To the Lido!

It’s been a while but I’m back. With our many situation meaning no big holiday adventures abroad this year we decided once a week we’d do something with the kids. Last week was a trip to Dinoland or whatever its called down in Dumfries and this week we decided to take them to the outdoor pool in Gourock. Needless to say I hoped the hot weather we’d been having continued through today.

Just before lunch we loaded up the car and headed off. I don’t know why by the kids seemed to think we were actually going swimming in the Clyde estuary rather than in a pool and so we started getting asked about sharks and whether basking sharks could eat you or not. They even started running down to the water when we got to the pool rather than the entrance.


Once inside they loved it though. Or at least everyone with the exception of Nairn did. He took real offence at the water in the pool actually being sea water. So much so he went and sat at the side of the pool for ages.

It’s a nice enough pool and the large one is heated with the smaller paddling pool seemingly left to be heated by the sun. We had a great fun though even if the paddling pool was a little murky.

fish n chips

Afterwards we headed down to Wemyss Bay for some fish and chips. Its been almost 30 years since I was last there and it chant changed a bit although 90p for a can of Coke from the newsagents was taking the piss a little.


Then it was down to Largs for some ice cream. We seem to make a habit of stopping by Nardinis at stupid times of the year in and all weathers just for a cone. Today at least was sunny and during the summer holidays.


The kids are knackered. I’m knackered. Everybody is knackered. Time for bed said Zebadee.


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Where Do They Learn This Stuff?

In passing this morning Nairn said he wanted to go and visit Good Uncle Barry*. He wouldn’t explain why just that he wanted to go. Pretty soon Erica jumped in that she wanted to go and after a brief discussion with Nairn confirmed that they both wanted to go and to go today. No offence to Good Uncle Barry but it’s the first time they’ve actively wanted to go there which set alarm bells ringing in my head.

After they’d had their breakfast I finally managed to get Nairn explain why he wanted to go. Apparently Bad Uncle Barry+ lives in the same flat in Good Uncle Barry’s hall cupboard.

Seriously. Where do they come up with these things?

* Good Uncle Barry was my best man and used to be my boss many moons ago when I worked for Safeway. He’s good in the sense that he isn’t Bad Uncle Barry.
+ Bad Uncle Barry is a completely different Barry. He is the tattooed crazy artist that teaches our kids to swear on sunny days in the park and encourages them to push old grannies into rivers. He’s even got our kids to start drawing up plans for the invasion of Europe and eventually the overall ruling of the universe. He’s that bad.

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You Can Tell I’m Tired

On Friday it was Nairn’s 4th birthday. Somehow he managed to effectively get five days of celebrations and gifts thanks to parties and various members of our family not being able to turn up on his actual birthday which was actually fantastic. It’s possibly the least stressed we’ve been during one of our kids birthdays because of it I think. Anyway one of the presents that he received from us/the kids was a Woody from Toy Story costume which he didn’t like. If there is one thing I can say about the boy it’s that he’s honest. Even if a little ruthless with it. Anyway seeing as all the kid’s love Toy Story Erica decided that this costume was the best thing ever and this morning I came downstairs after looking out her clothes to wear to nursery to find her sitting watching TV wearing this costume.

“I got dressed Daddy.”

I couldn’t not let her wear it hat and all. I just didn’t have the heart.


So it came to pick up time and for once Vonnie wasn’t able to pick them up in the car as she’d been out in the city all afternoon and couldn’t make it back in time. This meant I had to walk the two miles there and the two miles back pushing a pram with my hurt foot as well as carrying Greer in a sling. It sounds worse than it is but it does take time. It’s usually a 60 minute round trip but with the extra child and bags on top of my foot it was closer to 120 minutes before we got home. Around half way home Findlay pointed out that Erica had fell asleep on the bottom seat of the P&T buggy and she was still holding the the cowboy hat in her hands. The next time I checked on her was whilst in the queue to buy pizza for dinner when I realised the hat was gone. Nairn had only had it five days and already it had been lost.

I was furious. How could I have been so stupid. I blamed Findlay for not seeing it fall from the pram. I blamed Greer for being young enough that I could carry her in the sling which completely obstructs the view of the lower pram seat and my feet. I blamed Nairn because he wouldn’t carry the hat for me to keep it safe and most of all I blamed myself for being so stupid as to miss a large brown cowboy hat falling from the pram no matter how hard it would have been to see it. I’d decided that as soon as Vonnie was home she could deal with feeding the children whilst I’d run back to the nursery and retrace our footsteps in the futile hope that no one had picked it up for themselves. I was close to tears with anger at this point and thankfully Vonnie had beaten us home and before we even made it in the front door she had me throwing the kids in the car so that we could quickly get back to nursery.

