Tag Archives: Events

Getting Down n Dirty on Daddy’s Birthday

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Sunday was Daddy’s birthday – 42 no less!

The whole weekend was dedicated to this and included a romantic meal for two at Bella Italia, the casino, and a nice family meal a Nanny’s house.

We decided to get crafty for daddy’s birthday and Dexter and I made this on Saturday night. We dipped his little hands in water-based paints and Dexter was able to sign Daddy’s card himself.  Dexter giggled when his little cards went in the goo and seemed fascinated by the prints left on the card. The paint washed off his hands easily enough but I was still picking out remnants from his hair two days later.

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I think this will become a little tradition now. Both Craig and I have birthdays very close to Christmas so the whole season is really expensive. Craig’s reaction to something so simple made me think that we should just ‘make’ our birthday gifts from Dex; they cost next to nothing and hold far more sentimental value than anything we would ordinarily buy eachother.

This year I was even lucky enough to get some Ring Cufflinks from the delightful and beautiful Vikki over at Love From Mummy – these are really special little keepsakes that are perfect for Daddy’s and Grandad’s. Craig doesn’t wear suits or shirts very often but does dress up for horse racing days and weddings. Now he’ll be able to take a little bit of Dexter with him when he goes which is seriously cool.

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Craig did get other gifts from me, but I think Dexter’s gifts are his favourite. We topped the Sunday off with a film and an ‘early night’… just goes to show thar the best things in life are free.

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Cousin Sky’s Birthday!

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We had lots of fun at Cousin Sky’s 5th birthday party on Saturday. It was a princess and pirate theme but unfortunately Mummy and Daddy forgot and you went as… well Dexter.

There was a big hall with a disco and all your family were there. The DJ doubled up as an entertainer, puppet master and magician…

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Cousin Lenny seemed to really enjoy the magic tricks! The funniest thing by far though was watching the older kids start their heckling careers – “I know how you do that one”, “Are you really a magician or do you just lie?” – I was in fits taking the photographs.

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We even had a guest appearance from Philip Schofield! Okay, okay – it’s only Grandad but they do look like each other!

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You tried cucumber for the first time! You had a tiny chew and we were still fishing out little chunks of it an hour later. I’m not sure you were that impressed…

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Bella is really growing now and you both had lots of cuddles from all the family. You’ve both got teeth now – Bella has one, and you have two!

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You stayed awake for the whole party with minimal tears despite your teething. You had a few dances with mummy and were brilliantly behaved.

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Unfortunately it was all too much fun for some of us and Bella crashed on her Daddy before the day was through… awww!

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“No Photography Allowed”: Dexter’s First Swim

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So, Dexter went for a swim at the weekend.

Since the disaster with the pool on holiday (Dexter hated it) we’ve been hesitant to take Dexie swimming. Our main concern was the temperature. Dexter likes warm baths and hates feeling cold. I’m not a huge fan of swimming either and didn’t want to take him myself. We’ve always thought it was important to take him though as it’s a skill that might one day save his life.

So off we went to a local pool in Reading. It’s the warmest pool we know of so we hedged our bets. Sitting in the spectators lounge – I had to fight the temptation to whip out my iPhone and take pictures. Dexter looked so cute in his little swimsuit splashing around in Craig’s arms. He was so happy and confident in his Zoggs Trainer Seat, Craig noticed he was even kicking his legs in the water beneath. Seeing that Dexter was having fun, Craig decided to be brave and float him instead. Dexter was happy on his back and even reacted well to being briefly underwater. Finally, as the pool was graduated and had no steps – the swallow areas had only a few cms of water and Dexter was able to lay on his front on his knees and lift his head out of the water.

