Thursday, 27 December 2012

Happy Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Ours was certainly different and for those of you who are friends with me on Facebook you will already know that on Christmas Day
 Alice became a big sister to
Megan Jane :)

Claire had arranged to have a home birth and at 8am on Christmas Day she phoned to say she thought she might be having contractions. Half an hour later she phoned to ask if I could go over to be with Alice and when I got there at 9am the contractions were 3 minutes apart. I decided we needed to phone the midwife to let her know what was going on. The midwife arrived an hour later and Megan was born at 12.17pm, weighing 7lb12oz :)   Claire was amazing and went through it all without any pain relief. The midwives were so pleased with how everything went and also told Claire that they think Megan was the first Christmas baby in Mid Sussex (though we are still waiting to have this confirmed). 

Alice was able to meet Megan minutes after she was born and although she was a bit unsure of her to begin with she is already starting to treat her like she's always been here.  She is so sweet with her and will stand in front of her and say "Hello Megan, I'm Alice" and "How are you today?"  

Once the midwives had left and Alice had opened her last few presents, we packed their bags and brought them all back to the house to spend the first couple of nights with us.
 Christmas afternoon and Aunty Em gets to have a cuddle with Megan while Alice tells her Mummy something.
Claire, Alice and Megan

We are feeling very blessed at the moment and are so grateful for another beautiful, healthy granddaughter.


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas Mugs

As I sit down to write today, my heart is heavy. Since hearing the news yesterday I haven't been able to stop thinking about the families in Connecticut who have lost loved ones in the massacre. For the town as a whole, I don't know how you cope with something like this.  My sympathy and prayers go to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy in whatever way.  

I've mentioned before that I started buying myself a Christmas mug each year. I thought I'd been doing it longer but it seems like this is only the 3rd year.  The first year it was the white and red one on the left; last year was the red one with the white tree and this year is the Snowman Red Cup mug.  I love it! Perfect shape and size and definitely my favourite at the moment :)   Claire and Emily also got Christmas mugs this year and Norma's mentioned she's going to join in next year.  Looks like this is now a tradition :)


Friday, 14 December 2012

End of the week already?

My goodness, where has the week gone!
 Hugh wanted to go in to town to do his Christmas shopping and wanted me to go with him. We didn't do very well - found a DVD I'd like and Home Alone for Hugh then went to Costa for a Black Forest Hot Chocolate.
 On Tuesday morning I was up earlier than normal as Emily had to be at school by 6.15am because a group of Textiles students were going up to The Clothes Show Live in Birmingham.  Claire had a midwife appointment in the morning to discuss her choice of having a home birth. Alice and I stayed at the house and played and then as she got tired she wanted to watch a DVD but wouldn't sit on my knee because she knows if she does that I'm going to try and get her to sleep. She's not silly ;o)
 It was freezing when we got up on Wednesday. When we came downstairs I kept saying how cold I was so Emily went and checked her phone to see what the temperature was. -6C!!! No wonder I was cold!  By 2pm it was still only -2C. It looked very pretty (though you can't tell so much from this photo).  Emily started writing her mock exams and had one in the morning and another in the afternoon. She came home at lunch and I took her back up to school in time for the 2nd one.

 Yesterday morning I went up in the loft to pull out all the baby stuff for Claire. I definitely think it's time for her to get ready for baby arriving as the due date is two weeks tomorrow! She now has the Moses basket and stand, 0-3 month baby clothes and a suitcase to pack in case she needs to go in to hospital. We have agreed I'll keep the bouncy chair and crib here as she has the Moses basket and pram and a baby swing at the house.  It still seems a bit unreal that baby could be here so soon but it's soo exciting too :)
 I took a few photos of ornaments yesterday and had to try the reflection one. The bauble could do with a clean but use it for now.
 Claire and Alice came back to the house after we'd been in to town in the morning. Alice is so at home here and she loves coming to sit and play on my computer. I had been trying to do a few bits but who could say no to such a cutie!
The Round Table Santa came round last night but Alice wasn't keen on seeing him. He was very understanding and just waved to her from the end of the path. Maybe next year she'll like meeting him more.

I have been doing a December Daily (very simple) and keep meaning to take photos of it but haven't yet.  I'll try and do that this weekend and post it on the blog. Have a great weekend!


