Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Henry (page 2 of 6)

The party is over

This is it, the party is over, 2 and a bit weeks of glorious paternity leave are finished and it’s back to reality tomorrow. I’ll be honest I bought a few Euromillions tickets last week in the hope that maybe I could extend my time off but alas no luck and the bills won’t get paid because I’m a good dad will they? Like when Henry was born one of the best things about being on paternity leave is actually having time with the older children. Matilda and I spent so much time together while the lady of the manor looked after Henry, we walked Bracken every day and did bath time together it was just great. What dad doesn’t love the thought of waking up and playing with his kids every day?

This time was similar, most days I’d get up with Matilda and Henry to do breakfast and then take food up to the lady of the manor so she could eat and feed. Having 2 weeks holiday is always great but I think being ok with living life as normal rather than trying to have a ‘holiday’ makes it better. You just do regular activities but do them together when normally things like taking Bracken out normally get fitted around everything else. You have time (not much with a baby in the house but some at least) to do all those things you want to do at a weekend but never get around to.

We did Halloween craft and I got to join all our NCT mum friends at a Halloween party, we walked the dog, we jumped in puddles and played in the forest, we baked bread and cooked, we had many many games of hide and seek, we snuggled on the sofa watching TV when it was cold, we did jobs in the garden with nanna and gramps, we went swimming played on the swings, we went to the kids first ever fireworks display and tried candy floss. The list goes on and actually despite all the sleepless nights and moments of chaos where we wanted to scream it’s fun and I think we’ve done an awful lot.

Don’t tell the kids but we may also have taken advantage of their preschool days to go out for coffee and cake and pretend that we only have 1 small baby for a while. No need to persuade 2 children to sit still and eat their food without knocking drinks over and most of all some peace without all the questions. We all need some of that down time as parents don’t we?

Rupert is in general a very chilled and happy baby and so strong! He’s 3 weeks old on Wednesday and already is holding his head up and moving onto his side when lying on the floor. He’s also packing on pounds, at 11 days old he weighed 10lb’s vs. his birth weight of 9lb 6oz so clearly mummies milk is gold top. Still weighting to see if he ends up a blondie like me and Matilda and Henry, the lady of the manor is hoping he’s going to be a red head like her but no signs of that yet.

I’m not sure how the kids are going to react to me not being around, there are already murmurings about not wanting me to go to work, but they’ll adjust again I’m sure. Certainly isn’t going to make sitting in an office again any easier, but I do at least have some great memories to take with me. I do hope also that Matilda and Henry have enjoyed it fully too, there has probably been a few too many shouty moments born out of tiredness and frustration on my part. I didn’t run much at the start, there was just no way to fit it in and that just makes me grumpy without the broken sleep also. We’ve tried to give them lots of attention and not just focus on Rupert but it’s not easy is it? Having a newborn can be quite intense and demanding and all consuming if you let it.

As I’m falling asleep writing this I’m going to hit publish and try to get some sleep before attempting to get out of the door for work tomorrow for the first time in 2.5 weeks. An attempt that also includes a preschool drop off for Matilda, wish me luck!

Me and Mine October

This is it, the me and mine post that we’ve been building to for almost the whole year, the one where we become a party of five! It’s also the reason why I’m sat here at 10pm the day before the post goes live trying to write it after finally sorting out the chaos in the house. Rupert is now 9 days old and so far is a perfect little baby, sure he doesn’t sleep all night but no one would ever expect a little baby to do that, but he doesn’t cry much, he feeds well and he is generally a chilled out little boy.

Rupert just born

The first 9 days together has been exciting, manic, chaotic, tiring, beautiful, exasperating and testing but most of all awesome. But after a number of days at home trying to rest and adjust the lady of the manor and I were starting to get fidgety and cabin fever was definitely setting in. So yesterday we headed out for our first proper trip as a family for a walk around a lake at the Cotswold water park that conveniently ends at a great cafe that serves an amazing cooked breakfast. The first challenge was getting in the car though, you see we’re waiting for our new car to be delivered in a week or 2 (the dreaded people mover) and our current car while large doesn’t fit 3 car sits across it. Which means one child has to sit on the pop up seats in the boot, a situation I assumed Henry or Matilda would love but alas no. Instead we had lengthy negotiations before persuading Matilda that it was indeed the only place she could sit, the key issue it turned out is that she wanted to be able to see Rupert *pulls remaining hair out*. We did manage to take a good photo though even if we did look a bit crazy setting up a tripod next to the lake.