I’d have seriously loved to have come away with some pictures but was deterred by the massive sign by the entrance to the lounge “No photography beyond this point”. There was only myself and one other person sitting in the lounge area and it was clear that neither of us were pedophiles. She was around 40, engrossed in 50 Shades of Grey, and continually checking her watch – every inch the archetypal middle-aged mum taking her children swimming. It made me think – I’d be horrified if there was man in an anorak and a long lens snapping pics of the kids. But then if I were to shoot Mr Anorak an accusatory glance and whisk Dexter away, I suppose I should extend the same suspicions to Mrs 50 Shades. What makes me qualified to decide if someone is acting illegally or not?

In some ways – it’s like the world has gone mad. You wouldn’t wrestle a camera off a man at Disney World just because it’s full of children, yet in Britain, I constantly hear stories of parents being prevented from filming their own children at a nativity play or sports day in case the pictures are misappropriated. Yes – pedophiles are vile and of course we’d all do anything to safeguard our children from predatory advances, but are we taking the whole thing too far? With breaking stories such as the posthumous investigation into Jimmy Saville – the western world is turning increasingly into a ‘trust no one’ society.

But where does it end? When Dexter takes part in his first school play, all I will have to remind me is a photo of him in his costume in front of my fireplace, and not onstage in character. There won’t be an action shot of him winning an egg-and-spoon race either. These were precious memories for my parents and I remember whole albums dedicated to my school days.

Then there’s this blog. I’ve posted hundreds of photos of Dexie. I don’t even bother changing our names. Why should I? This blog is in the public domain, completely unprotected and anyone can view it. But why should I worry? There are millions of pictures of children in their nappies all over the web. Every time we buy a packet of Huggies or Pampers there’s a semi naked baby posing adorably on the packaging!

So what is the solution? Should we ID parents on entry to a swimming pool, school gate, cinema? But wouldn’t this limit the freedom of grandparents and family friends to take children out for the day of fun? Of course this is a ridiculous suggestion. So is the only solution to ban photographing your children in public places? Couldn’t that very same person with horrific motivations be swimming alongside my child in the pool!?

I did manage just a quick one of the boys at the side of the pool and was careful to get no one else in it – but the photo is so awful I was reluctant to post it. Dexter looks so chubby it doesn’t even look like him – but hey for prosperity’s sake – here’s my baby on the day of his first ever swim with Daddy. Yet another example of me flaunting the rules… ssshhh don’t tell anyone!

Dear Santa… (a.k.a Craig)

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I’m sat here racking my brains to come up with a reason why I deserve a present this year. I’ve done some terrible things and it suddenly occured to me that you might decide to buy me a tea towel (or something equally hideous) as punishment. I read somewhere once that Santa still considers dropping by if you get in quick and say sorry – so here we go…

I’m sorry that I…

  • Demand absolute silence during Downton Abbey & the Young Apprentice (as the BBC has no breaks and I can’t concentrate for extended periods)
  • (Occassionally) fake the odd headache to get to bed early / avoid dealing with Dexter when he’s stroppy
  • Always steal the last Muller Fruit Corner when your back’s turned
  • Smirk when Manchester United lose at football
  • Made you buy an exercise bike and haven’t used it once
  • (Often) use your last razor blade to shave my legs
  • Sneak the heating on full when you’ve expressly told me not to
  • (Often) made myself ‘busy’ after dinner to get out of the washing up
  • Pretended for months the vacuum cleaner didn’t cater for left-handed people to get out of the hoovering

And that’s just crimes against you!

As you know, I’ve also accidentally stolen some Soya tablets and a bottle of Cilit Bang from Tescos as my coat was positioned so that I couldn’t see it in the trolley. Then there’s the bottle brush from MAM we accidentally pinched from the BabyShow as we both thought the other one had paid for it! I noticed both these crimes before we left the car park’s and didn’t go back to re-correct my mistakes.

So really, all things considered, you could say I don’t deserve a present. You could even shop me to the police!

But if can look past all the above – and can stand the thought of sharing your bed with Reading’s version of Bonnie for another year…

I’d reeeeaaaaallllyyyy like one of these…

As you’re not the sharpest when it comes to computers, you need to click on the image. This will take you through to the Dinky Fingerprint Company – or you can just click here.

