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{The Ordinary Moments 14} #45 'It's Ordinary...'

on Sunday, 30 November 2014.

It's ordinary to want to escape every now and again.  Escape might not be quite the right word but if I am honest sometimes I find motherhood utterly overwhelming at times.  It's all consuming, it's exhausting and of course it is wonderful.  There is nowhere else I would rather be and there is nothing I would rather be doing than being with my girls.  But before my girls came along and became my world, there was someone who held that title all on his own.

My husband.

I find it a little surreal now to think of life before them.  I often wonder what we did with our time, what we used to talk about and how we ever thought we were busy. I'm sure we were- we had work, full time jobs, busy social lives.  But somehow all that pales into comparison now we are raising a three and a one year old.  The truth is though, we had a life, a very nice life before our girls were in it.  Of course, life is a million times better now, but before Mads arrived in December 2010 we had almost six years of just being me and him. 

Nowadays we don't get much chance to just be us two.  We have the evenings when they are in bed, but inevitably we are busy with work or so tired from our days that we just want to slob on the sofa and watch television and not talk much.  I can probably count on two hands the number of date nights we have had since our girls were born- we actually have very willing babysitters but we are quite happy to just be together and do things as a family rather than spend time away from them.

However every once in a while you just need to have a break.  Spend some time away and reconnect as a couple.  So on Friday night we headed off into London for our second ever night away just the two of us in almost four years.  We kindly were invited to stay at the Hampton by Hilton Waterloo, a stylish and modern hotel and so we arranged for Mads and LL to go to Grandmas for the evening so we could have some time just the two of us.

We had an amazing evening.  We drank copious amounts of cocktails, were shocked by the prices considering we rarely go out anymore, (£19 for a round- good grief!) and held hands the whole time. We talked about the past, we laughed our heads off at old memories, and we talked about the future and our hopes and dreams.  We of course talked about the girls, of how proud we are of them and how lucky we were.  We went for dinner at Hawksmoor, somewhere I have been wanting to try for a long time, and it was pricey but delicious- the steak was incredible and the service was amazing.  

It was lovely just to be together and we both woke up the next day with sore heads but happy smiles.  It was so nice to just be together for a bit and of course as we pulled into the drive at my Mum's house we were both excited to see our terrible twosome, who greeted us with the happiest of welcomes and tales of their adventures with Grandma. 

It's ordinary to sometimes want to get away just for a little while...but it's always our ordinary life that we always can't wait to get back to. 

 

(A few photos of our night... they are only with my phone and the light was awful but you get the idea...)

1night

Mr E surprised me on the train with this- he's always been so thoughtful.

a night in london 3

Before we went out- I love this pleather effect metallic skirt from Next.

a night in london 4

If you like steak you should definitely give one of the Hawksmoor resturants a try- we have been wanting to try it for ages and it didn't disappoint.  It was more than we would normally spend on a meal, definitely a special occasion place but it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time.  We went to the Guildhall venue in the city.

a night in london 2

 We both went for the fillet- then we shared triple cooked chips, skinny fries, creamed spinach and mac and cheese, followed by salted caramel ice cream and salted caramel rolos- it was utterly delicious.

1 cocktail

We drank lots of these. 

a night in london 5

We had a beautiful view of London from our hotel window- here's the sun rising. (Why do we have an inability to lie in even when there are no children around?)

a night in london 6

We headed down the next day for breakfast- hotel breakfasts are definitely the best kind!  I loved these tiles and the breakfast set up in the Hilton, it was really relaxed with benches and no set seating.

a night in london 8

Loved spending quality time with my best friend.

 

 

 

 

Me and Mine: A Family Portrait Project 2014- November.

on Sunday, 30 November 2014.

