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Day 153 – Why won’t you eat?

Day 153 – Aug 17th

We’ve had a slightly out of character little girl this week, Chloe has been off her food a bit, and we’ve had a couple of vomiting episodes. Monday was the first, and our choice for having a laminate wood floor was totally justified when Chloe was sick on the floor and we could just wipe it up. There seemed to be no reason for her being sick, we’d all eaten the same, her nappies were normal, she was as playful and jolly as ever… it just seemed to come from out of nowhere. Tuesday was fine, it looked like she was over whatever it was that had been the problem the day before. Wednesday we had yet another vomit episode again just before bed, only this time we weren’t so cocky about the wipe clean floor as she had managed to cover our living room rug, which, considering she’d not long had her bottle of milk, and prior to that she’d eaten garlic butter filled dough balls, that rug was never getting cleaned, it was time to dispose of it! There is no way we are getting rid of the smell of regurgitated milk and garlic butter!!

So today was a quiet day at home, once Olivia was in nursery, we didn’t want to risk taking Chloe too far in case she was sick everywhere again. My only chance to get out was a trip to the gym, and picking up Olivia from nursery on the way home. I’d delayed going out to the gym until the last minute as I was a little nervous of injuring my heel again on the treadmill. It was a bit tender after my last run, and I am still not entirely sure what I have done to it.

I managed to get a bit of a run in, but I was feeling burnt out, today was a real struggle! I need to be going far more frequently than I am, and the chance of entering this years Birmingham Half Marathon feels like it is beginning to slip away from me unless I can drastically increase my running distance in the next couple of weeks! I haven’t run the half marathon in a couple of years now, and I am missing it, its a fun day and the atmosphere is brilliant! Last year I had a knee injury which prevented me from training, and this time its a foot injury. Still, I have run twice this week and my foot doesn’t hurt too much, maybe its a promising sign??

Day 148 – Every day should feel like a new adventure

Day 148 – Aug 12th

A visit to the park in the morning, where we met up with friends for a little while and managed to grab a decent family photo of the four of us. I’m quite pleased with it anyway, think we’ll have to print this one and get it on the wall!

After getting home in time for lunch, we were expecting Olivia’s friend from nursery who was coming to visit, and had a few nice activities lined up to keep them both entertained. On top of painting, and making biscuits, we also had some time in the garden with the slide and the trampoline, and Olivia’s push along Mini Cooper was a big hit with everyone. It was good to see them playing together so nicely again, they are both so alike in their temperaments, so well mannered and easy going. I’d like to think they are both a credit to their parents, but this could just be where nature vs nurture comes in, as child no.2 seems to making up for all the easy times we had! It does make me wonder how two children brought up the same way, in the same home, can be so different! Olivia is definitely just a lot more passive in her nature, I don’t think its anything we’ve done as parents. Or does the simple fact of having one child in the house change the dynamics of how the second baby sees the world, compared to the first one?

We finished the day off with a slightly different twist, our Saturday night curry wasn’t ordered in from the local restaurant, or picked up from the ready meal section of the supermarket, or even poured out of a jar… Clare had gone and done something that I was too nervous to do before now, she cooked up her own curry. It was nice, although we had to keep it a little plain and spice-free for the girls or they wouldn’t have eaten it, I prefer mine with a little more heat. It was perfect for them though, but it has inspired me to give it a go, especially as a) I enjoy cooking anyway, and b) I own a highly recommended curry cookbook, which has done nothing but sit there and gather dust since it arrived!

One thing we have been talking about doing is trying to vary our weekly menu a bit. We have been planning our weekly meals for a few years now, and it really helps with shopping costs, the amount of food we no longer throw away, and making sure anything frozen that we need is defrosted the night before. The only down side is that you can often find yourself in a bit of a loop with cooking the same meals time and time again. I like trying new dished from time to time, and certainly need to get my hand back in the kitchen, as Clare seems to have adopted the role of chief cook since she has been off work.

For anyone that doesn’t use a weekly food planner and is fed up of looking through the cupboards and feeling uninspired, I’d recommend it.

Day 144 – Gotcha!

Day 144 – Aug 8th

There were three things on my to-do list today, and at least with Olivia in nursery I had the opportunity to tick them off. First on my list was getting down to Streetbike, my local motorbike shop, to arrange booking in my motorbike lessons so that I can get my full motorbike license and remove the L plates from my bike, and hopefully in the not too distant future, upgrade my wheels to something a little more powerful.

Second on the list was to collect the bicycle we had ordered and reserved for Olivia’s 4th birthday. It was still boxed, and so easily hidden until her birthday rolls around in a few weeks.

Last on my list was to head back down to the gym and take advantage of the steam room again. I am quite enjoying spending half an hour in there every few days, as I don’t normally have time after a cardio session in the evenings. I finished up and showered just in time to pick Olivia up from nursery on the way home. Usually she grumbles if we have to go home in the car, its nice to know that she enjoys walking home so much! Although it seems that today she was tired enough not to care too much!

