Recap – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Christmas II (aka Boxing Day)

You made it. The last chapter of my long overdue novella, the Christmas of Yesteryear. Let’s do this!

 

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Christmas Eve was chilled. We hit up the soft play to run some energy out of the littles and instead managed to cave to buying a slush and paid for it by having them totally ruin a lovely game of penguin ludo.

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We cut our losses and put on the jammies and the Christmas films til bedtime.

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The kids got the tray out and filled it with treat for Santa and the reindeer.

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The placed it carefully under the tree…

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… next to their pillow cases for Santa to fill.

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We went to bed and the next morning around 5am Sandy woke up, I went in to cuddle him and he fell back asleep in my arms. About half six he roused again and I saw his little face all pouty by the door in our bedroom telling me, “Mummy, you went away! You left me all. on. my. own!” I asked him “Sandy, what day is it?” and he replied “Christmas Eve”. “Not any more Sandy, it’s…” “…CHRISTMAS DAY!!!” he realised, “has Santa been?!” I told him to check the stockings we’d hung on the door frame and right enough the big man had delivered. Sandy ran into Roslyn’s room as we listened to hear him say “Roslyn! Roslyn! Santa’s been! He has filled our stockings! Wake up!” and she dutifully did, running through, rubbing her eyes with one hand, cradling her stocking in the other. As is tradition we opened our stockings in our bed before heading downstairs to see what had been left under the tree…

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…they were both very pleased to see that Santa and the reindeer had partaken in refreshments.

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Roslyn was delighted with her main gift – a new baby, as requested.

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Sandy finally got the shuttle part of his Playmobile space set he’d been after since his birthday.

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And of course the packaging was well loved too.

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This year Christmas was split over two days for us so everything took a far more leisurely pace. It was lovely to be able to relax in the house not having to rush out.

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They each found a bell from Santa’s reindeer’s harnesses, a la Polar Express, after being captivated by the film this year.

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Sandy was delighted and it seemed to make up for not having been invited on the actual train in the night!

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We got dressed for the day and snapped a family picture before heading out to Stuart’s parents house.

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The kids were thoroughly spoiled and delighted by their gifts there…

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It was lovely to be able to take our time at Stuart’s parents house too.

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We got our annual Findlay/MacNicol Group shot again – a cracker (pun intended).

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After Roslyn’s nap we headed home to meet up with my parents and brothers for a mini Christmas dinner before the main meal the next day.

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We got a little group shot here too but I think the candid one is better!

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Christmas dinner was a hit thanks to the team effort of Jamie (starter) Mum (trimmings) and me (bird and dessert). And the drinks were faithfully covered by Pa.

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Check out anna and elsa’s subtle photobomb in the above picture ^^

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I was especially proud of my pudding. I love the look, smell and general tradition of Christmas pudding but just can’t abide the taste. I want to like it, but I don’t. Peel isn’t the bit you eat, IMO. So I recreated a steamed pudding – honey and cinnamon – and put in charms too, like my Gran used to. It was perfect and Sandy kept going on about how much he loved it which meant a lot.

The next day (Boxing Day) we headed to Gourock and my Aunts’ new flat where we partied it up again…

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Class Acts.

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We got another fabulous family picture too!

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Dinner was perfect and we all had such a nice time. It was great to spread the fun over two days and get to spend more time with everyone.

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We plan to do the same next year and I’m sure it will be just as good.

Well, there’s the end of the saga, festive feeling in February can recede now, and I’m happy not to force Tartan on the kids again til St. Andrews. Maybe.

Recap – Ice Skating and Edinburgh’s Christmas

I lied. Teasing of pictures of the big day and all you get are some of us skidding around on frozen water. But also…

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… this. Exhibit A: How I don’t put her up for adoption after she is a complete buttock. Which she is. Often. Daily.

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Anyways, off to Edinburgh. We went by train because, you know, driving into Edinburgh is like cycling to the moon, which sadly broke my vow never to travel by Scotrail again (the details of I will spare you from, lucky you).

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We got there early and hit up Costa for some hot chocolate and babychinos. Notice in this picture how my baby looks about twenty (wtaf?)

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Aaaaand back to 2. Phew.

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I’d booked for just me and Sandy to go on the ice and at first this was vindicated because he found it pretty tricky to get around on the little skatey attachments he had.

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But soon after we nicked a penguin aid and realised he could stand on the other side so I could fly round with him knocking little children and the elderly out the way (jk)…

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…Rozzie got in on the action too.