Inevitably it is the end of November and time for my usual statement of how quickly the month has gone.  As usual it has has flown by and tomorrow brings us December- my favourite month by far!  I am definitely a Summer girl through and through, the hot weather and the fact we can spend our time outside means that I will always prefer that time of year, but December is definitely the best month in our house.  Horrible weather and dark nights aside, the last month of the year brings us our wedding anniversary on the 20th December, (Christmas weddings rule!) Mads birthday on Christmas Eve (poor girl) and of course the big day itself.  This year we have some important milestone numbers too- with it being our 5th wedding anniversary, my sisters 21st on the 13th and my beautiful big girl turning 4.  Exciting times indeed.

But without jumping ahead and cracking out the festive jumpers just yet, we have to pause briefly to reflect on November and all the fun it bought.  We started the month in Amsterdam, a break away which we all thoroughly enjoyed and we also enjoyed another short break to Yorkshire with my sister.  The dark nights and mornings and wet weather have not been the most welcome of visitors, but we have also enjoyed lots of snuggling indoors and I have been nesting and getting the house cosy for the start of the holiday season.  

This month we left it right until the last minute yet again to do our family portrait.  The aforementioned wet weather has put a bit of a dampner (geddit?) on our photo taking morale- it was either raining when we thought we would go out and take photos or it had been raining and the ground was wet, and I didn't fancy getting muddy or dirty going outside.  So on Wednesday after realising that we didn't have another opportunity to get a photo due to being busy each evening of the rest of the week with parents evening, dinners at my Grandmas and a night away in London, plus hospital appointments and school visits in the mornings, we had to just go with the flow and take a photo in the morning before Mr E went to work.

This is way harder than it sounds.  Firstly none of us are particularly morning people, especially LL who has a grump on most of the morning until after 9am, and secondly as you will know it is so DARK in the mornings at the moment.  Plus we had been there and done the last minute on the bed shot before. (our room gets the most light but even then it is pretty dark) After a particularly random conversation and a rather attractive selfie of myself sent to my bestie Lucy in the middle of the week, (doesn't everyone need a friend they can send photos of themselves wearing a fake moustache to for no reason at all?) we decided to make our Me and Mine photo a little bit topical and silly this month.

Here is my slightly odd family for November...

a family of moustaches

a family of moustaches 1

a family of moustaches 2

a family of moustaches 3

For all you photography geeks out there I had to put my ISO on the highest it would go in order to even slightly get enough light at 8am in the morning to take a photo and I also had to have a low shutter speed meaning that they aren't particularly sharp either.  For all you non photography geeks, it means they are a little grainy.  But I love them- they are silly, just like us.  And who knew LL looked so damn good with a tache?  Freddie Mercury eat your heart out.

Joking aside, obviously November brings with it the month of Movember, where men across the country grow a little face fluff to help raise money and awareness for testicular cancer charities.  Mr E can grow a tache like the best of them but I on the other hand am yet to have hairs sprouting out my face- give me a few years though.  But we had these delightful fake beauties lying around the house so we thought we would put them on as they were rather topical.  

Anyway I will stop rambling now, I really 'moustache'.  (Boom Boom)

P.S Silliness aside we have also donated £5 to the Movember charity as I have mentioned them in this post- it's not much but every little helps. 

*****

 Go and check out what all the other Me and Mine ladies have been getting up to this month with their lovely families- for some reason my linky code really is playing up at the moment so also head over to Lucy to link up your family photo too! :)

 

To My Littlest Lady At 21 Months...

on Wednesday, 26 November 2014.

To my dearest LL, 

I need to start this letter by apologising to you as I haven't written to you in a fair few months.  With your big sister I was much more organised and wrote to her monthly until she was nearly 39 months, but the last few months have just been so busy and I have fallen out of the habit of writing to you both.  I actually feel really guilty as you are growing and achieving your milestones at such a fast pace and I wish I had documented them a little more.

Still we have all our words, photos and videos from this blog to show you when you are older.  From now on like with your sister I am just going to write to you from time to time when I have a spare moment rather than monthly like I used to.  

