A time to reflect…..

I’ve been told this little space of mine was started 2 years ago today. 2 whole years. Naturally it made me stop and think. 2 years I’ve rambled and posted on here, not really knowing if anyone is really that interested in our little world. But also knowing that there are people out there who do care. I’ve really enjoyed blogging. Sometimes I’ve felt like just stopping, other times I’ve thought about trying to make an income from it, but each time I always come back to why I started it in the first place; and that was to encourage other people out there, mums in particular, on this journey that we find ourselves. Because, it sure ain’t an easy one. It’s a wonderful one, but it isn’t an easy one, and one, (that I have found anyway!), isn’t quite what you expected it to be.

2 years ago I started this blog at a time when life was, well, life was just crazy. And had been for the last year. 3 years ago, looking back I was FLAT.OUT. Having 3 tinies, with the eldest being 2 years and 4 months, was a whirlwind. And it was tough. And truth be told it wasn’t really what I had planned just 3 years before that! Gosh, it wasn’t that long ago that I was thinking about going to live, all on my ownio in Uganda. I had dreams of me living in some form of orphanage or home for Street children where maybe 20 or more kids would call me, ‘mum’!!

So, in the midst of embracing this new place that God had called me –  a stay at home mum with 3 under 3, this blog was born. I have always loved kids, I have loved playing with kids, teaching kids, doing mission teams with kids, babysitting, being a summer nanny / child minder… So a blog about my life now with own precious children seemed the natural thing to do.

I’ll be honest 2 -3 years ago I was wobbling. Wobbling in life. Being at home all day, every day, with just yourself and 3 babies is tough. And I was scared / ashamed to admit that. You’re not meant to find it hard, are you?! It’s meant to be an easy, natural thing, especially for a P1 teacher who has dreamt of being a mummy since she was 4!  If you’re reading this and are finding things tough at the moment, please know that you are not alone and it is ok to find it hard at times. When you have little ones at home, it is exhausting, whether you have 1 or you have 5, it is mentally, physically and emotionally draining. There are days too when it is wonderful and you are winning and those days are truly magical, days when I feel like my heart might actually burst with joy. Days when I pause and look around me and think, I love my life, this is everything I’ve ever dreamt of and more. But the reality is, there are some days when all you really want to do is weep!  (I realise I maybe sound a little unstable here, but I’m not, not really, just trying to be honest!!)

This blog gave me another outlet, a place to channel some of my creativity, another focus in my day. And it has become so much more than that too. A little community that I love dearly. 2 years on and the days when I am winning are getting much more frequent. We’re entering a new chapter in this adventure story that we are writing. I’m still learning what it means to, ’embrace my place’, to not let life pass me by, and to live in the here and now and be fully present wherever I find myself. But I am getting better and am so thankful for a gracious Heavenly Father who offers Hope and Joy and Strength to face the day.

I’m excited for this new chapter – when all of my cherubs will be stepping out into a bit of independence. It’s sure to bring some new challenges, more memories to share with you guys, more experiences to write about…..

So, Happy 2nd Birthday to Making Memories In The Chaos. It’s been a great 2 years, thank you to all of you who read and comment and encourage me daily. It means a lot.

Here’s to another year in Blog Land!

Wanna be a Record Breaker?

On Friday, J and I had a little date day. It has been a while since him and I had some time on our own. He needed his glasses tightened up as he was spending 90% of his day looking over the top, so we decided to take this as an opportunity to do ‘stuff’ just the 2 of us.

I love that my kiddies have come to really cherish these dates. He got himself all cleaned up and put on his spanking new polo shirt and was all set to, “look after” me for the day. We headed into town, quickly got his glasses fixed, spotted a toy in the sale (one of those TMNT vehicle things reduced to £4 with a turtle too!), bought the all important bread and milk and then began the fun stuff.