Monday, 10 December 2012

It's beginning to look like Christmas

This morning I finished tidying/cleaning the bedroom that Max had been staying in.  I want to get it ready before Claire's baby is born so that if she wants to come and stay round some nights, we have a room ready for her. I bought a second hand cot a little while ago now I need to work out how to put it up and then we'll be about ready :)  

Claire and Alice came round this afternoon and Jon took Claire back to the flat to meet the landlady and hand over her keys. She was happy with the way the flat had been left and we're quite relieved to not have to think about it any more.

Emily has been studying for her mocks (practice exams) which she starts writing tomorrow.  However, she did take some time out today to put up her little Christmas tree in her bedroom. She's also been asking me to put up our Christmas tree since the beginning of December so today I brought it in and this evening she started putting it all together.

 The tree was assembled before dinner and we agreed we would decorate it after we'd eaten. 
This is it now :)  It's certainly beginning to feel like Christmas!
 A few more little ornaments
And finally, my attempt at Bokeh


Sunday, 9 December 2012

I'm still here

In case you thought I'd disappeared again, I haven't. Things have been pretty busy the last couple of days and then I couldn't find my camera cable.  I'm still here though and back in business :)
 On Friday I met up with Claire and Alice. I picked them up just before 9am and we headed to Starbucks for breakfast.  Alice loves the lemon and poppy seed muffins and the chocolate coins!  I hadn't seen them since Tuesday and it was lovely to see how happy Alice was to see me again.  I love that little girl so much!!
 We were trying for a photo of the two of us but, as you can see, my phone was far more important than a photo.
 After Starbucks we headed to Mary's for Claire to have her highlights topped up before Christmas and baby's arrival. Alice always enjoys going to Mary's because Mary has a little girl too and Alice gets to play with all her toys.  However, after a while I could tell Alice was tired and she was quite happy to come and sit on my lap for a cuddle. It didn't take too long before she was asleep. And yes, this was a self portrait because I want to capture these precious times with Alice.
On Saturday Claire and I went round to the flat to do a final clean and make sure everything was out of it before she had to meet the landlord and hand over the keys today.  Alice was spending the day with her Daddy (in case some of you haven't realised, Claire and Craig split up not long after Claire found out she was expecting the baby. And although this isn't what she had wanted, she is now a much happier person and is doing a wonderful job with Alice and I know she's going to be a great Mum to her two girls) so we were planning to just keep going until we'd finished.

We'd only been there about an hour when I got a call from Hugh to tell me he'd just been in an accident on his way to work and had hit a tree. I'm not going to go into details but am very thankful that he is alright and that he only suffered a cut to the head and a bruised hand. It could have been so much worse!

I hope your weekend has been a good one.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Coffee Ladies

Our Coffee Ladies group started when our children moved up to Secondary School five years ago. We used to see each other in the playground and chat when they were at Junior School but once they went to Secondary School we weren't taking or picking up from school any more. We missed our chats and decided to meet for a coffee instead and we now try and meet once a fortnight. It doesn't always work out and there are times when one or more of us won't make it but when we do all get together it's good to catch up.
We go for a Christmas lunch each year and today we had our lunch at the local Arts Centre, Chequer Mead.
 L-R: Carol, Sarah, Karen and Carol.

 Sarah and Karen

 Carol and Carol 
And finally, a group photo of all of us. Unfortunately it's turned out blurred but I'll still be using it in Project Life :)   Unfortunately, Kathy couldn't make it today as she was unwell and Pam works at the school and wasn't able to make it either.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

First snow this winter

This morning felt really chilly when we got up and when I mentioned this to Emily once we were downstairs, she checked her phone and said "There's a 30% chance of snow this morning!".

 Looking outside it didn't look like this was likely but I thought it would make a good shot to put in my Project Life so I took a screen shot.  A little while later, as I was talking to Claire on the phone, I looked up and saw snow flakes falling.  Claire picked Alice up to see and I could hear Alice saying "It's snowing Mummy, it's snowing!"
 The snow started to fall more and the flakes were getting bigger. Alice wanted to go outside but Claire had been going to wait until after breakfast.  I suggested it might be better to take Alice out then and there because we didn't know how long the snow would last and she could come in and get dried and have something to eat after.
Although the snow continued to fall for a little while longer and did settle briefly on the road, it wasn't going to be anything that was going to cause a problem.  By 10am it was all over and I headed in to town.  First snow fall this Winter - I wonder how much more snow we'll see over the coming months!