Todays photo was a chance shot of our local neighbourhood fox, who always appears from the same place most afternoons/evenings, wandering from one garden across the road into another garden, and doesn’t even care if its dark out, or the middle of the afternoon. Today I saw him out with another fox for the first time and knew that if I wanted a photo, that now was my chance. I wouldn’t have time to change lenses, and had to hope whatever lens was on my camera would get me close enough. Thankfully the lens was suitable, but by the time I was ready to take the shot the second fox had already ran off. I do wonder where they sleep, and what it is they’re finding to eat each night, as food must be slim pickings around here! I’d love to stick a GoPro on one, one evening and find out what they get up to.

Time to relax with a well earned beer, even if it is only a Tuesday night!

Day 141 – Where does the time go?

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Day 141 – Aug 3rd

Four years. Where has four years gone? It seems like five minutes since we were sat in a room with a bunch of strangers, six other first time heavily pregnant women with their six rather anxious fathers-to-be, about to be taught the joys/horrors of child birth, and what to actually do with a baby when you get it home.

This bunch of strangers turned out to be a really cool bunch of people who we have remained friends with ever since. The moms regularly meet up, and so do the dads, and occasionally we get the whole gang together, which is tricky as there is so many of us, but for the joint birthday party and usually christmas too, everyone always puts the effort in to be there.

The location has changed each year, for the first year we met at Pizza Express, but have since moved on to having it at each others homes as there is more room for the kids, as we don’t need to book any tables or have a time allowance. We all contributed by bringing some different food with us to put on the buffet, and helped to clear up at the end. Clare had found a piñata at the supermarket, which we filled with sweets and took with us, the kids loved it! We were just grateful to get outside at all though, the weather had been crazy this morning… black clouds, torrential rain, thunder and lightning as we arrived, followed by blazing sunshine and clear blue skies, followed by torrential rain and hail stones! Thankfully the sunshine bit hung around long enough to dry most of the garden out so that we could all get out.

All in all a great day, even if the dads were feeling a little fragile after meeting for a few beers the night before!

Day 135 – What is this “summer” you speak of?

Day 135 – Jul 30th

Well here we are, a week into the summer holidays, and after weeks of sunshine and dry weather, all we want now is some warm and dry weather to be able to head out and do nice things with the kids during the day. The weather today is grim and the forecast is for more of the same to come.

In the morning we were booked in to see Olivia’s key worker at nursery, for their equivalent of parents evening… which is now a parents morning to make it easier for parents who finish late during the week. Usually it is down to me to head down, as the wife is not entirely convinced that these meetings are essential while the children are so young, but I always enjoy going and chatting to the staff about Olivia’s progress all the same. This week I was busy sorting things out in the garden, and so Clare took Olivia and went to the meeting herself.

After a tip run to clear out the garden, it was another quiet afternoon at home. The heavens opened and no-one wanted to go anywhere anyway. Our plan to visit the in-laws was disrupted because of germs, it wouldn’t be fair of us to spread them around, so with nothing else planned, it was time to find a way to entertain the girls before bathtime and finally a takeaway once they were in bed.

Day 133 – When the children go quiet, its time to worry

Day 133 – Jul 28th

Yes, that’s black pen around her eye. Yes, she put that there herself. Friday, for the most part, was a quiet day at home, of which we’ve had a few this week, but work was recommencing in the garden and I had promised to be around to help with any heavy lifting, as our gardener Leigh had injured his knee last time he was here. As it turned out, he managed to get a lot of it done without any help from me. It meant a lot of time at home and trying to keep the girls entertained. Unfortunately Chloe is getting to that age now where you dare not take your eyes of her for a second, as she is bound to end up hurting herself, making a mess or breaking something!

The only real significant event of the day was that this evening an old school friend was coming over for dinner, someone I hadn’t seen for a number of months due to some personal circumstances on their behalf. I managed to cook up my personal favourite, I guess you could call it a signature dish, Milanese Chicken Risotto. Its not a hugely difficult dish to create, but it does take a little time, and is totally worth it. It seemed to go down well with three empty plates at the end of the evening. I enjoyed catching up with my friend over a few drinks, but unfortunately got slightly carried away, and stayed up a little too late, and drank a little too much. Its so easy to lose track when your catching up with friends. At least with entertaining at home, when your guests leave you can just crawl up the stairs into bed.

Day 132 – If I have nothing else in the world, I have my family

Day 132 – Jul 27th

I don’t know where the time has gone… five whole years! Its our fifth wedding anniversary today and it seems to have gone in the blink of an eye, which I am sure must be a good thing! Not sure the wife would agree, it may seem more like a prison sentence to her! I think she still loves me though, she hasn’t suffocated me in my sleep, or poisoned my food yet!

