A *beachy* family story …

When I saw this week’s prompt for the Gallery, I thought awwwwwwwwww … ain’t that loverly … a family story.

I racked my brains and my archives to find a photograph fitting. I wanted to pull out that perfect family photo. And, then I realised I was maybe searching a little too high and thinking a little too low.

Because families aren’t perfect, are they?

Families are big and they’re small and they come in all different shapes and colours. They fight and blame and and tease and forgive and love and hug and grow and learn. They make us feel wanted, enriched and always to do and be and feel better. And, it’s amazing how they can make us laugh, feel all warm and cosy and then roll our eyes up in the back of our heads … all in the same minute.

Sometimes, you maybe, possibly manage to take a photo that captures all of that … one that tells the story of your own family … be it the good, the bad or the ugly … like I did just the other day.

I planned for the my boys and I to be up and at ‘em early Saturday morning to spend a day at our local beach. Or, at least half a day. Maybe even a quarter. Alas, my plans were foiled by cries of … “but, Mum we have to be up so early for school” and “do we have to” and “we just want to wee-wax” or something like that.

At first I was all “no … we are going” and “it’s a gorgeous day” and “you’d rather do what” before I finished with the dreaded “well, when I was a kid …” after which I quietly slunk out and let them vegetate their minds until I could take it no more.

I switched off their gaming consoles, screens and laptops and demanded they get in the car along with some sunglasses, a towel and a spade. Before arriving at the beach, we stopped at a sandwich shop along the way to purchase a picnic. We were all very excited to be there … maybe one little boy more than the others …

The sound of the seagulls and the waves were comforting and the views were gorgeous as the sun was just starting to set over the Gulf …

We ate our picnic, all the while me telling the youngest son that feeding the seagulls was maybe not a good idea. After finishing up, I let them take off … chasing said seagulls across the sands to some poor holiday makers caught off guard. I think they maybe saw my apologetic shrug of my shoulders and wave, but maybe not as they were fending off some birds at the time.

Before I had caught up to the boys, I had to yell at my oldest one to please not climb on the rocks as his brothers were following him like lemmings … only he had his shoes on and they did not. Ouch.

They then decided to throw catch with the football … only to get splattered with the muddy sand. I did try terribly to keep from laughing as they complained to me, but to no avail. It was kind of funny, if you ask me.

As soon as the sun dipped lower, the pesky no-seeums came out so we nipped over to the playground to see if they were maybe less ferocious there. But, the older two managed to help get their little brother to swing. By himself. Yeah.

Once the teasing began, I knew it was probably time to go, but I told the boys we would but only after we had watched the sun go down. The two older ones groaned … one wanted to get back to his mates’ house and the other was apparently being eaten alive. The little one wanted to walk along a tightrope … and my middle son gave me some lessons on Tebowing …

They were all so cute … chatting and laughing and teasing and joking like families do that I decided I wanted to take a photo of them all together. But, when I suggested it, they refused and ran in three different directions. Until I told them we would leave as soon as I had said photo …we were all being eaten alive by the pesky critters at this point … and so this is what I got … note the loving hold that the two oldest brothers have on my youngest … bless ‘em.

The Gallery …

This week’s theme for the Gallery is World Photography Day … which actually took place on Friday, August 19th.  Tara’s task  was for us to take a photo from that day or the weekend and make it a photo to treasure for generations to come be it family life, a moment, a precious family member frozen in time or a day out.

We really didn’t do too much over the weekend … the boys spent the day with their dad on Sunday, but on Friday we went swimming and on Saturday we messed about in the garden.  I managed to sorta kinda capture our time together with these shots taken with my trusty iPhone …

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I wanna wear my “da car” tee-shirt …

So, these were the words my youngest son woke up saying this morning.

“I wanna wear my ‘da car’ tee-shirt, mum.”

It was his first day of preschool here in the States and he had what he was going to wear all planned out in his head.

He was wearing his “da car” tee-shirt.

Being the ever-attentive, good mummy that I am, I begrudgedly happily pulled out what I thought was his beloved Cars tee-shirt for him to wear … cursing that it was at the bottom of the child’s stack of tees.  When I handed it to the munchkin I sadly did not get the gleeful squeal of delight that I was fully expecting.  Instead, I got a face that looked like a bulldog licking a thistle and those words again … “but, I wanna wear my ‘da car’ shirt.”

“This isn’t the right car shirt, son?” I asked him, patiently.  By this time, the clock was a-ticking and I was worried we might be late.

“No, I want my ‘da car’ shirt,” he replied.


My heckles went up when I heard him say “want” and for a moment, I pondered whether it was an appropriate time to give my little man a lesson about the use of that word and the fact that I would actually really rather him say “I would like.”  Knowing how I can ramble on, I obviously decided against it and went in the closet for another car tee-shirt.

This time, I came out … a triumphant twinkle in my eye … with his tee that had RC from Toy Story on it, but I was met with the same response as well as a stifled cry of sorts.  Bless ‘im.

