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

Holiday Photo Shoot

I handed in my notice on Tuesday! I officially have only two more days work and I am a childminder! What’s more, I have two lovely mindees! They came on Wednesday for a settling in session where we played, got to know eachother and they stayed for dinner. Sandy and Rozzie were happy to have some friends to play with we all got on great. They will start on 24th October. So I’m finishing up my final few days of work before getting to work from home and be with my kids again!

In the last post I mentioned our family photo shoot on our holiday so here are the pictures:

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Our little family. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have these three lovely people.

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Sandy was all smiles for the shoot, he totally loved it!

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Look at his little grin!!

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Rozzie too had a wee smile, at me rather than the photographer though!

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These two just crack me up.. they totally sum up their characters and relationship.

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They were more than happy to jump for a picture.

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And not to forget us as well as those wee beauties!

Happy times, I’m missing it already and scheming for our next travels, hopefully next year! For now though, winter is coming (thrones stylee) and it’s all about jackets, blankets and hot chocolate!

Pool Party

No time! No time!

It’s busy busy busy as usual, if not even busier. Truth be told, we’ve been out having too much fun at the summer festivals for me to blog. So this long overdue (you can tell by the weather!) but better late than never!

The exciting news here is that all the busy times have paid off and yesterday I had my pre-registration visit with the Care Inspectorate resulting in a Registration in a few weeks time! I’m going to be a childminder! I have so much planned and can’t wait to get back to more of what I’m good at and be at home with Sandy and Rozzie more. What’s more is this is my own business. It means so much. So there will be more to follow on that shortly, but for now, enjoy our pool party from June I believe, and I will update on Sandy turning four as soon as I can!

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Work or Beach

In December last year I moved to a new job. I liked my old job well enough but it was poorly paid and there was no upward possibilities for progression despite a boss who appreciated me and acknowledged my work ethic and leadership. So I tried something else.

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Sometimes you have to make decisions without knowing if it is the right decision. We always want more and often that drives us to leave something acceptable without the surety that the other option will be better. It turns out for me that the other option was very much worse. I think I realised it the day I properly started and faced a girl who was in the same role of me who had not progressed in terms of status or pay in two years, yet was taking influence in all manner of issues outside her responsibility, including the budget, for nothing. It went downhill from there.

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It is easy to be in denial when you so badly want something to be a success, especially if you have something riding on it. Yet if I’d been honest I’d have known the environment was poor from the get go. There were few decent people there, and even those who I knew were alright had issues which made everyone else’s life harder. There was only one person there who ever actually was nice to me. Some people were nasty and others dour, some were incompetent yet in positions of authority. Others just tried to get on with things. I spent four months there and by the end of it I just couldn’t go in. I got scolded for where I stood, no guidance on performance and even berated for daring to take my lunch outwith the building. When I didn’t go in I job hunted.

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I applied for the first things I saw and overlooked issues that I would normally have taken as a red flag; salary, commute, hours. In the end I interviewed for and got a position and I was so deliriously happy that I didn’t care that it was full time; I’d been doing four days a week in hell generally so five days in heaven was so obviously better. I finished my time in my old job not working. It makes you feel bad, like a layabout and a coward, but I’ve been in situations before where I push myself too far so no-one thinks I’m weak or incompetent and end up making everything worse. And it’s not just me now. Any time things impact on my home life I draw a line: nothing touches my children. No job is worth that. So the end came and went and I moved on, taking with me only one person, the rose among the shit so to speak (who has also now escaped I am glad to report).

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I started my new job and found the fact that the problems I’d had previously were gone relieving. I had my own desk and people who I wasn’t scared to be near and an hours lunch break with no interference. The only problem was the hours. I knew when I signed up it was a full time job, but in my delirium I didn’t care.

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Luckily my new job allowed me a degree of flexitime and I was able to negotiate earlier starts and an afternoon off and my dear mother stepped up much like Gran did and took an extra morning. If there is one thing I am going to do based on my experience raising children it is make myself available to care for my grandchildren. That will be my gift to Sandy and Roslyn. Because having a children and a career is virtually impossible, despite the modern world we live in. Which brings me to my current conundrum…

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My job is alright. I mean, I have no major gripes. But it’s a temporary contract and recently that has been emphasised; not only in terms of when I’m out the door but also in a condescending way. I’m a high maintenance employee in some ways, as Stuart noted yesterday I “don’t get on well with work” or something similar. It’s sad but true. I guess the education system failed to mould me into a committed and unquestioning worker, and my self broke through, because to enjoy a job I need to feel at LEAST one of three things: challenged, creative, appreciated. And at the moment I’m feeling little of either.

