A Day Out at the National Railway Museum

In March we took a trip to the National Railway Museum in York, and I thought I would share our experience with you.
At the time of our visit our eldest was three years, and our youngest was just five months so this review might help you if you are a parent to littles!

Our eldest is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, talks about him all the time, colours are in reference to trains, phrases like “i fell off the tracks” “I screech and stop” “bust my buffers” are a common occurrence throughout my household.
With all this in mind we thought time spent at the Railway Museum would be great.

Nate and I at NRM

A trip to York isn’t too far from where we live and you could make a visit absolutely free by not using the museums car park. I think if the boys were older we could have gotten to York by train but at their ages the convenience of having a car is essential. I simply saw the £9 car park charge as a ticket to get in as it goes to the upkeep of the museum.

We headed straight downstairs to begin looking at all the trains and Nathanael was wowed by how many there were, and the fact that he could look inside so many!
At the time of our visit as it was during term time on a miserable March day, I was surprised to see how busy it was, there were 3 or 4 school groups going around and a lot of other visitors too.

circle trains

In the main section there is a coffee shop which is in the middle of where all the trains are, this was perfect for me as I could grab a drink and feed my youngest, while Nathanael and his Daddy were off exploring. More often than not with littles you are trying to manage the expectations of each one and especially when out and about this can be difficult. I thought the open cafe area was a great idea.

They also have other restaurants available in another area of the museum which is laid out as if you are dining in a train carriage. I am sure if my two boys were a little older they would have loved this, at the time there were plenty of adults taking pictures of their experience!

rocket

Not all of the trains are open to see, and this for my oldest was where the fun stopped for him, his attention span isn’t the greatest so if he couldn’t look in all the trains this is where he wanted to move onto the next. There was plenty of information to read about the trains and railways scattered all over, and I was impressed to see on quite a few of the trains employees of the museum sharing what they were all about.
I explained to one lady how much Nathanael loved Thomas the Tank Engine and she dove straight in and told Nathanael how that train was exactly like Emily. I really appreciated how they went out of their way for Nate to have the best possible experience.

Nate and I looking at trains

There is a play area “Little Play Station”  for younger children which is a new addition, Nathanael loved exploring this area, however we went in March during term time and it was quite busy. I perhaps would have made this area a little bigger I can imagine this are during the summer months would be very crowded.

Luke and Nate bridge

Overall we had a great morning at the museum, I perhaps think our eldest would have got more out of the experience if he was a little older or had the weather been a little better and we could have gone on the small train or he could have played in their outdoor area.
This isn’t any slight on the museum obviously as they can’t help the weather or my son’s love of the outdoors.

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May Favourites

Forgive me for this being a little late but as you will read on it has been a very busy month.

1. Grey Feature Wall – Over the May bank holiday Luke painted the feature wall in our Living Room and I just love it. The previous colour was a dark red which suited the room from October to February, however as soon as Spring approaches our living room looks dark, small, and out of season. I love grey, I have the same colour in multiple rooms in our home, it really has brighten the room up and has given us a neutral canvas to display our gorgeous family photos.

2. The Chiltern Country Luxe Reed Diffuser – Luke has been on his travels with work for the past couple of months, while he was away he caught up with his Aunt and Uncle and returned with gifts. One of them happened to be this gorgeous reed diffuser which I claimed was too nice for our downstairs powder room and promptly took it to our ensuite, however after a few days I had to purchase one for downstairs too as I loved the fragrance so much.

3. White Amber perfume – Luke counted down my birthday in gifts and one of the fragrances he purchased for me was this, I always used to purchase florally scents but really love this warm fragrance.

4. 30th Birthday Celebrations – My thirtieth birthday was obviously a highlight of the month, I was spoilt so much, gifts are my love language!

5. Dream Big Candle – This was a gorgeous gift from an equally gorgeous friend! Not only does this smell amazing it fits perfectly with my new living room decor.

6. Peonies – My favourite flower of all time which only happens to be in season around my birthday, so I was spoilt by Luke and my sister and brother in law to, two bunches of them my house looked as if you were walking into a florist.

7. Spigen Style Ring – This was one of my birthday presents and I am so happy that Luke has purchased it for me, I am really enjoying snippets of my day over on Instagram Stories and having this ring just gives some added protection with my phone.

8. Afternoon Tea – This was my birthday treat from my sister and it was a great gift to be able to spend time with her and eat some delicious cake even if I had to take it home with me, we were so full!

