In March, Daniel also finally decided to walk independently! He'd been teasing us since Christmas, having taken fie steps to Neil on Christmas Eve but then done no more. Now, of course, there's no stopping him - particularly when we're about to get in the car and he's running off up or down the road!
During the Easter holidays Neil went skiing with the school so I took the boys to stay with my parents for a few days. It was great but drama-filled; the boys came out in chicken pox (Matthew's spots appeared at the science museum in the middle of the lovely day out in London that I'd planned - need less to say it was cut short as all he wanted to do was go to bed!) and I ended up in A & E having tipped very hot tea in my lap. Not ideal but I did have my mummy and daddy there to look after me which helped enormously!
Matthew's chicken pox was worse on his body...
... but Daniel's really came out on his face and ne has still has marks now :(Matthew's spots came out first so, while he was waiting for his (!), Daniel had fun with Grandad... And, back at Blaise Castle, was given his very own ice-cream rather than just having licks of mine!
In May we had more fun playing football and running around on the Downs:
And Matthew celebrated his fourth birthday with everything on a racing car theme.
Grandma and Grandad came to visit and I used their extensive horticultural knowledge (and my boy's love of getting messy) to help me plant the rose Neil gave me as an anniversary present last September (yellow, fragrant roses - my favourite - and named 'Pilgrim'...).
And we had more fun in another favourite place, Leigh Woods:
In the holiday we took our new and very spacious tent to Cardiff to have a trial run at camping before we head to France in August. The weather was amazing (though a little chilly at night which meant we didn't get quite as much sleep as we could have done!) and we enjoyed exploring. Highlights included visiting Castel Coch...
...taking bikes out and riding the Taff Trail...
...and getting the river bus to Cardiff Bay where we saw the church where Roald Dahl was christened (we're big fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!).
In June we travelled all over the place; Sheffield visiting the lovely Hewsons - here are our boys with Sam and Ollie, hanging out together in front of the TV!
And meeting the very gorgeous Esther Andrews - Daniel particularly loves babies and there is a photo of him giving Esther a big kiss but you can't actually see her then!
We had time in Liverpool catching up with family; our nephew Luke (in matching England shirt with Chris when the nation was still optimistic about our chances - before the first match!) is only 10 months old and walking around:
and time at Knowsley Safari Park gave Matthew his first meaningful go on the dodgems with Daddy - I love the glee on Alastair and Emma's face on this photo!
And then it was time to meet the newest member of our extended family, our nephew, Oliver Michael Savage:
Matthew was very pleased with his new cousin, particularly that he is a he and is now looking forward to epic football contests!
He's obviously gorgeous but has been a bit of a pickle in settling to sleep so Sally and Alex are wrecked!
And now into July; Matthew has finished pre-school and is really looking forward to starting school. We're so proud of him and the "happy, confident child who loves to talk and play with children and adults"; he's grown up so much and it's been lovely to look back on his 'work' and record of his time at preschool and reflect on how he's changed and developed over the last 18 months.
It took time but he now has a place at a new school site currently still being built which means his classroom for the first term is actually in a stand of Gloucestershire County Cricket club! We're really excited about this new school and the potential it brings - and the fact it looks over the cricket pitch is just wonderful for our sporty boy!
And, having finished school for this academic year, Neil celebrated his birthday with a barbecue and a chocolate cake - though no lit candles as the wind kept blowing them out!
Latest development is that we have had an offer accepted on a house so hoping to move early autumn - hooray!