Play talk read repeat

Bedtime stories

As parents, we all want to raise our kids to be the best they can be, but what’s the best way to go about doing that? Everyone has¬†their own ideas on how to go about it – the plethora of books on the subject is evidence of that – but there are a few fundamentals that we can all agree on, and one of those is taking the time to interact with them, building social skills that will literally last a lifetime.

It’s no secret that I love reading to the girls, something I recently wrote about over at Mutterings of a Fool. But not everyone is as comfortable with their children, which is where the Scottish Government’s new campaign, PlayTalkRead, comes in.

They’re looking to encourage all parents to interact with their kids, with a big part of that being the PlayTalkRead website which is chockablock with ideas of how to get involved with kids, with more being added all the time.

PlayTalkRead are also running an ad campaign, which debuted during one of last week’s World Cup games, and asks us to #saythanks to the people who made us what we are today.

I’d like to #saythanks to my own mum and dad, for the time they spent with me, the solid foundation that gave me, and the lifelong love of learning that came with it. I hope one day my own girls will be able to say the same thing.

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…

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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!

image

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!

image

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.

image

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!

image

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!

Another year over, a new one just begun

image

Crown and Anchor, Welby. Perfect for a New Year's Day pint

I found myself thinking about Yoko Ono in the shower this morning. No, nothing like that, it was the Christmas song she did with John Lennon that popped into my head, specifically the line where she wishes us “a happy new year… without any tears”.

Wishful thinking, and more than a little naive I reckon. As a parent of two pre-schoolers (something I won’t be able to say this time next year!) I’d settle for a day without tears. Maybe one day, but I don’t think it will come any time soon. Certainly not in 2013!

The year just gone had plenty of tears, but none of them were over anything serious. Unless you count being denied an extra biscuit or not getting to watch another Spongebob before bed as serious!

For the grown ups, 2012 was a successful year. Between us, Gem and I lost over 10 stone in weight – that’s a whole person! I also ran my first 10k road race, and in a pretty good time from what everyone tells me. And I set up this here blog, joining an awesome online community in the process, something which culminated in this wonderful video at the tail end of the year.

So now, as a new year dawns, it’s time to set some new goals, and this is something I’ve thought long and hard about, if only to make sure that I’m aiming for something that’s actually achievable – I’m a busy guy! Here, then, in no particular order, are my goals for 2013:

  1. Read at least 12 books

    I tried this a couple of years ago, and failed miserably, so I’m hoping for a better result this time around. 12 books… that’s one a month. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? If I got the train to work it wouldn’t be a problem, but driving every day limits my opportunities for reading. Of all my challenges, i think this might actually be the toughest.
  2. Run more
    I’m planning to run at least two 10ks this year, and to improve on the PB of 52:31 that I set in 2012. In fact, I’m aiming for a sub 50 minute 10k, but I think that’s going to depend on how soon I get back into it – I’m currently resting out a groin strain. Fingers crossed I can get out on the road in the next week or so, and hopefully the this one will fall into place.
  3. Write more regularly
    After a strong start, my blogging rate fell away over the summer, and the NFL season almost killed it entirely. It’s not tha I’ve struggled for things to write about, it’s been more a question of time management. Like the reading, though, I’m hoping to do a better job of making time in 2013. How well I do at that will, of course, be evident right here.
  4. Drink more beer
    I like beer, probably too much if I’m being honest. Something that made a big difference in the great diet of 2012,though, was substituting quality for quantity. Gone are the days of pickin up a case of whatever the supermarkets have on offer. Instead, I’m making more of an effort to seek out beers I’ve never drunk before, and savouring them. As a result, I’m drinking less overall, and that’s something I’m keen to continue in 2013. I might even write about some of the beers I’ve sampled!
  5. Make more beer
    This kind of goes hand in hand with the last item, and like so many of these, it’s something I’ve been saying for years but not actually managed. I did make my own beer once, so I’ve got all the kit. Finding room for the barrel while it ferments, out of the reach of The girls, that’s the biggest challenge.
  6. Take at least one picture every day
    I’ve seen a few folk do this over the last couple of years, and I like the idea a lot. The shot at the top of tis post is day one – we’ll see how I get on over the next 12 months

So those are my goals for 2013. I’m sure I’ll come up short on some, but hopefully I succeed on some, and find myself this time next year looking back on a successful 12 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!