9. New Kitchen Lights – It is approaching 4 years since we purchased our home (where has time gone?) and every winter a common complaint heard in the kitchen is how dark it is. The previous owners had opted for a strip LED monstrosity, which along with not seeing a duster in years and being a hideous design, didn’t serve it’s most basic function – that to light up a room. I would love to have the height to install pendant lighting over our kitchen dining table but I lack the huge American house so we went with these from John Lewis and I am thrilled. They already make sure a difference to the room and I am loving how this small changes to our house continue to improve it.

Judah Eight Month Update

Judah 8 months

Weight: 16lbs 12oz

Length: who knows!

Eating: What a month for Judah in his exploration of food, he has been brilliant at baby led weaning and is now on three meals a day and quite proficient at drinking water from a sippy cup with his meals. I wouldn’t have space to list all the things that Judah has tried this month, but he is pretty much eating all the meals that we do – Slimming World meals are great for baby led weaning as you cook everything from scratch and can monitor salt content. Judah like his brother loves a good pasta dish, homemade meatballs are great for chubby little hands although he is mighty fond of a broccoli cheese and red onion muffin too.

Sleeping: 7.30pm – 6.30am

Nappies: Size 3 Pampers.

Clothes: 6-9 months.

Things Judah likes to do: There is so much to update as Judah seems to have grown up so quickly this month, to start with he has his first two teeth through, I felt like he had been teething since he was three months so was very happy to have 2 down, more to go!
Judah can now sit up completely unaided for long stretches which he loves as it has allowed him to play more games with his brother rather than laying on his back or his stomach.
Judah is now quite proficient at the backwards army crawl and although this is leading to many a frustrating moment for him, it amuses Mummy and Daddy to no end.
Judah will often now lift his hands up when you are nearby to be picked up, it is so sweet and I am loving that he is now able to communicate this way, on the communication front he is very vocal over his meal times and woe to anyone who puts him in his Tripp Trapp with no food to consume the second his bottom hits the chair.
This month we purchased a play centre for Judah, he has outgrown any mat type thing now and we wanted something that would be more interactive for him. It is marketed up to three years old and so Nathanael is a tad too old to crawl through things however he has been loving showing Judah what it does and Judah has loved Nathanael playing with him.
Judah is very social, he loves to be in on the action and can’t bear the thought of missing out on anything and you can sense his frustration that he can’t do everything he wants to at the moment, that said Judah is very content and happy in himself and generally is only unhappy if a tooth is about to break through.
Can’t wait to see what Judah has planned for his ninth month and as ever just wish I can stop time to make it all last a little longer.

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My Top 5 Baby Led Weaning Products

When Judah turned six months not only was I left wondering where the time went, I was eagerly awaiting the day where I would introduce him to his first tastes of food.

With Nathanael a whole three years ago we chose to baby led wean. We were confident with this choice because Nathanael had his first two teeth by five and a half months, whereas Judah despite teething since three months had yet to sprout any so we kept an open minded in how the journey of baby led weaning would go.

I am thrilled to say, he has taken to it brilliantly, perhaps it is sitting at the table with us each evening and being enamoured by his brother that has helped him so much. I am not sure, however Judah knew exactly what to do and seemed thrilled that he was finally  allowed to eat.

There are so many gadgets, accessories, “the must have items” when it comes to weaning I thought I would today share my Top 5 products when it comes to baby led weaning.

Stokke Tripp Trapp – We invested in a Tripp Trapp this time around and I am so pleased we did, for a start it takes up minimal room in our kitchen. It is the easiest thing to clean and to move around but the main selling feature is that Judah can sit at the table with us. We have purchased the tray that can attach to it, but he is right at our level, watching what we are all doing and feels included in the meal time which is exactly what I wanted, and has proved invaluable in the weaning process.

Tommee Tippee Roll n Go bibs – With baby led weaning there is mess, there is no way of getting around it and your baby will drop food all the time, however these bibs are great for collecting some of the debris.

Tommee Tippee Easy Scoop Feeding Bowls – there are so many reasons I love these bowls so here goes; they are dishwasher and  microwave save, they are also perfect for when your baby begins to scoop things themselves as the corners are almost like a triangle so no running around the bowl with a spoon. These bowls stand the test of time, our eldest has had them from day one of weaning and they are still going strong for him. I love that they stack neatly into one another, and that you can purchase a lid so great for storage too! What is not to love.

Tommee Tippee Feeding Spoons – These are great for little hands feeding themselves with chunky handles that are easy to keep hold of.

