Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams


  Arthur is four. I am not finding four a very easy age but it’s not all tantrums and rage and hitting, even if some days it feels like it.
There are good things too, laughter and cuddles and games. And obsessions.

Four year olds are very good at fixating on things – Arthur keeps singing about Transformers because one of his friends at school loves them. As far as I know Arthur has never seen a Tranformers cartoon or film in his life but still he runs around singing about them like a lunatic. But Transformers are not a true obsession. That title is reserved for four other extra special things – things that have taken over our house for the last few months and can get Artie excited with just a tiny hint…

1. Disney Cars.

Both films have been watched and rewatched, re-enacted with the hundreds of toys he has acquired, he loves the AppMates game on his iPad and the racing game on my phone. We have the PS2 game, the only poster on his wall is of the bad guys in Cars 2 & is surrounded by glow-in-the-dark Cars stars (yes, they are a thing…) and we have a fairly large collection of books as well. That’s all without going anywhere near his wardrobe…

  2. Thomas The Tank Engine.
Even longer standing than his Cars addiction is his Thomas obsession.

Before he could recognise letters or even speak in sentences, he could tell you the names of more engines than I was even aware existed. He has more trains than he knows what to do with (but never enough, obviously) and so much track that it spills out of his bedroom into the hall if I put it all out at once.

We have to regularly endure the movies and have now watched all of the original TV series several times. I still think Thomas is precocious, rude and obnoxious but there’s no telling Arthur he is anything but awesome.

3. Angry Birds

This is a fairly recent obsession – he has know about Angry Birds for a long time but in the last couple of months he has finally worked out how to play it properly. Now the trick is to get him to stop playing it. All. The. Time.

He will even spend hours watching all the Angry Birds Toonz as a ‘break’ from playing the game.

I thought I had an Angry Birds problem for a while but I haven’t got a patch on Artie!

4. Spider-Man

As I type, Arthur is sat on the sofa in full Spider-Man disguise (even his pants and socks are Spider-Man) watching something like episode 12 of The Spectacular Spider-Man season 2. He only finished watching season one two days ago. (He is also eating an Angry Birds yoghurt – the obsessions can be combined!)

I am debating getting him the comics some time soon – I think they will appeal to him and maybe help us encourage his reading for school :)

  


I had a very ambitious list for June and I didn’t quite make it, but I had a good go!

In June I read:

Read With Tori:

Charge Of The Three-Horned Monster (Dinosaur Cove Cretaceous #2) by Rex Stone, 5/5*: Good old Triceratops – lots of adventure in this story as the boys return to Dino World to explore even further.

March Of The Armoured Beasts (Dinosaur Cove Cretaceous #3) by Rex Stone, 4/5*: Possibly my least favourite of the series thus far, but still a great book. Tori enjoyed this one and I have caught her re-enacting the story with her toys since we finished it.

Flight Of The Winged Serpent (Dinosaur Cove Cretaceous #4) by Rex Stone, 5/5*: The series is back on form with this one! Really enjoyed the story and it had a quite few laugh out loud moments which are a delight to share at bedtime. Mostly I love how reading this series is teaching Tori all the dinosaur names – she can just casually drop Ankylosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus into conversation now and it is awesome.

Read Alone:

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, 5/5*: This book was brilliant but bizarre. It was like reading an abstract painting – it took a while to come around to the style but then suddenly you found yourself totally sucked in and unable to put it down. A story of love and how it can make you or break you, the different types of love there are – between siblings, parents, girls and boys, boys and boys, forbidden love, love that paints the sky with colours and love that tears you to pieces. I’m pretty sure my mum would hate it because of the style but then I thought I would too and I adored it. Well worth all the hype that preceded it.

The Gospel Of Loki by Joanne M. Harris, 5/5*: This was the House of Blog Book Club read and it was BRILLIANT! I will review it properly soon! (I suck at doing things on time atm…)

This brings me up to 29 out of 60 completed books (yes, I upped my goal a bit) – still on track but I need to keep going!

I did abandon a book this month – Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley – I was really looking forward to this one but it was a lot of hard work for not much reward and I gave up pretty quickly. Maybe I was too hasty but I don’t think I will be picking it back up.

I have also started reading Timebomb by Scott K. Andrews which is really good and I am mid-way through listening to Zaria Fierce and The Secret of Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillet which is an interesting adventure.

