Well, folks...a day we have been waiting for has finally arrived!! Today Matt and I took Ryan to meet the REAL Thomas the Tank Engine and take a ride on The Severn Valley Railway!
The past week has been absolutely brilliant with sunshine and warmth, so while it was cooler and a bit overcast today, it didn't stop us from making our way to Kidderminster for Ryan to see one of his favourite trains. With Teddy in hand, he wasn't quite sure what to make of this "big" Thomas, but we could tell he was impressed when he exclaimed, "Wow," from the moment he saw him on the track.
Shortly after arriving at the station, we boarded the train and began looking for somewhere to sit. Luckily, the First Class sections were suspended and open to any passengers so we managed to snag a cushy cabin with another family who were visiting Thomas with their grandson. Ryan had a brief nap in the car on the way so was a bit out of sorts still when we got on the train. He clutched Teddy for dear life.
However, it didn't take long for him to slide down from the seat and have a bit of a mooch about the cabin. He could see everything passing by...even the West Midlands Safari Park.
He quickly warmed up to being a bit more social as well and began speaking with the little boy, Callum, who was a year older. Ryan was pointing out all the animals he could see, including ducks in a nearby pond. Callum didn't agree so Ryan's response was to turn to him and with a cheesy grin shout, "Quack! Quack!" This had the adults in stitches!
One of the funnier bits of this part of the journey was Callum's Thomas water bottle. Ryan was very intrigued and took to using his favourite word, "mine," when admiring Callum's water bottle. Matt and I quickly remedied the situation by placing Ryan's sippy in view so he could have a drink if he wanted rather than risk him grabbing Callum's.
The boys took this opportunity to 'mark their territory' on each of their drinks.
Although the Severn Valley Railway goes all the way to Bridgnorth, we only took it as far as Highley as that is where the Imagination Station was located. We exited the train and Ryan waved goodbye before we made our way over the level-crossing and onto the other side of the tracks. This is where Ryan noticed a small-scale train display and was wowed once again!
We had a great view of some passing trains along the way...including this one which was being pulled by Percy or Henry...I couldn't really get a good look at his face.
Inside the building we made our way up to the balcony to have a good view of the magic show that was happening while still giving Ryan a chance to have a wander if he didn't want to sit still.
From up so high it was a perfect view as well of all of Thomas' friends on display. This was met with yet another impressive, "Wow!!"
It was a lot to take in so he did have to sit and have a breather at Daddy's feet at one point.
But that didn't last long and he wanted to chatter away to Mommy about all the things he could see.
And reposition his Thomas sticker...because right-side-up just didn't feel "right."
Eventually we made our way into The Whistle Stop Cafe for a nibble.
Daddy did his best to negotiate some of Ryan's Whatsits and might have managed to snag one or two when Ryan was too busy cramming food into his own mouth.
And because it was such a special day...a big, yummy cookie was definitely in order!
On the way back to Kiddie, we made a stop in Bewdley and had a short walk down to the River Severn to see the ducks. I have been here once before and when the flowers are all in bloom in the summer it is absolutely beautiful!
We watched the ducks for a bit, especially the funny-looking fat one that was closest to us, and talked about how we should visit the ducks again and bring some bread next time to feed them.
When we boarded the train for the last time, it was a great deal more crowded so we had to sit in the main section in a small booth. Ryan didn't seem to mind and we even decided to put together his free Megabloks "toy" he received for his visit. A bit pants really...three blocks and some stickers...but it did the trick for Ryan.
By 4 o'clock it was clear that a lack of any nap all day was getting to our little man. We suggested he put his head on Daddy's shoulder and that's exactly what he did before promptly closing his eyes and falling asleep.
Once back in Kidderminster we were just in time for the final Thomas show of the day. The Fat Controller, Sir Topham Hatt, gathered everyone on the platform and called Thomas down the line. Then he called on Diesel to help with shunting, but naughty Diesel had been bumping the trains about all day and he did it yet again. Ryan got a chuckle out of this.
They told a story how Thomas wasn't feeling well and they thought he had a bit of boiler ache.
Daddy snapped a photo of Mommy and Ryan this time as we laughed and watched one of the workers catch the fish in Thomas' boiler that was giving him the "tummy" trouble.
After the show we stopped in the gift shop for a few small souvenirs and then made our way to the exit, stopping one last time at the miniature railway for Daddy and Ryan to take a ride!
This will make Ryan's first proper trip to something like this and he really enjoyed himself and behaved beautifully for not having had a nap and being just two years old. I don't think we could have asked for a better day and I look forward to being able to do something like this with my little family again!
Surely a huge Thomas fan cannot go and visit his favourite train without some proper Thomas-wear, so off we went to Mothercare today to find Ryan some new threads. He has a few Thomas tops as well as a fleecy hooded-jumper and jacket...but I don't know what the weather will be like in the morning and Mothercare has some character clothing on offer at the moment.
Whilst there, Ryan begged for a practise go on the Thomas ride, so Mommy & Daddy chucked in £1 for three rides and let him go to town!