Now I know you like to have researched every purchase you make. You’ll be pleased to know, I’ve done the hard work for you on this one. I’ve checked out rival company’s and this is the one I want. I’m thinking muted browns, ambers or greens rather than Barbie Pink.

Thank you my darling… til next year…
Gemma

Headlines from your first 6 months

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So tomorrow you turn 6 months!

With all chaos you’ve created over the last 183 days – keeping on top of news stories from around the world hasn’t been much of a priority. As this is your blog, it isn’t lost on me that you’ll be cringing on occasion and will probably beg me not to direct future girlfriends to this site. As much as you’ll probably be delighted to know when you first clutched a toy, sat unaided, spoke your first words – I suspect you’ll also have lots of questions about what the world was like when you were born.

Here’s a mini round-up of things from your first half-year you might want to know:

PRICE OF MILK: It will probably make you giggle that I had to Google this. Mummy is so used to just shoving things in the trolley and whipping her battered card out at the checkout, I’m not really one for paying attention to prices. However, a two pint carton will set you back 90 pence on average.

AVERAGE HOUSE VALUE: Where we live (and you were born) in Reading the average house value is £248,486 according to the BBC News website. This is really expensive and you can buy lots of toys with that kind of dosh.  A further breakdown reveals the following: Detached: £461,751 / Semi-detached : £272,813 / Terrace : £207,356 /  Flat : £175,903.

Needless to say mummy and daddy can’t afford to buy a house right now so we’re renting. Our monthly rent is £850 per month (it should be a little more but we’re currently renting a friend’s house). We have plans to buy a house all of our own in a few years time. This will give you some security when you grow up and need money to go to university (if you want to) before you make your own millions. I suspect inflation will make these figures seem laughable when you’re old enough to read this – but you have to remember that our wages are probably much lower than those you’ll be commanding when you join the England Rugby team.

TOP TV SHOWS: Major successes over the last 6 months have been Homelands, Downton Abbey, X Factor, and The Only Way is Essex. Quite an eclectic mix there and mummy doesn’t like all of them.

I should point out now that this is set in the post-Edwardian era and mummy and daddy don’t dress like this. In fact, you’re very lucky if mummy gets dressed at all. Right now it’s 3 o’clock and mummy is still in her dressing gown.

BLOCKBUSTERS: Major films in the cinema since you’ve been born are Skyfall and the Dark Knight RisesMummy is not the best person to ask if these films are any good as she hates the cinema, and hates spy / superhero things. Daddy, on-the-otherhand, loves it. When you’re old enough – we’ll get these films on blu-ray (or whatever the equivalent is when you’re reading this) so you can see what all the fuss is about.

MUSIC: When you were born R.I.P by Rita Ora ft. Tinie Tempah was No.1 in the download / chart thingy. It’s very confusing nowadays as people have iTunes and don’t buy music in the shops. Because of this, it’s quite difficult to say what is No1 at all! Rita Ora is relatively new to the music scene but she’s quite popular. The song was okay but hardly the most memorable and I doubt you’ll be able to select it on pub jukeboxes when you’re older.

The song that reminds me most of you (and makes mummy cry like an idiot) is Gary Barlow’s Sing ft. the Military Wives. For the record, this admission won’t earn me any street cred points and this is not mummy’s usual music choice. What makes it so special is that I remember vividly being sat in bed absolutely exhausted from breast-feeding and crying buckets. I was looking down at you in your Moses basket and my tears were dripping on your little face. There was a documentary on about the making of this song and I was literally too tired and emotional to change the channel. I felt completely in love with you and totally overwhelmed. This got to No.1 the month after you were born.

Sing – Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band featuring Military Wives

HEADLINES: These leads me nicely into one of the major headlines of your little life so far as Barlow’s song was written for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I won’t write too much about this as mummy has kept loads of clippings and magazines dedicated to this event for you to read when you’re older. Mummy used to live in London and there was a regatta just minutes away from where mummy used to live. There were also big concerts to celebrate the Queen’s 60th year on the throne.