Cotswold water park sculpture

This month I’ve been mainly running a marathon and jumping every time my phone rang in case it was ‘the call’. The marathon was in York and just a few days before due date so I half expected my phone to ring at mile 16 to tell me that the lady of the manor had gone into labour. At which point of course the quickest way back would be to finish the race; that would at least give me a good excuse for being tired in the delivery suite right? I have a full race report up on my running blog if you happen to be interested, the short summary is that it was a beautiful race and a PB for me.

The lady of the manor has of course spent most of the month wishing that her baby boy would arrive, she was of course magnificent during labour and now that he’s here such a amazing mum. That’s 3 babies delivered now with only gas and air used and a small amount of swearing. She’s also very content having a breastfeeding little boy again and I think enjoying having time with me at home also. This week she demonstrated her prowess in pumpkin carving, putting my funny face to shame with her carefully crafted owl (there was a stencil involved).

Henry spent the first half of the month mainly growing despite the fact that it seems to be mainly bread and pasta that go into his mouth. However the second half since Rupert arrived has been spent being a most affectionate big brother, a little too affectionate at times when Rupert is happily asleep but it’s so lovely to see how much he loves him. The first time he met Rupert was when he got out of bed the next day and he immediately rushed over and gave him a hug and a kiss. We were a little worried he would get jealous of the breastfeeding as he was fed up to 18 months but he hasn’t seemed bothered at all.

Baby wearing toddlers

Matilda has been making friends and has her first birthday party to go in a few weeks for a preschool friend which feels all a bit grown up to me. She’s also started to trust me to do her hair which I take as a great privilege but is definitely testing my dad skills to the max. Without wanting to repeat last months comment on her she appears to have grown up another 2 years this month, part of this I think is learning new things at preschool. My favourite thing she’s learnt is counting using her fingers, she’ll hold up 2 fingers and say ‘we need to read 2 books’. Too cute. Like Henry she also loves her new little brother and is so good sitting on the sofa with him on her lap.

Rupert has mainly been coming out from his cosy home in his mummies tummy. Oh and sleeping. And pooing. And drinking milk.

Mini Hornit – the ultimate children’s light and bike horn

Ok parents listen up, if you’re looking for a birthday (or dare I say it Christmas) present for a bike loving child then this is the post for you. In fact it doesn’t even need to be a bike as the Mini Hornit will attach to any bike, scooter or balance bike in just a few seconds. You may remember that I reviewed its big brother the Hornit dB140 almost exactly a year ago and was impressed with how well it was made, its simple construction and how loud it was. So when Hornit offered me the chance to review their new product aimed at children I said yes and then immediately asked if they could send 2, after all no one wants to be the dad who gets just one child a present do they?

Mini Hornet in box

Henry and Matilda absolutely love their Mini Hornit’s, in fact they love them so much that they ran down the batteries in 3 days whizzing around the garden on their balance bikes. Now don’t interpret that to mean that the Mini Hornit has poor battery life, I’d actually say that’s very good battery life given how much they used them and I found them with the lights left on on a number of occasions. Top tip though, when you replace the batteries you have to push the large button on the back to turn the Mini Hornit back on, definitely don’t email the company to tell them it’s broken, only an idiot would do that.

The design of the Mini Hornit is great, so easy to use and no fiddly bits which is perfect when you know a child is inevitably going to want to take it off and put it back on at least 100 times a day. On the bottom of the Mini Hornit are 2 rubber wings that simply wrap around the handle bars and then push the fixing points through the holes in the wings. It also comes with a remote trigger that attaches in the same way and can be put next to the child’s hand at the end of the handlebars. This makes using it much safer when on the move.

I’ll let Henry give you the full demo:

My grown up Hornit had just 2 sounds whereas the mini version has 25 different sounds, my favourite by far is the trumpet whereas Henry seems very contented with a simple bell noise. They have great fun working their way through them though and pretending to be either a police car or fire engine with the siren sounds. The Mini Hornit also has a light on the front which can be either green or white and either constant or flashing. My 2 may not need that from a safety perspective as they don’t cycle at night or on roads, but for older children who do this would be perfect and is very bright.