“Mum, I want my ‘da car’ shirt,” he whined

“I don’t know which one car shirt you mean, son,” I whined back.  “Come on now, you need to get dressed or we’re going to be late.”

“Awww, mum,” he said looking at me tearfully.

Not wanting to have a parenting fail on my youngest son’s first day of preschool, I decided to look one more time for this bloody tee-shirt.  Standing there, I started looking through the boy’s shirts, muttering to myself “dar car ey?”

“Da car.”

Till I finally I spied it.

And, I swear it was like a thousand light bulbs going off.

Or at least a gazillion of those ridiculous Oprah aha moments.

“Is this what you want?” I asked my preschooler.

When he gave me a squeal of delight, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

I was holding a new tee-shirt his grandma had bought for him that had a guitar emblazoned on the front of it.  He had meant “guitar” not “da car.”

Finally, a parenting result.

He quickly finished getting dressed and we headed out the door … with me attempting another parenting result by trying to get him to pronounce the word guitar correctly.

I’m pleased to report that his first day went really well … all the better for knowing one of his teachers.  He was a tad confused by the differences between here and in the UK,  for example, he kept asking what colour his teacher was going to be.  This was a little embarrassing , but not so after I explained that at his nursery in England all of his teachers were colour coded so to speak … they each wore a different colour apron and the children were assigned to either the red group, the blue group, the green group or the yellow one.  Yeah, they don’t do that so much here.

He was also upset by the fact that he wouldn’t be having lunch at preschool. No matter whether he was in the morning or afternoon session at his nursery in England, he would have lunch there with his friends and so he doesn’t quite understand why that’s not the same here.

When I picked him up, one of the first things he did tell me was this … “guess what mum, everybody weeeeeally liked my ‘da car’ tee-shirt.”

Result.  I think.


The teen and tween had good first days too — thankfully, they were put in the correct classes and by that I mean those advanced  and gifted ones.  Last week, I had to get all Yorkshire ghetto with the teen’s high school guidance counselors when they tried to tell me that they were not going to give him credits for the classes he took in England.  And, that he very likely may have to repeat some of them.

*cough, cough*

Sometimes, one has to get a little forceful when it comes to one’s children. Ye know?

The Gallery … 24 Hours


So, Tara over at Sticky Fingers set this week’s task for the Gallery to take photographs of 24 hours of your life … so, here’s a bit of yesterday … bit of a boring day really involving vacuuming, keeping the munchkin out of mischief, tea and blogging amongst other stuff.

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Sunshine and sunflowers glory …

Sunflowers are one of my most favourite flowers.


I absolutely adore them.

So, leave it to me to go and get my family lost in 350,000 of them this past weekend.

This is the second year that my family has visited the family owned Sweetfield Farms’ blooming sunflower maze.  And, what a blast we had with sunshine and sunflowers glory.


True, it was hot and humid and because of that there was whining aplenty, but all that was soon replaced with laughter and lots of running amok .  Thankfully, there was plenty of shade along the path and even a couple of cooling stations strategically placed throughout the maze as we explored its many pathways.  With my oldest sons leading the way and the youngest sitting atop his father’s shoulders for most of the journey, we meandered our way successfully through the five acres of these majestic, towering flowers. 

I was just captivated by the gorgeous stalks and lost my boys a few times as I stopped to take photographs … mamarazzi that I am.

After tackling the maze, we stopped for a while and played on the swings and treehouse, had a rubber ducky race or two, planted a couple of sunflower seeds and bought some delicious u-pick green beans which we had for dinner that night. 

I love these kinds of family outings — where we’re all outdoors enjoying some good, old-fashioned family fun.  If you’re in the Tampa bay area, this is the last weekend the maze will be open so do be sure to stop by.


I am beyond thrilled to have made it as a finalist in the first ever UK mummy and daddy blog awards aka the MADS and would be so very honoured and humbled if you could please, please, please vote for me here.  Thank you.


Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much . . .

ma and meEvery heard that phrase before?  I adore it and have it proudly hung in my home and for Mother’s Day I got to do all three!  I had organized a casual, family soiree at my house to spend the day relaxing and enjoying each other’s company poolside.

  • Live well — and how!  We had an amazing feast of tea sandwiches, sausage rolls, salads, scones, fruit meringues, carrot cake and more!   My sister-in-law went all out and really helped me out with preparing much of the food for the buffet.
  • Laugh often.  My older brother brought big laughs to the day by donning a Speedo and jumping in the pool, but alas, I’ve been sworn to never publish any of the offensive photos!  It was fab to see my mum smiling and laughing — it’s been a tough year for her and she really needed a good few belly laughs as we all do! 
  • Love Much.  Mother’s Day began with me being awoken by my middle son bringing me a cup of coffee and offering to give me a back rub.  Awwwwwwwwww!   It really was a great day and ended with me feeling very blessed and loved by my family. 

Oh, and just a tad sunburnt too!