The Lego Movie with our dinner yesterday. We settled down in front of the TV for a change and off we went. I was tempted to buy it as I'd heard good things about it from other people, particularly adults. I have to say, I'm glad that I didn't. It's definitely not a second viewer in this house!
It reminded me of Team America - but for children.
Here's a great write up on the story:
The wizard Vitruvius attempts to protect the "Kragle", a superweapon, from the evil Lord Business. He fails to do so, but warns Lord Business of a prophecy where a person called the "Special" will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the Kragle.
8 and a half years later, Emmet Joe Brickowski, an ordinary construction worker with no special qualities, comes across a woman, Wyldstyle, who is searching for something after hours at Emmet's construction site. When he investigates, Emmet falls into a hole and finds the Piece of Resistance. Compelled to touch it, Emmet experiences vivid visions and passes out. He awakens elsewhere, with the Piece of Resistance attached to his back, in the custody of Bad Cop, Lord Business' lieutenant (whose head sometimes turns around to reveal his other side, Good Cop). There, Emmet learns Business' plans to destroy the world with the Kragle. Wyldstyle rescues Emmet and takes him to Vitruvius, who explains that he and Wyldstyle are "Master Builders" capable of building anything they need, both with great speed and without instruction manuals. Years ago, Lord Business rose to power, his disapproval of such anarchic creativity resulting in him capturing many of them. As the "Special", Emmet is destined to defeat him, yet Wyldstyle and Vitruvius are disappointed to find Emmet displays no creativity.
Lord Business plans to use the Kragle (a tube of Krazy Glue with some of the logo's letters rubbed out) to freeze the universe perfectly in place. Bad Cop tracks down Emmet and Wyldstyle, who are rescued by her boyfriend, Batman. He takes them to a meeting of the remaining Master Builders. Unimpressed with Emmet, they refuse to fight Lord Business. Bad Cop and his forces attack and capture all the Master Builders except for Emmet and a few others. Emmet believes the Master Builders' weakness is that their individual creativity prevents them from working together. He devises a team plan to infiltrate Lord Business' headquarters. As Emmet and his allies are captured and imprisoned, Vitruvius attempts to fight back but is killed; with his dying words he admits the prophecy was made up. Business throws the Piece of Resistance off the edge of the universe, sets his headquarters to self-destruct, and leaves with the Kragle while leaving Bad Cop behind. Vitruvius' ghost tells Emmet that even if the prophecy isn't real, Emmet can still save the world. Emmet, tied to the self-destruct mechanism's battery, sacrifices himself for his friends, flinging himself off the edge of the universe.
Inspired, the Master Builders escape and rally with the help of Bad Cop. Soon, Lego people across the universe are building their own creative weapons. The Master Builders lead the charge against Business.
Emmet finds himself in the real world, where the events of the story are being played out within the imagination of a boy, Finn. His father "The Man Upstairs" chastises his son for ruining his father's Lego set by mixing characters with the wrong playsets, and originating hodgepodge creations. Finn argues that Lego are for children, but his father prefers to Krazy Glue his perceived perfect creations together permanently, as this is how adults play with Lego. In the Lego world, Lord Business' forces gain the upper hand. Realizing the father will glue all the Lego in place, Emmet wills himself to move and falls off the table, gaining Finn's attention. Finn returns Emmet to the Lego set, where Emmet builds a massive robot to assist his friends before confronting Lord Business. In the real world, Finn's father looks at his son's creations again and finds himself impressed. Realizing his son based the evil Lord Business on him, the father has a change of heart and allows his son to play with his Lego however he sees fit. In the Lego world, Emmet convinces Lord Business that Business, too, is special, as is everyone. Moved by Emmet's speech, Business destroys the Kragle and unfreezes his victims.
With the world saved, Emmet celebrates with his friends, and Wyldstyle, whose real name is Lucy, becomes his girlfriend. However, alien Duplo beings beam down, announcing their intentions to invade, due to the father allowing Finn's little sister to play with his Lego set as well. Then at the end they get captured by the Duplo toys.
