Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Christmas!!

So here it is, Merry Christmas!

We'll be heading off for the holidays soon so I guess this will be my last post of 2009. Time for a little look back I think.

About this point last December I’d had a very strange couple of days. A dash from my work Christmas lunch to the emergency gynae department was followed by an anxious wait for a scan the next day. Fred was away with work and rushed back to be with me in the morning, arriving just in time. I felt numb going into that room and so sad to think that after only seven weeks this pregnancy could be in trouble. But then a little flicker appeared on the screen and there was Smidgets heart! She didn’t even have arms or legs yet and was just a few millimetres long, but her heart was there, beating strongly. It was utterly amazing.

The rest of that Christmas was wonderful, we shared the secret with close family but I had to spend much of the party season trying to convince everyone else that I was either on antibiotics for a suspiciously long period of time or that I had invented a new form of health kick – the "Pre-tox" (not drinking in the run up to Christmas so you don’t feel rubbish and have to De-tox afterwards). I still can’t quite believe how many people went for that, apparently some were actually quite disappointed when they discovered it was a fake and not a great act of willpower on my part!

Most of what has happened since is already in this blog, either in my posts or, after Evelyn arrived and I got a bit rubbish, in Fred's pictures and videos, but wow, what a year! It's been exciting, exhausting and enchanting in about equal measures and I can't wait to top it off with Evelyn's first Christmas, not that she has any idea what is going on! She is getting into the festive spirit tho and this weekend had her first Christmas party with some of her NCT buddies. The parents had mince pies and compared notes on sleep patterns, the babies mostly screamed or sucked each others sleeves!

Evelyn and her chums, Harry, Juliette and Mia.

Harry makes a move for Evelyn and the other girls get Jealous.

Before I go I just want to say thank you so much to all those who have helped us out this year, especially in the first few days and weeks after Evelyn was born, I try to keep this blog positive, but to be honest I felt like I'd been hit by a train, thank heavens our parents and other family and friends were there to offer help, advice, home cooked meals, cards, gifts and facebook chats! I'm really not sure how I'd have coped without you all and I've been so touched by the kindness of so many people. I'm just sorry that in all the chaos I didn't manage to say thank you properly to everyone.

I also need to say the biggest thank you to Fred, he has always been a top notch husband, and really proved that during the birth. Now he has become a fantastic father too and it's clear Evelyn adores him, I doubt there is a more heart-warming sight in all the world than your husband and your baby grinning at each other!

So Merry Christmas! and I hope 2010 is as exciting for you as I'm sure it will be for us.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Return to Nausea. part two

If you have just read the last post and are now thinking I'm a terrible mother, here is my defence. There are times when a girl needs a cocktail with her curry and staring down the barrel of a house move is most definitely one of those times.

We currently live in a two bed flat in central London, it's pretty much ideal for a young couple enjoying big city life, but it's slowly being infested with small, brightly coloured creatures that play slightly annoying tunes and hurt when you tread on them. So we have resolved to move to a proper grown up house. We started this process by viewing three houses on Friday and another two on Saturday:

1: Good price, tiny house- LED underlighting in the kitchen - what on earth is that about???
2: Nice house, ok price but would need masses of work - pink corner bath and avocado toilet anyone???
3: Lovely lovely house, good price, traffic nightmare road,

4: Nice big house, ok price, too much work - Downstairs loo put in the wrong way round so you have to get into it via the garden. What????
5: Great house, perfect condition, brilliant price!!!
(Curry and stiff drink)

So yay to house 5. But here's the snag, the current housing market isn't nearly so slow as you may think, it's been doing it's (credit) crunches and lost a lot of weight. So it can move quicker, and a great house at a great price is not going to hang around long. It went on the Market on Thursday, and on the major property websites on Friday. On Saturday they had 8 viewings and by the time I called to book a second viewing on Monday they had an offer, by lunch time that was three offers, two at the asking price!

This would seem to count us out as the reason for the good price is that they want to move quick and we're not even officially on the market yet. However, the asking price was actually a reasonable amount below our maximum budget, so in a moment of bravery or perhaps madness we called back and made a higher offer.

Hence my second dose of feeling rather nauseous. This could well be our perfect family home, we'd never need to move again, all the space we need, no work to do, great area with great schools... or we could just have said we'd spend a huge amount of money we don't actually have yet on something we've only seen once!!!

ARGHHH! Well after a day of feeling excited, worried and a little bit sick we've heard that the vendors have accepted another offer. I need a long sit down and a stiff drink, tho perhaps on second thoughts I'll skip the drink.

And Evelyn's reaction to all of this? Well she dribbled on a couple of estate agents and screamed at a couple more, so that makes me feel kind of warm inside ;o)

19 weeks
PS. anyone want to buy a flat?

