2 and a half and 7 and a quarter

Luke hit the 2 and a half year old milestone last week so I am writing a few wee thoughts for the sake of posterity. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Luke is a right chatterbox. He is on a continual loop of asking “Why?” about things. He is very observant and notices if I am wearing work clothes, or am wearing anything that he sees as being out of context. Nursery rhymes bring him so much fun at the moment. He loves singing and dancing to Dingle Dangle Scarecrow and some of his renditions would melt your heart with cuteness. Action songs of any sort are a real favourite and he also enjoys doing actions from stories.

Oh the Grand Old Duke of York…

SAM_7615The outdoors usually puts a smile on Luke’s face and jumping in puddles is still a well-liked pastime. It may be a bit of a long winter for him though, because he keeps mentioning wanting to go to the beach and paddle in the water! He says, “Next time it is a sunny day, Mummy?” He might be waiting a while!SAM_7584

2 and a half year old has just about picked up his colours. He is showing more interest in drawing and cutting out with scissors. I still usually spend at least part of the night sleeping beside him. Sometimes it is just an hour or so before it is time to get up, but sometimes it can be most of the night. It feels a small price to pay to buy me some more sleep! He still has a nap nearly every day around lunchtime. Luke can be very stubborn and really struggles to back down and apologise when he is in trouble. He certainly doesn’t give much quarter with his brother. Poor Scott is often at the wrong end of some hitting at the moment. Despite this, Scott is still the biggest source of excitement and imitation for Luke.

I took them to softplay last weekend and if Scott had spent the entire time playing with him, Luke would have been a happy boy.SAM_7690SAM_7689SAM_7686

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7 and a quarter year old Scott is becoming a bit more of a poser for the camera…SAM_7646SAM_7647

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Fortunately he is also a fan of the outdoors and a trip to the park is a great fit for both boys.SAM_7651SAM_7652SAM_7654SAM_7657SAM_7661SAM_7641SAM_7642SAM_7645SAM_7639SAM_7637SAM_7635Rouken Glen Park was lovely last weekend!

7 and a quarter year old Scott is definitely still football crazy and some of the matches that we seem to end up watching with him are bizarre! European football weeks mean that I have to start the morning by giving him a classified score update and he then reviews the goals over breakfast. 7 and a quarter year old Scott’s lack of morning urgency is still threatening to send me to an early grave… Scott is now at the age that when we have a day together, just the two of us, it can be really fun. We went to see Paddington 2 over the long weekend and it was nice to chat with him and spend time laughing together.

They are both hard work in their own ways and together they can be a handful, but they are how they are for such a little while.

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Halloween high jinx

Given Lukester’s penchant for jumping in muddy puddles, I thought it was time I got him a puddle suit. We took it out for a test drive last week when we had a wee day just the two of us:SAM_7576SAM_7581SAM_7588SAM_7584

After a bit of puddle jumping, I thought we should take a walk down the burn. I was thinking how little we have taken Luke down there compared with Scott. 2nd child disadvantages!SAM_7592SAM_7595SAM_7597

Fun in the rain:SAM_7600SAM_7601

The burn was so full that there wasn’t much space for stone throwing:SAM_7603SAM_7604SAM_7608SAM_7609SAM_7611When we came back we got busy with some Halloween arts and crafts:SAM_7560A ghostly galleon:SAM_7563

A handprint witch and spooky spider:

As for Halloween itself, the Grand Old Duke of York headed off to nursery in full dress:

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Draco Malfoy was very in character:Malfoy 1

The boys had their first experience of going out guising, which they both loved.

We finished off our Halloween fun with a lovely wee day with cousins yesterday. This game was genius!

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October holidays out and about

We had some good days out over the October break. The weather wasn’t great, but we did manage a fair bit of outdoor time. There was plenty of washing of jackets and clothes and cleaning of boots though as wherever we went seemed to have many a muddy puddle!

The Pirate Tent has been up since the start of the October holidays and the boys go in to play most days. (Often with treasure!)SAM_7432SAM_7433

A highlight of the holidays for Scott was a visit to Barshaw Park and the bmx park. This is the first time he has been with his bike and he loved it. He definitely wants to go back.

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There was plenty to keep both boys entertained for an afternoon.

I wasn’t entirely confortable with how close Luke got to the swans!!

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Finlaystone offered an adventure in sliding….

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And lots of climbing challenges:SAM_7495SAM_7499SAM_7512SAM_7513SAM_7514SAM_7516

Family swings:

Finlaystone is the ultimate rustic park and the boys loved it.SAM_7500SAM_7503SAM_7508SAM_7517

Although there were loads of things to play on, messing about in the woods and burn was probably their best bit.

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Another place that the boys have asked us to take them back to!SAM_7518

We finished our week off with a return visit to New Lanark. We were there at the start of the year and our tickets entitle us to return as many times as we wish within the year. Last time we had the Christmas version of the “Annie McLeod Experience”. This time it was the regular version.

