Mommy's birthday

Another month has nearly passed and Lucinda is a year older (on paper – she hasn’t really aged a year in the past fortnight!) and the UK has seen its summer.  It has been a busy couple of weeks!

Life is settling back down to a slight slice of normality at least for a couple of weeks or so.  Work is in a lull at the moment before the great upheaval that is about to happen with new channels and upgrades to HD and tapeless workflows.  We are still in our recruitment drive but not at the same frenetic pace as it was.  This means that I am able to leave on time and see Éowyn and Lucinda every evening (except when I am updating this website!) which is worth a fortune.

To celebrate Lucinda’s birthday we headed to Brighton for a day by the seaside.  The weather was especially kind (and only got better through the week!) as we left the confines of the M25 but as we got to Brighton (and the god of traffic jams ensnared us in its metallic web on a number of occasions) we were upset to discover that the South Coast of Britain was not enjoying the same warm weather and bright sunshine that the Capital, a mere 70 miles  away, was promising.  Nevertheless we are hardy folk and happy strolled around in our shorts and T-shirts.  Fortunately we had been blessed with enough foresight to bring a warm set of clothes for Éowyn which we duly wrapped her in.  The sun-tan lotion on the other hand stayed firmly at the bottom of the bag.

Since the weather wasn’t great and the traffic had delayed our arrival, we headed straight for Harry Ramsden’s for some good ol’ Fish and Chips via a quick paddle in the sea.  Then we headed to the Sea Life Centre to show Éowyn the fish.  She really enjoyed herself and particularly enjoyed touching the creatures that they bring to the children.  I am not sure that the starfish enjoyed itself as much though for after she gently stroked it and it didn’t do a lot she gave it a real poke in the middle.  We quickly moved on.

The journey back was tedious too and we were glad to be back home.  A day trip to Brighton is so much more exhausting with a toddler and next year we’ll have two!

After a lovely day with my wife and firstborn I was back at work and then the usual thing happened, that I was off at the weekend and Lucinda was working.  Therefore I was primary carer.  It was great fun though.  The weather was fantastic (peaking at 30°C) and so we could (with hat and suntan lotion) keep popping outside.  I cleaned off and re-inflated the paddling pool and we splashed in there during the relative cool of the morning, retiring to the house during the hot part of the day to play Play-Doh and drawing.

Éowyn is in a really fun stage where she is learning at a fantastic pace and is really picking up words (we have to watch what we say!) and stringing them together.  So it is fun to teach her new things like the colour of her pens and names of animals.  She likes to sing along to her nursery rhymes and do the actions.  Her particular favourites are “The wheels on the bus”, “Wind the bobbin up” (as if kids today know what a ‘bobbin’ is) and “Twinkle, twinkle little star”.  She is very good at the actions and loudly joins in with the “All day long” bit at the end of “The wheels on the bus”.

The weather has been fantastic, if a little too hot for me (mainly due to the lack of any air movement) but it has brought out bigger badder insects for the new decade.  We have had a number of wasps enter the house.  When I say wasps I mean more like flying rodents (with stings).  They are huge and have to be despatched quickly, for I don’t want them stinging Éowyn.  If the wasps are the front line, the sneaky night invaders are the mosquitoes.  The intense buzzing noise just as you are about to drop off to sleep must be one of the most irritating noises in the world.  A rolled up magazine quickly takes them down, hopefully before they have filled their stomachs with your blood.  This is a battle that is quite common in the village, especially since we live quite close to a stream, there is a little lake on our northern boundaries and we back on to the King George VI reservoir.  However the invaders for 2010 are bigger and smarter.  They must be close to an inch long and have stripes like a tiger, they get short shrift from my rolled up magazine though.  So be careful out there.

Before I leave you to enjoy the photos just a couple of special mentions.  The first is to Nanny Fran, who is recovering after having an operation on Monday to repair a ruptured patella tendon.  She was in and out quite quickly (no beds for an overnight stay!) but will take a couple of months to be back to match fitness.  And the second is to our friends Kirsty and Nick who have had their second child Jessica Valentine today (26th May 2010).  Congratulations from the Bagnalls!