I jumped out at the entrance to the technology park where the kids nursery is and started jogging along our usual route after checking with the guardhouse. I had it in my head that between the nursery and a path just by the Territorial Army HQ was where it must have happened as I was sure I hadn’t seen the hat any further along our route so it cut down the possible number of spots where it might be. As I went along the route I started to get frantic. Okay so when we’d last been there it was daylight and an hour later it was definitely night time so I was expecting to possibly miss it as in places it was really dark but as I got closer to the TA HQ it became very apparent that the hat wasn’t to be found.

Just as I was about to turn off the path head to where I was meeting Vonnie with the car I had a thought. I’d long travelled past the place where I was last sure she didn’t have the hat but as there was only another 20 yards round a corner before I reached the end of the path I was on anyway I carried on. And there it was. Someone had came along and found it. Not only had the person not taken it for themselves they picked it up and placed it on a wall under a streetlamp so that I’d be able to see it without staring into the shadows that surrounded the place. The relief I felt was unreal. This is why I know I’m tired.

The level of stress and worry that I felt from this was up there with our experiences when Erica wasn’t well as a baby and we didn’t know what was wrong with her. The sudden joy of finding the hat felt exactly the same as the day we found out that Erica was piling on the weight and was no longer going to be a ‘failure to thrive’ baby. I shouldn’t be having these extreme emotions over a lost rubber cowboy hat.

Still… At the end of the day we got the hat back and there will be no tears in the morning. That’s the aim for every day. No tears from anyone in the morning.

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A Bumper Box Of Surprises

The postman knows us very well. There isn’t a week goes by where we don’t get a package of some sorts. It’s got to the stage where he knows we’ll be about so holds on to packages for use if he misses us while we’re on the nursery/food/chicken feed run and swings by later to pass them in. Every single package is for Vonnie. The stuff inside might be for the kids but it’s always addressed to Vonnie. Then last week a box arrived addressed to myself…

Turn back time to just over a month ago. I’m sitting at my desk at work trying desperately to do as little as possible whilst still looking busy (for all prospective employers out there…read back through my journal as there is a reason for it ;)) I stumbled upon a competition being run by the Scottish Book Trust. All you had to do was complete the titles of a few books and give their authors and you could win a few books. Easy. So over lunch I completed my entry and then completely forgot all about it. That was until the other week when I received an email saying I’d won the competition. With it being kids books it was a nice win but my limit of good luck never stretched to more than a few quids worth of prizes.

Now we’ve had a few freebies from them in the past. One of the things they do is to reach out to every child in Scotland and at various times of their give them a bundle of books to help encourage the love of reading. So needless to say with having four kids we’ve seen our fair share of Bookstart books come through the door.

What arrived was a little more than a few free books however.

Scottish Book Trust Prizes Scottish Book Trust Prizes Scottish Book Trust Prizes Scottish Book Trust Prizes

Rory and his Magic Castle by Andrew Wolffe
Yo-Ho-Ho A-Pirating We’ll Go by Kaye Umansky
Stella to Earth by Simon Puttock
Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates by Timothy Knapman
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae
The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade by Meomi
Chick by Ed Vere
Paddington : King of the Castle by Michael Bond
Love From Louisa by Simon Puttock
Call Me Gorgeous by Giles Milton
I Love Holidays by Anna Walker
Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly by Sue Heap and Nick Sharratt
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

To buy all that in the shops your looking at around £60 and Nairn’s already demanding to have the dinosaur pirates one read to him at night. We already own a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpiller just like every household with children in the UK but I think we’re on to our 5th copy and that is on it’s last legs. My favourite off them all must be Chick though. With us keeping chickens it’s a great wee book for the kids but Nairn was the only one of the younger kids to go through the hatching of our chicks and be able to remember it. If we don’t hatch this year then it will be perfect for the girls to get a better look at how our chickens live.

So needless to say I’m very pleased with the prize and so are the kids. Now all I need to do is buy them another bookshelf to fit their new books on!

