The cold never bothered me anyway

If, like me, you share a house with two young girls, you’ll no doubt know all about Frozen, the latest movie from Disney Animation Studios. To date it’s taken over $810m at box offices worldwide, enough to make it the 42nd highest grossing movie of all-time. Which isn’t bad going, when you consider that neither of Disney’s last two releases (Tangled and Wreck-it-Ralph) broke $600m – and I believe Frozen is yet to be released in China.

For those not familiar with the movie, it’s the tale of two princesses (of course!) who’ve grown apart thanks to one of them having the power to create ice and snow out of thin air. Things come to a head when Elsa (the one with the power) is crowned queen, and accidentally freezes the kingdom before running away from it all to an ice palace at the top of a mountain. Anna (her younger sister) gives chase, convinced that Elsa will be able to undo everything and they’ll all be able to live happily ever after.

There’s a little more to the plot than that (including a fantastic twist that I didn’t see coming at all) but you get the gist.

We’ve only taken the girls to see a handful of films, and only then thanks to a benefit we get with a life insurance policy, but it’s far and away the best thing we’ve seen as a family – so much so we’ve seen it twice (so far… Gem’s hoping the sing-along version gets a release round these parts). And, it’s the only film we’ve seen where neither of the girls has needed a toilet break – if that isn’t high praise, then I don’t know what is!

My favourite thing about the movie is how much the girls love it. If they’re not watching their favourite bits on YouTube, or singing their favourite songs from the soundtrack, or arguing about who will play which sister in the next re-enactment, then they’re probably asleep, because honestly that’s about all they’ve done for the past 6 weeks or so.

And who can blame them? The soundtrack really is excellent, in a West End/Broadway style, and if Let It Go doesn’t walk away with the Oscar for best song I will be very surprised – performed by Idina Menzel in the film, it’s a real showstopper and one that I’m struggling to get out of my head. Demi Lovato’s version over the end credits, on the other hand, isn’t.

I’m not sure when the DVD is due to be released, but Gem’s already desparate to pre-order it (for the girls, of course!). We might need to get two copies though, in case one wears out.

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!

A whole new world

After yesterday’s Megan catch up, it only seems fair that Heather gets the same treatment. After all, one day they might be reading these words themselves, and I don’t want to be accused of¬†favoritism, do I?

So, where to begin? Well, I guess the biggest change in Heather’s life since turning 3 has been starting nursery, which she’s taken to like a duck to water. Just like we knew she would. And not before time either – she desperately needed that extra bit of stimulation that she just couldn’t get at home, especially with a new(ish) baby requiring so much attention that previously had been exclusively hers. It wasn’t so much a question of her being ready for nursery, more would nursery be ready for Heather?

She loves it, though, and would happily go for more than the 2 hours a day, 5 days a week that she does. From what she tells me, she spends a lot of time playing with the sand and water table – water has been something that’s always fascinated her, but the sand is a new thing, not because she’s never seen it but because she’s always hated getting her hands dirty. Not any more, apparently! Other than that I think her time is a mix of stories, arts/crafts and general play, which sounds like fun to me.

Of course, nursery hasn’t just meant change for Heather, it’s been change for all of us. It’s strange to think that she spends so much time now, with people we barely know. I think that’s affected Gem more than me, because I’ve always seen less of the girls than she has, but it’s something we’re both going to have to get used to as she continues to grow.

Which she is, all the time!

Working full-time, on the other side of the city, means I only see the girls briefly in the morning and at night. I get to spend more time with all my girls at the weekend, though, and it’s amazing the difference I can see in Heather (and Megan) from week to week, in her speech, her powers of recall and in her ability to understand the world around her.

Stars and planets are a particular fascination – I installed a planetarium app on the iPad so we could tell what was what in the night sky, and she loves playing with that and learning names of the planets. Visiting museums is another thing Heather loves (I often wonder how much Peppa Pig has to do with that) and Kelvingrove in a particular favourite – and rightly so, because it’s great, and since its refurb a few years ago there are tons of things aimed squarely at kids. Heather’s favourite things to visit are the bees (which Gem hasn’t actually seen yet), the stuffed animals and the Mini Museum, which Megan also had a lot of fun with last time we were there.

Music is something that me and Gemma both get a lot of pleasure from, so it’s hardly surprising that Heather would too, and she’s really starting to develop her own taste. Disney songs are a particular favourite (although, hilariously, she asked me to skip the Hannah Montana song because it’s “not a Disney song”), but she’s also fond of the Beatles, Singin’ in the Rain and even a bit of Glee. And we had a great time dancing in the hall a few weeks ago, at an impromptu 90’s indie disco. Megan joined in with that one too!

I think my favourite Heather moment of the last six months has to be a few weeks ago when we were visiting Gem’s mum. Heather burst into our room about 7am, and announced, wide-eyed and without pause for breath, that she’d just seen an animal in her bedroom. “It looked like a hedgehog, but it wasn’t… and it had a red thing on its head… and it was small… and I wasn’t dreaming, and I wasn’t asleep but I wasn’t awake, and it came in under the door and then it went away and I think it was a Cock-a-doo because that’s the noise it made”.

It was all Gem and I could do to keep straight faces and humour her!

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!