Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Memory Jar.

On the first of January 2016, I found an old jar and wrote on it with a sharpie. The idea was that, over the year, we would write down little happy moments on bits of paper - things we might not necessarily remember otherwise - fold them up, and pop them in the jar. Ready to open at the end of the year.

Yesterday we tipped them out and took a look at them.

These little notes - along with tickets and wristbands and receipts and stuff - were a really lovely reminder of all the good stuff that happened last year. Admittedly there are some months that have no entries because I kept forgetting, but we still found some little, happy moments to recall and feel grateful for that we had forgotten about.

It made me realise that 2016 was a really good year for us.

In the spirit of looking back in happiness, here's a few big things that happened.


Chris and I have grown another year older together. This year marked our ten year anniversary. Ten years since we kissed goodnight in his car and my life changed forever.

Then and now. 

I would mourn how old I feel but I don't feel bad about it. In fact, I love it. Older, wiser, happier, more grateful, is what we are. Although I do still feel like it's the early noughties and am surprised when I remember we're in the late teens now.

Our little girl turned three this year.

I had another year at home with her. Another year of waking up at ridiculous hours and counting 8 a.m as the world's most extravagant lie-in. Another year of adventure and fun and silliness and laughter and tears (both of us). I love the very bones of this girl.

She's changing. She's funny, and smart, and sweet, and cheeky, and occasionally a bit of a challenge ;) three is an awesome age. It's all dinosaurs and dancing, tea parties with soft toys and fort-making.

I love her unabashed zest for life. 'This is my favourite song/book/game in the WHOLED WIDE WORLD!' is said at least once a day.

And this year she got to become a big sister. I'll never forget the look on her face when we told her. Or the look on her face when she stumbled sleepily into our bedroom at three in the morning to find her baby brother there, in our bed, as if he'd arrived by magic.

(LOL I wish)

She's had to grow up a lot this year. At times, she's had to do things for me. Weirdly, I think that's made the transition to Big Sisterhood a bit easier.


Speaking of that ... one day this year my husband innocently unwrapped an Easter egg in the kitchen (after Jellybean had gone to bed, obviously. We're not idiots) and I ran out of the room, gagging.

Chris peeped his head around the corner and said 'Yeah, I think you might be pregnant.'

Enter this guy:

Alright, it took 40 weeks and a lot of effort to grow him. In fact, this pregnancy made me feel so awful that it dominated most of the year, with Chris having to do pretty much everything because I had to give up a lot of stuff (hoovering, mopping, changing sheets, tidying, bathing our toddler, unloading the dishwasher, and, well, walking around). However, he was definitely worth the feeling of being totally useless for most of the year.

Because look!

This is, as far as we are concerned, our last baby, and I know now that they are only this tiny for a short space of time. So I'm enjoying it, a lot. I like seeing him wake up a bit more. I like all the little things about him: the cheeky satisfied look he gives me when he's feeding, the way he goes cross-eyed when he tries to focus, his little crumpled looking ears, how much he loves to study the face of his big sister.

Now I have two little people to love so much that it kind of feels like my heart might break.


Most of our other memories from this year are little things. The feeling of discovering a tiny, beautiful little beach on our campsite when we went on holiday (it was one of my favourite holidays so far, despite the rain, even torrential rain on the last day when we all got soaked trying to spot wild cats at Exmoor zoo). Days out here and there. Weddings, family gatherings. Many board games with our friends. As many walks as my hip could manage.

I'm not sure what's to come for 2017. There is a good chance my time as a stay at home Mum will come to an end at some point this year, which is mostly good, I think. Other than that, we are not entirely sure what's going to happen. But then again, does anyone? We've never been ten-year-plan people anyway.

But I'm excited to see what is to come.

The jar is empty and waiting ...

Mummy Fever - Share With Me

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Hello you.

I've been away for a while. To be fair, life's been pretty busy ...

A couple of weeks ago, after a stop start labour that started on a Thursday evening and ended, finally, the following Monday afternoon, our beautiful son arrived.

Now after a manic couple of weeks that passed by in a blur of cards and presents and flowers and Christmas and visitors and appointments, he is laying on me, feeding, occasionally opening his eyes to peep at me whilst I type one handed.

Parenthood is different second time round. On the one hand it's relentless and tiring and daytime naps are no longer a thing. On the other hand we are more relaxed and more confident in our decisions and the way we are dealing with everything.

I am going with the flow and riding on the feeling of euphoria that is still hanging around after his birth, because I know this time that it goes by impossibly quickly, and that as eternal and difficult as the sleepless nights feel at the time, they won't last long, either. I am happily soaking in him - his little tiny elbows (who knew elbows could be cute?), his noises, his smell. I am storing away precious first memories of my daughter becoming a sibling. I'm not thinking about things very much. Just going with whatever happens.

It's nice. And unexpected.

I took a long time to get over the birth of Jellybean, physically. I'm feeling much better this time round. I think it's half because I've done it before, and half because the midwives were so brilliant, and empowered me to have a very calm, in-control kind of labour, the kind of labour that I'd hoped for but kind of didn't dare to hope for at the same time. It meant that I felt powerful instead of helpless and calm instead of afraid. I keep re-remembering it, trying to cement the weird awesomeness of it into my brain.

When he arrived I felt nothing but pride and wonder and awe. (And, you know, like I'd fallen down a flight of stairs and bruised every bone in my body on the way down, but still).

When he arrived I just looked at him - over a pound bigger than Jellybean was, and weirdly clean thanks to his dip in the pool - and enjoyed the weight of him on me.

I said 'I love you' over and over again.

I said 'I'm your Mummy.'

I said 'Happy birthday!'

I said 'So it was you in there this whole time.'

It was him the whole time - him in the beginning making me throw up, him in the middle fluttering in my belly, him at the end hiccuping while Chris and I paced the silent hospital corridors in the night, trying to make labour start again during one of the longest nights of our lives.

He is one hundred million percent worth it.

Now I'm going to try not to nod off whilst eating stew one handed. 

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas! 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

What happens when you hand a three year old a camera

Yep, that's right. Still no baby.

I'm in limbo land: every day I make tentative plans not knowing if they're going to happen or not. The end of pregnancy is unique in that you actively anticipate pain and get quite excited when it arrives. And then feel disappointed when it goes away again. You also spend a lot of time telling people a date that might not actually mean anything.

But the good news is that every day I get to spend lots of lovely time with my daughter, and building up a few treasured memories of our last few days with just the two of us. Mostly we potter around the house playing. We also go for very long, slow walks in the hope that gravity encourages the baby to start getting a move on.

Slow, muddy, misty walks.

A while back I dug out my very old digital camera for Jellybean to use. She became a photography obsessive. Now, if I need to drag her out of the house for baby-moving reasons, I call chirpily 'let's take your camera!' to try and persuade her out into the cold.

I often wonder what goes through Jellybean's head (especially given some of the things she comes out with). Now I can see what the world looks like from her perspective, which is quite fun. It looks a bit like this:

Girl's got skills!

That's it really. If you need us we'll be here. Quietly waiting. Enjoying each other's company. Reading stories in blanket forts and bouncing on gym balls and scrubbing the kitchen floor (alright, the last two are just me). And wondering what Christmas will look like in our house this year ...

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