Shower Curtain – A shower curtain is a great, cheap investment for the early, messy days of baby led weaning. You will obviously still need to clean your floors but having something underneath a high chair to collect the mess for easy clean up is essential.

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Faith in the Parenting Room

If you are a regular reader to my blog you know that just a little over seven months ago our family had the joy of our youngest son arriving into the world! Judah is an absolute gift, and it has been wonderful to watch our eldest Nathanael become a great older brother.

There are so many shifts in life when a baby arrives into the family, new routines of how your household is run, new roles for a sibling and perhaps other family members taking on new responsibilities can happen, even your time at church is altered by having a baby.

faith in parenting room

That is what I thought I would chat about today in what I have dubbed “faith in the parenting room” The parenting room I am sure is found in many a church, it’s a room out of the way, with a live link where you can take your youngsters to feed, change, play,  a space where they won’t disturb others in worship or during the preach. In my opinion they are marvellous thing I would hate if my children were distracting someone anywhere and of course this applies to church, however I would say that at times, the parenting room can be an isolating place to sit.

I hate – make that loathe being late so we are always early to church, at the worst we are on time, and after signing Nathanael up to the children’s programme I might if I am fortunate get to participate in the first two praise songs before exiting from the back.
At this point I have missed greeting new people, I have missed notices and prayer as I tend to the needs of my son.I might hear the preach but I love to take notes and that is tricky while breastfeeding or rocking a baby to sleep.
I usually have to hurry out, for naptimes or lunchtimes as our service ends quite late for a three year olds stomach. At times, as I am sure many parents have, I feel like I am just showing up but not taking anything in or serving in anyway.

You can feel over looked in the parenting room, because like I said you are in church but you are not really seen, a common phrase can be heard “ I haven’t seen you in ages” and you have lost count of how many times you have had to say “no I can’t do that at the minute”

Keep Going.

I think it can be quiet easy to quit, or skip out on church, it can be easy to drop into a cycle of non attendance especially if you have experienced some of what I have explained, but keep going. Keep showing up, I read recently a quote from Stephen Furtick that said some of the most faithful people are often the most frustrated people, because they’re committed to the cause. I am pretty sure he might have been talking about this in relation to teams but I think this can apply to the parenting room. I am beyond committed to live out a faith filled life, not only for my relationship with Jesus but also to demonstrate this to my sons. Simply showing up when it is tricky or other things are more convenient, I am living out, what I want my sons to follow, we don’t quit.

The parenting room is a season embrace where you are at.

It can be tempting at times to imagine you had all the time before to serve on this and that, or to take notes or think about missed opportunities but thankfully the Bible counsels us on these things

Don’t ask why the old days were better than now,
because that is a foolish question.

Ecclesiastes 7:10

Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze on what lies in front of you

Proverbs 4:25

I am amazed each day by how fast my children are growing and how quickly they are learning new things. You won’t be in the parenting room forever embrace it, the chances are you will likely romanticise it in the future!

No isn’t a negative response it is a positive choice to say Yes to something or someone else.

Your “no” to serve on that team or to attend an event aren’t personal to  either those who are asking or to those that are hosing them. Your no is neither a full stop declaration that won’t participate in future, view your No as a Yes.
You are saying Yes to your children,
Yes I will pick them up straight after the children’s programme,
Yes I am the one who gets to have cuddles with my little one.
Yes I am prioritising the greatest calling I will ever have in life – that of parenting my children.

You are serving might not be obvious but it is still serving.

Those quick conversations in the parenting room, the opportunity to hold another child while Mum or Dad tend to someone else, that recommendation on teething powders or what type of food to wean with first.
I have had some invaluable advice while I have been in the parenting room and hopefully I have shared what has helped with my children too.
I think we are missing something when we don’t give God the glory for those random moments or encounters in the parenting room. You might not be on a door greeting anyone, and you might not be on the stage (who would want to be there anyway – my idea of a nightmare) it is less obvious to others perhaps even yourself, but you are still serving in the parenting room

Reach out to others.

On a Sunday you might have a crazy day, your toddler might be in a bad mood, your baby might be hungry or needing a nap, and you may have to dash in and dash out of church in some tornado like fashion. Reach out to others, I have some incredible friends who I can depend on to have a moan too and they are also brave enough to tell me to stop moaning too!

Faith in the parenting room may have those isolating moments, you may feel unseen or unheard, you may even lose touch with the next event or happening in church but you are never forgotten or unseen by God. He always sees you, he is with you wherever you go. It is in my daily parenting as I reach out to God and handover my children to him that I see his love for us so tangibly.

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