Sunday, 29 July 2012

You


You are now three and almost a month. I shed a private little tear on your birthday this year, because I can’t believe you are now just a boy. No longer a baby or a toddler, but a proper boy.

Although you’ll never be just a boy will you?

There is so much to write about you. You change quickly and amaze me every day. So many little things that I want to remember about you right now.

Three year old you.

You love life and have a zest for it that most adults can only dream of. You bound out of bed at 6.30 (7 if we’re lucky, 7.30 whenever Lila decides to wake up early!), shuffle into our bedroom clutching ‘Big Buzz’ with a huge smile on your face and wait to be hoisted into the middle for a cuddle. You don’t stay long. Seconds later and after a few bony elbow jabs to our poor bodies, you’re up and ready for action.

And when you’re involved there is always a lot of action. You are noisy and full of energy and never stop moving. Ever. Like your Daddy, even when you’re still you jiggle a foot or tap a hand or fiddle with something. And your brain works ninety miles an hour. One minute we’ll be eating dinner, the next you’ve leapt up to go and fetch something that we were talking about a week ago. And it needs to happen right now, that very minute. No matter what anyone says. 

Then there’s the talking. Always, always talking. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? All. The. Time. We indulge your questions for as long as possible, until we run out of answers and you have to settle for ‘because it just is’. I love that you are so inquisitive. I guess the world is one pretty fascinating place when you think about it and you get so excited about so much of it.

…And those ‘its’ generally revolve around boy stuff. You always have been and probably always will be a boys boy. You love nothing more than hanging out with big boys. Playing with your Grandpa and Grandad’s tools or hanging out at Uncle Ed’s workshop. Most of all you love your Daddy. And it melts my heart when I see how excited you are on a Friday and we talk about the days of the week and you realise that tomorrow is Saturday and that means ‘Daddy’s not going to go to London’. You two play together like nothing I’ve ever seen. Your games are so intricate and involved that you have a grown man rolling round on the floor making those boy crash/broom noises that only boys can make. Ones that I try to do but they never sound quite as good. You two are special and long may it continue.

Sometimes though, you are one little ball of contradiction. You’ll happily throw yourself off a slide, roll down a hill and make not one bit of fuss if you fall over. But get a drop of water on your t-shirt and you’re in major meltdown. Confident, boisterous and larger than life one minute, you have a sensitive side that is never far away. A typical Cancerian. Some situations overwhelm you and you need a reassuring hand and a few soft words to get you through.

I like the contradictions. I like that you are all slugs and snails, but your cuddles are like no other. I like that you play beautiful games by yourself, but other times you follow me round like a little shadow. That you have always loved food, but sometimes potatoes are quite simply the worst thing ever.

We’ve had so much fun in these recent weeks. Exploring our new home, going on adventures. I can’t believe that not so long ago I wasn’t sure how we’d manage during these months before pre-school started. And remember that phase? That’s long gone. Now I can’t imagine you not being here all day every day and am dreading the change to our routine that pre-school will bring. I know you are going to love it though. It’s what you need.

You know what Oliver? I still look at you daily and can’t believe you’re mine. I love it when you tell me you love me and when you climb onto my lap and suck your thumb and nestle in like you are a few months old. I love who you are. You are so fun and friendly and loving. A joy to be around. More than anything I love watching you grow and being part of it all and being able to say that I am your Mum. Best job in the world. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Excuse me...

While I just take a little time to soak up this glorious weather we're having. Finally! No rain and some serious sunshine. 

Lucky for me, I have parents who live in Dorset - a beautiful part of the country and only a stones throw from several gorgeous beaches which, apart from the deck chairs and wind-breaks (how English?!), you could practically be sun-baking on Bondi. The perfect place to escape for a long weekend. 




I only hope it lasts. 

Are you enjoying a sunshine fix at the moment? How's the weather going in Oz right now? 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Apparently I have a fat bum {out of the mouths of babes}



Three is here. I’m still trying to find the words to write a proper post for my big boy, but haven’t yet had the time to do it justice.

I do, however, want to capture little bits of him as he is right now. Funny, cute and down right cheeky. Here are some snippets from days of late:

One of my favourite Ollie habits of the moment is his way of responding to questions.

‘Oliver would you like lunch now?’
‘I would’

‘Oliver did you wash your hands?’
Pause
‘Um. I didn’t’

‘Oliver have you finished playing now?
‘I have’

“Oliver, could you pass me that cloth’
‘I could’

Each and every time. So formal. So polite.

Then there’s the way he’s starting to work out his own sense of time and scale:
“Mummy at some point, on Monday, I’m going to climb the slide.” (said whilst climbing the slide).

And his love of adverbs:
“I’m actually really enjoying my lunch.”
“I’m totally excited about seeing Uncle Edward today”

Or the way he mixes all three:
“Oliver, would you like to go to the park this afternoon?”
“Um. I would. We could totally go to the park on Wednesday. It would be so amazing and cool.”

Paul and I were cuddling him the other day. He squirmed and said:
“But the problem is, I just need to play football.”