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As we went round little white blobs started falling out of the sky and I was all “oh my god Sandy it’s snowing… JUST FOR US!!!” and it wasn’t until after I realised it was eight degrees and the snow was fake foam pumped out for ambiance. Ah well, it was still amazing.

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After this we meet lovely Emma for lunch and hit up the Christmas market with her, going on the big wheel in Edinburgh for the first time.

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Stuart made a good effort at not looking like he hated it.

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Me, on the other hand…

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It was a great day, perfected of course by a cancelled train home and therefore a nap for Roslyn and my feeling vindicated in how crap Scotrail are.

Recap – Sandy’s Nursery Show and Santa Visit

Yes it is February and I am only just getting around to posting our festive period pictures. Insert usual excuses here. I know looking at Christmas pictures two months past the event isn’t everyone’s idea of fun but we got a new DSLR after our old faithful was stolen on holiday so they are good quality and super cute hooray!

On 16th December Sandy had his nursery show and despite being offered the part of a shepherd he decided he wanted to be an elf, like last year. It was super considerate of him to work with his mother’s obsession with direct year to year comparison pictures (he’s an enabler).

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So he donned the elf costume again – this year the even cuter cut off trouser one, which presumably fits the older of the nursery kids. Last year we were so impressed with him because, baby that he was, he was brave enough to stand on the stage and he even swayed a bit to the music. This year we’d seen him slyly practicing moves to certain christmas songs when they came on (All I Want and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town) so had an inkling that we’d be in for even more action, but we were never prepared for this…

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He was by far the most accurate and involved one on the stage, and I don’t say that to put down any of the other kids who were great, I say it to highlight the peculiarity of his sudden enthusiasm for being centre of attention, considering he is usually so introverted. We were so proud of him, he knew every move and sang every word.

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# You better not pout, you better not cry…#

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He was incredible.

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And ridiculously cute.

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And totally committed to his craft!

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Perfect Elf!

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Afterwards he got pretty tired of all the compliments and went back to his wallflower ways. He certainly chose a great time to shine.

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It’s crazy to think that next Christmas it will be Roslyn’s stage debut, and scary too; she’ll probably demand to sing solos.

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The other nursery event for Christmas was on his second last day, a special visitor.

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Sandy got on his special Christmas shirt for the event.

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And Roslyn was quite jazzed too.

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His face when he spotted us in the audience… sob sob heart melty.

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Each child went up when called and Sandy was second to last, he waited patiently, if excitedly, and when his name was called he was so excited to get a gift that he didn’t even stay still for the picture before launching himself at me to tell me…

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The perfect run up to Christmas!

Next up in the Wow This is Overdue blog post series, Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day. Don’t get too excited though, it might take til next Christmas to find time to post it :S

Childminding – Our First Three Months

So it has been quite a while since I posted on the blog… and of course the reason for this silence is that I’ve jumped straight into the deep end of my new career as a childminder. There is so little time to stop and do things like blogging so I’ve had all these pictures and ideas and activities to share but not a spare minute to actually do just that. Finally I have a little shred of time so here is a quite round up of the past three months.

On the whole it has gone really well. My mindees are lovely and not at all hard to mind and I’m coping with the tos and fros of the school and nursery runs too. Roslyn on occasion has been a little miffed about being woken early from her nap to go pick up the kids but I think that will disappear soon as she now seems intent on dropping her nap altogether.

Luckily for me the time of year I started childminding at was chock full of events that make it easy to plan and execute fun activities for my four charges. It started with Halloween…

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We made some pumpkin decorated biscuits…

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… and carved pumpkins!

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They turned out super scary! They were out front on the night glowing creepily, and my mindees later took theirs home to do the same.

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We also had a sensory bucket full of halloween items and water beads – my newest find thanks to my friend Faye. They are like squishy marbles that grow from seeds to balls in water.

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Strangely hard not to touch! The kids loved them.

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At home my three year old mindee had been challenging me to help him build the biggest train tracks…

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… and been beating my at our Orchard Toys toddler games!

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On Fridays Roslyn and my little mindee go to bookbug while Sandy and our bigger mindee are at nursery and school.

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For Guy Fawkes we did some safe sparkling which was fun, if a little damped by the rain!

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And my mindee made me a lovely birthday card 🙂

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Neither of my kids’ or my mindees’ food choices are particularly varied so we created a food chart. Every time I offer a new food they get a sticker for giving it a try and when they get five stickers they get to pick a fun activity to do one evening. We’ve been hitting up the soft play as the rewards flew in, while some foods have now made a regular appearance on the menu such as green beans, tortellini pasta and sweet potato chips! A total success and we are now on our second chart!

