Thursday, 29 December 2011

Toys, tantrums and the worry of over-indulgence

Christmas is now finally well and truly over for us.  Both sets of grandparents have been seen and all presents exchanged.  It has been exhausting and, I'm not afraid to admit, a little challenging.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year to spoil those you love and the magic of Christmas is so special to see in the faces of children.  But, I think it all became a little overwhelming for our nearly three-year-old.  Over the last few days we have had fun, frolics...and tears and tantrums.  Merry Christmas indeed!
Frosty And Santa
(Click here to get Images & Frosty And Santa Pictures - Pictures)

Monday, 26 December 2011

When Christmas came to town...

Merry Christmas one and all.  How was your big day?  Here are my Christmas 2011 highlights, in pictures....

Saturday, 24 December 2011

No more sleeps 'til Santa!

Christmas is a time for peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

Not much can be done about the first part of that sentence but I'm pleased (and a little relieved) to see Sophia exuding goodwill towards her fellow man.  Or, more specifically, her brother.
It's about time.

Friday, 23 December 2011

One sleep 'til Santa

We had a visit from a special man last night.  I'll see if you can guess who...
Don't worry, you haven't missed Christmas Eve! Last night the local Round Table organisation held the last of its fundraising 'Santa sleigh' routes and it came right past our house.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Two sleeps 'til Santa

I was all prepared for a bout of mince pie making this week. I thought it'd be a lovely idea to do some home baking with Sophia. My husband however, pointed out the boxes of pies in our kitchen cupboards.

"I really don't think we need any more." He said.

"Alright then," I chirped. "I'll make a cake for Christmas Day instead."

"Errr, no." My husband replied. "We've got too much to eat as it is, what with the dinner and Christmas pud and these mince pies. If you'd have told me sooner, I wouldn't have bought so much."

So there we are. No home baking this year. But, I'll let it pass. Just for this year. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I am in charge of cooking the Christmas dinner. I am very excited about this fact, not least because we'll be eating in our new dining room this year. The second reason for not throwing all my toys out of the pram at the lack of home baking is that we've done something this year that we've never done before. A second Christmas tree.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Three sleeps 'til Santa

"A time for living, a time for believing...Its a time for giving, a time for getting. A time for forgiving and for forgetting..."  
- Excerpt from "Mistletoe and Wine" performed by Sir Cliff Richard, 1988

Yes, Sir Cliff, that's all well and good but you forgot one other important point.  Christmas is also a time when blackmailing your children is socially acceptable.

"You'd better eat your food or I'll tell Santa and he won't visit."

"Stop screaming / jumping on the sofa / throwing your ball at my head.  Santa won't bring you any presents otherwise."
I know this isn't what the true meaning of Christmas is all about, but it's come in very useful so far.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Four sleeps 'til Santa

My pre-Christmas to-do list is slowly getting smaller.  That's a good thing considering Christmas Day is less than a week away - eek!

In fact, there's only one major thing left to do on said list...and that's getting the food shopping done.  My husband and I aren't looking forward to it; shops and supermarkets are heaving at this time of year as people either a) desperately hunt around for last minute Christmas presents or 2) wait until the last minute to buy their Christmas food so it stays fresher for longer.  Either way, you need sharp elbows in order to survive.

Wish us luck.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Five sleeps 'til Santa

Well, this is it.  The final countdown.  Santa will be putting the final touches to his list and thinking about saddling up the reindeer right about now.  What will you be doing this week?

I think it's a perfect excuse to indulge in some dressing up (don't worry, I'm talking about the children, not me).  Thankfully, I'm not the only one; the delectable From Fun to Mum is hosting a Kids Christmas Outfit blog hop.  So, if you love seeing cute kids in silly, Christmassy clothes, head on over to her blog and check it out.  I know I will.

Here are my offerings. Get ready to coo and go "ahhh...".
This photo is of Sophia and was taken in 2009 - her first Christmas. Yes, I know this isn't really a Christmas outfit, but it was the only costume we had in the house at the time! 

