Day 124 – Get me to the weekend!

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Day 124 – Jul 19th

Now I’m used to life on the road with two wheels, I usually don’t enjoy driving to work, it’s a bit different when you get to drive in to work in one of the minibuses that you’ve borrowed to take camera equipment in with. As we only have one car between us, I’d already deprived Clare of the car once last week, and as I had to take my stuff in a second time for more photos, I decided to cycle in yesterday and take a bus home with me. Driving in to work this morning, in a long, wide vehicle, in an elevated seat made me feel a bit more powerful on the road. You certainly had a lot more presence on the road!

The downside was that I had to bring the bike back home with me at the end of the day again, and I was not ready to cycle at all, let alone uphill, in the heat, with my bad chest getting worse… but I still had to! 

It came as no surprise that when I got home I was feeling particularly rough. I was tired, grumpy, coughing, flaking fast, and regretting the cycling decision. 

There was only one thing going to help me here, some sugar in the form of chocolate! 

Okay, okay… it wasn’t actually going to help much, but it would at least help me take my mind off things!

Day 116 – and the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down…

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Day 116 – Jul 11th

After a few weeks without rain, the garden lawn is starting to look a bit tired, and I’ve had enough of having to grab a watering can and water the flowers each evening, and then worrying about them if I forget to do it one evening. Well today started out damp, and apart from a couple of dry spells this morning, its pretty much rained all day since then.

As an adult owning a property with a garden, particularly one that you’re growing things in, its pretty much about the only time that anyone can get even remotely excited about rain. You may be cursing that your day out is ruined, or that you can’t hang the washing out to dry, but you can at least smile in the knowledge that your grass is getting a good water and the flower beds will love it. The simple fact is that this green and pleasant land of ours would not be quite so green without a bit of rain every now and again to keep it that way.

One of the little green shoots that had come from Olivia helping me to plant some seeds back in February was our sunflowers. They seemed to do very little for a number of weeks, and the shoots were no more than a few inches tall, then suddenly, out of nowhere, they seem to have shot up, and this week have even begun to open up! That’ll keep the bees happy for a while, and now the garden will start to look even brighter!

With the weather being wet, I ditched the idea of cycling this morning in favour of the motorbike. Sure, I’m still exposed to the elements, but at least on the motorbike I am covered in waterproof clothing! Made up for it with a gym session this evening, but now have come home with pretty severe heel pain, leaving me limping about a bit, and I’m not even sure how I’ve done it! Only hoping a good nights sleep will fix things, and on that note… well, you don’t get a good nights sleep from tapping away on your laptop while sat on the sofa downstairs!

Day 114 – What do ducks like to eat?

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Day 114 – Jul 9th

A picnic in the park with friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon, it’s pretty much what the weekend was invented for! 

The date had been in the calendar for a few weeks to catch up with our friends from our antenatal class, back from before Olivia was born four years ago. We’ve not only stayed in contact, but stayed good friends with them all, although we see some more than others due to geographical locations and work commitments. There was no plan for today, just that we were saving the day to catch up, but at the last minute, with the weather looking good, someone called for a picnic in the park. A good shout in my opinion! 

Armed with our picnic blanket, a hamper full of food, a ball and a Bluetooth speaker for some music from the phone we went off to meet our friends. It was a lovely afternoon in the sun with the kids playing together and running about, enjoying an ice cream and watching one of the dads try to fly a kite. 

There was also the madatory feeding of the ducks, which we had brought some oats for, after recent articles highlighting the issues around giving bread to the ducks. It seems a little strange that a tradition for parents and grandparents that has been going on for decades, has only recently come to light, in that we should not be using bread to feed the ducks. Something to do with a lack of nutrition and the ducks filling up on this rather than having a balanced nutritional diet, which can lead to deformities in their wings, a disability known as angel wing, that can hamper their flying or even stop it altogether. On top of all the uneaten bread polluting the waterways, as people just keep on throwing it in, regardless of how much of it is already floating around in front of them. Conservationists instead recommend oats, peas and sweetcorn. We like to think we did our bit.

It was no surprise that the girls both fell asleep in the car on the ride home, and we even got them both from the car to the sofa without waking them up. A truly pleasant afternoon out.

What you do with your weekend?

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 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 099 – You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy wine, and that’s kind of the same thing.

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Day 99 – Jun 24th

After a busy Saturday morning, we decided to have a family afternoon out and took the girls swimming. Its been a little while since we all went, and its nice to be doing it as a family, as it was usually just me taking Olivia. The girls enjoy it so much and Olivia has become really confident in the water, and has even started to learn to actually swim, rather than just splash about in the water with daddy. She can’t swim very far, or very fast, but she’s definitely getting the idea!

This took up a chunk of our afternoon, and led the wife to announce that because we were running out of time to cook, and had no idea what to have for dinner, that we’d be having a chinese takeaway tonight… I am not going to argue with that!

As the girls had showered after swimming, and had their hair washed, bath night seemed a bit redundant, so they were off to bed nice and early. This was my cue to think about getting changed and taking a walk around to a work colleagues house for their birthday party and BBQ. I was planning on staying for an hour and getting a taxi home, as I wasn’t expecting to know many people there. As it happened, there were more people there that I knew than I thought there would be, and the time just flew by. I warned the wife I’d be a little later home than I originally anticipated, and didn’t intend to stay too much longer, but then got talking to the husband of one of the women I work with. We had a surprising amount in common and suddenly it wasn’t just late, it was the early hours of the morning, and I’d drank far more than I’d realised. Time to get that taxi home!

Day 098 – Lets cherish this moment

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Day 98 – Jun 23rd

The weekends seem to roll around so fast, and here we are at Friday again. The weather has settled back down to, perhaps, a little cooler than we may expect June to be, but at least we can sleep comfortably at night again.

One of the best things about Friday is being able to get home just that little bit earlier than the rest of the week, and spend more time with the girls, although when I got back today Olivia was spark out on the sofa. Oh well, its still good to be home early anyway.

The wife had to pop out to the shops once I was back home, and so I thought I would take the opportunity to grab a couple of snaps of the girls in the beautiful light that was coming in from the overcast clouds through the window. It might sound odd that a photographer prefers a cloudy day to a bright sunny day, but there is logic behind it. Bright, direct sunlight makes people squint a lot, never a good look in photos, it also creates nasty harsh shadows, as well as strong contrast that the camera struggles to deal with. Clouds, on the other hand, break the sunlight up, making it less directional and creating a nice soft light on people, also removing all the hard shadows. Todays shot of Chloe has come out quite well I think.

On a Friday night I never plan much, call it routine, call it laziness, whatever… I like to settle down with the wife, pour a drink, open some snacks, and watch a film once the girls are in bed. Even though it was supposed to be bath night for the girls tonight, we just didn’t have the energy or enthusiasm to do it, so that can wait until tomorrow, meaning that both of the girls were in bed by 7:20pm. Olivia is allowed to watch the iPad in bed on a Friday, so we can leave her to it for a while and get our film started. The wife is notoriously bad at staying awake, and so our best chance of her seeing the end credits is to start the film as early as we can, even though this is still no guarantee. Sadly, this mornings super early start from Chloe meant we BOTH fell asleep and missed the end of the film!