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One of the ways I have been offering such new food is through interactive dinner prep such as top your own pizza night!

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Having a mindee of similar age to Sandy is great, they get on well and are little buddies always wanting to hold hands.

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Roslyn at bookbug pretending to be a sleeping scarecrow!

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Since the mindees started the art wall has flourished, with barely enough frames to accomodate the amount of art generated in a day, never mind a week!

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Christmas lights spotting season begins!

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And also rainbow spotting!

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Our oldest mindee makes up her own games and the little kids join in. This was a toy collection for a pet shop game illustrating the shameful number of plush toys my kids own!!

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We have been getting in on some science activities too, and child led learning. My oldest mindee had seen videos on YouTube of watermelon challenges, where a family were putting rubber bands round a watermelon and the pressure made it explode. We did our own experiment in the garden which was a success… so much fun!

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For Road Safety week we practiced safely crossing the road, then inside made our own lollipops and role played crossings too.

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It got chilly in November on the school run so we needed to think of more indoor activities…

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… such as visiting the library to use their drawing wall and get some books out.

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The festive season started and we have had lots of fun, starting with a walk to Dalzell Estate to collect holly to make a wreath.

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We made fake snow from shaving foam and corn flour and made our own mini snowmen…

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… so cute!

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Much crafting has been taking place…

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… and also another sensory bucket, this time an antarctic one with ice bergs (made by freezing water in freezer bags!)

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Some puddle splashing has taken place on the nursery run too!

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We made a gingerbread house, FROM SCRATCH! One of my personal best baking accomplishments, with help from my brother, Jamie.

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The kids were very happy to help decorate, and of course, demolish in due course.

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Roslyn on the nursery run.

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On the last day before christmas we had a mini christmas dinner with crackers!

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And of course we did lots of cooking and baking too.

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In the holidays I took a week off but got my mindees for three full days, rather than their hours spread over 5, so we got the chance to explore. We visited Dynamic Earth and then Almond Valley.

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Roslyn’s favourite bit? When the big pig pooed. Obvs.

So yes, all in all childminding is going well. There are ups and downs, and financially times are tight until Sandy goes to school in August and I can mind more under 5s, but it is worth it to be at home with my kids and get to work by being creative and playing all day – my favourite things (child at heart!). So bear with me if the updates are few and far between, we are having too much fun to stop just now!!

Our Family Christmas

Apologies for this post being so late and somewhat out of season, but here it is, our family christmas in photos!

We started Christmas morning with Roslyn crying down her monitor at 5:45 as per usual so brought her through to our bed to watch some twirlywoos while we awaited Sandy rousing.

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In the end Roslyn knocked on his door to wake him. He wasn’t all that pleased at first but as I whispered to him about Santa having been he sprung into life and was so excited to see our stockings all filled. We took them into our bedroom and opened them on the bed.

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Then we headed downstairs and discovered that Santa and the reindeer had enjoyed their treats and he had left a few more gifts under the tree.

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We took a break from presents for a nutritious Christmas breakfast…

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… then got back to opening and playing.

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The highlight of our gifts to Sandy was his Ezra Furman shirt and records.

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He really loved them.

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He was also very taken with Buzz Lightyear!

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Roslyn got Jesse and seemed to like her but generally was rather crabby all of Christmas day due to the dreaded incisors.

I lamented to family later that I spent a fair bit of time in between getting dressed to go out refereeing a fight over a christmas present from last year – not looked at in months – which suddenly was back in favour with each of them at exactly the same moment. How convenient.

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Next we headed over to the Findlays and had fun opening more presents, perusing the menu of Shug’s diner, and having some much needed down time from the whining of miss Roslyn as she napped!

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This year I wasn’t doing Christmas dinner at ours which was quite a nice break, as much as I do like being a host.

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Mum hosted and cooked and the only thing I was required to bring was my homemade pudding wine (which was good) and the parsnips and carrots. I’d saved the ones in my garden for the occasion and had been surprised when I went out in the pissing rain on Christmas eve to uproot them to find they were mostly a bloody foot long and required a lot of digging with the fork to retrieve. Worth it though, as they were tasty.

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I got a bit snap happy at the dinner table between starter and main so I’ll just leave these here for now…

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Here is Roslyn actually eating something. THANK GOD…

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… and here is Sandy eating, well , a cracker.

