November Birthday Boy

Friday 8 December 2017

Before I can move on to blog about our Christmas preparations I can’t leave out David’s birthday, which was in November. David’s birthday is the last in a run of a birthdays in our house, every three weeks from September, and this year he turned 12.

He has been saving up all his pocket money to put towards a laptop for himself, and so only asked for money from everybody for his birthday. He was delighted to have saved up enough to buy a lovely blue laptop of his own. As he is dyslexic, his learning support teacher at school had advised us some time ago that it would be useful for him to have a laptop to do his school work on, as then he could use spell check to help him out, as well as the fact that he finds it easier to type than to write by hand. Although his hand writing has improved greatly recently.

David is still our super sporty boy, and asked if he could book a five a side football pitch for his birthday, so that he could then invite some of his friends and a couple of Calum’s friends for a match or two. We booked the party package at Power League as it meant that he got two hours of football, as well as pizza and drinks, and a bonus of a free pair of football boots for the birthday boy. I had been a little apprehensive about the November weather, but it turned out to be a beautiful bright and sunny, if a little chilly, morning. The footballers didn’t feel the cold though, just those of us spectating! Even little Fraser got to join in with some of the matches and David was delighted with his day.

For his birthday cake he requested, of course, a football cake.

Finally, on the evening of his birthday, we were gong through his baby scrapbook looking at picture from the day David was born. He was born in the early hours of a very frosty Remembrance Sunday, and this was taken about 12 hours later...

And here he is with just his excited big brothers, who were then aged 5 and 3...

We thought that photo was so funny, the way that neither James or Calum are holding him properly, and so we decided to recreate it as best as we could exactly 12 years later...

That’s the last of our birthdays for a little while now. Well, until January anyway!

October Birthday Boys

Tuesday 31 October 2017

October is a double birthday month in our house.

The month kicks off with Calum's birthday right at the beginning. This year he turned 15.

There was nothing that he really wanted for his birthday, but he has been after a bigger accordion for some time now as the one he had was only a small sized one, with very few buttons for the chords. I had been keeping an eye out on both eBay and Gumtree for months to see if I could get a good one at a reasonable price.

After months of looking, and being outbid every time, I found one the week before his birthday. It was located about 45 minutes away from here and was a collection only. Because it wasn't located in either of the big cities, and the fact that it was collection only meant that I wasn't up against too much competition for it and I was delighted to win the bid just a few days before Calum's birthday.

The accordion is in excellent condition and suits Calum just perfectly. He can be found most evenings playing away and trying to get to grips with all those extra buttons - he has gone from having around 12 to 80! I'll leave the most recent clip of him playing until the very end of the post.

His choice of birthday dinner was Haggis, Neeps and Tatties.

For his cake I wasn't sure what to do for the decoration as Calum had made no requests. I had made a rainbow cake and covered it in white icing but didn't know what to put on the top.

James (17) came through to help take over and was soon sketching this amazing Celtic pattern on the cake with a food colouring pen. 

We both agreed that a Celtic pattern suited Calum perfectly.

Three weeks after Calum's birthday it is Fraser's turn.

Here he is on his last night as a 3 year old.

And here he is the following morning as a big 4 year old!

We were on holiday up in Lewis for his birthday, and he had been very excited about the prospect of spending his birthday at Granny and Shen's house.

He has recently been asking if he could go ten pin bowling, after playing it on the Wii with his brothers, and so we booked the two bowling lanes at the sports centre in Ness, at the north of the island, as his birthday treat.

He was so excited about it, and about getting to wear the funny bowling shoes.

The bowling there must have the nicest view of any bowling alley in the whole country. These are the views from the two windows.

Back to the birthday boy.

He took great delight in choosing which ball would be the best for him.

Fraser's bowling style was a little unorthodox, as you can see in this little clip, but it did the job and he ended up beating most of his brothers!

Granny was able to come bowling with us too.

Back at Granny and Shen's house there were more presents to open.

After that Fraser had invited one of his little friends to come around for a play and some birthday cake. She used to live down near us and attended the Gaelic toddler group we go to, but moved back up to Lewis in the summer. Fraser misses her at the Monday toddler group and so was delighted to have a little catch up with her.

Unlike Calum, Fraser had some very specific requests for his cake! He wanted it to be a figure of eight race track, with a tunnel in the middle, and with some of his Cars cars on the track and watching at the side.

He said the cake was exactly what he wanted, that he had had a great day, and asked if it could be his birthday more often!

Finally, here is that clip of Calum on his accordion. He still has never had a proper lesson on it. I've just been helping him with the keyboard side of it and we have worked out the chords as we go along!

