Friends and Family on my Birthday

I turned 41 yesterday and it was just about the best birthday I can remember.

The day before was a Saturday, which means a half-day for me at work. I closed, had lunch and then met Lorraine and the kids and a family friend and we headed off to the cinema to see Ice Age 4. Okay, so the film was rubbish, but the kids enjoyed it and I got to spend the afternoon with the family. From there it was home for a quick bite to eat and then I headed out with Freya to see a fantastic jazz trio, featuring Tim Kliphuis on violin. He was one of the best violinists I’ve ever seen. Phenomenal!

And then home to watch Glengarry Glen Ross!

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to persuade Lorraine to go hiking with me on the Sunday, but I had mentally prepared myself to accept what came my way. But, lo and behold, she agreed and we headed off the Glen Rosa and a walk all the way to the top of the Saddle. The walk was spectacular, but what the best thing about it was was getting to spend such a long time with my wife and no kids. Not to disrespect the kids you understand. They are kind of all right, I guess! But I don’t think I’ve spent that long with my wife without being too dog tired for much of a conversation since moving to Arran five years ago and probably a long time before that.

There’s a lot going on in our lives right now and it really gave us the chance to talk it through and come up with some options.

In the evening we ordered pizza from the Lamlash Bay, totally non paleo but I’d decided it was all right since it was my birthday, and it was all the better for being forbidden. We watched Alice in Wonderland with the pizza, which was highly enjoyable, oh so much better than Ice Age 4!

When the kids went to bed, I put on Amélie, which is undoubtedly still my all-time favourite movie! It’s just perfect. The colour balance, the lighting, the music, the content, the performances, the sound, EVERYTHING. I just don’t think it can be beaten. If I were a film, that’s the film I would be.

I got a lovely message today from my very best friend, Maria Cristina. I also got a The The concert program from Eeko. It inspired me to listen to Mind Bomb whilst cooking the tea on Friday night and it was an awesome experience. ‘Was our love too strong to kill, or was I just too weak to kill it?’ Ponder that!

After tea on Friday I spent a bunch of time watching Regina Spektor videos on YouTube and was moved to tears, quite literally. I felt so inspired and creative, and out on the hills it had me thinking about the link between nature and art and creativity and peace and serenity. All that. And it made me want to SHOUT OUT that I had the answer. I HAD IT.

Hamish is 3!

Music by the Greencards


Hamish is 2 today

So our wee boy is now 2! I managed to get out of work at five and get round the supermarket to get some shopping and bits and pieces for a birthday tea. Freya and Rachel tried making a cake this afternoon but it didn’t work out very well. Hamish didn’t mind though. He had fun blowing out the candle and even managed to do it all on his own and then give himself a round of applause. Well done our little man!

Freya’s 4!

It was Freya’s fourth birthday yesterday and we had a lovely day. More pics to follow (thank goodness for Lightroom and exporting cos I haven’t had time to visit the blog for a long time!)

Disneyland Paris

Looking at the Pirate Ship

We decided to celebrate Hamish’s first birthday by taking a trip to Disneyland Paris. We took the car and headed off on Sunday 17th around 10.30. It was nice to be going somewhere without having to catch a plane or a boat or anything; I took it nice and easy and had a good run. It took about four hours in all with a stop for an hour or so. The main problem we had was that I could not find the charger cable for the portable DVD player before we left and the battery died about an hour into the trip. We did get a 12v car adapter when we stopped for lunch, but it didn’t work for some reason.

We were staying in the Cheyenne hotel, so second one up on the 5-step hotel expensiveness ladder. It wasn’t too bad really, but I was disappointed that there was no DVD player. The TV channels were rubbish, too. There was also very little space for Hamish to crawl around in, particularly after we’d wedged the drawers open to stop him getting his fingers stuck in the drawers (which he did a couple of times before we wedged them open). Then he would bang his head on the bed or on the drawers. Ouch! The bed wasn’t particularly comfy either.

The weather forecast was rain for the duration of our stay, so we headed out to the park equipped with our rain coats each day. And each day was 30ºC in sunshine. Wouldn’t you know it? Perfect weather for most people.

We were using our Bush Baby backpack to carry Hamish. We got it a while back to use for Freya, but this was the first time we’d really tried it out. It really is quite an amazing bit of kit. Hamish was really comfy in it, which is of course the most important aspect of it. He could look around and see what was going on and sleep in it too. It has a removable backpack, which we removed and used to carry the changing gear. It also had enough space to store the rain coats, but of course that added to the weight quite a bit. And comfortable though the straps may be, it still got sore carrying all that weight around around all day long.

Sleeping in the Busy Baby

Hamish in the Busy Baby

Lorraine carried him for most of the time and didn’t complain once!On the first day we went on the carousel, me on a horse and the kids and mummy in a chariot. And the next day we went back on again, this time with mummy and Freya on a horse and me and Hamish in a chariot. Freya was upset because she wanted the green horse.

One of the best rides we went on was It’s a Small World. I was filming that so didn’t get it on the still camera. Freya really enjoyed that one. Oh, and she also had a lot of fun on the spinning teacups in Fantasy Land. Thankfully we got a pink one!

In the Pink Teacup in Adventure Land

She enjoyed meeting the characters, although she was very wary of them at first. The first meeting was with Pluto on the night of our arrival. He came into the dining hall and was going round meeting the kids. Freya wanted to go up to meet him but then was afraid when she got there and hid behind my legs. When we went back to meet him the next time, Pluto had gone out through the kitchen and one of the kitchen staff went running behind to ask him to come back out and meet Freya. He was most accommodating and managed to put Freya at her ease. Thereafter Pluto was her clear favourite of all the characters!

Freya and Pluto

Hamish’s birthday was on the 19th and we stumped up an extra 50 euros to have a special birthday breakfast at Mickey’s Café (and because the breakfast at the Cheyenne dining hall was like a cattle market and not a great experience at all really). So Hamish and Freya got to meet the chipmunks, Gepetto and Pluto again.

We booked Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show for the birthday evening and it was a lot of fun. Freya did get a bit frightened during some of it and hid under the table, but for the most part she enjoyed it. It was a really good show actually; well planned out, well acted and well enacted.

So, all in all it was a fun trip, if a little on the expensive side and besides the fact that it was too hot for mum and dad. Freya enjoyed it a great deal, Hamish was just happy being with his family, and mum and dad got to spend some time in each other’s company.

Oh, and Freya got to meet Sully too. He may even have surpassed Pluto in her list of favourites since Sully got a big kiss from her too!

Meeting Sully and Mike

Freya’s third birthday

It was Freya’s birthday on Friday. I took some video and have YouTubed a 10-minute clip of the day.

I’m 3!
We eventually managed to find a swimming pool that was open, although it did involve waiting until 11.30, dangerously close to lunch time and crèche starts at 2 p.m. Welcome to Luxembourg. She had a lot of fun though, and that’s the main thing. It was also Hamish’s first time at the pool and he seemed to enjoy himself too.

It’s too bad that I didn’t get any shots of the birthday cake that mummy made for Freya to take with her to the crèche:  lovely carrot cake with a ring of baby carrots to decorate it (the supermarket was out of sugared carrot decorations, or maybe they just stopped stocking them, like they seem to do with most things that we like – again, welcome to Lux). Carrot cake is rather alien to the Luxembourgers, so it’s nice to introduce them to it, particularly when it’s as nice as mummy’s is. Here’s the one she made for F’s first birthday.


So, while the day was not without stress, Freya had a lot of fun. And now she’s our big three-year-old. Wherever does the time go?