Spring is here!

Spring is here, spring is here, spring is, spring is, spring is here at laaaaaast!

Haha.  Just a little something there for any “Charlie and Lola” fans that happen to be reading! 😉 We watched that episode again recently for what must be the millionth time and Toby seems to have got the song stuck in his head because he’s been singing it incessantly.  The other morning both Chris and i were lying in bed half asleep, faintly aware that it had been noise from Toby’s room that had woken us but he didn’t seem to be crying or yelling to be set free (he has a gate across his door way because of the stairs) and then we heard him singing “spring is here, spring is here at last!”

I managed to get a video of him singing it so will have to upload that at some point as it’s just too cute and hilarious not to!

He’s right though.  Just a couple of weeks ago Rudy was wearing his bear snowsuit and now suddenly it’s scorching?!  Personally, i’m an Autumn/Winter kinda gal.  I get happy when the leaves start crisping up and falling off the trees and i have to dig the hats and scarves back out of storage, BUT i know that makes me in a minority and that everyone else has a bit of a “thing” for the sunshine. I don’t have anything against it, although i do get more migraines when it’s very bright, and as a hayfever sufferer, bug-hater and pasty pale complexion owner this kind of weather/this time of year poses me several practical problems.  Plus there’s the constant sweating.  Urgh, i hate sweating.  On the other hand, i like not having to wear a coat, or bundle the boys up into coats etc and it’s nice not to have to wear socks! I also enjoy pegging the washing out on the line to dry…

Those are the first nappies to be hung outside to dry this year! Maybe a bit of a weird photo but it cheered me up seeing them all out there?!

Toby loves the sunshine and warm weather! We had to buy him some new shorts as his ones  from last year clearly won’t fit.  We bought him two pairs and let him pick one himself so he picked Lightening Mc Queen (obviously!) and at the same time he got a pair of Lightning Mc Queen sunglasses and a Lightening Mc Queen scooter!  He’s been babbling on about scooters for over a week now since we went round to a friend’s house and her little girl (the same age as Toby) had two scooters and Toby seemingly fell in love with the idea of having one himself.  They were selling “Cars 2” scooters in Tesco for £14 so Chris treated him.  Here it is in action:

And here is my super cool little Dude

Those photos were taken on Monday.  We’d gone for a walk to the post office and to get some milk and decided to come the long way home as it was such gorgeous weather and Chris was at home revising for his exam that afternoon so from his point of view the longer we were out the better!

First we posted the parcels and bought the milk and we were headed for the underpass when we were randomly accosted by this man who was having a drink outside a cafe.  He looked to be in his 60’s and was smartly dressed, with an Irish accent and after saying “Good morning” and asking how we were as we walked past he asked if i could spare a couple of minutes.  I steered the pram to one side and said yes of course and he asked if i liked poetry. Needless to say, that wasn’t what i was expecting! So anyway it turned out he is a poet called Jeremiah Oliver O Brien and he was having an opening night at that cafe that evening, he started writing poetry five years ago and has two (self published) books.  He let me have a flick through one of the books and read a poem to me that he’d written that morning and i actually thought it was pretty good! He asked if we could sit down for a coffee but Rudy was grumbling away and desperate for a sleep so i had to politely decline.  So we carried on our way but by this point Rudy was starting to get a bit worked up about not being able to sleep and the sun was shining in his eyes. We don’t have a parasol for the pram so i was apologising to him about how bright it was and Toby whipped his glasses off, turned them round and said “Rudy borrow it my glasses” and put them on Rudy’s face! Ok, so he might have poked him in the eye a little in the process but it was really the sweetest little gesture, and it actually worked! Within minutes Rudy had dropped off to sleep!

I told Toby he was the kindest big brother ever 🙂

We’ve also been doing a lot of “Playing Out” in the front/back gardens (well, yards!)

