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12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Six! BoyChild, Take Three!

It’s a cold Saturday and the kids are getting restless, so I decided to do this again. We last did it back in April, when the kids were a lot younger, and also before moving was even on the cards. So, a lot has changed since then.

Princess doesn’t like to get things wrong, she has a real desire to please people, so it took a little bit of explaining of the process this time, and that she couldn’t get the answers wrong, because there were no wrong answers. She even said to me, “Ok Mum, you can start but I hope you are right. I don’t want to get the answers wrong!”.

She’s a thinker, that kid. And, when asked what frightens her the most, her answer was “my imagination”. I think a lot goes on in that head of hers.

Here are the questions and answers (previous answers in brackets)

12 Questions About Life – by Princess, 6 years, 3 months

1. What is the meaning of life? Love

(That’s too hard)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A vet and a zookeeper

(A teacher)

3. What makes you most happy? Cuddling Mum

(When I laugh)

4. When do you feel most loved? When kissing Mum and Dad

(When Mummy cuddles me)

5. What are you afraid of? My imagination

(When my teacher dressed up like a ghost at Halloween and scared me. I screamed)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Puppies

(Another American Girl Doll)

7. What is the funniest word? *insert strange noise*

(Tickle bum. No – shake your boooooooteeeee)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Cartwheels and handstands

(Make loom band bracelets)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Backflips

(Clip the ‘s’ clip onto the loom band bracelet at the end)

10. What makes you mad? BabyGirl biting me

(Babygirl hitting me)

11. What is the meaning of love? God.

(Going to school. Because I love my teacher)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy lots and lots of toys

(Buy a Lego Friends Shopping Mall).

12 Questions About Life – BoyChild, 4 years, 9 months

1. What is the meaning of life? I dunno

(What’s that mean?)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A train.

(A cat)

3. What makes you most happy? Talking

(Counting)

4. When do you feel most loved? Friends

(With Dad. No, Mum)

5. What are you afraid of? Frozen Movie

(Shaun the Sheep Movie)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? A heart

(Fish)

7. What is the funniest word? FRUIT!

(bing!)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Playing with trains

(Lego)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Trying to get the car out of the box in the toy room because it’s stuck and I can’t get it out

(Play Bingo)

10. What makes you mad? Crying

(Squares. BABYGIRL TOOK MY LEGO ARGH!)

11. What is the meaning of love? Hearts

(SHE TOOK MY LEGO!)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy trains.

(Get a Paw Patrol Garage)

And here are the previous ones, if you are interested. Hopefully BabyGirl will soon be old enough to start answering them as well 🙂

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Five! BoyChild, Take Two

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Four. BoyChild, Take One.

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Three

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Two

12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take One

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Anatomy of a Six Hour Car Ride

We just returned from a two week holiday back to our home town and, in order to save well over $1000 in flight costs, we made the choice to drive six hours to a major airport rather than flying direct. Good idea? Sure. I mean, saving that money makes it worth it, right? I mean, how hard can a six hour drive be, with three small kids?

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I know, I know.

And so, this is the summary of our trip.

The Questions

Oh my, the questions.

Why is one eye round, and one eye normal?

Why are my cheeks red?

Are you asleep, Mum? (note: I wasn’t driving. And yes, I was trying to sleep)

What do brother sheep look like?

Is it dinner time yet? (note: 10:30am)

Are we there yet?

Who scratched my face? I think it was me?

Why is snow?

Are we almost at Grandma’s house? (note: we are not going to Grandma’s house)

Are we there yet?

Is it dinner time yet? (note: 11:30am)

Where is the lake? (note: right alongside the car. A very large lake)

Where is that bus going?

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Why are we driving?

The Games

The Finger game. How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up.

(note: I won’t lie. I held up my middle finger on more than one occassion)

The Car game. We pick a colour each, and then keep a vague count of each car. We’ve played this game so many times and the kids still haven’t figured that picking silver, white, red or black gives you significantly higher chances of winning than picking, say, purple or orange. Nevertheless, we play.

The Animal game. Two points if you see a sheep. Three points for a cow. Ten points for a llama. 17 points for a monkey. 460 points for a dinosaur. 6,000,000 points for an elephant. This game is thrilling.

“THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP ….”

We do, after all, live in New Zealand.

The Fights

Princess looking at BoyChild.

Babygirl putting her foot on BoyChild.

BoyChild singing.

Princess singing.

BabyGirl singing.

BoyChild is looking at Princess.

The wrong cd is in.

The window is open.

The window is closed.

