Sometimes it just takes over me. An urge to do things, get out there, make some memories. I get scared that it might be my last chance to have some fun with the kids. They are growing so quickly and I’m not getting any younger myself.
It was half term and I made a plan of all the things I wanted to do. Was it too ambitious? Maybe, especially as we had to go out three days in a week, normally I have to rest after a day out. But, there was a birthday in there and you can’t postpone a birthday. The celebrations maybe, but not the buying of gifts and cards.
So, Monday was buying day. The card shop is practically next door to the toy shop, which would have been great had the birthday boy been under 40! But, no point in wasting a trip to the toy shop with the kids in tow, it was definitely time to spend that pocket money that was building up. Thankfully, the gifts had already been bought, but Graham still treated himself to a new game for his PS4 (yes, I did say he was over 40!) And Boo bought him a new DAD mug. He needs a coffee mug twice as big as the regular mugs to help him stay awake to play his PS4 all night.
Tuesday was Graham’s birthday and we went out for lunch. We could have gone out for dinner and included the whole family, but we’d only done that a couple of weeks ago for No1 Son. So, lunch it was at the local Brewer’s Fayre. The girls discovered that they were too big now to play in the play area so The little Man went off on his own. I wasn’t worried about him, he’s not shy and makes friends so easily, he talks to everyone. Plus we had a screen we could watch from the table. Boo, however, worried incessantly, ‘what if he gets hurt?’ ‘What if he goes somewhere else and we don’t see him?’ ‘What if someone bullies him?’ She’s just like a mini mum. I think I was probably like that when I was younger, but you kind of become more relaxed when you’ve had five children.
Thursday we had decided to go out. ‘Let’s go to the Think Tank’ I said. We haven’t been there for years and it was somewhere I wanted to go. The kids agreed but were not too excited. Had I worn them out already, surely they didn’t prefer to be stuck indoors?
The morning started as usual, breakfast then laptops. But, not without protest, I’d managed to persuade them to get dressed too. I got ready for our day out but no-one seemed really keen. Boo complained that she’d been to the Think Tank with her school just last year. Star complained that she didn’t want to go to the Think Tank but wouldn’t offer a reason. The Little Man just wanted to play Roblox, he didn’t even want to put his socks on.
Then Star said she didn’t want to go out unless we went to Mc Donalds first. I knew what would happen, it’s happened many a time before. We’d go to Mc Donald’s and then she’d insist we came home again. Eventually, she agreed to go to the Sea Life Centre instead of the Think Tank. Arrrgh! At least it was getting out, although I didn’t want to go to the Sea Life Centre, it’s way too familiar. Why was it so difficult, I just wanted to make some fun memories for my kids? Health wise I am probably better off staying home and doing nothing at all, but I don’t want my kids to have that as their childhood memory.
Anyway, cut a long story short, we went to Mc Donalds, then to the Sea Life Centre which was fully booked and we couldn’t go in. So, guess where we ended up? Yes, The Think Tank! On arrival at the Think Tank, Star brightened up as she recognised the place. Then we realised that we hadn’t actually explained anything to her about it and she’d become anxious because she didn’t know where she was going. That’s the problem when you have an autistic child, sometimes it’s easy to forget ‘the rules’ to forget how her mind works. Even though we know she’s autistic we still get it wrong and think she’s just being awkward. The tears and tantrums and effort just to get out of the house could possibly have been avoided had we just spent five minutes explaining that we’d been to the Think Tank before and tried to remind her of what it was like. Or maybe not, you never can tell.
So, fun was had (eventually) and memories made and hopefully, somewhere in the back of their minds they will retain only good thoughts and images of our ‘fun’ packed half term.
The Think Tank Science Museum, Birmingham
As a special treat I took the kids to the Think Tank Science Museum and here are a few of my favourite photos.
The day didn’t start too good when the kids decided that they didn’t really want to go out. Star said she only wanted to go to Mc Donald’s and wouldn’t go anywhere else. This caused tears and tantrums, until we came to a compromise and agreed to go to the Sea Life Centre instead.
