Category: Family (page 1 of 15)

A day out at the beach

A couple of weeks ago, i decided that the best way for me to enjoy a Daddy day with Sophie and Harry would be to spend it on the beach.

Setting aside the fact the nearest beach was 60 miles away (ish), I packed lots of things, bundled the little ones into the car and headed off.

Looking out of the rain-spattered Windows as I joined the M56 out towards North Wales, I wondered if it was really such a good idea after all…

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Why I left teaching

Today, I woke up for the first time in eight years as a former teacher.

My notice period officially ended on 31 August so technically now I’m a free agent.

Still, the usual leaving time is within the first five years so at least I’m above average.

In the first of a short series, I wanted to unpick the reasons why I left, partly as closure for me but also to see if anybody else could relate to my experiences.

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Imaginary friends

I think most children go through it – that time where your best friend exists in your head but you’re pretty sure they’re actually real.

I remember having one who was not very good at stopping my shots when we played football together – surprisingly – but any other details have long since faded.

As parents it’s important to go along with the pretence, encouraging your child’s social development and including the imaginary friend in everyday life until they get bored with them.

Which may have to be soon for us as with Sophie’s army of pretend pals we’re going to need to do some dramatic upsizing!

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Bootcamp Babies – time off with Daddy is exhausting…!

So I’ve been a “retired” schoolteacher for almost two weeks now and the new lease of life is certainly taking its toll…on Sophie and Harry!

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Manchester: Five Years On

Five years ago, London 2012 exploded into our living rooms in a tidal wave of golden hysteria.

Jessica Ennis-Hill, Tom Daley and Laura Trott led the charge as Team GB’s remarkable exploits captured the nation.

As for us, we were sat watching from our new Chorlton living room having made the switch from Lincolnshire’s Grantham to the suburbs of England’s most ambitious city.

And we’ve never looked back since…

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Outnumbered

I’d done a weekend by myself before with the two children.

But this was different.

This was on location in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields and hills.

Oh and Harry really wasn’t feeling well.

This oughta be interesting.
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On top of the world

Our Austrian holiday “peaked” at 2600m on top of the Wetterkreutz.
Sophie and Harry’s first mountain was certainly a good ‘un.
I’ve always loved mountain walking but always on the condition we get to scale summits and tick them off on my mental list.
So when Andrew suggested we go on a longer walk I jumped at the chance to notch my first Alpine peak.
It was a real excitement to pull on my boots, pack up a chunky picnic and look up at the imposing rock face that stood ahead of us.
The only slight complication was the addition of two small children into the mix.
And there was no question of them staying at home.
We’d come prepared – my wife had a sling for Harry and I had a backpack to carry Sophie up. We were also to hugely benefit from a ski lift taking us 2000m of the way. From there though it was climbing steeply in the heat of the day with the children in tow.
It was hard work if I’m honest but we invented a guessing game to keep us entertained. It essentially involved me shouting animals and Sophie shouting colours. Plenty of blue penguins and yellow meerkats on offer.
Towards the top, a sheet of snow – more like compacted hail – made life even tougher. Andrew picked a way over it carefully and I followed suit. Sophie was hanging out of the backpack, shifting my centre of gravity really unhelpfully but I was able to navigate it.

Next came my wife with Harry and he’d decided to wake up by this point. As she tested the ground, his sling slumped forward putting pressure on the back of her neck and weighing her down. She did marvellously well though and made it across.
From there we could really see the distinctive cross which marked the top of the mountain. Just a short zigzag round the summit, a zip across some more snow and then we were there.

Views from the top were absolutely glorious and we even managed to get a classic shot of us looking like a Christian missionary family. (There would certainly be worse places to work).

For the way down I took Harry and Andrew carried Sophie. The temperature had sunk as we’d ascended but this swiftly changed and it was hot and uncomfortable by the time we made it back to the ski lift.
(Naturally my inner child kicked in as we approached the finish line and I raced away from the others so Harry and I secured a glorious victory. At least in my head we did anyway.)
We’d done it – first mountain for the littlies conquered. Many more to come I hope.

A death-defying pizza trip

On our recent holiday to Austria, I thought it would be a tremendous idea to nip over the border into Italy and have a pizza.

My wife could have coffee, Sophie could have ice cream, Harry could have…er…bread(?) and everyone would be happy.

After all, it was only about 50km to the border. Simple.

Little did I know what I was letting myself in for…

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Thanks for Harry and Sophie

Three years ago, we were delighted to have the opportunity to publicly thank God for the gift of our little girl.

Today, it’s Harry’s turn and we can’t wait. 

Below are a few thoughts on the matter which are still important today.

We believe he gave us the extraordinary gift of this child and want to acknowledge that.

My wife and I both come from the Anglican tradition of baptising/christening infants, so why is it that we’re not involving any water?

And what exactly is a thanksgiving anyway?

Hopefully these few thoughts will try and answer those questions – although I am a long way from being an expert!

The New Testament plainly states that all those who belong to Christ’s people ought to be baptised. It is a command from Jesus himself that those who follow him are baptised and publicly recognised as one of his, even if that process has already gone on inside long before.

The question is when?

Many people choose to baptise their tiny babies. This ceremony welcomes them into the church even at such a tender age. But where does this come from? In the New Testament, baptisms that take place are of adults who believe, with infants unmentioned, although household baptisms would suggest infants were involved.

baptism

Our current church usually does Thanksgiving services rather than Baptism services because it generally adheres to the idea of “Believer’s Baptism.” In other words, an individual should be able to understand and profess their own faith in Jesus before being baptised. Any earlier would be inappropriate. Therefore, a tiny baby who cannot articulate or understand ought not to be baptised.

Whilst I have crudely summarised it here, this position of Believer’s Baptism with a Thanksgiving for children is hugely popular amongst Christians, because it gives thanks to God for a child’s life but emphasises the individual’s own personal relationship with Him.

However, the grey area surrounds whether a child born to believing Christian parents has been brought into God’s people by association. Are they part of “the covenant”, the family of God receiving the blessings of his promises, or do they have to make that step of profession themselves?

A child baptist would argue that God welcomes children of believers into his covenant. Therefore, just like in the Old Testament when eight day old babies were marked out as his people through circumcision, it is perfectly acceptable, indeed appropriate, to baptise babies.

This shows that they have been included, until such a day that they decide to step out of it. It places the emphasis on what God has done in Jesus to save his people, rather than on the individual’s personal response to God’s grace

Christians have debated this for centuries and for my wife and I, it’s simply not a huge deal. We accept the Bible’s teaching that a member of God’s church should be baptised, but as for when it ought to happen… well, we’re not sure. Both sides of the argument have strong points and flaws.

We’ve decided to go with a Thanksgiving Service because we are certain that it is right to thank God for Harry, but not certain over whether it is right to baptise him. It seems the best thing to do at this juncture with a prayerful option to revisit the decision in coming years.

As long as God is given the glory, the praise and the thanks, nothing else matters.

A thanksgiving declares our faith in God, our dependence on Him for raising our child and our thanks to Him for his life. We have also asked some godparents whom we love and trust to pray for our little boy and help us bring him up to know Jesus for himself.

Let’s just hope Harry can handle the situation and not get too distressed – particularly when our minister Rich takes hold of him. No pressure!

Tales from Airport Border Control…

OK, so we’d survived the night of all of us in one room. Just about.

And we’d had an incredible holiday in Austria (more in future posts).

But we really hit a low point with the security check on the way back. I mean, we’ve only been flying for twenty years…

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