 


CMAnNothing Else Matters by Metallica


I have my brother to thank for my love of Metallica – he copied me a few of his CDs and I listened to them repeatedly for years.

For my 21st birthday a friend took me to see them on tour and they were incredible – sounded just like their records, full of energy and the pyrotechnics were very impressive! I like to count that as Tori’s first ever music gig as I as about 5 months pregnant with her at the time.

I don’t blanket love everything by Metallica, there are a couple of albums I really dislike, but the songs I do like I really like. This is one of those tracks – I was so pleased when they played it at the gig :)

 


If you have Spotify you can follow the playlist for my Music Alphabet by clicking this link – I will update it each time I add a blog post :)

Playlist so far:

Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

Cello Wars by The Piano Guys

Don’t Belong by Cold

Everybody’s Wrong by Hinder

Five Colours In Her Hair by McFly

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cydni Lauper

Head Over Feet by Alanis Morissette

I Owe You Nothing by Bros

Just The Way I’m Feeling by Feeder

Killer Queen by Queen

Lullaby by Nickleback

My Happy Ending byAvril Lavigne

Nothing Else Matters by Metallica


CMAmMy Happy Ending by Avril Lavigne


Oh Avril. Avril, Avril, Avril.

If I could only listen to one person’s music for the rest of my life, I would probably choose Avril Lavigne. Her albums provide a soundtrack to my life – from learning all the words to her first single (Complicated) in 2002 before I even heard the track thanks to an obsessed best friend, through college, university, relationship break ups and start ups, kids and beyond until her latest album which brought together her work and that of Chad Kroeger from Nickleback and created a dream come true for me. (You should have seen me when I heard those two were getting married – I was stupidly happy!)

I went to see her in concert on her Black Star Tour with Liberty and loved it – she lived up to her records and had the most sparkly microphones I have ever seen!

It was tough to pick just one track to put in my alphabet – I must have changed my mind about twenty times – but I eventually went for My Happy Ending because it is one of my favourites and I have amusing memories of singing it with my friend from uni on the Lips Xbox karaoke game when he came to visit. I think it was for Tori’s christening but I may be wrong.

I have a forever girl crush on Avril Lavigne and her music and I hope she feels well enough soon to get back to recording and just enjoying life. Lyme Disease sounds nasty.

 


If you have Spotify you can follow the playlist for my Music Alphabet by clicking this link – I will update it each time I add a blog post :)

Playlist so far:

Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

Cello Wars by The Piano Guys

Don’t Belong by Cold

Everybody’s Wrong by Hinder

Five Colours In Her Hair by McFly

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cydni Lauper

Head Over Feet by Alanis Morissette

I Owe You Nothing by Bros

Just The Way I’m Feeling by Feeder

Killer Queen by Queen

Lullaby by Nickleback

My Happy Ending byAvril Lavigne


I had a theme for this week but I decided on Monday that I didn’t like it so I had a theme-free week instead!

166I wandered a different way home to usual after the school run today and rediscovered this gorgeous bit of street art down a side road near the big church in town. I just love the colours in it!

167Arthur came barreling out of pre-school today desperate to show me his Stick Man that he had made! He was very chuffed with himself.

168My foxgloves are flowering outside my front window! I love how they are all white or pink apart from the one nearest that couldn’t decide and so is half-and-half instead!

169Arthur is starting to really enjoy his swimming lessons on a Thursday now and we have finally reached a point where he will happily shower afterwards without crying the place down because he doesn’t like the water on his head! Also, the last few days it has occurred to me that he is starting to really look like a little boy now – he is losing his baby fat and starting to look a lot more grown up.

I don’t think I like it.

170Ah, BritMums Live Day 1 – the bit where we broke a world record by wrapping people in loo roll. Or, in the case of Zoe and I, by wrapping a Twirlywoo in loo roll. I haven’t laughed so hard in a very, very long time. Nor have I drunk so much wine since… probably last BritMums.

171Day 2 of Britmums and I got all productive despite MORE wine and made myself this foxy hair clip which I love and have been wearing ever since!

172As per tradition – my BritMums weekend was rounded off by a visit to our favourite play park – Hanley Park Sensory Playground in Stoke-On-Trent. It’s too far to go to normally so collecting me from the train station gives us the perfect excuse to go and have a play. This moment is where Caius stopped running and tried to let the hamster wheel settle, forgetting that laws of physics meant it would settle with his stretched out weight evenly balanced… Tori was afraid he was going to fall on her. It was hilarious.

