> The Beesley Buzz: April 2013

Gentlemen and hardwomen! - wot so funee

Our Wot so funee moments come mainly courtesy of 7 year old D today:

With the new Psy music video released recently called "Gentlemen", D suddenly asked "why is there such a thing as a 'gentle' man but not a 'hard' woman?"

Then when he was moaning about needing some cutlery and there was none in the drawer, I told him to take some out the dishwasher which hadn't been unloaded. He tried to reach in but couldn't so I explained that he should open the door fully, and then slide the rack out. He did this (but must have not realised that it had racks that slide out) and said to the dishwasher "wow! you're amazing!".

I was kind of hoping that was aimed at me but alas no - it was definitely the dishwasher he was talking to.

Not quite sure how the next conversation began but it ended by D saying "This house belongs to Daddy!", to which I replied, "no - it doesn't, it is mummy and daddy's house". D's response: "Well it was daddy who started the Beesleys!"

Not quite sure what granny, grandad and the Beesley ancestors would make of that.

Then we had one last funee this week from J driving back from karate this evening. He quickly gets queasy in the car and said "I feel sick". I said "we're just 5 minutes from home." To which he responded "There can be a LOT of sick in 5 minutes!" 

Linking up with Acutally Mummy's fantastic 'Wot so funee' linky.

Wot So Funee?


Our take on Slow blogging

Tots100 Slow Blogging

I spotted a post over at Savette recently that really made me stop and think, and following the slow blogging link on that post, I ended up finding myself totally in agreement with what I believe blogging should be about.

Before we started our blog, we knew nothing of rankings, ratings, awards, etc. We never even realised just what a community there is out there in the blogging world. Of course, there are truly wonderful things about being part of the blogging community and I have written before about how at times it feels like the most support we get comes from reading other blogs. But the downside of the 'social' side of blogging is the pressure to keep up.

It never was our intention for the blog to take on a life of it's own and whilst we certainly don't feel we have to blog everyday, I do feel like we are not 'proper' bloggers because we don't have the time or energy to be on twitter or other social media to any real extent.

I used to spend a LOT of time on facebook on my own personal facebook page, but when the kids started making so many comments about it, I realised I had to cut down (and I have). Combined with knowing that I have many of J's Asperger traits when it comes to social communication (and that includes online!), then I have largely steered clear of twitter. In fact, I find that although I can see how easily it could become a lifeline for those times that I feel trapped at home with the kids, I also find it totally overwhelming. I can only really cope with it in very short bursts for things like twitter parties or twitter chats focussed on a specific topic.

As for social etiquette - it is far worse than anything face to face, with only those 140 characters to play with and not having a clue whether you are supposed to reply to, favourite, retweet, or do anything else to a tweet, I am left utterly confused! Then I worry whether I have said something wrong, not replied in time, favourited the wrong thing - A whole social minefield for me!!!

But knowing that so many other bloggers are so easily combining social media and blogging makes me feel like we are failing by not doing so. Which I know is silly to feel that way because a blog is supposed to be a blog for you and doing it in the way that works for you.

So it was really just such a relief to find out about slow blogging. Whilst the idea is to slow down and write about only what truly inspires you, it feels like we are giving ourselves permission to do as little or as much as we want. By giving ourselves that permission, it may mean that we blog more often or less often - I have no idea how it will turn out. But hopefully we will no longer feel any kind of self-imposed pressure to blog.

I know the idea of writing a 'slow' blog post was to write about something that had really inspired you, but the whole twitter / social media pressure has been on my mind for a long time to the extent that it had become a worry. So it feels great to have the opportunity to come clean about all my worries about it in this blog post.


The new therapressure brush arrives

You may recall that earlier in the week we started the Therapressure program of skin brushing and joint compression with J to see if it helps with his ASD and sensory processing issues.

We had been using a surgical nail brush as that was the closest thing we could get hold of to a suitable skin brush, but today, his Occupational Therapist delivered a proper Therapressure brush.

J definitely prefers this as you can apply really firm pressure without it feeling 'scratchy' as the other one did.