We had decided to celebrate with lunch at our favourite carvery, a lovely little pub away from the city, called The Nailers Arms. I’ve been there a number of times before, and the staff are always friendly and helpful, whilst the food is by far the best we’ve ever had at a carvery. They were particularly accommodating and helpful when we organised a group meal there one christmas, and consequently I felt it fair to call the manager to inform him what a good job his staff are doing, as well as leave a very positive review on tripadvisor. Credit where credit is due, and all that. I am sure most places only get calls when there is a complaint or a problem, so I thought it would be a welcome change to give them a more uplifting call.

Thursday is typically a nursery day for Olivia, but as it was our wedding anniversary I wanted to be there with my family, so we swapped Olivia’s day at nursery meaning she could be there too. I wanted the four of us to be able to celebrate together, even if the girls are too young to understand, I still wanted them there. Olivia sat and ate really well, but Chloe just doesn’t seem to eat as well when we go out for some reason, so she hardly touched her food. Consequently once we got home it was snack time for the little lady. Dunkers and cream cheese is a big hit, but makes quite a mess… but thats part of the fun of eating when you’re little, isn’t it?!

With the girls finally in bed, we finished off our evening with a bottle of fizz and a film, with a dark and fairly depressing view on the world of heroin addiction, the classic Trainspotting was our choice, as a refresher ahead of watching the sequel over this coming weekend. Still a great film, with room for a few giggles, can’t wait to see the second one!

Day 128 – Bring friends and family together, lets celebrate

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Day 128 – Jul 23rd

Its not often we get to go out as a family to celebrate an occasion other than a birthday party, especially as most of our friends are already married now. Today was the christening of my good friends little girl, and I had missed out on a night out with friends last night to make sure I was ready on time in the morning. The night out in question was in fact 80 miles away and would have required crashing over at a friends house, meaning I ran the risk of either over-sleeping, getting stuck in traffic, driving home with some alcohol still in my system, or worst case scenario… all three! Nights out with friends are a rare treat these days, but I couldn’t risk being late home.

As it was, already being home in the morning was nice, it meant not having to rush about, there was plenty of time for baths for the girls and showers for us. My aim was to get in the car earlier than we needed to be so that we could take our time and get there nice and early, which we managed to do, and it set us up nicely for a very relaxed day. I don’t know why we don’t do this more often!

The christening was a cosy little affair in a small village church, with a very friendly vicar who was very accepting of noisy children and people with cameras (which was mostly me) and so I managed to get a few nice shots, before we all retired to the community hall next door for tea and cakes, and a very tasty buffet.

By the end of the afternoon the girls were shattered and it came as no surprise that Olivia was asleep minutes after being in the car. Chloe somehow lasted until we got home, but then went down for a massive nap. To be honest, I could have done with one myself, with a chest infection and coughing fits waking me up at 6am for the third morning in a row! Damn germs!!

Day 126 – Schools out for summer… almost!

Day 126 – Jul 21st

The end of term is here, for most people in our school. Its a bit of a funny year though, there will still be some people, including myself, that will still be going in on Monday.

So that we could finish on the Friday, the school gave us the option to stay after school and make up the hours for the final Monday… or we could leave on time at the end of the day as we normally do, and just come in on the final Monday. There was a dilemma here, but we were then told we had to make up the hours in a series of two hour sessions after work… TWO full hours after work!

After a full day I really didn’t want to be staying behind a further two hours, when my day is done I want to get home to see my girls. Screw it, I’m going in on the Monday and doing all my hours in one go, its the easiest way.

Friday evening proved to be a wet and windy affair, so it was even more pleasing to curl up with the wife, a few beers and some snacks, and put on a film. I’d made the decision to put on the Sixth Sense as the wife had never seen it. Anyone who has seen it will instantly remember the ending, and normally the wife can spot twists like this and guesses them five minutes into a film, so I was convinced she was going to work out how this was going to end… but she didn’t! All the way to the end and she literally announced in clear shock that she “did NOT see that coming!”. I felt a sense of pride on a) a film that she stayed awake through, and b) a film she did not predict the ending to.

Yeah, happy Friday everyone!

Day 123 – nothing worth having comes easy

Day 123 – Jul 18th

A progress update on the garden, after a couple of days work from Leigh, who had been brought in to fix our garden, we have the top cleared and almost ready to lay slabs down on. The garden already looks bigger, although its still a bit of a mess while this is going on. 

Today we had the materials delivered that we need to complete the job, comprising of 60 paving slabs, a tonne of hardcore and a giant bag of sand, as well as five bags of cement. The cement couldn’t be left out, in case it rained, so those had to be moved indoors, but I also needed to move the slabs as well. 

I knew it would be a slow job, it would be heavy work, and my back and legs would most likely be aching at the end of it, but it needed doing. An hour and a half later and I have moved all of the slabs from the front garden, through the garage and into the back garden, all the slabs are inside and I’ve finished digging the top of the garden to make way for the work to continue today. 

It’s dark outside, I’m sweating and ready to do nothing but collapse in bed, but not before I’ve had a shower first!!

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