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Jamie clearly onto my attempts at candid photography by that point.

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Here I managed to put Sandy off of crackers for life by slightly punching him in the face. Bad mum.

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And here is our girl the cheeriest she was all day, because for once she wasn’t starving herself! She loves her “aimee” and wasn’t shy in telling us all exactly that.

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Soon it was time for the littles to get to bed so we could, you know, actually open our own presents. So jammies were donned and off to bed they went.

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We then played our christmas seceret santa gift game which was a roaring success once again.

All in all it was a fabulous and busy day which even included a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!! Roslyn and Sandy were both woken, driven home, and put back into bed with little disruption and slept through to the morning. Thank you baby Jesus!

Christmas, we are ready!

5 hours until it’s Christmas! So exciting!

It seems with Sandy and Roslyn each year gets better and better. They understand it more, their routines constrain the day less and generally they just have a more jolly time of it.

This Christmas eve we had nothing to do other than a quick jaunt to the shops to grab some last minute essentials (nappies, wipes, pepsi and pastry). So once we were back and Rozzie had napped we made some Christmas pies for Santa.

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Christmas pies are my version of mince pies, they look exactly like them, but don’t have the same filling. Instead its a kind of spicy coconut cheesecake base instead.

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Sandy is really excellent at baking now, stirring, measuring and rolling out dough. Roslyn on the other hand…

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Well, she enjoys being involved!

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Our pies turned out lovely and we played for a while before dinner.

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Our festive spread had meats, cheeses, pates and crackers for us and lorne sausage and chicken nuggets for the kids. The usual then. Yep.

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After dinner the kids had a bath and we all donned our new matching tartan jammies!!

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(Roslyn’s aren’t actually new, they were Sandy’s two years ago, shhhhh!)

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Then we headed downstairs to make some last minute preparations for Santa.

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The kids laid out their pillowcases…

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…and helped get a carrot for the reindeer and a christmas pie and milk for Santa.

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Check out Roslyn taking the task very seriously *melt*

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Aside from the tempestuous nature of one young lady at time we had a fabulous Christmas eve.

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They are both fast asleep now and we can’t wait for the morning to see what magic has happened overnight…

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Merry Christmas Eve!!

Wreath

We FINALLY got round to making our Christmas wreath this year.

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I was waiting and waiting for a day where I had the kids and it wasn’t raining. Such a day did not materialise until a day Stuart was off when the rain broke for two hours in the afternoon and we just managed to get our wreath walk in before the rain came back on.

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Our foliage foraging area is in Baron’s Haugh, a fabulous hidden park in the middle of Motherwell.

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It has several holly bushes and lots of expansive conifers to take a few cuttings from to create a beautiful wreath.

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The holly bush surrounds an open platform area making it into a little den which Sandy named “the holly house”. Stuart, Sandy and Rozzie played in the house while I snipped a few sprigs complete with berries.

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I was glad to have Stuart with us, not only because it is much easier to coral two wandering kids with two bodies, but also for the height advantage.

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Roslyn wasn’t feeling herself all day but she perked up when she got out for her walk.

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It didn’t last long though because she promptly face planted into a puddle of mud.

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After that was resolved it was time for a quick trip to the river and the bridge with no sides which causes Stuart to lose control of his bowels before heading home just as the rain came on.

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I was beginning to think there would be no time for a wreath this year due to how busy we are but luckily we fit it in and I’m really glad we did as I smile every time I see the wreath hanging from our door!

Christmas Craft: Snow Globes and Decorations

We put up our Christmas decorations slightly early this year, mostly due to scheduling issues. Things have been a bit up in the air what with my new job and not knowing my rota for this month until it was happening.

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The kids were pretty excited to find all the decorations, especially the snowman army.

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They take a lot of pleasure in little things which is lovely to see.

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Note Roslyn hugging the snowman like Sandy used to. That very snowman was the one Sandy toted around between 18 and 21 months old, calling it his “babee” and looking after it. He shortly after replaced that babee with his real one, and she will probably be known as babee when she enters school!

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We made some snow globes using old jars, christmas figures and some white glitter. I didn’t think it through though and set them up to make them only to realise once we glued the figures on we could do nothing else until the glue dried!

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We tried passing the time with some DSLR selfies (hard to do) but they weren’t having it.

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So I cracked open the craft tub my brother got me for my birthday last year and we made some decorations (the one thing our tree does NOT need more of!!)

