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 120 – expect the unexpected

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Day 120 – Jul 15th

Party 1 of 2 for this weekend, and it would seem that our 3 year old daughter has a more active social life than us! The first party was at an adventure play centre not too far from us, some good friends of ours had booked it for the second year in a row as the kids all seem to have fun here last time, there is plenty to do, even if it rains, there’s food, face painting, things to climb and ride, and last year was a success, and so why change it if it works?

We were already having a lovely time at the party, but weren’t prepared for the surprise we got when the hosts took us to one side and asked us to be god parents to their new little baby girl, we were delighted! We would loved to have had them for Chloe’s godparents, but Clare had already insisted on siblings, and thrown into the deal we also had to have at least one catholic godparent too. Its so nice when friends consider you close enough to ask though. This particular friend was a girl I met whilst working behind a bar many years ago, one of the many bars I have worked in throughout the years, mostly throughout my 20s, but also one of the few people I have actually managed not only to stay in touch with, but also keep a very good friendship with, to the point where now we are both married and she is also great friends with my wife.

Its no secret that having kids can affect your friendships with people, and alter the dynamics of your relationships to either strengthen or break a friendship. Sometimes you will see some friendships just fade away in front of you, but the ones that don’t tend to stand the test of time. It definitely helps when your friends all start to have children too and you can suddenly hugely sympathise with each other on all the reasons you have for either being late, or not being able to turn up to certain events at all, as well as having plenty to talk about and great reasons to catch up, rather than just the previous carnage of yet another drunken night out where you didn’t even remember getting in at 3am with a takeaway wrapper in your hand. Of course, nights out are still important, but often I just don’t have the energy these days!

With todays birthday party out of the way, it left us with the rest of the afternoon free, and so we took the opportunity to visit my mother so that she could see the girls for a while, as we hadn’t seen her at all last weekend. The girls always love catching up with their grandparents, especially if it includes running around the garden, although it did mean getting home a little later than we had planned, but it was worth it!

Day 119 – A change is as good as a rest

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Day 119 – Jul 14th

Its nice to have your skills recognised, and being a photographer, when your employer asks you to take time out of your work to do head shots of staff, its quite nice to be able to do something different for a day. As I’ve said before, I never like to complain about my job, but when I am being paid for the day to take photographs instead, it makes a refreshing change. This close to the summer holidays, everyone is winding down for the end of the year now, so things are quieter in the classroom anyway.

I shot around 80 staff, but had to do it in bursts here and there, waiting for staff to find an opportunity to step out of the classroom. Sometimes there would be a queue of people waiting, other times I would be stood around waiting for people to turn up. I also had a chance to edit a few of the photos before the end of the day, so that I didn’t get roped into having to do it at home. These photos don’t benefit me financially in any way, and so I don’t want to be taking up my own time working on them.

Todays photo was one of my colleagues, a guy I have known for a long time, as he started around the same time as me, over 20 years ago. A very friendly, charismatic guy, who is just one of those people who seems to make friends with pretty much most people. I know he won’t mind me using his photo. I have over edited his image a bit, to give it a gritty, high contrast feel. Nothing like the images I will deliver to my employer, which will not look as harsh as this, but I love the way this image looks!

At least I was still able to get out of work on time, as I had no choice but to bring the car to work today with all the lights, backdrops and stands that I just could not carry on a motorbike.

Back when I passed my driving test in 1995, I was just 19 and thought I had the world at my feet with my new found independence, but recently I have actually gone from loving driving, to starting to resent it a little. Its fair to say that I have been truly spoilt with the extra freedom of a motorbike… all the joys of cycling and weaving through traffic on two wheels… but with an engine!! Now I find traffic jams simply unbearable when I am in a car, and commuting to work in the car is something I try to avoid wherever possible! So getting out of work on time was crucial, and my sanity was saved when I got home a few minutes earlier than normal. My family time at home had started, I had my girls and that was all I needed… well, apart from a few Friday night beers!

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 109 – Lets do things as a family

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Day 109 – Jul 4th

You know what’s hard? Pushing yourself flat out at the gym when you’re already tired before you begin.

Know what’s harder? Trying desperately not to snack once you get home from said gym session. Thank goodness there isn’t a great deal to snack on in our house!

Know what’s even harder than that? When you try on all your jeans and find out that most don’t fit, and your down to just a couple of pairs that do and have to keep wearing them!

That sucks! 

Physically it has been a disastrous year for me. Almost twelve months ago I hurt my knee while out running due to an old pair of worn out trainers that were long over due for replacement. I didn’t run for a while, but at least I was cycling. Then, about nine months ago I got the motorbike, and essentially gave up cycling as I was having so much fun commuting on the motorbike, and the novelty still hasn’t worn off yet! 

So with no running and no cycling I was forced to join a gym, which was fine, I do enjoy the gym, but finding the time for it has been a bit of a challenge. It’s usually late at night when I go, just before bed. Not ideal as it means my energy levels are already low by the end of the day, and if the girls don’t get to bed on time, then I get even less time in there, plus if we’ve had dinner late, then I could be exercising on a full stomach 

I’d sooner be exercising in the morning before work,  but it’s just not feasible. So I’ve been squeezing in the odd session here and there when I’ve had the time (and energy!), but I’m hoping to get back into a bit more running now my knee seems to have recovered, and hopefully start cycling to work a little more, at least before the summer holidays start. 

I’d love us to get out more as a family and do lots of walking over the summer, at least today we all got out for walk round to the nursery to pick Olivia up, even Chloe couldn’t wait to get there! 

Day 107 – Thanks for everything you do, birthday girl

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Day 107 – Jul 2nd

It’s the wife’s birthday, and we didn’t get long to see her in the morning as she was off out to meet friends for breakfast/brunch. Now they no longer work together she doesn’t get to see them very often, so we couldn’t complain, it’s her birthday after all. There was time for cards and presents, obviously, but once she was gone, the rush to do things was off, so me and the girls took the morning slowly and we were in no hurry to get ourselves dressed.

The house needed tidying and cleaning, but when you are trying to watch and entertain two small children, its not quite as easy as that. There is only so much you can do, as it’s either one thing or the other. We’d got family coming over for a BBQ and there was a list of chores, but nothing that would take too long, at least nothing that couldn’t wait until the wife was back to watch the girls while got on with things. 

Again, as like yesterday, the sun came out and surprised us, and the day really warmed up. It was perfect BBQ weather. The family eventually turned up and we had a lovely afternoon, the girls had a great time playing with everyone in the garden. It was good to see my mom and both my sisters and have time to talk to them. I just wish we could do it more often. Olivia found a new friend in her older cousin, who is usually busy, but thankfully had some time off work and was able to make it. 

The important thing was, that the birthday girl herself, my wife, enjoyed her day. She does so much, and we’re thankful for everything.

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!