PS  Claire has just started a blog and is doing well posting.  If you'd like to drop in and see what she and Alice are up to, the link is in my "Blogs I Read" bar - Our Daily Life

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Safe trip, Max.

 My nephew, Max, has been staying with us since March this year but yesterday he flew to Australia to spend a year over there with his Dad (my brother, Iain who featured in my catch up post).  As Sunday was his last night with us we decided to have a kebab take away before he left.

I have to admit, this morning I was downstairs and I heard an upstairs door open and thought Max was up early ;o) - it was Jon coming out of the study to get a coffee. I think it's going to take a little while before it sinks in that he's no longer here.
And, as all three of our children were here, I thought a photo of them with their cousin before he leaves would be a good idea for Project Life ;o)   (I have to take my photos where I can at the moment!)

Safe trip Max and we hope you have a fantastic time in Australia and that everything works out the way you'd like it to.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Jason Mraz Concert

Before you go any further, if you don't have any interest in Jason Mraz this post might not be one you want to read ;o)
 Saturday dawned fairly bright and, more importantly, dry if somewhat chilly. Emily and I had been looking forward to going to see Jason Mraz for a few months and finally the day had come.  We got up to The O2 in London (perhaps a little too much) earlier than necessary but had decided we were going to go and get something to eat before going to the concert. TGI Fridays is always a good choice!
 I did have to smile when I was going through my photos later and saw this one. I guess Emily was trending on Saturday night ;o)
 We both opted for burgers - mine with a side of Jack Daniels sauce!
 When we finally got in to the arena we were quite happy with the seats we'd got, especially considering we were late to the game when we booked and I ended up getting them off eBay.  The only thing we were hoping for was screens so we could actually see what was going on properly.
 We needn't have worried because the screens on stage were fantastic and we could see without any problem.
 Unfortunately, the opening act wasn't fantastic - he had a good voice but his songs weren't quite to my taste (or that of a number of other people in the arena if the response was anything to go by). However, as soon as Jason came on stage the atmosphere changed and it was just fantastic!
 He was telling us all to get comfortable and kick off our shoes if we wanted to, then told us he'd taken his off and the camera's panned to his feet just as I took this photo - lol!

 The band was brilliant and they all genuinely seemed to be having such a good time.
 I loved it when they sang Lucky - such good vocals. Not long after he did a bit of chat about the women in men's lives and mentioned Francine. Next thing we saw a woman in the audience up on the screens and her boyfriend proposed to her. She was so surprised and, fortunately, said Yes! She certainly won't ever forget the proposal, will she!
 A few more photos from the concert, it's so difficult to put into words how awesome it was (and that's not a word I normally use) and how much we enjoyed it.
 Emily and I had to buy the hoodies (never mind the t-shirts, it was really cold!) to show we'd been ;o) and after the concert, continued to listen to the CD in the car on the way home (Emily's just corrected me on this one. I listened to the CD as she fell asleep within a few  minutes of getting out of the car park ;o)  ).
 Had to take a photo of the guitarist, he was cute!
 And when Jason sang "I'm Yours" the whole place sang with him :o)
There was a point where Jason and the band left the stage. A lot of people got up and left but we stayed because they hadn't turned up the lights. A slow hand clap started, then there was foot stamping and people calling Jason's name. After a few minutes they came back on again and sang another 4 or 5 songs! So glad we didn't leave - if I'd been one of those people I'd have been kicking myself.  This last photo was the last song they played and everyone was having a fantastic time.
A M A Z I N G!! That's all I can say about the concert, absolutely A M A Z I N G!!

If you have read to the end and don't know who Jason Mraz is, have a watch of this video - you might like him too :o)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Long overdue!

I've been getting a few comments from family members recently about my lack of blogging.  I know it's been a long time and, although I have excuses, if I'm honest it was getting to the stage where I didn't know where to start.  I've decided the starting point is a quick update and then I'll try and get back to more frequent blogging.
Dad, Iain and Mum

Since my last blog post, Iain has moved to Australia and will be getting married later this month.  The above photo was taken on the day he left - after visiting Dad in hospital we dropped him at the station to get his train to the airport.
Alice and I have done our share of baking and on this occassion I tied her hair up because when she licks the bowl the mixture tends to end up everywhere, including in her hair ;o)
 Claire, Alice and I have had a few Starbucks coffees over the last month as well as a few of Costa's Christmas drinks (Black Forest Hot Chocolate is my favourite but both Claire and Emily prefer the mint ones).
Alice and Uncle Hugh have a great relationship and I love watching them play together.  This particular day they both happened to be wearing darker grey jogging trousers and lighter grey tops.  They were having so much fun and it was so cute, I had to grab my camera. I got some lovely shots (even if Alice has a mucky face!)