Dexter's rocking a more festive look for his first Christmas though...
I think my children are ruddy gorgeous!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Six sleeps 'til Santa

Yesterday (sad news aside) was the end of the Christmas party season for my family. Not that my husband and I have been enjoying any drunken festivities, oh no. Our children were invited to two parties this year. Yes, that's right, two. They have a better social life than me and the husband at the moment!

Unfortunately, Sophia was ill for the first one so neither child could go (I didn't want to risk spreading the dreaded lurgy), but she (and Barney the bear) had a whale of a time at her second. Plus, she got to see Father Christmas.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Thoughts of loved ones lost

These last few days have been a whirlwind of excitement as Christmas approaches. Christmas.  A time for families to come together and enjoy and appreciate each other's company.  But what for those families who have someone permanently missing from the fold?
I'm asking the question because this morning I received some terribly sad news.  An old friend of mine has passed away. 

Julia was only one year older than myself but had been fighting a terrible, difficult illness for the last six months or so.

Seven sleeps 'til Santa

Yesterday, the most amazing thing happened.  I published a post about wishing for snow.  Now that's not amazing in itself, granted.  But then, literally no more than ten minutes later, it actually started snowing!  Someone important obviously read my blog post, sensed my desperation and decided to grant my wish - thank you!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Eight sleeps 'til Santa

This time last year, we were knee deep in snow.  Actually, scratch that.  At this time over the last two years, we have had snow.  And not just any snow; the type of snow that would grind the country to a halt (and did).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Nine sleeps 'til Santa

Yesterday was a great day.  I trudged out to West London for breakfast, beverages and a spot of banter (don't you just love alliteration?!) with a group of fellow mummy bloggers.  And it didn't disappoint.

Although there is such a supportive, online community of bloggers, the mere fact you are writing your posts sitting in front of your computer can still make the act of blogging seem quite solitary and isolating.  So, thank you to the lovely Metropolitan Mum for organising the Christmas get-together.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Ten sleeps 'til Santa

Today is my day for Christmas get-togethers.  It's going to be a busy one...

Coffee Mugs
First of all, I'm off to meet some lovely fellow mummy bloggers for a spot of coffee, chat and food.  I'm really looking forward to it; although my blog is not even two months old (that will be on Christmas Day - another reason to celebrate!), I've become totally immersed in the blogging world.  There is such a supportive community amongst all the parents who blog and it's great to know you're not completely on your own, we all go through similar experiences.

After those festivities, I'll be popping by the office to see my team, have a spot of lunch (if I can manage any after the coffee morning) and drop off my Secret Santa present.  Then, it's back home to take my kiddies to a playdate with three of their friends.  Cue more card and present giving.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Eleven sleeps 'til Santa

One more day closer to Christmas Eve!

Today, I'm getting the presents I've bought for far-away family couriered to them in time for Christmas. I have two little nephews so I want to make sure they, in particular, have their gifts to open on the day. I probably won't be seeing them until the end of January otherwise and who would want to wait that long for presents??!

Oh, and I've found two reindeer in my garden...

Monday, 12 December 2011

Twelve sleeps 'til Santa

"You better watch out.  You better not cry.  Better not pout, I'm telling you why.  Santa Claus is coming to town..." 

Yes, Christmas is well and truly on its way!  Dear ol' St. Nick will be dashing around the rooftops in 12 sleeps time.  Are you ready for him?

We're just about there now, although the Christmas cards and some family presents are still need to be posted.  But, that should all be done in the next day or two.

Because all the 'high-pressure' stuff is all done, I've decided to embrace the onset of Christmas and do a type of Christmas countdown called 'Sleeps 'til Santa'.  It's kind of like the 12 days of Christmas except I'll be counting down the nights until Santa's on his way.  So, each day up until Christmas Eve, I will post a festive photo and Christmas video to hopefully get us all in the festive spirit.  Join in if you want!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

What I'm looking forward to most about Christmas

Two weeks today it will be Christmas Day and I admit there is a huge amount of excitement in the 'ordinary parent' household this year. 

