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Articles tagged with: Family

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #47 '{Birthdays and Nights Out}

on Sunday, 14 December 2014.

December always is hectic in our house.  Not content with Christmas and all the festivities, we also celebrate our wedding anniversary on the 20th, Mads birthday on Christmas Eve and my little sister's birthday on the 13th.  This means that inevitably December is expensive and busy, but we love it all the same.

A couple of weeks ago we went on a rare night away to London which we did as a sort of early anniversary celebration.  It was only the second night away we have ever had from the girls, of course we have had nights out together but to be honest they aren't regular, it seems to be either of us going out separately rather than together.  Indeed I won't go out for ages and then this week I have had three nights out, due to Christmas parties and get togethers with friends.

However yesterday evening we had a very important milestone to celebrate.  My little sister Annie turned 21, so of course this was a cause to get together our whole family and have a little party.  My Dad and stepmum very kindly agreed to have the girls at their house for the evening to stay over, meaning that we didn't have to worry about getting home at a particular time. (As I write this we are late to go and pick them up!)  So Mr E, my Mum and step dad, grandparents, step sisters and a couple of family friends headed into Cambridge for a nice dinner together.

I have spoken about my sister many times on this blog.  Even though there is a ten year age gap between us we are incredibly close and I see her lots- indeed she is the best auntie to my girls and adores them so much.  I am so proud of who she has become and can't believe she is 21- it feels like five minutes since my Mum came to Leeds to celebrate mine, and last night made me feel a litle old!

We had a great time.  The food was lovely, the company of course was even lovelier and after the meal, we headed off for a few drinks before my sister and step sister headed off properly 'out'.  My grandparents paid for the whole meal which they often do, which was just so sweet.  You can't choose your family, and of course mine is a blended one as my parents aren't together anymore.  But I feel genuinely lucky that I have ever such a lovely one, with both my stepdad and my stepsisters, and of course my stepmum on my Dads side too.  

Now the next celebration will be our 5th wedding anniversary, although we don't do much for that, and then it will be Mads birthday on Christmas Eve.  I can't believe she is going to be four!

We love you Annie, Happy 21st Birthday.

 

A few iPhone snaps of our evening.

annies 21st 1

Myself and the birthday girl.

annies 21st 2

All of us.

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Blowing out the candles.

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Slightly tipsy selfies.  

 

 

 

 

 

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas 2014...

on Tuesday, 02 December 2014.

Every year we like to have what we call 'our festive day.'  Put simply this just means we prepare our house ready for Christmas and we start to get excited about the big day.  The day starts off at our local garden centre, which is always really Christmassy, and the girls choose a new decoration for the tree.  This is my favourite part of the day as I like to think when they are ready to move out many years from now, they will take with then a whole host of memories and sentimental value attached to these inevitably tacky ornaments.

After the serious decision of choosing a decoration, we stop in the garden centre for lunch.  We go there a fair bit, in fact most weeks, but somehow when Daddy is with us it feels a lot more special.  There of course is always cake, before we head home excited and fuelled to put up the tree.

Tacky Christmas music will always be put on, along with the heating to make it cosy and warm inside.  I will always light a candle or two as well.  We then get down to the matter in hand, a bauble always gets trodden on and broken, and we remind ourselves each year about which decoration we had the year before that.  This year we were a little worried about the tree, as Walter and Jesse our new kittens are quite partial to a hanging trinket or two, but so far all is well and the Christmas tree has survived.  

Each year I pack the girls a festive box- inside this year there was a new pair of Christmas PJ's, a book each (from last year), a reindeer biscuit, and of course Father Christmas and Fairy, our knitted toys who make an appearance every year.  The excited look on their faces as they open these boxes really does bring home just how exciting Christmas is when you are little.  It certainly is true that it is oh so magical when you watch it through a child's eyes.

Then it's time for a little nap, before all snuggling on the sofa to watch a Christmas film.  This year it was Mickey's Christmas.  Snuggling up on the sofa, in darkness except for the twinkling fairy lights shining on the tree, there is literally no where else I would rather be.  

December is my favourite month of the year- not least for all the festivities, but for the fact that it is our wedding anniversary on the 20th and of course Mads birthday on Christmas Eve.  We welcome it excitedly and there is nothing better than to celebrate it's arrival than with our annual festive day.

Here is our festive day 2014 in a few photos and a little video...

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I had to dress them in their matching Christmas Next jumpers I bought them a few weeks ago- they are so cute.  They had a great time picking out their decorations at the garden centre.

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Mads decoration for this year- a little felt deer.

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LL's is a slightly more blinged up, glitzy deer.

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The piece de resistance- putting the star on top of the tree.  I remember so fondly doing this with my Dad each year so it makes me feel sentimental watching Mads do it with her Daddy.

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Opening their festive boxes.

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They got new matching Christmas PJ's in their boxes this year- Mads has a reindeer on hers and LL has Father Christmas.

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I love this photo of my happy ladies.

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A spot of bed jumping before nap time.

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Mr E rarely takes photos but he managed to capture this one of myself and my big girl- I love it so much.

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We spent ages wrapping up their books ahead of the 1st December.  This year we are doing a book advent, I rewrapped some of last years books, bought a lot from charity shops and also bought a few special new ones too.

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A couple appropriately named books that we wrapped up, the Madeline's Christmas is for my Mads to open on her birthday on Christmas Eve. I have been collecting them for months and can't wait to see their faces each evening as they open them.

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We also have this little reindeer who is looking after some little surprises- sweets, little tiny prizes like keyrings, minature figures etc.

 

And here is a little video of our day...

 

 

(Our festive day 2013)

(Our festive day 2012)

 

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. 

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 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! :)

 

{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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