Please enjoy the photos

Peace and love


A week off work

As the title suggests I have taken this past week off from work.  I had been working so hard in August that I barely saw anyone outside of mediahouse including my wife and child and it was time to right that injustice.  It has been a fabulous week spending time with the family and I have loved every moment of it but it has flown by too quickly but at least this site gives me an opportunity to ponder what we did and share it with you.  It seems that not only has the week vanished before our eyes but another month has flown by too, or indeed, should I say a year has flown by.  It is now September and Lucinda has now been on maternity leave for a whole year, although that will soon be at an end (see later for details).

We had had many thoughts on what to do with this week.  Nip down to Devon, travel up to the Lake District but it all involved money and far too long in the car, which kind of defeated the object of a relaxing week for me and time to catch up with the family.  It is hard to play with your daughter when you are driving down a motorway and it is difficult to catch up with your wife when you are arguing over directions.   So we decided that we would stay at home and take things nice and easy.

That was exactly what we did on Monday, however Tuesday promised to be one of the hottest days of the year (27°C) and so we decided to head down to Brighton for the day.  Éowyn loves the sea and we both enjoy a trip to Brighton so it seemed like the right thing to do.  We got down there fairly quickly (we had waited until after the rush hour so that, with any luck the M25/ M23 would be clear.  Thankfully it was, however you can never be sure with either of those motorways and for once the weatherman had correctly predicted the weather, it was a glorious day.  We strolled along the prom (prom, prom?), paddled in the sea, took a walk down the pier and ate fish ‘n’ chips: can you get any closer to a perfect quintessential British day trip to the seaside?  Before we left we headed via the studio shop of Sheila Marshall an artist that Lucinda has admired for a couple of years.  While on her hen-do Lucinda first saw Sheila’s paintings of cupcakes and sweets and decided that she wanted one.  It has taken her over 2 years but we headed back and Lucinda was determined that she wasn’t going to leave Brighton without something by her.

The first of Éowyn’s group of friends (OK, the children of the fellow parents from our NCT group) have just celebrated their first birthday and so the usual coffee morning was turned into a joint first birthday party for the group.  As I was off, I was allowed into this inner sanctum of motherhood on the pretence of ‘Official Photographer’ and so if you look on the Flickr pages (link in left hand column) there are a number of photos from the party.  I think that they all enjoyed themselves, although it wore them all out and all had either succumb to a nap or left the party completely shattered (some things will not change as they grow older!).

It was another momentous day on Thursday as we took Éowyn to Jo, who will hopefully be our childminder when Lucinda returns to work.  Éowyn seemed to enjoy herself, especially since there was a new box of toys to play with, including a drum (no she is not having one at home!).  She also seemed at ease with Jo, which bodes well for us.  Both myself and Lucinda like Jo and are very happy with how fate has guided us to her.  We now have to introduce Éowyn to Jo and gradually leave her with Jo so that she is fully happy to be there when mommy and daddy leave.

This leads nicely onto Lucinda’s work situation.  After, what seems like an age and a not too hopeful meeting with her boss she has been given job-share which is exactly what we were hoping for.  Her leave of absence has been granted until 21st October, so she gets an extra couple of weeks off and will see Éowyn’s first birthday without having to think too much about work.  This will mean that Lucinda will work 2 days on, then have 4 days off and with my shift pattern should hopefully mean that we will only need about 6 days worth of child-minding each month.  We realise how lucky we are, now we just have to work out a schedule of dropping her off and picking her up, but that will come.

Our other achievement for the week was to break a habit that we should have broke a while ago, namely rocking Éowyn to sleep.  It is just a habit that we have gotten into and never changed, so this work we made a concerted effort to break it and we have.  Now we just put her in her cot and leave her to settle herself.  It only takes between 10 and 20 minutes, which hopefully will get shorter as she gets used to it.  It is quite funny to watch her routine.  She picks each of her soft toys up, kind of gives them a hug and then throws them out of the cot.  Then after realising that standing up and crying doesn’t get the desired effect (i.e. mom or dad picking her up and cuddling her) she attempts to go to sleep.  Not sure if it is just me but on the rare times that I have difficulty dropping off to sleep I attempt various positions to see if that works and Éowyn does the same, however hers are more extreme!  I think that she covers every inch of the bed before she finally settles down, but she is learning a new skill and when she realises that it is easier just to fall asleep than to thrown yourself around the cot we might get easier bedtimes.

There are plenty of new photos on the Flickr site but here are a few of my favourites.

Peace and love