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You are 13 Months (but technically 14!)...

on Thursday, 17 April 2014.

My Dearest LL,

Mummy is really late in writing your 13 month letter, in fact you are now 14 months.  Oops.  We have just been so busy and the weeks seem to be going so fast. I will get back on schedule from now on but for this month only I will merge your monthly letters together.  After a very happy 1st birthday, you have settled into life as a 'not quite a baby not yet a toddler' very well.  

You have been at nursery for almost two months now, just for two long mornings a week.  At first you used to cry when Mummy left, although when I rang ten minutes later I was told you were always happy.  However for the last couple of weeks you have been fine when I drop you off, you hold out your hands to your key worker and smile when I wave goodbye to you.  It makes Mummy feel such a sense of pride that you are now a confident little girl.  When I pick you up you always get a little overwhelmed when you hear my voice, and let out a little cry.  They tell me that you are a very quiet little girl, happy in your own little world and are absolutely no trouble at all.  Apparently you love to do painting and I absolutely adore getting pictures from you and your big sister.

You are trying so hard to talk and are constantly babbling away.  None of it makes sense yet but I love to hear you chatting away to yourself.  You say Mama but don't say it in relation to me yet and we are sure that you are saying something that sounds suspiciously like 'Hi-ya' which is funny as we don't know where you have picked it up from.  You get quite vocal and shout and pull very serious facial expressions, almost as if you want me to understand what you are saying.  You absolutely love to point at everything and anyone and let out a little noise.  You love me to tell you what everything is and then once I have told you you point at the next thing!

There is no sign of walking on the horizon yet, but your big sister didn't walk until 15 months so I am not too worried.  She was more steady at this point but you just aren't stong on your legs and aren't standing on your own for any period of time.  I secretly like the fact that you are still a baby in that respects.  You stand up against anything and everything and cruise along the furniture, as well as nipping across the lounge with your baby walker.  You still seem too little and small to be walking, and it makes me laugh to see you with a huge smile on your face as you push it along. 

Your absolute favourite thing to do is dance.  You love to shake your little bottom and hold out your hands and bop to whatever beat is on.  You love 'What makes You Beautiful' by One Direction and notice it as soon as it comes on in the car, your little face breaks into a huge grin and you literally shake and dance with excitement.   Mads and I love to put it on and watch you, it's utterly adorable.  You also love it when Mummy sings 'Girl look at that body' which perhaps is a slightly strange thing to sing to a one year old, but you wiggle and giggle whenever I sing it.   

Another thing you love to do is cuddle.  You are incredibly affectionate and love to snuggle in our arms.  If we say 'cuddle' you will bury your face into our arms and say 'aaah' which is very sweet.  You love to cuddle your toys, although your favourite thing is still your big sisters dog 'Pongo'.  

You are sleeping fabulously and eating just as well.  The only things that you aren't keen on is jelly and fruit, I have no idea why as Mads loves any sort of fruit but you always spit it out.  Other than that you will eat everything so I am not too worried. You are going through a phase where you will let out a funny little noise if someone else is eating something that you want.  You defintely know what you want and will have little strops if you don't get a little portion of your own to try.

I still can't quite believe that my tiny newborn is now over a year old, yet at the same time I can't believe that you haven't always been in our lives.  You have just fitted into our family perfectly and we couldn't possibly imagine what life was like before you.  

Mummy couldn't love you anymore if she tried.

Thank you for being mine,

Love Mummy

xxx

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 PS.  Look at your eyelashes!  When Grandma saw this photo she asked if I had put mascara on you. I can assure you I didn't put mascara on my 14 month old.  They really are so beautiful, Mummy is very jealous.  I love this photo of you. 

Two Very Special Friends.

on Tuesday, 15 April 2014.

There are many very special things about being a parent.  But one of them is seeing the magic on your children's faces when they experience something new and exciting for the first time.  Those twinkly eyes dancing around, the happy smiles and the sheer wonder etched across their faces.  

Blogging has brought me a great many things but last week I did something with my girls which truly was so simple yet so special.  We went to make two very special new friends.

I have known about Build a Bear Workshop for a long time, in fact Mads has 'Rosie Rabbit', who one of our dear friends bought for her on the day LL was born.  However we hadn't been before, mainly due to the fact that I wanted to wait until they were old enough to understand.  I was really excited to take them, and Mads was excited to go and 'make a special friend' too. 

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We arrived and were greeted by the two lovely members of staff who were helping us make our new friends.

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There were lots of different animals to choose from but after careful consideration Mads decided she wanted a lamb and she wanted LL to have a bunny.

