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Speech development

Henry’s speech has come a very long way in such a short space of time. He was talking very early, and we didn’t have the cute babbling for long, but recently his sentences and new words have astounded me. Each day he says something new that, most of the time, I don’t know where he’s learnt it.

He used to call his uncle “Day-chib”, but it was only a few weeks before he got the hang of David properly. He also used to say phrases such as “look mummy, a naughty car” when he actually meant “noisy”. That disappeared suddenly too.

My baby still struggles with the pronunciation of “another” though, with it always sounding more like “Aaron”. I smile to myself every time I hear these little things, in his lovely little voice. He’s so funny.

There’s also the funny phrases and hand gestures, for example when he says “where daddy, where?” and throws his hands out, fingers splayed. Also the “I don’t know” response to simple questions and whenever you ask him why, he responds with “because…. umm…” and then says the first thing he thinks of, which is usually something like car, train, tractor etc.

I want to remember these things – they are beautiful and they make me so proud. Henry makes me proud!

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Christmas break

It has felt like a long time since I’ve had so long off. Well, in reality I’ve been on the go for months rather than weeks at a time. Being a full-time student and part-time worker has left me less than a full-time mum. There is guilt that goes along with that, but I know that I’m doing the right thing for us now, and I hope, for the future.

I had a whole three weeks off (minus two days at work) over Christmas 2013 and New Year 2014. It was fantastic!

Christmas street party

Christmas street party with my beautiful boy.

My baby really enjoyed having his mummy, and for five days mummy and daddy, around for playtimes and cuddles and general fun and laughter. I baked a lot. I had Henry help me eat all the cakes. We made a gingerbread house and homemade mince pies and pavlova and banoffee pie and probably 4 or 5 batches of cupcakes.

We told stories of Santa, and left out one of said mince pies, a carrot and a glass of milk for him on Christmas Eve.

He rode the train with daddy!

He rode the train with daddy!

 

On Christmas day, Henry woke up and said, ‘Merry Christmas, daddy. Merry Christmas, mummy’ and opened his stocking presents from Santa wrapped up in his duvet in his bed. He was so excited about the crayons and pencils and colouring books and cookie cutters I’d filled his stocking with. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he walked into the living room as saw a huge pile of presents, all neatly wrapped up, and a chalkboard easel ready for him to play with.

Presents for my sweet.

Presents for my sweet.

He has done lots of drawings already. Lots of squiggles that he tells us are trains, or rockets, or tractors. He also got a Peppa Pig spaceship. That was a successful gift. There was also his ‘main’ present; a Buzz Lightyear action figure. The proper one that looks just like the movies. It’s wings have lights on the ends and it has karate-chop action too. Henry’s daddy and I were very impressed. £25 worth of impressed. We now have a two-year-old who excitedly runs around saying ‘to infinity, and beyond!’, when he’s not singing Jingle Bells or Happy Birthday. I feel he’s a little confused about these different events.

My little artist.

My little artist.

We went on to have a lovely meal and evening at the in-laws. It was fantastic. We all ended up in onesies (2013, the year of the adult onesie…) and ate until we had to roll out of the door and into our beds, all sleeping like babies. If babies slept well, that is.

And now I’m back to work. Back to uni. Back to only seeing my baby evenings and weekends. I look forward to summer now. I cuddle him and don’t ever want to put him down. He’s so lovely, and perfect, and squishy and when he laughs, I laugh and feel so warm and happy.

The gingerbread house, demolished on Christmas day.

The gingerbread house, demolished on Christmas day.

It’ll be worth it, I keep telling myself.

At least I truly appreciate how special he is. When I see him, and he smiles and says “it’s mummy!” I feel like the best person in the world.

Such is being a mother.

This is happiness.

This is happiness.

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The big 2

Henry has just turned two. Two whole years have passed since we held him for the very first time.

We had a little party for him, with lots of balloons, lots of lovely friends and family, and lots of cake. I spent the two days previous baking various Thomas-themed goodies. Every year I’ll make him an epic themed cake and it’ll be tradition. When he’s older and has a little family of his own, he’ll still get a cake baked by his mama. And hopefully my skills would have improved after all those years of struggling with icing.

Henry's Thomas-themed birthday cake made by mummy.

Henry’s Thomas-themed birthday cake made by mummy.

I can’t believe how quick the time has gone, and how much he has learnt and developed. My little, train-obsessed baby has made me smile, entertained me and made me feel so much love. I can’t even put this into words.

He’s a very well-behaved toddler, and makes me so proud. There is nothing nicer than hearing ‘mummy, cuddles’ or ‘love you mummy’. Or on his second birthday we woke up to a very lovely rendition of ‘wheels on the bus’ in his beautiful sing-song voice over the baby monitor.

Nothing in this world tops it.

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Back to Blog: Weddings and the future.

I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve been busy. Well, not just normal busy as I’ve grown used to after bringing new, adorable life into the world, but manic busy.

I got married. It was fantastic. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I married the man of my dreams, with my closest friends and family present, in the most beautiful of places, with the most delicious food, and most fantastic music.

Photography by Gareth Slade garethslade.co.uk

Photography by Gareth Slade www.garethslade.co.uk

When I get the time, I will blog properly about it. Three months later I’m still as busy as ever. Sometimes I think I should give myself a break. Then I get excitable and go and plan a million and one things to do, mostly very stressful and all at the same time. It’s just the way I live my life.