J wanted to go to a coffee shop – he does love a chocolate bun, So we decided to try out the new Bob and Berts which has just recently opened on Bow Street in Lisburn; I think we’ll be back ;) I introduced him to the joy of a salted caramel brownie and we had some good chats. It’s so lovely that he’s becoming a little friend, a son to chat with.  I kind of dread those ‘grunting’ teenage years that lie ahead. Am hoping that ‘chatting with mum’ will be so second nature by then, that he will come to me about everything and anything. (Don’t burst my bubble, ok??)

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After this we went to the library, I knew that they did a Reading Challenge each Summer and was keen to encourage him to sign up. And bless him, he didn’t need any encouragement, he was dead excited. This year, as part of their Summer Reading Challenge they are hoping to set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Pledges Received for a Reading Campaign.’ Anyone (over the age of 4) can take part, you set yourself a target of the number of books that you will read, (between 2 and 25) and if, by the end of August you have achieved your target you receive a certificate. Do check out the link above for more information – J is LOVING the smelly feet sticker that he got when he signed up. He has also read all 7 of the books that he borrowed already! Long may that enthusiasm for reading last, eh?!

We then headed for a walk at Hillsborough Forest Park….a family favourite for a walk around the lake, for climbing trees and for collecting pine cones in the forest. It was a lovely time. Our final stop of the day he decided was to be at Granny’s….more chocolate!

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I had a great day with him and he seemed to really enjoy it too….I hope he’ll always look forward to a date with mum.

A day at Pickie Park!

Yesterday was the first day of the holidays for us as a family of 5. We are incredibly lucky that Mr. Making Memories is a primary school teacher and we get to spend 8 long weeks together as a family every summer. We don’t have any big holiday plans this year – we have a weekend in Dublin with my sisters in August and Ben and J will be heading over to England for a few days, but apart from that we will be day tripping it to the max here in good old Northern Ireland!

We kicked that off yesterday with a trip to Pickie Park in Bangor.  We had a really great day, the kids loved it and it was pretty stress free and fun for us adults too! We always really enjoy a trip to Bangor – there is a lot more to do than just Pickie Park, but yesterday it was all we needed to put in the time. Sometimes, in the past, I have felt that a day at Pickie Park is expensive. But it’s funny how your mind works…..Yesterday we bought one of the ‘Family Passes’ and I have to say it was great. Because we had paid up front a one off amount, I didn’t feel like my hand was never out of my pocket. The kids didn’t hear, “no, not today” instead, “Do you want to try the ….. next?” Also included in your pass are tea/coffee and ice creams which was a nice wee treat at the end of the day. (I should point out that the pass is for 2 adults and 2 children, so we did have to pay for an extra train ride and ice cream, but due to L’s age this worked out fine as she was too little to go on most other things anyway.) So, if you are heading to Pickie Park I would highly recommend a Family Pass – it definitely psychologically helped me AND you save money! (tell me someone else out there gets me on this??)

Also, I thought I was pretty prepared yesterday for our trip, but it turned out I had forgotten a few essentials. I’m going to put together a box / bag to be left in the car for our day trips this summer….you know for things like, wipes, tissues, extra suncream, a towel….what would you put in??

Here are some pictures from our day…..

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Yip! Hubby knows how to capture my best side!!

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The Foxy Boxy!

Gosh, isn’t it roasting?! It really is true what they say, everything is so much better when the sun shines! We have been really enjoying the sun and heat today and I am sitting here stuffed after a yummy BBQ. I just wanted to take a quick 5 minutes to share with you a new venture by 2 local girls, who also happen to be my 2 little sisters!

Let me introduce to you The Foxy Boxy club – ” a monthly box for lovers of fashion, fun and frills”! Sounds good right?! Last month the girls treated me to their first box, which had the theme “Ooh La Laah” and I was delighted with what was inside. Lots of lovely little bits and bobs that came as a lovely little surprise; almost like getting a surprise present from someone for no reason at all!

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And then inside I found…..

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A little French Bull dog purse – very cute, Miss L loves it! But I like it for keeping coins and loose change in for the car park.

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A moustache pen and heart shaped sticky note pad! Quirky and fun!