For my daughter, it's the first year that she understands the concept of Father Christmas.  Sophia's counting down the days using her very cool re-usable advent calendar (see photo) and getting excited about the prospect of presents (as long as she's been a good girl of course).

For my son, it'll be his very first Christmas (not that he even really understands anything about it). It's so hard to believe that Dexter wasn't in our lives one year ago.

For myself and my husband, we're looking forward to seeing in our first Christmas as a family of four.  But there is something more.  We're particularly looking forward to marking the occasion in sumptuous surroundings.  You see, our house has needed modernising on a scale never normally seen by man but, this year, the ground floor renovations have at last been completed.


I can't tell you how happy this makes me.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Crawling baby alert!

Now that my computer's finally free of viruses and horrible malware, I can finally tell you what I've been dying to for a few days....

Dexter is crawling!!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Technology: A world-wide addiction?

Image credit

I recently fell victim to a computer virus. Two to be precise and both designed to scam you out of money. I didn't fall for the con but I have been left high and dry without my laptop (albeit only temporarily). What's worse is that I don't really know how to pass the time without it, such is the importance we place on it in my household.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Beware the "System Fix" computer virus

Over the last couple of days I have been struck down by a nasty virus. It has made it difficult for my system to operate properly and has lingered, refusing to go completely.

No, I have not been ill. I wish it had been that type of virus (at least that would have involved some bed rest). Instead, I have been the victim of a computer virus - and a really nasty piece of malware at that. The virus that came to be on my system is sneaky, able to hide and disguise itself and, worst of all, designed to con you out of your money and potentially your credit card details.

I cannot stand this sort of malicious act. What type of person(s) creates these fraudulent, dangerous viruses? Do they get some sort of sick delight in conning people out of their money and/or security details? What's wrong with getting a proper job and doing things legally? It makes me so angry.

Image credit

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

My Kate Winslet/Gwyneth Paltrow moment

"Oh my God, I can't believe it...I didn't think I was going to win anything! Okay...Oh look, I really did win it! Oh gosh, okay. Thank you so much. Thank you so so much."
- Excerpt from Kate Winslet's Emmy speech, 2011

"I would like to thank the Academy from the bottom of my heart..."
- Excerpt from Gwyneth Paltrow's Academy Award speech, 1999

Don't you just love awards? I do...I've won one! 

I have finally got to experience my own Kate Winslet / Gwyneth Paltrow moment. I have had an award bestowed upon me from the fabulous bloggers, Mother Venting, From Fun to Mum and More Than a Mum Blog. Thank you so so much for this award *blub*.

So what did I win - a shiny trophy? A large pile of prize money? Some sort of high-cost, luxury prize? 

Monday, 28 November 2011

Mr Shark saves the day

I love it when children's toys can be put to a practical use.  Let me explain...

A few nights ago we awoke to a cold and misty morning.  There was a distinct chill in the air with touches of frost glistening on the blades of grass in the garden.  You could see the wind casually blowing the slowly dissipating mist to and fro and making the trees sway gently in the breeze.

Sophia and Dexter had a date at a local playgroup that morning so, from the moment they were up and out of bed, the countdown was on to make sure we got there on time.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Siblings: Worlds apart from the start

In my last post, I talked about my pregnancy with Sophia, the diagnosis of talipes and her subsequent treatment.  When I became pregnant for a second time, I thought I knew what to expect and was prepared for any potential hiccups along the way.  Silly me!

Pregnant III
Image credit
Sophia and Dexter are two totally different people, with individual personalities and quirks.  You may say that it's to be expected - of course, they have their own special characteristics - but what I certainly didn't expect was that their differences would be so obvious even before Dexter was born. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Best foot forward

In a much earlier post back in October 2011, I briefly mentioned that my little girl has a condition which requires regular monitoring at a London hospital.

Now that the chaos of having to post every day for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is behind me - yes, that's right, I've fallen by the wayside already - I've got some time to explain more about Sophia's condition and hopefully raise some awareness at the same time. 

In a nutshell, Sophia was born with Congenital Talipes Equinovarus (CTE).

Saturday, 19 November 2011

What's in my bag? Come and see...

This week I have had a close encounter of the very random kind.

