Tuesday, 26 February 2013


We now have a wall downstairs with a growing, and rapidly overturning, selection of Marisca's art on it.   But none of it is quite as pretty as the patterns she left behind in her paint pot...


I think Spring must be coming.  I'm really looking forward to when it does, so that Thomas can see that the world is not always grey and cold.  

We've brought Spring into our kitchen this week.  Marisca bought me some daffodils from the supermarket as a present, and we have delighted in them opening up.  The amaryllis that we planted some time ago is finally in its super growth spurt, and we measure it every day using a pencil.  And the hyacinth is growing too.  Marisca is genuinely overjoyed to see these plants grow taller and change as the flowers bloom.  And I love watching her watching things grow.

Roll on Spring...

Monday, 25 February 2013

A bit of tummy time

I looked back at Marisca's early months and found a picture of her on her tummy.  so here's one of Thomas doing the same, in his Lion outfit (thank you Andy!).

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Beamsley beacon

We had a brilliant girl today, hopping up a proper rocky footpath to the top of Beamsley Beacon. She has new proper walking shoes and really enjoyed a Walk. This is how we will remember it. The cold and ensuing crying in the backpack on the way down will fade into obscurity.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Monday, 18 February 2013

3 months

Here is our three month old boy dressed in his Sunday best. These photos don't show it, but Thomas is a happy, smily, giggling, chatty little boy. When he is awake he loves nothing more than to gurgle and coo at us and will 'chat' away and giggle when you smile at him. If he is left to his own devices (which happens quite a lot with an older sister around), he will find his thumb and lie and suck contentedly. He even drifts off to sleep on his own sometimes!

Thomas is also starting to enjoy 'toys'. He will lie on his playmat and bat at the hanging toys, but his absolute favourite toy is the wicker basket next to his change mat. He loves lying there staring at the wicker and reaching out to touch it. Mind you, his favourite place to be is still in our arms which is good as we love cuddling him. He has just graduated from the stretchy wrap to the mei tai (at least when I'm carrying him) and is definitely into his 3-6 month clothes. But he is still 'teeny tiny' as far as his sister is concerned, and I agree with her. I can't believe we are at three months already!

Ice cream in February

Marisca has recently made a new friend. Oscar, or "my Oscar" as Marisca calls him, goes to the same toddler group as us and has a little sister a few weeks older than Thomas. Oscar and Marisca play pretty well together, as well as two two-year-olds can play together anyway, so Oscar's mum and I have been hanging out together quite a lot.

This week is half term, which means no toddler groups. So instead, today we all headed off to the ice cream farm. The sun shone, the playground was busy but not too busy and there was ice cream to eat and milk shakes to drink. Two happy toddlers means two happy Mums!

Out and about

We've had two weekends with some out-and-about, indicating the start of occasional spring-like weather. and a desire to start Marisca walking so we can do some mini-hiking again.  We're thinking about how to get Marisca interested in walking so that I don't have to carry her around in the backpack for the rest of her life. And we're starting off looking for parks with a good reason to walk a fair distance (perhaps a mile or two), and next we'll be looking for teeny tiny summits to get to.

We started a couple of weeks ago at St Ives Estate, up the hill a bit out of Bingley.  It has a playground and a lake to walk around.  We had lots of fun in the playground, including the musical trail.  Bedford types may recognise the bells in the action shots below.

My (and Marisca's) favourite bit of the park was the swings.  They had really, really long chains on them, the longest I've seen (perhaps 3 metres?  maybe?).  And so the swinging was big and a bit crazy.

Unfortauntely, Marisca had such a lovely time in the playground that she was too tired out to consider walking around the lake, so we didn't.

However, this weekend just gone we went over to Lotherton Hall, primarily because we expected some half term activities which didn't transpire to be taking place, but we had a good time nonetheless.  There's more than one playground, a house to look around, a bird zoo of some kind, and a cafe and ice cream truck.  And Marisca walked around almost all of it herself, playing running and chasing and jumping.  Probably a couple of miles: we were very proud of her.

At the end of the day we always have a little run through of the day's events, as well as what's happening tomorrow.  Marisca loves this bit of the bedtime routine.  On Saturday she told us about the picnic, the flamingos (from pink to blue), the playground, and the ice cream.  It was nice to be able to have a picnic, one of the first springy days this year.  Marisca impressed me by polishing off the meat (biltong).  

And here she is with the flamingos.  She liked those, and most of the parrot type things and small exotic birds, but not the bigger cranes and rheas.  Too noisy, and bigger than Marisca.

