Holidays

Father Christmas

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Well, I don’t know about you, but I have one excited Munchkin this year.  Christmas is coming, and we are definitely aware that that’s a good thing!  Last year when asked what she wanted for Christmas, Munchkin (whose life was still measured in months, rather than years!) simply requested cake!  This year we wrote to Father Christmas and asked for face paints and a new, singing Charlie mouse (still a girl of simple tastes at 2 and 3/4!). She now understands that there are going to be presents.  She is also fascinated by the big F.C. Father Christmas.

Being 2, Munchkin also has “the whys” as I like to call that irritating habit of asking, “Why?” about everything, incessantly.  The problem is that as a pretty poor fibber, “the whys” coupled with the big F.C. really rather frightens me.  What if I can’t answer a question convincingly. What if I let the cat out of the bag about Santa Claus?

My mother was (and is) a very poor liar.  Whilst I see this as a good trait, it did mean that aged 3, I told her that Father Christmas couldn’t be real as we had two solid fuel fires and he’d get burnt if he came down the chimney.  Mum thought she was fast thinking enough and apparently told me that he came through the window. My disbelief continued and I informed her that he would not fit… and then said, “It’s you and Daddy, isn’t it Mummy?”.  Mum could not lie and said that I was right.

The conceit continued, however, and it was only two years ago when the Munchkin came along, that I stopped receiving a stocking. (By the time I was in late primary school I had started giving my parents a stocking too – cunningly forcing my parents to keep the tradition going!) I am fairly certain I was not negatively effected by the early wane of the Father Christmas story, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for my daughter.

So if you have a little one who is keen on Father Christmas, but asks a few too many questions, may I recommend the North American Aerospace Defense Command…. I know that sounds weird, but it’s a great system.  Every year, NORAD uses all its technology bring you live data about the progress of Father Christmas (or Santa as they call him) around the globe. There are games and even a section entitled “Is Santa Real”.  This year you can even track him in 3D on google earth through NORAD.  If his progress is there on the internet for all to see, he’s got to be real, right?

Have a very Merry Christmas from Loretta and Ruth at More than a Mum.  🙂

24 hours of freedom

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If you read last week’s BritMums blog prompt post, you’ll have an idea of the kinds of things we want to cover in this blog.  So far, we’ve posted about the joys and trials of motherhood, various socio-political issues around parenting, toddler activities and even a recipe, but we haven’t posted much about ensuring that you don’t get lost in the role of parent and you still do things for yourself.

Therefore today I want tell you about a 24 hour period where I did a number of the things that I used to take for granted before the Munchkin.

The weekend before last, hubby and I finally managed a night away together.  Whilst we do go out together, we had not yet managed to orchestrate a night away, what with parents living a reasonable distance away and yes, I’ll admit a good amount of nerves on our part that the Munchkin would have a meltdown about us not being there.

We decided to go to my Mum’s for a few nights and in the middle, book one night away where Munchkin would stay with Grandma…alone! We booked somewhere not too far away, both so we could maximise our time together and so that we could get back to Mum’s should there be an issue.

It was wonderful.  Munchkin was absolutely fine with her beloved Grandma. In fact today at lunchtime when I told her the rule in our house was she had to try what was on her plate before telling me she didn’t like it, she told me she’d go and live with Grandma!

We stayed in the Cotswold town of Malmesbury and I can highly recommend it.  It is not that big, so our 24 hour period was enough to explore most of what it had to offer.  We arrived at around 3pm and checked into The Old Bell Hotel.  Before Munchkin, hubby and I used to treat ourselves to a weekend  away once or twice a year, at a nice hotel with a good restaurant.  From the internet write-ups this seemed to fit the bill. It wasn’t cheap, but that’s why we went for a Sunday night special!

After having checked in we went to the Abbey House Gardens for a wander to absorb some peace; I could indulge my budding interest in macro photography and we could perhaps catch a glimpse of the naked gardeners (yes, they do garden naked there!). The gardens were beautiful and “sans child” we just wandered for a couple of hours – no need of swings or snacks.

Malmesbury Abbey Gardens
Stunning Gardens, but no gardeners!

After a stroll round the town, we declared it gin-o’clock and ensconced ourselves in the hotel bar. Obviously by this point we had subconsciously decided there would be no need to race back to rescue Grandma!  We spent the early evening sitting by the fire, drinking and talking about everything and anything.  We then had a delicious dinner and a few glasses of wine and headed up to our room for an evening without a child in tow… ergo I fell asleep while hubby was talking and he watched Have I got News for You in bed!

Breakfast the next morning was excellent, as was the leisurely morning before we checked out.  We then spent another few hours pottering round the town.  We visited the town museum which was really well laid out and had just the right balance of information and interactivity.  It also had a display of Turner sketches upstairs and as he is one of my favourite artists, I was happy.  We bought a few Christmas presents (early I know but anything to save me from Christmas shopping crowds with a toddler) and wandered round the Abbey itself.

All in all, we had a fantastic time, being just two and doing things for us. We’d highly recommend Malmesbury and also recommend having time away from the kids.

Oh and here’s my best efforts at ‘arty’ photography:

Malmesbury Abbey
Trying to take unusual shots in the Abbey
Macro seedhead
See I told you I like close-ups!
Macro Leaf Malmesbury Abbey
Arty leaf and Abbey shot!