SAM_7529Luke managed to get the gist of it: “The girl’s job was to pick up the fluff!!!”

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We saw a bit more on this visit and Luke and Scott spent ages in the working mill room.SAM_7536SAM_7539SAM_7541SAM_7542SAM_7543SAM_7544We spent ages at this slide.

All that sliding can make a boy sleepy…SAM_7537

The rooftop terrace garden is also lovely:

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The play park was very wet and muddy and very popular with Scott and Luke!SAM_7550SAM_7552SAM_7553SAM_7554SAM_7556

A quick week with my best boys. We are really enjoying seeing them both becoming good company for each other. Soon we will be sitting back watching!

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Great Scottish Run Half Marathon 2017: Race Recap

A week ago I ran my 4th Great Scottish Run. Given that I entered the race back in March, I feel that this one has had the longest build up in terms of thinking about it and planning. I guess one of the things about the GPS watch and closer tracking of training runs is that it is fairly easy to get a good idea of likely time and speed on race day. An element of the unknown is taken out and I knew I was on track to be aiming for roughly 7 and a half minute miles. This would give me a finish time of around 1 hr 38 mins and on race day I more or less delivered this! My ave speed was 7.19 minute miles and my average pace for each mile was as follows:

0-1 miles = 7.24

1-2 miles= 7.31

2-3 miles= 7.15

3-4 miles= 7.23

4-5 miles= 7.16

5-6 miles= 7.27

6-7 miles= 7.23

7-8 miles= 7.23

8-9 miles= 7.21

9-10 miles= 7.11

10-11 miles = 7.19

11-12 miles= 7.08

12-13 miles= 7.20

13 miles – finish= 6.54

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I was quite consistent in my race speed, in terms of split times.  (Between 9-12 miles seems to have been my fastest phase and I slowed up for the last full mile.) Thus, the conundrum that I now face is how to insert that extra something into my training to push myself to a tighter margin. Being honest, I feel I was fairly comfortable for most of the race and only really experienced the hurt from around 11 miles. I do perhaps have a slight wonder if I could have pushed myself a little harder? What would have happened if I had pushed for 7.10 miles and seen how long I could hold on? Would I just have blown up and finished slower? My training would suggest otherwise, but I think because I did not finish utterly broken, I am perhaps wondering if I could have shaved a minute or more off my time. Or maybe, that is just my mind’s way of forgetting the fact that I was on the edge of discomfort most of the race.

The race photos at the end certainly look as thought the tank was well and truly emptied:stolen pic2stolen pic1

I wasn’t too bashful to get my pic taken on the Bank of Scotland time board.

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I was also pleased with my overall stats:race position

14th in my age group and 80th female overall ( 941st of 11,157 total competitors)

In any case this is a race I love. The weather was disappointing, but it certainly could have been a lot worse and you cannot beat being a part of something like this. The atmosphere is always special and I do feel a kind of existential sensation as I approach Glasgow Green and the streets are lined with cheering crowds.

St Vincent street

I am thinking seriously now about my next challenges in the new year. I will no doubt hunker down for maintenance running over winter, but I want to consider something big for 2018. I still have an itch to defeat my marathon demon and smash the illusive 4 hour barrier. I also have a rather morbid curiosity about ultra running and I have been considering whether I could take on something like the Hadrian’s Wall 69 mile race. The human body is a wonderful thing and I love seeing how far I can push both my mind and body. Now if only I could get myself a coach. ..Any volunteers?

 

 

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Weekends

I love having a bit of down time with the boys at weekends. We have not been anywhere much or done anything much, but it has been nice just to slow down a little. Scott has introduced Luke to the joys of Swiss Family Robinson (The bad pirate film). This sitting together watching it was a brief interlude as most of the viewing involved replaying set piece battles in the living room!

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We have had a few park trips which mainly involve Luke trying to do whatever Scott is doing:

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Thankfully Luke isn’t up for trying this yet:SAM_7399SAM_7400SAM_7401SAM_7402

Scott appears to have tired of his role as my kitchen apprentice, but Luke has readily taken over. He loves baking, especially using the electric mixer!

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Scott took part in the Viking parade with his football team:SAM_7406SAM_7422

And he loved his trips to the fair:SAM_7424

Hopefully we may be able to stretch out a bit more “outdoorness” in the next few weeks.

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A Scottish Summer

Another summer holidays has come and gone. The weather has been a bit of this and a bit of that, so we have had plenty of indoor activities – swimming, cinema and softplay.SAM_7344SAM_7354SAM_7343SAM_7341

Whenever possible though, we have tried to get out to enjoy the best of the weather. Scott had 3 weeks in football camp and we were away for 2 weeks, so I haven’t had too many days with both boys on day trips. Unfortunately, my two boy days also seem to have coincided with lousy weather so it is sad that we haven’t had many outdoor trips altogether.

