Welcome to 2014

As we teeter on the edge of (OK, toppled headlong into) a new year (a new year that will see Lucinda and I celebrate a decade together) it is traditional to look back on the year just gone and look forward to the next.  What a year 2013 has been!  Probably the single most eventful year we have known as a family.  Yes, other years have had big events: births, deaths, marriages, holidays, big birthdays, house moves and new jobs but this year has definitely has had them all (apart from the new jobs! – although work did relocate; does that count?)

At the start of 2013 I made some predictions of what we were expecting to look forward to this year and it was already looking busy; not only did they all come to fruition, fate threw a few more in for good measure.  Hence why this site has seen a record-breaking number of updates and a record number of visits, well I do have to keep you all informed don’t I?  And seemingly you are interested.  Or is it just the photos?

So what were the big events of 2013 and what have we learnt?

Obviously the biggest event of the Bagnall year was the birth of our third child and first son.  Ezra John (named after his Grandfathers) was born a week before my 40th birthday.  Now whether it is because he is a boy; or whether it is because he is a third child or whether simply it is because every child is different but he seems to be far more relaxed than either of his sisters.  Amélie had an excuse with her Milk Protein intolerance and we probably spoilt Éowyn, especially initially as we were learning to be parents (and still are!), but he has been the easiest to get to sleep, he cries the least and apart from an aversion to lumpy food has not shown any dislike to his meals.  And although it is a new skill for Lucinda and I to master, juggling the needs of three children, the most important detail is that all three of them are healthy.  Even Amélie’s milk protein intolerance has seemingly lessened.

So with three children our home in Stanwell Moor finally felt a little on the small side.  Thus we decided to make the tough decision to leave the moor, the village that Lucinda has lived all her life!  It did not take us too long to find a house that we both liked.  However the course of house buying ne’er runs smooth.  So let me give you a précis:

Found house made offer – offer rejected; Vendors found house so offered house at a lower price if we could proceed – we can’t proceed as we had no buyer;  We found buyers but so did our vendors and their new buyers offered more that we could afford – we proceeded with our sale; The new buyers chain began to fail so we offered an improved offer (though lower than the other buyers) – the vendors decided to proceed with us.

So far so good – then the twist began.  The government formed an Airports Commission to look into the requirements for expanding capacity at the UK airports and invited proposals from interested parties.  BAA operate Heathrow Airport and one (two) of their three (four) proposals for the expansion of the UK’s busiest airports involved the building of a third (fourth) runway over the village of Stanwell Moor.  This puts a bit of a dampener over the future of a new home and hence our buyers pulled out.

This left us with a dilemma: go back to square one, find a new buyer that didn’t care that their house may not be there in the near future or find a third alternative.  The third alternative was found and now we are the proud owners of a new house and landlords (with tenants!) of our old house.  That certainly wasn’t the plan at the start of 2013 but as we enter 2014 that is where we are.  Will we still be there in 2015?  More than probably, indeed we plan to be in our current abode until we retire and move to the seaside!

Both of those changes to Bagnall family life eclipse the other differences the year has brought: a new car (our 7 seater Ford S-Max) and a new place of work (same company just different premises).

It has been a very important year in the life of our oldest child.  Éowyn not only had the upheaval of moving home (and we kept both Éowyn and Amélie across the notion of moving from the onset including taking them around the house and asking if they liked it and which room they would like as their bedroom) but she also started full-time education.  It was confirmed in mid-april that Éowyn would be going to our first choice school, a decision that was fraught with conflicting emotions.  On one hand, it is a well equipped school, with a new head with lots of new ideas and has had a recent injection of cash; on the other it has a bad reputation and is now far from our new home.

The decision has been made and although we and not too obstinate that we would not consider moving Éowyn at the moment she is loving school.  She loves her teacher Miss Finbow, she has a new best friend and most important of all she is learning.  Her reading and writing is coming along in leaps and bounds and we, as parents, are actively encouraged to help as she gets homework twice a week.