Often this involves Toby begging to “play outside”, us opening the back or front door for him and then him demanding that one of us to come out with him, and not content to just have us sit and drink a cup of tea and watch him, he wants us to either take turns with his scooter or push him on his sit and ride Thomas or chase him/the dog around the garden.  Which is fine for a bit, but the minute you stop it’s like it’s The End of The Actual World and he gets so upset, which normally then means he wants to come back inside…until ten minutes later when he wants to play out again! D’oh! It seems to be happening a lot recently actually, not just with the inside/outside thing, but in general.  He just isn’t satisfied to have only part of your attention and wants you to be fully involved in the game in every way, but you have to play it exactly how he wants or he has a tantrum!  You might play with him for 30 minutes solid, no distractions and then excuse yourself to go have a wee or put the kettle on he starts having a massive emotional breakdown like you’ve betrayed him in the worst possible way by leaving the game at that moment.  I’m finding it hard to get my head around it to be honest as some days i feel i have given as much as i possibly can and tried to be fun and stimulating and entertaining and i just need to switch off for 10 minutes and have a brew and he can’t handle it.  On bad days you think”Jeez, what more do these kids want from me?!” on good days i try to remind myself “He’s Two! He’s Two! He’s only Two!”

Speaking of which, we’re having so much trouble, well, not trouble exactly, but i guess, issues with people thinking he is older than he actually is.  Random folk are forever asking him questions that he couldn’t possibly understand let alone answer, and then being surprised when he looks at them like ????  At which point i say “He’s only two” and they usually look suspicious like i am lying to them for reasons unknown and/or surprised and say they thought he was at least a year older.  I think partly it’s his height (he’s really very tall) and partly because he’s so communicative.  Clearly all parents think their children are mini geniuses;)  but he really is quite a bright little button so i think that might contribute to people mistaking him for a pre-schooler when really he’s still just a toddler.  Similarly at the park etc people give me “looks” for keeping such a close eye on him when he’s climbing up the steps to the ladder or whatever because i suppose they think he looks big/sturdy enough for me to take more of a back seat but i know he’s happier knowing i’m right behind him and i certainly am!

Yesterday he took me by surprise though.  We went to visit my friend Anna who also has two boys who are 3 and 1 and Luke, her eldest has a “tree house” which i thought no way would Toby dare to climb up but i think all the softplay centres we’ve been to recently have gone to his head a bit because the next thing i knew:

That’s about 6 foot off the ground by the way!  Haha!

We had a lovely day actually, Luke and Toby played quite well together (as well as a 3 and 2 year old can i think!) and Rudy even had a little sleep so that me and Anna could have a quick catch up

This morning we stayed at home so i could get some boring housework done.  I’m not a Stepford Wife or anything but it was getting a bit insane.  In fact the kitchen still very much is, but i did get some laundry folded and put away and more washing done and hung out to dry and i tidied Toby’s room which had gone a bit nuts.  Then this afternoon we nipped to the post office then to iceland to buy some ice lollies then went to the park to eat them.  Rudy fell asleep on the way so me and Toby had a nice sit down on a bench

Then we took a stroll across the playing fields during which Toby discovered daisies and picked a couple.  Then we headed to the playground where we were treated to what appeared to be an al fresco episode of Jeremy Kyle with two Mothers yelling expletives across the park at their hoardes of kids without ever shifting their fat asses off the bench they were sat on.

I might not be about to win “Mother of the year” award but my god at least i’m trying.  One of their little girls started crying and shouted across to her Mum that the other kids she was playing with wouldn’t let her have a turn so her Mum screeched “What yer crying fawwww?! Get over here now or stop crying!” What the hell kind of sense does that make?! Later she was yelling “Dante! Get yer shoes on! Dante! Shoes NOW! Right, that’s it! Yer not going pub for your tea and yer grounded all of today tomorrow and the weekend” (Seemingly not realising that she’d neglected to mention Friday at all)  The boy in question looked to be about 6 years old at the most.  To think that Dante was the first boy’s name on my list when i was pregnant with Toby!  Shudder.

Toby has never heard people yelling like that before and just kept staring at them like he was trying to make sense of what was happening, and Rudy was awake by this point too so in the end i figured it was best we came home.  We’d been out for three hours anyway so we’d had a nice afternoon and it seemed to wear them both out so after tea they were ready for baths and bed.  To be honest, after writing all this i’m thinking “me too” actually and i’m considering heading up to join them!

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Matchmakers

No, not those little sticks of chocolate, but the act of introducing two people to each other in the hope that they’ll hit it off/fall in love/find their soulmates in each other and make lots of cute babies!

These are two of my favourite people:

Their names are Emma and Ben (and the dog is Lola, in case you were wondering!)