Some of the adult gags were hilarious. However, whilst there were a lot of quite funny bits, the really funny gags were few and far between. As for our children - the real target of this movie - they were unimpressed and said on more than one occasion that the film was just plain "strange", "odd", "weird" and "boring". We persevered and watched the whole thing though, even with them becoming fidgety. The end bit where it moves to the 'real world' is where the film really does begin the downward spiral to ultimate fail.
I know that almost everyone is raving about this film but I'm sorry, I just don't get it. I love movies like Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the like, as do the children who will sit happily watching those without stirring for 90 minutes. But this? Nope.
While watching the Lego movie, I did remember that we had a tub of 'regular' sized Lego that we had bought in error a few years ago instead of Duplo stuff. Today I dug that out and gave it to the girls to see how they got along with it. Easy was the word. They loved it, making all sorts of things. I therefore decided to order another base plate from Amazon and a 1kg bag of Lego pieces from a seller on eBay. It was then I saw on a local Facebook page that someone just down the road was also selling some so I bought a tub from her for £5. This is the result:
The knees are hubby who is also having a great time. He tells me he is just helping the girls 'sort it out' but we know differently don't we ;-)
I dread to think how much Lego we will have when the rest arrives in a few days. I hope the tub I have is big enough to hold it all!
I loved Lego as a child (although it was nothing like it is today - much more basic) so I am glad that the girls are thoroughly enjoying playing with it. The only downside is that I managed to get Duplo stuck in my instep enough so I dread to think what will happen with this lot.
Monday, 28 July 2014
Sunday, 27 July 2014
We walked down to Thames Path - Windsor Bridge and made the spot very quickly thanks to J's eagle eyes while the girls watched the boats go past. Log signed and we carried on to the Eton side and down to the riverbank. It was almost lunchtime so we stopped by some moored up boats and had a sandwich and drink in the sunshine while the swans waiting for a crust or two.
Off we went. The two horses were old boys, brothers aged 30 and 31 he told us. The plodded or trotted along a path they've probably done a million times before. It was glorious in the sunshine and the smiles on the girls faces said it all. We turned at the end near where the road crosses and began to head back.
As we came back into Windsor, there were drums beating ahead of us. A local reenactment society were out and made quite a sight. A little loud for the horses though who did twitch around a bit.
What a lovely way to travel and give our weary feet a rest. We then headed back to the car via the playground as promised.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
I simply cannot believe that my 3 girls have completed a whole school year! Where has the time gone? N is at nursery, S at primary and J at secondary. To think, this time next year, J will have left school! Goodness me.
I am so looking forward to the summer holidays. Being very fortunate in that I am a stay-at-home-mum/full-time postgraduate student means that I get to spend the entire summer holidays with my little gang of girls. Of course hubby is having some time off too and we have some days out planned and friends to visit or coming to us so I'm sure it will be a fun packed 6 weeks.
We're not off on holiday anywhere as, well, we simply can't afford it this year. Not to worry, we'll have lots of fun in the garden too with the climbing frame, swings, trampoline and, of course, new paddling pool!
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Today, my friend's daughter, M, spoke to S on my phone (how cute was that) asking her to come to the disco. She wanted her friend there. Ahh...S agreed. Whoopie! Dress sorted and ready for tomorrow. S went to bed. Five minutes into bedtime, she's stressed out. She doesn't want to go to the disco again. Argh....don't go....do go...I really don't mind or care - BUT MAKE A DECISION! In fact, it doesn't matter if you make the decision 2 minutes before the disco tomorrow as I've already paid your entrance ticket. That's how relaxed I am about it but all this too-ing and fro-ing is driving me nuts.
Another few text messages between M's mum and I and something pinged in my brain with what our conversation was discussing. Not the disco as such, but the stress in decision making that our children were finding. I began to think.
