365 pictures: 41 – 50

February has been a funny month. We’ve had the worst snow of the winter (round these parts anyway) which lasted less than a day, but we’ve also had a few warmer spell which hinted that spring is on its way. Hopefully to be followed by a decent summer, filled with barbecue and paddling pool weather. That would be awesome, although I’m not holding my breath…

image

41. Ready for bed
Most of the time Heather is a real whirlwind – never at rest and always up to something. She does have her calmer moments, of course, like when she’s drawing or crafting. Or when she’s winding down before bed like she is here. I was going to say I love those moments the best, but the truth is I love them all. Aw…

image

42. Feeling the cold
Of course, just because you’re ready for bed doesn’t mean you can’t still be a bit off-the-wall. Our less than 10 year old house is very well insulated, and is rarely cold – certainly not cold enough for a hat and gloves indoors! Sometimes it’s probably best to not know what goes on in their heads.

43. Flower
As I hinted before, Heather is developing a real love of being arty, and even better her creations are really starting to look good. It’s amazing, actually, how quickly she’s moved from nondescript scribbles to things that actually look like things. Like this flower, for example

image

44. Winter wonderland
I thought we’d seen the back of the snow weeks ago, but apparently not. This was a very strange day, actually – it snowed all morning, building up a good inch or two of snow, before turning to rain and completely disappearing by the time I’d got home from work.

image

45. Plan B
We don’t normally go out on Valentine’s Day, preferring to go for a meal a week or two later when the fixed price set menus have all been packed away and normal service has been resumed. This year was a bit different, though, as Plan B was in town, so we found ourselves eating at Lebowskis – happy to report the food was as good as normal – before heading over to the SECC for Mr Drew’s biggest Glasgow show to date. A far cry from the first time we saw him, in the 500 capacity Classic Grand, less than three years ago.

image

46. Tulips
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be right without flowers though, and I got Gem some of her favourite tulips. I think these were described as a Tulip Rainbow, and that’s certainly apt – look at the colours!

image

47. Ice cream
Auntie Ali was round on Saturday, and treated the girls to ice cream from Equi’s, our award-winning local ice cream parlour. We decided take out would fit in better with the rest of the day, but Heather still got to pick the flavours – chocolate, strawberry and fudge. Me and Gem were a little disappointed she went for the less exotic flavours on offer, but it doesn’t really matter, because ALL their flavours are incredible. Mmmmm…

image

48. Picnic
The girls decided to have a picnic on Sunday, which basically meant tipping all the play food out onto the living room floor and sitting in the middle of it all. Guess who ended up putting most of it away… :(

image

49. Cheeky
I don’t think I really need to say much about this one, other than to marvel once again at how photogenic my children are. They definitely take after their mother!

image

50. Off to Grandma’s
On Monday and Tuesday mornings, when Gem is heading out to work and the girls are going to Grandma and Grandpa’s, it’s always a real rush to get ready, and get out of the house on time. As you can see from this picture, though, Megan is generally quite unfazed by it all!

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!

Ain’t no birthday like a princess birthday

H opening presentsThis past weekend we celebrated the fourth anniversary of our lives changing forever, when we became parents for the first time. And to prove it, I’m absolutely knackered. What a weekend!

I had the day off for Heather’s birthday itself, which was obviously good, although far from relaxing. The day began with a very important task: opening presents. Megan, somewhat predictably, got upset that she didn’t have the same pile of stuff to unwrap. Very hard to explain to someone who’s not yet two though, despite her apparent ability to understand every word anyone says to her.

Heather was suitably thrilled with everything she opened, and even hugged one or two of the boxes which was absolutely adorable. But there was no time to play with anything, because we had a Disney Store shopping spree to go on, courtesy of Nana and Grandad.

And how impressed were we with those nice Disney Store folks? As she handed over the money for her loot, Heather mentioned that it was her birthday. “Really? And what age are you? And what’s your name?” were the responses, after which we were sent over to the video wall for a special on-screen birthday message, accompanied by projected fireworks all around the store. I think Heather struggled to take it all in – I can’t honestly remember the last time I saw her so quiet and still (awake anyway) but she definitely enjoyed it.