Over on twitter, some very lovely mummy bloggers have been egging each other on to show the world what on earth they carry around in their handbag.  I fear it's slowly growing into something of a monster.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Ten questions!

You may or may not have seen a "10 questions" meme currently traversing the blogosphere.  Well, it's finally landed on my lap (metaphorically not literally).  It does what it says on the tin - it's ten questions about whoever's been tagged.  In this case, that person is me.

The meme was started by Super Amazing Mum who I've never met but now think is totally awesome to have gotten this virtual 'chain-letter' going.  It came to me via the very lovely Rollercoaster Mum so I hope I do a decent job answering these questions.  Here goes...

Monday, 14 November 2011

The best of friends, right to the end?

Teddy bears are funny things. What is it about them that children love so much? What is it that attracts children to one particular bear - one they may not have paid much attention to before - and makes them love that teddy with all their heart?

And what do you do when that teddy is so loved and so cuddled, that it's in danger of falling apart? This is my dilemma.

Sophia is in love; madly, deeply in love. His name is Barney and he's her cuddly, brown teddy bear. They're best friends and go everywhere together.

I can't quite remember when they came to be so close. Barney arrived in our family during Sophia's very first Christmas. He was a gift from her Great-Grandmother, my Nan. 

Friday, 11 November 2011

Poppy pride

Today, the nation will fall silent for two minutes at 11am to remember those who have fought, and still are fighting, in the name of freedom and liberty.

I think it's a great tradition. I've been wearing my poppy with pride and will certainly try to instil the level of respect that these heroes deserve in my children.

Even if you don't agree with more recent conflicts, I think the poppy is a powerful symbol of sacrifice and bravery by past and present service men and women.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Moody Englishman

It's been one of those days today. Well, it started out as one of those days - you know, one of those where everything seems to be against you - and ended up probably being my highlight of the week.

Why? Because I got to meet a Moody Englishman that's why. No, not my husband on a bad day, but Lewis Moody - an England rugby World Cup winner. And he cooed over my baby!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Preparing for a winter wonderland

The weather has been fairly mild of late, only recently getting colder. It's finally starting to sink in for me that winter is on its's just under seven weeks until Christmas after all (eek, better get shopping!).

This might be a bit premature of me, but I've been thinking about the likelihood of us getting snow this year. After all, it did arrive in November last year and I wouldn't be surprised if it happened again this time round. The weather 'experts' seem to agree that it's on its way, although can't seem to pinpoint when (didn't they originally say October??).

Monday, 7 November 2011

You know you're watching too much Cbeebies when...

Someone asks you which band you like and, without even thinking about it, you reply, "Zingzillas".

You see Justin Fletcher everywhere.

You only know when spring / summer / autumn / winter is officially over because Cbeebies changes its season song.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the bravest mum of all?

The very quick answer is...not me!

However, since becoming a Mum I have discovered a new level of bravado that I never knew I had.  Pre-babies, it was fine for me to scream and go 'doolally' over the sight of a spider scuttling across a room.  Now, I don't want to pass on any 'irrational' fears to my offspring.  The downside is, of course, that I have to try and appear brave even when I'm terrified on the inside. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Guy Fawkes Night: How young is too young?

I've recently been asked whether fireworks are unsuitable for a two-year-old.   It took me back to last year's bonfire night when we took Sophia to see her first firework display.

It was November (obviously!) and I was about six months pregnant.  We had decided to get away from it all, probably for the last time before the baba (now called Dexter) arrived.  My husband booked us into the plush Armathwaite Hall hotel in the Lake District, the first time we had ventured that far north, and we excitedly packed our bags and loaded up the car.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The simple things mean the most

Ever since having children, I've discovered that I have lived two lives; one before my babies came along and the one I am living now as a Mum. 

Pre-children, my husband and I would get our kicks from boozy nights out, long holidays (when we had saved up for long enough) and generally doing what we wanted when we wanted; we didn't have to worry about getting home to the babysitter and if our plans changed at the last minute, it didn't matter.