Now, at school they are allowed to choose their activities all day - more or less - with structured time in between. They can choose to play outside or inside and use lots of different learning tools. I know that will change quite a bit in Year 1 come September, but decision making is part of their lives at the moment. Their day is in their hands, well, pretty much.
The girls want to do activities. S does 4 and N does 2. When I was a child, we could do one activity outside of school plus one extra activity at school. I did recorder group in school and guides outside of it. That was it. I think when I was around 9 mum relented and let me do swimming too as I still couldn't really swim at that point and I recall having a crack at gymnastics and doing those BAGA award badge things. I'm sure that was in school too though - no overly expensive gymnastics clubs for us. Oh, I did ballet too for about a term (they cut my ribbons in a performance when I was a piece of pink sugar and it upset me so much I didn't want to go back).
S asks me every day what we're having for dinner that night. Half the time I've not decided myself (I'm not good in the mornings and planning dinner when I'm trying to eat breakfast isn't my best decision making time). She wants to know about activities weeks in advance and then, inevitably, worries about them causing stress at bedtime. I've tried not telling her about things but, of course, being at school means that things are talked about between the children. Moving up to Year 1 was a bit of a stresser for her for a while and that was weeks before she'd even met her teacher or seen her new class.
N is a bit more laid back. Her school (she's at nursery still) have a choice for lunch. She handles choices much better. She chooses her lunch daily and her play as well. She seems less phased by what's going on around her and just kind of 'cracks on with it'.
I recall my home life was relatively stress free. Mum prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner and we all ate what we were given. TV was normally dictated by dad after around 5.30pm but we could watch some kids TV before then. I must have been older than S before my clothes for the day were not laid out for me. I was never asked if I wanted a bath - I was given one once a week whether I needed it or not! ;-) Mum bought me books that she thought I'd enjoy reading (I loved reading so they were all fantastic presents) and although I expressed desires for certain toys advertised on TV or friends had, I did not have a Wish List on Amazon (Amazon - what was that?).
So, I wonder. Do we give young children too much choice? Should we just decide things for them more as their parents?
I'd be really interested to hear other parents thoughts on this.
Friday, 11 July 2014
I put up my youngest two girls' school photos today in their bedroom. No, I'm not mean, but a whole class shot doesn't interest me as I have no desire to display a lot of children my daughters do not mix with or even know that well upon my walls. Therefore, individual photos go on the hall and lounge walls. Class shots go on their bedroom wall. Simples!
Anyway, I digress. As I was hammering in the picture hooks with a hammer that was clearly too small for the job, I realised that a lot of what I had read about being a parent was, well, quite frankly,
You will need locks on cupboards in your kitchen or your child will crawl up, open the cupboard and drink all your bleach. No. #1 cupboard locks are the biggest pain in the
Baby monitors. A necessary evil for most of us but oh boy, are those companies now
I weaned my eldest at 12 weeks, I know, shocking isn't it. How could I confess such a hideous crime against my child (shoot me now!) and not keep her on pretty much milk for 6 months. But guess what? She's had no problems from being weaned early. Back then, (15 years ago) it was the done thing. See, they (who are *they*?) say that's wrong now. Paranoia sets in again. She was always a great eater, she still is (except she currently hates mushrooms she informs me - well honey, if you can pick them out, you can leave them on the side of your plate).
She also refused to be breastfeed as a baby, so she had formula from birth (shoot me again) and certainly hasn't suffered illnesses/lack of immunity or any such things poor newbie parents are warned about than my youngest two who were breastfeed for the best part of 5 months (as is the 'new' way of thinking - yeah, right). In fact, my middle one wanted more than just milk earlier than the 20+ suggested weeks so I started to wean her early. Did I ask 'permission' to do so from the health visitors? Did I heck! I just got on with it.
My youngest breastfeed almost constantly. I recall taking her to be weighed for the 2nd (and last) time with a health visitor who commented - and you'll laugh here - that she was "getting a bit overweight and you need to watch just how much you are feeding her mummy". I told her straight she was BFsolely and her comment was utterly ridiculous. I never went back. Don't be pushed into changing what's right for you baby by anyone who doesn't know the full story. Most mums will know when things are right so stick to your guns.
