Category Archives: parents

OPEN MIC – Make Memories With Your Kids That Will Last Forever!

OPEN MIC

 

Welcome my Guest for this week’s Open Mic.

ISABEL SCOLLEN

ISABEL & AARON

My name is Isabel Scollen.  I am married to Aaron & have 3 girls.  Aaron & I met in Leeds & got married in 2001.  I am British but was born in the Northeast of Brazil in the City of Recife.  I enjoy meeting new people & developing strong friendships.

I am interested in topics that include family life, marriage, children etc.  I love God & everything related to Him.

Make Memories With Your Kids That Will Last Forever!

When my friend Lizzie asked if anyone would like to contribute in her blog my first reaction was “I would love to.”

I love sharing the wonderful things that God blessed us to do as a family.  The benefits of all those little things and big things that we do in life count for a healthy and happy child’s present and future.

As Christians, we commit our children to God, we recognize that as in Psalm 127 “Children are an inheritance from the Lord”, they are a blessing.

Beginning of our Journey

Only 7 months after getting married, I found out that I was pregnant with my first daughter(Hannah).  When we were considering what to call her, we found out how significant names are in the Bible.  Each name has a meaning and that name can have a major impact on a child’s future.

The name Hannah seemed to fit like a glove.  From the Hebrew Hannah means “helper”, “grace” and “graciousness”.  She is a very independent, talented, inventive and successful child who has always been willing to help others.

Our second child “Alicia” comes from the Spanish meaning “noble one”.  Her name was adapted from her grandmother’s name “Alice”.  Strong willed, thoughtful, powerful and intelligent would some up Alicia.  She loves technology like her Dad!

Bethany, from the Hebrew meaning “house of figs”, born from the Bible as a place name rather than a person’s name.  Bethany was the place where Jesus visited with his close friends, Lazarus, Mary and Martha.

It was also the place where Lazarus was brought back from the dead (and this resurrection story is the reason we chose this name for our Bethany – but more on this another time!). Bethany is a very happy child: communicative, creative, optimistic and sociable.

Each one is so different and unique in their own way.

Hannah and Alicia are quite close in age and I often dressed them in matching outfits. When you are a new Mum, you want to keep everything fair.  If you give something to one, you feel the need to give the same thing to the other.  But as time goes on you realize that each one has a unique character – you can buy for each according to their character needs and fashion trends.

Here are some photos.

ISABEL, AARON & KIDS

ALL 3 GIRLS

Today they are all dressed differently according to their taste.  Mum checks it out so they don’t come home with a bright pink skirt, green top and stripy socks to go to a wedding!

Making memories…

Back to the title of this post – how do we make memories with our children?

1) We have a custom in our family, that for every birthday, we start the day with a mini cake or breakfast in bed for the birthday boy or girl.  We sing “Happy Birthday”, blow out candles and gather all the cards and gifts from the family and open them up in bed.  We usually have a party within a couple of days for school and family friends to celebrate together, but we also love our little “family party” in the morning (lots of photos to keep the memories alive)!

ISABEL PARTY

2) Family weekends away or days out are a must.  We go to the beach, nature reserves and if the budget will allow theme and holiday parks.  For those with family who are not local, then visits to grandparents, aunts & uncles and cousins are great opportunities.  Our girls don’t see their cousins very often, so when they do, we make an effort to make it special and memorable for them. Lots of photos again to reinforce those memories.

3) Once a year a family holiday for a week or two is very important.  They will never forget – whether it’s camping, Disney, or a package holiday.  The budget is not as important as the time and attention that they will get from Mum and Dad.

ALL 3 GIRLS PARIS

Small memorable things

1)  One to Ones.  We try to give each child the full attention of one parent on a regular basis. For example

– clothes shopping with Mum, going to the cinema with Dad, walking the dog together or even going for a ride in the car.

2)  Having regular family meals together.  Although this can be difficult with the work pressures of many families, try to find something which works for you.  It may be breakfast every morning with the kids, dinner or supper.

