Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Scenes

Dressing up for Christmas

The other day Elspeth asked Marisca what she'd like to dress up as for the toddler group nativities.  She immediately chose an angel, which is definitely her favourite of all Christmas things except for the baby Jesus.  Elspeth ran up a dress and complemented with pre-existing wings and a tinsel halo.

Risky loved it so much she has barely taken it off all week. Exceptions have included bed time when she can be a tiger (just a pretend tiger) with antlers, or when she had a play date next door and came back dressed as Mary!

Monday, 9 December 2013

A winter wonderland

Marisca has an advent calendar of activities.  Of course, as Elspeth is such a wonderful mum.  She loves her advent calendar of activities, whether it's sticking nativity stickers in a book, baking biscuits, or going to a Winter Wonderland - which is exactly what we did on Sunday.

Had we not been in the mood, Stockeld Park would have been more Hibernal Hell than Winter Wonderland - countless families with small children getting quite irate about the 4 hour queue to see Santa.  Luckily Marisca is not really into Santa, or at least not while he's there in person to be shy about, so we just went for a walk through the enchanted forest instead.  We had a whale of a time on the 1.2km walk, looking at the various lit creatures, playing on tea cups and rope bridges, and enjoying watching the people doing fake cross country skiing, or rather more enjoying them failing to do so.

And Marisca got a biscuit the size of her head.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Portrait of a boy: feeding

Portrait of a boy: motion

Family visiting

Two whole weeks ago we went down to see Andy and Jon on their flying visit to these shores.  We ate cake, played games, read stories, and had Double Pingu.  And posed, reasonably well in the main, for this photograph.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Can I play videos Daddy?

Marisca is a girl of technology.  I suppose all children her age will be, given the prevalence of amazing devices in our lives now.

Often she wants to play the kiddy games on my phone.  Her favourite thing, though, is to look at the photos, and particularly play the videos, that I've taken on my phone.  I seem to have lost the knack of getting a correctly-oriented video off my phone onto the blog, so here are a few of the photos that she always points out to me.

"That's a funny picture of Thomas!" [it is]

"Thomas is very tiny!" [no, he's just far away.  Actually, he's both]

"What's Thomas doing?  He's climbing the stairs, Daddy!"

"I'm cuddling Thomas Daddy, we're in the bath."

And yes, there are lots of photos of her too, but she always points out the pictures of her little brother.  How sweet.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Happy birthday boy (part 2)

And so today is Tom's birthday, one year on from this:

we have this:

We've had a great day.  I've been off work so we've had a day for the four of us.  We've spent a lot of it at Funopolis ("Daddy, I'm excited, this is sooo funpolis!"); some of it opening lovely gifts, largely consisting of wheeled toys which Thomas adores; some of it at Marisca's swimming lesson with Tom cheering poolside, and the rest chilling at home.  A few assorted photos follow.

Great day, great year, great boy.

Happy birthday boy (part 1)

Today is Tom's birthday and yesterday we had a party.  We invited five of Thomas' friends over for the afternoon to play with balloons, read books, crawl/walk around the place, and make an almighty mess.  We had a really fabulous time, and my thanks go to Elspeth for sorting it all out.

Here is Tom with his sister, both in their party gear.

A birthday spread...

The centre of everything.  Adair and Isadora make it into this photo; his other friends Jack, Lewis and Esmé  are lurking somewhere!

A rare photo of the four of us, with Marisca 'helping' unwrapping.

And here we go, proof that Tom has turned One.

DVD review

Wile E Coyote
This post should really be Wile E Coyote's best bits. In terms of number of watches over the past 6 months, that crazy coyote wins hands down.  Despite the fact that we see it so often, I still laugh at most of his calamities.  We particularly like sitting on the settee together and giggling along with the explosions and crashes.  I like to think that she enjoys his inventiveness, whereas I just enjoy seeing the laws of physics being bent so far they snap.  Or twang, usually.  