Emma has been my best friend since we were very and extremely small, like this:

Actually, we were even smaller than that as i think we’re about fourteen or fifteen in that photo but we actually met when we were 9 years old and i was the new girl at her school and she was put in charge of looking after me (aka, showing me the ropes!) She gave me a little tour of the school, ending with “and these are the stinky toilets- peeeew!” which made me laugh and she’s been making me laugh, showing me the ropes and looking after me ever since 😉

Ben has been one of Chris’s best friend’s since circa 2006, when they were both students, and yes, i am aware Chris is STILL a student (sigh) but he seems determined to remain one forever if possible.  I was referring to when he was a real and proper student, you know, the kind that sleep until 4pm and buy super noodles in bulk and write assignments during the early hours of the morning that it’s actually due in.

It would seem that back then Ben was the only one out of all of us who knew when a photograph was being taken and therefore also knew how to avoid looking like a total numpty on it:

Chris and i had mulled over the possibility of the two of them making a good couple on a few occasions, but the universe wouldn’t play ball.  Then, in 2008, they were both single, and we were having a summery barbecue party for Chris’s birthday and the opportunity to introduce them to each other finally arose.

We were not at all surprised (but were very happy) when they became a couple because we both knew that a. we were right and b. they were awesome together.

And it turns out that we really were right and that they really are awesome together and that Chris and i are shit-hot matchmakers because THEY ARE GETTING MARRIED! 🙂 Wahoo!

They got engaged last week and we are so happy for them.

And like, we actually are really happy for them.  I don’t think i’ve mentioned on this blog Chris’s aversion to weddings (also big parties, christenings, funerals too, but i think it’s fairly natural to have an aversion to those) or the fact that we are extremely unlikely ever to get married ourselves.  If you know you’re not ever getting married, but everyone around you is choosing to, it can sometimes feel a bit like not being allowed to celebrate your own birthday but being invited to everyone else’s birthday parties. Actually, that’s a totally rubbish analogy and it’s not like that at all, i’d guess it’s probably more like if you’re a couple who have actively chosen not to have children while all your friends have but that’s a more difficult concept for me to grasp because i mean, who doesn’t love kids right?! 😉   Annnnyway, knowing it won’t be “our turn next” can sometimes (sometimes, not always) make it difficult for me to rouse the correct level of enthusiasm for engagements and hen parties and weddings but this time i am SO GODDAM EXCITED!

I expect this is partly because we had a hand in getting them together but more because they are two of my favourite people and i know how happy they make each other and i genuinely can’t wait to celebrate that with them.

So there you go, that was the lovely news i have been hinting at.

Congratulations Emma and Ben! Love you both lots xxx

Mother’s Day

I’m still not sure if i am permitted to share the lovely news with you (although i am sure it wouldn’t matter if i did, i don’t think i have a huge band of followers on here 😀 ) so for now you’ll just have to make do with more general news 😉

My sister is home now, which is obviously great but she self-discharged against medical advice so that’s obviously not so great.  I don’t feel like getting into it all on here so we’ll just leave it at that shall we?!

Our plan for Mother’s Day yesterday had been to go on our first swimming trip as a family of four, i’d even bought Rudy a little wetsuit for the occasion! But as both Toby and i have ear infections and since Toby spent most of Saturday vomiting it seemed like that would be a very bad idea, so i amended the plans just a little and decided we’d have a pyjama day instead, haha.  Chris offered to make me a lasagne for dinner.

The pyjama day didn’t quite work out as i ended up giving my sister a lift home from the hospital (before I knew she’d discharged herself) Clearly when i say “lift home” it makes it sound like i nipped around the corner, but it was over a 100 mile round trip so actually took up most of the afternoon.

I still got my delicious home-made lasagne when i got back though, and a well-earned generous glass of red wine 😉

I also got some lovely lovely cards from my boys.  Toby made me one at nursery on Thursday which i rather naughtily opened early!

Here they all are on display 🙂

Toby still isn’t quite 100% but we haven’t had any actual vomit for over 24 hours, so that’s a relief.  I think Rudy is feeling a bit under the weather too, either that or he’s teething in a bad way (bad Mummy not being able to tell) Either way he had his first couple of doses of calpol over the weekend as he had a raised temperature and has been even more sensitive than usual if you can believe it!