2013 was a big year in Amélie’s development too.  Amélie started pre-school at a private nursery on the grounds of Éowyn’s school (makes dropping off so much easier – and a consideration if we are ever to move schools).  After a bumpy start and lots of tears (Éowyn was the same if you recall) she now runs down the path to school and sometimes forgets to give her dad a kiss before running into the classroom.  It is comforting to know that both of our children enjoy their respective places of education especially with Lucinda returning to work.  We just need to find somewhere for Ezra to spend those days.

2013 also reminded us of the circle of life.  At the beginning of the year we welcomed Ezra into our family and at the end of the year we said goodbye to my Nan.  She was the last of her generation and although she had been ill for a long time her passing was still a shock and obviously upsetting.  The comfort that we have is that she met her first Great-Grandson, that her close family were there in her final hours and her suffering is no more.  She has left us some great memories, more than a handful of quirks and a wardrobe of knitted jumpers!  Sleep well Nan.

One prediction that disappointingly didn’t come to pass was comet ISON.  Even in the days leading up to its perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) we were hoping for a spectacular astronomical display with possibly the brightest comet for a generation.  Unfortunately like an empyrean Icarus it flew too close to the sun and was destroyed and thus became possibly the only disappointment that 2013 brought.

So, all things considered, 2013 was a good year that brought many changes to this enclave of the Bagnall name.  (And I didn’t even mention the fact that both Lucinda and I celebrated our 40th birthdays!)  Hopefully after such a busy year you will find it in your hearts to forgive us if we hope for a quieter 2014.  Life will change to a new pattern in April when Lucinda returns to work but whatever else happens will be a surprise since the only other plan we have is to finally unpack all our boxes and settle into our new home.  I leave you with this toast to the coming year:

Here’s to the bright New Year
And a fond farewell to the old;
Here’s to the things that are yet to come
And to the memories that we hold.

Peace and Love


PS If you are into your geeky stats then this page is for you (click here).  Also, I have updated a few things in the background which shouldn’t affect you, my dear readers, but you will notice a couple of new widgets in the sidebar to the right.  So in addition to seeing the last three update titles and the current favourites there is a form to subscribe to the website so that you will receive an e-mail whenever there is an update.

The Bagnall Family - Christmas Tree Decoration
The Bagnall Family – Christmas Tree Decoration

Sleeping’s for wimps!

Welcome to the first post-paternity leave update.  Yes, I am back in the adult word with responsibilities to my employers as well as to the family.  So as many of you are taking time off at Easter to be with your families I am somewhat contradictorily returning from time off work.  Perhaps Ezra has sensed this change in circumstances for he, too has decided to change his circumstances.  For the first two weeks of his life he was unbelievable as a baby.  He would feed and then sleep.  Wake when he was hungry, maybe cry a little and then feed and go back to sleep.  Obviously there would be the regular effect of all that food and he certainly doesn’t like his nappy changed with his bits all on show.  However apart from that he was an almost ideal baby.  Then it changed.

For a week he didn’t sleep.  He fed, he cried and he pooped and that was all he did for nearly a week.  I think if it wasn’t for Nanny Fran Lucinda definitely, and me, probably, would have been in a complete state since I was trying to get back in the working mentality and Lucinda would have had both girls and Ezra to look after on mere snatches of sleep.  Not conducive to keep yourself compos mentis or to be in charge of small children.

So what caused Ezra’s sleepless nights?  It is hard to track down.  He wasn’t ill.  It went on a little too long to be something that Lucinda had eaten.  We are putting it down to a development leap, he was possibly becoming more aware of his surroundings and so his brain was trying to process all this new information.  According to the Wonder Weeks website this was a little too early but if we ignore this little oversight then it seems to tie in quite well.  One thought that did pass through our heads was whether he was developing Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance like his sister.  Therefore we decided that we would take him to get him weighed at the next clinic to ensure he was putting on weight at the expecting rate.