The Threats

On at least six occasions, it was threatened that at least one child get out of the car and walk.

On at least one occasion, the car was stopped to remove one child from the car.

On at least three occasions, I requested the car be stopped so I could get out and walk. Once was while driving past a Cidery.

The Scenery

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We saw some wonderful sights. We drove through some of the most amazing scenery in this beautiful country. And we enjoyed it, as we drove through it. Note: we drove. We didn’t stop. Because, you stop, all three kids want to get out. And all three kids don’t want to get back in. There is no such thing as a quick stop. Oh, except the one time we pulled over simply to clean BabyGirl who had managed to smother herself in ice block. I quickly hopped out, wiped her down and off we went. With the car boot open. Yup. I did that. My bad.

The Hilarity

We drove through an area with canals. I said to the kids, “Did you know there are two types of canals? The near canal and the far canal?”

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And I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed at my expert wit. Mr T rolled his eyes. BoyChild laughed along with me, because he’s awesome (and laughs with anyone). Princess asked me, “Where is the canal?”

The Final 45 Minutes

I’m not sure what it is about a long car ride, but no matter how long it is, the final 45 minutes is always the longest. The kids suddenly snap and have had enough. Mr T and I have had enough. The final 45 is packed full of tears, games, songs, jokes, anything to keep the kids from ripping each other’s hair out. And from me ripping out my own.

Princess decided she needed to poop.

BoyChild decided he was hungry.

BabyGirl decided that 5.5 hours of me sitting slightly out of her reach was too long and she NEEDED TO TUDDLE ME RIGHT NOW.

I encouraged the kids to count to 153, and that we would be home once they were done. They got to 17 before BoyChild declared the game OVER.

BabyGirl cried some more.

I stroked my bottle of cider and whispered, “we are almost there, my precious”.

The Home

And then, we are there. Home. Oh, my lord. Home freakin sweet home. The kids leap from the car, all tears suddenly dry. BoyChild runs to his room and instantly tips out all of his toys. Princess and BabyGirl run to their room and start playing. I run to the loo (I’ve had three kids, remember!).

And just like that, we are done.

Next time, I think I’ll pay the extra $1000.

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Here’s to all the Single Parents

To all you single parents, I salute you. I bow my head, and tip my hat. Goodness, I kneel and kiss your feet.

Mr T has been away this week, the second time in three weeks, and so I have been thrust into the world of solo parenting. And it is, by all accounts, shit. I won’t lie. I won’t sugar coat it. It sucks. And I am well aware of the fact that while I am able to count down the days minutes until husband returns, many people don’t have that luxury.

And I admire you for that. Wholeheartedly.

The first time he went away, I cried when he told me. I tried really hard not to, I pretended the movie I was watching was really sad, but I cried. To put it into perspective (and maybe ever-so-slightly less psychotic), we are new to this town and I’ve yet to meet any proper friend-like grown ups. So, I really am just me’n’the’kids.

That week was tough, but we got there. Princess had school, BoyChild had preschool, I could still go to the gym and drop BabyGirl at the creche a couple of times a week. Night 2 (of 4) was the worst – I was finally asleep when I realised BabyGirl was playing with a freakin balloon in the hallway. At midnight. I stomped up there, picked her up, growled her and stomped down the stairs to my room. Naturally, that was the one time my pj pants would get caught under my foot, causing me to crash onto my elbow and bottom with full force. Never mind. I dealt with it like a grown up.

I’m lying.

I lay in the hallway at midnight and cried like a little baby. One of my shining moments as a mother, I must say. That night BabyGirl didn’t sleep until well after 3am. Like I said, the worst.

But, we got there. Husband came home, and all was well.

This time around, things are a little different. It’s school holidays, for starters. School HELL-idays. So, no school for Princess. No creche for BabyGirl, which means no gym for me. Luckily, BoyChild’s preschool doesn’t break for the holidays, so he still goes each morning. The downside of that being we have to leave the house at 8:30 each morning. I’ve mastered the art of looking temporarily presentable. I don’t even bother dressing the girls. Pjs suffice when you are 6 and 2.

I think what has been the killer for me this week, has been the lack of personal space. They are with me in the shower, they are with me in the loo. They are with me when I’m on the phone, they are with me when I check the mail. They are with me when I sleep, they are with me when I cook dinner.

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I’ve had some great ideas through the week. Like going for a walk. That ended well.

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Baking cupcakes was fun. Shame it didn’t last all day.

We did some science experiments. Also fun until we used up all the baking soda and vinegar. Thus ruining my next plan, making cookies.