Since I last wrote to you, way back when you were 15 months you have grown and changed beyond comprehension.  Gone is our little baby, in her place is a fully fledged toddler.  You all of a sudden have changed so much, both visually and developmentally and I can't believe just how quickly the time is going.  You finally started walking just a couple of weeks after my last letter and now you run and toddle along non stop.  Walking has made you and your sister even closer, whenever we go out you both generally cause me a headache by running riot together- you both look adorable running around together and it has made your age gap seem even smaller.

You are finally starting to talk.  I spent many a moment worrying about you as Mads was stringing sentences together well before she was your age, but I have finally come to the realisation that you are so different.  You are really becoming more vocal by the day- currently your main words are Mama, Dada, Peppa, Ball, Baa, More and No.  You just starting saying No this week and although we probably shouldn't be teaching you to say it, the way you say it is so funny and it makes us laugh as you always look cross when you say it and you shake your head viciously.  You also say your own version of 'All Gone' and through your arms up in the air in the most bemused fashion.  Your little voice is so quiet and I love the stage that's about to come, as you start to learn new words and new ways of expressing yourself.  

I am pretty lucky in that both of my girls are incredibly affectionate but you are one of the most cuddly little people I know.  You are happiest when you are on my knee snuggling and you always like to have Mummy close by you, yet you are also quite happy going off and playing independently too.  You constantly want to give us all kisses and cuddles, there is nothing cuter than watching your little lip stick out and you say 'mwaaaahh' as you give us a smooch.  We all adore having cuddles from you, your big sister included, as you just are so sweet when you are being affectionate.  

You are a lot quieter and more laid back than your sister was and you don't seem to have as many tantrums as she did at your age, you are quite happy to just go with the flow and sometimes we forget you are there, not in the literal sense but just because you are so easy to be around- I guess a bit of that is inevitable as the second child.  However when you do get in a strop, everyone beware, as you are loud, noisy and can let out THE highest pitched shriek.  More often than not tantrums happen when Mads has something you want, you haven't quite grasped the concept of sharing just yet.  You certainly have a temper on you every once in a while and can fling yourself on the floor in some Oscar worthy performances.  You are also pretty grumpy first thing in the morning and after your nap, you definitely need a bit of time to wake up and get with it.  But for the most part you are happy and smiley, and we don't get many tantrums from you, although it could be that they aren't quite so shocking the second time around.  

We are blessed to have another little sleeper in the family, you are still in a pattern of going down for a nap around 1.30pm and sleeping till around 4pm, then going to bed at 7 and sleeping through.  We are talking about putting you and Mads into the same room in the New Year so that Daddy and I can have our study back, plus we think it will be really fun for you to share a room with your sister, but we are waiting until you are a bit bigger as we want you to be as good at going in a big girl bed as your sister was.  Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but you love your cot and so there's no point rushing you out of it until you are ready.  Talking of sleep, your favourite friends are still your three sheep, with your ultimate favourite being 'Baa' who we got out of a big Kinder Egg at Easter.  You can't sleep without him and if we put you down and he isn't there, you will look around for him and grumble until we go and find him.  You are incredibly attached to soft toys and squeal with delight when you give us them to cuddle, unlike your big sister who has her favourite 'Pongo' but isn't hugely attached to him.  You also love Gruffalo and 'Spidy' (a cuddle spider Grandma got you for Halloween)

Toy wise, you haven't got any firm favourites at the moment, you seem to be like your sister in that you like to 'collect' bits and bobs.  We didn't think you knew of Peppa Pig and thought we had escaped that fate this time round, but all of a sudden you have started to become fascinated with her- Daddy put the theme tune on You Tube the other day while you were sat on our bed and we thought you were going to self combust in excitement- you started shaking, shouting and giggling saying 'Peppa' over and over, it was incredibly sweet to see you so excited.  Grandma bought you two little Peppa characters from the supermarket the other day and you carry them round with you wherever you go.  You also have started playing with pretend mobile phones, you like to say hello and then pass it over for me to talk to the person on the other end.  Real mobile phones are also your forte and we still can't believe you knew how to swipe and unlock an iPhone and open an app before you could even talk! 