We haven't been managing the full 8 sessions a day that we had hoped to acheive. Some days we are only managing 2 or 3 of them. Despite our efforts, it is just too tricky to fit in with T's general 'baby' needs and having D homeschooled too.

Encouragingly J is responding positively in terms of being very willing to cooperate with the skin brushing and joint compression. It is almost like he knows it will help. He was also able to stay in Sunday school group for most of the session today which is a major improvement over the past couple of weeks.


Let's Get Growing - Center Parcs challenge for April with tots100

I'm Daniel and I'm 7 years old. I am usually better known for my cookery than for growing things, but a really important part of cooking is knowing where your food comes from, so I also like to grow things.

I like growing lettuce, beans, peas, courgettes, and pumpkins. My brother loves growing flowers - his favourite is a yellow poppy and we save the seeds each year to plant some more the following year.

Joshua's poppies

Growing things is great because you can grow food to eat, grow flowers that look pretty and grow plants that will help the wildlife like all the bugs and bees and butterflies.

growing plants and flowers helps the wildlife

Some plants do all that at the same time...like lavender. It is really pretty, the bees love the colour and you can even use lavender in cookery!

Growing things doesn't cost much either. Especially if you collect seeds from the previous year. We always save some pumpkin seeds and beans, let them dry out and then keep them to plant the following spring.

These are the pumpkins we grew last year from seeds we saved from the year before!

And here we are tidying up the veggie patch last year.

The pots you use can also be really low cost by either reusing some other materials or making your own like me and my brother did in this video.

You might even think of other interesting things to use, like these...

So whether you feel like growing vegetables or flowers (because even if you don't like vegetables, everyone likes flowers!),

...you are never too young to start so...Let's get growing!

Trinity with our Center Parcs "CP" cress

Even if you haven't got much space for growing, you can always grow something.

And you'll get great results in just a short while.

This is our entry into the Center Parcs "Let's Get Growing" blogger challenge for April with Tots100. You can see our previous Center Parcs family challenges here (Nov), here (Dec), here (Jan), here (Feb), and here (Mar).


The Toadstool Joker Joshua

If you follow us on facebook, then you may have spotted that our very own Joshua has teamed up with The Toadstool to bring you some of his favourite jokes. This was announced over on The Toadstool blog last week.

He was so pleased to hear that the lovely Niki from The Toadstool had got in touch after seeing 'Joshua's Jokes' section on our blog and asked whether he would like to send over some of his favourite jokes to match up with some of their great toys.

Each day, The Toadstool facebook page plans to bring you a joke so if you haven't 'liked' them already, do pop over and say hi. That way you'll get to see Joshua's jokes and see how beautifully Niki has linked them in with the toys and products available from The Toadstool.

As this was a really big reason to be cheerful this week (Joshua's face was beaming when he started to see his jokes appear on facebook) we are hoping to link up with Mummy from the Heart's Reason's to be cheerful on Thursday.


The Therapressure program (Wilbarger protocol) begins!

Yesterday, J had an Occupational Therapy appointment where we were shown how to implement a program of skin brushing and joint compression.

We have used skin brushing in the past, but in a rather haphazard way without fully understanding how we should be doing it properly (yet it did seem to help still!). And last summer, when J attended a summer holiday club, one of the club leaders who has a background in Occupational Therapy did some joint compression with him and he came out of club actually seeming relaxed - and that never usually happens. So we were really keen to give it a try and see how we get on.

I'm afraid this blog post is one of those that is more for myself to keep track of things rather than being of particular interest or use to anyone else. It just keeps me accountable to making sure I make notes of how we are getting on if I commit them to the blog.

The protocol dictates that ideally the skin brushing / joint compression should take place every 2 hours (so 8 - 10 times per day) for a period of two weeks. Then stopped and restarted at a future date as necessary.

Yesterday, J came out of OT a lot more responsive than normal. When requested, he managed to say goodbye to the two occupational therapists (although he still couldn't make eye contact, he said a nice clear goodbye which is progress!), and in the evening I asked him to tidy up his moshi magazines and much to my surprise I only had to ask the once!!!