The Olympics were also held in London for the first time in over 50 years. Mummy had been really excited about this and joked when she was pregnant that her maternity-leave would coincide nicely with the games. Unfortunately mummy spent most of this time asleep exhausted from the nightfeeds!

The UK had a fantastic games and a number of athletes are now household names as a result of the medals they won. Among the greatest were Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Victoria Pendleton. I’m hoping the Olympic legacy will live on and there’ll be more opportunity for you to take part in specialist sports as a result. I’ll be proud of you no matter what you do in life – but it would be a major perk if you managed to secure us finals tickets to watch you someday.

Across the pond, the US elections have just come to an end. Barack Obama is now to serve his second term which mummy is very pleased about. Mummy is very interested in politics and stayed up to watch Obama retain his presidency against Republican Mitt Romney. It was predicted it would be a closely contested race but it turns out Obama won comfortably and won’t face any serious challenge. Mummy believe this is a good thing as we’re still in the grip of recession and the world economy needs consistency during this time. Obama is the US’s first ever African American president and mummy thinks he’s the best they’ve ever had. My hope is that he’ll still be in office as you grow up.

Of course there have been other major stories over the last 6 months, some of them not so positive which I won’t talk about here. I’m quite excited that we’ve welcomed you into the world at possibly the most exciting time in British history. When you are an old man you’ll be able to say you were alive when Britain hosted the 2012 games and the Queen became the Britain’s longest reigning monarch second only to Queen Victoria (maybe she’ll have overtaken her by the time you’re reading this). Of course from mummy and daddy’s perspective the biggest story from the last 6 months, and biggest event of our lives so far is You. Dexter Thomas Mills born 16th May 2012.

Mummy Mugshot: Dexter’s first Firework Display

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I love having a baby around – especially on ‘occasions’. I’m usually a real Grinch at Christmas but now I can’t wait to wrap his pressies and watch him struggle with the paper. I suspect he won’t realise the significance of the day as he’ll only be 7 months old; my childhood memories start around 3 years old so I’m not silly enough to believe he’ll be raving about his first christmas to his mates at school. It doesn’t stop me wanting to make the day  special though. So for the first year ever I’ll be decorating the house, lighting cinnamon candles and playing Christmas songs.

So in the spirit of creating memories, we simply had to celebrate bonfire night and get our lazy bums off the sofa. At first we were unsure about taking Dexter to a firework display as he’s so tiny we were worried he’d cry at the loud noises, crowds and freezing temperature (and it would mean missing X Factor). But it was an opportunity to spend time as a family, and I couldn’t resist giving it a go. So we bought him a super warm snowsuit and  googled the local displays to work out where to go.

My Boys!

As is so often the case – we were out of the door late. This is typical of Craig and I. No matter how well we plan, we’re always rushing around at the last minute and bickering. We usually sit in the car then realise we’ve forgotten something and have to run back inside the house at least 3 times before we actually get anywhere. This was no exception. I’d gone a little overboard on the layers and was so wrapped up I couldn’t even bend over. Typically I decided I needed to use the toilet before we went so Craig had to help me strip off the 20 leggings I had on (as 20 jumpers somewhat restricted my ability to perform this most simple of tasks). The whole saga meant we left an hour later than we’d intended… already we were off to a bad start.

The display wasn’t much to write home about. It was held at a local Sunday-League football ground and was a fairground / firework combo. The entire ground was poorly lit making every step hazardous. At one point, Dexter’s buggy got caught in the mud and it was fairly amusing watching The Man dig his shiny white trainers into the brown goo to leverage our son out of a hole. To top it all off, we forgot the Canon so had to rely on the iPhone to capture the experience. I queued for an hour for a beer in order to console myself!