 Dad was told he would likely be coming home on the 15 November but because he's not able to get upstairs at the moment, they would need to set up a bedroom downstairs for him. This meant that we had to empty the dining room at Mum and Dad's to make it into a bedroom for Dad.  Everything had to go and we packed up numerous boxes over a number of days and moved them into the garage. I need to say thank you to Claire and Kay for helping Mum and I with this task as it was a bit daunting to begin with but many hands make light(er) work. As it was, the hospital bed which was being delivered only arrived on the 15th so Dad finally got home on 16 November 2012.
 Alice and I made the most of the bright weather and went for a walk - she loved getting a chance to play in the leaves.

On 16 November 2012, as well as Dad coming home from hospital, Claire finished work and is now on Maternity leave.  This means I no longer have Alice three days a week but, fortunately, I do still get to see her quite a lot.  The first week without her was quite strange - for both of us I think!

 18 November was Alice's 2nd birthday :)  How quickly these first two years have gone and how wonderful it's been having this gorgeous girl in our lives.  She really does brighten her days.  Her birthday was a huge success and she loved getting her presents (and needless to say, was quite spoilt ;o) ).  She opened her presents from Mummy at the flat first. Next she went round to her Nana's house to get her presents from Nana and her Daddy. I picked them up from there and we went round to see Great Grandma and Great Grandpa.
 The piano she got was a huge hit and she wasn't going to wait for Mummy to put it together before she started playing on it.
 It was lovely for Dad to be home and to be able to see Alice open her present. I think he'd missed not seeing her while he was in hospital.
 Our budding musician :o)

 We then moved on to our house where she had yet more presents to open.  She was starting to flag a bit by then but did perk up when she saw her Princess castle.
Cinderella has been her favourite movie for a little while now and when I saw the Fisher Price Castle I thought it would be right up her street.  Fortunately she loves it and the little princesses who came with it (Snow White and Cinderella).  
 One of Claire's friends had made a Dora cake for Alice and although she was keen to blow our her candles, she wasn't quite so sure when the time came.
 Tyler and Alyssa were there to give her a hand though.

 Claire and Alice slept over that night and it was lovely to come down and see them here in the morning.

Yet another visit to Starbucks :o).  Alice loves the lemon and poppy seed muffin and doesn't take long to get stuck in to it.

On Friday Claire and Alice moved home.  They had been in a two bedroom flat but have now moved into a three bedroom semi detached house.  It's going to be so nice for them to have the extra room and also to have a garden of their own.  They have a big decked area with garden beyond so even when the grass is wet Alice will be able to go on the deck to play.  Unfortunately I haven't got any photos of the house yet but will have to take some and rectify that.

And finally, but by no means least, Emily and I went to the O2 in London last night to see Jason Mraz in concert.
 I managed to get a few photos but hadn't been sure what the quality would be like so I was really chuffed that they had turned out so well.  This one is one of my favourites but I have a feeling there'll be another post with a few more.  What a fantastic concert! So, so glad we got to go and see him - I've loved his music for a while and when I saw he was coming had to get the tickets. Would I go again? Without a doubt!!!

This coming week Claire and I will have to move the last few bits out of the flat and clean it ready to hand over next weekend.  Tomorrow my nephew, Max, who has been staying with us for the last 10 months leaves to join his Dad in Australia for a year. My next project here will be to get the room ready again for Norma coming over in April next year.  Claire has her 36 week midwives appointment on Tuesday. Dad has the physiotherapist coming on Tuesday afternoon and I'll be interested to hear what they have to say and see what exercises he might have to do at home. I also have a Christmas lunch with the "coffee ladies" I meet up with once a fortnight. I also need to get a move on with Christmas cards and go through what Christmas presents I've got and what I still need to get. I've no doubt it will be another busy week.

I also hope to soon be back to reading and commenting on blogs again - I've missed that.