A Week of Sporting Achievements for the Boy

I bring to you a very proud parent post..

The week started off pretty dire for my son. He had spent the weekend not feeling very well and ended up in bed, missing school on Monday due to throwing up the night before.

He was due to race in the Year 7 Essex Cross Country Championships on the Wednesday; something he been looking forward to doing for a long time. He had spent the last couple of months training hard for it and really wanted to enter. Racing and running has been something that he has got into through his Dad and older brother – both compete at competitive levels.

By Tuesday he was back in school and back at training. The training session was really just to test if his fitness was ok to compete in the race, he seemed to be ok and didn’t complain of feeling ill.

Wednesday came and his Dad picked him up from school at midday to take him off to the cross-country race. He was the only boy who had been entered into the race from his school so it was up to us, his parents, to get him to the event.

He was excited but nervous. He really wanted to do well in this race. Back in November he raced for his school in the borough championships and didn’t do as well as he as expected. In my eyes he done brilliantly, but to him he knew he could have raced a quicker time.

When you look forward to something for so long, the nerves take over, especially when you want to do well.

He lined up on the start line, the only child from his school, ready to move at the sound of the start gun.

Doesn’t he look small at that start line?

Growing up watching and supporting his elder brother competing in races for the borough and County just made him very determined to want to do the same. He had looked forward to following his footsteps and couldn’t wait until he was in Senior school so that he was able to do so.

He ran a superb race, crossing the finish line in 6th place  and securing a place to represent the County in the Inter-Counties Cross Country next month.

Safe to say I had a very happy boy. His persistence paid off and he never gave up. He had his sights on something and grabbed at it with all that he had to give.

On Friday he came home from school sporting a new badge on his blazer. He had called me on his way back and I was a little worried as i had missed his call and he wasn’t answering my returned calls. He came straight over to me saying

“Do you notice anything different?”

Of course I did. I noticed it straight away.

A new badge on his lapel. An Achievement Award Badge rewarded from Jack Petchey Foundation.

There was more. He reached into his bag and pulled out a framed certificate and a letter

He had been awarded Outstanding Achiever after being nominated by another child in his year group at school.

I cried.

Sending your child to a school where they had no friends from their junior school and always wondering if they have made friends or if they have fitted in, is a big worry. So, to read how he was nominated by another child for his running achievements in school but also because he is always engaged and focused in all school activities and school work. His peer also said that he is always willing to help others. This makes me well with such pride.

Just look at his little face in the picture above and see how proud of himself he is!

He has also been rewarded £250 to spend in his school, he needs to choose a department to spend it in. Which, he already knows. Without a doubt it is going to be the P.E department as he wants the school to supply children in athletics a vest to wear instead of wearing their PE shirt.

And if that wasn’t enough of his achievements for the week he topped it all off today by competing for a place in the boroughs team to compete in the London Giving Mini Marathon and securing a place.

My only wish for my boys is to have the very best life, to play hard but equally work as hard to achieve the imaginable. My boys are the greatest thing that ever happened to me, there is nothing more than seeing them smile and hear them laugh. I am super proud of all of them and the young men that they are becoming.

I am one very proud parent

 

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15 Signs You Know You Have a Teenager When…

The change is almost over night; one day you have an adoring young child who would do anything for you to make you happy and the next BAM! You’re faced with a moody, angry teen who slouches around the house and argues back at you when you ask them to do a chore.

Now, I am quite lucky that most of these signs I only had when my son went into secondary school and, to be fair, they didn’t last for long (maybe a year or so). I think it took me falling ill for him to shake his butt and get a grip with his emotions and feelings. Some of the signs are still happening and, well, I could be talking about the significant lazy other half too! (but that’s another blog post lol)

We all have our own experiences with our teens – some good, some bad. Here are some that I have experienced with my sons:

  • They no longer feel the cold and go out without wearing a coat in the Winter. Wearing a coat is to uncool!
  • Teenagers know everything! There is no need to use the internet anymore, just ask your teen. Oh, and they have an answer to everything too (that’s if you can hear them talking through their mumbling)
  • There is no need for a cloak cupboard anymore, teens will leave their coat and bags at the front door as soon as they enter. They say it’s easier for them to grab the next day
  • They have a better social life than you. As soon as they turn 13 they will be attending anyone and everyone’s party.
  • They live in their bedrooms. You will never see them unless there is food on the table and it’s time to eat
  • They begin to mumble in a low voice when they are talking to you. You will never make out what they are saying
  • You will never get to use your own charger anymore as it will be claimed by them to charge their tablets or phones
  • They want every item of clothing to be designer and are no longer happy with Primark or high street clothing
  • Their friends are allowed to do EVERYTHING that are not allowed to do and you will constantly hear about a friend who can do what they want
  • If they DO pick up their dirty dishes and cutlery and take it to the kitchen, it will not make it into the sink but instead it will be left next to the sink ready for the cleaning fairy to wash them
  • You will find dirty, stinky socks all over the house. Say goodbye to pairing them up, you will have odd socks everywhere
  • They constantly have their phone next to them, headphones plugged in. Now, I’m pretty sure that they are not even listening to anything it’s just a way for you to not talk to them
  • Sleep. They can sleep all day long. It may be because they don’t got to sleep until the early hours as they have spent most of the night on social media
  • There is never any food in the house even though you just filled up the cupboards and fridge with food. Either they have just eaten it all or they mean that there are no snacks for them to grab and eat straight away
  • Say goodbye to that expensive hair shampoo or body lotion that you save for special occasions as it will get used almost immediately. Oh, and your bathroom will have  a cloud of smoke in their from all of the deodorant that was sprayed.

Don’t worry, the teen years don’t last for long, You will soon have that loving little child who once ran from their classroom door straight into your arms because they were thrilled to see you. They no longer fit onto your lap for a cuddle and you may have to stand on a stool to hold them in your arms again but their loving and caring side soon comes back.

Do you have any signs to share?

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Encouraging my Children to be Adventurous

‘Fill your life with adventures and with stories to tell’

Children need adventure, they need to experience risk in order to develop their ability to deal with situations and to build up their self confidence. It encourages them to be more resilient and to think for themselves. Whether the adventure be small or big, indoors or out children should be experiencing adventure to build up their skills and to able to assess the danger around them. Not only do children develop trust, empathy and compassion but they  learn to master their own fears and are able to help others get through them.

As parents we should be teaching our children to assess the danger and how to deal with the risk of being adventurous. As much as I want to wrap my boys up in cotton wool and lock them away from any danger I know that I must allow them to experience adventure to gain knowledge and new skills.

I want my boys to have memories of us being adventurous together and hopefully they will last a lifetime and something that they will then take on with their own families.

I want us to visit new places together.

I want us to try new challenges, like rock climbing and diving.

A couple of years ago I took my boys camping in Lee Valley, we travelled around on our bikes and spent the summer nights out walking along the River Lee. It’s a holiday that they still talk about and are constantly requesting to go back. It didn’t cost much and wasn’t a glamorous holiday but it was something we did together as a unit. We cycled along the river bank with an unknown destination, stopping where it took our fancy. We cycled for miles using only our sense of direction to get back. Searched for geocaches. Played hide and seek in the forests. Climbed trees. And picniced in fields.

Enjoying the scenery

It was the first time I had ever gone out cycling alone so far with the boys, but I am so glad that I did it. As we don’t live too far from there, we travelled there and back on our bikes with just clothes in our rucksacks. We had to deal with getting lost, bee stings and how to deal with punctures. It was amazing, in fact I am too scared to go back as I don’t think we could experience another holiday like it.

Now, we’re not the most adventurous family but we still try new things, even if we are scared.

We have hiked up Mount Snowdon as a family  ,entered Mud races, jumped from a crane, been canoeing, open water swimming; not all that adventurous compared to some but it’s a start 🙂

We spent this summer in Malta. The boys went swimming in the sea everyday. They taught themselves to dive, to snorkel and faced their fears by jumping off of cliffs into the crystal clear water below.

I, myself, am not that confident and would call myself a scaredy cat. As I watched my boys jump in but couldn’t face doing it myself. It took me at least a week to pluck up the courage to jump in from about 2 metres high. I was so glad that I did it, my boys just kept hugging me. I felt that I had achieved something, although it was little in comparison to what my boys had been doing. I felt a sense of adrenaline rush through me.

Here are a few things the boys got up to in the summer

Exploring caves
Exploring under the water

Jumping from cliffs into the sea. They were taught to assess the danger first. To swim around first and to see how deep it was. And to also look out for any jellyfish.

Having a mud wash

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In this day and age where children would rather communicate via social media and spend most of their spare time with their face in front of a screen I think that it’s important to encourage our children to venture outside and explore, to learn for themselves and to achieve that sense of adrenaline from adventure. I want my boys to be challenged and to be comfortable in their surroundings.

I want to spend time with my boys outside, it’s something we can do together without the distractions of modern technology. It’s about making memories, enjoying each others company and creating stories to tell for when they grow up.

 

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Bonkers about Conkers

It’s that time of year when the ripe seeds from the Horse Chestnut tree fall to the ground.  The conkers are encased inside a green spiked capsule, which are attached to the branches of the tree. When the spiky capsule begins to turn brownish in colour they fall to the ground. It’s a sign that Autumn is on it’s way.