A rare photo of the 3 of us. This was after I’d queued for an hour for a beer…

As you might expect, the fireworks started late. I suspect they were desperately trying to fix the sound system as the display was set to music (at least I think it was as there was definitely some distorted screechy sound emanating from the speakers). We’d picked a spot close to the entrance so we could flee if Dexter hated it. With a wry smile, we scooped Dexter out from his buggy, held him up so he could watch, and waited for him to scream.

But no! He LOVED it. It was so sweet watching him follow the fireworks with and try and work out what on earth was going on. We had a right giggle when the rockets went off and Dexter omitted a little “OOOooo”. So he’d done it again – made a miserable and crappy situation Fun. How much do I love my son!?

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I’ve hooked this post up to the Mummy Mugshot linky which is hosted by the fabulous Life, Love and Living with Boys – she’s trying to get all us mummy’s to appear in more photos with our kiddies! If you’re feeling brave, click on the badge below and join in the fun… No excuses now!

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Dear Dexter

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Dear Dexter,

Well you’re now 5 months old which simply doesn’t seem possible! Although it seems only yesterday I was rocking you to sleep in the hospital, you’ve transformed our lives so much we just can’t remember what life was like before you were in it. Despite this, mummy and daddy stll joke that it feels like we’re on borrowed-time and are just looking after you until someone comes to take you back! We’re just so overwhelmed with pride and love for you that we struggle to put our feelings into words.

This has definitely been an exciting month for mummy and daddy as you’re so much more active! We’ve now regulated Lottie (your activity mat) to your toy chest as you seemed to be signing that you’re ready for something new. So this month you’ve road-tested some ‘big boy’ toys and have begun spending time in Ermintrude (your sit-me-up cosy as renamed by daddy), and have much more tummy-time.

You continue to love gazing at yourself in the mirror and you’re responding more to squeaks and music from your toys. Our favourite thing to do is place a favourite toy slightly out of your reach, flip you on your tummy, and encourage you to stretch out and reach it. We’re not convinced you’ll be crawling by the end of the month but we’re getting there!

Image courtesy of Tegan Suzanne Photography

You continue to be the most beautiful baby mummy and daddy have ever seen. You are beginning to recognise us more now and we know you are always pleased to see us as you reserve your bestest smiles just for us. The funniest ones are when you first wake and we scoop you up for a cuddle, and when you’ve achieved something new and mummy and daddy clap to reward you. Those smiles are so wonderful as they’re almost half excitement / half bewilderment – as though you can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

Image courtesy of Tegan Suzanne Photography

As you rarely cry, people are always commenting how well-behaved you are, and mummy can not help but feel proud. You’re a wonderfully social baby and are happy to be fussed over by complete strangers. You seem to take every new experience in your stride and it’s comforting to know you trust mummy so implicitly.

We’ve had the odd night where you’ll wake in the night. This is pretty out of character for you so you’ve caught us unprepared. In our bleary-eyed state we initially made the mistake of bringing out the “big guns” at 2am; bottles, cuddles and popping you in the bed next to us. Although these tricks are undoubtably successful, they seem to take much longer in the middle of the night! It’s pretty clear however that mummy and daddy are too fidgety to embrace co-sleeping. I’ve often woken in the night with pins and needles only find you’ve fallen asleep in my arms. I’ll also worry continually about daddy rolling onto you as he isn’t aware you are next to him. In any case, the very act of picking you up, rocking, or feeding you also just serves to wake you up even more, which isn’t the desired goal in the dead of the night!

Image courtesy of Tegan Suzanne Photography

Finally, mummy has been deep in conversation with Father Christmas this week and he’s sent some amazing things through the post. It’s been very tough resisting the urge to give you your new toys straight away. I simply can’t wait to see your little face on Christmas morning when you rip open the paper and see what you’ve got xx

All in all it’s very exciting and we can’t wait to see what next month has in store.

Love Mummy and Daddy xx
NOTE: These stunning shots of Dexter were taken by Tegan of Tegan Suzanne Photography. If you’d like to know more about her packages, you can like her on FB here