Several trips to the fabulous adventure playground at Ickworth. We really make good use of our National Trust membership, making many weekend family visits, and well as Sausages and I going during the week most weeks.
Sausages has rediscovered painting, sticking and drawing this summer, after a long time of not being interested. This is a great joy to me! We have made sooo much mess, but it's great to see his creative ideas forming and his fine motor skills improving every day.
We took a train in to London to visit my brother and his partner for a weekend. Both of my sisters and my parents came along. It was very much worth taking the train rather than the car. Sausages LOVED the train, especially going through tunnels, and going down the "magic stairs" to the underground. We picnicked in the park and on the South Bank, where Sausages really enjoyed walking over the Thames, waving to the boats, and riding on a beautiful roundabout. This was a big step forward for our timid boy, who is mysteriously frightened of riding on swings, and doesn't like you to put a coin in the ride-ons outside supermarkets!
We revisited an old favourite, Blue Reef Aquarium, and treated ourselves to fish and chips on the seafront for lunch, where we watched boats sailing by. Sausages loves the aquarium, and would happily spend an entire week there, getting nose-to-nose with the rays, stroking the starfish at the rock pool experience, and running through the tunnel. Husband hates it, and is very sweet about taking us there.
We visited Uppark, another great National Trust property with fantastic grounds. This was a really family friendly day out. There were long underground tunnels, where Husband and Sausages pretended they were an octopus in the sling...
...lots of open space for running around, and games equipment provided...
...and a fine supply of different benches for our connoisseur!
We also had a fabulous day out at Portsmouth Historic Dockyards, which was a big treat from The Outlaws. The grown-ups really enjoyed the new Mary Rose museum, which I cannot say enough good things about. The amount of artifacts available is truly amazing, and the museum has been so well put together. Sausages' favourite parts were HMS Victory, where there are a lot of interactive exhibits perfect for small boys. In the picture below he is sitting at a table where the sailors would have eaten, which was laid with wooden bowls and spoons, and replica weevily biscuits. Next to the Victory there was a nice water play, with pumps and other toys. That wore him out, so the grown-ups got to enjoy another museum while he slept in the sling. That investment has truly saved our summer!
On our way home from Portsmouth we met up with some of Sausages' little friends at Wimpole. This is another great day out for small children. There is a large park to run around in, and even a farm on site, although the entrance is not covered by National Trust membership.
The boys have had a fabulous summer together. We are so lucky to have Husband home for such a chunk of time in the summer, even if it isn't the six weeks that teachers are rumoured to have! They are so lucky to have this time with no pressure to just enjoy each other's company. Here they are making mince out of the end of a leg of lamb. Men, using machines!
If you have children at home, what have you done with their summer time? The lessons I have learned from the Summer of Fun are: that a toddler carrier is absolutely indispensable where there are distances to be walked or crowds to be negotiated; and that every other day should be a rest day. Sausages has been so tired out by this summer, and has even resumed a day time nap. The sling was essential for carrying him, especially when he was tired, or needed to be held on to, because there were lots of people or breakable objects. It also helped him to be able to see things that were designed for adult audiences, and to have a conversation with us face to face when it was noisy. A buggy would have kept him separate from us in these situations, and they're so awkward! Our sling is a toddler ABC, and although Sausages is now right at the top of the weight bracket, and no longer knee-to-knee, it's very hard wearing and will probably last us until it's no longer necessary for occasional lifts. I can't carry Sausages any more, because he weighs over 20kg and my pregnant spine just can't handle it, so I'm really looking forward to getting to use this carrier when the next baby is big enough!
I hope you've all had fantastic summer breaks, even if it was just a long weekend, and are looking forward to the change in seasons to come.