 


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CMAlLullaby by Nickleback


My adoration of Nickleback doesn’t win me any street cred with anyone bar a few of my friends. But adore them I do – I probably listen to them and the artist coming up next week more than anything else.

I love singing along to practically every track and no matter what my mood I have a Nickleback soundtrack for it. This is no fleeting love-affair either – it started when I was about 13 and my brother burned me a copy of their Silver Side Up album after he got it. I knew it word for word within a week and have been following the band ever since.

I saw them on their The Hits Tour in 2013 and they were AWESOME – I am going to see them again at the end of this year and I can’t wait. There is something amazing about losing yourself in the noise, lights and feeling of a rock gig that I have never found anything like anywhere else. Being squished in with other people who love the band, singing along, feeling the music through your whole body – it is all-consuming whilst you’re there.

I have picked the track Lullaby for my alphabet because it is one of my favourites. I love the lyrics and this song has dragged me out of a few dark places when I have been struggling with things.

Please let me take you
Out of the darkness and into the light
‘Cause I have faith in you
That you’re gonna make it through another night
Stop thinking about the easy way out
There’s no need to go and blow the candle out
Because you’re not done
You’re far too young
And the best is yet to come

So just give it one more try to a lullaby
And turn this up on the radio
If you can hear me now
I’m reaching out
To let you know that you’re not alone
And if you can’t tell, I’m scared as hell
‘Cause I can’t get you on the telephone
So just close your eyes
Oh, honey here comes a lullaby
Your very own lullaby

 

 


If you have Spotify you can follow the playlist for my Music Alphabet by clicking this link – I will update it each time I add a blog post :)

Playlist so far:

Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

Cello Wars by The Piano Guys

Don’t Belong by Cold

Everybody’s Wrong by Hinder

Five Colours In Her Hair by McFly

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cydni Lauper

Head Over Feet by Alanis Morissette

I Owe You Nothing by Bros

Just The Way I’m Feeling by Feeder

Killer Queen by Queen

Lullaby by Nickleback

 


Tori is enjoying reading at the moment – and I hope this is something that continues – but what are her favourite things to read now she is edging toward her sixth birthday?

Dinosaur Cove – The Cretaceous Adventures by Rex Stone

Tori received the first book in this series as a prize from school and we read it together at bed time and fell in love. Before we had made it to the end I had tracked down the rest of the set (with help from my mum, of course!) because we simply *had* to have them.

The stories are fairly short – about six chapters long – but they are fast paced and exciting with every chapter ending on a real cliffhanger making it very hard to read just one at bed time! The stories follow friends Tom and Jamie on their adventures in Dino World discovered after they slipped through the back of a cave and found magic fossil footprints leading to the Cretaceous Period. There are lots of fun facts about dinosaurs woven into the story so Tori is learning lots without even realising it!

Peace At Last by Jill Murphy

This used to be one of my favourites too and Tori loves to read it to herself almost daily. I think she just about knows it off by heart now – there are definitely times she is looking purely at the pictures as she says the words!

A simple story we can all relate to – sometimes all you want to do is sleep and it seems like EVERYTHING is conspiring against you, especially that endlessly dripping tap…

Dragon Danger by Roderick Hunt

Ah, Biff, Chip and Kipper. Every five year old’s best friend. Tori has a set of these books at home and this one, about Floppy and a dragon, is her favourite at the moment. She reads it almost every day to herself in bed and often picks it to read to me at bed time in place of whatever her school reading book may be.

Robot Dog by Mark Oliver

We got this out of the library a while back and Tori cried when I had to take it back. It’s a very sweet story about Scrap the robot dog and his reject robot dig friends and their wish for an owner of their own. Because every dog wants an owner, even dented and slightly faulty robot dogs.

Dinosaur Chase by Benedict Blathwayt

Yup, more dinosaurs!

Better known for his Little Red Train stories, it turns out Mr Blathwayt has a soft side for dinosaurs as well – we have this and another one in the series about a little dinosaur called Fin. It is a good fun book and the pictures are brilliant and detailed. It always takes ages to read because we stop and chat about what we can see on each page before turning to the next one. Another regular bedtime story book, this has been one of Tori’s favourite for several months.

MamaMummyMum

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