The Golden Girl

While the twins were at my place on Sunday Ellie decided to do her homework!

Its theme was ‘mythology’. She didn’t know what that meant so she asked me and I explained as best as I could.

King MidasShe then went onto google on my PC (under my supervision of course!) and came up with the story of King Midas. I showed her how to click on the link she wanted and before too long she had written 2 sides of an A4 page with the story of King Midas & his ‘golden touch’. It was in her own words too, and not just copied, showing that she had understood the story. I’m a proud Dad!

She needed some help with some of the pronunciation and spelling – I mean how the heck do you pronounce ‘Phrygia’ or ‘Dionyssus’ anyway? I don’t know! It’s all Greek to me!* –  but her comprehension and written account of the story was excellent

    * sorry, couldn’t resist

Yes, it does seems a little strange her choosing to do her homework during the limited time that she has with me. She does love spending time here with her Daddy – that’s what she tells me anyway – but I think I understand. We were still doing something together, which I was enjoying & I which I think she was too. She & Jake however often don’t enjoy the same things, and even when we do all do something together they more often than not compete with each other rather than play together cooperatively. I often find myself having to break up a fight. I imagine that’s not unusual for young boy-girl twins!

When they’re with me they each mostly just want to do something with me and so are competing for my attention. I only see them part of a day on a weekend and one evening after school so we all try to make the most of our time together. It isn’t easy!

Minecraft warriorAnd to be honest Jake and I were engrossed in a series of intense one-on-one Minecraft battles that day, which he’d been preparing and planning for and looking forward to for some time. I said to both of them before they left that next time I was going to spend much more time with Ellie to compensate.

So Ellie was being ‘a good girl’, and she is that, in doing her homework here – but she had also put some thought into her reasons for doing so, which actually makes me think even more highly of her. She explained it to me:

When she’s at ‘home’ (or as I prefer to call it “her other home”) with Mummy she likes to play on the green outside with nearby friends of around her own age. More often than not, she explained, she gets called in from playing to do her homework, which obviously doesn’t usually go down too well in Ellie land! She thought then she’d take advantage of my little home office set-up to do her homework at my place, and then she’d have more time to play with her friends.

Smart girl!

Oh, and my Minecraft battle with Jake? 2-2. We are planning a rematch!

Now there is of course only one way to end this post:

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The Treadmill

So…I’ve bought a treadmill.

Ellie, ever observant, noticed this – probably because Jake was standing on it at the time – and asked me “Daddy, why have you got that – ” Me: “treadmill?” “yes: ‘treadmill’?”

I actually have this slightly mad idea of using it as I play my favourite Xbox game, Skyrim, so that I walk as my character does, run when he does, & sit down in the Inn and drink ale as – well, actually I probably do enough of that already, & that’s probably why I need the thing in the first place…

I was explaining to her what a treadmill does and why I need it. I believe the words “big fat belly” may have been used, again. Possibly.

Her response took me by surprise.

“But daddy, it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters that you’re kind”.

Wise words for a 5-year-old, and definitely a Magic Moment!

Although I do need to lose weight (as well?) 🙂

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

LIke Father, Like…

Recently I’ve been writing fan fiction on a gaming site dedicated to my f’avourite ‘video game’, although it’s recently expanded: ‘The Tamriel Vault‘ (formerly ‘The Skyrim Blog’) if you’re interested.

I told Jake and Ellie that I’d been “writing on the Internet, about a game I like to play” and Jake insisted on doing it too.

Here is his story, almost verbatim as he dictated it to me, and with almost no prompting. The italics are my additions.

Personally I think it’s adorable!

I am Jake and I made this story.

I don’t play Minecraft very often. So I play all different games on the Xbox.

I play the ice game (Polar Panic), Mickey Mouse games, Fable 3, Sonic Boom, racing games.

I don’t often play this one but I do play it and it’s called Faery batman.

We do lots of fighting in Fable.

And in the ice one we do lots of pushing ice at bad guys.

In the Mickey Mouse games there’s lots of magic and puzzles and they confuse you.

He’s always insisted that it’s not finished so we may add to it later!

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

My Sunday Photo: Extreme Photo-bombing!

 

Perils of the Sporting Life

I wonder how many people have injured themselves playing Kinect Sports on the X-Box?

Whatever it is, that number just went up by 1.

Bare feet (slippy laminate floor) + lack of space + big kick + wire waste-paper basket = OOPS!

I nearly scored too; it was a tight match & 0-0!

The game wouldn’t stop when it was supposed too despite my frantic, & – I thought – correct hand gestures.

