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Happy 2nd Birthday G!


Never has there been a truer quote about parenthood. 

There are days when I wonder how I can do this. How much longer the “phases” last. When is it bed time and I can stop the watching, following, repeating myself 3 thousand times a minute. 

But then there are other days when I don’t know where all the time has gone. Why there isn’t more time for laughing, cuddles and taking in how miraculous and perfect G is. 

And that’s what being a parent is. A complete mix of perfection and tiredness. 

Today I’ve thought about how fast these 2 years have gone. How short 731 days can be, even when some of those days have felt longer than the rest! How much has changed since you entered our world, and made it better. And as bad as some of those days were, I don’t want to change them. But I do want to remember to keep filling the future days with as much laughing and cuddling as possible! 

You are so clever and funny. I never thought how much you could learn in such a short time. You’ve got all these words an you’re talking to everyone all the time. Sometimes they’re not clearly understandable, but we’re learning what you mean and they get clearer all the time. 

You love colours, naming them and pointing them out. You love cars, trains and spotting airplanes in the sky. You love Thomas the Tank and you know them all. You get cross if I don’t name them correctly straight away. You get so excited when you spot someone you know or a favourite character in tv.

You are so strong and physical. You love sprinting around, jumping and spinning. You love splashing in the swimming pool. You love being outdoors in sun or rain. Puddles are made for you, and if there’s sand or mud or a stone to be thrown you’ll find it. Even if mum says no! 

You are funny and love laughing. You like tickling and making us all laugh too. 

I can’t list everything you know and do because there’s just too much to say. 

You are our world and you are so special. 
Love you millions beautiful boy! 

Lots of love, Mum & Dad xxx

Birthday Trip to Folly Farm

 
Our nephew turned 3 last month, and what better place to celebrate than in Folly Farm with G and of course my nephews parents! Mr H was unable to get away from work…we’ll just have to arrange another trip soon!
The Herniman House loves visiting Folly Farm, so we were really sad to miss out on meeting the rhinos when they arrived last year, as I was unwell at the time. 

This trip we were all looking forward to seeing the rhinos for the first time, and also the newly arrived sloth and fruit bats. Of course this was on top of the excitement of seeing all of our favourite animals. 


I was pretty tempted to leave G with my brother in law, sister in law and nephew and could have stayed at penguin coast all day long! We visited them twice and for ages but I am yet to fulfil my dream of sitting inside the pen all day long. Ah well maybe one day! 

There was no doubt which animals the boys were waiting to see. At least three and a half viewings of the Lion King in the caravan before hand, and lots of (very loud) practising of their best ROARS on the way meant visiting Hugo and the rest of the pride was very high up on the list.


But first we had to go through the Jolly Barn! As a long time visitor (4 years old feeding lambs and taking hay filled tractor rides) means I always want to visit the ‘traditional’ side of the farm first. Despite the amazing new additions in the zoo, and the fantastic play areas AND the vintage funfair, the Jolly Barn is still just as interesting and exciting. There’s a great program of meet and greets scheduled throughout the day meaning everyone can get up close and personal with lots of the animals, lots of chances to cuddle or learn to milk them. It’s a fantastic chance to for children (and adults!) to see and touch animals that you may not get a chance to usually, especially in city life. It was also a good chance for G to yell out all the animal noises he knows.



The lions were next, but after a visit to them we made our way to the new attraction we were keen to check out. The rhinos!


It was fantastic to see them, especially when you remember that you’re in west Wales too. They’re so big but gentle, and it really made G giggle to know that carrots were like a chocolate treat to them.

It was really sad to find out that the major cause in the near extinction of the rhinos is the human race. They’re not hunted by any other animals as you may think, such as lions or other big cats, but it’s the human hunters and poachers that are constantly depleting the rhino population. 

It’s another fantastic reason that the rhinos are being looked after in Folly Farm and they are able to contribute the conservation and possible breeding to help the species.


A birthday day out wouldn’t be complete without a special lunch and the chance to run wild! We were treated to lunch at the Carousel Burger Bar, though the boys were much more interested in trying out all the soft play areas. Speaking to the farm in advance let us know that they could have left a birthday cake with one of the restaurants who would store it until needed and even till we’d be ready to take it home! It was decided not to bring the cake in the end but it’s great to know that they’d be able to do this for you. It’s a popular day out and I can see even more family birthday trips being planned for the future so it’s lovely to know you can take a cake if wanted.