3)  Highs and Lows.  Once a day at a meal time, have each family member share their high (something great that happened today) and a low (something not so good that happened).

So that’s what I wanted to share – I hope you enjoyed it!

Isabel Scollen

 

Disclaimer : Opinions raised in this Open Mic series are entirely the words, thoughts & opinions of the guest author & are not necessarily the opinion of Lizzie Somerset’s Blog.  LS XO

It’s the Little Things – Easter Weekend Recap

imageHey friends,

Linking up with Ashley & Jess on this lovely Wednesday!

We have so enjoyed our long Easter weekend.

Being together as a family just filled me with joy.  Also, help with the kids was a godsend after a long two weeks off preschool for Sweet Harry.

We saw both families, ate ALOT of Easter eggs, praised God at Church on Easter Sunday & relaxed at home. Apart from Sunday we’ve had lovely weather, so have been outside most of the time, playing, weeding, planting new plants & having  the first BBQ of the year.

Good Friday was especially fun.  Some quality time together was well overdue so we decided to head out to Montacute House for their Egg Hunt.

We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day & my Mum was able to join us too!

Here’s some photo’s of the egg hunt (sponsored by Cadbury).

Base Camp

We got our trail pack which included a map, pencil & a grid. Daddy, Grandma & SH went round together (while I tramped on slowly behind with SB in buggy + bags) finding the clues & drawing them in the right squares.  There were loads of families doing the trail & it created a lovely atmosphere.

Start

Setting off On the trail

When all 6 squares had been drawn in you got the whole picture.  As you can see it was a bunny!  SH absolutely loved it & when we asked him what the picture was he said it was a donkey!!!  We laughed so hard at that, I guess Mr Somerset isn’t such a Picasso.  Thankfully there is a donkey in the Easter story!

Looking at the clues

Beautiful Donkey

SH then took the picture back to the Trail Start to get his Cadbury Easter egg.  It was so well organised, we’ll definitely go again next year.

The clue was at the end We were there too! Eggsplorer

What did you do over Easter? I hope you all had a great Easter weekend!

Until the next time friends

Have a great day!

Lizzie XOXO

Chubby Legs

Hey friends,

My beautiful Sweet Bea just gets more stunning by the day. Since turning One a month ago she’s changed quite drastically.

One of the ways she’s changed is her pickle nature has been coming out more & more.

Pulling things down that should stay up, wriggling so hard you have to put her on the floor or you’d drop her, throwing her food on the floor for sport. The usual baby transition to toddlerhood really!

The other way is her chubby chubbyness! Those beautiful baby chub rolls on her legs especially. Those squishy cheeks, her big tummy, the fat on her arms, love, love, Iove it!!

Oh how I love Sweet Bea’s chubby thighs. I squeeze them until she giggles that beautiful & infectious deep throat laugh that invariably then comes out of her nose (plus some snot).

She wiggles & I have to put her down, then pick her up & do it all again. What a fun game!! I can’t resist the chubby legs, you see?!

As we were playing this innocent game the other day I said to her ‘I love your chubby legs’ she giggled & we did that over & over again.

A thought hit me, oh my goddess the very thing that I love about my daughter is probably the very thing she’ll loathe about herself when she’s older. Chubby legs? = a total nightmare for a girl, a teenager, a woman, or even very, very little girls.

When does that beautiful innocence go? Where we’re happy with our body just as it is. Where actually we don’t even think about our bodies at all. Where realising our fingers & toes are actually part of our bodies is like, wow wicked! Where pulling things down that should stay up is the most important thing & nothing else even comes into it.

I tried to wrack my little brain to remember when I realised the world is not as it could be. That we could see beautiful, stunning, amazing girls in love with themselves & who they are. Sadly I couldn’t remember, so I’m guessing it starts at a heartbreakingly young age.

I think it has to start at home with us, her parents & wider family, to validate how beautiful, amazing & loved she is. Remember Bridget Jones being so touched because Mark Darcy liked her ‘just as she is’? that’s powerful that.