Today we managed to fit in 5 sessions of the skin brushing and joint compression. Interestingly J kept asking for it and he was telling me when the pressure wasn't applied firmly enough or if I had missed any part out. That was good because it showed he was aware of how it should feel.

The day was a bit up and down overall. At the park, he had a meltdown but we did go later in the day when there were some school children there and that usually triggers bad memories of school for him.

We'll aim to get at least as many sessions done tomorrow and see how we get on.

This therapy is being done under the instruction of a qualified Occupational Therapist who has given us guidance, so obviously make sure you get the appropriate medical advice before starting any new treatment.



I left D to watch Trin for literally a minute the other day, and I came back to find that D had got distracted and was reading a book....

Whilst Trin had found the toilet roll!

Hoping to link up with Actually Mummy's wot so funee.

Wot So Funee?

If Only I'd Known...

...having a baby changes your life.
If only I'd known... having a baby changes your life. But everyone knows that, right? It's obvious, surely.
To celebrate the launch of their new App, Aptaclub has teamed up with Little Stuff to challenge bloggers to think about what they wish they'd known when having a baby.
So let's try again. If only I'd known... having a baby CHANGES your life.
That's a bit more accurate now, for here's the dictionary definition of 'change.'
Change: [cheynj], vt to alter or make different;
So your life will be altered. Your life will be different. Right? WRONG! That still doesn't quite explain it. So I looked up the word 'change' in the thesaurus to see if that offered a better explanation and that's when I felt some progress had been made. 
Thesaurus entry for Change: metamorphosis, revolution, transformation. 
Now we can go back to the topic at hand. If only I'd known... having a baby changes [metamorphosises, revolutionises, and transforms] your life.  
So now we have established that, I can turn to what else I wish I had known. If only I'd known... having a baby changes YOUR life. What you once thought was yours, all of a sudden no longer is. Your body is no longer your own. Once your new baby arrives, if you have any time to stand and look in the mirror (which you most probably won't as you will struggle to even find time to pop to the loo!) you may well be faced with a body that has changed shape beyond all recognition. 
Those enlarged boobs, that wobbly belly, the out of proportion hips and thighs...it feels a little like standing in front of one of those mirrors you get at the circus that distorts everything to look funny.
And those boobs really won't be your own. Mine became a milk factory with a mind of their own producing masses of milk and just dripped and squirted and sprayed everywhere. A humble square piece of white fabric commonly known as a muslin cloth quickly became my best friend, not only to mop up baby sick, but to minimise my embarassment by catching the surplus milk which was squirting all around church like a faulty shower head that sprays water in all directions.
Not having my own mum around and being one of the first in my peer group to be having a baby, I also knew very little about pregnancy and birth. My very first 'symptom' of pregnancy was my breasts getting bigger and feeling sore. Throughout pregnancy they just seemed to grow and grow in size and I actually genuinely thought that enough milk was being produced and stored in there to last for the entire time my baby would need to nurse. Once baby arrived and I figured out the mechanics of milk production a bit better, I realised just how utterly ridiculous my idea was, but at the time, in the absence of any other wisdom on the matter, that is what I believed.
Your timetable, your plans, your agenda are no longer your own. During those early days we found ourselves on one occassion eating our desert at 3am, and to be dressed in daytime clothing by noon was an acheivement to be celebrated. 
I remember one morning being determined to make it out the house in time for our local toddler group. I managed to get up, feed baby, get him dressed, get me dressed, get him dressed a second time as he was sick with baby posset all over his outfit, then get me changed as I was soaking wet in baby posset too, and finally we were in the car and on our way. We made it by the 10am start time. I couldn't quite beleive it. What an acheivement. And as I walked in through the door to lots of friendly smiles and sounds of congratulations on your new baby, that feeling of being so proud of myself suddenly changed to immense hunger pangs as I realised that I had totally forgotten to eat any breakfast myself! 
I look back and I laugh at myself as I realise just how little I knew. I actually bought my first hair straighteners when I first went on maternity leave as I imagined that once the baby arrived, whilst off work, I would have more time to get ready and so I could straighten my hair in the mornings.
I quickly came to realise the new order of family priority. Baby's needs came first, followed by hubby, then the cat, and finally me or perhaps the car and then me. Either way, I was no longer a priorty in my own life.
If only I'd known that even doing the washing up becomes a major achievement and as for managing to cook a meal in the evening...! The days I managed that I really felt like I was 'Supermum'. Your evenings are not your own as you spend hours on end rocking baby to sleep during those early unsettled months. You will never be able to go to the loo or have a shower in peace ever again. And as for lie-ins, you may as well just scribble that word right out of your vocabulary (well at least for the next decade or so).
Ok, so I think you have got the message that having a baby changes your life. 'Anything else?' I hear you ask, 'Any other pearls of wisdom?' Well, after hearing all that you may wonder why anyone wants a baby. So here's the one that will make it all make sense. Even if I had known that having a baby changes your life, this is the reason that made me want to do it all again.
If only I'd known...having a baby changes your life.
LIFE becomes spelled LOVE. From the moment that your baby is here, you realise what love truly is. It is like no other love you have ever experienced and it is such an overwhelming indescribable love that it really deserves a word of its own because the word 'love' just doesn't seem enough. However much you love your partner, however much you love your parents and siblings, this is different and so much more.
You are left wondering just where all this love came from and how it is possible to love anyone that much. I had no idea I was capable of feeling this way. I wish I could have had the chance to see my own mum one last time to tell her...to say thank you for how much she loved me...to tell her I now understand a mother's love too. (And in my mum's case, I wish I could tell her how amazing she was to have done it all alone too!)
And as truly life changing as it is when your baby arrives, at the same time, you very quickly forget what life was like without them. They are SO part of your life (and such a huge part of your life), this little being that is your whole world and you are theirs, that it feels strange to think of life before they arrived. Time also speeds up. From the second they are born, there are moments to be treasured, memories to be captured, because it really does go by so quickly. We had heard it so many times, and in the midst of the nappy changes and night feeds that seem to go on for so long, we found we didn't really believe them, but looking back we just wonder where the past 9 years have gone with J, the past 7 years with D and the past year with baby T who just turned one year old yesterday.
If only I'd known...having a baby changes your life. I may not have been well prepared, but fortunately you can be with Aptaclub's new 'preparing for birth' App. We have downloaded the App and had a play and having been the one responsible for timing my contractions, hubby immediately spotted the contractions timer. I loved the birth announcement feature making it far easier to let friends and family know when your baby arrives. There were also handy checklists as well as information on all those key things that you need to know during the final trimester and in preparation for giving birth. 

