Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: family photos (page 1 of 3)

Change

Change, always with us, right under our noses, but most of the time unnoticed. Our children growing and learning before our eyes but so gradual that we don’t realise until BAM! They’re walking, or writing their name, or colouring within the lines and you’re wondering when the hell they learnt to do that. In the whirlwind that is life with small children it can be easy not to stop and acknowledge these changes, but one of the main reasons I started this blog was have a record of the changes and the milestones. So I’m taking the chance of this rare moment of peace on a Sunday night to put another entry into this families history.

Matilda writing

The past of month or so has been crazy as we settle into life as a family dictated by the schedule of the school day, it feels like a stricter life full of deadlines, to do lists and most of all rushing. But it’s also been a big month of change. Matilda unsurprisingly leads the way, I find it absolutely fascinating watching her learn to read and write. We didn’t push either at all before she went to school, preferring to let her choose if she was interested, after all they have enough years of school ahead of them to learn those types of skills. But in the space of this first half term she’s already picking up a bunch of letter sounds, has started to read simple words (in the ever so dull) books she brings home and can write her name. She’s so excited and interested in learning it’s great, most mornings after breakfast she will sit down and tell me that she needs to practise her writing.

Henry on the lady of the manors shoulders

Rupert seems to spend most his time trying to keep up with his big brother and sister, crawling around the house after them like a crazy thing and climbing on them when he does catch them. But yesterday we had the big moment, the first steps, aside from birth this is hands down my favourite moment of being a parent. I love the look on their faces when they realise they can move around standing up and no longer have to crawl everywhere. He did 4 giant steps from me to the lady of the manor, only the once though of course, every time I’ve tried to stand him up since he either bounces up and down laughing or tries to sit down and crawl away. I’m trying desperately not to be a pushy dad but I can’t wait to seem in tottering around the house even if it inevitably means he spends half his time being knocked over by one of the other 2 not looking where they’re going.

Henry smiling

Finally Henry, my little dude, who is becoming this very confident, chatty and kind little boy. Not that he wasn’t chatty or kind before he was just more of a baby than a boy. I think he’s actually enjoying Matilda being at school now because it means he gets some time at home and preschool when she isn’t there telling him what to do. As there is only 13 months between them this is really the first time he’s ever been without her. A new girl joined preschool recently and on her first day they were doing music, Henry made room for her to sit down and then shared his musical instrument with her. I love that he is so thoughtful and kind, trying to care for others. He also loves exploring, we had a day at Dyrham park today and he was climbing trees, look in holes, digging and jumping in leaves. He likes nothing better than to be outside and preferably getting dirty.

They may be exhausting most of the time and drive me to say ‘for gods sake’ most days (incidentally I don’t think anything they do is for gods sake, it’s mostly to wind me up) but they really are awesome little people. Now if I could just perhaps have a quiet evening occasionally and maybe 6 hours sleep every so often that would be great.

Me and mine June 2015

Better late than never with this post and without wanting to sound like a broken record for these updates actually having an evening that didn’t involve resettling Rupert 4 times would be quite conducive to writing more. For now at least I shall just ignore that rather large elephant in the room, especially as it isn’t going away ‘because it’s just a phase’ or ‘it’ll stop when he’s eating solids’ or any other vain attempt at creating hope. Right now there is no light at the end of that tunnel.

But despite all that June was a pretty darn awesome month, not least because it involved a week of glorious holiday with the lady of the manor and the little people (children that is, not gnomes or dwarfs). We had somewhat of a staycation, visiting my parents for a few days (and the Eden project while we were there, our favourite family day out) then a couple of days at home before camping in the New Forest with some friends. All done in fabulous sunshine of course, perfect.

This months photo was taken during said weeks holiday and as you can see features a little girl who has decided she most definitely does not want her photo taken. However the 2nd photo below was taken by Henry who it seems she is willing to strike a pose for and I think you’ll agree is a great photo of her.