We were married for three years before I became pregnant because we wanted to make the most of things and enjoy being married before we committed our lives to raising children. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Trick-or-Treating: Does it always have to be on All Hallow's Eve?

You may think that I'm a bit late with this post, Halloween being a couple of days ago and all.  But, I think I'm being quite efficient.  You see, we didn't 'celebrate' Halloween on the 31st October.  We donned our costumes and went trick-or-treating last night instead.

"What on earth?", I hear you cry.  But let me explain; my husband was working until very late on Halloween and didn't want to miss seeing the children dressed up in their costumes.  I mean, look how cute they looked - who would want to miss that?!

Yes, even the teddy had to dress up!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Missing: One sock, possibly eaten

Have you seen this sock?

Last seen dangling from a certain baby boy's foot while bouncing about in his jumperoo earlier this afternoon.

It is suspected of trying to flee the scene after the baby boy in question tried to eat it. 

May be cowering down the back of the sofa or perhaps under the cot, although a comprehensive search of the area has so far failed to uncover it.

It is being missed terribly by said baby's left foot and also its identical twin sock. 

It is likely to have found the same hiding place as the biscuit that went missing last week and the farmer figure from the Fisher Price World of Little People farmyard, who disappeared last year and is still on the run.

No reward is offered for the sock's safe return - it is only a sock after all, not a favourite toy - but any help that can lead to it's recovery will be appreciated.

If found, do not approach as it may be dangerously smelly.  Instead, please call 555-STINKY.

Many thanks.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Review - Disney on Ice, Worlds of Fantasy

Last week, my husband, toddler (plus favourite teddy bear) and myself braved the M25 to go and see the ice skating spectacle "Disney on Ice, Worlds of Fantasy" at Wembley Arena. 

We weren't sure if Sophia, our nearly three-year-old, would sit still for the whole of the show but decided to risk it.  We were lucky enough to get front row seats and, when we got there, were surprised to find just how close to the ice rink we were.  Both my hubby and I thought there'd be a barrier separating the audience from the skaters but there was no such thing.  I think this ultimately helped to keep our little girl engaged with the show because there was nothing to obstruct her view.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Do the Blog Hop!

It's exciting to be back on my blog already with my next post.  As someone who was never any good at keeping a diary and who would go months before writing the next entry, I originally set myself the challenge of updating this blog once a week.  I have to say I was feeling a bit intimidated by the prospect of having to find 52 new things to write about (as well as finding the time of course!) so it's great to realise that I do actually have things to say!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Hello World

No-one told me how hard it can be having children.  Or maybe they did, but I was so caught up in the excitement and thrill of it all, that I chose not to listen.  Either way, even when I felt the most prepared that I possibly could be, the reality of parenthood was still one hell of a shock.  Maybe you feel, or have felt, the same way too? 

I was ready for the sleepless nights and knew that a baby would take up all of my time and attention.  What I didn't realise was how responsible and guilty you can feel about your baby, right from the moment you discover you're pregnant; or how the simplest of things like getting showered, dressed and out in the morning can become like a military manoeuvre, planned out to the last detail; or how the worst of the toddler tantrums always seem to be saved for when you’re out and about and surrounded by people (who, inevitably, start frowning at you and no doubt mutter about what a bad parent you are); or having to become a master of multi-tasking (I’m now an expert at feeding a hungry baby, cooking dinner for the rest of the family and answering the phone all at the same time).  Then, add more children to the mix and there's things like sibling rivalry and jealousy to sort out.  It's certainly not the easy, 'romantic' notion I had when I decided it was time to become a mother.

I've decided to pen this blog to share my thoughts and experiences about being a parent and the joys and frustrations that go hand-in-hand with the job.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not pretending to be some kind of expert, offering up tips and advice on how to raise your children.  I'm not that arrogant.  I’m just a mum who has had (and is still having) my fair share of problems, struggling to get things right or rather, as right as I can.  Along the way I’ve found other mums coming up against similar hurdles, which is reassuring to know I’m not getting it totally wrong.  You might find some of my thoughts and experiences helpful, you may not.  What do I hope is at the very least you’ll find my blog a good read. 

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