Sunday, 31 January 2016


A lovely start to the new year, with a visit to Waddesdon.   There was an art installation by Bruce Munro.

Rob's birthday was on the 5th.  The kids all made cards, including Fred (he doesn't often enjoy drawing).

We all went to Mead Open Farm on Rob's birthday.

I ended up joining, and we went again later in the month.  We're looking forward to lambing!

Swimming and parkour are going well, and all the kids are enjoying the sessions.

We went to the woodland meet up in Taplow.  It was cold (not surprisingly) but we managed two hours. 

We went to Angela's, and as she had the air drying clay out we all made something.  The kids had a fire in the garden.

Betsy and Meg did some cool artwork on big paper.

We had a few days of cold weather, and the canal iced over. The kids loved it, and Betsy took a video:

Other favourites this month - Roblox.  Lots and lots of Roblox, with the 3 playing together, or 2, or 1.  Fred has been enjoying Team Fortress 2, and has struck up a friendship with a 10 year old in Egypt.  They skype and play most days.  I find it amazing!

We missed TVAP (Meg needed a GP appointment that day), but Billy and Zoe came over the following week.

My Lonely Planet guide to Iceland came - the planning for our trip begins now!

Saturday, 2 January 2016


December starts as it usually does, with the advent calendar and the arrival of some elves. This year Eric and Ernie paid us a visit.  The kids were happy to see them again!  Some of their highlights were playing real hide and seek (they really move by themselves!), trying to take Fred's tooth fairy money, going on a roller skate ride, climbing the tree, and riding the pigs. 

December usually brings poor health to our household.  Last year was weeks and weeks of on/off tummy bugs, the year before was chest infections.  This year was coughs and colds, leading me to cancel lots of plans.  We missed a couple of weeks of swimming lessons and parkour, a woodland meet up, the group at TVAP.  

It was hard to fill so many 'home' days.  We watched lots of films - a highlight was A Christmas Carol, the Disney version with Jim Carrey doing many of the voices.  It was quite dark, and scary, but Meg and I in particular loved it.  It stuck very closely to the text.  There was lots of gaming on iPads, the PS3 and the pc.  We did some baking, making Christmas shortbread biscuits.

I made some window stars, and Betsy helped decide the colour order.  I really love them.

I dug out a gingerbread house kit I'd bought last year and not used.  Betsy and Meg really enjoyed decorating it, and it looks great on the seasons/nature table.

One of our 'well' days was spent in Milton Keynes.  We went to Ikea, as the kids had been asking to go to the creche (and I wanted some candles!).  Afterwards we went to Peggy's for lunch, then we all went to the Splash Zone.  This really worked for Fred as he gets on well with Ylian, and wouldn't enjoy himself without a big friend to play with.  It was a busy, fun day, particularly as Amanda was there.  I hadn't seen her since she moved to France in the spring.

We got the tree the next day.

Fred and Rob went to see Port Vale vs Scunthorpe United as part of a match sponsorship.   This meant they had a meal before the match, toured the changing rooms, helped decide the man of the match, and met several of the players.  Fred was still under the weather unfortunately, but had a good day.

We made it to the second woodland meet up.  It felt like I hadn't seen anyone apart from work colleagues or family for weeks!  It was so good to be with other people.  Cabin fever much?!

We had carols around the fire, and mulled apple juice, popcorn made over the fire, and the kids played games in the woods.

Then it was all about last minute Christmas preparations.  We were hosting Christmas for 12 - us 5, my parents, Rob's parents, and my brother and his girlfriend.  Lots of lists, shopping, planning!

I was so busy I hardly had time for photos, but managed to take one of the kids before they opened their stockings.

Betsy and Meg made wrapping paper for two of my presents.

Fred and Betsy liked their new wheels.  Meg was delighted with a real iPad!

Before everyone arrived.

One of their presents from Tom and Jessica was Doggy Doo.  We had this a while ago but it broke.  We had fun playing it again on Boxing Day.

A few days after Christmas we went to the Avon Valley Country Park near Bristol, to see Duncan, Jazz and their 3 boys.  It was great, with an indoor play area, outside playground, miniature railway, tractor ride, animals.  A lovely day.  And sunny, after a grey grey grey month.

Honourable mention must go to Star Wars, we went to see it on the 28th.  Loved it!  And we picked up a new PS4 on the same day.  Happy Fred!