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!
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!
Well that’s Wednesday done, and the worst of the week over with. Working in a school, everyone hates the arrival of ofsted, no matter how much you’ve prepared all year for their anticipated visit. At least now we can relax a little now, with just a few weeks left until the summer holidays begin.
Yes, yes, the six week summer holidays, they’re fast approaching. The holidays you only have to briefly mention in passing to anyone who doesn’t work in a school, and they instantly hate you and assume you are gloating and trying to rub it in their face. They all see six weeks off as literally the best work bonus ever.
Yeah sure, I am never going to complain about six whole weeks off work, its one of the small perks of the job, and lets face it, working in a school doesn’t offer many perks outside of the holidays, but this bonus does come at a price!
Look at it this way, outside of your work colleagues, none of your friends are ever free, they’re all still working. Then try booking a holiday anywhere in the world… yeah, that £500 holiday you just took, thats going to cost me £1700 to take the same one! Try getting a day off for a week day wedding, or the funeral of someone who isn’t direct family. I’d love to do more photography training for myself, but do you know when it all is?… yeah you got it, term time! Want to go on a stag/hen party, or just a week away with friends?… you can guarantee they’ll all be going at the cheapest time of year! I’ve had to miss out on a few before now because of how inflexible the holidays are.
I do love the holidays, although the reasons have changed in recent years, now its more about spending time with the girls, rather than just turning the alarm clock off for a few weeks. I’ve also been lucky enough to spend the last summer holiday and this upcoming one with the wife too, because of her “extended” maternity leave!
Onto todays photo, a shot taken from this afternoon when I got home from work. Olivia wanted to play on the table with her kinetic sand, so I thought I’d try Chloe with some wax crayons to see how she’d get on. They caught her attention for a while, but she was soon off doing other things. The hand in the shot was actually Olivia’s when she helped me pick up the crayons that had been dropped.
Well this post is going to be the last one of the summer holidays, September is now here, I’m going back to work after six fabulous weeks off with the family, and I am very grateful for the time I have had with them. We’ve done some lovely things, seen family and friends, had plenty of BBQs and enjoyed some lovely weather on days out, in the park, or even just in the garden.
230: This was the day that the wife was out for lunch with work friends, and I was left to watch the girls. Even as a dad of three years, I still feel the pressure of parenting alone when the wife isn’t around! Its like I have never done it before, and one of them might explode or something. Thankfully the big one was in nursery and the little one still isn’t moving very far when you put her down. One thing she is doing is showing us that its almost time to give up the baby bouncer, for as much as she loves it, its getting hard to keep her safe in there!
231: Today was a hot one, a strong reminder that summer wasn’t done just yet. It was my turn to head out for a couple of hours. I’d arranged to meet up with some of the other dads from our antenatal group, and we found some of the new and quirky bars in Birmingham to head to. Not the kind where the kids were all hanging out, doing shots and fighting, this was a little more refined, but still had a “we’re off the beaten track and cool” feel about it. Even the doors had some funky artwork on!
232: Not all selfie’s are polished works of art. There is a growing culture of particularly young ladies who seem to have the selfie down to a fine art and will be prepared to take 500 of the same shot until they’re happy. I gave this idea two fingers and thought I’d grab a shot during my 5 mile run from dropping the car off for its service. Thankfully the father in law was around to take me back to pick it up later that day!
233: Road trip was on! After a painful drive down the M5 we made it down to Devon to stay with friends for the weekend, and that night thought we’d all head out to Lyme Regis beach for a walk and to grab some ice cream. I took other shots, but particularly enjoyed the serene feel of this shot. Canvas material? Something to hang on the wall as a work of art? Maybe so… until the wife shot me down in flames and exclaimed “Its rubbish… theres nothing in it!!”. **shakes head**
234: We headed out today to see a number of places including some fun catching crabs and eating fish and chips by the sea. It is lovely to just relax and spend time with friends sometimes, life can be so hectic at times.
235: These girls love playing together, and now there is a new one to add to the group. I only wish we could see them more often. Today we had some lunch before jumping on the motorway and headed home. Thankfully as it was a bank holiday weekend the motorway was still quiet on Sunday.
236: We were supposed to head out to Stratford-Upon-Avon to meet up with some other friends, which sadly ended up being cancelled at the last minute, and so we headed out for a walk around the local park instead, as it seemed a shame to waste the sunshine, and with the summer holidays drawing to a close and my return to work imminent, I wanted to spend some more time doing nice things with the family. Todays photo was yet another portrait, as I love looking back on them all and seeing the changes.
237: I was out this morning taking care of my friends son for a few hours again after I’d dropped Olivia at nursery, and there was a window of a few hours before the wife headed out for food with a friend. I decided to capture this shot of Chloe now she is sitting up so much, as most of the previous shots were of her lying down. She seems to be changing at an astronomical rate at the moment, and doubling in size! The is becoming a real character, always full of smiles and loving the interaction with adults, very much like her big sister, but very different at the same time.
238: Yeah yeah, another portrait, I need to get the camera out and try some different shots, I know, but today Chloe was all dressed up for her grandmothers birthday and looked gorgeous. We all headed out for a family carvery, which was amazing, even if I did over do things a little.
239: Back out looking after my friends son for a few more hours again, and a nice walk in the Lickey Hills to blow a few cobwebs out as I haven’t done a great deal of exercise since I have been off work. September is now here, and summer is starting to disappear. The days are still warm, but the sun is setting much earlier, and the nights are feeling a little cooler. I think we still have a couple of BBQs left, but autumn is definitely not far away. The green in this picture will soon be replaced by reds and oranges.
240: I’m not going to lie, this was a day I didn’t take many photos at all, and had very little to choose from, but Chloe’s smile just melts my heart sometimes, and she looked so cute just lying back on the cushions after sitting up for a while and then just giving up!
241: Our little baby is no longer our little baby, and we struggle to call her our little girl, she seems so much older than her years sometimes. Her 3rd birthday is just around the corner and today we had a soft play party for her and some of her friends, she is so confident and took it all in her stride, but almost looked a little overwhelmed at the attention was very much focused on her as the cake came out. A rather stunning peppa pig handmade by the wife I might add!
242: The second part of the celebrations was on the Sunday as the parents and one of my sisters came over for a BBQ. We decided to open the bulk of the presents while everyone was around, and Olivia had a fantastic day to finish off a fantastic weekend. Plus we had a little visit from a friend and our second surprise pregnancy announcement of the weekend. Two separate friends are both due with their second babies and both expecting in March. How exciting!
So That’s it, summer holidays are over, our girl is almost 3, and the little one has already turned 7 months old. Time is flying past and the new school year is upon us again as Sunday night lands with a disappointing thud. So much I wanted to do, and so many things still on my to-do list! I am just grateful for the time I have had at home with the family, it has been invaluable and I have been very lucky to have six weeks off, not just with the girls, but with the wife as well. Will we be able to do it again next year? Well, if we can work the finances, then possibly. Fingers crossed!