Thursday, 23 April 2015

So That Was Easter 2015

It was back to school and college for us on Monday which, after 2 weeks off together, was rather depressing. It was really hard to get myself out of bed at 6.15am on Monday morning. Once I was up, I was fine but it did take a good 25 minutes to convince myself to leave my bed.

The holidays were amazing. I loved having the time off with the kids and with Husband, who enjoyed a 4 day weekend. It's so rare that he gets a full weekend off. We took advantage of an offer from my MIL to take the kids to her farm for a sleepover and an Easter egg hunt and headed out for a night out together with friends. It was so much fun!

Miss C absolutely loved going to horse camp during the first week of the holidays. She was supposed to go on the second week but they changed the dates for her as there were more kids on the first week. It was great for her as she got to meet lots of new children and made some new friends. She loved having Sonny the pony to look after. She enjoyed mucking him out, feeding him, grooming him and riding him for 2 hours a day. I thought she would be exhausted when she got home but she was still full of beans. She just slept really well at night!

Z enjoyed Karate camp in the first week of the holidays. It's a tough three hours for the kids but it's all good fun for them and they've all built up a good rapport. After Karate, we had Z's best friend over until his Mum finished work so the boys loved going down to the football pitch together with me hanging out the window to keep an eye on them. They also had a great time playing on the hay bales whenever we went to pick Miss C up.

The second week of the holidays were a bit quieter in terms of activities. We stayed at home some days, watched movies and played games. We took advantage of the sunny days and headed to the park. Z went out to the cinema with his best friend and then they played a few games of badminton. The kids also went to the clubs on at the local leisure centre for a few hours which meant I had a little time to myself to do the mundane jobs like cleaning the bathrooms and the ironing.

To finish off our two week break, we headed to a local shopping centre with the kids to choose some things for their birthdays and they got a treat from Build-a-Bear. We were really surprised that Z wanted to get a Toothless Build-a-Bear but he loves Toothless and he was delighted with him. He has him in his bed with him now.

It was a real reality check when my alarm went off on Monday morning but it isn't long until the big Summer holidays where I'll be off for a total of 10 weeks and the kids will be off for around 7 weeks. The countdown is on to make some more amazing memories and enjoy every day together.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Colour #TheGallery

Nothing says colour to me more than seeing Disneyland Paris at night, all lit up. It was so bright and everywhere you turned, there was colour filling the dark skies. This is a pretty special picture as it was Husband's favourite attraction in the park. If only the X-Wing alongside it had been lit up like Christmas.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Shared Parental Leave - All You Need To Know

When I came home from hospital after having Z and then again after having Miss C, I was so grateful of the paternity leave Husband was able to take. With Z, I was exhausted and overwhelmed and Husband was on hand to take Z for a bath or a cuddle so I could have a nap. He helped me with the housework, made cups of tea for the many visitors and made me my dinner. When Miss C came along, he was on hand to take Z for a bath, read him his story at bedtime, take him to the park to play and entertain Miss C for 5 minutes whilst I grabbed a shower.

The two weeks paternity leave flew by and whilst I was happy to get myself in to a routine and enjoy 9 months away from work to spend with my babies, I know that given the opportunity, Husband would have liked to take some more time off to bond with his children. 

On 5th of April 2015, new legislation came in to force around parental leave. This means that eligible parents can now split the parental leave where they can take time off together (more than the two weeks available for paternity leave) and enjoy the time as a family. Citrix GoToMeeting have produced a great infographic on how the changes with affect families which you can read on their blog. 

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A Conditional Offer

Last year I made the decision to apply for a college course that I've been wanting to do for a long time. When I got an unconditional offer for a place on the HNC Early Education and Childcare course, I was really happy but very nervous as it meant leaving my job and returning to full time education. It was overwhelming at first but once I got in to the swing of it, I was way ahead of deadlines and submitting work that needed little or no re-mediation.

The thing I had been dreading most about my course was the graded unit which we started at the beginning of January. I knew what I wanted to do as my topic but I was really worried because it is the only thing on the course that is graded. The rest is a pass or a fail.

My topic is the benefits of outdoor play to children's development and I've really enjoyed researching the topic and carrying out activities and observations. I handed in the second part of my investigation on Monday and I now need to write my evaluation report. So far I'm on track for an A which is a great feeling, especially when I've been away from education for over 10 years and I'm a direct entrant to the course.

On June 19th, provided I pass the course, I will be a fully qualified Early Years Practitioner which means I can gain employment working with children including in a nursery or Early Childhood Centre. I want to work in an Early Childhood Centre which means I'd be working term time and have the same holidays as the kids when the schools break up. I've always wanted to work with children and this means I can fit my work around our childcare requirements.

At the moment, Early Years Practitioners can work in nursery or Early Childhood Centres with just a HNC qualification however the Senior Practitioners (the bosses) now need their BA and I think eventually they will want all Practitioners to have their BA. I have a few options to achieve my BA; go straight to University after I qualify at HNC level and study for two years or study for my HND in Childhood Practice for 1 year, gain employment for a few years and then apply to do my BA at night school over 2 years part time.

Last month I applied for my HND. It's the course that makes more sense for our family and childcare arrangements as I can study at the same college I've been in for the last 8 months. It will give me the same amount of credits as a year 2 degree would and it means I can do the BA in Childhood Practice in a few years part time when the kids are a bit older.

I received a letter to confirm I have been offered a place on the course provided I pass my HNC and achieve an A in the graded unit. By 25th of May I should know whether I've got my A or not and whether I'll be taking the next step towards achieving a degree. I'm scared but very excited too!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Me & You #16

We managed a rare night out this month to a charity night for a local children's charity. It was such a fun night. A bit of comedy from some really talented comedians and then a disco which meant plenty of dancing in to the early hours of the morning...well 12am.

The kids were picked up really early on the Saturday so we spent the day together. We went to view a house, bought some steak and scallops for dinner and got ready to go out whilst listening to some old school Ministry of Sound. The drinks were poured and we were ready to have a fun night out together as us. Not as Mum and Dad but as Laura and Husband.

It takes us back to the days before we had children where most of our weekend was spent in the pub. I think if we tried to do that now, we'd have a hangover for a month. But because we only do it now and again, it makes it even more special and we really enjoy the chance to let our hair down. And when we let our hair down, boy do we let our hair down. Husband was picked by one of the comedians to come on to the stage and do a catwalk and I was doing an Irish jig in my 5 inch heels. It was good people, it was good.