And because we found that having a baby changed our lives in such an unimaginable incredible and amazing way, we decided to do it all again...and that's when we soon discovered that actually having just one baby is relatively easy after all. Turns out one baby is like having a handbag but having two is like having a zoo. Now if only I'd known that! But that's another story.

“This post is The Beesley Buzz's entry into the 'If Only I’d Known…’ competition”. Little Stuff and Aptaclub have teamed up to challenge bloggers to think about what they wish they had known about pregnancy, birth and babies before becoming a parent. Our blog post is focussed on 'New baby' theme.

Happy Birthday Baby!

Our baby girl is 1 year old today - Happy Birthday!


A Spicy Saturday evening!

At the beginning of the year, we found out that Daddy had been chosen (out of over 600 entries!!!) as Pataks Official Curry taster for this year. As well as receiving lots of Patak's products to try out and getting involved in giving feedback, a really amazing part of the prize was a masterclass with Anjali Pathak in our home to cook a meal for some of our friends.
Our little Brilliant chef learns from another brilliant chef

So last Saturday, Daddy and Daniel (our very own little resident chef!) spent a very busy afternoon in the kitchen learning all about using spices and flavours in Indian cooking and learning to cook some fabulous dishes from the hugely talented Anjali.
The main course - 'Zamin Doz Machhi' (whole stuffed fish)
Anjali adds finishing touches to the delicious Tadka dahl
It was a very busy afternoon indeed as there was also a visit from a press photographer, and Zoe Perret (another talented young lady who has a real passion for Indian food) helped in the kitchen too and then our guests arrived for a really fabulous, fun, foodie evening.