To give them both credit where it’s due they make better patients than i do, i’m rubbish when i’m poorly but they both still manage to be cute 🙂

The good, the bad and the lovely

Oh dear, this will never do.  I am seriously lagging behind with this blogging business. I am very aware that no one really reads it anyway, but in spite of that i am keen to try keep it up to date, otherwise what’s the point?! So i’ll try harder, i promise.

So what have we been doing these past ten days?…I’ll try to sum up in pictures if i can:

(indoor picnics)
(family afternoon out at softplay)
 (birthday parties!)
(visiting friends)
(discovering the wonder of balloons!)
(walks to the park)
(back carries)
(playing in Uncle Kieran’s giant inflatable racing car…N.B. Uncle Kieran is 9 years old!)
(Sleeping upside down)
I think that just about covers it.  Although there has been plenty going on that we haven’t captured on camera, like for instance, Rudy’s 3rd lot of immunsations, not really a kodak moment. And my ear infection and sinusitis don’t really translate well into photograph form, nor does Toby’s ear infection or the fact we’re now both scoffing amoxicillin like it’s going out of date 😦 Chris has an exam and essay at the end of the month and the essay topic is suicide.
There are also stressful things going on both in mine and Chris’s family’s at the minute, however as new as i may be to this whole ‘blogging’ business, i do know that it isn’t really correct etiquette in life to talk about other people’s problems on a web page viewable by anyone with an internet connection so i’m not going to go into all.  That doesn’t mean we’re not affected by it though, or that we don’t care. It’s just really tough when there’s lots going on and you’re so far away geographically that your usefulness is extremely limited.
In a funny (funny=odd, not funny=amusing) turn of events however my sister has managed to partially solve that problem by fetching her crises to Manchester! She is currently 25 weeks and 3 days pregnant and has been leaking amniotic fluid and contracting since Monday.  Initially she was in a bed on delivery suite at Calderdale Hospital, but they didn’t have any neonatal cots should my niece have suddenly decided to make an appearance, and on Wednesday night everything picked up pace a bit so they panicked (rightly so!) and shipped her to the nearest available hospital with spaces for both her and baby…which turned out to be all the way over here in Manchester, and, not only that, but at the hospital where i work (when i’m not busy having babies of my own that is 😉 ) And that’s where she is right now, occasionally freaking everyone out by having a random sky-high blood pressure reading but otherwise fairly settled, and we’re all hoping it will stay that way!
Everyone knows that a little bit of knowledge can be a terrible thing and in this case it’s definitely been true, my mind has been conjuring up every scenario it can think of and my own blood pressure has probably been creeping up with each passing day but so far Freyja (that will be my little niece’s name when she does arrive!) seems to be staying put, so fingers crossed that’s her plan for a little longer.
I did have some lovely news this evening though, after a bleh day of food shopping and visiting my sister (but being told my children weren’t allowed on to delivery suite) and getting stuck in traffic with a screaming baby, it really cheered me up no end.  I’m not sure if i’m allowed to share it with everyone yet though so i’m afraid i’ll have to be a big tease and say watch this space 😉

I can see clearly now (the rain has gone)

Actually, more likely, it has to do with the fact i now have my glasses.  And yes, i’m really wearing them.  Every single day.

At first they made me feel slightly nauseous, and very self conscious.  I was (perhaps a little stupidly) worried that Rudy would wake up from his nap and think he’d been kidnapped by a crazy purple-glasses wearing lady.  But in fact he woke up, gave me a puzzled frown and then a big grin and that was that.  Similarly, i’d been ‘preparing’ Toby for the idea for a couple of weeks, and he was there when i picked them out, but i was still a bit concerned he’d think it was a bit strange and be wanting me to “give them back to Daddy” (as he’s used to Chris wearing glasses) or alternatively that he’d think it would be rather giddy and be wanting to try them on, but in fact i picked them up on Thursday while he was in nursery and when i went to collect him he looked at me, said “Mummy’s wearing glasses” grinned, and that was it!

I am finding myself getting frustrated at the level of dust/dirt they attract, i seem to always be cleaning them which makes me feel a bit pretentious, but Chris assures me i’ll get used to them and the tiny specks of muck they acquire throughout the day soon won’t annoy me so much.  Other than that i’m adapting quite well.

In addition to the improvement to my eyesight, this past week or so has been quite nice.

