365 pictures: 21-30

30 days in, and I’ve yet to miss one. Although there have been a couple of close shaves. Still having fun with it, though, and still aiming to keep going for the rest of the year. Let’s be honest, most New Year’s resolutions have died a death by the end of January, so if I’ve made it this long I can make it to the end of the year, right? Right?

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21. Recycling
We had a post-Christmas mini-disaster with our recycling bin; because it was jammed full of wrapping paper and cardboard packaging, it didn’t empty properly, which meant we started the next 2 week cycle with a half full bin. So by the next collection, we had more boxes full of stuff in the kitchen that wouldn’t go in the bin. I think we’re sorted now.

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22. Snow
While the rest of the UK has been under a blanket of snow for much of January, we’ve managed to almost miss it entirely. Makes a nice change! This was about as bad as it got round these parts.

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23. Gangsta
I’ve got a small collection of baseball caps (3!) hanging on the bedpost, and every so often the girls like to try them on for size. Megan, for some reason, always prefers hers to be backwards. Heather picked this one, and asked if the hole in the back was for a pony tail to fit through – smart kid, that one.

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24. A bag for a hat
From the sublime to the ridiculous, here’s Megan modelling an altogether different sort of headgear- a mini shopping bag. What cracks me up is when they walk around like this, as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. Maybe it’s me who’s got it all wrong?

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25. Happy birthday Rabbie
Gemma’s not that keen on haggis, so when it comes to Burns Night we tend not to go with tradition. I have in the past done haggis, neeps and tatties just for me, but it means either consuming a whole haggis (not good for the waistline) or throwing some away. This year I got creative and we had haggis burgers (although Gem had hers without the haggis). I washed mine down with a surprisingly decent bottle of Rabbie Burns from Traditional Scottish Ales. The Bard would be proud.

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26. The artists at work

Both our girls love to scribble, and while Megan’s pictures really are just scribbles, all of a sudden Heather is able to produce pictures that actually look like what they’re meant to be. She told me a few weeks ago she’d like to be an artist, so who knows?

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27. Gogga Gone (chocolate scone)
Gem baked some scones on Sunday, for Sunday Bake Club, while I went out for a run. When I got back, Megan met me at the door, to very excitedly tell me about the “gogga gones” that Mummy had made. They were awesome, by the way – no susprises there! :)

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28. Early night
After a busy weekend, Monday night was a chance to get to bed at a decent hour. Just a few years ago, anything before midnight would have constituted an early night, but that was before we were being woken at 7 every day. Not that I’m complaining of course, just reflecting how much things have changed since the girls arrived.

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29. Baby Annabel
I came across this the other night when I was tidying up the toys, and the absurd pose amused me far more than it should. I think my mum might have had a hand in this one…

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30. Salad
I’ve mentioned before that one of our aims for this year is to cook everything from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals, and last night I produced a fantastic Jamaican jerk pork dish. It was accompanied by this awesome looking salad, which I enjoyed far more than I was expecting, as I’m not normally a fan of sweetcorn in things. Shows you what I know!

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

I wanna be elected

No, I’m not running for office, although I often think I couldn’t do any worse than a lot of the current bunch. Instead, I’m looking for your votes in a different sort of popularity contest, the 2013 Mum and Dad blog awards, also known as the MADs.

Not that I expect to win anything you understand. I’m a very small fish in a very big pond (Tots 100 have well over 4,000 UK based parent bloggers registered) and there are plenty others far more deserving than me; folks who I know put a lot more time and effort into their blogs than I do.

So why bother posting about it?

Well, I set up this here blog largely as a result of last year’s MADs, where us dads were massively under-represented in the nominations. At the time I had another blog that I very rarely posted in, but after the lovely Susan Mann directed me to Tom Briggs’s rant on the matter, I decided to join in, and swell the ranks. And here I am. (You can read the longer version of that story here).

So… while I might not feel deserving of any of a MAD award, in the last 8 months or so I’ve got to know a fair few others who are, who I’ve listed here for your convenience:

Why not check them out? If you like what you see (which I’m sure you will) why not give them your support with a MAD nomination? Go on, nominate a dad! The link is right here, you can’t miss it.

