So here we are on Sunday nights blog post, and I have to say that I am slightly missing the daily blog posts, although I don’t miss the time it took to write them all and the late nights when I’d left it to the very last minute, for whatever reason, especially in the second half of December where posts seemed to be rolling over onto the next day on a fairly regular basis!
This weekend was set to be a fairly busy one, catching up with friends, and it started with Olivia’s godparents Kat & Andy coming to visit for lunch on Saturday. Their youngest is only a couple of months behind Olivia, and although they weren’t playing together a whole lot this weekend, as they’re still a little young for that, I’m looking forward to seeing them play together as they grow up.
For lunch we decided to make a delicious home made soup, carrot and coriander, always a favourite in our house, so we knew it would be great for our guests, especially as lunch had to be a vegetarian dish. I’d also put the bread machine on the previous night so that we’d got a nice fresh loaf of bread to go with the soup. I was even lucky enough to have Andy donate a bottle of JD honey, thanking us for getting the takeaway when they were last here, as he’d received a few over christmas and was planning on staying dry for January and February, and very kind and much appreciated gesture. It has certainly found a good home here. Shortly after they left and headed home, we had another visitor, our friend Tracy and her little boy Oliver. This was an unplanned visit as they dropped in on the way home whilst going past our house. Its lovely when people just drop by, and its great to still be in touch with Tracy, as I first met her back in 2000 when we were working behind a bar together. I spent many years working behind various bars in my late teens and into my twenties, and met a lot of people along the way, some were great people that I just lost touch with, others were plain idiots and aren’t missed in the slightest. In all the years and all the bars I worked in, I am not in touch with many people from back then. In fact, there are only two really, and the other person I seem to be having less and less contact with, although ironically they live less than a mile from us. Tracy is in fact the only person from that era that I am regularly in touch with. I started to see a lot more of her after I met Clare and the two of them just clicked, and we have enjoyed many dinners together since with Tracy and her husband. Those evening meals and the bottles of wine that went with them have now been replaced with afternoon visits and lunch instead since the arrival of Oliver and Olivia. Life has indeed changed for us, new chapters keep starting all the time.
I originally thought that becoming a father was the only real new chapter I would see for a while, but then as things progress you begin to see more and more new chapters presenting themselves. Some are small brief chapters that are easily overlooked, some are huge, and the biggest one for us so far has been this week… Olivia is now full on walking. I don’t mean a few steps here and a few steps there before dropping to the floor and then crawling again, like we’ve had for most of December and January up to now, but proper actual full on walking. She has even been making the choice to walk over the easier option of crawling, which was always her preferred method of travel as it was so much faster for her. Life has definitely moved up a gear. She also has another new trick now, the stair gate, where previously if we’d left it open, she’d go and close it… oh, but not now, no now its an invite to climb all the way up the stairs, regardless of whether anyone is there to watch!
That evening we decided that after a rather healthy lunch, we could allow ourselves to tuck into a pizza, have a few drinks, and watch a bit of Derren Brown on the Sky+. We’re both big Derren Brown fans, and Clare had even brought me a ticket to see him live for a previous birthday. Sadly an old Saturday night tradition had reared its ugly head again, and I was destined to be watching Derren on my own, as Clare’s glass of wine had kicked in and rendered her totally fit for bed! This used to be a fairly regular occurence, that somehow just seemed to disappear. We’d even managed to sit down and enjoy Thor on the Friday night, with Clare staying awake the whole way through it. Hmm, Chris Hemsworth with his shirt off Vs a scrawny gay man… its no wonder she was awake on the Friday and not the Saturday! Still, I stayed up to watch it all the same, and when it was over, I fought the urge to have a few more drinks and find something else to watch, as I have always tended to in the past. No, now I have become sensible. Firstly I know that there is a good chance I could get woken up by Olivia during the night, and secondly I was due to go running on the Sunday. Running 10km, in the cold, at 9am on a Sunday morning, takes some real determination, its not so bad when you know you have to head out as you’re meeting someone there, but it takes some real willpower when you get a text message from your running partner just 30 minutes before you’re due to meet and run, saying that its all off as they’re stuck at home with stomach problems. That’s when you find out how determined you really are, when its so cold that the ground is frozen over and you’re a bit tired, yet you still go out and put those miles behind you anyway! I did it last week, 10k in 57 minutes, and I did it again this weekend, 10k in 56 minutes!!
Straight after my run I was into the shower and ready for visitors as we had my friend Mille coming round with her son Noah, and Noah’s dad in tow. During the week it had been Millie’s birthday, so we baked her a lovely chocolate birthday cake. Well, I say “we” but in fact it was all Clare. I was all prepared to do it myself, but on mentioning it to Clare, she was quite excited about getting her food mixer out and doing some baking! Clare had been busy while I was out for my run, finishing the decorating of the cake, and it was a fairly epic cake to say the least. When I said to Clare, let’s make a chocolatey one, she delivered, and it was epic! If you didn’t like chocolate, then this was not the cake for you!
We had a nice afternoon with them, and I put forward the idea of going out for walk in a the park. With Warley woods such a short hop away in the car, we were there in no time. It almost wasn’t worth driving, but with Millie following us there in her car, and time no longer on our side, we decided that we had to take the car. Ironically the sun had been shining through the living room window, blinding everyone one for the second day in a row, closing the curtains was our only option… that was until we made the decision to head out to the park for a walk, where it started raining. Raining! It had been sunny all afternoon! Still, we weren’t going to let it ruin our fun, and we carried on with our walk anyway. We put Olivia on her trike, and Noah was on his scooter, and it’s fair to say that there were no complaints from the two little ones as we wheeled them around the park and woods.
The one thing this photo says to me is that we do NOT have a little baby living in our house any more… we now have a little girl! The term toddler is undoubtedly, fully appropriate. The whole “is she a toddler or is she still a baby” debate is completely null and void! Yet it all seems to have happened so fast, and just when did our baby get replaced by this beautiful little girl? And then I get to thinking, what will she look like in another 12 months time? Sure, 16 months ago I felt ready to have a baby, the requirements are fairly simple… don’t break them and make sure you keep them alive! That bit wasn’t too hard! I’m not sure i’m quite ready to be a parent though, making decisions and implementing behaviour strategies, dealing with tantrums and accepting the inevitable fact that I am going to have to be some kind of role model at some point!
And so that was the weekend, very sociable, catching up with lots of friends and their little ones, and i think its safe to say at we made the most of our weekend without making life too stressful for ourselves. The wife did bring up the fact that we have been doing a lot at the weekend lately however, and that maybe we should just have a bit of time for the family, and be able to do things as and when we please. She’s right, there has been a lot going on, especially over christmas, but i think subconciously I’ve actually made it that way, the post-christmas come down always make January feel a bit miserable. What is there to look forward to in January? Everyone is off the booze, everyone is earing salad, everyone is obsessed with the gym, its frequently cold and wet outside… the one thing we can do is see our friends, and so I decided to make the most of that! But now we do need to make a bit of time just for ourselves, for days out and spur of the moment decisions! i think the weekends are about to start getting a bit busier anyway, as I am going to start becoming a support worker for my friends autistic son, its just a couple of hours, but it will be in the middle of the day, and then we have to remember that it will soon be allotment season again. I guess in reality its always allotment season, there is always something to do over there, although it has been dependant on Dave being available at the same time as me for us both ti get over there. Lets see if we can make 2015 a better growing season!