Monday, 14 December 2009

Return to Nausea. part one

No - I'm NOT pregnant again! But two things have happened this weekend that have me remembering those first trimester days.

Sunday saw my first hangover in more than a year. Round about now it's pretty common to utter those well intentioned words:

"That's it! I'm never drinking that much again".

Before accidentally going out on the lash the following night. Well lately I've been thinking that having a baby is what finally makes you stick to that resolution. The thought of the morning after starting at 6am with a screaming infant, however much you may adore her, is just too awful to contemplate.

Ahhh smug parent, how wrong you were.

What I hadn't factored in was just how much of a lightweight I now am! So on Saturday night I headed out for a Christmas curry with some old school friends and had a cocktail. All very exciting, and feeling fine I moved on to a GnT before deciding I'd better stop. Now you have to bear in mind that back in the good/bad old days I could put away about 8 pints of Guinness on a night out with the rugby team (Mum - if you are reading this, that is a total exaggeration and not true at all, honest), so two little drinks didn't seem like an excessive amount and I felt fine. Until the next morning that is. Oh dear, oh dear. Thank heavens for heavily salted crisps, diet coke and Fred being at home!

That's it, I'm never drinking that much again.


BTW, anyone worrying, no I didn't feed Evelyn while tipsy, Fred gave her some I prepared earlier.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Evelyn on video

Here are some videos of Evelyn that we took over the last month or so. (Sorry, it took me a while to get round to editing them.)

First here's Evelyn meeting her second cousins Mia and Ella in Gloucester about 5 weeks ago.

About two weeks ago we visited a nearby Children's Centre, where there is a multi-sensory room you can hire out to play in!

And finally here is a video of us demonstrating responsible parenting with the help of some friends...

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Evelyn at Breakfast

Evelyn is usually in her best mood in the morning. She can be quite smiley when she wakes up and once she has had a feed, she is very happy. This can make me very reluctant to go to work in the morning. That's what happened yesterday: I went in about an hour later than normal (well I'd done some extra earlier in the week), and spent some time with her instead.

Evelyn in her cot, just after she woke up.

An hour later, sitting on mummy's knee just after her feed.

I printed this one straight away and took it to work for the photo frame on my desk. It was amazing to compare it with the old photo that I took out of the frame, which was taken when she was just under 3 weeks old (see the fifth photo in this post)

Evelyn in her Hallowe'en costume

We bought Evelyn a little witch costume for Hallowe'en. We thought it was very cute. Evelyn like the dress, but wasn't convinced about the hat!

Here she is getting dressed... or is she casting a spell?

Ok, you can't really see the costume in this one, but it's cute!

Evelyn does her Dr Evil impression

Evelyn is plotting (and demonstrating her new skill of putting her hands together)

Indian summer at Yew Tree Cottage

Continuing our week off work, we went to Yew Tree Cottage for the day to see Granny Craze. The weather was glorious for the middle of October, so we were able to sit out in the garden with Evelyn in the morning. This set also includes what is probably the first photo of both of us togehter with Evelyn, without one of us behind the camera!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Heeeeeers Mummy

Blimey it feels like a lifetime since I managed to write something on here, well I suppose it is Evelyn's lifetime!

Being a Mum is definitely the most demanding, but also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I frequently find myself exhausted, dishevelled, and covered in sick, longing for an adult conversation, preferably NOT about babies or just a cup of tea drunk while still warm. But then Evelyn will give me her big dopey grin or do some small thing for the first time and I am instantly delighted and enthralled.

I had intended to do a full write up of my "birth story" as the baby magazines would have it, but it was a very long story! The quickish version is that it all started out well, I had many hours in the birthing pool at the lovely midwife led unit, with nothing more than a couple of paracetamol and a small glass of wine for pain relief. However Evelyn was clearly happy where she was so we progressed through having my waters broken, gas and air (wonderful stuff), epidural, oxytocin (the drip used for inductions), attempting to push, attempting a vacuum delivery and finally a C-section. All in all it took about 34 hours, strangely it didn't feel that long at the time although when Fred peeped over the blue screen and said "it's a girl" the few minutes I had to wait to see her myself felt like an eternity. It was all worth it tho when Fred finally brought her over to me, there are no words for that really, and I couldn't quite believe that such a beautiful baby had come from me (I'm open to the suggestion that I may be a little biased)!

The first couple of weeks seem a bit of a blur now, I was pretty incapacitated by the op so Fred did the bulk of the work with me concentrating on the feeding. We had lots of visitors, which we'd been warned could be a bad thing, but actually it was a real saving grace for me as I couldn't really get out of the flat so having a bit of the world come to me was great. I may be the only person who's benefited from the credit crunch - unemployed friends can visit midday, midweek!