Also I will teach my children healthy eating & running about like a loon is good for you, but to be a well rounded healthy child not just to look good by the world’s standards!

When the day comes that she asks me that question ‘Do I look fat in this Mum, are my thighs too big’? I’ll say ‘darling you look amazing you’re perfect as you are’, & then ruin it by saying ‘I love your chubby legs the most in the world’, possibly before dodging a hairbrush being thrown at me across the room!!

I might just have to keep that little gem in my heart instead friends! But I will be saying it in my head, because I really do love her chubby legs the most in the whole, wide world.

Sonnet 43 – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways XLIII

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Until the next time friends
Have a great day!

Lizzie XOXO

I may be mad but I’ve nominated myself (because sometimes the ship comes to you)! I would love it if you would nominate me if my blog has inspired or encouraged you, you like reading about my life with the sweet kiddos, for my home style or the very fact I’m a new blog with absolutely no bells & whistles (still green/learning). I’d be made up if you nominated me, but as with everything with me, no pressure no problem! LOVE LIZZIE XOXOXOXOXO

NOMINATE ME BiB 2014 FRESH VOICE NOMINATE ME BiB 2014 STYLE NOMINATE ME BiB 2014 INSPIRE BiB2014familyNom

Small Joys – FIVE

Hey friends,

I was going to write about something completely different today but I have to interrupt this hiatus to concentrate on just being so thankful for my good health.

I’ve been poorly on & off since January with a Sinus infection that has been particularly persistent!

I’m so thankful that I feel much better today to celebrate my birthday.

A birthday is a good time to reflect & think about the year just past & our achievements. If you’ve been following this little blog you’ll have witnessed some of that change for the better. When I think of where I was last year & how God has brought me on I’m in such a different place.

But as I celebrate I’m reminded of those who are really, really sick. Those in hospital, taken unwell unexpectedly, those who are ill at home & those for who illness is a daily existence. Two years ago I was really unwell myself & having this awful cold really reminded me of that time.

In this life it’s so easy to get wrapped up in how we feel at any given time in our own little lives. It’s sometimes hard to see outside that.

So today I’m going to celebrate my birthday & really feel joy, with my family & those who are important to me & be thankful for them & my health which truly is a gift today.

Here are my beautiful gifts from my beautiful little family!

Until the next time friends.
Have a great day!

Lizzie XOXO

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Comparison Part Deux

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Hey friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about this hot topic recently.  COMPARISON, it’s everywhere.

I posted the other day about comparison taking away ALL of our joy, but I must admit I’ve had a re-think! Mostly because I mis-quoted (sorry Theodore Roosevelt) but also because it’s just something that’s been stirring away in me for awhile.

We need to compare things, that just makes sense.  Say I have a pear in each hand, one is ripe & ready to eat, the other is bruised & looking a bit beyond it, which one would I choose to eat? I need to compare to make educated decisions.

I think my point was (& is) that when I get so wrapped up in what other people have or what they do then that robs me of my joy.

The reason it robs my joy is that the person I look up to (& put on a pedestal), the DREAM job/career person, the go-getter, the Type A personality in the stunning clothes, with perfect hair & perfect family. They don’t always show the hard work, the sacrifice of family time or the downright mundane of the job they do.  They makes it look so easy so I assume it is easy.

Who knows what that person had to go through to get that coveted job, work all the hours God sends? Maybe they’ve had to ‘fake it til you make it’ & are so fed up of the fake & just want to get away & take skiing lessons or go to Hawaii & surf & ‘find themselves’.  Maybe they look at someone like me & think ‘I’d love to stay home with my kids, that would be my dream job’!  Or maybe they were pushed so hard as a child they felt they HAD to get the top career or they’d be seen as a failure by their family. Or it might really be all it’s cracked up to be.

Whatever your situation is, sometimes the grass does look greener & maybe it is. Maybe one day I will have the dream career in writing/journalism/features. But if I don’t ever get that career, or go on that amazing trip or whatever it is for you, does that diminish who I am? Does it diminish who you are? I say NO WAY!

