Fourth birthday celebrations are picture perfect

Like Luke, many of his friends having been turning 4 in recent months so he’s been a bit of a social butterfly taking in all their birthday celebrations.

Soft play centres, open farms and family homes have all provided the back drops for stampeding hoards of sugar-fuelled preschoolers to mark their friend’s special occasion.

But it was another slightly different fourth birthday that recently helped to showcase a Lincoln venue’s celebratory credentials.

Lincoln Mums, an online magazine dedicated to providing support, guidance and information for parents in the local area along with a few helpful membership discounts and offers, chose to mark its fourth birthday at The Collection in Lincoln.

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Also marking the second anniversary of Emma Crellin taking on the Lincoln Mums mantle, Emma joined forces with The Collection’s party team to put on a few extra activities for the museum’s younger weekend visitors, displays of party food and had lots of local information on hand for their older chaperones to pick up.  There was even a party bag (or “party present” as Luke likes to call them) to take home with you!

We also took advantage of the opportunity to pick up a new leaflet detailing The Collection’s children’s birthday party offerings because Luke and Willow are starring on the front of it!

The mini ones are fans of the children’s room at the front of the museum, as well as of having a good hands on run around the main displays, and don’t need too much encouragement to dress up which makes for a happy mummy.

So when we read on Lincoln Mums Facebook page that the museum was looking for willing participants for a promotional photoshoot we volunteered the mini ones.  Daddy and Mummy Malpi were asked to participate too but we ended up being saved from the camera lens by being a bit busy on the day welcoming Faith into the world.

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The photos were taken by Stuart Wilde Photography and, while realise we might be a bit biased, we think Luke and Willow make very cute knights.

The Lincoln Mums Expo 2017 will take place on Saturday, March 4th.

Happy birthday and anniversary Lincoln Mums and Emma!

(Guess who else is celebrating their fourth birthday – it’s Sarah and Duck!)

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Feeding Tube Awareness Week 2017

Did you know it is the seventh annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week this week (February 6th to 10th, 2017)?

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Created by the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation to increase awareness of feeding tubes and enteral feeding, we’re certainly more aware of the need for such intervention after Faith spent a week in Lincoln County Hospital’s Nocton Ward building up her strength before coming home.

Faith was lucky to leave the tube behind her at the hospital but many children and adults continue to be reliant on such help after they’re discharged – find out more at www.feedingtubeawarenessweek.org

On the third weekend of Christmas…

Remembering the fun of last weekend is helping soothe the disappointment of a cancelled operation for my son today.

As well as not one, not two, but three Christmas parties at various children’s groups the mini ones attend, they also accompanied us for an annual seasonal meal out with friends last Saturday.

Sitting still for any length of time isn’t their forte but gifts of Disney character toys, children’s activity packs from the restaurant based on We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, an ice cream desert and our own bear hunt exploration around the building after the meal helped stave off any significant displays of boredom.

 

The following day we headed to Wyndham Park in Grantham for its Christmas in the Park celebration where, for the mini ones, Christmas seemed to be marked in a similar way to at the Lincoln Christmas Market – this time with bouncy castle fun and a teacup fairground ride.

But Luke soon also benefited from another’s display of festive friendship when an older boy tried helping him up the bouncy slide he was having problems climbing.  They were quite determined together which was so lovely of the other child (don’t you just love how children can make friends anywhere they go within seconds?) but ultimately it was still a little beyond my small four-year-old’s legs.  Maybe he’ll be able to climb that mountain of bouncy, slippery steps next time Santa’s in town.

And it did mean Christmas does still include helping others as well as enjoying amusement rides.

On the second weekend of Christmas…

Christmas was put on hold at the start of last weekend in favour of all things second birthday related.

I can’t believe Willow is already 2!

She’s fairly sure she’s already 14 and certainly approves of presents and cake so is sure to be looking forward to many more birthdays to come but such occasions always make me want to grab hold of the earth and slow it down a little, keep my mini ones mini a bit longer.

Time has gone even faster with Willow than with Luke, I fear if we blink we’ll open our eyes to our third baby’s 18th birthday.

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We didn’t have to think too hard about what to treat her to and her new kitchen seems to have gone down very well so far – just as well considering the furniture moving it took to fit it in.  Fortunately the size of it has meant that brother and sister have been able to share it relatively amicably so far too.  Hopefully, as soon as their legs allow, they’ll be replicating what they’re currently practising for real in the kitchen behind that wall.  Luke’s insistence on doing some baking in the last couple of days has given me hope (as well as fairy cakes)!

santalukeSunday included more presents for Willow from friends and family but also featured Christmas in large again as we took part in the Lincoln Santa Fun Run.

Daddy has done it in the past on his own but last year we did it as a family for the first time.  Despite it being just a little bit of a stretch too far in the end (Finishing last didn’t stop it being a fun run) it was clear that this type of event is very much Luke’s thing.

This year the excitement started early as we tried their Santa outfits on to make sure they still fitted ahead of the race, and told them that grandmum, grandma and pops would be joining us this time too, and we had to keep reiterating that it wasn’t going to take place that day (or the next…).

santa2aFortunately his enthusiasm hadn’t waned when the day came and it made a mummy’s heart swell to see him in his element skipping, spinning and ho ho ho-ing leading our way to the starting line.