He washed my hair in the bath the other night, then turned to me, patted my knee and said:
“Oh look at you you smart Mummy.”

But then a few days later, as I was squeezing past him in the car to get to the middle seat:
“Mummy, your bummy is a bit too fat.”
And he looked far too pleased with himself.

I think I’ll leave you with that one. Yes, my three year old just told me I had a fat bum. 

There are so many more, but I won’t bore you with them. I am well aware the funny things other people’s children say often don’t come across as even vaguely amusing. Although there is one blogger who always seems to nail the cute stuff that kids say – have you visited her yet? 

I hope you’ll indulge my little memory preserving moment.

Have you had any clangers from your kids recently? Do they beat the fat bum one?!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

How to organise a birthday party in {roughly} a day



I had grand plans for Ollie’s third birthday. Armed with some sound advice, I had visions of an obvious, yet stylish theme, beautiful décor, handmade everything and one impressive cake.

Then our container arrived and we spent the entire week leading up to the big day unpacking our life and trying to make the house vaguely presentable for the party guests. It was full on, but we did it. Just.

Sadly, the party plans took a little back-step. And instead of my lets-go-all-out ideas, it was a slightly more slung-together affair. But did it matter? Not one jot. Ollie had his two requests for chips and chocolate cake granted and the day was perfect as it was. This is how we pulled it off:

:: Theme. I had a loose car theme in mind, which was bought to life through some basic décor (bunting and balloons) and the games. I stuck to a red, white, blue and black colour theme which worked well to tie everything together and that was really about it. Would I have liked it to look more stylish? Yes of course. Did the kids care? No sir. They were too busy creating a carpet of toys to notice.

:: Party Bags. Lucky for me I have one very clever Mum, who had the foresight to drag me off to a great cheapy shop called The Range weeks before the big day. Here I stocked up on all the party bag essentials and prizes, plus tablecloths, balloons, plastic plates etc.. I’m so glad we did  this as it was the one thing we couldn’t have done the day before without it looking really mis-matched.

:: Food. This was a small party of five children and ten or so adults, but it’s amazing how catering for both camps can become a big deal. We sat down and wrote a simple meal plan, then did a night-before shopping trip. The menu was chicken and chips for the children (thanks Cat for that Idea) and various buffet bits and bobs for the adults (and kids). Because I didn’t have time to make the food I opted to buy really good quality items, so it wasn’t cheap, but was definitely worth the extra pounds for the taste and my sanity.

:: Cake. I delegated this task. Twice. The first person was going to make a Lightening Macqueen cake (which I was most excited about!) but sadly, in the end, she wasn’t able to do it. Then I was determined to make one myself. Then I ran out of time. And then my lovely Mother in Law came to the rescue and whipped up a chocolate cake with butter icing. My wonderful husband then decorated it on the day with various car-themed items and it looked really great. Who knew he had such talents? Yet again – I’m sure I’d have loved to look back on photos of an amazing 3D car cake in years to come, but Ollie’s face when he saw this one said it all really.

:: Games. This really was a last minute job. Thankfully, Mum with the 25 years in childcare experience came up with the goods. We played pass the parcel, musical statues, pin the wheel on Lightening Macqueen, sleeping lions (every parents favourite!) and a treasure hunt where the children had to find five medals hidden around the house to win the prize. We also had a cupcake decorating session, which went down a treat. My advice here? Have lots of simple, quick and easy games on hand – the kids loved taking part and it was nice to have a little focus to differentiate the day from just another playdate. Saying that, the children were more than happy playing with toys, eating and romping around in the garden. Simple, natural and easy.

And my final tip? Oliver opened his presents from the guests (only two families) on the day, so I wrote a thank you card for each child and popped them in the party bags. Organised? Why yes, but no forgetting to send a thank you card this time round!

So there we have it. Organising a party in (almost) a day can be done. And it can be great. I’ve realised that over-thinking or over-stressing about a gathering of this size and for this age-group just isn’t worth it. For us, this day was all about celebrating our son’s birthday with family and close friends, something we haven’t been able to do until now. And that was so worth it.

Have you had to organise a party at such short notice? What are your top party tips?  

*there was a distinct lack of decent photos from the day, which means only one thing... thanks to everyone for your camera thoughts. Now I just have to make a decision! 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Enough is enough


via

I was reading blogs long before I started writing one.

At first it was a work thing, then gradually I found a few that I really connected with and enjoyed reading, then soon enough I was hooked.

I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is about blogs that I enjoy. I just do. Perhaps the honesty? Sense of community? Nosing around peoples homes and pantries and picking up tips on how to raise your children better? All of the above? Who knows. But they sure are addictive.

The more I read, the more I realise there isn’t one particular type of blog that I enjoy. I like lots. Some for the humour, some for the tips, some for the words, some just because. But you know what pretty much all my absolute favourites have in common? Great photography.

And that, my friends, is why I’ve decided enough is really enough.