So compare away friends, because that’s natural & human.  But each time you start comparing with someone else’s life, think, does it advance you, or does it hold you back? I’m thinking that if it’s not a helpful comparison then acknowledge it, don’t judge it; then let it go & move on.

If it is helpful, then harness it & use it positively to learn & build a better version of yourself. But do it for YOU, not because you feel you HAVE to in order to look or feel successful for other people. That’s when you’ll be robbed of your joy.

noble

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Be encouraged, you are enough just as you are. If you’re not happy, compare wisely, choose joy & make plans.

Thanks for stopping by to read my thoughts, I hope you’re having a great day!

Lizzie xoxoxo

How long will I love you?

Can we ever tell our kids too much that we love them?

For me, friends, the words just keep coming out! I just can’t help it, I’m from the love camp, any opportunity to say it, I do.

I put Sweet Bea down for a nap, ‘Sweet dreams, love you’. I drop SH at preschool & say ‘have fun, I love you’ & so on.

Some people may find it abit over the top, but I don’t think you can tell your kids too much. Before long they’ll be grown up & leaving home (at least this is what parents with adult children tell me!). So before it’s too late, I’m going to say it. Because otherwise how will they know?

I’ll leave you with this song which gets me like an arrow to my heart, E V E R Y time. The words get me because I think of my children when I hear it, & because there are children out there who aren’t loved, & children who aren’t told that they’re loved even if they are.

Can I encourage you to pull your little one’s close & say those three little, but oh so important words?! Because they’re never wasted, I promise.

Kids it’s Mama, How long will I love you, Sweet Bea & Sweet Harry? As long as stars are above you & longer if I can.

Five on Friday – New Year’s Edition

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Hi friends,

Linking up once again with April, Christina, Darci & Natasha.  Thanks ladies!

I thought I would let you all in on my little resolutions & plans for 2014.

O N E – WORRY LESS, BE MORE MINDFUL

If you read my post you will know I have suffered with anxiety, at some points it was really hard going, especially mixed with a bit of Post Natal Anxiety.  I have to admit in those really hard times I have shut myself away from the world.

However, part of my resolve list in 2013 was to focus on my own well-being, being more positive & looking after my body & mind.  Since setting on that road I can honestly say I’ve never felt better.

I was recommended an app called Headspace which you can download for free on your iPhone.  It’s quite amazing how quickly it changed things for me.  I don’t feel the need to use it every day, but it’s there if I need it.

Read more about Headspace & whether it could help you here.

T W O –  GET ON THE FLOOR & PLAY

harry play on floor

What’s the point in being a SAHM if my whole day is spent doing the dishes, cooking, laundry, supermarket shopping & the mundane?

I need to remind myself daily why I stayed home, get down with the kids on the floor, & just have some FUN with them! E V E R Y  D A Y.

The days go by so quickly, & too many have passed without me just being with them, totally focused on just playing, or reading to them.  I need to do this intentionally before they decide not to bother trying anymore.

T H R E E – MOVE BLOG UP A NOTCH

blogging

Redesign, possibly sponsoring another blog, inviting other bloggers to guest post & hosting giveaways may be in this blog’s future!

I’ve been blown away by all the views & support I’ve had since I started blogging in August.

I’ve also got the domain name lizziesomerset.com, so watch out for the switch to self-hosted!

What can I say, it’s exciting stuff being planned in this Somerset ranch for 2014!

F O U R – AN ADVENTURE

adventure

I have no idea yet what this may be!

I’m one for planning our holidays/trips so I feel in control, but since I’ve started practicing Mindfulness/Headspace I’m more open to whatever adventure comes my way.

Maybe it will be a trip with girlfriends, or a blogging conference?! All I know is, when I get to the end of 2014, I will look back & know what that adventure was.

F I V E – READ MY DEVOTIONAL

devotional

For me, nothing is possible without the love & grace of God. If I’m not inline with His plans  then things tend to go awry!

