Life on fast-forward

What happened to December? I mean, where did it go? At the end of November it snowed and then December went WHIZZZZZZZZZZZZZ and now it’s January.

A quick recap.

The girls’ 3rd Birthday was their best yet. They really seemed to ‘get’ the concept of it this year – or at least the concept of presents, cards and a party. We gave them a dolls house – sorry, as dh tells everyone – a dolls mansion and lots of nice clothes. I always say it but every year I’m taken aback by the phenomenal generosity of our family and friends. The girls had so many presents and cards to open that we saved some for the following day. Their party went really well and they and their friends seemed to understand the idea of pass the parcel, with some gentle guidance. Dh was convinced that party games would be pointless. Au contraire my dear. There was lots of food. There was cake. There was cava. Everyone had a lovely time. My parents were pressganged (by me) into sorting out drinks and did a sterling job. Dh and I collapsed on the sofa when the girls were in bed, everyone had gone home and the house was vaguely tidy and allowed ourselves a small, stiff-upper-lip sort-of pat on the back.

There was a lot of snow. I don’t remember getting that much snow when I was a child. In the girls’ short lives they have seen more of the white stuff than we have probably seen in the last twenty years. Normally I’m a big fan of snow but the two occasions we got it – end of November/beginning of December and the weekend before Christmas – were really debilitating. Plans had to be cancelled or re-arranged. Nursery was closed. I missed a conference. My friends with children were posting up pictures of their offspring frolicking in the snow and I was indoors with one child (R) that liked the idea of snow but didn’t like getting cold and one (G) that refused point blank to even entertain the idea of venturing outside. Luckily the birthday and Christmas plans were unaffected.

We were all ill. I was at my work Christmas lunch, glass of wine in hand when I got an SOS call from nursery. The girls had temperatures of 102F and needed to be picked up. Luckily dh was at home and primed for such an event. He picked up two rather sorry specimens (R suffers when she’s ill) who perked up considerably once they were at home curled up on the sofa with Daddy watching Peppa Pig. I could have stayed out but felt so guilty and neglectful that I abandoned my glass of pinot grigio and dashed home to tend to my flock. Good job I did. Dh went down with the illness the next day and I spent the weekend nursing three rather grumpy patients. I was rather relieved to return to work on the Monday only to be struck down with the shivers. I spent most of the days leading up to Christmas in bed, alternating between the shivers and hot flushes. It was horrible. I felt a little better on Christmas Eve but didn’t really feel 100% until Boxing Day. Dh and the girls recovered pretty quickly.

Christmas was lovely, feeling mildly grotty aside. We hosted dh’s parents for three days (23rd – Boxing Day) and my parents (struggling with a virus themselves) joined us on Christmas Day. I cooked Christmas lunch and got lots of praise for my (home-made, in an attempt to prove my MPM credentials) Christmas Pudding. The girls loved it, although G freaked out a little bit on Christmas Eve because she was scared that Father Christmas would come through the ceiling in the night. Dh reassured her that FC would leave the presents outside and we would bring them in. We think her fears stem from the Christmas episode of Peppa Pig. Oh, the power of television! R tore through her presents (and some of G’s) like a tornado. They loved the wooden train set we gave them. I was pleased to see that they did well present-wise but none of us had gone OTT. I didn’t feel that they had been spoilt and there were no duplicate presents, thank goodness. The playroom looks like a toy shop though.

It was my 31st birthday. However, I’m now claiming that I’m 29. Dh and the girls took me out for lunch and I did a bit of retail therapy. I did very well with gifts and got lots of nice girly things for both Christmas and birthday: jewellery, perfume and lots of lovely gift vouchers and cards. I still don’t feel like a proper grown-up.

Dh and I both had the week after Christmas off work. It was a Christmas miracle. I always get the time between Christmas and New Year off but dh normally just gets Christmas Day and Boxing Day as leave. I don’t know what strings he pulled but it was lovely to have him around for an extra few days. We hosted a playdate with a couple of the girls’ friends from nursery. We both had a morning ‘off’ – I did Bluewater (I was a whirling dervish of shopping bags and hot chocolate) and the next day dh went to Lakeside for a spot of breakfast and a leisurely coffee. I’m very grumpy about the whole New Year extravaganza (I hate it) but dh and I played board games and had a couple of drinks and I made sure I was in bed by 11.30pm.

We took the girls to the cinema for the first time. The cinema near us does kids screenings on Saturday morning and on New Years Day they showed Toy Story 3. We were primed to watch the first half and leave when the girls got bored but they were transfixed for the duration of the film. I don’t think G actually blinked for two hours. Unfortunately they both had nightmares that night – of the shouting, sweating, scared variety – but they don’t seem traumatised by it.

We stupidly got the girls’ feet measured and G had gone up a whole size to 8.5 and R a half-size to 8. This meant new shoes for both (it was my turn to pay) and new wellies and trainers for G now and for R later. I always but things like wellies, sandals and trainers a size bigger than they need and I refuse to buy half-sized, so G is now in a 9 for everything but her fitted shoes. Luckily Mothercare had a sale on so I was able to stock up. We had to explain to R that her old trainers still fitted and that she couldn’t wear her new ones yet. She has consoled herself by wearing G’s old trainers and declaring them to be ‘new’. If it keeps her happy…

What else? Oh yes.

3-1 3-1 3-1 3-1 In Australia. Ashes. Cricket in case you’re wondering. My sister was there. I wasn’t jealous at all. Oh no. Look at what I would have missed if I had been!

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