So hows things with us other than winning books? We’re getting there. Greer is loaded with the cold and seems to be teething so we’ve been up a fair bit of the last two nights. Vonnie says my eyes look like pinholes which is a nice look. With Nairn we’ve got the whole speech therapy thing going on as well as trying to work out whether it’s in his best interest to go to school a year early or not as well as working out just what school we should be sending to him. Erica’s speech is confusing me. She still has her own wee language almost as her pronunciations aren’t great but in the last few days her fluency has shot through the roof. Findlay? He’s in his own wee work with his laptop these days. If he’s not playing on Club Penguin he’s round at his friends houses.

Today all the kids are at nursery so although I had plans to use that fact to get started on decorating the girls room it’s looking like a quiet day with tea and a sofa to snooze on. This isn’t a bad thing.

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Loving You Is Easy ‘cos You’re Beautiful…

It’s bad when you single out just one of your kids for any sort of praise without giving something to the others as well. The thing is that Greer is such a fantastically good natured baby that it’s impossible not to. Every day we’re grateful for having her. I said at the time that she completes the family and she does.

Vonnie and Greer

She wakes in the morning with a smile on her face. She’ll laugh and giggle to herself all day. She always has a smile for everyone and unless she’s completely beat will almost never cry never mind scream the house down. She eats whatever we give her and loves her brothers and sister.

Vonnie and Greer

We’re heading for a big fall. We already know the middle two are going to be a handful when they hit their teenage years but we just know that there’s no way our luck can continue all through Greer’s childhood. She’s going to be one evil teenager!

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You know those moments when your kids do something and all you can do is stay stuck to your seat and think, “oh god no…please don’t do that” well my son is the master at that.

Yesterday we spent our morning at the church in Carmunnock at christening of my wife’s friends child. We sat through the first hymn and the ceremony before I took the kids across the road to the ‘creche’ so that the rest of the service could go by without to many interruptions. The kids loved it but as we had left in such a hurry we had left everyone’s jackets and toys sitting on the pew which meant Vonnie was going to have some trouble lifting it all out whilst holding onto Greer as well. With this in mind I brought Nairn and Erica back over to the church a little early so that we would be on hand to carry everything but when we got there we found Vonnie feeding Greer whilst talking to the photographer outside.

We got talking about camera equipment and how amazing the Canon 5D mkII was with it’s ability to shoot video as well as stills. It was just about now that Nairn had a twinkle in his eye and decided that no he wasn’t going to listen when I told him he couldn’t run around the back of the church into the graveyard. With the service still going on I was reluctant to shout after him but he turned with a cheeky smile and promptly started climbing up the gravestones and onto the crypts. He’s three years old and apart from goodies killing baddies in some of his older brothers games that’s about all he knows about death. He didn’t understand why I was getting angry at his attempts to scale the largest gravestone in the cemetery.

The look of horror on Vonnie’s face when I told her what he was doing was only beaten by the sheer joy in Nairn’s smile and the laughter on the photographers face.

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My Wee One

GreerWith both Nairn and Erica there were health issues for the first sections of thier lives. With Nairn he had very bad reflux that troubled him for several months but he eventually out grew it thankfully. Erica was a whole other story with her still fitting into some of her 0-3 month old clothes when she was eight months old. All the problems Nairn had Erica had worse and ended up with her getting blood tests for everything under the sun and several sweat tests to rule out cystic fibrosis.

And then Greer came along. No reflux, no colic, no anything. In fact she’s doing that well she’s now slightly higher than average on the growth charts which considering they are for bottle fed babies rather than breast fed babies like Greer her development has been phenomenal.

She’s sleeping great but I really do have to disagree with the doctors on this one. Apparently if a baby sleeps for 6+ hours at night that is counted as sleeping through the night. I’d call going to sleep at 9-10pm and waking up around 4am as getting up to damn early and in no way does it constitute sleeping through the night. Yes it means she’s sleeping well but ‘through the night’ is just taking the piss. On occasion she does hold off going to sleep properly until around midnight but with the middle kids waking up between 5-6am it still means I’m barely getting any sleep.

We were worried about how Greer would handle the drive to and from London last week but she sailed through it with flying colours. She has been the most settled baby so far that I’ve had the pleasure of being around for and took everything in her stride.

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Following In Her Mothers Footsteps

The younger kids have just started getting into LEGO these last few weeks. Findlay had loads of it and I still had a few bucketfuls from my own childhood so we have a fair amount of it. Whilst in Brighton however I managed to track down their local Lego Store (which we don’t have anywhere near our home town) whilst the kids and my wife were in a toyshop buying a build it yourself wooden dolls house for the girls. After a little sweet talking we wandered through the twisting back streets of Brighton with all it’s little boutique shops and fancy jewellery stores towards the holy grail of toy shops.