I also am finally going back to university! I’m thrilled about it, but juggling a full-time course (and commuting!) with work and family life is going to be tough. I’m under no illusions. It’s an investment though (at that price, it can’t be seen as anything else or no sane person would do it)! I hope that it makes a difference for our family’s future.

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Review: New Annabel Karmel Toddler Recipe Book

There is a new Annabel Karmel recipe book being released 20 June, perfect for those who need some help a few minutes before you should have dinner on the table. I definitely fall into this category. This book is brilliant for me – it contains quick and simple recipes that even a kitchen-phobe like me can follow, and the ingredients used are all on my normal shop anyway! None of this nonsense you find in other recipe books that claim your store cupboard should contain the most wacky specialist ingredients that you haven’t heard of.

Annabel Karmel's Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes is out on 20th June '13

Annabel Karmel’s Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes is out on 20th June ’13 (RRP £9.99)

This book contains real, healthy recipes, that you are going to make often. I’ve been using this book for about a month now, and have made a good selection of the recipes. It contains breakfast ideas, lunch, dinner and snacks. Henry is turning into a bit of a picky eater, but he loved the things in this book. His favourite was the blueberry pancakes, but everything else I made also went down a treat. I highly recommend this recipe book if, like me, you need a reminder of just how many different things you can make from the ingredients in your cupboard.

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My boy, my bowling buddy

We took Henry bowling yesterday. He’s been before with his daddy, but we were both there this time. He started getting squeaky and excited before we even entered the building. His little squeals of happiness are so lovely.

He could barely wait until I had entered his name on the screen. “Henry” on the one little lane. His daddy set up the little ramp for him and helped (carried) the bowling ball over to the ramp. Henry wasn’t quite tall enough to reach, so needed to be picked up to even reach the ball.

Henry bowling

Henry bowling

Henry really did enjoy himself. He would say ”ready, steady, GO!” as he pushed the ball, and then stand there and watch as it rolled slowly down the lane. When it hit the skittles, he would cheer and clap his chubby little hands. Everything is exciting again with him around. I’m really enjoying being a mum!

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Capturing those moments

I always considered myself lucky that I never had to find a photographer to document my son in the early days, and as he grows. I have albums full of photos that I am very happy with thanks to a brilliant photographer, Gareth Slade, that we just happened to know.

I am very much looking forward to our wedding too, where he will also be in charge of documenting our big day. I must admit, it is nice to not have to worry about it at all! Photographs of our wedding will be blogged here in a couple of months!

He took the beautiful shots of our family you can see here.

And the photo collage below is one of my favourites. It’s amazing to see how much he’s grown. I highly recommend contacting Gareth for your own family portraits!

© 2013 GarethSlade.co.uk

© 2013 GarethSlade.co.uk

 

*Please note: I have not been given any sort of payment to write this blog post. I have written this recommendation because I feel it is relevant to the blog & to my readers.

 

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It feels like another life

Looking back on early photos is a very strange experience. Henry has changed so much in the last year that it feels like a lifetime ago. I remember back then, when he used to cry or laugh but no words would come out. I remember when we got really excited because he smiled for the first time. I remember these things as if they are fuzzy, like a memory that has been blurred with time. Although it has only been 17 months, things have changed so quickly that I have barely noticed the days whizzing by.

It is very strange to have a life so well documented, through photographs and blogging. Never before has a generation had such easy access to computers and cameras and other methods of capturing moments. Go back a few years and you’re lucky if you got one posed portrait. Go back a few more years and it was only the ridiculously wealthy that could afford a sitting with a portrait artist. But now, every moment is stolen, and edited, and posted…

My little baby isn’t a little baby anymore. He’s a little boy. He’s grown and grown and taught himself so much and he impresses me every single day with a new word or new skill.

I feel sad that it has gone so quickly, and I feel sad that I have missed so much of it, but being at work is important and more to the point, necessary. I wish I had the funds to be a SAHM at least until Henry goes to school, but alas, it is not to be. But at the same time, I am so proud of Henry and all he has acheived so far. When people moan about wanting their babies to stay babies forever, half of me understands. The other half, though, wants to tell them how annoying and ridiculous they are being – the alternative to growing up is not growing up and that is every parents’ worst nightmare. Nobody wants that.

So, my baby, my big boy, I will watch him grow with a smile on my face. I feel a twinge of sadness when I read the past posts of this blog, but then I remember, I was there with him, enjoying it at the time.

Henry's Mother the early days

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SUMMER (almost)

At the weekend just gone, we managed to get out for a short while in the sunshine! It’s been a long time coming, and still hasn’t quite got to what could be classed as ‘warm’, only ‘warmer than it has been’. We packed his ball, a picnic of ham sandwiches, Pom Bears, Babybel and juice, and a blanket. Henry was sporting his new dinosaur (or crocodile – I can’t quite tell) sun hat from H&M. He enjoyed himself, even if we did have to leave due to the cold…

Picnic in the park

Picnic in the park – so much interesting stuff to look at!

Has anyone else managed to make it out into the sun? It feels as if it has been winter for a VERY long time. I keep buying summer clothes just wishing it to warm up…

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Recipe: Straight from the gingerbread factory

Here is a quick and easy gingerbread recipe – great for getting the kids involved in baking and for saving money on sweet treats!

Ingredients:

  • 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g/4½oz butter
  • 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Icing and decorations (smarties, sprinkles, raisins etc.) – optional

Method:

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

Henry had a really great time eating these bad boys. I had fun icing funny faces on them. It’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

henrys gingerbread