Us in the tent

I have of course been doing lots of triathlon training in June, I’m really enjoying the open water swimming and it feels like things have clicked with my swimming fitness all of a sudden. No longer one long struggle to breathe which is always good. Being on holiday meant that I could also head down the lake with the whole family so that the kids could see me swim in the lake which they thought was hilarious. I also loved meeting up with the fabulous Corinne for a tramp around a forest near Sheffield while we were up there for a wedding. Her boys and our 2 had great fun running around and climbing trees, so great that blogging can give you friends like that who live miles away but feel like old friends.

The lady of the manor has run her first race (a Race for Life 5km) and a sub 30 minute 5km at that. She loved watching one of her oldest friends get married even if it did mean a stay in a Travelodge with 3 children. Finally she had a very rare night out to go to the cinema with her sister, very well deserved just hope one day soon we might be able to go out together.

matilda portrait

Matilda has been enjoying have time with her nanna, helping plant seeds and water the garden. So nice seeing them together just chatting or reading the same books I read as a child. She’s also been getting ready for big school with visits to meet her teacher and also have lunch with the school, feels like such a milestone but she’s definitely ready for it.

Henry was very happy to have gone back to visit the domes again at the Eden project, mainly because it involved a ride on the tractor train which is his favourite. He also seems to have spent most of the month eating which I can only assume means he’s having a growth spurt. Either way with Rupert eating decent meals too our food shopping doesn’t last long at the moment.

Photo taken by the ever so talented Corinne

Photo taken by the ever so talented Corinne

Rupert has been learning to crawl! Then just 10 days later he’d also figured out pulling himself up at the sofa, I think he’s in a rush to catch up with his siblings. He’s also decided that he just wasn’t unsettled enough when he slept so it was time to get some teeth also and now has a very sharp little tooth poking through his gum. As a consequence he has slept even less if that’s even possible. Amazingly he actually slept slightly better in a tent despite our worst fears.

Me and Mine – May 2015

This months edition of the family photo project should be subtitled ‘crash, bang, wallop’ for as you will see it has been a month of accidents and visits to various medical professionals. But all’s well that ends well and all that. Writing these posts can sometimes feel like Groundhog day but mainly that’s because when I think about what we’ve done in the last month it’s all a haze of sleepless nights and feeling tired. The lady of the manor and I often wake up in the morning and struggle to piece together exactly when and for how long Rupert and therefore us, slept. Because of that it’s also hard doing much more than just getting through each day, let alone find the energy to tackle the long to do list of household chores.

But May has been a good month I think and one that’s ending with a positive outlook if you ignore the weather forecast. It’s also been one where we’ve been making use of our National Trust membership and this months photo was taken at Lacock Abbey, one of their properties.

On the lawns at Lacock Abbey

This month I’ve been mainly getting into the triathlon groove; April’s coastal runs were the spark I needed to get back into proper training as was the realisation that it’s now 12 weeks until race day! But quite honestly I’ve been loving it, especially the cold but beautiful 6.30am Saturday morning swims in the lake. Once you get over your breath being taken away by the cold it’s quite exhilarating swimming in open water watching the fish swim through the weed beds below (if you don’t believe me you can read the post on my Running blog about it here) . I’m enjoying the feeling of training and pushing my body again but it’s hard work getting out in the mornings after 5 hours broken sleep sometimes. I’ve also been enjoying firing up my pizza oven again, nothing like cooking on fire to make you get in touch with your inner cave man.

Ready for my first OW swim

The lady of the manor has also stepped up her training in May and is now up to 7km in her runs, she’s also taken the plunge and entered a half marathon in September. No stopping here what’s she’s determined to do something! She’s also been making an awesome birthday cake for Henry who turned the grand old age of 3 in the middle of the month.

Aside from turning 3 (and at the same time seemingly growing up overnight) Henry has spent May getting himself a nice bump on the head when he decided to use his forehead to break his fall out the front of the pushchair. He’s such a happy little dude though and after a trip to the hospital to have it glued he was back to his usual self, climbing on chairs and generally being a boy.