MAD Blog Awards

Oh, and as far as I’m aware, none of those I’ve listed qualify for the “Best New Blog” category. I do, though, so if you can’t think of anyone else to nominate… :)

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Word up

Megan, with a bag on her head

We’ve now reached a very fun stage with Megan, where she’s really starting to get the hang of talking, and the words come tumbling out. She’s a little later getting here than her sister was, but now that she has, she’s making up for lost time and we’re getting 2 or 3 new words every day.

Of course, not all of those words could be classed as the Queen’s English, but it’s the combination of mispronounced and completely made up words that make it so much fun.

We often talked about writing a list of Heather’s “kidisms”, but never quite got round to it. Consequently, a lot have been forgotten already, which is a real shame, because it was such an important part of her development. I’m sure “hairpoo” (it’s what you wash your hair with), “mermaids” (mayonnaise, as in a chicken mermaids sandwich) and “activity play” (it’s what kids perform at Christmas) will live on forever though!

Anyway, I’m not making the same mistake again, so here I proudly
present the A to (almost) Z of Megan (first edition):

  • Aieee – Daddy Lion, Megan’s favourite toy. Also, Auntie Ali
  • Bah-bee – Barbie. Megan love love loves the Barbie movies, much to Gem’s dismay
  • Boaba – Spongebob Squarepants
  • Boobie – blueberries
  • Cuggle – cuddle
  • Daddy – Me :)
  • Dedda – Heather
  • Dim Dom – Ding dong, used when her and Heather play at door to door selling (yes, really!)
  • Eeeeeee – Uncle Ian. Or Uncle Iain. How confusing!
  • Gemma – occasionally used to get Mummy’s attention. Not encouraged
  • Gamma – refers to both Grandma AND Grandpa
  • Guv – gloves
  • Jew – squash, fruit juice etc
  • Kokie-Kokie – Confused.com, as sung along to the advert
  • Me – Megan point blank refuses to say her own name. This is as close as we get
  • Mummy/Mama – guess who?
  • Nana – refers to both Nana AND Grandad (spotting a theme here)
  • No – no. Also, nose. And snow
  • Nyeah – yes. Sometimes this is hard to differentiate from no
  • Out – Could you he so kind as to lift me from my cot/highchair? NOW!
  • Ower – Over, as in fallen over
  • Pay – play
  • Peppa – Peppa Pig. Also, thanks to Happy Mrs Chicken, refers to the iPad. And paper
  • Pea – please
  • Pooey – My nappy needs changing (applies whether actually pooey or just wet)
  • Readit – I would like you to read me this story, if it’s not too much trouble
  • Shot – My turn. Usually screamed at the top of her voice
  • Tea – teeth. Also, both tea AND coffee
  • Teddy – pretty much any toy that isn’t Daddy Lion, Pooh or Minnie Mouse. Including Westwood, the big dog
  • Toyet – toilet
  • TT – television
  • Tyah – Tyler the penguin
  • Wan – run
  • Why – repeated ad infinitum, surely the worst word in her entire vocabulary

As I write this list, and leave out a lot of other words that she uses on a regular basis, I’m realising that she really does have quite the vocabulary. Maybe she’s not so far off her sister’s pace after all.

Edit: I had completely forgotten I wrote about Megan starting to talk, back in September. It’s nice to see how far she’s come in the last few months!

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

Book review: Tiny Twisted Tales

Tiny Twisted Tales - Jenny, Pale Henry and Stuart the Bug Eating Man

Tiny Twisted Tales is a new series of books by Calvin Innes, telling weird and wonderful stories in a very humorous style. Each of the stories is named after its central character, and each has an important lesson to teach its readers.

There’s Stuart The Bug Eating Man, who loves to eat worms, spiders and insects, much to the disgust of his family. That is, until he figures out a way to use his unusual tastes to make the family rich.

Pale Henry tells of a young boy who doesn’t like to go outside and play with other children, preferring to hide himself away in the attic. Until one day he does venture outside, and discovers that it’s fun to play in the sun with others.