Now, as you will have noticed, my photos aren’t exactly the best quality. I lazily rely on my iPhone and Instagram to make this blog look pretty. Which is ok, I guess. And it does an ok job. But every time I click on another beautiful blog with beautiful photos I want to hang my head in iPhone shame.

I really feel like there is a willing photographer in here somewhere (whether she’ll be any good or not remains to be seen!). She just needs a little nudge to get out there and get started. So this is that nudge.

Problem is, I have no clue where to begin when it comes to cameras. So I’m asking all of you gorgeous blogging photographers out there – where do I start? What camera would be good for a novice like me? Do I go DSLR straight up? Is that a bit scary?! Which one should I get?!

Help please! I’m ready and willing and excited. So tell me what to do.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Ten




I find it amazing how much happens in four short weeks. This has been the month for pointing (way cute), proper crawling, more teeth (she now has two and a half with three more almost through) and wait for it… sleeping through. I know. Uh-may-zing.

I’m not sure if it was ending our breastfeeding journey and moving to three full bottles a day or if it’s just the way things were meant to happen, but most nights now we don’t see her between the hours of 7pm-6.30am (which feels slightly sad in a strange kind of way). Her teeth have still had her grizzling some nights, but compared to the fairly frequent night waking of before it’s a walk in the park. And I feel so much better for it.

Growing has been happening too. Perhaps it’s all this rain? Just earlier today I watched my baby laughing away in front of the mirror and her body suddenly looked so unbelievably long against mine. There was not a hint of any brand-newness, instead the glimpse of an emerging toddler that I know will soon be here in a few short months.

I haven’t had her weighed for a while, but she sure is hefty. Currently wearing 12-18 month clothes, she’s rapidly growing out of the majority of her wardrobe, which means a shopping trip is on the cards. Shame.

Nine-to-ten-month Lila has also developed a new comforting habit. As well as sucking her two fingers when she’s tired, she has taken to hooking her little amber teething necklace under her thumb and rubbing it under her chin. I was pretty unconvinced about whether or not those necklaces actually worked, but it looks like it’ll be sticking around for some time to come.

And the biggest change? Words. It’s started. I wasn’t so sure to begin with, but now I’m convinced that she’s using them. Surely it’s not just a coincidence that she’s using the same wordy sounding noises in context over and over? We get ‘more’, ‘that’, ‘ball’, ‘hi’, 'bye'. Obviously not quite like you or I would say them, but like I said – it’s started.

I love this part of babyhood so much. It’s fascinating. And giving your baby the gift of language by helping them learn is the most amazing thing.

*I'm adding a couple of things here that I want to remember in the months to come... Lila's obsession for flicking through the pages of books. She will happily while away a good 20 minutes sat with a pile of books around her flicking the pages between her fingers. Strange, but kinda cute. She also has a penchant for tissues - finding, shredding and eating them. Nice. And finally - the girl can add drinking through a straw from her very own cup to her list of tricks.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The {abridged} Weekend Edition




This past week has been one helluva busy week. I have shifted and unpacked more boxes than I can bear to think about, organised a birthday party in a day and watched my two year old become three, which was really quite emotional - three sounds so different to two. 

There are posts that I've been planning to write for a long time but I didn't quite get round to. I'm sad about that. But I'm not so very organised at the moment and right now I'm too tired to think. Instead Oliver's 'ode to three' will have to wait and be late. As will all the details of his lovely little party and probably Lila's #10

And that is all. 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend? I'm still reading my favourite blogs daily at the moment but haven't been able to say many hellos. So here is one big collective hello to you all! Have a great week. Oh and apologies to all my Instagram friends who will have seen all of these pictures before. As I said, busy.

x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Weekend Edition



We had a ‘jobs’ weekend this weekend. Surprisingly fun all things considered.

Saturday was all about visits to Homebase, building new big boy beds, buying new shoes (sadly not for me) and planning. All topped off by an impromptu Wagamamas early dinner.

Lila is turning into quite the little adventurous eater. She only likes to feed herself now and pretty much wolfs anything on offer. The edamame were a big hit, which thrilled me no end. I love them and have been recently having bad Sydney sushi withdrawals so these really hit the spot.  

Ollie was quite taken with the place too, particularly with the open kitchen which saw him standing on his chair shouting ‘FIRE IN THE PAN’ every time the chefs set the woks alight. Amusing indeed.

And Sunday? Well that was all about Ikea. In a bid to avoid the usual Ikea arguments, we dropped the children off with my parents. A genius idea. As this blogger put it on twitter - uninterrupted meatballs! And boy were they tasty.


Now I love an Ikea trip. All that browsing, buying of unnecessary items and people watching. You know the drill. We came away with various bits and pieces that were on The List and a few that weren't (obviously), this being my favourite purchase of the day:


Pretty, no? We're getting there slowly with the house. Although the curtains are hideous and the walls are mostly painted yellow, with the right accessories it’s, hopefully, not going to look too bad at all. Roll on Wednesday when our container arrives. 

Tell me… what did you get up to this weekend? Are you an Ikea lover or a hater?

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