So, first we had an early lunch in Mc Donald’s and then set off into to town for the Sea Life Centre.
The Sea Life Centre was fully booked!
We went back to plan A and ended up at the Think Tank. Star had no idea that this was where we had meant. She hadn’t asked and we hadn’t explained. We’d just said ‘the Think Tank’ and assumed she knew what we meant. We have been before, but it was a long time ago. Sometimes we forget that she needs a little more explanation. Especially as she doesn’t ask.
Fun and Learning
The Think Tank is essentially a science museum so there is lots of learning to be done, but it’s also lots of fun.
You can take a kid away from the screens, but…you can’t take a kid away from the screens. They were everywhere, information videos, quizzes, and a rather fascinating animation studio which they loved.
There was lots to see and do though, and they had great fun. We finished the visit in the outside area which was great, especially as it turned out to be a really nice day.
It was a bad start, which got worse when the Sea Life Centre was shut, but it turned out to be a really good day. Thankfully we didn’t give up at the first (or second) hurdle.
Hello and welcome to the home of Word of the Week, a nice and simple weekly linky, with everyone welcome to pop by and share. You reflect back on the past week and sum it up in one word. Then share your word with us in a blog post, with as little or as much explanation as you like.
There are not too many rules with this linky, just remember to read at least another couple of posts in the link up after adding your link. Do try to stick to the theme of summing your week up. I will read and comment on all posts and tweet them out for you. I also have a Pinterest board devoted to Word of the Week and I will add posts to Mix (formerly Stumble.) Please add the badge below to your post so that others may find us and join in. If you comment or tweet then please use the hashtag #WotW
If you are unfamiliar with the Word of the Week linky then please feel free to ask any questions. New linkers are always welcome, we love to hear what you have been up to in the past week.
My Word of the Week
My Word of the week is break!
First up, it’s so good to have a break from all the germs and nasties and I’m happy to report we are all fit and well again. Next year we’ll all have a flu jab!
Secondly, it’s been half term and the kids have a well earned break from school. It’s also a break from routine, which can be difficult sometimes, but at other times it’s needed. I’ve tried to keep the kids occupied this week and we’ve been out more than usual.
I took them shopping, initially for their Dad’s birthday cards, but we also broke open the virtual piggy banks and they got to spend their pocket money. The shop of choice was Smyths Toy Store and they all came home really happy. Boo chose some furniture for her Sylvanian Families House (Although she plays with her Littlest Pet Shop toys in there,) Star bought a Pom Pom Pet, I think just because it was soft. And the Little Man brought a crane! It’s about 3 ft tall and works by remote control.
Then, on Daddy’s birthday we took him to a restaurant for a meal. I banned phones at the table and we had some really interesting and fun conversations. I think I enjoyed this more than the food! We don’t have phones at the table at home either, but then we don’t often all sit down to eat at the same time. It was so nice to talk with no distractions.
We also visited an amusement arcade which was fun, but bloomin’ expensive. The games barely lasted moments and the kids were asking for another £1. I think I prefer the arcades on holiday camps where you can play with 2p’s. It was nice to get out and do something different though.
Yesterday, we had another day out, we had planned on going to the Think Tank, but after a nightmare getting the kids out we finally decided on the Sea Life Centre instead. However, it was fully booked for the next three hours when we arrived, so we nipped across town to the Think Tank. It turned out to be fun a day out. And as a bonus the weather was nice too so we had some fun in the gardens there.
The girl’s want to go to the cinema as a final treat this break, but I think I’ll let Graham take them. I’m done for now.
Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’ve been up to this week.
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I’m linking up to A Chronic Voice Link up Party for people with Chronic Illnesses, and following the prompts for February.
I already have a post in my drafts about this which I’ll probably never publish. Adjusting can be so difficult sometimes and, hands up, I’ve been having problems.
It’s the simple things, filling the dishwasher, carrying the washing, cooking dinner, cleaning, all the usual things that most mothers or housewives do naturally.
I want to do them. I want to be able to de-clutter, tidy the bedrooms, change the bedclothes, sort the old clothes.