Bob the Builder cake

Matilda has also been in the wars, always rushing and competing to be first meant that this week she managed to roll her balance bike into the road and fall off. Nothing more serious than a banged elbow but frightening nonetheless. She’s become fascinated by numbers and letters this month, asking me to read the summary on the back of books as well as the book and making me point to the words I’m saying. It’s fascinating watching them develop isn’t it? I’m a big believer in letting them take it at their own pace though, support them but don’t push them, enjoy the process.

As for Rupert, well he is still the happiest smiliest baby you will ever meet, but he also holds the world record for the baby who sleeps the fewest hours. It’s rare that he sleeps for more than 2 hours at a time and most nights we’re up 5 or 6 times at least. Pretty exhausting but we now have some hope having gone to the GP and pleaded for help. We’ve been referred to the hospital to get treatment for reflux and have some Ranitadine which after a few days seems to be having an effect (I’ve only been disturbed once this evening while writing this). The GP in her referral letter to the hospital said ‘please treat as urgent, the parents are clearly exhausted’ sounds about right. On a cheerier note he is threatening to crawl any day now, always up on all fours and occasionally move his hands forward a little.

3 in a bed

Finally Bracken, who decided in May that escaping from the garden was good fun. The first time he did it we came down from putting the children to bed to a phone call from the vet to say he was there. We didn’t even know he was gone! But he’d made it 1.5 miles away and was found in the middle of the road in the town. Scary to think what could have happened to him. He got out again 3 more times that week some how evading my temporary barriers on the one section of low fence but thankfully we found him much quicker those times. He hurt himself one of the times and had pain killers for 3 days to treat a pulled back muscle. Just what we needed!

We’ve a lot to look forward to next month; a wedding, camping, a weeks holiday and maybe some warm weather? What did you get up to in May?

Me and Mine April 2015

April has been some month, a real rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows. After the sadness of March we began the process of adjusting to life without Nanna, it’s a painful process and each ‘first’ without her another reminder of the gap we now have in our lives. We had Matilda’s birthday in the middle of the month, a small celebration as none of us were in the mood for a full blown party but I hope Matilda enjoyed it and didn’t mind not having all her friends there. We also had what is likely to be our only proper holiday this year with a glorious week near Padstow after the schools had all gone back. Almost a whole week of perfect sunny weather to play on the beach, explore the coast and visit the Eden project (twice!). I think we must have made our followers on Instagram pretty sick of seeing another photo of a sunny beach or a big ice cream. The holiday was also the source of this months photo which was taken by a very friendly Spanish tourist who happened to be stood near us as we posed. What you can’t tell from the picture is that just before it Matilda had a proper sulk on for some silly reason that was so silly I can’t even remember what it was.

At the Eden project

In April I’ve been mainly surviving and getting older, the month has been a bit of a blur of sleepless nights, busy days at work and a little bit of running. I also turned the grand old age of 33 this month, although I feel like I’m permanently 28 until I look in the mirror and see a face that has aged a lot over since Matilda was born. I’ve also been enjoying falling in love with running again, a combination of some amazing runs along the Cornish coastal path and going out with our new double running buggy with my boys. I love taking them out and chatting with Henry as we plod along the canal or cycle path, I wrote a post on my running blog here about this new found love of family running if you’re interested.

A run with a view

A run with a view

The lady of the manor has spent April being simply amazing; looking after this crazy little family of ours while clearly grieving hard for the loss of her mum. We haven’t been getting much sleep and Henry has hit the terrible two’s, yet despite this she’s been an awesome mum. She’s also become something of a runner, I even utter the words ‘I NEED to go for a run’ this week because she missed it so much rather than the guilt of not going for a few days. We’ve managed to get a nice routine going each week where she’s getting out either at 5pm when I get back from work or during the day with one or both boys in the pushchair. There is even talk of some races!

Orange flower at Eden project

Matilda has basically become a grown up little girl this month, all of sudden she is able to do all these things herself like put her seat belt on without any direction or assistance. It’s both scary and amazing at the same time. This has been compounded by finding out which school she’ll be going to in September; we thankfully got our first (and only choice) which is a weight off. We are out of the catchment area for the school but it’s under subscribed so we were always hopeful we would and it’s the perfect little village school just like the ones we attended and I think perfect for Matilda.