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A little macaroon with a delicate gold necklace inside.

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(Sorry that pic is a little blurred!)

I put a much better picture up over on instagram!

 And a lovely lace collar to add a finishing touch to a simple dress or top. Here’s Jill, one of the ladies involved wearing hers!

Like I said I was really delighted with my box – it contained treats that I wouldn’t have necessarily bought for myself, but they were a lovely surprise to receive!

Their July box goes on sale tomorrow and the theme is, “Let’s go to the beach”. I’m looking forward to seeing the goodies in this one! The box costs £15 with free postage and packaging.

If you would be interested in receiving a July box, please go and have a peek on Facebook or http://thefoxyboxy.com/

The boxes get released for purchase at 9am on the 1st of each month, so you need to be quick tomorrow morning if you want one! Please do go and give their page a ‘like’ and share some love.

My little bear is a whole big 4!

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This little man turned 4 years old on 11th June and it really was a milestone moment for me. I don’t know what it is about 4, but it gets to me. It tugs my heart strings. I think, for me, it feels like the end of a chapter, the end of an era. It marks the end of our time at home together all day, every day. 4 years old seems a whole lot bigger than 3. The end of the baby and toddler days and the beginning of him becoming a proper little boy.

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And what an adorable little boy you are my S-ybear.

It has been a big year for S.  Back in September he had his operation to get the vents into his ears and his adenoids removed. And wow has that made such a difference! He hasn’t looked back and has honestly been the healthiest he has ever been, his speech has come on in leaps and bounds, his sleep has improved so, so much and his frustrations have been eased. It has been amazing and just a joy to watch him improve so much. He also has been attending The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast about his little chest as he has had 3 bad spells of pneumonia in the last 3 years. But, again, we seem to be getting to the bottom of all that and he is again, getting things a little easier :) He is a little gem, this boy of mine. Despite all the problems that he has had he is such a joyful, happy little thing who finds fun and joy in even the most simplest and mundane of things!

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He is also the most rascal-ish of the 3.  If there is something mischievous to be doing, S will be doing it. His fiery, strong willed personality can be a handful at times, but I am learning to appreciate that, while it can drive me loop-de-loo on a daily basis, it is also a great trait to have. He will not be easily led or swayed by his friends and once his mind is set on something he sees it through to the end.

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S I love you with all my heart. I love you coming in to our bed in the mornings with your wee pal Mickey and that wretched old thumb in your mouth…..(hopefully when you’re 30 you won’t still be doing it, until then I’m not going to worry too much about it!) I love that you come in FULL.OF.LIFE. sometimes singing, sometimes humming, sometimes laughing, but all the time happy and delighted to see us again. I love that you tell me approx. 367 times a day that you love me, that I’m the best mummy in the world. I love your big goofy laugh….me and your daddy both love that little part of you, you’re like a wee Disney character when you belly chuckle! I love that you are the jigsaw KING. I love when you show us your muscles – they really are something! S, I love that you literally jump for joy when you and I are going on a date, or when we tell you that we’re going out somewhere for the day. I love all your kisses and hugs and back rubs and head massages. I love that you are so thoughtful and kind and are always thinking of others first before yourself. (If I’m honest I don’t really love your shouting or temper….but I reckon that’s just a part of that fiery personality that I was talking about earlier….and I also think I can’t say too much because you get that from me!!)

S-y you are wonderful. I love you to bits. But, I’m not really ready for you to be a whole big 4 yet and I am most definitely not ready for you to go to school. While you may be 4….you are not that ‘big boy’ now. You’re my wee bear. But I have to let you go, but just so you know, I’ll always be ready for kisses and cuddles when the bell goes…….

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To my darling little 3 year old.

I’m a little late in getting this post typed up. I had intended to do it on the day of her birthday, but honestly, June has been one crazy, busy month, and I just couldn’t seem to find the time to sit down and type! But, at the moment, S and L have gone down for a little nap before we go to pick up J from school and I’m going to strike while the iron is hot.