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The start of a job is fine because there is challenge in a simple learning curve, but as I get good at things I need to be able to use my own brain otherwise it’s all robotic. I dreamed of data entry last night; I knew it was a turning point. Don’t get me wrong, I can do robot work to an extent. I can try and be quick or try and think of how to make it more efficient, but if someone doesn’t notice that I’ve worked hard there is very little motivation to come in the next day and do the same thing, or the day after that.

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So I’ve been feeling these things and feeling the loss of my time with the kids and I know this isn’t for me. Even if anyone had shown any interest in keeping me on, or a similar role was advertised, I’d be reluctant. It’s too much fight. You fight to be helpful and fight not to upset anyone, you hide your opinions and work so damned hard and no-one bats an eye and so often I’ve found thanks are given like gold yet lessons as common as muck. I’m so fed up of only my flaws being noticed. I’m so fed up of being judged on the trivial. I’m relentlessly tired of trying to prove myself to people who are intellectually inferior yet have let the power go to their heads.

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But don’t worry, I have a plan. I thought of what my aims in life are and they’ve changed a lot in the last few years. I used to want the career and took success as for granted. It would be mine, I was ruthless then. But I birthed my son and my brain changed (some good, some bad) and it was a like a wound that will never heal, and all these little things that you can usually brush off or ignore now worry the wound and so often little hurts are so raw and real that it feels the whole world is out to get you. I feel so unprotected since I had my children because any threat to me is a threat to them. Don’t get me wrong, I’d kill for them in an instant, but most often this manifests itself as passivity and hidden tears. Being a parent changes you. Being a mother alters your brain. I am sure of it. I know me, and it has happened.

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What I want is my kids. And my home. And my creativity. I want to make things and do things and visit places. I want experiences and fun and development. And becoming a childminder will allow me that. I won’t have a career, or a fabulous pension. There will be no bonuses or titles or accolades to collect. But I think I will be happy, and my children will be happy. And if I can succeed and bring comfort and care to other children, and maybe even expose them to some new skills and experiences then at least I will have contributed. I won’t have much money but I’ve come to realise enough to pay the bills and a little to put away is PLENTY, and if I love it and I’m good at it, perhaps when Sandy and Roslyn are going through the trials and tribulations of having children and working I will be on hand to help, to accept my grandchildren with open arms, to allow them to know their babes are being loved whatever they decide to do. That would make me fulfilled.

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And what does this have to do with a trip to the beach? Everything it turns out.

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The last two years we’ve waited for the weather to come good and spontaneously packed up the car and headed to Troon. The pictures of my children in the sand grace my walls and my memories. I’ve come to love summer, and rituals and tradition. I line up pictures of the same event year on year and get misty eyed. I think of Sandy letting the sand drain between his fingers, blowing in wisps. And of Roslyn rolling and rolling until she is more sand than skin. I think of their shrieks of joy to see a crab, a plane, a tractor. And of the warm smell of sea and hot skin as we drive home, them asleep in the back, worn out and content, with me at the wheel conveying my precious cargo back to our safe place. They place they come from, the place one was born. These are the things I will cry over as a little old woman.

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I realised this year going to the beach was a long shot. Scottish weather as it is generally you can count on one hand the number of days a year where the beach will be good. It has to be hot, and not wet, with no wind. We get these days but they are rare and I knew that the chances of these days falling on a weekend were minuscule. I accepted my fate but it did not sit easily with me. No more spontaneity for the full time working mother. No more going to anything we wanted irrespective of day or time, that joy comes only to that year’s maternity leave where you are too housebound by necessity or mental strain to enjoy it. My kids are now 2 and almost 4. We have a year left before School puts an end to our carefree fun, and here I’ve given up the days I had to do it.

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I’d decided to register to become a childminder before our beach day. I was already working on the forms and gathering materials. But as the weekend came and I got that TGIF feeling the weather was nice for the first time all year. And it lasted. It was Sunday evening and the forecast and the sky told it and tomorrow was Monday and it was a bank holiday and everything aligned.

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I don’t like to say I believe in karma because I don’t, not really. It’s very woo and unconvincing and would turn me to a hypocrite if I did. But I do believe that you reap what you sow. It would be ridiculous to suggest that our beach day was deserved for some reason; it wasn’t. But it gave me hope. Hope that I can coincide happiness and work. God knows if it’s possible, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

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Roslyn’s 2nd Birthday

I posted the weekend pictures thinking the blog I wrote was there but somehow wordpress decided no, my return to blogging should be a kind of silent film affair. So this is officially me back. Unless I manage to screw up posting this too. And if I do you won’t know.

Anyway! There was quite a hiatus there. Five months or so. I just felt I had nothing to say. And if I had wanted to say something it wouldn’t have been all that positive. The job situation was awful (something which has been resolved, for me anyway) and I was submitting my thesis, so blogging took a back seat. But here I am again ready to spam you with pictures of my kids and ramblings about things you probably don’t care about. I will continue though, because there are some exciting changes afoot which I will come to in the next few posts.

