Day 121 – I need to go back to work to get over the weekend!

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Day 121 – Jul 16th

Sunday meant party 2 of 2, and this time we were off to another venue that we had also been to before. It was a soft play party for one of Olivia’s nursery friends, and its always nice to see the other parents, as we don’t get much chance to speak when our paths cross so briefly as we pick up our little ones from nursery. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to take siblings with us to things like this, but with Chloe being just a toddler, no-one really noticed her anyway. The kids played lovely together, and it was great to watch them all interacting, as we don’t get to see that at nursery, obviously as soon as we turn up to take them home all interactions cease and they get excited about seeing their parents and going home instead.

After the party we had a little free time, lunch wasn’t needed as we’d been fed at the party, so it was off to the other nanny and grandads house, as the weather was nice and a walk would do us good anyway. Both sets of grandparents in one weekend isn’t bad, as neither of them are going very far at the moment, so its nice to take the girls to them. Little ones have a magical power to instantly cheer people up, that us grown ups just don’t possess!

The last time we’d gone round we left the girls little car there, so this was a chance to pick it up and walk it home. Chloe was keen to jump in, and Olivia was happy to push her, its lovely seeing them play together. Having one baby is an amazing, life changing event, but there is just something extra special about having two and then watching them interact!

With the girls finally in bed after an exhausting weekend, it was time for me to get my sweat on… with the top of the garden being renovated, there was suddenly a big pile of earth that needed removing, but as it was good quality, fertile soil that had had little growing in it, I was reluctant to just throw it away. So I spent the next hour sieving out the rocks and spreading it around the garden. I was honestly exhausted after this, who knew gardening could be so tiring?!

Day 117 – run like the wind, walk like an arthritic old man!

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Day 117 – Jul 12th

Last nights gym session felt good, I got a bit of a sweat on doing a warm up time on the exercise bike, then took to the treadmill to push my running a bit, in the hope of being in a position to consider this years half marathon.

Plan A foiled by yet another injury. Finished my run, fine. Got showered and home, fine. Woke up this morning, could barely stand on my left foot, let alone walk! The day improved with some pain killers and a bit of stretching, but here I am at the end of the day, and still in pain! Hoping some rest in bed tonight will help. I did, however, spend the day hobbling around like I had broken glass in my shoe. It was a close call with giving work a miss today, but it at least got easier as the day went on.

So much for exercise being good for you, I sometimes wonder how I managed to do five half marathons and two Tough Mudders with numerous injuries temporarily putting me out of running so easily recently.

Came home to an empty house today, quite unusual, and managed to take a few minutes and enjoy the peace and quiet for a little while before I could hear the car pull up on the driveway again and the silence was broken. Suddenly two eager little girls came running into the living room looking for daddy. However daddy was not feeling the urge to jump out of the chair. It was my plan to spend as long as possible sat down resting my foot tonight, which I hate doing while the girls are up, as they deserve my attention, but I really had to rest this foot. We did spend a little time in the garden though, but it wasn’t long before both of these little ladies were shattered, Chloe who was overdue a nap and already whinging, was the first casualty of a busy day.

When there was only Olivia, before Chloe was born, it was quite easy to manage our day, doing our best to incorporate nap times and bed times, but now that there is two, it isn’t quite so easy. People often ask what changes the most when you have a second child… well, there is plenty! Time management is the biggest challenge. Chloe seems to have fallen into similar naps as Olivia did around the same age, but its not always easy to squeeze them in exactly when she wants them, as there seems to be a lot more fluctuations on the times she actually wants to go down, whereas you could almost set a clock by Olivia’s naps. Today was a day when Chloe could actually have done with two naps, but there just wasn’t a chance to get the second one in… and cue grumpy, clingy Chloe!

Even when she’s in a bit of a grump, she can still make us laugh, and always gives the best hugs!

Day 108 – Some days you just don’t have it

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Day 108 – Jul 3rd

Its the Monday after a weekend of overindulgence. I have probably drank a little too much, and definitely ate too much. Its not a good feeling. I am now struggling to fit into the majority of my jeans and I am too exhausted to do anything about it. The wife had to go out in the evening, and this was a perfect excuse for skipping the gym tonight, it’ll keep until tomorrow!

Trouble is, when you’re just not feeling it, you’re probably going to struggle to find yourself taking a good photo too!

Today was one of those days… tomorrow will be better!

Day 105 – The birthday weekend begins here

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Day 105 – Jun 30th

Its Friday and the beginning of a weekend of celebrations, with the wife and her brother having birthdays only a day apart, and the forecast for the weather looking promising, it was set to be a good weekend.

As it was a birthday weekend, I thought I’d start the celebrations on Friday night and so I’d secretly arranged for one of my sisters to come over and babysit once both the girls were in bed, so that I could take the wife out for something to eat, a rare treat for us these days. It may have been the local Indian restaurant, but the foods always good, and we’re close to home if Chloe were to wake up and not settle back down. 