Henry’s April has been mainly about tantrums, tantrums about everything and anything. Even tantrums when you tell him that he has his slippers on the wrong feet which quite honestly is exhausting at times. The only saving grace is that he normally gets over them very quickly and is back to being a happy chatty boy within a few minutes. He turns 3 in May and clearly has decided that we’ve got off too lightly with the terrible two’s. He also decided on holiday that he most definitely does not like waves on the beach, I tried so hard to get him to come and paddle with Matilda and I but he just ran away screaming.

Rupert on the beach

Which brings me to Rupert, our happy, smiley, cheeky boy who loves his food yet is driving us crazy with his inability to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. He turned 6 months old last week and on holiday perfected the art of sitting which is awesome, so much fun being able to sit and play with him. He’s also getting very good at moving around on the floor and showed signs of pushing himself up onto all fours. So developing well, just doesn’t feel the need to sleep. We’ve just moved him into his own room and I’m trying to do the resettling so that he doesn’t look for milk but a good evening is one where his first wake up is 9pm. It becomes such a long day when you don’t even get a break in the evening plus trying to resettle a baby who weighs 10kg gets tiring very quickly!  If he wasn’t such a happy baby in the day I think we would have gone crazy by now.

I realised that I haven’t mentioned Bracken in these posts before, for the record he has spent April stealing washing from the utility room and then sitting in the garden chewing it. Not entirely sure why that’s started. He also had a holiday of his own at my parents house while we were away which he seems to have enjoyed a little too much.

How was your April?

Me and mine March 2015

This months photo I think exemplifies the challenge of getting a family photo; I’ve just got in from work and didn’t even get time to take my jacket off, Henry isn’t very well and has a high temperature, Rupert is tired and grouchy, Matilda needed bribing with chocolate to take part and the lady of the manor is exhausted from a day with 3 children. But actually that’s why I love it, it captures the real us and not some orchestrated scene. So ladies and gentlemen I give you March;

In the garden March 2015

How would I describe March? Hard. Plain and simple. A tough month, short on sleep and high on emotions. On March 16th we said goodbye to the lady of the manor’s mum, a beautiful day with standing room for the service but clearly one that everyone would have preferred not to have happened. Since then we’ve been muddling along, reality slowly setting in but still feeling like it’s a very bad dream. With each passing milestone it becomes little more real; the first visit of pops with no nanna, the first easter, the first of the children’s birthdays in April.

I know first hand the unique bond between a child and a mother, I see that between the lady of the manor and  Matilda and Henry already. I know they love me but I will never be mummy will I? That extra connection having spent 9 months growing inside their mum changes things. So when you lose your mum your world becomes out of kilter and may not ever recover.

But there was some sunshine in an otherwise dark month, Matilda and Henry have been thoroughly enjoying being able to be outside again. They often ask to go back in the garden after dinner for one last push in the swing even if we do need big jackets to keep out the cold wind. Two weekends ago we had a glorious day in the garden, the first of the year that felt warm and we spent probably 8 hours outside. I mowed the lawn, the children made mud pies in the veg patch, we even ate lunch outside.Spring is trying to spring isn’t it?

Rupert has gone through a huge development leap in the last couple of weeks, all of a sudden he’s reaching for things, rolling over, showing signs of moving on the floor and almost sitting. It never ceases to be fascinating watching a child develop like that does it? Even the 3rd time around those moments are magical. Now if he could just bloody sleep a bit more we’d all be happier. He sleeps a maximum of 3 hours at a time at night and wakes at least once if not twice in the evening. Having small children can get very intense at times and it would be nice to know that the evenings are ours most of the time, we might even be able to get out to the cinema once in a while.

I’ve pushed out my triathlon from June to August because training has had to take a back seat for the past month or so. August should hopefully give me enough time to get fit and ready for it and I’m actually quite enjoying my swim sessions now. The lady of the manor has also started running again and has even done a couple of 5k’s pushing a pushchair. We’ve also just purchased a double running pushchair so that we might be able to get out for a run as a whole family sometimes which should be quite hilarious.