I think the hardest part about solo parenting is that you have to be “on” all the time. You are the go to for the kids. There is no opportunity to slack off. When they cry, it’s you who has to solve the issue. When they wake in the night, it’s you who has to get up.

The house is a mess, the kids have been living off a diet of noodles, 100s + 1000s toast and carrot sticks for a week and the alcohol cupboard is noticeably emptier than it was five days ago.

But, the end is near. One more night to go.

And that is where I consider myself to be so lucky. Because there is an end in sight for me. Tomorrow my husband is going to walk in the door and things will go back to (relative) normality. I appreciate that many people don’t have that, and I can’t admire these people enough.

We’ve done it, kids. We’ve survived unscathed.

And only once did I declare “That’s IT, I QUIT being a MUM! I’m DONE. GoodBYE. I wish you WELL. THANK YOU LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Mum is OUT” *dramatic door slam*

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Where We Are Today

When I started this blog, I was mum to three-under-five. Princess was a precocious 4 year old, BoyChild a shy 2 year old and BabyGirl was, well, a baby.

Fast forward 21 months and it’s safe to say the dynamics have certainly changed in our house. The kids have changed. So, I thought it might be time to re-introduce them.

Princess is 6, and a very six she is indeed. Long gone are the innocent comments, the ‘isms’ she was so fantastically entertaining with. Life is hard when you are six, apparently. She is sensitive, dramatic and well-adept at eye-rolling. But she is still sweet and caring (when she is in the mood to be) and occasionally I get to see that little 4 year old peek back through again.

BoyChild is 4-and-a-half and has come so very far since we started this journey. He speaks well (a major obstacle for him) and he has a nutty sense of humour. He plays imaginary games and is by far the easiest of the three to look after at present. Hands down. I have a real soft spot for this kid, so I’m sure the entire world heard my heart break in two the day he said to me, “no kisses tonight Mum, you can go away now”.

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BabyGirl. BabyGirl. Baby-freakin-girl. She is so absolutely darling to look at, with her blond curls and big, brown eyes. “Butter wouldn’t melt” is a phrase often used with her. But, believe me, butter would melt indeed (ironic, as she has a dairy allergy). Most definitely the, ahem, most challenging of the three kids. Two years old for what feels like an eternity, and she’s not yet two-and-a-half. She talks and talk and natters and cries. She is Captain I-DO-IT-YOU-DO-NOT-HELP-ME. I feel like I sigh a lot more with her, than I ever have before.

So, what of me, over the past couple of years? Am I any closer to knowing what the heck I’m doing with these kids? God, no. Nope. Nu-uh. Not even close.

Do I enjoy being a Mother? Short answer? Yes. Sure. Why not. Long answer? Depends what time of day you ask me. Depends what day you ask me.

Do I love my kids? Abso-freakin-lutely. Do I like them? Depends what time of day you ask me. Depends what day you ask me.

Today is a sunny day. The house is a mess despite my having spent the whole day yesterday cleaning it. BoyChild is at preschool, it’s school holidays so Princess in currently in the kitchen, making a movie on my phone about the contents of our cutlery drawer. *shrug*. BabyGirl is watching Princess Sofia for the millionth time this week, with no pants on.

All in all, a pretty standard day in our house, really.

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Kid-glish (Kid English)

Ah, kid-glish. I love it. Yes, I’m talking about that language our kids speak – their own interpretations of English. .

When kids are learning to talk, they come up with the most fascinating and hilarious takes on everyday words – whether they hear them wrong, or, as was often the case with Princess, was adamant they were saying it correct and you were saying it wrong, it is cute, and adorable, and you don’t realise how much you love it, until it’s gone.

Princess is six now, and, by and large, she speaks like a regular kiwi kid. There are a few Kidglish words that still creep through, and I won’t lie – I no longer correct her, because I want her to keep saying them. Perhaps it’s my way of keeping her that precocious little toddler for as long as I can? Yes, yes, I think it is.

Some of Princess’s fantastic Kidglish-isms are:

Blutterfly. She read an entire book on blutterflies to me yesterday, and everytime she said the word blutterfly, my heart smiled. I’m smiling as I write this, I love it.

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Bas-ghetti. This is a classic one, I think every kid (and half the adults I know) mispronounce spaghetti. Still cute.

Nem-a-nems. I will be sad when Princess realised M&Ms are actually, literally, an M and an M. I adore her calling them nem-a-nems!