For now though it’s a hello I’m back and goodbye I’m off to go to the west end festival with my family. So enjoy pictures from Roslyn’s 2nd brithday, we had a cowgirl party!

Ciao!

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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!!

Halloween Party

It’s not that often that Halloween falls on a Saturday so this year we took advantage and threw a Halloween Party for our friends and family.

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Sandy went as Super Boy! He’s been learning all about super heroes at nursery recently so it was easy to pick a costume that he would be keen to wear. He’s not really one for dress up so it has to be something he really wants to make him put it on. I also got around the cape strangulation risk by making his own cape to popper on to his shirt!

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Roslyn went as a black cat. Initially I was thinking of wizard for Sandy and Roslyn as his black cat (previous Halloweens will indicate that I’m a big fan of the joint costume) but as he turned to super boy we just kept the cat for Roslyn as it was so cute (and very easy too). Funnily enough though I went as a burglar (mostly because I already had a striped top) and my Mum commented that the pair of us were a cat burglar, especially when I was wearing her ears which was most of the night because she wasn’t all that keen on them!

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I love this picture it’s like good vs evil and look at his little super face!

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(N.b. said cat ears, already discarded)

And what of the man who seemingly hates Halloween? The man who wouldn’t dress up for work and refuses to open the door to guisers? Well he was good enough to allow me to drape a sheet over his head for the sake of his children. That’s the spirit! (get it?!?!)

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So we got dressed and awaited the arrival of our spooky guests…

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… and once everyone had arrived we went old school and brought out the Halloween games. Firstly, donuts on a string.

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It’s meant to be scones dipped in treacle but I have a cream carpet and donuts already have the hole!

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You have to eat it without using your hands. Last year Sandy just took it and didn’t heed the rules but he made a good attempt this time!

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Craig and Scot made a good stab at it…

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… and Stuart (who had already shed his costume) got stuck in (for carbs mind, not halloween jollity).

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Next up was dooking for apples and we didn’t do any of that prissy forks on the back of a chair stuff. I caught one buy the stalk and was told I was cheating (boo!) so I left it up to the younger generations…

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Sandy loved trying to get an apple…

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… and Roslyn loved soaking herself.

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Craig was the all out apple champion…

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…and Scot made a good effort too!

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After the games we had food (pumpkin soup and bloody severed fingers in rolls (aka hotdogs) and then hit the streets for some guising. People are so generous and Sandy and Roslyn came home with more treats than they could carry.

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We had a fab night and it was well worth it. Thanks to all our friends and family who came!

On the Beach in October: Seamill

A bit of a photo heavy post but you will see why!

We arranged an overnight stay to Seamill this week, it being a location our family has gone to most years since my Mum was young. We headed out in the morning and the sun was up and it was cool but lovely, it promised to be a perfect day. Turns out it was a perfect day, but not so much a perfect stay. Mum called as we were en route to say there had been a mix up in dates by the hotel and there were no rooms for the night. We headed on regardless and decided just to make a day of it instead, and bung the kids in the car after dinner and come home.

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Firstly we got to the beach just outside seamill, wrapped up the kids and started to explore.

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Sandy and Roslyn were very happy digging the sand and collecting shells.

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Sandy and I ventured over the rocks to look out to sea. He was very good at avoiding “slippy sea weed” and holding my hand. We looked in the rock pool for crabs and shells.

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Then we hit the shore and paddled. Except Roslyn kept on trying to paddle in a bit too far so was much aggrieved each time I picked her up and put her back on the sand.

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The kids threw rocks in the water happily for ages.

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It was a stunning morning with a perfect view of Arran across the water.

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By the time we’d played for an hour it was getting too hot for all those layers.

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So we had a picnic on the beach and then headed off to the hotel where were meeting the family. We had lunch and then returned to the beach there where it was warm enough for bare toes and paddling.

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Sandy spent a lot of time building sand castles with Daddy and Auntie Fran. He stuck feathers in as flags and made sticks drive around and over the castles as trains going to stations and over bridges.

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Little miss Rozzie stoated about brandishing driftwood.

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Such a warm day, you’d never have known it was mid-October!

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Me and Jim!

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After the beach we went in and had a swim at the hotel before dressing for dinner…

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The kids played in the garden for a while, with a ball borrowed by Tate.

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The rest of us lounged…

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… while Roslyn perfected her acrobatic routine…

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… and Sandy showed off his football skills….

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We headed in for dinner and things started to get problematic with the rather atrocious service. The kids were hungry and things took ages. What with spilled drinks, one too few trips to the bathroom and missing starters we were more than ready to jump in the car and head for the hills. Not before Stuart sort of missed his joint birthday cake being brought out. It was a bit stressful towards the end but that didn’t take away from the fabulous day we had on the beach playing and swimming.

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Hopefully next time things will pan out better and we will get the same fabulous luck with the weather!