While we were struggling with Ezra alone where were Éowyn and Amélie?  There were 120 miles north-west in West Bromwich at Nanny Fran’s.  Yes, Nanny Fran had offered to look after the girls for the first week of the Easter holidays and we jumped at the offer.  This would tie in with my first week back at work and so, the theory went, Lucinda could get into a routine with Ezra alone before trying to get into a routine with all three children.  As you can guess that idea didn’t quite go to plan but nevertheless was very convenient.

We drove up to West Bromwich in the S-Max, its first proper outing and the first time that we could use the in-car DVD in anger.  Ezra was very good in the car (as were Éowyn and Amélie) and we soon arrived at Nanny Fran’s.  As I have mentioned before Éowyn and Amélie love to go to Nanny Fran’s and this time was no different, they were very excited for nearly a week before the journey.  I am sure that Ezra will be no different when he grows up.  Indeed he realised that he was somewhere different and you could see him looking around and trying to make some sense of the new place.  As a baby’s eyesight isn’t that great it is possible that it is new smells that he is reacting to but whatever it was he definitely knew he was somewhere different and he was quite happy to be there.

This was Ezra’s first trip to West Bromwich, in fairness it was his first proper journey of any note.  News of his trip spread and even though we were only there for a few hours he had a number of visitors who came over to see him.  He also made a visit to his Great-Grandma.  It was the day after her 90th birthday and so there was a double reason to visit.  Great-Grandma managed to have an extended cuddle with her first Great-Grandson and Ezra was very good just lying there in her arms relaxed in his oldest relative’s embrace.

After a meal and a couple more visitors Lucinda and I then headed back home leaving our oldest children with Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz.  So while Lucinda was struggling with no sleep and I was struggling with very little sleep and getting back into work, what did Éowyn and Amélie get up to?

If you ask Éowyn then the answer would be nothing.  It is always nothing as I have mentioned before, but the photos paint a different story.   Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz spoilt them rotten (as a Nan and Auntie should).  They went to a couple of soft play areas, the West Midlands Safari Park and Auntie Liz took Éowyn to the cinema to see her first 3D film (Finding Nemo).

They were both very well behaved (well they were at Nanny Fran’s so they had no choice!) and came back with some goodies and had but one question:  When could they go back to Nanny Frans.

So before I leave you (with a good selection of photos) is Ezra Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerant?  While I took Éowyn to the cinema to see her second film of the week (The Croods – in 2D, none of that 3D nonsense for me) Lucinda went to find out.  Well if his current weight gain is anything to go by, no!  Tuesday morning is the Baby Weigh-in clinic and so Lucinda (and Amélie) took Ezra for the first time.  His last weigh-in was two weeks ago and so we were quite interested to find out how much he had put on.  We were not prepared for the answer.  The little bruiser now weighs 4.97kg (10lb 15oz).  He has put on over two pounds (just short of a kilogram) in less than 4 weeks and now sits on the 91st centile.  That’s my boy!

Please enjoy the photos below and don’t forget the photos on Flickr

Peace and love




So my resolution to keep updating this website regularly is still falling by the wayside.  No real reason but life is busy at the moment and these updates have the lowest priority.  We have two young children and we are trying to prepare the house for a third, so ‘computer time’ is at a premium.  You may, therefore, expect this update to be full of witty anecdotes and amazing adventures.  You maybe disappointed.  Indeed this is probably one of the shortish write-ups for many a long month, however I am attempting to write two updates in a week so please forgive me.

The girls have been, on the whole, fairly well behaved lately (hopefully that hasn’t put the collybosh on that!) and both have continued to sleep through the night which is probably going to make the return to sleepless nights, that no doubt will arrive with Baguette number three, so much harder.  However they both still have their moments.