I have to laugh to myself when I think back to plans I had, 'advice' I was given (most very good, much total tosh) and worries I had. Take a piece of advice, look up about becoming a newbie parent to get some ideas then go with the flow and try not to let the paranoia that manufacturers selling a product (yes, remember they want to sell you these things, not give them to you for the health of your baby) try to instil into you. You'll do just fine.
Sunday, 29 June 2014
Parking up in the pub car park, we initially took the wrong Public Footpath. What idiot decides that two should be next to each other?! Really.... Having expanded the map and seeing we were on the wrong one which was a bit overgrown anyway, we headed for the right one. J soon spotted the cache and in she went. Not much room for two in here but I was determined to see it. Fantastic. The cache was a piece of genius by JJEF (as have been his other caches that we have tried). A very well made, clever container that needed more than one thing done to obtain the log to sign. It took us a while to figure out but we soon did. Log signed, and J put it all back again.
Unfortunately she felt a bit itchy afterwards and as we got back to the pub, right outside their kitchen window with two chefs inside, she had a screaming, shouting fit as had spotted a spider on her hoodie. Suffice to say she does not like spiders. One of the chaps even came out to see if we were ok she was making such a fuss. I have to confess I borrowed her brush to do my hair as I was itching a bit at this point.
Saturday, 14 June 2014
|Me and my bestie caching away|
Well, we all know how plans turn out...
We changed from fitflops into walking boots and away we went. Me in jeans, G in shorts.
Ch051 Chiltern 100 - Chartridge Pond was our first of the day. Nice easy find. I had remembered I'd swapped from handbag to rucksack and had no pen so fortunately I had picked up the pencil that was in my car before we set off. No problem regarding a pen, said G, she had one. She rummaged in her handbag to no avail. She was sure at least two were in there. We didn't want to cache with just a pencil in case the tip broke or we wore it down! Back she went to the car whilst I took a pic of the cache. I spotted her walking back towards me when she stopped, turned around and disappeared back into the pub car park. Back she came after a few minutes minus any of her pens except a rather nice, expensive one that was also digital. Looks like it'll be a pencil then. Away we went to get the next one. Bit of an interesting start to the day. It had only taken us around 20 minutes to get this far - about 150 yards!
Ch052 - Chartridge Church was next. Umm..lots of nettles, prickles, holly, and generally nasty stingy things around. I look at G in her shorts. Guess I'm going in then ;-) We got it though.
Bellingdon & Asheridge - Just a Post was next. Nice hide and a good camo'd container but it wasn't about to elude us. We do enjoy CaptainJack caches.
B&A - Just a Tree next. Trampled the brambles to get to the cache and soon had it in hand. G was regretting the shorts. We'd applied the sunscreen she had brought and that's when we realised I'd forgotten mine. Fortunately I did have water, apples and crisps. That's when G remembered she'd left the water she was going to bring on her kitchen table. How disorganised were we? We were also in our usual good old natter mode and kept walking past the caches and having to go back. Must remember to look at phone more...must remember to look at phone more...must remember....
B&A - The Low Down was in our sights. No prickles! No stingers! Yeah! Easy find.
B&A - In Plain View was a tricky find. I suspect the reason for the difficulty was half of it wasn't there any more. Just the top was still in the branches, no sign of log of bottom of the container. As I touched the top, it came away in my hand. We debated. Do we claim this as a find? We've have found it after all. We took a photo of it and claimed it. Can't sign log as it's not there so decided it was no different to a log that was too wet to sign. We logged a Needs Maintenance for the owner too.
Bellingdon - Could a Squirrel Crack this one? was around the corner. Easy spot when you know what you're looking for. Seen this before and had to give it a favourite but my log reads like this:
"Owch...I'll head in for...owch....this one...owch....as I'm sure I can...owch....see it as I've seen these...owch...before....owch. Forgot the...owchy-owch-owch...pen! We got there in the end though. Great cache. Have a favourite here!"