Andy. Familiar with the movie, Annie? Princess still believes this is a movie called Andy, about a boy with ginger hair, who, for whatever reason, wears a dress at the end of the movie. When the new version of Annie came out, she said to me, “This is different, isn’t it?”. I thought she was referring to the fact that the “new” Annie was African-American. But no – she thought it was different because the “new” Annie was a girl! Who calls a girl Andy? That’s just silly, Mum.

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And of course, Princess isn’t unique in this way of speaking. BoyChild has started coming up with some dooseys as well. My favourite, hands down?

Bumbumbee. Bumbumbee! Bumbumbee! I can’t even. I just laughed and laughed when he said it, I couldn’t help it. I even corrected him without thinking, and he said, “No, mum – bumbumbee”. Oh my lordie, I will be sad when he realises what he is saying. I secretly hope he is a successful, grown man who says, “watch out for the bumbumbee”.

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Thankfully BabyGirl is still right in that age range where at least half of her words are variations on the real word. She asks for tuddles (cuddles) a lot, and lots and lots of tisses (kisses). She likes to drink wee-tar (water) and loves eating doodee bars (muesli bars). She pretends to be an a-pha-phant (elephant) and a chuck-ung (chicken).

But, alas, soon the day will come when she too is speaking in words that everyone can understand, “proper” English, if you will. I know they say kids grow up too fast, so it’s practically my job, nay, my responsibility to keep my kids speaking Kid-glish as long as I can.

And, to finish, I leave you here with this. Benedict Cumberbatch, esteemed British actor, cannot say “penguins”. He calls them “peng-wings” and it is so adorable I just want to adopt him as Child #4. Just kidding.

But not really.

You are welcome.

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12 Questions About Life – Princess, Take Five! BoyChild, Take Two

We last did this back in January, so I thought it might be fun to do it again.

Princess doesn’t find it as much “fun” as she used to, it was almost as though the weight of the questions overwhelms her. Poor kid. And BoyChild absolutely loved it – initially I thought he was just spouting random words and sentences but upon reading over it again, I realise he was answering the questions pretty well! Despite the fact he was also playing with Lego at the time and battling his dear little sister who was determined to steal it from him.

An so, here it is (once again, previous answers in brackets)

12 Questions About Life – by Princess, 5 years, 10 months

1. What is the meaning of life? That’s too hard

(Astronauts)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

(Doctor or Teacher)

3. What makes you most happy? When I laugh

(Mummy)

4. When do you feel most loved? When Mummy cuddles me

(With Daddy)

5. What are you afraid of? When my teacher dressed up like a ghost at Halloween and scared me. I screamed.

(The dark)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Another American Girl Doll.

(Another American Girl Doll. If you wish on a star it really does come true)

7. What is the funniest word? Tickle bum. No – shake your booooooteeeeee.

(Lila)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Make loom band bracelets

(Put the DVD into the DVD player)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Clip the ‘S’ clip onto the loom band bracelet at the end

(Paint my nails)

10. What makes you mad? BabyGirl hitting me

(Stomping)

11. What is the meaning of love? Going to school. Because I love my teacher.

(Stars. It truly is)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Buy a Lego Friends Shopping Mall

(Buy an Elsa doll).

12 Questions About Life – BoyChild, 4 years, 4 months

1. What is the meaning of life? What’s that mean?

(Elevators)

2. What do you want to be when you grow up? A cat

(Cool kid)

3. What makes you most happy? Counting

(People)

4. When do you feel most loved? With Dad. No, Mum.

(Stars)

5. What are you afraid of? Shaun the Sheep Movie

(No.)

6. If you had one wish, what would you wish for? Fish

(No thanks)

7. What is the funniest word? BING!

(Funny)

8. What is the easiest thing to do? Lego

(Open doors)

9. What is the hardest thing to do? Play Bingo

(Going backwards)

10. What makes you mad? Squares. BABYGIRL TOOK MY LEGO ARGH!

(Doing poos)

11. What is the meaning of love? SHE TOOK MY LEGO!

(Cool)

12. If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? Get a Paw Patrol Garage

(Buy lemonade)

https://havekidstheysaid.com/category/12-questions-about-life/

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The Fantastic T’s Go On Holiday!

Holiday! Yay! After months of hard work, savings and planning, the time finally came – we were going on holiday! Oh, wow – it was going to be so much fun! The bags were packed and we were on our way on a wonderful trip around the top end of the North Island of New Zealand.

Here’s the thing about New Zealand – it’s a stunning country. We are so lucky to have it within our reach, and Mr T had never traveled north of Auckland before. So, we reasoned, why spend money traveling to other countries when we could tourist in our own country! Great plan, Mrs T. Practically foolproof.

