Archive for December, 2010

As I looked through my snapshots of 2010, there was a character who kept cropping up. He’d accompanied us through lots of our year, there for big moments and small.

My firstborn was no longer my little baby, and he moved to a big boy bed.

In April, a new arrival came to join him (although they don’t often share a bed!).

We’ve been out and about a lot around Durham over the summer. Here we are at the University’s Botanic Gardens – if you look closely you’ll see Buzz sitting next to the little one.

And here he is fooling around up a tree.

Exciting times… the toddler turned 2!

The baby slowly got bigger…

And the toddler’s play got more creative.

We’ve had some episodes of sickness that have been tough all round, but nothing a bit of rest and relaxation couldn’t fix.

The boys have almost started to play together as they’ve got bigger; this one isn’t strictly a Buzz shot, but here they are in the Toy Story tent.

And after all that, I’m ready for a rest!


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My Plans for 2011

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. If something’s worth doing, why wait for the stroke of midnight on 31st December to start doing it? Surely you should be doing it anyway? At the same time, I do think it’s good to have goals… an idea of some things I’d like to have achieved by this time next year. Here, inspired in part by a great post on a blog I’ve recently discovered (and love), is my plan for 2011.


I’m doing the Great North Run. I saw my brother turn into a committed runner in 2009 while training for this race. He’s kept it up, racing again in 2010. One of my best friends ran this year too. I went along to watch the race and the atmosphere was amazing. I said at the time that I’d love to be part of it, and now that my baby is getting older and I’m not planning another, there’s no reason why 2011 can’t be my year. I’ll be starting as a complete beginner, but hey, the race isn’t until September. Bring it on!

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about starting this blog is developing an interest in photography. I’ve taken part in the Gallery and more recently in Silent Sunday and because of this I’ve started taking a lot more photos in general. I never saw myself as a photographer, especially as my husband has studied photography and takes great shots himself; I’d never needed to pick up the camera, but here I am and I love it. I bought myself a photography guide and I’ll be working through it in 2011, hopefully resulting in lots of brilliant photographs.

I’d like to get a job. I’ve been at home with my kids (well, just the one at first!) for two and a half years now. There are plenty of moments that I love, but I’d like to add something else to the picture. Being in the workplace is a chance to be yourself, to take on a role totally unrelated to that of wife or mother. I’ve had one job interview this month and although I didn’t get the job, I got some really useful feedback that I hope will help me come across as well as I can next time. I don’t know if it’ll be part time or full time, or quite where it will be, but one day soon I will have a job.

I’d like a family holiday this year. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Ok, I don’t think I could cope with a baby and a toddler (or, as we’ll have by the summer, a tiny toddler and a preschooler) in a tent, but a little cottage or a cheap and cheerful hotel will do. Definitely in the UK is fine by me, and ideally not more than three hours from home! I just want us to have a few days (ideally a week) away together, relaxing, playing and having fun.

I hope that amongst all this, I’ll be able to carve out some time to just think. Maybe while I’m out running I’ll find the space to breathe, to nourish ideas and order and understand my thoughts. I want to make some progress on my philosophical quest: figuring out what being in the world is all about, and making sure I do it properly. Experiencing beauty; making connections with people, places, thoughts and things; expressing yourself; leaving an imprint… do these things have anything to do with the crucial nature of existing? When I was a philosophy student I liked analytical philosophy: truth, and how to express the nature of existence in the form of a mathematical equation (kind of). I dabbled a little in continental philosophy, but was scared by what I saw as vagueness and lack of clarity. But now I’m not so sure. I’m planning to start by going back to Heidegger. If I learn anything, I’ll tell you.

A crucial part of this quest to understand being, and to BE, is this blog. Recording these snippets of life, insights, thoughts and snapshots has helped me to know myself a little better. Whatever else happens, I’ll definitely still be blogging in 2011.

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We’d decided, after some great advice on my earlier post, that we were going to have Santa Claus come to our house on Christmas Eve, some time in the afternoon as my husband finished work at 2.00 pm.

We didn’t expect that my husband would get flu (possibly swine flu; he’s been self-medicaticating so we don’t know). He was too ill to work on 22nd, 23rd or 24th December. He was too ill too even get out of bed much. Then the little one got ill too. I’m not sure whether he had flu as he only had a high temperature quite infrequently, but he’s been coughing, sniffing and moping. Christmas Eve saw him lying on the sofa, dozing all day and leaking snot over everything. His attempts at conversation have consisted almost entirely of “Mammy, Mammy, Mammy” or “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” in a weak, frail little voice.

I was ill too, a cold rather than flu, but a cold with flu-like symptoms. On Christmas Eve I felt worse than I can remember feeling in a long time. At least the baby was ok – he’s been snotty and a little grumpy, but definitely the happiest of all of us.