Speaking of your mini Peppa, you snuck it in to nursery the other day in your pocket, my little lady smuggling in the contraband toys.  You are such a character and are a well loved member of nursery, going two long mornings a week while Mummy works.  You have struck up some really special relationships with some of the staff and Mummy is so proud of you for the way you are while you are there.  You recently moved to a new building and are now in a new group- you are a Bumblebee, as such you are back settling in with new staff members, but so far you are going with the flow and making new friends.

I couldn't finish this letter without mentioning your hair.  After taking a while to grow it is now full of curls just like your big sister.  It's amazing, a whole head of ringlets and Mummy just adores it.  I know that those curls won't stay forever, Mads is slowly starting to lose the tightness of hers, so I am enjoying them while they are here.  You have a serious case of bed head in the mornings but I just love them and when we wash your hair and it goes straight it is past your shoulders!

You really do hold such a special place in our hearts my beautiful little lady.  Daddy and I often talk about just how easy you are, how smiley and how excited you are just to be in our company.  You are the baby of our family and although you have technically left your baby days firmly behind you now, we still see you as so little.  We are all fiercly protective of you and you brighten up even the most mundane of days with your happy smile and giggle.  Your a Mummy's girl through and through, but you love all your family so much and that is clear to see by the way you are with us.  We are so proud of you and the little lady you are becoming. 

 

Mummy couldn't love you anymore if she tried.

Thank you for being mine,

Love Mummy. xx

21monthsLL

21monthsLLa

21monthsLLb

21monthsLLc

 

(You can find all the rest of my letters to my littles here)

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #44 ' Rambling, Reflecting and Feeling Thankful.

on Sunday, 23 November 2014.

I don't know what it is about this time of year.  While I love December and the anticipation of Christmas more than any other month, I find that I become very reflective and almost a little sombre around this time each year.  I find that my mood is very up and down- one minute I can be really excited and festive, the next minute I can feel a little down in the dumps.  But more than that I think this time of year makes me more anxious and as silly as it sounds, a little more fearful.  

I worry about things more. I think some of it is inevitable- the dark nights, grey days and horrible weather aren't the most welcome of visitors, and they can dampen any mood.  It can be absolutely ridiculous or far fetched things such as going into Central London in case there is a terrorist attack, or worrying about Mads and LL going in the car without me when it's raining or bad weather.  In my mind I know I am being a bit dramatic and OTT but it's almost like at Christmas- the time where picture smiling images of family and happy times are absolutely everywhere you look- I am fearful that something may burst our own little bubble of happiness.  

I am very much a wear my heart on my sleeve type of person and I am a natural born worrier.   I constantly tell everyone in my family that I love them and I say to Mr E about five times a day 'Aren't we lucky?' or 'We are so lucky to have our girls.'  And that's the thing, I genuinely mean it.  I think becoming a mother has made me realise just how fragile life can be for some and how thankful I am for my family.  While I have always worried about the what if's and have always been quite anxious on occasions, having Mads and LL has made me a lot worse.

But while it has made me more fearful of those unspeakable what if's, it's also made me a lot more positive.  I would go as far as to say becoming a parent has made me a better person.  It's made me incredibly grateful to be able to have those mundane, not very exciting parts of life that before I was a mother I wouldn't have given a second thought to.  I've always had a very close family, but it's made me appreciate them even more if that's possible.  

On Mondays we spend the morning with my Mum, they are my favourite day of the week as I love spending time with my Mum, we all adore her.  This week we went over to see my Grandma as it was her birthday.  I snapped a few photos of my girls and her on my iPhone, not thinking anything of it at all.  However when I looked at them a few days later, they actually made me get tears in my eyes

Being able to have the ability to take photos, to make videos, to record memories, is such an amazing thing.  To be able to freeze these moments, to replay them and to look at them is such a great privilege.  

But the even greater privilege?  To be able to experience them. 

GrandmaMadsLLNov14

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