The Mini Hornit comes in 4 different colour combinations and costs £19.99, really good value for such a well made and designed product in my opinion. What’s more if you enter 646420 at the checkout on the Hornit shop you’ll get 20% off your purchase, don’t say I don’t look after you!

Mini Hornet on balance bike

Me and Mine September

The observant among you will notice that this weeks post features 2 children not 3; baby boy has still yet to make an appearance despite the lady of the manor being adamant that he was going to be early. We’re now less than 2 weeks from due date so this should definitely be the last me and mine with only 4 people in the photo. September feels like it’s been a busy month but sitting down to write this I can’t exactly remember what we did that made us so busy.

This months photo was taken just last night after we’d been for a very rare dinner out with the children to Pizza Express in Marlborough. It’s the lady of the manor’s birthday today you see and the week’s schedule meant that last night was the best night to go out for dinner. We had such a lovely time eating and chatting with Matilda and Henry and then a lovely walk down Marlborough High street to look in the shop windows and enjoy this balmy late September weather. It’s also I think the first selfie that I’ve included in the me and mine posts this year, although technically I guess a lot of them are selfies just with a remote for the DSLR rather than holding a phone!

Marlborough selfie

This month I have been mainly building things and catching up on odd jobs before the baby comes; I built a pergola (finally) to go over the bench seat we put in the garden a few months ago. It’s lovely having a seat half way down the garden to sit on and has become one of Matilda’s favourite spots, I think she likes having the ‘roof’ over head. We plan to grow a rose up and over it next year which should hopefully make it even nicer to sit under. The second thing I’ve been building is a log and bin store to go behind our garage, with the log burner installed we now need somewhere to store and season the logs of course. I’m really quite enjoying building things like this, they may not be perfect but it’s great doing something practical. I have of course also been running and training for York marathon in 10 days (assuming baby boy doesn’t arrive before then).

Finished pergola

Matilda has seemingly spent September growing up by at least 2 years; she’s now going to preschool 3 days a week and it’s amazing the change in her as she gets more grown up and learns so many new things. She’s absolutely loving being there now and the ladies that run it are full of praise for how well she behaves and how she now looks after the ‘little ones’. I don’t want to boast but I’m claiming that as top parenting skills! She’s also started gymnastics this month and now spends 45 minutes every Saturday morning learning to balance, jump and roll around which is right up her street and a nice way to channel all that energy she has.

Henry has been enjoying some time with his mummy this month on the day Matilda is at preschool and he isn’t, I think he quite likes the peace and quiet and home and not having to put up with being told what to do by his sister all the time. He’s also spent much of the month scooting around on his balance bike and will happily spend most of the day going around the garden and doing races. Despite being 13 months younger than Matilda he’s as good as if not better on the bike than she is.

balance bike

The lady of the manor has spent September putting up with an awful lot of pain from the baby boy in her tummy; she had a growth scan last week as they were worried he was getting too big and found out that he was lying transverse. Certainly explains why her bump had been hurting so much! She’s also been organising everything we need to have the beautiful home birth that we’re hoping for, although not entirely sure the kids needed new clothes and beds for that…

Next month I will hopefully bring you a very exciting first family photo of us as a party of five. Which will be pretty darn cool. I think that might well be enough to keep us busy for the next few months!

dear beautiful

Me and Mine August

A day late with my me and mine August post but my planned writing time this weekend got taken up with pizza cooking and running which I’ll be honest are likely to come higher up the priority list almost every time. But here we are with another month gone, it’s the first of September and you can feel autumn coming. I love this time of year, the heat of the summer is gone and the prospect of autumnal walks, hearty roasts and stews and a roaring fire is just around the corner.

We’d planned to take another photo yesterday while out watching my brother do his first half Iron distance triathlon but in all the excitement forgot. So I’m reverting back to a photo taken earlier in the month at my sisters wedding. Not the greatest photo ever, it was so hard in the dull light of a conference room with no windows to take anything crisp and clear (I think I may have reached the end of my photography skills) but I still like it. Matilda is of course doing her fake smile face, but I can live with that as without the bribe of chocolate she wouldn’t even be looking at the camera.

Me and Mine August

August was a month of new experiences for us as a family; first time on a plane for the kids, first wedding as a family and first camping trip. Not bad really and while stressful at times was also a whole lot of fun.