Oh, yes, Tom was there too.  Mostly enslung, but he woke up for cake...

...and to cast a covetous eye over Marisca's ice cream...

...but of course Marisca managed it all by herself.  What a champ.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

A Walk

Today was Thomas' first Walk. He is walked everywhere, but thus was a walk with footpaths and walking boots. It was only along the river, but at over 3 miles I'm sure it counts.

We walked to see the empty locks and aqueduct a little way up the canal at dowley gap. You may recall last winter we went down into the canal at Bingley's famous five rise locks, and this year they've come further down the canal to replace the gates and do other maintenance to the locks. It's fun to be down in the bowels, to be reminded how deep they are, and then surprised at how shallow the aqueduct is.

So, not a hill top but not a bad start to his walking record.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

4 swimmers

We all went swimming yesterday.  Tom's first visit to the pool, and the first time Elspeth's been since we've been here.  I'm not sure which was more exciting for Marisca - she'd been repeating "I'll go swimming with mummy, daddy goes swimming with Thomas" for much of the afternoon.  Marisca is now in bigger armbands, no swim nappy, and is really happy in the water.  She'll sometimes float on her back and sometimes do a little kick but mostly it's walking through the water, finding watering cans to play with, and of course using the elephant slide.

Thomas was remarkably good too.  Contrast to the bath they had in the evening (Thomas screaming the whole time), he was just happy and calm about it.  He didn't much like being laid on his back, but would bob up and down upright very happily.  He didn't really complain when Marisca poured water from the watering can right into his face!  Of course we were much more confident than when we took Marisca for the first time - as is the case with most things.  We (I) even gave Tom a little dunking.

Hopefully this is something we'll do more of.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Thomas said Oh!

Tom has started talking a lot recently.  I think 'vocalising' might be the right word but I don't like it, I think he's talking, he's just not learned any particular language yet.  He's just starting to vary the sounds that he makes, changing the pitch and tone.  It's brilliant.

And of course Marisca loves it.  "Thomas said Oh!", "What's he saying?!", and copying his noises are becoming very common in our house.  That's brilliant too.

Thomas' Baptism, 3 February 2013

Welcome to the Church, Thomas.  Officially baptised Thomas Michael in a service at our church, St Paul's, Shipley.

What a cracking day.  The date was organised before Thomas was born, so there was enough time to get organised and make sure everything went smoothly.  

The service was really lovely.  It was the first time the church had used that order of service, which has the parents, godparents, and child (in our case, children, as Marisca wanted to be part of the action too) up at the front 4 or 5 times during the service.  I liked this, as this is our church and we felt really welcomed and part of the service, rather than just as a bolt-on.  So many of the congregation came up afterwards to coo over Thomas: this is pretty standard to a normal Sunday, and is great.

Thomas wore his special dress for the ceremony, that which his sister, mum, gran, and grandad were all baptised in.  Doesn't he look nice!

We had a party afterwards at a local hotel.  Enough family and friends, both local and not, that we filled the room nicely but not too many that we couldn't make sure everyone had cuddles that wanted them.  Lunch, cake, balloons, this party had it all.

To date we only have one photo with the four of us in (anyone reading this who has any nice photos from the day, please send them over!).  Marisca wielding a large knife, Daddy with his hand ready to pounce if needed.

Does this one speak for itself?

Monday, 4 February 2013

The end of the snow

I really want to write about Thomas' baptism yesterday, but everything will be all out of order if I don't do this one first.  The fortnight of snow ended with the biggest snowfall of all, many inches deep, overnight on Friday night.  We decided to make use of the fact that it was the weekend to go for a snowy walk.  Just down to the canal and along and up through the village, nothing too strenuous or cold.  

Still it was good enough reason for Thomas to get wrapped up in his snow suit and sling, as shown below.

It was such a lovely morning - snow everywhere, bright sunshine, and mist in the valley.  This bit is usually a lot greener:

And of course Saltaire looks great in the snow, as it does without it.  It's nice to take a few snaps with my camera knowing I'll have many years of snowy scenes ahead to get out and spend proper time doing snow photographs.

And lastly, well, the snow went.  The rain came down and the floods came up and the snow virtually all disappeared overnight.  Elspeth finished knitting Marisca's hat and I made the pompom (to feature in a later post, I'm sure).  The photo below, of a very grown-up looking girl, wasn't strictly in the snow, but it's so nice and if I don't tell anyone I'm sure you won't.