Lazing on a sunny afternoon…NOT!

Saturday, 6th April 2013

After the mid-week expense and long drive to Windsor today we took a more relaxed view of what we wanted to do. It was already starting to be a great weekend as the weather was sunny and the kids wanted to go to the beach. To save daddy a drive in traffic we decided to walk to Morecambe.

It was a lovely stroll down the cycle path for mummy and daddy, Elliott slept most of the way and Ben was content enough to count cyclists, daddies and ladies as they passed by. We went to the supermarket and got a picnic for lunch.

We spent only a short time on the beach. Daddy is happy to walk along the beach but aside from that he is not a beach person as the sand irritates him (mummy says it is his OCD) and he constantly worries about getting it of hisself.

We all know this so we ate some lunch, had a short play and then a lovely stroll along Morecambe promenade with daddy carrying Ben on his shoulders and them dueting nursery rhymes.

Happy Mount Park was heaving with people with the splash park filled, so we went into the select play area and the kids played on the cars and slides. Ben managed to get all the way to the top of a climbing wall on his own but couldn’t do the final bit.

A long walk back for mummy and daddy with a round trip of twelve miles walking and the end of a sunny day, not a lazy day.

Pictures:

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Seaside Frolics

Friday, 21st June 2013

One of the advantages to having a car now is that when Markie picks up Leigh, Ben and Elliott from nursery on a Friday, and the weather is good, he can take the magical mystery back route to Morecambe. This is a pretty clear run (about twenty minutes) to the seaside.

Because it is usually about five thirty when we arrive the front is usually devoid of many people. This means we have the beach pretty much to ourselves, can get a place in the fish bar and grab an ice cream and have a good ninety minutes to two hours of seaside luxury without the press of people and potential for dismay.

It was a particularly lovely Friday evening and we did this, just a fortnight after the last time and once again it was great.

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Aviemore Awaits

Tuesday, 2nd April – Thursday, 4th April

We took a short break over Easter and had a few days holiday at the MacDonald Douglas resorts in Aviemore.

The drive from Lancaster to Aviemore is a long one, but also a really beautiful drive through the heartland of Scotland. We left early in the morning so that the children would be subdued and enjoy the travel more. They were pretty much the perfect angels, being quiet on the journey up and down for the most part. The only fractious moments were caused by hunger.

Aviemore was cold but that meant the hills were bathed in snow. This meant tthat the normally stunning views were even more magical.

The MacDonald estate where we stayed is large and as such has an indoor pool, soft play and nice restaurants which the kids really enjoyed.

On the Wednesday we went up the hill to the top of Cairngorm using the venticular railway. This was a treat for dad and it seemed a great treat for Ben as he really enjoyed the train ride in reverse. We should have bought a day ticket so that we could have gone on the ride a few more times.

However, we went to Inverness instead to get lunch and have a brief wander around the town. Inverness was quiet as it was a weekday, and we found a Chinese banquet that allowed under 3s to eat free. this meant that for 12 pounds we all ate really well and we discovered both Ben and Elliott love noodles.

Another good thing happened while we were away, Elliott took a number of steps on his own and managed to say words that were him identifying things both on the same day.

One thing was certain, as the boys grow older the holidays become two things, harder work and more fun. It was great fun to see them both playing games that we were not part of, laughing at something we could not fathom.

Onto the images…

View from the Hotel Window - looking north

View from the Hotel Window – looking north

ben fascinated by the tablet games

ben fascinated by the tablet games

A collection of skiers in the car park

A collection of skiers in the car park

Ben on the Snow

Ben on the Snow

View from the top of Cairngorm

View from the top of Cairngorm

Inverness looking West

Inverness looking West

Inverness looking East

Inverness looking East

Fire brigade dousing buildings near the shopping centre

Fire brigade dousing buildings near the shopping centre

Giant dice in the soft play

Giant dice in the soft play

View from the Aviemore railway station in the early morning

View from the Aviemore railway station in the early morning

Elliott having fun

Elliott having fun

Cairngorms

Cairngorms

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Historical towns in West Lothian

Historical towns in West Lothian

Wonderful old street names

Wonderful old street names

The boys having fun in each others company

The boys having fun in each others company

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Dell of Spey - in nice colours

Dell of Spey – in nice colours

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Aviemore in strong filters

Aviemore in strong filters

Hopi Mother’s Day

Sunday, 10th March 2013

Today is Mother’s Day in the United Knigdom when all good children who still have maternal relatives present flowers or some such and do their diligence.