As well as finding out more about Indian cooking on the Patak's Website or following The Patak's Curry Club on Facebook, Anjali has her own website which just oozes her passion for cooking and combining contemporary and traditional Indian cuisine. There will be more on our special evening soon on Daniel's blog at www.TheBrilliantChef.co.uk

Trying new things

Trinity is nearly one year old. The past year really has flown by. We have loved watching her little milestones - her first smile, her first tooth, and more recently her first words like 'bella' (our cat!), and 'night night' and 'ba-bye'.

When it came to feeding she did really well. She had got to the stage where she was feeding herself by picking up pieces of food from her high chair tray confidently, so we decided to introduce another first for her...her first time using cutlery.

We have some metal-tipped easy-to-grip cutlery sets which the boys used, but because she is just starting to learn and we didn't want her to risk hurting her gums or face, we didn't want to use those straight away.

That's when Nuby came to the rescue. In our latest set of products to try out as Nuby bloggers, there was a Flower Child Fork and Spoon set and a Flower Child toddler bowl. Both say they are suitable from 18 months but as Trin seems ready to try out cutlery we decided to let her have a go with them today.

Our Brilliant Chef Daniel cooked a fabulous dinner for us of Seasonal Vegetable Cous-cous and mini-lamb meatballs (recipe coming soon on TheBrilliantChef.co.uk), and then Trin got stuck in to eating it! We helped her get food onto the spoon and fork, and at first she just manouvered her mouth to the cutlery whilst we held the spoon or fork, but then we started to put food on the end and then place the cutlery onto her highchair tray for her to pick up. Which she did.

She looked so proud of herself too so that was lovely. She is not quite ready to have the bowl within reach to eat from as she still seems to find plates and bowls a bit too interesting and ends up playing with them or throwing them on the floor (see video!).

Both the bowl and the cutlery are brightly coloured in pink and green and come in pretty packaging too with an illustration of a flower fairy on the packaging. Being dishwasher and microwave safe is an added bonus.

The fork and spoon set is just the right size for little hands and has chunky handles making them easy to hold onto. The fork itself is rather spoon-like so the scoop-shape helps keep food on there. The actual prongs of the fork are not particularly pointy which obviously means it is safer and a good starter fork for babies but I can imagine that over time it may get frustrating trying to 'stab' into food.

Trinity certainly seemed to enjoy her first experience of using cutlery and once she had finished her food continued to have fun playing with her bowl and cutlery!

As Nuby bloggers, we were sent the Nuby Flower Child Toddler Bowl and Nuby Flower Child Fork and Spoon set to try out and keep. All opinions given are our own honest opinions.


Reasons to be Cheerful from The Beesley Boys!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

I have asked the boys to do R2BC for me this week as although I know the whole point of it is to find the positive in things whatever the week has brought, but my messy emotions seem to have overtaken my mind lately but at the same time, I felt it was all the more important to join in for that very reason. So over to J & D:

J's reasons:
The LEGO Chima Speedorz came today. I've nearly levelled up on Nemo's reef. D's giving me moshi cards to me for free. I liked the pappadoms with the stuff on.

D's reasons:
I got the LEGO Speedorz and I got lots of sand dollars on Nemo's reef and that J is obeying the tasks that I say to get the moshi cards. We went to Chessington and we went on Dragon's Fury and it was awesomely fun but mummy hated it. Its like really swervy. The best bit from Saturday was when I embarrassed Anjali with my questions about blue bear and blue bunny.

Back to mum (as I think there needs to be a bit of explanation to go with that!)...J won us a day out at the LEGO Chima day at Chessington on Easter Monday by drawing a new LEGO Chima vehicle and because there were a few techincal hiccups on the day, LEGO kindly sent the boys some LEGO Speedorz by way of apology (which arrived today as I'm sure you gathered). A big thank you to Granny for looking after T all day which meant that mummy and daddy could both go to Chessington and enjoy the rides too.

Nemo's reef is an app game that the boys are rather glued to at the moment (again thanks to granny for introducing them to that!!!) so that is what they are referring to there.