It was touch-and-go whether we’d actually make it out on Christmas day. On the day we decided not to go to visit the in-laws, as we were planning to go there on boxing day anyway. Instead we had a slow morning getting ready. The little one opened his few presents from Santa Claus, understood what was going on and was pleased they were just what he’d wanted. When he opened the Mickey Mouse jigsaw he recognised it as “my favourite jigsaw from the computer” (I’d made the mistake of showing him some on Amazon a few weeks ago and he’d been asking to look at them every time he saw the computer on since then!).

Somewhat subdued, we headed to my parents’ house for lunch. 

My Mum had done herself proud. We had salmon terrine for starter, turkey and ham with an impressive range of veg, and a choice of three desserts from hearty Christmas pudding with a fierce brandy butter to light and tangy lemon soufflé. I even had a small glass of wine. There was a mini-meltdown when the toddler realised he wasn’t having fish and sweetcorn for lunch, and I’ll confess that as he was so ill, and had been so patient, I quickly heated up a little tin of sweetcorn for him to eat with his ham.

Everyone was happy to help with the kids. The baby had a fabulous time, constantly being picked up and carried around. There were more presents; the toddler struggled on and managed to open his with interest (although you can probably see from his tired eyes that he was far from best form).

The family Secret Santa, newly introduced this year, worked brilliantly. The presents we’d bought went down well, and my husband and I had got my brother and his girlfriend as our Santas, so received excellent gifts. By the end of the day we were all exhausted; we went home and pretty much straight to bed.

The next morning I realised that although we’d had a lovely and relaxed day, the effort of getting out and spending time with people can actually take it right out of you when you’re suffering with a bad cold, or flu. We pressed on to our in-laws’ on boxing day and attempted presents and lunch for the second time. Unfortunately the little one hardly raised his head off the sofa. If he wasn’t cuddling me, he was cuddling his dad. He received loads of perfect presents, but hardly had the strength to open them and wasn’t bothered about the contents.

Monday was much the same – lying around and feeling sorry for ourselves. We opened a few more presents at home that had been left under the tree from other people, but again he couldn’t muster his usual enthusiasm. Tuesday, with me feeling slightly perkier, the toddler was shipped back to Granny’s. The original plan was for him to come home today but when all he wants is cuddles and attention, it’s probably better for him to be there than at home with me and the demands of a messy, neglected house and a noisy, mobile baby. So I’m going to collect him tomorrow.

As for me… my husband and I had agreed earlier in December, when he pranged the car in the snow and we realised we’d have to pay the £250 excess, that we couldn’t afford to buy each other Christmas presents. I said after the event that we’d probably made a mistake; that buying and receiving a little token gift would have been a real morale-booster. It turns out that the car has been written off and we’ve received a cheque for its full value. In the new year we’ll start looking for a cheaper, smaller car than the one we had. Which means there was a tiny bit of spare cash for my husband to surprise me with a present today.

Happy Christmas!

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This post is part of Silent Sunday at Mocha Beanie Mummy. One picture, no words.

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I’ve written before for the Gallery about sibling love. I love my brother so much, and I wondered whether my children would come to love each other more than they love me. Of course, it’s early days, and of course it’s not a competition, but I think they might. Nobody can make the baby’s face light up like his big brother can, and to hear my son exclaim “My baby brother! My give my baby brother a kiss” just melts my heart. Today we played peekaboo together, with the big one hiding behind the chair and me lifting the baby up to peer over the top and they both laughed and laughed at each other.

Being at home with two young children can have its hard moments, but when they’re playing and laughing together it’s the best thing in the world. This is happiness and this is love.

I wrote this post for The Gallery and I’m dying to check out the rest of the entries on Love. I bet this week there’ll be a whole range of moving, funny and beautiful posts.

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My baby has been growing up all of a sudden. Just six weeks ago I could sit him down somewhere, wander off to make a cup of tea do some urgent housework, and come back to find him just where I left him, give or take a few shuffled inches. Now he’s seriously on the move. He can cross a room in seconds, go from lying down to sitting up (and back again) and has started trying to pull himself up on the coffee table.

It seems such a short time ago that he was a newborn baby. In a matter of months he’s gone from a tiny helpless creature who could hardly hold his own head up to a determined, cheery little character who frantically pulls himself across the floor to reach his goal. He grabs, pulls and investigates everything. Those two little teeth, adorable as they are, are also very sharp. It won’t be long until he’s cruising and walking; the baby days are rushing past at speed and I know soon I won’t have a baby any more. I’ll have another toddler.

With all this change happening so fast for the little one, sometimes I forget that the big one is growing and changing quickly too. He reminded me today, though.

Instead of the usual refrain of “Mummy, I want Mummy”, today for the first time he called me “Mum”.

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This post is part of Silent Sunday at Mocha Beanie Mummy

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