll be spending the first part of the week with Kibas Dad and his family, then move on to Kibas Mums. They live pretty close anyway, but we wanted to spend some time at each. We haven’t been over there in 3 years. They’ve not met Taya, and we’ve not met their youngest member, the kids cousin, who is half a year older than Taya. Kibas Dad has visited us in this time, but he unfortunately is now terminally ill, and we’re not sure how much longer he has, so it shall be a bittersweet visit, especially as Logan doesn’t know, he only knows he is very, very poorly. This enough upsets him greatly. This does make me quite nervous on how Logan will react, as he is such a sensitive little soul, but, I’m glad there will be many distractions and exciting times and experiences while we’re over there. If they leave my side that is. You know kids with people they don’t really know that well, they’re like little limpets. I’m hopeful that my two will have their shy moments, but then warm up quickly, I mean, there is lots of kids and animals to be around, what’s not to love? They’ll be the centre of attention though I’m sure. They’ll probably love it. 

This trip has really snuck up on me, I suddenly feel that it’s upon us before I’m ready, and I like to be prepared for things. Although I don’t think we’ll have to worry as much as I need to, with visiting family I don’t need to take towels, all our toiletries (shampoo etc), and we’ll have access to a washing machine if need be. With going in our own car I don’t have to worry about weight limits, car seats etc. So I’m lucky in those respects, but with the summer holidays started I’m going to be fitting getting ready around activities with the kids and their friends, and also have to have the heads up on clothes washing. I’ll have to put aside the clothes I want to take, to stop Logan wearing them, or putting Taya in them! When this comes to me we may have a problem. I have such a small selection of clothes I actually like to wear and think I look decent in that I may struggle on using the same technique. Luckily I’ll be seeing my mum the two days before we depart so some emergency last minute washing/tumble drying may occur! 
Now, how do you go keeping two children happy for 15 hours? Well, you tell me as I have no idea really! Personally I hope they sleep as much as possible when in the car. However I have started to get things together to help ease any boredom. First off there will be snacks, plenty of snacks, although I’m not a fan of them in the car due to the choking risk they’ll be a back up solution (and eaten on the ferry where I’m sure food will be expensive!). For Logan I’ve got a few activity and sticker books. I’ve also printed out loads of free printables and colouring pages that I found off pinterest. We have an I spy bingo game, and he’ll have a couple of books. Taya is slightly more difficult to cater for, she’ll be happy drawing or colouring on paper, and I’ve got to find a cheap sticker book that’ll be ruined (I’m a bit OCD about things like that!) and we’ll also be taking her magnetic drawing boards. Again, I’m hoping she’ll sleep mostly in the car. The ferry will be easier, as although we’re on there for 8 hours (eek!!) there is lots to do. On-board they have a cinema and play areas, shops, and lots of places to wander round and tire them out. Logan is looking forward to looking out for dolphins and basking sharks (let’s see how quickly he’ll get bored of that!). We’re not constrained to a seat so this is our biggest trump card, and the one reason we chose this route. Fingers crossed it’s a smooth crossing and they’re not sea sick, I’m the only one who’s been on a ferry before, so I’m sure they’ll all be very excited! 

However, and this is a big however, everything is all down to Kibas car. We’ve discovered this week that there is a problem with the clutch. A problem which could put our whole trip down the pan. A problem we can’t afford to fix, so we’re just hoping that it gets us to Germany, and back. So please keep your fingers crossed, and everything else I think, that his car survives! I shall keep you updated, I’m hoping to do a couple of blog posts while we’re there, and shall be sharing photos/updates on both Instagram and Facebook, so make sure you’re following us!

Photo shows Logan and one of his cousins on a walk in 2014.