I can’t. It’s just not physically possible for me. So, I’ve had to adjust. It’s no good asking others for help, they don’t do it quickly enough, or at all. I can say, ‘please bring the washing down from the bathroom’ every day for a week, but it’s still there. So I bring it down myself. I drag the basket down the stairs, step-by-step. I’m scared of it tipping up and knocking me down the stairs, so I go as slowly as possible and hope for the best.
Then I get berated for doing it.
I’m adjusting, slowly. I don’t like it, but if I do a little at a time I can get through. I just have to accept that there are some things that I cannot do.
I hope a lot. I hope that I will be offered a new treatment. I hope that my current treatments will actually work. I hope for a day free of pain. I hope for a cure. I hope that one day I’ll wake up and this will all be gone.
But these are not what I’m really hoping for. I am realistic, I know my fate.
My biggest hope is that my children remember me as a fun, kind, friendly, happy Mum and not as a disabled Mum.
There are times when I am really ill that I’m not sure I’m going to survive. Because of this I’m grateful for every day that I do.
I’m surviving this condition, I’m fighting it all the way. I think of the future and half of me does not want to carry one for another 10 or 20 years in pain. The other half wants to survive, because ill or not, life has so much to offer.
Another blogger talked about befriending her condition. I think that’s kind of what I’ve been trying to do. That post that will never get published, it was all about acceptance.
I feel I need to accept my condition and let it become part of me instead of letting take over me. You can’t get rid of it, but you can accept it. That’s kind of befriending it isn’t it?
When you have lots of time to think, all sorts of things awaken inside you. What have I done with my life? What else can I do? How will my illness prevent me from doing all the things I want to do? Is my life over already?
These are the dark thoughts awakening and it’s hard to shake them off. I get them frequently but I try not to let them take over.
To prevent the black dog from awakening I practice mindfullness, meditation and just taking plenty of time out to do what I want to do. Then I’m able to regain my perspective. My life isn’t over, it is worth living. There is always hope and I know I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful family around me.
Continuing in my series of activity boxes for older children, this weeks review is a KiwiCo Tinker Crate aimed at 9-16 years plus.
It was Boo, aged 11, that helped me with this review.
KiwiCo is a monthly subscription crate that comes filled with age appropriate STEM projects for kids, from toddlers to teenagers. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Every crate explores a different theme designed to spark creativity, thinking, and learning.
What’s in the Box
You get all the pieces you need to create a fabulous project. In our box we had everything to make an Arcade Catapult.
Also included is a blueprint with detailed instructions for completing your project.
You also get a TinkerZine which is a comprehensive little magazine full of facts and additional scientific experiments you can complete with your kit.
Following the step-by-step instructions Boo was able to put the catapult together. She needed a little help with the main part of the building, but only because it was fiddly for her, the instructions were really clear.
When completed we had a little wooden catapult and a game board. Also included was a wipe board scoring pad and pen.
The finished project was a great little game where you catapult the ball with your newly constructed catapult into your handmade game board. You can choose how you score the holes and take it in turns to see who can get the highest score. It really is a fun game and we have all played it many times.
The Tinker Zine is a fun magazine which adds extra content to the box.
It tells you how to play your catapult game giving different rules to try out to make it more fun.
The magazine also tells you how to make a basketball game and a rubber band bowling game with your kit.
Then you can learn how to make paper footballs and your own craft stick catapult.
The Tinkerzine also describes old fashioned arcade machines from a museum.
And, of course, there is a detailed page about the science behind the catapult and the difference between kinetic and potential energy.
Finally, you are provided with a page of resources where you can find out more.
Perfect for older children this box provided a fun activity that was slightly more challenging to assemble. The end result was a fun and sturdy game that has been played over and over.
The extra activities in the Tinker zine gave us more to do and added value to the box.
Boo really enjoyed making the game and did almost all of it by herself. We have all had fun playing with the finished game. We would definitely consider subscribing to further crates.
If you would like to try a Tinker Crate or any other crate from KiwiCo then you can use my special link to give you your for crate for FREE, you just have to pay shipping/P&P
You can check out my KiwiCrate Atlas crate review here.