Well, it seems like I was never going to write this post. Joe's been off preschool with some vomiting bug or other, which I've picked up but it's (thankfully) only a mild version. He's fine again now and the famously voracious appetite has returned.
Of course, a picture-heavy post means I always go a bit lighter on the words. Probably because I try to write the kind of blog I myself like reading. So lots of photos and a few little updates. I'm planning a wordier post for later in the week. Or perhaps the weekend.
It's bright here today. At last. The seemingly endless grey skies and rain can make you wonder if this is possibly the most depressing winter ever. Looking back through the camera though, I can recapture a little of the frost and snow-induced cheeriness.
The Flying Scotsman has now left these parts, but we saw it plenty.
It's still flipping cold. Not as much as a few weeks ago, but my fingers are a bit numb typing this.
I've booked in to do the Crafty Vintage handmade markets for 2016, held here and here. So I've been busy Making Art. Still much to do. And an eye-catching stand to design and build.
I just finished reading 'The Remains of the Day'. I loved it - it has now become one of my favourite novels ever. Jay treated me to the DVD so that's Saturday night sorted. I suspect I might cry.
Speaking of Jay (and I know he reads this): he's been baking a lot recently. Experimental stuff. Last weekend we had rhubarb and custard muffins and very tasty they were too. I also know he goes and bakes to escape to the kitchen when Joe is being a nuisance. I know this because I do it too.
I'm longing to get out into the garden. We need to do some heavy stuff first; a big pile of earth has to be moved to make way for a shed. Maybe a bit of poking and pottering first, just to ease us in. We have snowdrops and miniature daffs and hellebores.
At the risk of sounding a bit odd, I really want to scrub the trunk on the birch tree.
Joe and I have joined another local library. I found a great book on printmaking, and we borrowed lots of train books for him. We did a story session ('I don't want to join in' - him, 'I'll give you a YoYo if you do' - me, 'Alright then' - him). The craft bit afterwards was more of a success.
He's really enjoying the new preschool and sings as we walk there. But it's still a little bit heartbreaking to see his old one up for sale and all the little tables and climbing frames and things being sold on Facebook.
We did a walk on a very frosty day last month. Thick ice everywhere. But still evidence of the Boxing Day floods - even dry stone walls are scattered across the fields in some places.
The snow was short-lived but we made the most of it. Two snowmen, a snow bear and a three-year-old who refused to wear gloves.
It was great to let Joe loose in the field behind the house and watch him run around. Much better than the ice - he insists on slithering across frozen puddles and I wait for him to slip and crack his head. Hence the woolly hat.
We've had a trip or two out - in late January we went to Cumbria and saw Furness Abbey and visited the South Lakes Zoo.
A cockatoo fell in love with Jay.
And although there were acrobatic monkeys making car-alarm noises, and wolves and tigers, and a kangaroo with a baby in its pouch, we all agreed on our favourite bits: the bird enclosure with parrots flying overhead, and the cafe with a woodburning stove. Because it was a bitterly, bitterly cold day.
We managed to get to the beach too.
And although it looks like he's having a wonderful time in the pictures here, Joe's absolute favourite part of it: doing a wee outdoors for the first time ever. Standing up. Apparently that's what a three-year-old really enjoys about a day out.
I'll leave you with that delightful thought. Sorry.
I hope you're finding some brightness in these gloomy months. Speaking of which, I'm really thinking of repainting the downstairs of the house in white. Low ceilings and beams and small windows make cottages cute and cosy but also very dark in winter. I know Jay wants nothing to do with it, having just decorated. I totally understand. But come spring I'm happy to chip away at it myself. You know, with all the free time I have ;)
Have a good rest-of-the-week.
P.S. I've also discovered Aldi chocolate. Dark, with hazelnuts in. It's actually rather posh-looking and tasting. No this isn't a sponsored post - just passing on a tip to help keep the cold out.