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Sandy made his all by himself and I think it is utterly adorable!

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Roslyn did a penguin and apart from the coloured in nose and hat it was all her… even the eyes! So impressed!

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She put it on the tree and seemed pretty content with it.

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Sandy put on mine and his.

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We still had a little time to kill so Sandy dressed up as his idol, Ezra Furman, in a dress with pearls.

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Then we filled the jars with water, glitter and a drop of glycerin (to stop the snow falling too quickly) and glued the lids into place.

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Sandy loved his and I think they turned out really special!

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Christmas Decoration Craft

I came across some old silver hoops the other day and decided to get out the glue gun and some wooden stars from Hobbycraft so Sandy and Roslyn could help craft them into decorations.

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Firstly the kids painted the wooden stars red and green and we stamped on the back an S or an R so we knew who had done each one.

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Sandy was very particular with his painting, exerting a lot of concentration to get each star totally covered!

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We let the stars dry and then I did the fiddly bits the kids couldn’t manage; using the glue gun to stick on invisible elastic thread over the hoop to form a transparent web which would hold the stars. Next Sandy helped stick down two stars to each hoop; one of his and one of Roslyn’s on each.

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Finally we added some pva over the decorations and the kids went glitter happy!

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I think the finished decorations look fabulous and we can’t wait to give them out to family to hang on their trees!

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Gretna to York: Day 1 of a Holiday Extravaganza

We are just back from holiday. In fact we are back two days earlier than expected but, for the sake of INCREDIBLE SUSPENSE, I won’t tell you why just yet. For now, here’s our first day of the holiday.

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We set out from home at half eight in the morning and by ten were at Gretna Green for our scheduled stop to break up a three and a half hour journey to York.

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The famous blacksmith’s shop is a great stop over point, albiet quite touristy (but secretly I lap that stuff up anyway so it was a win-win).

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The littles burned off some energy in the play park which was ideal so they didn’t combust in the car.

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Anywhere that gets one of these things ticks a box in my daft tourist check list (which also contains ‘sells photo magnets’, ‘is a little bit kitcsh’ and ‘has a maze’ for what it’s worth)

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Coincidentally this place also did have a maze so we checked that out once it opened at 10am which – unlike the rest of the population – is practically midday for parents, and therefore a daft time for things to open. However, nearly every attraction opens at 10am and we routinely found ourselves leaving our hotel room at 7:50 and trying to find things without doors to do for two hours before we could get into places, by which time the kids were either hungry or tired or both so you know how that goes. Stuart decided he’s going to open a branch of tourist locations opening at 8am for families around the country because of that.

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Anyway I digress…

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The maze was… aMAZEing. Yes, I went there. Blame my new job and concession groups’ love of inoffensive play on words jokes.

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One thing that was a bit of a challenge on holiday was Rozzie’s inability to walk yet. When I thought of the holiday months ago I just assumed by almost 15 months she’d be on her feet (after all Sandy was toddling away a week after his first birthday) but alas she was not. So we spent A LOT of time hunched over having her walk holding onto our hands lest she crawl through the muck (which is all fine and well at home with 20 outfits to choose from and a tumble drier).

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The thing that Gretna of course is famous for is eloping to get married because of the age limit being younger in Scotland in the past so English lovers would come over to marry then return home. So in the spirit of that I asked the youngest man I knew to marry me…

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He said “I do” and we sealed the deal with a kiss.

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Stuart tried the same with Roslyn but she wasn’t quite ready to settle down just yet 😉

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She was however okay with a public on the ground love in with her best buddy.

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After Gretna we headed to York, just making the journey before any major whining set in. We checked into the hotel and then went out to source some dinner.

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We had time to visit Yorkmister (from the outside only this visit) where on the steps Roslyn made friends with two pugs who licked her face. She didn’t seem to mind in the slightest!

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As you can see here we got great weather on our first day and – by and large – it lasted most of the holiday.

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Roslyn was happy to be able to crawl to her hearts content on the steps.

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Learning with Daddy.

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We went to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen for dinner which was like Ketchup in Glasgow and ideal for the kids. They even a Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Milkshake which was not the last appearance Uddingston’s most famous export would make on our travels…

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Finally when we got back to the hotel the kids went straight to sleep without any fuss which was incredible as I’d envisioned real issues with the four of us sharing a room for a week. And again, to add to that incredible SUSPENSE you’ve already been waiting in, I won’t reveal how project get some sleep on holiday progressed til next time…