Happy New Year.

A stunted Christmas update

It was another slightly odd feeling Christmas this year.  Not a bad one – on the contrary! – but because we spent it at home for the first time and everyone came to us it was a bit strange.  The Lovely Melanie and I are both used to going out and visiting family over Christmas: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc.  This year we had my parents and then the in-laws over to stay for a couple of days each, but we didn’t go out and see anyone else, which I rather missed.  One of the downsides of living 100-odd miles away from most of my family, I suppose.

Amber didn’t care a bit, and neither did Millie, they both had a wonderful Christmas and were showered in gifts and sweets!

Millie was up at a respectable 7am Christmas morning, and the opening of the presents (which were piled up under the tree, in stockings, behind the living room door and in the dining room) took well over an hour.  Last year, you may recall, it was over much quicker, largely because Millie was a whirling dervish tearing through wrapping paper with no regard for its contents.  This year we had Bubbah’s presents to open, too, but Millie’s onslaught was regularly slowed by looking at her presents after they were opened.

And Millie got a bike, too, which she loved.  Despite having been out on it half a dozen times she still hasn’t got the hang of pedalling.  Actually, it’s not hasn’t got the hang of it’s more like refuses to listen to anyoner trying to tell her otherwise. At the moment she pedals using just one foot, pushing the pedal halfway round then reversing direction to bring the pedal back to the top, and repeating…

Amber’s come on in leaps and bounds over the holidays: she’s far more aware of people around her; now she not only wants but rewards attention paid to her with clapping and babbling that sounds as though it has some meaning behind it.  Somewhere.

She’s also learnt to push herself about on the living room floor (which is wood, so it’s quite easy).  So far she can only go backwards, and at about 0.01 miles per hour – we’ve all got to start somewhere though!

Christmas dinner – the Lovely Melanie cooked it for the first time, and it was delicious (although my dad carved the turkey, since he’s damned good at that).

Ohh, there’s so much I could put on here, but I’m not really in the mood to write at the moment.  There’s a beatific quiet here just now: Millie’s at nursery, Bubbah’s asleep, I’m of work till January 5th…   There are books to be read, CDs to be listened to, DVDs to be watched and computer games to be played – not to mention that I just got the all-clear regarding my minor operation in August 😉

I will mention our family day out yesterday, because that was a grand day out and no mistake.  Despite it being literally freezing we took the girls up into town (i.e., London), there we saw the massive tree and a marching band in Trafalgar Square, went on a merry-go-round in Leicester Square, wandered, disappointedly round Covent Garden for a bit then visted my work on Shaftesbury Avenue where, after the girls were cooed over by the skeleton crew on duty there, we ate a sandwich and changed a nappy on my desk.

There are some nice (occasionally hilarious) photos on Flickr of Christmas and also of our trip into town.  Millie took new favourite Zadak the robot with her (hence the pics of a lonely robot on a train).  She ‘loves him’, apparently, even though his lights no longer flash and he can’t walk or says ‘My name is Zadak – drop your weapons!’ as he used to.

Tonight, since it’s New Year’s Eve, I’m going to The Montague Arms, in that no-mans-land between New Cross and Peckham.  Sadly, the Lovely Melanie won’t be there since she has nobly thrown herself on the sword of ‘staying in to look after the girls’.  I’ll be interested to see what the Monty is like on New Year’s: it’s free to get in (always a bonus!) but on ordinary nights is seldom very busy, despite being one of the most interesting pubs I know.  It could be great, or might just be a bit…ordinary.

Just time to wish a happy new year to you and yours before I go and read some books, listen to some CDs, watch a DVD, play some computer games and maybe indulge my newfound sexual freedom.

Hmm.  You probably didn’t want to know about that last one, did you?  😛

Happy Christmas

Millie’s in bed and asleep, Amber’s in bed and asleep, I’m about to go to bed and to sleep – my parents have been nodding off downstairs ever since the My Family Christmas Special started.  But Father Christmas has already been: he’s eaten his mince pie (burp!), drunk his strawberry milk (hic!), given the carrot to Rudolph (…) and left a ton of presents for everyone – including a bike for Millie.

So it only remains for me to wish everyone a happy Christmas; I hope you get everything you asked for tomorrow and may all your hangovers be harsh but fleeting – the way they are in the movies.

I’d actually quite like to write a bit more here about our first with my parents staying at ours instead of us at theirs, about playing Father Christmas and filling stockings for little girls…but my sore finger still won’t let me (it feels a bit hot, actually, and I think it’s a touch infected).  Sorry.

Anyway, merry Christmas everyone.

On a roll…

I’m on a roll with the atheist/skeptical stuff this week, so here’s my all-time favourite explanation of Christianity:

The belief that an ancient jewish man, who was his own father and his own ghost, can make you happily live forever if you telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil spell from your soul, that is present in humanity, because a woman cloned from her husband’s rib was convinced by an evil talking snake to eat an apple from a magical tree.

Have I missed anything out?  😉

Perhaps the punishment for my blatant godlessness is Millie’s stutter, which is very very bad at the moment.  It went away for a month or two, but at the moment she can hardly get a word out because of it, the poor thing.  Well, it’s not really a stutter, per se, just that she trips over and over the start of her sentences.  Once she’s started talking she’s OK.

Baby A was having no such problems this morning – I could hear her ongoing happy high-pitched shrieks from upstairs.  If she carries on like this then we won’t have any glassware left for Christmas!

One more thing to note today: my years of reading comics are finally paying a dividend.

I’m writing and illustrating a storybook for Millie for Christmas called Millie In The Woods (it should be safe to mention that here – Millie can’t read yet, and I don’t think the Lovely Melanie regularly reads this blog to her).  Writing the story was no problem, it took about 15 minutes.  However it’s been years since I did any drawing – when I was young I used to do it all the time, but I haven’t been young for some time now!  What has been noticeable as I struggle to come up with some coherent recognisable illustrations for Millie In The Woods however is how deeply some of the lessons of comic book illustration are ingrained in me.

Which doesn’t mean I’ve discovered a gift deep within me for drawing like Bryan Hitch or Frank Quitely; rather, I noticed myself primitively – but instinctively – using some of the techniques for rendering actions or giving character to individuals that comic book artists do.

It’s not beautifully painted photo-realistic art; but I would like Millie to be able to recognise herself, her belongings and her environment within the story, even without the promptings of the text; and the Lovely Melanie’s proof-reading of what I’ve so far produced suggests that Millie will.

Which pleases me no end. 🙂

Let’s just hope that it pleases Millie, eh?