It really felt like just as we were settling into our groove with the new school year, along came half term to shake it all up again!
Not that I'm complaining, mind.
I think we were all ready for a break and it was so good not to have the mammoth school treks twice daily. We found a good balance between relaxing at home and being outdoors and I purposefully made sure to spend some extra quality time with Reuben.
Lego, Pokemon, football and gaming are Reuben's current loves. I'd say he's a typical 8 year old boy with his interests, and I'm a typical mum that struggles to know which way to pitch when asked whether Ronaldo or Messi is the "most epic" football player in the world.
Try as I might, I just don't get Minecraft, Terraria or Clash of Clans either. Honestly, the amount of chats we have had about these games! You'd expect me to be an expert, but no. I do listen, of course, but I rely heavily on Daddy to actually understand and translate what he is talking about to me. It's like a whole different language!
Anyway, over half term we spent lots of time together. Baking, chatting, being beaten at thumb wars and playing rock/paper/scissors. Going to see the Lego Ninjago movie together and having a fun sleepover with a film and midnight feasts. The icing on the cake was just the two of us going to meet his favourite author du jour, Liz Pichon, who writes and illustrates the Tom Gates series of books. We learnt to doodle like the character Tom at the workshop and also had the opportunity to meet Liz and have some books signed. Such a fun thing to do! I don't think it was *quite* as exciting as when Daddy took him to meet his YouTube heroes in the summer (the best day of his life, apparently!), but it was very special for us.
As a family, we've had some lovely days out. We've been to Belton House with friends and to the pumpkin patch at Doddington Hall, amongst other things. We shall skim over Halloween itself as it is a sore subject this year! In a nutshell, we didn't actually buy any pumpkins at the patch and by the time we remembered again, even the supermarkets had sold out. It was the worst HalloweenEVER according to Reuben, compounded by the fact we had the grand sum of zero trick-or-treaters. Eek! That's kind of to be expected when you live where we do, though.
On a brighter note, the day we went to the Lincolnshire Sausage Festival (yes, that's an actual thing...!) earlier in the month was a glorious Indian summer's day where we had ice-creams along with the obligatory sausage. And can we just take a moment to think about how much my darling children are going to "appreciate" me taking photos of them with a Lincolnshire Sausage in years to come?! I'm definitely saving that bad boy to roll out on their 18th birthdays 😉.
The week after was definitely autumnal and we opted to go out for our first Sunday roast of the season. We chose this pub in the Bailgate area of Lincoln so we could tie it in with a walk and it was just a really pleasant experience. We were even complimented on how polite, well-mannered and well-behaved our children were! That is praise indeed when there are three children, as the odds are usually at least one will be sulking about something // annoying their sibling(s) // incapable of sitting still // refusing to eat their meal but still demanding a pudding // etc.
Speaking of pubs, we had a very rare occurrence this month whereby each of our children were invited separately to sleepover at a friend's house. Gone are the days of raucous, wild nights out child-free and instead James and I decided to go out for a burger here then get an early night (not a euphemism!). He has had this romantic, nostalgic notion that we should visit our local pub ever since we moved to this village four years ago and so we decided on a nightcap before returning home after the burger. Well, I shan't be repeating that again! Honestly, it was like a scene from The League of Gentleman. I think you could have fried an egg in my hair by the time we left as the air was so heavy with lard! Not my scene at all. You live and learn though, don't you? Sigh. At least it made James happy, although I suspect even he won't be rushing back in a hurry either!
James couldn't schedule any time off work over half term, but he did manage a bonus day off the week before so we took Sophia to her favourite place in the world: Pink Pig. She adores it here and I think she would go every day, if she could. As far as soft plays go, this is definitely up there as the best one I have been to locally. Good value for money, clean and doesn't smell of dirty nappies, stale wee or chip fat = win. I also find that I don't need to worry about my daily step count when I've been there as Sophia drags you around everything which is a veritable workout in itself!
Last week, Freya went on her school residential trip to Normandy which was a BIG DEAL. For me, at least. She was filled with confidence and excitement, springing out of bed at 4am to get going. There were no mobile phones allowed so it was driving me crazy not knowing how she was getting on. I spent the week living vicariously through the printed itinerary school had given us, daydreaming about her adventures in Bayeux or Juno Beach whilst I was living my best life, folding laundry or something. I'm already dreading them leaving home if this week of anxiety is anything to go by! I'm totally going to be *that neurotic mother*, you know the annoying one who requests three rings to know they're home safely, or texts at hourly intervals to make sure their offspring are still breathing.
James? He'll be the cool "have fun, I'll pick you up if needed, here's a tenner" kind of Dad so at least they'll have the best of both worlds, eh?
On a personal note, October started and ended with a Half Marathon race. Then in between, I did a 13.1 mile run on my own just for sh*ts and giggles really. As you do. On a serious note, though, I wanted to prove to myself that I could run that distance in under 2hr 15min and I found it far easier to achieve that without the pressure of a race. I'll talk more about that in a future blogpost on marathon training, but my other big news was the launch of this very here blog! I'm really enjoying writing and it is very heartwarming to hear that people are actually reading it.
So that brings you up to date with events chez Sharples; November's plans are very fluid as I write this. We are about to embark on Project New Kitchen, plus we need to start thinking soon about a little girl's 4th birthday celebrations! So far, she has decided she would like to go to Pink Pig, trampolining, and to see the sloths at Chester Zoo. Plus a party at home for friends and family with a "sparkly princess unicorn cake". That's quite a mean feat, to fit all that into about twelve hours! I think we may have to gently manage her expectations...
Same time next month - enjoy November, folks!