Marisca score 10, Daddy score 10

The best of The Wiggles
Singing, dancing, fruit salad making Australian pop group.  Keep watching long enough and you get to see Kylie and Leo Sayer strutting their stuff too.  Marisca has recently learned to properly dance along, and particularly likes 'the one with the elephant'.  The dressing up song is not quite long enough to dress up in, and 'play your guitar with Murray' always prompts running to the other room to find Elspeth's ukulele.  Cute.

Marisca score 10, Daddy score rising each time I watch it, started about 3 but up around 8 now

Totoro & Kiki's Delivery Service
Two films from Mayazaki.  I'm not sure if they are edge signed for three year olds but they're well liked. Each one comes with an exhortation to start at the beginning.  Totoro is particularly popular, with cries of glee when either baby totoro, middle sized totoro, or big huge totoro enter the fray.  She even manages to avoid being traumatised by the catbus which is impressive.  Only suitable for a long DVD session.

Marisca score 9, Daddy score 10

Wacky Races, Tom & Jerry

Marisca score 3, Daddy score 2

The complete Flumps
Flumplastic!  Clever marketing here, by using the made-up word 'flumptastic' nobody can argue with it.  Elspeth and I enjoyed it, I don't think Marisca has ever seen it.

Marisca score N/A, Daddy score 7

Other DVDs are available.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Autumn in Aberdeenshire

We are just back from a lovely few days visiting Trish, Cory, Duncan, and Fraser in Aberdeenshire.  I had a week of holiday that I needed to take before the end of the year, and we've not been up in a few years so we decided to make a holiday out of it.  We managed the 6 hours of driving in each direction and had a really great few days.  Here are a few of my favourite photos.

On the way up we broke the journey at Stirling Castle.  It's a really great place, definitely well situated for a castle, and with loads to see.  As we're English Heritage members we managed to get in for free, so didn't mind that we only spent an hour or so there exploring a couple of spots.  Here are Marisca and Elspeth, doing that thing they do.

Part of the castle was dedicated to children with a room on colours, music, carving, and dressing up.  Here's a lovely Scottish lady (excuse the bloke with the funny hat in the background - that's not even part of the dressing up).

For most of lunch Tom enjoyed throwing his food on the floor (a new favourite pastime) which delighted the couple next to us more than it does us.  Before that, we had some fun with prisms).

And here is some statue fella looking over his domain.  This was about as bad as the weather got all weekend!

We spent much of the time outside, which was great!  We had a scavenger hunt walk around a local forest, including much hide and seek.  Once Marisca invested in two walking sticks (having seen a walker with two walking poles), she was happy to walk all the way - probably only a couple of miles but it felt good.

We were both struck by how autumnal the place looked.  Large landscapes, tall trees, golden leaves.  Really beautiful.

Of course we spent some time indoors too, and the Amundruds were perfect hosts, even going so far as to put away all of the inhalable toys.  Tom had a great time crawling around.

Here's the best photo I have of the children.  Ah well, can't win 'em all.

Thomas, just being Thomas.

More autumn, this time at Duthie Park.

On our last morning we went to Duthie Park, ran around the winter gardens and tried out two of the playgrounds.  Here's Marisca measuring the length of her shadow (it's really tall).

Endless fun running over the bridges (this one, in particular) with Fraser.

And playing together on the slides.  The two of them had great fun together - there's a couple of years difference in age which seems just right for Risky to run around after Fraser giggling all the while.  Although it'd be exhausting, it gives a lovely foretaste of what it might be like for us  in 3 or so years time!

On the way home we broke our journey at New Lanark.  Another world heritage site and planned village, like Saltaire.  Very different atmosphere though - this place has been turned into a museum at least to 90% (normal people still do live there) compared with home, which is more like 90% normal.  Interesting to draw the parallels, and fun for Marisca to have a go at being a millworker's child, complete with uniform.

All in all, a great holiday.  Tiring for the children, being run ragged by very enthusiastic and active older boys, but fun.  We've a couple of days at home now before we turn to our own boy getting distinctly older himself in a few days.