Éowyn is growing up fast (and so too is Amélie) and she is certainly becoming more worldly wise and, obviously the way you do that is by asking questions.  Unfortunately she has entered the phase where the question is ‘Why?‘.  I am sure all parents have children that have gone through that phase and I am sure all children start with the first ‘why?’ in an earnest quest to understand the problem at hand.  However the next 7 ‘whys?’ are just there to see how far they can push their parents.  And so it is with Éowyn.  I like to pride myself on knowing a fair bit about a wide spectrum of topics and so I am slightly guilty of encouraging ‘why?’.  I try to answer each why with a sensible and honest answer.  However, there are more ‘whys?’ then answers and after the seventh ‘why?’ I begin to run short of replies.

Not only is Éowyn growing up cerebrally but also physically. She insisted on being measured a week or so ago and so with tape measure in hand I got her to stand up against the wall to measure her: 115cm (3 feet 9 inches) which is, for those of you in the know, slap bang on the 99.6th centile line.  To put it another way there will very few 4 year old girls that are taller than her.  We didn’t manage to measure Amélie but I wouldn’t have thought that she was far behind.  She is nearly as tall as one of Éowyn’s friends (two years older than Amélie) and taller than a friend’s daughter who is a year older than Amélie.

Éowyn, however, does have a delicate constitution.  One of her friends (name withheld to protect the innocent) came to dinner after school and thought it was hilarious to burp.  Éowyn politely asked her to stop belching which for a four year old was like pouring petrol on a fire and so she continued louder than before.  Éowyn then pleaded saying that it was making her feel sick.  The burping continued and so Éowyn completed her side of the bargain and vomited in the kitchen.  A one-off you may think.  Not so.  A couple of days later the Éowyn and Amélie were sharing their nightly bath when Amélie’s milk protein intolerance made its presence felt on her digestive system and she passed wind.  ‘Mum!Éowyn shouted, ‘Amélie’s farted, and it’s disgusting!‘  Lucinda obviously found this extremely amusing but then the humour changed. ‘Mum!  It stinks! It’s making me feel sick!‘  Remembering the previous incident Lucinda tried to react but not quick enough and Éowyn vomited in the bath.  Not quite as funny now.

So as you may have guessed Amélie still has milk protein intolerance.  However, it does not seem as bad as it was and we are gradually introducing her to more and more foods with cow’s milk protein.  Unfortunately, every now and then she has a bit too much and it leaves her with an upset stomach and noxious flatulence are the usual results.  Poor girl, I hope she continues to grow out of it.

Amélie is a a cutey and more of a girlie-girl than her big sister.  After playing with her older cousins she has developed a liking for nail varnish.  Not that we endorse it as such and we try and keep her away from Lucinda’s collection.  Unfortunately that isn’t always possible and I came downstairs last week to Amélie greeting me with outstretched fingers.  ‘Look Daddy, I have pretty nails.‘  From her second knuckle down her fingers were purple, the tabletop was purple and there was a stench of nail varnish in the air.  Fortunately it was nowhere else and was still wet and so could be cleaned up with relative ease.  The nail varnish is now under lock and key!

Lucinda’s bump is still growing (2cm bigger than average) and our son is a little wiggler.  I don’t think he gives Lucinda much rest and I hope that this isn’t the pattern that is going to continue into his first few months of life.  He doesn’t like his environment being restrained at all.  If Lucinda puts anything on her bump, he will kick it off.  If you put your hand on her bump he will give you a good kick.  We have encouraged the girls to touch Lucinda’s bump and Amélie will kiss the bump while Éowyn will put her hand on the bump.  When she receives the obligatory kick she doesn’t get upset, she just says that is him saying hello.  Which is a nice way of thinking about it.

So the countdown enters it’s final phase and still Lucinda’s bag is not packed and the house feels far from ready to accept a fifth inhabitant, so I will leave you here (with a very poor number of photos) and get on with the list of tasks that I have been given.

Peace and Love