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First up we were told to cuddle each animal to make sure that the cuddles were good.  Mads thought the lamb was very cuddly!

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It was then over to the sound machine to pick a sound for our new chums.  Mads decided that her lamb would say 'I love you' and LL had to have One Direction 'What makes you beautiful' because she gets so excited and dances every time the song comes on.  

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The Build a Bear experience is so hands on for children, Mads was absolutely transfixed with everything that was going on and her smile was honestly so wide.  

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The next thing to do was give our friends some stuffing.  Mads get to help do hers and LL's by pressing on the foot pump.  This was 'the best thing ever.'

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LL was in awe of everything and the staff were so lovely with her, telling us that she had made their day with her happy smiles.  Auntie Annie doesn't look so impressed!

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Cuddling to make sure the stuffing was perfect.

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Next we needed to give our friends a heart.  We had to kiss it, shake it and rub it on our knees as our new friends would always '(k)need us.'  The staff were so great at making it an amazing experience.

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His heart went in so he was ready to be stitched up.

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LL loved to crawl round the shop and stand up to try all the things for herself.

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Next up our new friends needed a bath and their fur brushing.  

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We then had to decide on outfits for the as yet named Lamb and Bunny.  Mads decided the lamb was a boy and the bunny was a girl so we set about sorting out their new wardrobes.

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As Mads is obsessed with Toy Story, it was entirely necessary to go for a Woody outfit.  LL's bunny was dressed in a pretty summer dress.  We also bought them a pair of pj's each as well.

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Finally we needed to make our new friends a birth certificate.  It was decided then that lamb would be 'Woody' (we are nothing but original) and bunny would be 'Blossom'.

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And that was it!  We were given boxes to carry Blossom and Woody and sent home to enjoy our new friendships.

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I can honestly say that since we brought them home, Mads hasn't been too far away from her new friend Woody.  She absolutely loves him, and the fact that she got to experience seeing him made has meant it is all the more special for her.  She asks to put his PJ's on every night, although this means bedtime takes twice as long.  And LL loves to snuggle in close to her new bunny Blossom too.

The Build a Bear concept is simple, but we truly had such a special time there.  The staff were amazing with the girls, and the whole experience is so special for children.  Mads was at the perfect age to enjoy it and find it so magical, and LL just smiled and giggled non stop.  I found it so wonderful watching them having such a great time, and I will remember it for a long time.  There is something so lovely about watching your children's innocence and child like wonder.  

We can't recommend Build a Bear highly enough, and I know that Woody and Blossom will be special for a very long time.  In fact as I write this there are two little girls snuggled up in bed asleep with their arms tucked around their lovingly created new friends.

 

NB. We were invited to try out the Build a Bear experience and given two bears and some accessories (plus buying some too!) but all thoughts and opinions are my own, and we would have written about it anyway.  It's the most fun my girls have had in ages!

 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #15 'Amazing Chocolate Sweetie Tasty Things.'

on Sunday, 13 April 2014.

I often feel guilty that I am not the best Mum I can be to my girls.  Don't get me wrong, I am the best Mum for them, I love them with all my heart, but I mean in terms of creative activities.  I am not very crafty, and I often feel like I don't make enough effort to do things like that with them.

We have our own little routine, our own little structure to the week and it suits us perfectly.  They are in nursery two long mornings a week and then on the days where they aren't we rarely are in during the morning, mostly out with friends or Grandma and then the afternoon is taken up by nap time.  While I relish their naps and am so grateful they nap at the same time (hello blogging and trash tv time), we don't get a huge amount of time to be in the house just being creative.

I often opt for the easy life and I make no excuses for the fact I should be doing more crafts with my girls.  It is something which I feel guilty for and something I should try more of.  However since January one thing that I have been trying to do is be more adventurous in the kitchen with Mads.  I am a disaster chef, Mr E does the cooking, and I don't really enjoy it, but Mads adores to make things with Mummy so I am trying to bring out the creative side in her by baking together.  She loves it and I really enjoy watching her little face light up when we do these things together.

Therefore this week we decided to make our own recipe modified from something I saw on a friend's facebook timeline.  We called it the very original 'Amazing Chocolate Sweetie Tasty Thing' and honestly it was quite possibly the best thing ever.  But perhaps not for the healthy eating,

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It is a really easy thing to do with young children as there is absolutely no baking required.  I think out of all the things we have done Mads found it the most enjoyable because she could really get involved with it properly.