I looked around for the controller & couldn’t see it. And I missed a great scoring chance!

Noticing a fair few splotches of gooey red stuff on the floor, I thought I’d better call an injury time-out. I managed to find the controller, pressed a few buttons & 1 of them seemed to stop the game.

It may have to be abandoned due to lack of subs…

I’m having trouble putting a bandage on it: it’s only a small gash, but deep. There’s quite a lot of blood!

The worst thing is it may stop me from finishing this…..

*faints*

*head hits keyboard*

reqg 4hwieq hnv;lmcw x,C \A

Music Appreciation

frozen_ver8_xlgIn December we took Jake & Ellie to the cinema for the first time: we saw Disney’s ‘Frozen’ & they both absolutely loved it!

I was impressed as well. Although it’s a children’s film I thought everything about it was top quality: the voice acting, the animation & visuals, the characterisation, the dialogue, its humour were all outstanding. I also particularly liked the way it dealt with quite heavy themes in a way that was palatable even to 3-year-olds.

Then of course there’s the music. It was excellent – in a Disney context of course –  & unsurprisingly the musical is already being planned & is heading to Broadway, then presumably here as well.

Music plays a major part in my life & it has in Jake & Ellie’s too. I love to play music for & enjoy it with them, & have a collection on my ‘phone of 100s of songs that they like. I knew they’d love the music from ‘Frozen’ so I bought the soundtrack album for them.

I wasn’t wrong! 

We listened to it for the first time in the car on the way back from ‘Monkey Music’ last week: they were ecstatic, especially Ellie! When ‘Let It Go’ came on they were  singing along with utter abandon at the tops of their voices, heads raised, gesticulating wildly, arms waving about as if in a manic West End musical!

At home we played the songs in order; instead of the usual TV or tablet games – which sadly has become the norm in the new house while our unpacking has been delayed – they just sat listening on the sofa. While listening they were talking together & with me about the songs, remembering what happened in the film when a particular song was sung, talking about the characters & the story, enjoying the pictures in the sleeve notes & trying to read the song titles & lyrics there.

The power of Music!

It was wonderful

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

 

 

 

 

 

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Tired, scared, sore, smelly & frozen!

Film Appreciation

Now where was I?

Oh, yes: ‘Frozen’: Jake & Ellie’s first trip to the cinema! Last year.

Yes: bit of a gap; I know I wrote “tomorrow”. I’ve had a lot going on here lately…

As I said, they love films, & have done since very young. Early favourites were ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ & ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. More recently they’ve both loved ‘Tangled’ & Jake has fallen in love with ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’. And actually I may have as well!

We needn’t have worried about their ability to sit through the film without being noisy or running around: they loved it! Jake especially was rapt throughout, almost entranced.
Continue reading “Film Appreciation”

The Name of the Game

Jake has ‘a bit of a thing’ for gaming.

The games he wants to play on my PC, the Mummy’s laptop. my (now broken) iPod or our recently purchased Hudl are mostly aimed at older children & adults.

He’s actually pretty good at many of them – he’s amazed us with his computer skills actually – but inevitably gets frustrated when he crashes for the nth time & has to start again, or when he gets to a level that he just can’t finish.

Continue reading “The Name of the Game”

3 is the Magic Number

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Jake & Ellie turned 3 today!

I don’t know where the time has gone. It doesn’t seem so long ago that they were gurgling, cute little babies. Now they’re running, jumping, talking, pants-wearing, sociable, smart little people. In a few weeks they’ll be in uniform when they start Nursery at a local school.

School! They’re growing up.

They had a junior knees-up on the weekend with friends so today we wanted to celebrate at home with family: me, the Mummy & her Mum & Dad. I think that’s just how they like it.

We went for a scoot to the playground but didn’t last long as the wind was bitingly cold, & they had a bit of a grizzly journey back. After that I had hoped they would have a nap, especially as Ellie woke early this morning, but they didn’t.

So after lunch when the Mummy got home early from her work & it was Party Time they were a little tired, but it didn’t stop them enjoying themselves!

They had a fantastic array of cards & presents. I was hoping to save what I thought was the best until last, but…

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MINE, ALL MINE! Vis zis my new Leap-Pad I vill CONQUER ZA VORLD! (In a really terrible German accent)

We couldn’t stop her in time. And of course, no Judy without Punch…

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Jake is delighted to finally have an ‘iPad’ while Ellie continues to formulate her plans for World Domination.

I was glad to see though that life didn’t suddenly grind to a halt with the advent of a fancy screen: there were still more exciting discoveries ahead!

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Ooh, what’s this?!
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I’m three!