Personally we love it, maybe because we are lucky and have great mothers, all of them, great grandmothers/nanas, all of them, and a great-nan who is wonderful.

So each year, as has been the tradition since the Children were born, so this is the third, we have made Mother’s Day cards.

This year is super special as Ben did all the painting pretty much unaided which makes it a very special contribution. The cards are ace.

But, again, as tradition dictates I have the pictures showing the building of the cards. Enjoy.

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Who’s The Boss

Thursday 28th February – Friday 1st March

The last two days have seen an interesting change in the Keating household. Just a small change however. Leigh had to be at work and Grandma was away so daddy got to take some time away from the office to spend with his boys.

There was some small issues that required us to miss an afternoon of fun on both days with Ben needing to accompany daddy on a task he had to do in Southport and Elliott spending a half day at nursery. However, the mornings were daddy-son time.

Daddy had the pleasure of taking his sons (on separate days) to the Music Spot in Lancaster for a trial music lesson in which he got to sing and play instruments with them. Ben on Thursday and Elliott on Friday. With both of them he also got to share brunch and a spot of shopping/daddy swinging and bouncing them.

It was a real treat for all the Keating kids and the two young boys made sure that daddy was suitably entertained.

But Who’s the Boss?

On Friday morning Daddy had to pop into the office (where he had parked the car) so that he could let the Shadowcat Denizens know his plans for the afternoon. While there he also got to discover just who exactly the boss was.

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Good Day Fire Kitty

Today Ben started his first conversation with us in the car on the way home from nursery without us asking about his day, he initiated it about Spanish.

This is all because Ben has started Spanish Lessons at nursery…okay scroll back and start again.

Last year the nursery brought a Spanish teacher in to teach the children a little Spanish and how to sing in a foreign language. Ben really enjoys singing and dancing so he participated well.

The nursery asked for permission to teach him Spanish in a lesson for a small additional charge to cover the teacher. The teacher would have to asses each child to ensure the cost was appropriate to the child’s participation, but as said Ben seemed to enjoy it.

So we were in the car, driving down the hill from Nursery and Ben says, ‘I do Spanish.’

Leigh says, ‘Oh, did you have Spanish today, did you learn anything?’

Ben replies, after a pause, ‘Buenos Dias.’

Leigh says, ‘What does that mean?’ after a pause of her own a little taken about not just that he started the conversation about his day but that he also recalled the Spanish well.

Ben continued with more Spanish though, ‘fuego’ was the next word.

I chimed in with ‘is that fire?’ to which there was a laugh and a garbled something that might have been a ‘yes’.

Then finally, ‘gato’ (please check spelling), which is cat.

So the Spanish teacher taught him ‘Good Day Fire Kitty’, which is absolutely awesome.

Now we have to tell them how much is stuck with him :). Still ace first conversation about Nursery that Ben started with us.

Blackpool 3rd January

The kids had a massive break over Christmas but Leigh and I had to continue working so we shared the duties of looking after the children between us with the always grateful help of Grandma Linda.

On the Thursday I decided to take them both to Blackpool so we could go into the Aquarium and up the tower. Our first snag was that they were working on the aquarium in the morning and wouldn’t be open until one in the afternoon, is was no great issue as we could go into the tower although it upset Ben as a two year old doesn’t get the meaning of why we couldn’t see the fishes.

Ben was quickly calmed by the idea of the tower lift and soft play however. So we went into the tower. I have my first small complaint here. The tower charged full price for both kids. Ben is two and a half, and Elliott nine months. Neither are old enough to go on all of the jungle Jim, so nine pounds to play in the ball pool is a bit steep. The same price for all ages is a poor model IMHO.

Next small complaint is that the ball pool was really quite filthy, when your baby is licking everything in sight you want them to be at least making the effort to clean things.