And D and Daddy had a very special day when Anjali Pathak (from Pataks!) came to cook for us and our guests on Saturday and gave Daddy and D a masterclass in Indian cooking too as part of Daddy's special role as Patak's curry taster for this year. Hopefully we will blog more about that soon, but there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day for blogging at the moment so I have had to drastically cut back the number of hours I spend on the computer generally.

Hope you had a great Easter week!

Jolly Journeys with TravelSupermarket.com

"Are we nearly there yet?" is the universally recognised cry of all children everywhere whilst travelling on a long car journey. And wouldn't it be great if there was a universal solution to stop that in-car boredom whether you are travelling in your own car or hiring a car.

Well, I think there may be. Whatever age your kids are, whatever they are 'into', no matter how many of them there are, there is one activity that we believe can offer that magical solution when travelling on long journeys by car.

However, before we get onto that, we just wanted to share some of the other things that have worked well for us as the kids have been growing up over the years. These are our tried and tested favourites split by age group:

Babies and toddlers
Get a CD full of nursery rhymes and make up actions for each and every rhyme. This kept our son entertained all the way to Dorset (3 hour journey) when he was just a baby.

Use the journey to sneak in that early number and letter recognition practice. Our kids loved to find certain letters and numbers on Motorway signs. This is also a great age for those simple car journey games. We wrote some of our favourites on pieces of card to keep in the glove box of the car for whenever we were stuck for ideas. That also offers the added excitement of the kids being able to choose which game to play. Their favourite of these at the moment is a very simple "What animal do you think we will spot next?" game. Amazingly, there is actually a lot of variety in terms of what animal it may be from a bird flying overhead, to a cow, horse or sheep when near farmland, to a rabbit in the countryside, to a dog or cat in a residential area.

School-age children
This may not sound like fun, but my older two love to test each other with maths and spellings in the car. Just as a daily commuter may try to turn their commuting time into productive time by catching up on work, making phonecalls or getting their online grocery shopping done whilst sat on a train, you can turn the kids journey time into productive time meaning less time spent on homework elsewhere.

If maths and spellings aren't their thing, find a topic that interests them and do a mini-quiz on that topic instead - you will find that you soon become quite an expert in knowing all the moshi monsters and pokemon characters! 

Reading in the car is a big no-no if you want to avoid travel sickness, but there are some great stories avaiable on CD (you can even get hold of some from the library at no cost or minimal cost). We have a range of CD's collected over the years as freebies from newspapers and magazines ranging from fairytales, a collection of Paddington bear stories right through to a Doctor Who CD with a fab story that we have listened to time and time again in the car.

Because everybody loves a good story don't they. And that leads us onto the one most trusted activitiy that has got us through long car journeys time and time again. It is the same magic that our parents used on us at bedtime to capture our imaginations and transport us to enchanted lands. It is the same techniques that have been used for thousands of years before pen and paper ever existed.

STORIES....and without a book in sight. If we can get away from the idea that to tell a story you need to read a book, then we get a new freedom. We are not limited by place. We are not limited by time. We are not limited by resources.

All you need is your mouth to speak, ears to listen and a little sprinkle of imagination.

Storytelling, true storytelling, is interactive, it is not reading. It is engaging the listener, it is involving them. Your voice, your tone, your volume, your pauses - all contribute to the telling of the story.

And these are stories unlike any other. These are one-offs, unique stories, that even if you wanted to repeat them over and over again, would probably never be exactly the same each time.

These stories may include actions, they may include rhymes, they made include noises, they may need responses and replies from your children.

Your children can help create the story. They could become the storyteller for part or even all of a story.

The story could be long or short, and about whatever topic you please (or rather whatever topic you know would please your children). That's why they can encompass all ages and that's why all of the children can be involved.

Just imagine...the possibilities are truly endless. So I wonder where you will be travelling on your next long car journey...under the sea, around the world, lost in a jungle, meeting animals at the zoo, being captured by pirates, finding treasure in your attic, adventuring on an African safari, meeting giants and ogres or witches and princesses, or perhaps even travelling to the moon.

Enjoy your adventures and have a jolly journey!

Who will you meet on your adventure?

This is our entry into TravelSupermarket.com's Jolly Journey Competition. For more information about TravelSupermarket.com's Car Hire see here.