I’ve had my eye on a few of this years LEGO City boxed sets but at the price they were wanting for them I think I’ll be saving my pennies for a little longer. Anyway one of the great things about LEGO stores is they have a few bins of minifig pieces and you can design your own minifig and accessorise it and buy it for £1.25. Nairn rummaged through the bins and came up with a dungaree wearing skeletal janitor. Quite random but he liked it.

With my own rummagings I came up with Dr McNinja but unfortunately I couldn’t find any black trousers anywhere in any of the three bins of parts.

Erica on the other hand took me by surprise. You have to remember she is only just two years old. After her initial choices of knights helmets on spacefig bodies holding a loud hailer she threw them all back into the bins and started anew. First she picked up a grey woman’s hair piece followed by a female face. After putting them together she then started digging through the bins with what I can only describe as a look of deep intent on her face. Pretty soon she pulled out a handyman’s body and few minutes later she had some nice colour coordinated grey trousers. She then had a problem. Erica couldn’t find any accessory for her minifig that wasn’t a sword but eventually she found a wrench.

I don’t know which bit to be more impressed with. Is it the fact that she’s two years old and already showing signs that she knows that boys are no better than girls and can do whatever she wants with her life? Or is it that she sort of has some sort of fashion sense going on even if it did include a pair of dungarees. A feminist fashion designer before she’s three. A little hard to believe isn’t it…

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‘Your Kids Are Wonderful!’

I sometimes wonder if everyone else can see the same kids I see when I look at my family.

This past weekend we were at a wedding in London where, apart from the bride and groom, we had never met a single person.Our kids went into the crèche during the ceremony and at the dinner and reception afterwards we basically let them run riot around the place. When you’ve got one or two you can keep on top of them but once you hit that magical number of three they learn that in order to get to do what they want they just scatter in random directions. By the time you as the adult and authority figure work out which ne to go after they are all long gone.

Findlay and Nairn

Anyway I barely seen our kids for most of the night what with them spending a lot of time at the craft table or on the dance floor. But when they were not doing that they were doing what all young kids do and that’s just run wild. Findlay managed to fashion together a DIY fishing rod and was managing to get the end in the Thames from the decking of the boathouse we were in. At one point he came round the tables looking for something to use as bait.

Nairn just turned into a thief. As the boathouse wasn’t really designed to have a couple of hundred people stamping their feet during the speeches everyone was given a squeaky rubber duck instead and so after our dinner was finished he went around every table lifting the ducks people had left behind. We had over 20 of them at one point.

I think it was Erica that managed to let them get away with it. She was running interference by being as cute as she could be on the dancefloor or talking to anyone and everyone. As soon as Nairn had all the ducks back at our table though her true colours came to the fore and pretty soon they were having a heated discussion over who could have the largest mound of rubber ducks.

It wasn’t until the end of the night however as everyone started to leave that we started getting comments on our kids. I couldn’t believe it. Apparently our children are a credit to us and were simply wonderful. Erica had a few huge goth blokes wrapped around her finger and Nairn was getting on well with the ladies. Someone even commented on how they had never seen a bunch of kids get on so well together and not end up falling out with anyone by the end of the night. Everyone else’s kids were fantastic so maybe mine actually lived up to the hype?

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How to worry someone in 60 seconds

We went to see the consultant today and Vonnie had mentioned that the scanner person at the private scan had said the baby was a little wee for this stage and that there was a lot of amniotic fluid. This coupled with the consultant being able to easily move the baby about meant that all talk of what was going to happen with the birth went out the window and a scan was booked at Hairmyres at the earliest timeslot to double check everything.

Either the baby isn’t growing as it should which will probably mean we get to meet a hell of alot sooner than we expected. This is good in one sense wbut we are way off being ready for Vonnie giving birth with regards to the house. We’ve got a cot to buy and a room to decorate beforehand plus the rest of th ehouse that needs done in order to allow us to do that. The other option is thatthe baby is fine and we’ll see them when we see them. The only problem with this is that its delaying us planning out whats going to happen for the birth and making us oworry our little socks off until the scan next week. I don’t think its as serious as Vonnie does though as if they really were that worried we’d have had the scan done today. So fingers crosed folks.

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