Even though we’ve been before, there always seems to be something new we haven’t seen or done before. The rhinos were of course the main new attraction, but there was also a new friend in the discovery centre, a beautiful sloth. The boys were slightly less impressed, after all it doesn’t roar or race around, but I could’ve watched it slowly wander about its new home all day. I feel that I currently have a lot in common at the moment. Or at least I’d like to have more in common but that lovely sloth doesn’t have an energetic toddler bouncing off the walls! Just as well really.


G hasn’t been big enough on previous visits to check out any of the fairground rides, but this time got to drive around on the vintage car ride. Even though it’s a very quiet time in the season, almost all of the rides were working, just in rotation, so if there was a particular ride you wanted to go on you just had to ask a staff member and they came to man the ride.


But the little car ride wasn’t a patch on G’s first go on a go kart! Mummy wasn’t able to go (not best advised to go-kart whilst pregnant!) so he got to drive round with his Aunty Lu whilst big cousin M got to race around with his Dad. 

We’d checked G was tall enough, and they queued for a while, but it wasn’t until they’d sat down and buckled in that I suddenly had a mini panic. He was tall enough, but was he old enough!? But one look at his beaming face going round the track was enough to tell me he was more than ok with it! I was sorry to miss have a race too but it was great to watch the boys smiling and waving as they went passed.


With so many animals and a ton of different play areas I don’t think our family will ever tire of trips to folly farm! We’re already thinking about our next visit in September, and I think maybe season tickets might be an idea for next year.
 

Mrs H xxx
Disclosure: we were given entrance tickets in exchange for this post. All opinions are honest and my own

Dragon Hunting

   

What do you do with a stir crazy toddler when the skies look angry grey? You go on a dragon hunt round a castle of course!

  

Caerphilly castle had a great sculpture display outside the castle to celebrate St David’s Day, and me and G were very excited to go and explore it.

   
 

He was not even a tiny bit scared despite its size, and even gave it a kiss on the nose :)

   
  
   
   
 

Of course being outside, and walking with a toddler who screams blue murder if the rain cover is even seen let alone used, the heavens opened and good Welsh weather arrived.

   
 

We still had lots of fun stomping like dragons over the sodden grass, we were not equipped in wellies so I tried to keep the splashing to a minimum but who can resist puddles!?

Mrs H xxx

Planning A 2 Year Olds Birthday Party

  

 As much as I’m in denial, I can’t avoid it. G turns two next month. 2!? When did that happen??

So I need to start planning his birthday. We held his 1st in our house, and it was a lovely day, but our family has way too many people to do it again this year. There are more adults than children and they take up more space than small children, but last year the small children were smaller, and moved less. This year there’s still a small army of adults and now not as small children who move around. A lot. At speed! So hosting in the house again is just not an option.

There’s two main options really, hiring a play centre venue or a community centre hall. Both have pros and cons.

The play centre: unless you can find one that hires out completely you may have to share the venue. Most will have a separate party room for food and games, but then the children share the play areas. This usually means that they don’t end up playing together, or parents end up chasing kids across the other side and not speaking to other parents. They’re fab, but I think better for older children rather than toddlers. Especially for numbers. Play centre parties always have a minimum number limit, and at (almost) 2 G only really has family, cousin and close family friends who’ll be coming, I don’t think we can have a party usually for a class of children for possibly less than 10.

But the best thing about play centres is that they usually have a complete package, so there’s less to organise/stress about. Entertainment, food, party bags and sometimes even cake. All included in the price, all cooked and laid out for you and even cleared up after you’ve gone. So very very tempting!
 

The Hall: you can hire for as long as you want, so you don’t have to have the party done in just 2 hours, although this may not always be a good thing. But if you want a more relaxed feel or want to have time for more family to join if they have other commitments etc. You have full control over the food and decorations, you don’t have to pick from a list of foods or deal with the existing decor clashing with your chosen theme. There’s a lot more freedom of what you want from a party.

But at the same time you have to choose everything for the party. Cook and lay out the food and drinks, decorate the venue and clear it all up afterwards. Also you have to provide entertainment, which for older children is a lot easier. A disco, some classic party games maybe even a visit from a favourite character. But toddlers are different, they may enjoy bopping along to a few songs but a whole disco will not hold their attention. And have you tried getting a toddler to sit still through a meal let alone pass the parcel!? Yeah, that is not going to happen for another year or 3.

I need to think really fast because, because this needs booking really soon! Like last week :-/
 

What did you do for your toddlers’ birthday? What’s the best kids’ party that you’ve been to (aka which one didn’t make you want to down a 2 litre bottle of vodka?)

Mrs H xxx