March was tough but there is at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel during April, in a week we have our first holiday since June last year, a hopefully sunny week in Cornwall (not that we’ve booked anywhere yet). Then we get told which school Matilda has got into (scary stuff) followed by both her and my birthdays.

Do you have any exciting plans for April?

Me and Mine February

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February was a tough month, one of the toughest we’ve had as parents and March has started even harder which is why this post and my blog have been untouched for a week. On Monday last week the lady of the manors mum and the kids much loved Nanna passed away, something we knew was coming but had hoped it wouldn’t be quite so soon. Having to explain to 2 small children that they won’t see their Nanna again broke my heart, I’m not sure it’s really sunk in for them so no doubt we have many more questions coming. But I hate that they have to deal with something like this at such a young age and that Rupert won’t get to know his Nanna.

The children also spent two thirds of February sick with one bug or another, Henry went through 2 different lots of antibiotics and then we ended up with him in A&E one Friday night as he screamed the house down with stomach pain. We thought his appendix had gone but it turned out the virus he was fighting off had caused the glands in his stomach to swell up. Apparently very common in small children but a scary few hours as I fought to get him seen quickly and by an actual doctor.

All this meant that we didn’t really do a whole lot else last month other than just keep getting up each day. Rupert however being completely oblivious to everything going on decided that it was time to start eating some solid foods and hasn’t looked back since. He wolfs down 2 meals of the finest purees every day and seems to be a very contented little boy as a result, albeit one who still doesn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time.

With Mothers Day looming and the funeral in a week March is going to be a fairly bleak month with lots of cuddles needed to see us through.

Me and Mine January 2015

What a difference a month makes! When I wrote my me and mine post for December the lady of the manor and I were a bit stressed out, we weren’t getting much of a break from the children to have time together or just have some peace. A month later Rupert has changed massively as happens with babies of this age, he is after all 50% older than he was at that time. Which is quite crazy when you think about it and is clear in how he’s behaving (more of that later).

We also had our first break away from home for the first time since June as we visited Bluestone in Wales. Amazing what having 5 days away from normal life does for you, no chores to think about or child care to manage, just lots of time to enjoy being a family. Which is where we took this months photo while on a lovely walk down through the forest that is part of the site. Taking the photo was a challenge though with the camera wedged on a slope and no remote so the lady of the manor was running back and forth to take the photos while we tried to stop the children falling in the river. The things we do!
standing in the Bluestone river

This month I have been doing a lot of thinking about the future and some changes I want to make to my work life, we may even have something resembling a 3 year plan written (in our heads at least). Potentially some exciting changes to come and hopefully a chance for me to focus on my passion for running and the outdoors. I’ve also just embarked on training for a triathlon in the summer which has the added bonus of allowing me to shop for all sorts of new gear. Awesome.

The lady of the manor has been working her magic with Rupert and slowly coaxing him into a routine. She’s also started the long road back to fitness after being pregnant and been on her first run. Yes that’s right she is also a bit running obsessed like I am! I think she may also be taking the opportunity to do some shopping soon as well, not only for running gear but for new clothes as well.

Matilda has spent most of January as the perfect example of a threenager; one who most definitely knows what she does and doesn’t want to wear, who will cry and the merest hint of being told no and is testing out her physical abilities, most on poor Henry. She has also been telling us that she’d like to go to school now and not just preschool, I’m glad she feels ready but it also feels like such a big milestone. Fingers crossed we get her into the school we’ve asked for as it’s such a lovely place.

Henry is now completely toilet trained and threatening to be dry and night before Matilda, we keep finding that he’s taken his nappy off at night because it was wet! He’s rediscovered his love for trains this month and thanks to some presents from his nan and pops we now have the makings of a fine Brio collection that the lady of the manor enjoys making into tracks just a little bit too much.

Rupert has finally decided that he will go to sleep in the evenings, as I write this we’ve now had a whole week where he’s been asleep by 7.30pm and normally sleeps until just after 11pm. It feels quite amazing suddenly having our evening back to do things rather than one of us carrying a baby around. He seems to have grown out of some of the wind issues he had and is such a happy, chatty little boy now.

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