And actually we may have saved the best ’til last:
1-DSC00188This is a 3 1/2 foot-high chalkboard / magnetic whiteboard double easel with coloured chalks & pens & magnetic letters. Fantastic! A great present from my in-laws, but suggested by the Mummy. They loved it! Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of them enjoying it as I was busy rushing around trying to get replacement batteries for the Leap-pads!

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Enjoying some new toys: throwing & catching a talking ball

Then…The Cake!1-DSC00217

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After much cake was ate we did manage to get them down for a much-needed nap, using the excuse of driving off to buy more batteries!

Then it was dinner out, a rare treat; but not before Jake had a good ‘getting to know you’ session with his new techy toy
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They were almost well-behaved! A lot of sausages, chips, sundaes & cheekiness later we said fond farewells to the Mummy’s parents & headed home.

The helium balloons Jake & Ellie blagged on the way out provided a lot of entertainment before everyone collapsed in a tired heap, Ellie somehow managing to fall asleep while still clutching her balloon!

A great day all round!

3!

Still can’t get used to it…

My Old House & My New Headphones

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http://www.bassbuds.co.uk/

I’ve got a brand new pair of headphones. They’re great. If you want some ‘phones you should buy them, OK? If you insist on wanting to know why, read on…

But I also want to post about my current living conditions, the 4 of us. It’s been difficult since we moved, & we’re stuck until we can sell our old house. I’ve been quiet about it: I tend to clam up when things aren’t as I’d like them to be.

It’s called ‘context’, but it’s also something I’ve meant to post about for a while now.

I enjoy blogging, listening to music, gaming. But the cramped conditions I live in can make this difficult: I no longer have a space of my own to escape to when I need to. There are 4 of us – me, the Mummy & the now 2 & 3/4-year-old twins – in a small mid-terrace 2-up, 2-down. Upstairs we just have 2 bedrooms, 1 of which doubles as their nursery, & a small bathroom / loo. Downstairs there’s just a small kitchen & the lounge / dining room; my PC, surrounded by papers in what now also passes as my office, is on the dining room table there.

When the twins are at home they’re mostly there; a lot of the time I’m looking after them; when I’m not doing that there are jobs around the house that need doing. Even when I have so-called ‘spare time’ – even if I could concentrate enough with the noise & activity around me – if I try to blog or listen to music or play a game the twins will sooner or later interrupt, wanting me to play with them or help them with something. Which is fine: I’m their Dad, that’s what I’m here for. But it’s also very frustrating.

In the evening after they’re asleep – the time of which is getting progressively later as they get older – after I’ve cleared up & done as much washing-up as I can bring myself to do I’m often too tired to manage much more than collapsing on the sofa in front of the telly.  If I do manage something more mentally active like blogging & playing music or playing a game I then often have to do so while the Mummy watches TV.

Which means 1 of us has to shut up. And that would be me as I have the magic wonder of technology that is known as Headphones.

Would it surprise you to learn that they’re no good? They were once; they are Sennheiser noise-cancelling jobbies. They’re just a bit broken. They work OK in normal mode but have a really annoying hum in noise-cancelling mode.

So enough about me; I know I have no right to complain, really, & the twins even though demanding are a joy & a delight.

No, it’s time to introduce the brand new & very shiny pair of headphones I’ve recently received & was asked to review. Bass Buds, they’re called, the 2012 Collection.

They’re in-ear ‘phones. I haven’t got on with those before & I wasn’t expecting much different with these; I find that before long they irritate & then hurt my ears. That was my first surprise: they fit inside my ears perfectly & are really comfortable; they’re really well designed.

My second surprise was the sound quality: again not something I expected from ‘phones which I’d think of as ‘basic’. They’re not: the sounds are crisp & clear, the bass booms, the treble trills & all the in-between bits are where they should be. They’re actually significantly better than my old Sennheisers: that was a big surprise.

The only negative – & it’s a trivial one – was that I found that if I pushed the jack all the way into my soundcard connector the sound wasn’t quite right. When I pulled it out a smidge it was gorgeous.

They also have a built-in mike, especially good when you use them with your mobile ‘phone or iPod. The mike controller can not only take & end calls but also play & skip tracks & enable voice control.

Surprise no. 3: they look great! They come in a variety of colours & styles, there’s 1 to suit any lifestyle or mood – as you can see from the website.

And they’re reasonably priced, as you can also see from there. And in addition quoting the code BB48265 will gain an extra £5 off.

Headphones that sound great, that look great & have a great price: I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Good, so that’s my headphones sorted. Now can someone get me a bigger house please? Thanks.

Also? Happy New Year!