And what a difference a year makes to a mini one.  Managing to determinedly walk most of the way in 2015 scraping through at the end as they were packing up, 2016 saw him run three quarters of the way with daddy, arriving well within the melee reaching for their water bottles and impressive medals.

2016 and Daddy saw him run it anyway – this mummy carrying a two year old on her back and sporting a 32-week pregnant tummy on her front was quite happy to take a more ambling approach, taking in the atmosphere and all the fun variants people made to their, their children’s and their dogs’ costumes.

Willow, a very savvy lass, took an even more relaxed approach to the event, deciding once again to sleep through most of it, preserving her energy for further present opening and cake eating in the afternoon.

As well as last year’s and this year’s Santa Run, she’s also slept through last year’s Race for Life and was in the womb for the year before’s – she’s definitely worked out the best way to complete these events.

As a family we’ve also taken part in a Sports Relief Mile and it would be lovely to find more family-friendly events like these where we can indulge Luke’s need for speed with an added bit of spectacle.

We ran out of weekend quickly too which means we still haven’t started most of our Christmas shopping or fetched the decorations down from the attic let alone put them up – but there’s still two weekends left aren’t there…?

Christmas-inspired reads for your seasonal shopping list

Trying to decide what the “something to read” item of your children’s want, need, wear and read Christmas list should be this year?  Gill Hart from Lincoln independent book shop Lindum Books suggests a few of her favourites…

a-boy-called-christmasA Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig (Canongate, £6.99 paperback, 9781782118268)

A magical Christmas story for children of all ages from Matt Haig, best known for his adult fiction and as the author of Reasons to Stay Alive, his recent best-selling memoir about anxiety and depression. This is the story of a little boy called Nikolas who grows up to be Father Christmas. The jacket tells us; “You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. (Because this book is FULL of impossible things.) Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin…” The illustrations by Chris Mould bring Nikolas and his friends to life perfectly. It’s an evergreen story that will be enjoyed by grownups as well as children and is likely to become part of family tradition to be read every Christmas

the-girl-who-saved-christmasThe Girl who Saved Christmas – Matt Haig (Canongate, £12.99 hardback, 9781782118572)

Following the story of A Boy Called Christmas, Matt Haig brings us the story of Victorian chimney sweep, Amelia. When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas. But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeer dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled. But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl, as Father Christmas is going to find out. If Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone.

little-grey-rabbits-christmasLittle Grey Rabbit’s Christmas –Alison Uttley (Templar publishing, £5.99 hardback, 9781783706723)

If you are looking for something more traditional, this is a beautiful little gift book to keep for many Christmases to come. Since publication of the first Little Grey Rabbit book in 1929, the series has become a classic of children’s literature, capturing the hearts of many. The popularity of Alison Uttley’s magical stories and Margaret Tempest’s lively illustrations meant that generations of children grew up with Grey Rabbit, Squirrel, Hare, Moldy Warp and little Fuzzypeg. These lovely versions of four favourite original titles will bring the world of Little Grey Rabbit to a new generation.

squishy-mcfluff-secret-santaSquishy McFluff: Secret Santa – Pip Jones (Faber, £5.99 paperback, 9780571302567)

A lovely little Christmas story about Ava and her cat Squishy.  Pip Jones continues to give her quirky twist to everyday experiences in this warm and humorous series. The jaunty rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud and Ella Okstad’s gorgeous, distinctive illustrations will help more confident readers learn to read by themselves for the first time.

Call Lindum Books in Lincoln’s Bailgate on 01522 262374 for further information.

On the first weekend of Christmas…

It’s not often you get the chance to see teddy bears dancing on the side of houses, giant luminous fish tanks and robotic musical dancing exhibits in someone’s front garden whilst roaming the streets of Lincoln so if you want to take advantage of our city residents’ creativity on a winter’s evening stroll than the West End Lights is definitely the time to do it.

Marking the start of our seasonal celebrations, we were introduced to “Lincoln’s home-grown night of light when ordinary people do something extraordinary” a couple of years ago by a friend who lives in the area and, not least because it’s “powered entirely by volunteers”, the artistic efforts that people go to and their outcomes are outstanding.

The dancing teddy bears were definitely Willow’s favourite – watching her jigging up and down with them dressed in a teddy bear coat certainly won it a soft spot with her mummy too – and Luke was loving the whole very convivial atmosphere and spotting every light show going.

Sadly I had forgotten to take the sling with me and my 31-week pregnant back was only capable of carrying a tired little one reluctant to be held by anyone else so far so we had to cut our visit shorter than we would have liked but hopefully we’ll be back next year with appropriate transportation to see what wonderful sights are conjured up next time.

Fuelled by our enjoyment of the West End Lights we decided to overcome our worries of crowded cobbles and take in all the Lincoln Christmas Market had to offer on the Sunday.  The daytime atmosphere can’t match what we remember of the nighttime trips we used to make but being able to see which direction the mini ones run off in is always preferable.

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And all that the market has to offer is certainly a different prospect all round (and a more expensive one) when you attend with a couple of mini ones whose highlights include the helter skelter, little vehicle ride and the pick up a penguin stand (think hook-a-duck).

But they definitely enjoyed their time, mummy enjoyed eating some fudge and daddy got to have a sip of mulled wine too – purely for its warming benefits of course.

We still haven’t actually started our Christmas shopping yet though…