Next was Bellingdon - Jump. Easy, peasey, lemon, squeezy. Time for a drink from the one person who'd remembered to bring some (tee-hee) as it was getting hot now. I tempted G with an apple too and crunching along, away we went to Bellingdon - Just a Tree. Log was pretty soggy here but we still just about managed to sign it. Yes, you guessed it, we had no replacement logs with us either. Call ourselves cachers?!
Ch66 - Bloomfield Farm was next. I did a substantial amount of shouting and saying "owch" getting this little bugger of a cache. The sun and rain we've had has clearly delighted the stingers and pricklers. Got there in the end though. Blimey it's getting hot.
Ch67 - Two Gates Lane was a gonna. The clue item wasn't around either. House has clearly replaced a fence and gate with brand new stuff so no cache here. Put a NM on the log. Our first DNF but not really our fault. Ch68 - Bellingdon Farm was our turning point at the top of the circuit. This was an easy find for us but you clearly need to be in the right spot to make the find. On to the next one. Ch69 - Bellingdon was another DNF. Seems the clue item was gone. Lots of holly to investigate but we'd decided that we were not about to head too far in as surely no-one would expect us to do that? Anyway, a good look around the edge of the holly turned up nothing. Off we went.
Ch70 - Hilltop Farm. Decided to give this one a miss as the thought of trying to fight through holly again was too much to bear. Who was the cacher laying these? Some kind of prickly masochist? We walked past and as we were turning the corner to head to our next one, realised there was a path the other side of the holly. Ahhh...off we went. A nice quick find when we got to GZ. No prickles here apart from a bramble that took a shine to my hair and clearly didn't want to let me go. I escaped though! This was my 700th cache!
Ch71 - Huge Farm presented us with a horse cunningly disguised as a zebra. I wonder why? Whilst zebra-horse looked on, we searched. We had both seemingly given up with looking at our phones and were randomly walking around hunting through all sorts of objects. Finally we decided to give up after a good 15 minute search passing a bemused zebar-horse a few times opening and shutting the gate. I'm sure he thought we were going to let him out each time. As we wandered towards our next cache, we spotted this one. Clearly the hint object was gone (perhaps zebra-horse had hidden it) but there was the cache. Hooray.
|Zebra Horse - a rubbish disguise|
Ch72 - Savecroft Farm. I am now going along waving my phone about above my head (like the signal may just be that extra 2 feet higher than me right?) and still grumbling like crazy. We have some more of my drink and eat the bag of crisps between us. I'm not even that keen on prawn cocktail but it's all there was in the cupboard at home. G points out that let's hope her phone carries on ok as otherwise we'd be lost. Oh dear, she's right. Neither of us have any idea where we are or how to get back. Yes, we have a vague idea but we've weaved around a bit so we'd have to just try and aim for somewhere downhill and hope we get to civilisation. On the bright side, I have tick-twisters I've just found in my bag so we'd be tick free and lost! We got the cache.
Ch74 - Asheridge Views. No nettles. Happy cachers. What happened to Ch73 then? I'm still waving my phone around in the vain hope 5 bars will appear. Even 1 would do. I've stopped swearing now though.
Ch75 - Captain's Wood. A bunch of young hikers/orienteer-ers (is that a real thing?) appeared on the horizon as we darted in to make the find. I needed a tinkle too. Oh dear. G kept watch whilst I tried to avoid a stung bottom. I must have made the world record for fastest tiddle ;-) Off we went to Ch76 - Tile Farm View. The hill nearly finished us both off! Bloody hell that was steep. To really rain on our parade, the cache was nowhere to be found. Suspect from previous logs that it's a gonner. We didn't talk much walking up the hill for the second half of it as we were both adjusting to the altitude.
