Thursday 25 December 2008

Festive Greetings

Festive greetings to you and yours! Whilst we acknowledge the rather impersonal nature of sending out our annual message in this format, there is good reason. Rather than spend money on cards and stamps this year we have elected to use technology and donate all the money to charity instead. Also, there is the environmental impact of saving paper!

In the last twelve months Sean has left Primary One behind him and established himself in P2, Finn began pre-school nursery and is now a feature in the morning class and Rowan has advanced from a wobbly toddler to a loud wee boy who rules the roost at home and in his nursery. Can we cope with a fourth? (See the end of this festive message if you don't already know...)

Sean continues to do very well with his reading, leading the way despite being one of the youngest in his class. That’s my boy! He’s good with his numbers too and Sharon tells me off if I mention things like all our ages being prime numbers (which they were, up till April) or even numbers (which they are at present) as she knows Sean’s interest will be piqued and she’s worried about him being bored at school. Not that he’s showing any signs of that; he really enjoys seeing his friends and getting involved, even acting in his first proper play this week. He had four lines as "the king" and seems to have enjoyed the experience despite being a bit nervous beforehand.

Finn remains the most enigmatic of the three. He can be the most loving wee boy and is great for kisses and cuddles but he can get very frustrated at times if he's not feeling well and test our patience to the limit. He’s keen to try writing, likes doing his "homework" and can read the odd word too so next year will be a big one for him as he develops further and starts primary school. The two bigger lads are still as thick as thieves and play very well together. Finn has been more accommodating of Rowan of late and is starting to make an effort to play with him too.

Not that Rowan is particularly accommodating in return! Rowan is as different again from his brothers as he could be. You’d think you’d recognise some similarities between the three but if Sean is a Wallace, Finn a McFarlane (my mum) then Rowan is definitely a Coen! He switches from being a real charmer with twinkly eyes and dimples ("I’m Rony-Bo!" he says as he introduces himself to all and sundry) to king of the tantrums if things aren’t going his way. He hardly stops talking, although of late it has mostly been to scold his brothers - "Sit down Finn!"; "Thumb out, Sean!" - or his parents!

Our holidays this year started with a great Easter week in France, staying with the Harrisons in Grenoble, visiting Ruth and meeting up with Andi who also stay close by. With the three Harrison girls pairing off with the three Wallace boys it certainly wasn’t a quiet week but everyone got on famously. Sean and Finn had a morning at ski school and even Rowan, at 17 months, had a great time sledging. We continued the holidaying with friends theme by returning to Stank, near Barrow-in-Furness on the edge of the Lake District, with the Lasts who stayed next door. Again, having friends to play with added to the enjoyment for the boys and took the pressure off us a little to keep them entertained, especially since the sun wasn’t exactly splitting the skies.

In between the two family holidays, Sharon and I relaxed regally in Monte Carlo courtesy of the Pampered Chef. Sharon’s hard work since the previous August paid off as she finished as top points earner to win us the fabulous suite at the Hotel de Hermitage. We had four nights of wining and dining in style with the other PC trippers while Marie and Michael kept the boys in check back at the ranch. We ended the summer school holiday with a trip to Ireland so the boys have done a reasonable amount of travelling this year. With Rowan now a full air-fare paying passenger we need to start investigating house-swaps and closer-to-home options for the next few years! Sharon and I also popped over to Oslo (pricey!) for a couple of days to meet with Adrian who is studying in Sweden, I was in Rome and London on business during the year and Sharon has been up and down to England a few times so we’ve not kept our carbon footprints to a minimum. We do recycle a lot of stuff though! And use electronic communications!

Sharon achieved her own personal goal in June, completing her first marathon. Many of you know her knees aren't up to the running, so she walked it instead, as part of the Moonwalk in aid of Breast Cancer. Starting at midnight, she and her good friend Lesley walked the 26.2 miles through the night, completing the distance in just over 7.5 hours. Although exhausted, she felt a real sense of achievement in doing it and was thrilled to bits to come home to a fabulous poster created by Sean and Finn (and helped by Olivia!).

From running a mile from the merest incoming wave at North Berwick beach in May, Finn has developed into a great wee swimmer, fast catching up with Sean at their swimming lessons. Attending the lessons with Rowan as a spectator can be a challenge for Sharon as he often tries to follow his brothers into the pool! It’s great seeing Finn thrashing through the water and diving down to the bottom of the pool. He also managed a forward roll on the beam at Gym Nippers last week and seems to have the most athletic potential of the three with his size, strength and balance. He’ll only realise that potential if he takes his thumb out and elects to do more than clamour to watch telly most of the time! Rowan’s got a good wee kick of a ball but Sean’s sporting prowess seems to be restricted to running quite fast.

This may be a result of his, only recently detected, dodgy eyesight. Sean joined Finn in wearing glasses following a school test which showed he had a very weak right eye. He’s just come off the patches (makes him sound like a smoker!) as the eye has now strengthened, but he’ll be wearing glasses from now on. Rowan has an appointment for an eye test soon as we don’t want to find out too late that he has similar problems. Sean has started getting into music this year. He’s become a huge ABBA fan which was cemented by seeing Mamma Mia twice at the cinema. Even Rowan manages a passable medley of ABBA songs!

Sharon’s Pampered Chef team continues to grow, with a promotion to Advanced Directorship in July, and I’m still plodding along at Standard Life which is keeping its head above water despite the economic tsunamis of the last few months. Touch wood that my job and company remain secure through 2009. Water of the literal kind, the wettest August I can remember, meant that the cricket season was an anti-climactic washout.

And the final news to end 2008 on is that we are expecting the fourth (and final) addition to the Wallace Clan in June of this coming year. Sharon is delighted this time not to be as sick as she was with Rowan or Finn (having developed a close relationship on a daily basis with the toilet bowl with both pregnancies)! Many keep saying its a sign that its a girl, however all four pregnancies have been very different for many reasons. There is an 89% chance it will be another boy, seemingly. We'll be happy no matter what; a healthy baby is the best end result we can ask for.

If we don’t call or see you over the holiday period then have a good time, go easy on the mince pies and keep your fingers crossed that 2009 will be warmer and more prosperous for us all!

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