Breast feeding took a while to get going and Evelyn was a wee bit jaundiced so we had to "top her up" with expressed milk in a bottle to be sure she was getting enough - well as you'll have seen from the photos she's growing very well now after this initial hurdle and it left us with the bonus that she's just as happy feeding from breast or bottle, very handy that.

I've been improving steadily too and am now out and about most days. No more going to the lab and playing with lasers tho, now it's off to "busy babies" to try and remember nursery rhymes to sing with a room full of other women slightly shocked to realise this is our life now. Or meeting up with the NCT group and turning a quiet, forgotten room in a concert hall into an ad-hoc creche!

Well there is a whole lot more I could say but as time is short and this post isn't I'll leave it there for now, I expect it'll be more photos from Fred next.

12 weeks today!
(obviously this is now how old Evelyn is!)

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Whilst in Devon, we visited the House of Marbles at Bovey Tracey. This is great for grown up kids like me because it has the most fantastic marble runs to look at. The largest occupies a 20ft high wall. It also has a very nice cafe. However the principal reason for going there was to get a casting of Evelyn's foot - in glass. Here it is in production...

First trip to the seaside

When Evelyn is a bit older, I am sure that trips to see her maternal grandparents will be the cause of much excitement. At the moment she is a bit young to appreciate the delights of the seaside or the beauty of the Exe estuary. Here is her reaction to Topsham....

And this is what she was missing...

Evelyn meets her Great Grandmother

Evelyn's middle name, Amy, is after her maternal great grandmother. Amy Allen, or "Nan" to her many family members. They met for the first time in Gloucestershire last weekend. Also in the photos are Kirsty's dad and two of Evelyn's second cousins Mia (6) and Ella (4). In addition to these three, Nan has two more great granddaughters, but no great grandsons yet!

Four generations of the family

The two Amys

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Mobiles are wonderful things

Kirsty bought a mobile for Evelyn's cot. She (Evelyn) loves it. Actually we all love it because it means we can leave her in the cot awake for ten minutes to have a shower, make a drink or whatever, and Evelyn will be happy and entertained. I have tried to take some photos to show just how much she likes it, but as soon as I got the camera out and lined up the shot, she looked at me instead to see what I was up to!

Thirza & james and Claire and Sam come to visit

We had lots of visitors yesterday. First Thirza and James: Evelyn has now (finally) met all her aunts and uncles

And then Kirsty's friends Claire and Sam (who stayed out of shot!)...

Helen & Dave's wedding

On 19 September we had our first night away from home, to go to Helen and Dave's weding in Hampshire. Evelyn was remarkably well behaved.

Here she is being blissfully quiet on my knee during the ceremony....

And here is she is being passed between lots of people in fancy suits and dresses without vomiting, pooing or drooling once....

And finally, here she is totally calm while we dress her in a silly pirate hat...

Steve visits Evelyn

On 18 September my friend Steve came to visit Evelyn. I was in Hull with work and he didn't wait around for me to get back!

Rachel visits Evelyn

And here are some photos of Evelyn with Kirsty's friend Rachel taken on 6 September

Evelyn at Great Grandpa George's

Since I've been back at work it's been hard to find time to upload photos, but now I've finally got round to it, so this is going to be a bumper series of posts. First here are some photos of Evelyn's first trip out of London, to see her great grandpa on 31st August.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Pulling faces

Most of the photos I've taken of Evelyn have been while she was asleep. That's because when she's awake there hasn't really been time to get the camera out! But here are some photos of her awake, pulling faces as she sat on my knee. She was very alert and taking in her surroundings. I'd just come home from work (my first day back) and she spent a lot of time looking at my face.

Having spent so much time looking after Evelyn it was very odd to be back in the office and not know what she was up to all day. But it was very nice to be the object of her attention when I got home again!

Almost smiling!

Sticking her tongue out

Daddy I've had enough of photos now!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

How cute is this??!!

These pictures were taken on Tuesday, when Evelyn was two weeks old. She's asleep in her moses basket, swaddled to stop her arms flailing about. (JojoMamanBebe swaddling cloths have a cunning velcro and pocket arrangement that makes this easy to do).

Now I know I'm biased, but these are really really cute aren't they?

It seems like a lot more than two weeks since Evelyn was born. I'm sure this is partly because of how much hard work it's been, and partly because all our days are quite similar (feed, nappy, sleep, repeat) so it's easy to lose count, but I think it's mostly because she's already become such an important and integral part of our lives that it's hard to believe she wasn't here such a short time ago.

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