Ch77 - Valley View. I've put my phone in my rucksack now. I'm not even waving it around any more. We found the cache though. Ch78 - Asheridge Road was a DNF. We didn't hang around though as we've drunk all of our drink and are now gasping. There is real determination in our stride now as the pub shuts at 4.30pm and there wasn't a village shop around so we have a purpose. Ch79 - Tile's Farm was another DNF. No concrete anywhere. Annoying.
Ch80 - Tile's Farm View was a quick find. We are both getting a little fed up with these caches now as everything seems to be under a ton of holly, brambles or nettles. It's just no fun. Plus we are thirsty. Ch81 - Caravan Park was a bit tricky. We had a good search but nothing. Read clue. 7' up. We looked up everywhere. Nothing. Then G made the spot, 7" from the ground. Clue bad or it's fallen out of where it should be. Couldn't see anything obvious to put it back so left it were it was.
Ch82 - Raymond's Cottage was a quick find. Thank goodness for nothing stingy again. The pub is calling. We spotted somewhere that sold ice cream. In we went. It was a house with a set of freezers and chillers for drinks. An honesty tin was there. We bought two ice creams and were in heaven strolling along with them.
Ch50 - Westdean Lane. Followed the cachers paths but nothing to be seen. A good rummage around but not very nice as quite a bit of litter and waist high stingers! About to leave when we spotted it. This was not going to be easy....
We arrived at the pub at 4pm. Brilliant! As we approached, the staff all came out and shut the door. Nooooo!!!!! We looked at the sign. It shuts at 4pm. Noooo!!!! I pushed the door and it opened. In we went. Some locals were there watching TV. We said do we have time to get a drink still. They said we did. The landlady was on the phone. The locals were chatting to us and said after a while to help ourselves to a drink and leave the money there for when she got off the phone. At that point she appeared and we ordered a pint each - mine was orange juice and lemonade and G's was coke. We're ladies we'll have you know ;-) I think I must have drunk my drink in about 2 minutes flat. The landlady let us jump onto the WiFi and I downloaded the GC.com app again. Phew. I was back in the game! We sat there until about 4.30pm then set off to get a few more as we'd had some DNFs. We both had aching legs though as we'd been walking for 5 hours straight so we decided no more hills were in order. G looked at the map (yep, I had no signal the moment I came off the WiFi, 2-0 to iOS) and we opted for another route a bit further up the road. We trotted off.
Life Begins at... was our first of this next bit. A nice easy find. We had eaten two bags of crisps each (G bought mine for me and said not to say she never buys me lunch when we go out, ha, ha) so had to work off those calories ;-)
B&A - Twixt Tree and Fence was next. Took a bit of hunting here and we were both searching. I finally spotted it. Another one off the list. B&A - Ivy was next. Much unnecessary clambering around was done here before we got it. I didn't want to head up another hill - I don't think G would have appreciated carrying me back to the car if we did, so we turned around and decided to walk a bit further down the road and do an odd few more. Both our legs were seriously aching now and we were both commenting that our feet hurt too.
Ch56 - Ashotts Lane South was a quick find. We were chatting so much again now (fuelled by fizz and crisps clearly) that we overshot it. Ch57 - Ashotts Lane Northing was a DNF. Nothing anywhere that we could see. We were flagging. We made the executive decision to go back to the other side of the main road and do the last couple around there - on the flat!
Ch55 - Capps Lane North we overshot and neither of us could bear to go back so we didn't. We carried on to Ch54 - Capps Lane. This was a bit of a hunt but we got there in the end. GPS pointing to the wrong place but our cache senses were still working. Ch53 Cogdells Farm was a DNF. We couldn't even spot the clue item but we did see the cricket team were playing.
We were now beat. The last one we could have got we honestly didn't even feel like walking too. I'm not sure if it was the heat still or the amount of walking we had done (another nearly 1 1/2 hours had passed). I was developing a headache so knew I was getting dehydrated again. It had been lovely though and I don't think we've ever walked so many hills but boy am I looking forward to putting my feet up tonight.
We parted company and have decided to come back in another couple of months to do some more around this area as it is so full of caches. We may look for somewhere slightly flatter next time though ;-)