After the soft play we went up the tower in the lift and out onto the skywalk. Ben was more confident about being on the skywalk this time and happily played on it.

After a short lunch we went into the SeaLife centre. We discovered the reason for them being closed in the morning as they were moving fish as part of the remodelling of the centre. They are changing several displays and tanks. One disappointment is the under water walkway was closed as that tank has been drained. There were workmen in there and they did pretend to be fish for us, but no sharks or rays.

Another tank area had its fish moved so they could start remodelling as well. It is good that they are working on the displays but I think they could have placed a concession on the ticket price since the largest display was not being used, this is the high point of their exhibit and charging full ticket price and not having the grand display is a little off, it would be like not showing the headline act at a concert.

But I dislike complaining about cost all the time, we had a good day and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

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Xmas Visiting 26-28th December

Apsley, Harpenden, Berkhampstead

As mentioned previously we traveled to Apsley on the 26th December so that we could spend a few days in the South East, specifically Hertfordshire, visiting people for Xmas and New Year.

While we were there we managed to spend time with Ricky, Malcolm, Rebecca, John, Richard, Norma and Jane some of whom had never met Elliott and hadn’t seen Ben since he was a wee babe.

It was good to just hang with friends, especially people who love seeing the kids, Jane was especially happy to see them and John and Norma made us most welcome. I think the next time we stay in the area we will use Malcolm as a base for travels as his front room needs more toddler damage it is far too organised :)

Ben and Elliott also had a great time at the soft play, though again I think it was also a lot of fun for the adults, Malcolm seemed to love having two boys to help throw around and Ben loved the attention.

Onto the pictures:

Super special Malcolm and Ben photo for the photographer

Super special Malcolm and Ben photo for the photographer

Leigh is as pretty as ever :) Smiling for Ben who took the photo

Leigh is as pretty as ever :) Smiling for Ben who took the photo

Elliott loved the attention piled on by Janey

Elliott loved the attention piled on by Janey

Elliott is fascinated by the hovering balls

Elliott is fascinated by the hovering balls

Ben loves the air blower but hates the balls hovering

Ben loves the air blower but hates the balls hovering

Markie and his boys

Markie and his boys

Malcolm with Elliott

Malcolm with Elliott

Ben on the soft slide

Ben on the soft slide

Janey pulls a face

Janey pulls a face

 

Ben on the bouncy castle

Ben on the bouncy castle

Christmas Day 2012

I saw two kids unwrapping gifts,
On Christmas Day,
On Christmas Day,
I saw two kids unwrapping gifts,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

So with customary randomness* I would like to go out of sequence on the recent travel reporting and share some of Christmas Day with the world. The real reason for doing it in this order was that I was prepping which pictures to use as this is primarily a picture post.

We were in Rhymney at the home of Great Nan for Christmas this year, the kids love her and being there as she spoils them rotten and ‘loves them to bits’.** I cooked again, this year I planned on it and was able to prepare a lot more for doing so, and the day was fun if a little exhausting from an early start to the tribulations of wee ones and emotions.

Anyway, the pictures…

What do you mean the tasty necklace is actually a hat?

What do you mean the tasty necklace is actually a hat?

Sharing the unwrapping of a shared gift

Sharing the unwrapping of a shared gift

Is this gift for me, sideways head cute pose

Is this gift for me, sideways head cute pose

Mmmmm tasty iPad cover

Mmmmm tasty iPad cover

What is it? Oh my goodness...

What is it? Oh my goodness…

Must find secret inside this tasty paper...

Must find secret inside this tasty paper…

It's a thing!

It’s a thing!

Hmmm, you've spelt antidisestablishmentarianism badly, and missed a comma there...

Hmmm, you’ve spelt antidisestablishmentarianism badly, and missed a comma there…

They may have dressed me in a cute Elf suit passed down from my older brother, bought by my Auntie Lesley, but little do they suspect that I plan evil...muhahahahaha.

They may have dressed me in a cute Elf suit passed down from my older brother, bought by my Auntie Lesley, but little do they suspect that I plan evil…muhahahahaha.

* This post was written by Markie after all…

** Child shape bits one hopes.