Big Birthday Celebrations

Friday 6 October 2017

 A little over three weeks ago it was my birthday. It was a milestone one this year as I turned 40.

I've never been one to be bothered about turning another year older. It is a blessing that some are not fortunate to see and so I think it's wrong to be concerned about entering a new decade. In a similar way, I'm embracing the grey hairs that are appearing more regularly too. I'm far from being a feminist, but why do we as a society accept it when men go grey naturally, yet when a woman does, especially a younger one, she is accused of having 'let herself go'? I'm choosing to view mine as a reminder of all the years of sleepless nights with little ones, and of the many years that I have been blessed to spend with my husband and family.

It does also help that one day one of the boys told me that he didn't think there was anything wrong with going grey, 'especially since you don't have any wrinkles. I think going wrinkly would be worse'!

Anyway, back to the day of my birthday.

As is tradition, I was banned from the kitchen while the boys made dinner and baked a cake.

Calum (14) baked the cake and James (17) decorated it. He was eagerly watched by Fraser (3), who I think may have been more interested in the chance of getting some leftover icing!

David always likes to have the job of setting the table nice, and he takes it very seriously. I don't remember why I bought these cocktail umbrellas but he found them in a drawer and used them to decorate the table.

Dinner was slow cooked Chicken Tarragon.

And the cake was understated and beautiful in it's simplicity.

The boys knew that I had recently thrown out my wellies as they had holes in them, and so chose to buy me these lovely ones for my birthday, as well as a couple of pretty scarves and a little rabbit keyring that Fraser insisted they buy for me.

My parents. my brother and sister in law, and my mum's side of the family all bought me this thing of beauty. I already had a stand mixer and didn't think that I really needed a Kitchen Aid. Now that I have tried it out though, I realise how wrong I was. 

My husband was in some top secret negotiations with a friend of mine who makes tweed bags. He had commissioned her to make this beautiful handmade tweed bag which I love. The colours are amazing and the size is perfect. When you have to carry an emergency allergy kit around with you everywhere you need a decent sized handbag.

My husband knows that I would absolutely hate to be the centre of attention, and so took this into consideration when planning the main celebration for my birthday, which took place two weeks later. The reason we had it later on was that months ago my parents had booked a holiday that involved them passing by this way for a few days. If we held the birthday do later on then it meant that they could be there too.

The only tiny snag was that when he booked the venue back in the summer we didn't know that James wouldn't be returning from a school trip to Italy until the day after. Still, I didn't mind James missing it, and neither did he, and I wouldn't have wanted him to miss out on a trip like that just for a birthday dinner. His trip to Italy was with his Gaelic class and they went there to take part in a conference on minority languages. He loved the whole experience.

I knew that there was a celebration booked, and that we were going out to dinner with family, but didn't know until the day itself where it was we were going.

So on the day of the do we all dressed up fancy.

The venue was the Dalmahoy Hotel, just outside of Edinburgh, and we had a room to ourselves.

The room had a balcony on the far side.

The balcony had steps leading down to the golf course.

And the view from the room and the balcony was this idyllic view of the golf course.

The long table had been set with personalised menus.

And my parents had printed out some old photos of me to decorate the table too.

This amazing birthday cake was made by my brother's wife. She had made it gluten and dairy free so that everyone could have some. I hadn't clicked why she was taking such an interest in where James had bought the edible ink pens for my cake on my actual birthday a week earlier!

The guests at the dinner were: ourselves and the boys (minus James); my mum and dad; my brother, sister in law, their three boys and their daughter; my youngest brother; my husband's parents; and my husband's sister.

Everyone was dressed in their finery for the dinner, but I think these two were the best dressed of the lot.

The rest of these photos were taken by my dad with his fancy new camera.

This was the awesome free from pudding - dairy free ice cream with a dairy free magnum style lolly.

This is me and my two brothers, as well as our youngest two little ones.

And in this one we are joined by my mum and dad. I don't actually know when we last had a photo taken of just the five of us.

We were soon joined by my littlest man!

And of course a chance for a photo of myself and the Mr in our finery.

The room we had was a perfect size, as it was big enough to allow the little ones space to play on the floor, but not so big as to encourage them to charge around!

After dinner and cake we were entertained by some of the boys playing music.

David started things of by playing Lament for Iain Ruaidh on guitar.

My oldest nephew played us a few tunes on his pipes.

Calum played some accordion for us, and led us in a little sing song.

And the two littlest sang The Wheels on the Bus for us as a finale.

It really was a perfect way for me to celebrate a milestone birthday.

Next year it's the turn of  my brothers to have the celebrations. One of them will turn 40 and the other one will be 21!