Finished pizzaThis month amazingly I haven’t been doing a running race, but I have been running of course, I’m half way through the build up to the Yorkshire marathon in October. One last running focus for the year and one I’m quite excited about having set a big PB time goal. Although there is a risk that baby boy arrives early and scuppers my plans as his due date is 4 days after the marathon (the marathon was booked before the lady of the manor got pregnant I’d like to point out).

August also saw the wedding of my sister over in Ireland so involved the first trip on a plane for the monsters (ignoring the fact that Matilda flew to New Zealand aged 6 months) which was a whole lot of fun. I’ve also been perfecting my pizza recipe and cooking, which has resulted in quite honestly the most amazing pizza’s outside of Italy. Thin, crispy and full of flavour. Incidentally I wrote a post on how to build your own oven if you’re interested you can find it here.

The lady of the manor has spent August trying not to remain patient with 2 little children who have decided they most definitely don’t want to sit still at meal times but do like to argue whenever possible. She’s been enjoying afternoon naps with Matilda on the sofa while watching Frozen and doing an awesome job of growing a baby.  She also had a job interview, it may sound odd given she’s 34 weeks pregnant but it was for a NHS job that hardly ever becomes vacant so she decided to apply. She made it to the final 3 but alas didn’t get it, but hopefully a foot in the door for when she wants to return to work. The lady of the manor has also decided on a name for baby no.3, which apparently I have no choice in.

Matilda in bridemaid dressMatilda has spent most of August growing it would seem as many of her clothes no longer fit. She has also been constantly hungry during the day to go with it, not that this makes her eat any faster of course. She’s also been a bridesmaid for the first time and LOVED wearing a pretty dress all day and could be seen twirling it at any opportunity. I did however have to sneak taking photos as she’s decided she definitely doesn’t want her photo taken any more and just hides her head if I point a camera at her.

Finally in August we learnt that Matilda is a daredevil and loves climbing, she’s climbing 2 (small) climbing walls at playgrounds plus up the cargo net on the side of a large playground without any fear or trouble. Looks like I may have a climbing buddy at the climbing wall next time I go!

Henry as a page boyHenry has been mainly angry in August, everything is ‘my do it’ and if you try to help or tell him no you can guarantee a tantrum. I guess we’ve hit the terrible two’s? Tantrums never last long with him though and within a couple of minutes he’s back to his normal cuddly self like it never happened.

August has also seen Henry’s obsession with tractors go to another level with harvest season in full swing. We have a farm next to our house and Henry spends hours sat at the top of his slide looking over the fence and watching the tractors come and go. We have of course also been to watch the combine harvester in the fields near us, one of my favourite things and love being able to explain to Henry how the harvest works and for him to see his books come to life.

Finally Henry did a great impression of a well behaved page boy at the wedding and even kept his outfit on all day which I was amazed about.

September in theory is going to be a quieter month as we get ready for the arrival of baby no. 3, but we’ll see, if he comes early then it could be the craziest month of them all!

dear beautiful

Me and Mine July

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that I totally failed to write a me and mine post last month, that might give you some idea how busy the end of last month was. In fact I didn’t even notice that I’d forgotten until a week into the month. More of why I was so busy in a moment but for now I give you the glory that is our July photo. Taken during a family BBQ (a bad shirt BBQ hence my beautiful attire) where Matilda decided that she was definitely not having her photo taken and Henry as usual looked like he was focusing on doing a wee in his nappy. One day that might both actually smile, having said that I quite like photos where we aren’t all just staring at the camera.

Me and Mine July

I love that the last photo I shared for May had us all sat in jumpers and jeans while here we are bathing in the glorious summer weather. It’s also amazing to see how much Henry has changed in 2 months, he’s really turning into a little boy all of a sudden and is so full of chatter.

This month I have been mainly running an awfully long way, 100km to be exact, I completed the Race to the Stones the day before this photo was taken to raise money for Save the Children and Tommy’s. If you look closely you can see how red and swollen my ankles are, I spent most of the BBQ sat with my foot up on a chair and an ice pack on it!

