Wednesday 31 August 2011

The Gallery - Animals

This week's theme for The Gallery is 'animals'. Tara wants us to think outside of the box for this one so here's my attempt...

This isn't actually the first photo I thought of.  I have hundreds, if not thousands of photos of animals.  Most are average but there are a few that I am especially proud of, yet I found it difficult to pick a photo for this post.  I wanted to pick a photo that meant something to me and so I found myself being absorbed into my memories, reliving the moments and spending a fair bit of time staring at my computer screen and smiling.

Eventually I decided upon the photo below.  It was taken on a trip to South Africa with my now husband.  It was our first holiday together, six years ago.  I had never been anywhere like that before and the trip was just magical.  We spent 10 days moving around the Cape Town area and just had a blast.  On one of the days, we took a horseback safari and that's when I took this photo.  It's not technically brilliant but it does bring a smile to my face.  Shortly after (or maybe before?) this was taken, F had been attempting to get some close-up shots.  He actually did a very good job but at the expense of a lens - an osterich lunged at his camera and left the lens with a nice scratch.  A dangerous moment but it has me in fits every time I think about it!

Head over to Sticky Fingers to see all the other animal posts.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Eerily Quiet

F has taken E out for a walk so that I can get some work done.  The flat is pretty silent, other than the 'tap-tap' of my keyboard.  It's weird and so much more silent than when E is in her cot sleeping.  Well, back to work I guess.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

I Get Far Too Excited

Just a short post to let you all know that E started clapping today!  We were at a friend's place - the same friend I mentioned in a previous post - and E was sitting on my lap.  She clapped her hands together a few times and I couldn't contain myself!  She did it several more times before she went to bed so I'm officially telling the world that my daughter can clap!

Monday 22 August 2011

Cycling Proficiency

We quite like to cycle, although I prefer slow and flat while F prefers fast and hilly/off-road.  That does make it a little challenging for us to go cycling together, especially now E is part of the family.  There are of course loads of different ways to take a baby or small child out with you on the bikes and we weighed up the different options: trailer, rear bike seat or front bike seat.

We decided that a trailer suited our needs the best and a friend of ours happened to have a bike trailer that she was no longer using.  We took it for a short test run on Saturday and E really enjoyed herself!  The trailer is made by a Canadian company called Chariot Carriers and in our opinion, they are the best manufacturers of bike trailers.  Unfortunately they have a price tag to match so when baby number two comes along, cycling may not be so easy - but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  They really are pretty fabulous and you can buy conversion kits to use the trailer while cross-country skiing, hiking, jogging or just walking round town.  Perfect!

It's very easy to hook the Chariot up to the bike and I felt that I would then be able to keep up with F F should do all the hard work, so that's his bike in the picture.  He still managed to pull away from me - how did he get so fit??  We just did a very short trip to see Nanny and Grampy on Saturday, then went for a longer ride on Sunday.  F really seemed to cope well with having the Chariot on the back of his bike, taking the corners slow and wide and not getting too close to the curb.  I didn't really like going along the main road with cars whizzing past us at 60mph but all was fine and E kept smiling. 

Due to the success of our first attempt, we're planning on taking the Chariot and our bikes away to Cornwall with us in a couple of weeks.  This is a much needed holiday and we're both really looking forward to it.  I'll let you know how it goes when we're back :)

Sunday 21 August 2011

The Boyfriend

I mentioned in a post a little while ago that E has a boyfriend. I'm fairly certain that we're not supposed to have boyfriend issues until E is much older. I'm hoping for the age of 21 but it's probably more like 14.

Anyway, a little while ago E learnt how to kiss. It's not a particularly pretty kiss and she doesn't really do it when you ask but it's very clear what she's doing. She usually reaches out and grabs her victim with both hands and yanks them towards her.  She'll either have her tongue hanging out or have her mouth open and stick her lower jaw forward a little.  It's kind of hard to explain.  So we were out at lunch with some good friends of ours, Ali and Rob and their son Alexander.  Alexander is about 2 weeks older than Elizabeth.  They just couldn't keep their hands off each other!

Thursday 18 August 2011

Furniture Surfing

Elizabeth seems to like nothing better than walking around the furniture. At the start of the week, she worked out how to properly navigate corners so she can walk around the coffee table with ease. This has also helped her confidence in moving from one piece of furniture to another. She'll move from the table to the sofa and to the desk very easily now. It takes her seconds! I think I mentioned a while ago that she could do this but she really had to concentrate and think about what she was doing. Now she just does it.

Her balance has also greatly improved in the last few days so her walking across the room with me holding her hands is getting faster by the day. Occasionally she lets go of whatever she's holding but hasn't realised what she's done and will fall over, or quickly grab whatever is in front of her. One day she'll let go and just be standing. I doubt that day is too far away.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

The Gallery - Black & White

Over at Sticky Fingers, the theme for The Gallery this week is 'Black and White'. 

Now I love black and white photographs.  I enjoy shooting a wedding and making those special images into black and white - it's adds a new depth to the photo, showing you nothing but the love that this couple have for each other.  When photographing a couple, black and white can be very intimate.

I also love the way black and white can transport you through time.  It can take you back to a day long before you were born yet stir up so many memories.  That's the route I've chosen to go down for this week's theme.

I wanted to honour my Nan.  My family and friends who are reading this will know that my daughter was named after my Nan who sadly passed away last year.  I miss her terribly and it makes me sad that she never got to meet my daughter.  I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with my Nan and I know that E will have the same with her Nan - my Mum. 