H birthday message

And something to remember for the future – birthday people get to open the Disney Store with a special giant key, if they’re there a opening time (presumably requires prior arrangement?)

After that it was home for lunch and an afternoon at nursery, where everyone got to enjoy some birthday cake. It must have been good, because there were no leftovers. At least, none that came our way…

Final treat of the day was dinner at Pizza Hut. It should be stressed that this was 100% Heather’s choice – Gem and me had been campaigning for a visit to Equi’s, our local award-winning ice-cream parlour and chip shop, but Heather was adamant that Pizza Hut was where she wanted to go (“it’s my favourite!”) so that’s where we went. And a good meal was had by all.

So that was her birthday itself. The rest of the weekend was similarly busy, with a Christmas party on Saturday, and then a Princess Party at our house (activities: pizza topping, crown making and various party games) on Sunday. Honestly, sometimes I think our 4 year old has a better social life than we do!

To be honest, I’m still finding it hard to believe that we now have a 4 year old. No longer are we the parents of two toddlers – Heather is very definitely a little girl now. And weirdly, in the few days since she turned 4, she’s actually seemed older. I remember growing up being asked how it felt to be a new age, and answering that it was good, but really not feeling any different at all. But Heather somehow DOES seem different, dramatically so. Maybe it’s the curls in her hair, or maybe it’s because she feels different. I don’t know.

H in her Belle dress

What I do know is that she’ll be starting school in about 8 months time, and things are really going to change then. What happened to my baby?

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!

Ain’t no party like a toddler’s party

It had to happen some time, I know that, but knowing beforehand doesn’t make it any less traumatic. And maybe I’m over-reacting a touch, but as a father that’s my right. And anyway, it definitely feels like the end of an era…

Heather is no longer a toddler!

To be honest, I think she’s been way beyond that label for some time, but to have her officially┬ámove out of the toddler age bracket (as defined by Wikipedia) still feels like the passing of something we’ll never see again… at least until Megan takes her first solo steps anyway. And that could be any day now!

Birthday girlAnyway, all of this is a long-winded way of saying that we’re now in recovery from celebrating Heather’s third birthday, and her official transition into “little girlhood”.

Saturday’s party surprised me, in that it was a calmer affair than in previous years – I expected the opposite to be the case. Maybe it’s because there were no boys there (I’m excluding Lewis from that count, on the basis that he’s only 4 months old), or maybe it’s because we refrained from getting the caterpillar tunnel out.

Or maybe it’s because the kids involved are getting older, and consequently things are more structured? I think this is the first year we’ve had organised games and activities (as opposed to organised chaos) all of which seemed to go down well. A particular hit was cupcake decorating, which involved sprinkling liberal amounts of edible glitter, dolly mixtures and various other cake toppers over pre-frosted cupcakes (expertly made by mum). What we hadn’t considered, though was the risk of spillage – despite sweeping several times I’m still finding little sugar balls on the floor, and probably will be for years.

Birthday girlYesterday we took the birthday girl out for ice cream sundaes at Equi’s. While her younger sister munched her way through several scavenged bits of wafer, Heather amazed me and Gem by powering through a chocolate marshmallow sundae that was almost as big as her head – and that was a kid’s portion! Ours were even bigger – 3 large scoops of ice cream, plus toppings, wafers, sauces and a large dollop of cream on top. I have to admit I was struggling a little to finish it, but I battled though and got there in the end. Is that a sign of getting old?

As far as presents go, she got a good haul. Highlights included a doll’s house (I was pleased with that – it only took 2 hours to build, but the box said 3 years+!), a bike from Nana and Grandad and a Baby Annabel doll from Grandma and Grandpa. I’m pretty sure the only gifts that got an audible “WOW”were the Woody and Jessie dolls, which tells you how much she loves the Toy Story movies.

We are going to have to send an urgent memo to Santa though – quite a few things need scoring off the Christmas list! I’m sure he’ll have it all under control…

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!