Rounding off the first 3 releases in the series (more are planned for the future) is Jenny, an eight year old girl with a secret double life: she hunts werewolves! In the story, Jenny catches a particularly large and scary werewolf, and ends up keeping if as a pet!

The books, all published by My Little Big Town, are aimed at primary school children and designed to make learning to read fun. And they most definitely are fun, with each twisted tale told in clever rhyme. The accompanying illustrations are great too, and really bring the stories to life.

I read these to my own little monsters, to see what they thought, and got a definite thumbs up. Heather’s favourite was definitely Stuart, which she’s asked me to read her several times. Her reaction to the description of Stuart’s meals was brilliant, with each horrible detail making her wriggle and squirm – just like the worms and bugs in the story! She obviously didn’t find them too horrible, though, because she asked to read them again straight way.

As for Megan, I think she liked Jenny the werewolf hunter the best. At least that’s my interpretation of her waving the book around and shouting “Jenny” at the top of her voice – impressive given her still limited vocabulary!

Definitely a hit though, and something different to the princess books I normally get asked to read to the girls! I’ll be keeping an eye out for new books appearing in the series.

Tiny Twisted Tales are published by My Little Big Town, and are available to buy from Amazon and other retailers. I was sent these items for review, but have not been paid for mentioning any of them in this post. All words and opinions are my own, and links have been included out of courtesy.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

365 pictures: 11-20

So we’re on to the second batch of pictures in my 365 pictures project, and I’ve got to be honest, it’s starting to get tough already. I’m trying hard to take pictures because they’re interesting, not because I’ve need to, but it’s almost come to that a couple of times in the past week and a half. I guess that’s the challenge, though, to be creative and make something interesting. That’s the attitude I’m going with – we’ll see how I get on. Anyway, here’s pictures 11-20…

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11. 15 Minute meal
Gem got Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals for Christmas, and we’ve vowed to cook every recipe in the book. This was (I think) my first contribution, and very tasty it was too. Moroccan Lamb and chickpeas with harissa yoghurt, salad and wrap, if you’re interested.

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12. Story time
Possibly my favourite time of day, I love reading bedtime stories to the girls. We went through a spell of “double bedtime” recently, but as you can see Megan wasn’t really a fan, so we’ve reverted to separate bedtimes and stories.

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13. Hoping for snow
While the rest of the UK has been covered in snow, the greater Glasgow area has escaped. Which makes a nice change, although the girls are none too impressed. We have had a few flakes, they just haven’t amounted to anything. We had some just before this picture was taken, but by the time Megan got to the door they’d stopped again.

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14. Moon gazing
In lieu of snow, we’ve had a lot of clear nights, and this was one of them. It was so clear you could actually make out the dark side of the moon, which I’ve just about captured here.

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15. Milk time
Since we stopped heating it, Heather hasn’t been a fan of milk, unless it’s of the flavoured variety. Or comes from nursery in a cow-patterned carton. Megan, on the other hand, loves the white stuff, and even gets upset if her bedtime cup doesn’t appear as quick as she’d like. Which is definitely a good thing.

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16. School registration

I already wrote about school registration day, so I won’t say much here, other than to restate my disbelief that we’ve reached this stage already. Time really does fly!

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17. Sleeping
I love the weird and wonderful positions the girls get into when they’re asleep – this is actually quite tame compared to some we’ve come across!

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18. Morning princess
Most days start with Heather coming into our bedroom to announce that the sun on her gro-clock is up. Teddy normally comes with her, and often she brings other toys too. No prizes for guessing what came with her this day.

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19. Chicken cacciatore (a la me)
Another 15 minute meal, this time one for the whole family. Our girls love pasta, so we were pretty sure this one would go down well. And it did – Heather even ate the mushrooms in the sauce, despite saying she doesn’t like mushrooms. Win!

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20. Porridge
Heather recently remembered that she likes porridge, and has had it for breakfast every day since. Megan was never a fan – she never even liked baby porridge, although I’m with her on that one – but with the addition of blueberries and a little honey she’s a convert.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!