My SIL Deb got me this beautiful devotional called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for Christmas, so I’m intending use this gift & spend time in His presence every day. (Please also note the beautiful new Filofax which will hopefully keep me more organised! I NEED IT!)

sweet bea 10 months

Finally, can I also just add it’s my Sweet Bea’s TENTH MOTHERSARY TODAY! Oh my goodness, seriously where did the time go!?  She’s just the most adorable, funniest, happiest baby girl in the world! She’s teething, trying to stand all the time & throws most of her food on the floor, but my goodness our life is so much richer for having her. Love you so much my little dink.

Until the next time friends.
Have a great day!

Lizzie xoxo

Much A Flu about Nothing

It’s the start of flu season, so I rang to get an appointment for us all to be vaccinated.

I was surprised when the Receptionist said she needed to check if I could have one as I didn’t fit the immediate criteria of over 65, children of a certain age & people with known breathing conditions like asthma.

I really thought I would be eligible, but the answer came back from the Doctor, it was a no. I’m not one to complain (ish) so I just shuffled off to Boots & paid for one.

However, I feel a flu jab should be offered to anyone who wants one, & here’s why.

In March 2012 I got flu. No big deal you might say, loads of people get the flu virus every year & survive. But here’s where my story goes on further.

My flu started much like anyone else’s, quickly! One minute I felt fine, the next I was laid up in bed with hubby called home from work to watch Harry.

A week later & there was no sign of it letting up. Then…..it got worse!

Sigh!!!

I started to become incoherent, just trailing off mid sentence & then looking at my Mum or hubby thinking ‘finish what you’re saying then’!

I was unsteady & during a bath my Mum had to sit on the loo seat & supervise me.

I just wasn’t right.

Jon & Mum got me to the surgery pronto!

I was referred straight to A&E, & after a lot of very worried looks & consultation with Jon I was admitted for observation. I ended up staying for 6 days!

I had to have a lumber puncture to determine what I had, it was not pleasant I was extremely distressed & very ill. They tested for all sorts of things but it came back with Post Influenza Encephalitis. Basically a brain virus caused by the flu infection.

I wasn’t a well girl at all.

But with the diagnosis came swift action & I was put on the right medication. Thank God!

The problems then came from the side effects of the lumber puncture. The worst headache you can imagine! The doctor described it as the worst hangover you could ever have. I’ve never had a hangover like that one!! I couldn’t lift my head without being sick.

The doctor prescribed coca cola for it as the sugar & caffeine really helped! The doctor endured a ribbing from the nurses as they’d never seen coke prescribed before!

Even when I was discharged on my birthday, I went home with the headache still raging.

In total I was unwell for a month. A month of not being able to look after my son. A month of my family having to drop everything & ferry Harry to & from nursery so Jon could work etc.

It was not a happy time for us.

Here’s where the good bit of the story comes in (& where I think God can make good out of every situation).

I was in a hospital ward of 6. The ones who stick in my mind are Nan & Olive. Elderly ladies, lovely.

It was through watching their care & my own treatment that I got an overview of the staff & how the hospital dept ran.

They did their best, of that I am sure!

I was next to a lady who passed away during my stay, I was able to pray quietly for her & her family.

I was able to pray for all the ladies, as needs became apparent. It was while in hospital in the pit of my own desperate situation that God revealed the pain in their situations too.

Goodness what an insular person I had become! This experience taught me such a valuable lesson in life. There really is always someone else worse off.

At least I had visitors. 26 in total over 6 days, & sooo many texts. I was so touched. Some of the other patients had 1, 2 or even no visitors at all.

I was also prayed for by the whole church. I felt loved in the midst of my desperation.

The nursery that sweet Harry went to gave him free childcare, for that week & for a bit of time afterwards so I could recover.

People cooked meals for Jon & sweet Harry.

People are so kind, when given the opportunity to be.

In regards to the NHS I think we have a way to go. The dept was over stretched & reactions not always as quick as they could have been. But all the doctors & nurses were so nice & really caring.