We’ve had a couple of little playdates.  Not Sunday just gone, but the one before we went to our local park/play area and met up with one of Toby’s little friends from nursery, Molly, and her Dad.  Chris had exhanged numbers with her Dad a few weeks back because they live just round the corner from us and Toby and Molly are inseperable at nursery.  We’d planned to all go to the park together at some point but the weather hasn’t been ideal and we’ve had a lot on.  Anyway we finally made plans and it was so funny, as soon as we mentioned to Toby that Molly would be there he was like “Let’s go NOW!” and Molly’s Dad said she was bouncing off the walls at the idea of seeing Tobias at the park, but when they saw each other they didn’t know what to do!  It was like they were thinking “I don’t usually see you here!”  They did throw a ball to one another for a few minutes which was very sweet but then Molly wandered off to do something else and then Toby wandered off to do something else and it was quite funny.  I didn’t get any photos of the two of them together but got a few of Toby playing with the ball:

Chris said he expected them to interact a bit more but i think they’re just a bit young for that yet, i think Toby enjoyed Molly being there and thought it was quite fun, but they were both just happy doing their own thing alongside each other rather than actively playing together (if that makes sense?!)

Rudy was asleep on the way there but woke up so he joined in by having his very first go on the swings:

Then we had another playdate last week, where we went to a softplay round the corner from us and met up with two of the girls i went to uni with and their little one’s (we’ve got quite the brood between us!) It was good to have a chat and for Toby to have a run-around.  There was a little horror of a child at the softplay who upset Toby a couple of times, and who seemed to be on a mission to traumatise every other child there and who’s Mum looked like she couldn’t actually have given less of a hoot if she’d tried, but it didn’t seem to spoil Toby’s day too much as he’s been asking to go back (or at least saying “Play Area?!” a lot anyway)

On Wednesday my Mum came over and we all went to the park and exhausted ourselves (me and my Mum more so than Toby i think!) Rudy had a lovely long sleep in the pram while we were out and then when we got back Toby wasted no time embroiling my Mum in a strange and complicated game of Pirates and Nee-naws.  He fell and bumped his head at nursery a couple of weeks ago and since then i think has been wanting/needing to “play it through” so a lot of his games and little stories he makes up have been about people getting hurt/falling down and needing someone to “check” on them and make sure they’re okay.  My Mum even stayed for bath time which was brilliant for me as Rudy was having a total meltdown so it meant i could deal with him while my Mum bathed Toby (which he thought was great)

Other than that we had playgroup on Friday as usual and a fairly chilled out weekend (although we did go shopping, to an actual supermarket, on Saturday morning, which was a bit of a mental thing to do, but worked out ok!) Chris finally found the time to fit the buggy board to the quinny and we tried that out:

Toby was extremely excited by the idea at first but then we took it for a longer test drive to the post office on Monday and the novelty wore off a bit! I think because it was pretty nippy and he’s used to being tucked up in the pram so it didn’t seem quite as fun as it had at first.  From the POV of the person pushing the pram, it needs a little refinement as it is currently sticking out a bit too far and gets in the way of your feet a lot, but otherwise it’s pretty good, it bumps up and down kerbs well enough and seems quite sturdy.  Rudy certainly enjoyed having Toby right in front of him, although on the flipside, that meant he didn’t doze off as quickly as he normally would in the pram…i think we’ll have to use it a bit more for me to make my mind up for definite on it.

Chris is off this week which is fantastic.  Every time he puts a jacket or his shoes on Toby says “Daddy work?” and is totally delighted when we say “No, Daddy doesn’t have to go to work today” It’s too cute!  He does have an essay to write and exam to revise for though so it’s not all rest and relaxation for him unfortunately.

We’re off to sling meet tomorrow as our lovely new wrap arrived last week:

It’s a Didymos Nino Heaven and Earth (Size 6) and we’ve had a lot of fun playing with it already (as you can see!) but i’ve still got a lot to learn so i’m in need of some expert advice 😉

Chris and i are still coughing from the last round of bugs and already i am snotty with what is possibly the beginnings of the next thing, but you know what? I’ve decided that since we’re pretty much constantly inflicted with one lot of germs or another, it’s really only worth mentioning when we’re NOT ill, as that’s the more newsworthy situation! So i’ll get back to you when we’re all completely healthy and germ free (Please don’t hold your breath waiting, it will almost certainly prove fatal! :P)

February

Yes. I’m well aware we’re almost a week into March already, really i am.  It’s just i never got round to doing my little February summary, it was here and gone before i had chance, i guess that extra day doesn’t make much of a difference after all?!