While I haven’t been training for that race I’ve been in the garden building my pizza oven, often until it’s too dark to see what I’m doing. That’s all done now also and we had the first pizza last weekend, still fine tuning managing the fire but love the feeling of cooking that way. Oh and I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to share a photo again of me during the Race to the Stones here also, absolutely love this photo taken by the race photographer.


The lady of the manor has spent most of the month struggling with the heat and realising how much better it was being pregnant in the spring time with Matilda and Henry. She’s also been masterminding the makeover of our lounge complete with new chimney breast and log burner. It looks great just not ideal weather for firing up a log burner! She’s also finally in the last week been enjoying a little peace and quiet while I take the kids out at the weekend. Love having quality time with them and hopefully helps give her a little break every so often.

Matilda has been absolutely loving preschool in July, the move to her new one has really paid off, so much so that she’s now complaining that it’s the summer holidays and she can’t go. She’s learnt so much there and you can see how we’re going to have to keep her brain busy over the next few weeks. She’s also become completely obsessed with princesses and in particular a certain one called Elsa! She’s constantly singing the songs and swishing her princess dress around.

Henry has found his singing voice this month; mainly from going to preschool and he also can give a very good rendition of ‘do you want to build a snowman’ from Frozen. However I think Rainbow Fish is his favourite, never heard of this song until they went to preschool but it’s lovely and is sung to the tune of twinkle, twinkle little star. He’s also started to show some signs of being ready to potty train, going to put it off a few more weeks but he’s starting to use the toilet a little. I’m sure once we do start we’re going to find him weeing in the garden or in the corner of rooms though!

dear beautiful

Me and Mine April

We decided to be brave this month and attempt a Me and Mine April photo away from home and what better location than Avebury? For those of you that don’t know about Avebury it’s a neolithic stone circle in the same guise as Stone Henge but much more accessible and I think more interesting. It’s also conveniently situated just 10 minutes from home so the idea was a nice walk with the kids and the hound then take a photo or 2 in front of the stones. I had visions of a lovely family outing with a nice little picnic along the way.

However the reality was unsurprisingly different, Bracken who is used to running with me did not enjoy being on a lead and pulled my arm off. Matilda complained that she was SO HUNGRY within 10 minutes of arriving and I forgot both the tripod and remote for the camera. Which resulted in a hilarious 10 minutes of running backwards and forwards to the camera to set the timer while it was balanced on my rucksack while trying to keep 2 toddlers in one place and get a photo that wasn’t slanting.

We just about managed to get a decent shot and it is of course the first one of these where we can officially share that there has in fact been 5 of us (plus the dog) in the last 2 me and mine posts as the lady of the manor is pregnant with our 3rd baby.Yes that’s right people we’re going to have 3 children under 4 come October!

Family photo at Avebury

This month I have mainly been running a marathon, celebrating my birthday and thoroughly enjoying the long weekends. It was my first road marathon (previous 1 was offroad) and I didn’t quite hit my target time but nonetheless pretty pleased with myself for doing it. However thoughts now turn to my next challenge and my recently announced Fool on the Run challenge where I’m going to be running 100km to raise money for Save the Children and Tommy’s. If you can spare a few pounds to sponsor me I would be eternally grateful.

The lady of the manor has been adjusting to life with an expanding bump again and claiming that despite 2 previous pregnancies not that long ago she doesn’t have any maternity clothes to wear. A likely story! She’s also been discovering that spicy food really doesn’t agree with her in this pregnancy after fajitas made a rapid re-appearance. She’s also been planning our lounge redesign which will hopefully include a log burner as the centrepiece.

Matilda has been getting older with her 3rd birthday a couple of weeks ago which was a relatively low key affair with some family with a bigger joint party for Henry’s birthday also which is in May to come in a few weeks. She’s also been changing preschool and is now doing 2 days of 9am to 1pm at the new place. She seems to have settled in really well and actually likes being left now which is a big step. The preschool is attached to the primary school we want her to go to so it feels good that the decision to move here has worked as we hoped.

Henry has started lying in (which is a big change from last months post where I complained of the 5am starts, he’s now regularly asleep to 7.30am which is just amazing. He’s also developed somewhat of an obsession with worms this month and every time we are in the garden he demands we go searching “wiggly worms daddy, wiggly worms”. Which I don’t mind at all, great fun going bug hunting.

Finally just for your amusement here’s a few of the outtakes 🙂




dear beautiful
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