My youngest has never really been that into conkers, that is until this year and he has absolutely gone bonkers for conkers! Collecting well over 400 of them; with the help of friends.

Wherever we go: on the way to school, to the park, to football practice or walking to the shops, he is always on the lookout for a conker. When we get home he empties his school bag, trouser pockets and even his lunch bag and places them into his growing collection.

With so many conkers I asked him what he wanted to do with them. His reply was just that he wanted to collect them and see how many he could find.

I know conkers are, apparently, good for keeping spiders away if placed in the corner of the room. So I think we will be safe for a while from our eight legged friends.

Apart from the obvious of playing conkers we decided to get our craft heads on and do something a little different with what we had. We made conkers paintings and snail conkers.

Conkers paintings are really simple but can get quite messy.

You will need :

  • Conkers
  • A tray
  • Paper
  • Selection of paint

Place the paper into the tray. Then add in the paper and squirt some poster paint around the paper. Place some conkers on to the paper and now the fun and messy part. Start to shake the tray so that the conkers roll around in the paint leaving a coloured trail behind them.

About to roll
Finished picture

Conker snails were so much fun

You will need:

  • Conkers
  • Paint pens or acrylic paints
  • playdough

First we made up our playdough. We added in chocolate powder to give it that earthy colour. My son loved making the playdough as he likes to get messy and it’s really good for the children to practice their measuring and motor skills.

Then, we decorated the conkers with the paint pens, we used my posca pens but you can get cheaper versions which are just as good. Once the conkers were dry we moulded the playdough for the snails body and placed the conker on top for the shell.

Aren’t they just so cute!

You could even hide the snails around your local park for other children to find or even just the decorated conkers ( just like the rock decorating craze)

As a child, I used to love playing conkers with my friends and big brother. It was something that my parents had taught me. Who had the strongest conker? There were even methods that you could use to strengthen your conker; keeping a conker for a year, baking, soaking, boiling in vinegar, or painting with clear varnish. Nowadays, children don’t seem to want to play the simple, but fun games that we played when we were younger.

Conkers is a game that could dates back as far as 1821. To score in Conkers you must break the opponent’s conker to gain points – you can score when you are attacking or defending. If strings become entangled the first player to shout ‘strings’ gets an extra turn.

I have not given up on introducing the boys to the game, as I know they will just love it as much as I did.

All ready for a game of conkers

But, this activity is for another day 🙂

 

 

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Christopher Robin: Afternoon Tea with the Voice of Pooh and Tigger – Jim Cummings

Just over a week ago we were invited along, by Disney, to celebrate the upcoming release of Christopher Robin for an afternoon tea with Jim Cummings.

It was truly a magical experience.

If you are anything like me and you grew up watching/reading Winnie the Pooh, then you will understand how excited I was to be able to meet Jim Cummings and listen to him read a short extract from the book of the film. Winnie the Pooh was the first teddy bear that I bought for my eldest boy when he was a baby, you which he still has now.

Christopher Robin is a heartwarming film about a young boy, who on embarked on countless adventures with loveable animals, who has now grown up and lost his way. It is now up to Christopher’s childhood friends to help him remember the loving playful boy that he once was by venturing into our world.

‘Sooner or later your past catches up to you’

The afternoon tea was being held at Claridges. We arrived and was quided to a room that was full of Pooh themed food, tea (obviously, as it’s afternoon tea), face Painting, colouring in tables, old fashioned games, biscuit decorating and a lovely big chair – hmmm, I wonder what that was for!

The boys quickly made themselves at home, grabbing some of the delicious cakes and sitting down in the corner on the cushions to eat them whilst cuddling their Winnie and Tigger teddies.

They designed some balloon shaped cookies with lots of sugary items and ate some ‘beary’ ice cream.

I’m not sure what this design was but he assures me it tasted nice.

As the children enjoyed getting their face painted us adults sat down to tea and cake.

It wasn’t long before we were joined by Jim Cummings, he sat down in the chair and the children gathered around him on the cushions. Clutching on to their Pooh bears, Tiggers, Eeyores and Piglets they say mesmerised as Jim read an extract from the book to them.

The room was silent.

Adults and children around the room were quickly joining Pooh and Christopher on their adventure, getting lost in imagination as Jim brought the characters to life.

I couldn’t help but smile.

I looked around the room, I could see the magic I the children’s eyes as the story was coming alive. It definately was a wonderful thing.

Once Jim finished he kindly waited around for photos and chatted to the children.

We had a wonderful time and are very thankful for the invite. The boys came away with a plush teddy and a memory that they will cherish forever

Christopher Robin opens in the Cinemas on 17th August.

We can’t wait to watch it! How about you?

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