My little sister lives in Liverpool. She moved there almost immediately after my Dad passed away and for a while she and I would visit each other in turn (it's a 90min trip). Once Boy started school, however, it became infinitely harder for me to squeeze in a visit up north, so she's been doing the majority of the travelling...and boy, have we heard the moans!
Since we have 8.5 weeks of summer to fill, and since I was clearly too slow to think of a valid excuse last time she asked me to go up and stay overnight, that's where we found ourselves last week. Husband stayed at home to look after Dog (and go to work, I suppose?!) so straight after breakfast the boys and I threw our bags in the car and hit the road, full of excitement.
Only problem is, Auntie's house is rather small and Auntie is rather 'particular' about her space. Maybe it's only having one child, who is a quiet little girl, but I think she finds my children quite hard work from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave. I remember feeling a bit precious about our house when we first moved here, like I didn't want anything touched and resented the mess play dates made in our nice, new, TIDY space, but now the boys are both a bit older and mess is unavoidable, I've tried to be a bit more relaxed about it all? Who knows. Anyway, I tried hard to corral the boys as much as possible but they were so excited to be there, it was pretty hard to quash the glee...!
Uncle has a motorbike which, of course, is the holy grail to these vehicle-daft boys, so this is where they spent their time when he got back from work. I love how Toddler is sitting on the fuel tank because it's the only way he could reach the handlebars!!
After a busy day playing in the garden we fed them all huge bowls of chilli and headed up to bed. Due to space restrictions, I decided to be all gung ho and throw the children in the same room all together. Auntie was quite reluctant since Niece apparently can't sleep if there's any noise in her room AT ALL but we had no other choice, so in they went and we shut the door. The boys are used to sharing a room (albeit not a bed!) so they played around in whispers for 45 minutes or so, but they soon konked out for the night. And Niece? The one who can't settle with noise? She was the first to fall asleep and the last to wake the next morning!! (That's the last bloody time I get made to turn down the TV volume when she goes to bed at our house!)
I was worried these two would wake mega-early with no black-our blinds but luckily that wasn't the case. When they tiptoed into me at 6.45am we snuck downstairs and had a cheeky hot chocolate on the sofa watching Hey Duggee until Niece woke up and came down for breakfast.
As a really naughty treat, Auntie had booked tickets to see Finding Dory at 10am. It was Toddler and Niece's first ever cinema visit and they managed nearly the whole film before starting to wiggle!
And then we just had time for lunch and a quick play before jumping back on the M6 and getting home to Dog. Niece is small for her age and very much not used to rough and tumble boys, but on the whole they play really well together. I find it so hard, Auntie is always reminding them that Niece is a girl and as such needs to be protected and treated gently...and I just want the boys to treat her as an equal. The kid can hold her own but is prone to 'playing up' for a reaction from her mother...it worries me a bit, she'll be an absolute terror when she's a teenager if my sister carries on!
And quick as a flash, we were home again. Laundry to do, Lego to build, a Dog to walk, dinner to make...home comforts. It's nice to go away and visit people, but there's nothing quite like being back at the ranch!
Weston Park with bikes tomorrow followed by a PJ day. Boy wants to spend a whole day in his pyjamas so that's what we're gonna do. Let's see how long I last, my money's on midday!