The school holidays to me are like gold. I miss E so much that I truly count down to the days when she hasn’t got to be up and out and where we can live a little freely, more relaxed and just spend time together. I also really want to make it special, to make the time we have together more than just the every day, to run through the wild flowers and jump onto a train for a big adventure at the drop of a hat.Yet I know life doesn’t really work like that for me, due to the fact that I have a musculoskeletal condition things take a little bit more planning and careful consideration and whilst there is always, always guilt and not a day goes by that I wish I could be ‘normal’ for them, I am their Mummy and I need to learn that I am enough, I have to be and I try to make life the best it can be for them. To stay positive, not be held back and to teach them that whatever life looks like it can be great.
Although it takes a physical toll on me I love nothing more than being out, seeing the world and exploring somewhere new with my little family. After all, life is meant for adventures. So as the end of the Easter holidays approached and the prospect of going back to school became more real we decided to go on a day out with one of my sisters and her family to Stratford-upon-Avon. We have never been before however my sister has and as we did our research we knew that the children and in particular E would love the Butterfly Farm so decided that was a great place to start, the Mr had also come across the traditional chain ferry across the river so that was a must.
A couple of years ago we had been to a butterfly exhibition at the Natural History Museum and so E was very excited as she is really interested in anything nature. I have to say this one did not disappoint. As we walked in the one thing that struck us – other than the intense heat – was just how many butterflies there were, all different species, colours and they certainly weren’t shy as they landed on our legs, backs and even heads (R wasn’t ever so sure about them though). It was fantastic to be able to get so close and E was amazed at some of the detail she could see, I was particularly taken by the transparent one! There are a number of other rooms there too, there is information in the caterpillar room about life cycles where they also have the eggs and a chrysalis unit, E was even able to witness a butterfly take its first flight which was her personal highlight. We went into Insect City and Arachnoland and it was great to have the variety. I am not sure I will ever tire of watching the children soak up their surroundings, the curious innocence of life and knowing that I want to show them all there is to see and more. I could have stayed in there all day.
We came out and sat in their little garden area in the sunshine to eat lunch, my little ladies explored the gardens and were running around after one another giggling. Then as we headed into Stratford itself the heavens opened and descended on us so after a beautiful but wet walk we took cover in a coffee shop. It was actually really lovely to stop for a while, to sit, relax, chat and just be together with my sister. We live about 45 minutes away and whilst ordinarily it isn’t that far, when you have young children, jobs, school, life passes you by, it isn’t as often as I would like and suddenly it has been over a month and all you want to do is have a good old chat and a cuddle. Especially with my 10 month old nephew now with us growing so fast.
We pottered around the lovely little shops and found a teddy bear shop where there were Roald Dahl characters and of course E just had to have Willy Wonka (here is where she dressed up as Willy Wonka for world book day and she is in love with Roald Dahl). It was so sweet, she has never been really that attached to anything and she was so pleased she carried him around with her all day under her arm even sheltering him from the rain. E is so mature and grown up sometimes that it is very nice when you see moments like this, moments that make childhood.
Stratford is of course famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare and whilst we didn’t actually go into the house (read, one tired child and a grumpy one because Mummy used all the battery up on her camera!) I definitely would when they are older. As the rain eased off we went in search of the chain ferry across the river, it is one of the last of it’s kind in Britain and yes of course you could just walk over the nearby bridge but what’s the fun in that, it was a nice touch and the Mr and my brother in law were even allowed a go at cranking the handle and propelling us along – even if the man did have to ask them to ease up a bit!
Walking back to have some dinner we decided that as the tickets last all day we would head back into the Butterfly Farm, both for the butterflies and for the fact that it was a place to warm our cold noses! Then as the sun was setting we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways home. It really is a beautiful place, we would definitely return, and as always pray for blue skies and sunshine. It was really nice to spend time together with family and makes me excited for years to come when the children can run around and all play together and I know sitting back and watching them is going to make me so proud, just as it does today. My Little Ladies are lucky to have people to share their lives with, as are we. The perfect way to end the Easter holidays.
I made a video also but being a bad blogger I did not have enough memory nor enough battery so the video is a bit mixed, a little shaky and a lot rough around the edges but I love it, as much as I love photo’s (and I do) I also treasure what video gives you, the clips of real time life, the mannerisms that make people them and the moments where they burst into random spouts of dancing in the street for no reason and it makes me smile from ear to ear to watch it.