5th June 2015 saw our little darling L turn 3 years old. And she really is our little darling. She is a loving, caring, giggly little girl who loves sparkly things, and shoes and lipstick and handbags and joining in when the boys play football. She spends her days laughing and smiling and talking and dancing. She has become my wee chum, me and my girl. 3 years ago I realised just how much I wanted a little daughter, when she was born I cried and cried for ages with pure joy, we had a little girl. And I fully embraced the world of pink and frills and bows!

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Leah laughing

L you are growing into a wonderful little girl. I love how you always smile and find even the smallest things funny. I love that you always want / need to be touching me when we’re on the sofa. I love all the affection that you share with those around you – whether they want it or not, sometimes your eldest brother isn’t as up for the kisses as you are, but still it doesn’t put you off. I love how you see the world in the most adorable, little cute 3 year old ways – when the days are sparkly (bright and sunny), or when the café at the zoo reminds you of The 3 Little Pigs house, (it had a straw roof). or when you always want to skip to pick up J and S from school instead of just walk. You have started to try to copy everything that I do – which is both lovely and slightly alarming!! Ha! Just this morning you were watching me sit on the sofa and you crossed your legs in exactly the same way as me and clasped your wee hands around your milk in just the same way I was holding my coffee. I love that you love all the fairy tales. At the moment your favourite one is Lodlilocks and the 3 bears – you can ‘read’ it by yourself, all the way to the end, and you do a great Daddy bear voice. I love watching you play with your brothers, trying so desperately to keep up with them when they are on their bikes, or running around in the garden. It makes me giggle when I hear you “high-ya” and pretend to karate chop a teddy. You really adore your big brothers so much and are a great help at keeping them in line ;)

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So, now that you are 3 there are going to be some big changes for you in a couple of months. You are off to pre school in September, and although at the moment, you say you’re not going and are just going to stay home with mummy and go to the coffee shops, I know that you are going to really love it! You will make some great wee friends and have great fun. I’m going to really miss you though in the mornings, but I’m not going to tell you that…..not until you’re 18 or so anyway….Love you lots baby girl….Happy 3rd Birthday x

Free Family Day Trips Northern Ireland.

Here we go! Here is our Bucket List for our free days out this summer! Thanks to all those on Facebook who gave us some new suggestions for the list. I hope to make it to all of these this summer…I’m setting us the challenge ;) Hope you get some ideas too, please feel free to share with your friends!

  • Antrim Castle Gardens
  • Banbridge Solitude Park
  • Bangor Castle, Walled Gardens, Castle Park and Ward Park.
  • Belfast Castle Estate and Cave Hill Visitor Centre
  • Botanic Gardens and Palm House
  • Bunkers Hill Walk and Play Trail
  • Cregagh Glen
  • Days at the beach anytime that the sun shines!
  • Dobbies Garden Centre (my 3 LOVE a wee morning here – looking at the fish, grabbing a wee fresh cream bun and a wee play in the small play park!)
  • Dock Café and Titanic Quarter (not entirely free!)
  • Festival of Flight, Newcastle 8th August
  • Fort Evergreen, Warrenpoint
  • Hillsborough Forest Park and play park in the village.
  • Inch Abbey – it was suggested we take a scavenger hunt here! I imagine my kids will love that!
  • Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor
  • Lady Dixons (Rose week 14th – 19th July)
  • Local library!
  • Loughgall Country Park
  • Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island
  • Lurgan Park
  • Moira Demesne
  • Murlough Nature Reserve
  • Portrush Countryside Centre
  • Quoile Countryside Centre
  • Roe Valley Country Park.
  • Scarva Park
  • Shaws Bridge for a nice walk and play park.
  • Slieve Gullion Giants Lair and Adventure Play Park
  • Stormont Park
  • Tannaghmore Farm and Gardens
  • The Tall Ships, Belfast 2nd – 5th July
  • The Ulster Museum
  • Victoria Park
  • Wallace Park

That’s a lot of day trips! Mr.Making Memories, if you’re reading….I hope you’re ready ;) x