This is going to be my last post of 2015. We'll soon be heading off to the welcoming snugness of Grandpa John and Granny Viv's house in the depths of the Cornish countryside, all log-burning stoves, good food, good company, and lots of E&W fussing. One of the best things about it is that it's so remote, there's no mobile phone signal, and if I don't ask for the wi-fi password I can't get distracted from the people around me by the lure of Facebook or Twitter. A week 'off the grid' sounds pretty good to me right now, and I can't wait to spend some some quality time with Kate, Eliza, William and some of the rest of the family.
You see, last Christmas, our first as a quartet, is pretty much a write-off for me. I have almost no memory of it - what we did, what we ate, the gifts we exchanged are at best hazy, at worst complete blanks. And that's not because of overindulgence. At the time we were in the midst of trying to get E&W's sleep routine right (and often getting it wrong), still getting up several times a night to feed them, so I can only assume that I was far more tired than I realised at the time and running on autopilot. Kate tells me we spent Christmas night cuddled on the sofa, doing the puzzles in my Where's Wally Annual 2015 (the same book that E&W delight in destroyi...I mean playing with now), by the soft glow of fairy lights, in near silence lest we wake the little people who were snoring in their bouncy chairs on the floor in front of us. It sounds like a lovely moment, but I only have the faintest tinkle of a memory of it. Which is a real shame.
We have photos though, to prove that Christmas did happen here, and looking back at them the first thing that strikes me is how small - and hairless - E&W were:
And yes, family Christmas jumpers and socks is our first Christmas tradition. We're going to take a photo every Christmas morning, so we can see how E&W grow (and how Kate and I age) over the years. Wait till you see this year's sartorial selections!
I'm really looking forward to this Christmas. If nothing else, E&W will have great larks exploring all the nooks and crannies and interesting things in Grandpa and Granny's house. And while they don't fully appreciate what this Christmas thing is all about yet, they love fairy lights (they were scared of them last year!) and they can open presents, and realise they're for them, and that what's inside the wrapping paper is new and shiny and exciting. Our friends Ollie and Holly came to visit last weekend, and had very generously brought a box of Duplo with them as an early Christmas present - E&W had great fun exploring all the bits, and I (very selflessly...cough) showed them how it's all supposed to go together. And I was very grown up and didn't get (too) upset when Eliza decided I was wrong and gleefully pulled apart my marvellous creations.
[As an aside, the thought of Ollie - who is possibly the most physically intimidating person I know, and also one of the most kind-hearted (I'd go as far as to say he's one of my favourite people, full stop) - stomping into a toy shop, perusing the Duplo shelves, then stomping over to the counter to pay for his brightly-coloured selection, makes me chuckle.]
I think we're still a year away from having a full-on family Christmas (E&W will be a few months past two this time next year). I'm so looking forward to them getting excited to the point they can't sleep on Christmas Eve, and of bustling into our room early on Christmas morning (feel free to remind me of these bold statements in the future). I'm looking forward to all the family traditions we can start - we already have the spotting-the-Christmas-lights-on-our-walks game, and the Christmas jumpers and socks photos. Then there are things like singing along to carols, reading certain books in the run-up to the big day (we're doing John Masefield's Box of Delights this year), and helping to decorate the house, and all cuddling on the sofa to watch It's A Wonderful Life (the Sam Wainwright telegram bit gets me every. single. time.) and...
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm going to hold off thinking about next Christmas until at least January 1st. First, I'm going to throw myself fully into enjoying this one.
I'd like to take this opportunity to (again!) thank everyone who reads this blog for your support and encouragement. I've said before that I love writing this blog, and it's really heartening to know that there are people out there enjoying my witterings. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, and a great start to 2016. See you in the New Year!
PS I'm really chuffed to have this blog included in the December 2015 Dad's Round Up at BritMums, particularly as I'm in some very good company - the other blogs mentioned are really good reads, so go and give them a try! :)