Scott has been spoiled with all the footballing opportunities. SAM_7307.JPGSAM_7355Crazy hair day apparently doesn’t get old!SAM_6555SAM_6556SAM_6558

Luke was joining in by the final week too:SAM_7308.JPG

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Some of our park outings were decidedly chilly!

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And sometimes we made the most of some late afternoon sunshine:SAM_7256

We were frequent visitors to the park all summer:

A lot of time has been spent “throwing stones in the big water”…

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This boy loves jumping in puddles and our weather system certainly obliges!

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Luke is a big fan of a trip over the water to Cumbrae. The combination of boat, bus and beach is a big winner and we had a couple of lovely daytrips in Millport together.

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Finding a crab:SAM_7160SAM_7161SAM_7162SAM_7164SAM_7165

Poor wee guy had one spoonful of ice-cream then crashed!SAM_7167

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This throwing arm got some good workouts in!SAM_7263SAM_7264SAM_7265SAM_7266SAM_7267SAM_7268SAM_7269SAM_7270SAM_7271SAM_7272SAM_7273SAM_7275SAM_7276SAM_7278SAM_7279SAM_7281SAM_7283SAM_7284SAM_7285SAM_7286SAM_7289

A change of clothes later….SAM_7291SAM_7292SAM_7299SAM_7300SAM_7301SAM_7302SAM_7304SAM_7293No mistake this time with the ice-cream!

Many of our days were fit round football camp and while Scott was at the West Kilbride camp, I took Luke to the Kilwinning Carnival.SAM_7312SAM_7313SAM_7316

The boys were keen for a shot on the underground in Glasgow:SAM_7331We parked up at Shields Road and took the subway to the West End for a wee run around the Botanic Gardens:SAM_7317

Perhaps as much as anything, I just loved having the time to let the boys “be” and having a bit more time for something as simple as Luke spreading his bagel is bliss for me.

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It has been great and it will take a while to get over the bereft feeling of the end of the holidays. I will certainly miss the cheeky faces!

 

 

 

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Secret Seven

My dear Scott,

I cannot believe that you are turning 7. How are you so grown up? When did that happen? When did you stop being my bouncing no sleep baby? My chatterbox toddler? My inquisitive nursery boy? You are still a chatterbox, but you are also squarely in the school-age category. Apparently age 7 is the stage that little boys move away from the exclusivity of their mothers’ arms so I know I need to accustom myself to this next stage.

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You can be a bit of a closed book at times and don’t always tell me what you are thinking. This means that when you are in the mood for giving a bit of yourself, I love the talks we have. I get to have conversations about wars, themes of books, crime and punishment, and morality in sport. It keeps me honest, which I like a lot. I think it’s ironic that I spent the first 3 years of your life wishing you’d grow up, and I find myself now wishing you’d stay a child for just a little longer.

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You are still a kind boy. You share everything with everyone, and you give away toys to your brother without any sense of propriety. When you gave away so many of your football stickers I confess to being a wee bit sad. “But mum,” you said, “he didn’t have that sticker and he really wanted it”.

Your competitive instinct is extremely strong and I don’t know if that comes more from me or your dad! More than anything though I want you to know that you don’t always need to be first or best at things. I want you to understand that you have nothing to prove to us and that in life being comfortable with yourself and being at peace with being 2nd or 67th at something is the best place to be.

I realise that, as a practical adult living in a practical world, my mission is often to extinguish a lot of your exuberance. I say you are “too much.” I tell you to be quiet, to settle down. Seeing you singing along and jigging away as the Corries pump out our sound system at 7am can be a bit of an overwhelming experience for this grownup. In exhausted moments, I get impatient and shout. I try to shape you into what I feel a mature 7-year-old “should” look like. Although I keep trying to tell you to behave, there is no need.  I am seeing more and more of the young man you will eventually become. But what you know now, with the infinite wisdom of a child, is that we should all be living with your passion and spirit. Leaving nothing behind at the end of the day. No fears or worries for what might happen tomorrow, and no ruminations about what was lost yesterday.

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As aggravated as I may get when I tell you to “behave!” and you don’t listen, one day that defiance will serve you well. One day, I will be proud that you don’t do something just because someone else tells you to.

I’m emotional as I write this because I know that you will now be able to read most of this all by yourself. That you won’t need me to help you with the words.

I am very lucky to be your mum and I hope you have a wonderful 7th birthday.

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Happy birthday Scoots xx

Here are your answers aged (almost) 7:

Favourite colour: red

Favourite food: chips

Favourite toy: Kindle

Favourite story: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Favourite TV programme or film: Football challenges on YouTube. Seeing films in the cinema – Spiderman and Pirates of the Caribbean

Favourite superhero –  Cristiano Ronaldo

Favourite song – Castle on the hill (Ed Sheeran)

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