With the big one having an unexpected nap when I got home from work, the chances of getting the girls up to bed early were looking slim. Thankfully Olivia is at an age now where we can explain things to her and reason with her, and once we explained that we were going out for dinner and that her aunt and uncle were going to be downstairs, she was fine with it, as long as she could watch the iPad in bed for a bit at bedtime, which is allowed on a Friday!

Bring on the sunshine and BBQs!

Day 102 – The future is digital and you can’t fight it

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Day 102 – Jun 27th

As a parent, there is a clear and strong dilemma between how much technology you should allow young children to be exposed to. One part of you wants to say “no!” and make them play with more traditional toys, and the other part of you wants them to embrace technology knowing it will be a massive part of their future and not wanting them to get left behind,

In our house we try to balance it, and if anything we perhaps bias that balance in favour of more traditional things, like playing outside, jigsaw puzzles, writing with a pen, painting with brushes, going swimming, knocking down dominoes, having a story book read at bedtime… and all these are great, but there is no disputing the fact that the future is digital, and kids need to learn how to be fluent in this new language.

We allow Olivia to watch the iPad in bed for around 20-30 minutes on a Friday and Saturday night, and use it very occasionally during the week. Tonight, however, she had been nagging at me to use the computer to do some drawing. I have my swanky new laptop which she is NOT touching, and my old laptop which I wouldn’t really be fussed about if she dropped jam sandwiches all over it.

I loaded up the website of the kids tv channel NickJr, as they have loads of activities for kids, and found a colouring in page, which she had fun messing around with. Using the trackpad on a laptop is something she hasn’t really done before, and a skill she was clearly picking up as she went, but to her credit she quickly got the grasp of it and soon didn’t need my help at all.

She will no doubt be asking for the computer each day, for a few days now, but we’re going to have to go old school for a bit and get her playing with some toys, paints, crayons again, and we can save laptop time for last thing before bed, so she’s not on it for too long.

Parents, how do you deal with, or (if your kids are still really young) intend to deal with this problem?

Day 095 – you can’t prepare for everything

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Day 095 – Jun 20th

As Tuesdays go, this was nothing special, the weather was warm and pleasant, the ride into work was nice on the bike, and things can change so quickly. I’d not long been at work when my phone pinged with a text message from an old school friend that I’d been lucky to catch up with over the last 18 months or so, having not seen them since school, thanks to the modern wonder that is Facebook. There was no way of beating around the bush with this message, her teenage son who had been very sick with leukaemia and had been in and out of hospital, putting up a massive fight, had finally lost his battle. I was heartbroken, a teenager should never have to go through that, and a parent should never have to bury their child. It was a sad morning. Thankfully the bright sunshine gave me the perfect excuse to wear sunglasses and hide a few tears. 

At least the evening was a bit more celebratory, as I was heading out for a birthday meal for my sisters parter to an Indian restaurant I’d not tried before in Moseley, although sadly on my own as Clare had to stay home with the girls. Our current babysitting options are a little limited, so going out together is a bit tricky once the girls are in bed. It’s not ideal, but it will no doubt improve. The restaurant, Priya was a good choice, the food was amazing, and I look back to going again in the future!

Today’s photo was taken after I got home from work. It wasn’t quite as hot outside as yesterday, but it was still pretty toasty, and Chloe couldn’t sleep in anything more than just a baby vest, even with a fan in the bedroom, as the house seemed to retain the heat with ease, and was almost impossible to cool. In fact with the house being so warm, it wasn’t even really worth dressing her once she got up. At one point I noticed she was intrigued by her big sisters scooter, so I grabbed my camera just in case, and I just had a feeling that this was a photo that would look good in black and white, as not all of them do. Sometimes you have to be a little choosy about which images you convert to black and white.  My golden rule is to leave any photo in colour where the subject is looking at the camera… but rules are made to be broken, and I think this image worked. 

Day 086 – A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart

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Day 86 – Jun 11th

After a family orientated Saturday, it seemed like the only way to spend Sunday was to complete the family based weekend with a visit to my mother, who hadn’t been able to make it over to yesterdays BBQ. Its easier for us to go to them, and I like to make sure I get over at least every other weekend so that they can see the girls, as they no longer have use of a car, and it really brightens their day to spend some time with the girls.

Originally we had to fit the visit in between Chloe’s nap and dinner, a tight squeeze, but we could do it. However, I never like to rush a visit, and so we ended up taking the dinner over with us, meaning that we didn’t have to rush home any more, and my mom didn’t have to cook. Everyone wins! One thing we DID have to try and get home for was the Canadian Grand Prix though. Eating at my mom’s had at least bought us a bit of time, but Formula 1 is about the only tv I watch, and being the geek I am, I try to watch it live where I can, so I can enjoy all the lap times on my iPad! Its sad, I know, but it keeps me happy!

The girls had clearly not learnt from an exhausting Saturday running around my uncles garden and continued to do the same this afternoon, meaning another quiet car ride home, and presumably two exhausted grandparents!