Anyway, February. It was a struggle at times, with the bugs and the tantrums and screaming, but we also had a lot of fun, particularly towards the end.

In terms of my challenges, i did fairly pants to be honest!

You may recall i am supposed to be trying one new recipe each week? And that in January i only managed one in the whole month? Well…February was the same! Ooops.

I made special sausages and squash mash.  Which sounds like a total cop out because of course i HAVE made sausages and mash before, plenty of times.  But i chose the recipe on purpose because sausages and mash are a pretty big hit in our house and one of those meals you can almost guarantee Toby will eat most of, although on this occasion, that didn’t quite work out because he hated the squash mash so once his sausage ran out there were tears (and lots of them!)

The sausages were ‘special’ because they were cooked in a sticky honey, mustard and apple sauce (in case anyone was wondering) and the mash was made from a huge butternut squash and a couple of sweet potatoes.  It was yummy but the mash was wayyy too watery, i think next time i wouldn’t cook it for as long, and possibly choose a smaller squash!

I managed to achieve my goal of reading one book per month, but only just.  I read “Playful Parenting” by Lawrence J Cohen, and i found it really interesting.  There were a couple of bits i wasn’t sure about, but on the whole i thought it made a lot of sense, and there was one particular bit i found really helpful regarding crying babies.  I think a huge part of why i have found the start of this year so stressful is the amount of crying Rudy does.  I really was thoroughly unprepared for it! And there’s nothing like holding a screaming baby to make your stress levels rise and your sanity slip away, especially as a parent, your baby may as well be wearing a babygro with the words “My Mummy is a Failure” or simply “YOU SUCK!” on it, as that’s what it feels like they are saying when you’re trying everything to stop them crying and getting nowhere fast.  Anyway Cohen talks about crying babies and communication and how terrified people are of holding crying babies and something in there just really clicked with me.  So much so that the next time Rudy was having a total meltdown because he was waaaay past tired and had no idea how to get back to that place where he could drop off to sleep, and i was having no luck helping him and nothing was working, i decided just to hold him.  I stopped trying to offer him the breast, or trying to rock him, i didn’t sing, i resisted the urge to put him down and lock myself in a cupboard, i just held him close (but not too tightly) and told him in a low soothing voice that everything was alright, that i knew he was tired and that he could go to sleep and that he was safe, and repeated myself a few times whilst he screamed hysterically and then after about ten minutes of solid screaming he fell asleep in my arms.  Into the deepest sleep he’d had in a good while.  Toby was even able to come over and sit beside us and we did puzzles right next to Rudy’s head whilst he slept away.  I know it won’t work every time and that there are times when his crying is about something else, that i can do something about.  But after reading “Playful Parenting” i felt braver about just holding him and letting him cry when it seemed like that’s what he needed.

And films? Well, predictably i did much better with those.  I’m aiming for one new one a month but in February i watched “500 days of Summer”, “Tyrannosaur”, and dipped in and out of “Bolt”.  I thought “500 days of Summer” was brilliant, i really enjoyed it.  I wasn’t sure what i was letting myself in for as Chris had put it on our Love Film list and when we sat down to watch it i wasn’t sure if i was in the mood for a comedy but in fact it was just exactly what i needed and i actually laughed out loud at parts of it.  “Tyrannosaur”, on the other hand, was THE most utterly depressing film i have ever seen in my entire life.  It was depressing, disturbing, awful and brilliant.  The performances were amazing in it, and i thought it was an incredibly realistic portrayal of life for some people, which of course, made it all the more depressing.  Because that sh*t actually happens.  It was fantastic, like i say, but quite haunting.  I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to anyone in a sensitive or dark place in their life.  I liked what i saw of “Bolt” but really only caught bits of it so couldn’t say much more than that.

I think i’ll do better this month with my challenges, certainly i should do better with books as i’ve already nearly finished one, and i have all the ingredients in to make some brownies so if i can get on with that in the next couple of days i’ll be off to a good start with my recipes too 🙂