So, here's to Nanny Lily.  I've picked a couple of my favourite images of her, the ones that stir up stories in my Mum, stories that I never tire of hearing.

If you'd like to see some other entries, pop over and have a look here.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

How Could I Miss It?!

It's been quite clear for a while that E is teething.  We've had the difficult-to-predict sleep patterns, the constant gnawing on something, the runny nose, the crying for no reason and the loss of appetite.  E's had it hard too, I'm sure.  Seriously though, she's really been through the wringer, especially in the last week.

I don't know why but earlier today I decided to have a look in her mouth to see if I could see anything that might indicate that her third tooth was coming through.  I had been looking most days but hadn't seen anything.  This time though, I looked further round her gums - and there was a tooth!  All this time I had been expecting a top tooth in the MIDDLE of her gums.  Who would've guessed that one would appear at the side first!?It's through quite far so I would guess it came through last Thursday or Friday.  Oops!

Then, again for reasons unbeknownst to myself, I decided to see if a fourth tooth had come through as well.  I checked the other side of her mouth - which I have to say is very difficult when you have a little girl who is clearly in discomfort and clamps her jaw shut when you come anywhere near her mouth - and there is the start of the fourth tooth!  It's just a corner but it's definitely through the gum.  I reckon that popped through on Sunday or yesterday. 

I feel bad for missing two teeth but at least E seems to be back to being herself now.  Until next time then...

Wednesday 10 August 2011

The Gallery - Water

I haven't participated in the gallery for a few weeks now so I felt it was time to get back in the game.

The theme this week is 'water'. As it turns out, that's a fairly easy one for me as Elizabeth LOVES water. When we put her in the bath, she splashes with such gusto that half the water ends up on the floor. When we go swimming she will quite happily cruise around the pool, sometimes splashing people as she kicks. At the start of last week, when the weather was unbelievably hot, my friend got out her paddling pool and we went over and spent the afternoon with her and her son (aka E's boyfriend, but that's another story).  She had a wonderful afternoon.  Can you tell?

If you'd like to see the other entries, head over to Sticky Fingers and take a look.

And Another One...

Elizabeth has just crawled over to me to investigate the package I've opened. She decided to start playing with one of the bits and then just sat upright but still on her knees, like it was something she always did. I don't think she even realised that she wasn't holding on to anything to keep her balance.  Well done Elizabeth!

Sunday 7 August 2011

Family Day

Yesterday was family day and so we decided to visit the zoo. We're quite lucky because where we live is within easy driving distance of several zoos but we chose to go to Whipsnade Zoo. This would be Elizabeth's first time seeing most of these animals but let's face it - this trip was for us parents!

The zoo is very easy to get to, there's plenty of parking and the weather was looking good. We've had some really hot days this past week here in the UK but yesterday was slightly cooler. We were both a little disappointed about the entrance cost to the zoo but we had such a wonderful day that I guess it didn't matter that much.

The highlight of the day for me was seeing the bird display. They are such amazing animals! They were flying so close to the crowds that you could easily touch some of them. We then headed over to see the elephant display which was equally as impressive. Elizabeth of course slept through both shows - not that she would appreciate them anyway just yet - and she slept for 2 hours in her buggy! She fell asleep shortly after her lunch, which she took her time eating as there was just too much going on in the restaurant. She's such a nosey parker and apparently she gets that from me. Now I'm going to blame my genes for that one as I definitely get that trait from my two nans.

(Sorry it's out of focus!)

We only got to see about a third of the zoo but I actually had as much enjoyment seeing Frans and Elizabeth together. E spent a great deal of her (awake) time on Daddy's shoulders which meant she could grab handfuls of hair and pull :) If I have to put up with that, F can handle it for 5 minutes, I'm sure. There was also E's first taste of ice cream to mention but I'm not really sure she knew what to make of it!

All in all we had a wonderful day, topped off with the 7th Harry Potter film over dinner. Perfect!

The Next Milestone

Yesterday, just before bedtime, E was crawling round the flat naked. Everyone does that occasionally, don't they?? So I was sat watching her, making sure she didn't try to eat my shoes again, when she sat herself back up! I couldn't believe it! I was full of praise for my little girl but I don't think she had any idea that she had just done something awesome.

Thursday 4 August 2011


I was quite ill at the weekend. It came on very suddenly on Friday afternoon and I just about made it through to E's bedtime. I was so knackered that I went to bed myself once she was sleeping. Frans was out for the evening so the flat was quiet and I quickly fell asleep.

Thankfully Frans completely took control on Saturday and I spent the day in bed, mostly sleeping. I really needed that chance to recuperate and on Sunday I was feeling better, at least enough to be up and about for a couple of hours at a time. Elizabeth was pretty well behaved and Daddy and Daughter had a great weekend together.

I've been feeling better every day this week but today I am quite exhausted. With E now standing in her cot, nap times are very difficult. I won't bore you with the details and theories but the main problem is she can't get back down on her own. So that, coupled with all the washing and cooking I've got to catch up on, as well as the big pile of work I have to do and the very early mornings from E (5:30 this morning...) mean I'm sitting in my car outside our flat while E sleeps in her car seat and I'm contemplating having a nap too. I'd love an early night tonight but we're going over to a friend's for dinner and taking E and the travel cot with us.

Please wish us luck.