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All you need is LOTS of sweets and some chocolate bars.  Quite possibly the best ingredients ever.

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I guess you could choose any sweeties but we had Smarties, Haribo and Mini Eggs as a homage to Easter. (and because everyone quite frankly knows Mini Eggs rule.)

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All you need to do is melt your chocolate bars together (we used three large white chocolate bars) and then pour it on to a plate with greaseproof paper.  Even a disaster in the kitchen like me can melt some chocolate.  Just.  Then my beautiful assistant set about placing the sweets into the melted mixture.  (We put more sweets in our mouth but that's compulsory really)

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Then pop your horrendously sickly but all kinds of amazing creation in the fridge until it sets again.  Mads was very impatient at this point and kept peering into the fridge to see if it was hard enough.  So did I. 

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And voila!  Break into pieces and serve.  Trust me, you need to experience this.  It doesn't look anything special but it is better than anything you could ever imagine. ;)

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This post should probably come with a disclaimer.  This is the most sickly, unhealthy treat you could imagine and it is definitely not good for the waistline but is so easy and fun to make for little ones.  Mads and I made a fair bit and we wanted to leave a big slab for Mr E.  Unfortunately for Mr E, his slab ended up being rather small as the chocolate just seemed to want to be in our mouth's.  Oops.

So if you have zero willpower like myself and my three year old then perhaps it isn't the best thing to make as you will just want to eat it ALL.

We had a great time making it together, and an even better time eating it.  I love these ordinary moments with my lovely little girl.  She's even worth going in the kitchen for.

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My Sisters In April.

on Thursday, 10 April 2014.

At around ten past four each afternoon I walk up the stairs and shout 'Small Bean'.  LL is the first one I collect from her cot, normally she is standing up waiting for me by this point.  She gets upset when she hears me shout her current most used nickname, frustrated I am not getting to her quick enough.  Then we pretend to knock on the door and go and get her big sister from her room.  

Every day without fail Mads rustles around under her covers and pulls out Pongo.  Pongo is a cuddly dalmation, but he isn't just any old spotty dog, he is Mads absolute favourite friend.  The one she needs to sleep, the one she wants when she is sad.  Every afternoon she holds him out and gives him to her little sister, who pulls him in close and giggles.  This simple act of sisterly love never fails to make me choke up a little bit.  The fact that Mads wants to make her sister happy by giving him her most treasured friend.

Both are still blurry eyed from nap time, and normally have damp, bedraggled bed hair from getting sweaty in their slumber.  I carry them, one in each arm (harder than it looks!) down the stairs and plonk them down on the sofa.  I turn on the television and put on a film for us to watch- the current favourites being Frozen, Toy Story 2 or Monsters University.   I leave them there together, still a bit sleepy, and go and get a biscuit from the treat drawer in the kitchen.

Most of the time it's a Rich Tea, but sometimes we are flash and have a pink wafer biscuit which is all of our favourites.  They snuggle together close, neither saying a word, just staring intently at the television while nibbling on their biscuits.  Sometimes I join them, usually with both sat on my lap, Mads playing with my ear and LL cuddling in close.  But most of the time I sit at the other end of the sofa and watch them.

That half an hour or so of quiet time is one of my favourites of the day.  Both are so cuddly after they wake up and they snuggle together closely.  Mads always puts her arm around LL gently, LL still doesn't climb so we often worry she will fall off the sofa.  LL doesn't loosen her grip on Pongo the spotty dog, she holds him tight, occasionally pressing her face into his soft pretend fur and smiling.  Mads often takes him away and gives him straight back to her, enjoying seeing her little smile when she gives him a cuddle.

The best thing about being a mother to two is watching these simple moments.  The way in which my girls effortlessly combine together.  The way in which their sisterly bond is ever present.  The way in which when I study them closely I can see that actually they do look pretty similar.  I relish that half an hour every day before the madness and loudness starts again.  

I couldn't resist taking some photos of them like this, and luckily they were so engrossed in Toy Story 2 that they didn't even notice I had my camera out.  There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing these two little girls develop and watch their love for each other grow stronger and stronger.  Of course they get grumpy and have mini stops with each other, this is happening more and more as they grow older.  I can tell that they are going to wind each other up constantly in the future.  

But as they sit on that sofa after their nap each afternoon, I see two little sisters who are the very best of friends.

And nothing makes me prouder than that.

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*****

This month I am sending you over to have a look at Carie's blog.  Her blog is one of my favourites, and the way she writes often has me feeling really teary even if there is no need to be!  She has two little ladies a similar age to mine and another on the way.   

 

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