We've been saying for some time now that we wanted Ryan to have a little sand pit this year. Then recently one of Matt's work-mates brought in a gently-used pink hippo sand pit formerly belonging to their grandchild. We considered just using this one until we spotted sandpits in Toys R Us last weekend. For less than £20 we found a blue turtle and a few bags of play sand. We finally had the opportunity tonight after work to check it out with Ryan.
He wasn't sure about standing in the sand at first, but quickly got stuck in and began pouring.
As he played happily, I took the time to wander down into the garden and get a shot of the house with the newly installed solar panels. We think they really take the authentic feel away from the cottage, but hopefully will save us a bit of money when it comes to electric.
In the meantime, Ryan appears happy as long as he's able to play in his new sand pit.
Tonight Ryan feasted on fish fingers and oven chips. After he plowed through the chips, he lined up his fish fingers and started to count them. I don't know if this is some toddler ritual or him warning his fish sticks that they would soon meet their demise one-by-one.
This has been one of Ryan's favourite phrases lately. He objects to nearly everything outside of sandwiches and toast and claims he doesn't like it. However, the parenting skill Matt and I discovered was to leave him to it, not turn around and make something different, and in time he will eat it. In fact, once he has a bite, he seems to remember that he DOES in fact like it. He's just trying to use his two-year-old assertiveness and attempts at negotiation.
I thought he was just coming for a cuddle and it wasn't until I heard his little snores that I realised he was asleep. I guess he was sleepy. I wasn't sure I'd still get snuggly moments like this anymore, but I'll sure enjoy it while it lasts.
The day began with a lovely lie-in, courtesy hubby, and when I finally did emerge I was greeted with kisses and some super special toast! I love my boys!
We then spent a bit of time this afternoon at Josie & David's along with Em, Daz & miss Amy. The kids had us in stitches pretending to nap in the corner.
Then tonight, for the first time, Ryan had the chance to speak to his Grandad Pat in America (who couldn't seem to sort his tablet so his image wasn't sideways...typical Dad). Admittedly I don't have the best relationship anymore in terms of closeness with my Dad, but it was nice to see he was making even just a small effort at interacting with his grandson.
The day's end has still left me feeling very grateful with the people in my life -- both in this country and abroad.
Well, that certainly didn't take long! Our 'Day Out With Thomas' tickets arrived in the post this morning and I'm SO excited for the day to arrive! Ryan has been carrying the little flyer around with him all morning and I think he's looking forward to seeing Thomas as well!
The feeling of excitement even carried into our weekly shopping trip to Tesco. Ryan calls it "The Blue Shop" and he must think it's a place for amusement rides because of the trolley escalator. I don't think I've ever seen a child so over the moon about one, nor have I seen anyone shout "wheeee!" as they're going up or down.
Then again, no one else is Ryan. Love our happy boy!
On one of my many journeys home on the trains this week I've noticed a flyer posted about 'A Day Out With Thomas.' This is a day-long trip on the Severn Valley Railway where you get to meet and ride on the "real" Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends as well as see the Fat Controller, Sir Topham Hatt.
Ryan REALLY likes Thomas AND trains, so after discussing it with Matt we decided to splurge a bit (something we have yet to really do in terms of outings) and in just a couple weeks we're due for quite the adventure. In fact, I think we're much more excited than we anticipated.
I can't wait to see the look on little man's face!
Occasionally I will pick up one of the childrens' "magazines" for Ryan...the ones with the free toy. Yes, they tend to be something cheap that breaks right away, but I like to see the look on his face when he sees there is a little treat along with the magazine and he also likes to thumb through the contents of the magazine itself, pointing out his favourite characters.
Today's selection was from a Something Special magazine with Mr. Tumble (Justin Fletcher). The toy that came with it was a colourful stamper set, which we put to use straightaway. Ryan even sussed that if he skipped the stampers altogether, he could make colourful stamp prints with his own fingers.
Unfortunately, I discovered during the cleanup that one of the colours left a bit of a stain on his table, so I don't think we'll be keeping these, but at least he had fun while they lasted. I'll probably keep the stampers and find some more child/cleanup-friendly stamp pads to use them with.
As I've had a fair amount of consistent work lately, Ryan has been having some early mornings. He goes down at night around 8 or half-past (any earlier and he won't stay down) and then on a morning I generally come to wake him around half-six as I have to catch a train by 7 and we can't leave him home despite the train station being only less than a mile from the house -- as tempting as it is to give him the chance to sleep that little bit longer. He's usually up on his own by 7 or just after, so you wouldn't think just thirty minutes would make much of a difference...but boy is he like his Daddy some days when it comes to waking him up before he's ready.
Just this morning I came in, turned off his fan and night-light, turned ON the room light...and I even gently nudged him.
I tried again and called his name softly.
It took a good two minutes before he even opened his eyes and even then all he wanted to do was go back to sleep.
I can't knock him for being so enthusiastic about the potty that he gets his teddy involved. Hopefully this is a good sign and will lead to more independence...and less of a bulky look to his trousers at times.
As Matt enjoys taste-testing he went out and picked up some additional (regular-sized) silicone cupcake "tins." He also picked up a variety of sprinkes and taught Ryan the "all-important" lesson of testing the cakes, icing AND sprinkles to determine if it was safe to eat one!
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!