Today was one of those day when I have absolutely not stopped all day but feel so refreshed. I love to get outdoors with the kids; it saves my house from getting trashed, it makes us feel closer to God, it gives us an opportunity to stretch our legs and let off steam, it does so much good to us all and just helps us to reset.
The weather forecast for today was pretty rubbish. I suggested to my sisters that we visit the museum. It seemed like the obvious choice really; shelter, fun, and low cost. My older sister, Candice suggested that we get the kids in their wellies and raincoats and let them run wild and get muddy. I instantly saw the merit in this, being about 6 years old myself!
So on went the wellies and waterproofs and off we went to a local nature reserve called Silent Valley in Cwm (locals and visitors, you need to go there). A forest seemed like a good idea with the weather and there is a beautiful stream running through it that is just a child magnet. The most amazing thing about Silent Valley is that it is in a really unlikely location, the approach to it is lined with terraced houses and parked cars. I love the stark contrast this provides; it's like an oasis. As my twin, Eloise, pointed out, it's Silent Valley by name and by nature, or it was until our ten kids stepped on to the forest floor. Even with their screeching and giggling though, it's still so tranquil.
Just as we expected, the kids spent most of the time wading through the stream; filling their wellies with as much water as possible. At one point a competition was announced to see who could fill their wellies with the most water. I think it was a draw between Animal Lover and her 1-month-younger-than-her cousin (sat next to her in the photo above). The kids even started singing one of my favourite songs ever, Wade in the Water, which one of my nephews knew because of seeing it on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I love that, that was his source; two of my favourite things in one place.
Thing 1 was as adventurous as always, he lead the way on a walk up the stream, using a perfectly sized stick to assist him, just like a pro! I had to periodically shout to him to wait up because he was so far ahead. He is my runner, so I have to keep him reined in a little as he has no sense of danger and nothing is too hot to handle.
It was so amazing to see all our kids bonding and having such a blast together. Seeing them have these experiences with their cousins, really reminded me of my childhood; we had so many fun adventures with our cousins, aunties and uncles. So many fond memories of holidays together, parties, karaoke nights and so much more. I really, really, really hope my kids always stay close with their cousins, wherever life takes them. These relationships are so important.
It was also nice to do sister bonding. I am kind of the middle one, even though I'm only ten minutes older than Eloise. It never feels like I'm stuck in the middle though, it always feels like I have two ready made best friends. We get on each others nerves of course and have the occasional disagreement but none of us can stay mad at each other for long. Today was just like every other time I'm with these two. As much as my legs and back ached from walking, my jaw ached twice as much from laughing and putting the world right. Hee hee!
(Candice made this lovely collage).
I feel like the timing of this day was absolutely perfect; I have my first ever wedding cake to finish tonight and tomorrow. Yes! Wedding cake! Scary, scary stuff. I am so nervous about it. I mean, I have made loads of birthday cakes, some amazing ones and some pretty mediocre ones, and I felt enough pressure over those but I really cannot mess up someone's wedding cake!
So yeah, I needed to blow off some serious cobwebs before I begin this rather daunting task.
The summer holidays are my absolute favourite time of year. I love the lessening of structure and how much time is spent just having fun. I also love light nights, even though they keep my kids from falling asleep without me telling them to go to sleep at least twenty times a night. Oh, and I love barbecues, wearing sandals, swimming in the sea, and the full bloom world around me. I feel like it's definitely more tiring with tons of extra laundry and following my four little snails around the house but it is so worth the extra work just to be together so much.
Just another slice of reality.