They do their best with the resources & time they have. At the end of the day I went in sick & came out better.

Yes I think everyone who wants one should have a flu jab for free on the NHS!

My illness mostly happens in old people & children, as per the vaccination criteria. I think we all know life isn’t that black & white!!

To finish though I am grateful to live in a country, that offers free health care, to the best of their ability & with sometimes limited or political restrictions.

If you’re eligible for a flu jab have one. If you’re not I’d advise you to pay for one.

Having flu is just not worth it.

Bless you all.
Until the next time friends.

Have a great day!
Lizzie xx

Happy Monday

It’s Monday morning again!

Whether you love or loathe the start of the week it’s important for me to at least try & start off the week on a good note.

I try (when I remember!) to pray for the week ahead & that God will go ahead of us.

It’s always been so lovely to have Jon home at the weekend & we miss having him around when he goes off to work on Monday morning.

We thrive on routine & structure in our little ranch though so it’s all okay once we get into our stride!

Looking on Pinterest this morning trying to find some motivational & positive Monday morning pins, I came across these & they made me laugh out loud.

However you feel about Monday I hope these make you smile too!

Have a great Monday morning folks!!

Lizzie xx

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Nb. If today isn’t so hot just think ‘tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it’ – Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables xx

Five on Friday

Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve been meaning to do a link up to these lovely & encouraging US blogs, but wanted to wait until this newbie blogger had the know-how to do it! I’m learning as I go!!

These ladies have been blogging for years & have a huge following. I can only dream of blogging at this level!

April, Christina, Natasha & Darci  (a. liz adventures, carolina charm, hello! happiness & the good life blog) allow others to link up with them to give our own five joys or things we’re loving, every Friday.

Natasha’s blog, Hello! Happiness, is the first blog I ever read (& loved)!

So here we go with my own ‘Five on Friday’!

1. Montacute House & Gardens – The National Trust

This large Elizabethan house & gardens is literally down the road from my house & whenever we have nothing else organised this is our ‘go to’ place every time.

The Tea Rooms are lovely & super child friendly.

The gardens are beautiful & Sweet Harry loves the giant chess board!

I just love the history of the place & my Mum works here doing tour guides and conservation cleaning!

Scenes from ‘Sense & Sensibility’ were filmed here & I’m grateful to have it on my doorstep.

2. My Sweet Bea is 7 Months Old!

This one makes my heart sink & soar at the same time. I just can’t believe the time is going so fast.

SB is now sitting in her high chair, chomping away on steamed veg sticks & bread & butter soldiers!

She also started saying ‘Dada’ yesterday, dot on her 7 ‘monthersary’.

Slow down a little bit, my beautiful Sweet Bea, you’re growing too fast for this mama!

3. I Love…Mango & Papaya Handwash

This Handwash smells & looks amazing!

The bright colour really cheers up my bathroom & is perfect for Autumn. Sweet Harry also loves using it! That’s got to be a Win/Win situation! 20131004-111956.jpg

You can read my review of this orange popping handwash here

4. Love & Wonder

My post ‘Love & Wonder’ tells about this wonderful shop of the same name in my hometown.

I bought a birthday gift for my girlfriend, Em, here! I really enjoyed the experience. I decided on the baking kit with windmill toppers you see pictured below! So cute!

It’s a breath of fresh air to have somewhere local to purchase wonderful gifts & accessories for my home.20131004-112148.jpg

You can shop online here

See my review here

5. Clarins – Beauty Flash Balm

I’m grateful to have this product in my life! It brightens my sometimes tired & stessed skin & really zings it up a notch!

I use it when I want to refresh my make up without re-applying foundation.

It helps that one of my oldest & dearest friends, Helen, is the Account Manager on the Clarins Counter. I know I will always get honest, good customer service & a winning smile!

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Meet my friend Helen & read my post here

Many, many, thanks to April, Christina, Darci & Natasha for allowing me to link up today!!!

Until the next time friends.

Have a great day!
Lizzie xx