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Holidaying in today’s day and age, photos get plastered all over social media and people think, “oh wow, you guys are having such an amazing time!”. And we are. Kind of.

But, truth be told, holidaying with three small kids is hardly a holiday. It’s more of a normal-life-in-a-different-place-with-slightly-more-anxious-kids-and-no-bath.

I can tell endless tales of the fun we are having, but then, that wouldn’t be true to my blog now, would it?

So here is our holiday so far – the unedited version.

Long car rides are boring. Of course they are. I know they are. That’s why I normally fall asleep (not when I’m driving, obvi). Kids? They moan. “Are we there yet?” “How far till we get there?”. And, courtesy of Princess – “THESE KIDS ARE SO DUMB! LEAVE THEM BY THE ROAD! WHO INVITED THESE SILLY KIDS?”.

I’m relatively confident she isn’t including herself in that.

We see lots of amazing sights along the way

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Yes, that is a public toilet. Nestled next to a very lovely river. That we didn’t see because Princess then BoyChild then Princess then BoyChild needed to pee/poop/pee/who-knows-what.

We decided to stop en route for a lovely picnic at the exquisite Lake Taupo. I had even packed a picnic for us to share (yay me! Mum Win).

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What you can’t see in this lovely pic is (a) BabyGirl is crying (b) we are sitting in bird poop (c) there are literally six BILLION ducks and pigeons and geese and swans and seagulls hovering, just waiting for us to drop a teensy bit of something for them to swoop in and (d) the tourists all sitting at the picnic tables, looking at us and thinking, those morons.

As soon as a table was free, we took it. And to Princess’s credit, she was an awesome bird-shoo-er. “GET AWAY YOU STUPID DUMB HEAD BIRDS!!!”. Such a lady *gush*

After our picturesque (read: hell no) picnic, we let the kids go and look at the lake. OMG PHOTO OP!

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Literally SECONDS later, BabyGirl took a step into the water and belly flopped in, face first. Princess immediately copied her and also “accidentally” fell in (read: not). And BoyChild? He’s all like, “hey, they are swimming, I’m IN!” and was naked before we could stop him.

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And so we have, an awesome pile of saturated clothing, three naughty children back in the car, and we are on our way, far, FAR away from any bodies of water (or birds, for that matter!).

We had a lovely stopover in Auckland, we saw many, MANY parts of the city that we didn’t plan on (turns out we aren’t very good at motorways). Or roads in general.

We went to the Zoo which was actually really fun (well, I think it was!). We saw an Elephant

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Note – no BabyGirl in the photo. The Elephant frightened her so much she was literally trembling. No idea what the kids are looking at. “Hey! Guys! Elephant is over there!

The Zoo really was great. Even though it literally poured with rain. And when BoyChild asked for a jersey, I realised I’d left his in the car (Mum Fail).

Special mention to Princess and her Zoo Navigator skills. “Is this the path to the shop, Mum?”

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Today we left Auckland and headed further North to the beautiful Bay of Islands. I know they are beautiful because I’ve been here before. Mr T is yet to be convinced, since it started pouring with rain the minute we arrived. The drive up was four torturous hours of hell, I won’t lie. Twice we had to change the seating arrangements. And I blame BabyGirl entirely. She is a little minx in her car seat – hair pulling, kicking, throwing toys. My goodness. I might have nodded slightly when Princess exasperated, “JUST LEAVE HER ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD TO WALK, GEEEEZ”.

We had no less than eight toilet stops.

Yet somehow we missed the famous Kawakawa toilets.

We stopped at a New Zealand war site, to let the kids run around while we got to look at it and appreciate the history of it. Amongst yells of “get out of the hole” and “don’t stick your face in the historic cannon please”. Of course.

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Oh, not to mention the fact that, give BabyGirl an inch of freedom and she is off like a rocket.

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I was NOT wearing a suitable running bra today.

And there it is. We arrived at our motel in the pouring rain, just before tea time, with three sleeping angels in the backseat.

Which of course means it is after 9pm and we are still trying to settle them into bed. At least they aren’t all singing “All about the bass” like they were at 11pm last night.

Ah, holidays. Truth be told, we are having fun. We have laughed and laughed, we went for a lovely family walk after tea tonight, and Mr T and I are currently relaxing and reading up on what we can do while we are here. Holidays. They are what you make them. And dammit, this holiday is gonna be awesome.

Can’t wait to plan the next one. Although, I won’t lie – I’m not sure the kids will be invited.