365 pictures: 31-40

Astonishingly, this is my fourth grouping of daily pictures, which means we’re now over 40 days into 2013 – that’s more than a tenth of the year gone already! How did that happen, exactly? Beats me, and yet somehow we’re already into the middle third of February. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun, and looking back at these images I think it’s fair to say we’ve had a lot of fun so far this month. In amongst the tears and the tantrums of course…

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31. Are you talkin’ to me?
Megan, although pretty handy with cutlery for her age, is still quite a messy eater. Hence the apron. I loved this picture, because of the attitude that seems to be pouring out of every fibre of her being. For the record, she looks a lot happier in the other pictures I took at the same time. Especially when she’s ripping a banana skin to shreds. As you do…

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22. Waiting
February 1st was MoT time for the car I drive to and from work in, which meant catching a bus between office and garage on the way home. Which was inevitably late. And it was chilly. I love the dazzle of the lights in this one – not a special effect, although it probably does mean I need to give the lens a clean.

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33. Tunnel
This is my favourite picture of the year so far. Both girls love this caterpillar tunnel, although it’s Megan who gets it out more than Heather these days – maybe now that she’s turned 4 it’s not cool any more?

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34. Super Bowl
Last Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday, and we decorated the place to celebrate with bunting (which the girls loved) and a US flag over the coffee table. William the hippo had to be included in things – he was a gift to Heather from an awesome friend in NYC, where the *real* William lives in the Metropolitan Museum (aka The Met). Megan’s got one of her own too, and the various Williams have literally been all over the world (3 continents and counting) featuring in countless pictures along the way. Everyone needs a travel mascot!

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35. Butter wouldn’t melt
The observant amongst you will notice that this set of pictures is dominated by Megan, this being the third of seven pictures she’s in. That’s not deliberate in any way, but is probably down to a couple of things:

  • Heather can be a bit camera shy these days, hiding from the camera unless she’s really in the mood
  • Megan is at an age where pretty much everything she does is photo-worthy in some way – especially with that smile
Hopefully balance will be restored over the rest of the year.

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36. Stickers
I’ll be honest, I forgot to take any pictures last Tuesday, so this was a creative attempt not to miss a day. I think it turned out not bad, personally, all things considered.

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37. Hello Kitty
Suzy, one of Gem’s friends from work popped over a couple of weekends ago, and brought the girls Hello Kitty goodie bags which included these masks. The stickers have long since been stuck to (and removed from) pretty much every available surface, but the masks live on.

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38. Doctor in the house
One of my favourite things over the past few months is how well the girls have become at playing together. Heather still leads the way of course, but Megan loves joining in with everything, including various role play games. This one, first thing one morning, involved taking turns at being doctors. This is Megan’s surgery in the corner – Heather’s was on the other side of the living room, in front of the TV. Consultation ended when the porridge I was making for both doctor and patient was ready

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39. Chillaxin’
Another favourite, this is Megan relaxing with some milk before bed. Gem will sometimes sit on an armchair with her leg hooked over the arm like this, so Megan is very much channeling Mummy here. What Mummy¬†doesn’t do, however, is go on to kick her legs back and forth and come close to spilling what’s left of her milk. Guess who did that then…

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40. Lunch
On Saturday we had an impromptu trip to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, and had lunch in their KG Cafe. I love the sheer mischief in Megan’s eyes here. Perhaps it was a sign of things to come, as she spent the next couple of hours trying to run off and refusing to hold hands or be carried! Both girls love Kelvingrove, though, especially the various natural history exhibits and the working bee hive. They’re not so interested in the galleries of paintings up the stairs though, which means I never get to wander round those either. Maybe one day…

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!

Let us haste to Kelvingrove, bonnie lassie-oh

Heather spinning fishOne of Heather’s favourite places in the world is Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, something which suits Gem and I, because we both love it too, although for very different reasons: the paintings do it for me, Gem loves the social history exhibits, and Heather is all about the animals – especially the bees. Megan’s still a bit young to appreciate all of that, but the last time she was over she had a great time trying to run away; it really DOES have something for everyone!

Yesterday I took Heather over to see the museum’s latest exhibition, 500 Years of Italian Art. I’ve been planning to go since it opened in April, but it’s taken me until now – one week before it ends – to actually get over. I’m glad I did though, and I’m glad I risked taking Heather with me (something I thought long and hard about) because I think she enjoyed it too.

I’ll be honest, though, it was a challenge trying to engage her. Our Heather is never one to stand still at the best of times, and yesterday was no exception. Rather than looking at things, she was always wanting to move on, presumably so we could get to the bits she likes, something I’d promised her if she was a good girl.

Heather the knightA lot of things did hold her interest though. There was a large bowl that Heather insisted would have been used for serving porridge. She also liked the brass horse, the suits of armour, and the section showing some of the tools and other things that would have been used to produce the paintings.

As for the paintings, it was very hit and miss. What I found worked a treat was asking her questions about them. Why did she think the woman was sad? How many angels could she count? Could she see a horse in the picture? Those and many other questions caused her to pause for a moment, and the look on her wee face as she studied the paintings was as priceless as the paintings themselves. Even when she said she didn’t like a picture, we were able to have a conversation about why (eg one picture was scary because of all the shadows).

I think her favourite part of the Italian Art exhibition must have been the shop though – I think she tried on every bracelet in there, and even convinced me to try on one or two!

A giraffe and a spitfireAfter that we paid a visit to Sir Roger the elephant and his friends. We learned that the baby elephant is called Kelvin, and spent some time with the bees. Heather is also a big fan of the interactive displays, which allowed her to listen to the tale of the last great auk in Scotland, and to create a home for a red squirrel. All good fun.

Our last port of call was the mini-museum, where Heather had a great time trying on different shoes and masks. Before we knew it, it was time to go home for dinner, a journey which began with a mad dash through the rain back to the car. Heather told me that was her favourite bit of the day, but all the way home she kept changing her mind. Proof, if it were needed, that a great time was had by 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!

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!