Ezra’s 2nd Birthday

No signs of triskaidekaphobia or indeed friggatriskaidekaphobia on Friday 13th March 2015, for this auspicious day saw our son celebrate his second birthday.  Ezra was born on the 13th March 2013 weighing 8lb 13oz, with all those 13’s there is no way he can be superstitious about that prime integer.   Not that at two years old he has any inkling of the nature of superstitions or indeed that it is even his birthday.  There is no doubt he will get used to the idea of having a birthday on a Friday 13th, indeed he only has to wait for 5 years and 2020 for it to happen again.

Unfortunately I was unable to take the day off work and both Éowyn and Amélie were at school, Ezra spent the majority of his birthday with his mum, but even his mum wasn’t able to spend the full day with him.  This is because she has an even more pressing arrangement: an invitation to Éowyn’s Mother’s Day concert at school.  Therefore while Lucinda spent an hour at a concert in her honour Nanny came to look after her youngest grandson.

We could not let Ezra’s day pass that easily though, could we?  So I left work early arriving back home at 16:00 just in time to look after Amélie and the birthday boy while Lucinda picked up Éowyn and her friend Billy from Spanish after school club.  Our neighbour’s boy, Blake, then joined us to make it a little more of a party atmosphere.  Yes, they were both ostensibly Éowyn’s friends but both are boys and they know Ezra very well and to be perfectly honest Ezra hasn’t really got any friends.

When you have you first child you join the local N.C.T. club and meet new parents in the same situation, forge friendships and the children naturally become friends.  Indeed Blake and Billy are children of friends that we met through our N.C.T. class.  This is not the case with the second child, although there some from our N.C.T. group have gone on to have a second child giving Amélie a ready-made friend, but it is certainly not the case with the third.  Thus Éowyn has had ready made friends since her birth, Amélie and, even more so, Ezra are going to have to go out into the big wide world and make their own friends.

Éowyn and the boys were a little hyper after a long week at school and so we had to mould that energy into games.  Lucinda had set up a treasure trail for them, with clues pointing to the ultimate prize.  With a bit of prompting they solved the clues and retrieved there Red-Nose Day related prizes.  Yes, not only was Friday 13th March 2015 Ezra’s second birthday it was the 30th anniversary Red-Nose Day, a day that saw them pass the £1,000,000,000 mark.

After a rest for a party meal musical statues and musical bumps were the next focus for their energy with more prizes, this time in the form of sweets and before you knew it Ezra’s party was over.  There was just time for him to blow out the 2-shaped candle on his birthday cake before bed and a well-earned rest for Mommy and Daddy.

It was not, however, Ezra’s only birthday party.  The weekend prior to his birthday, was an F.A. Cup weekend (although less said about West Bromwich Albion’s performance the better) and as such there was no Premier League football (not strictly true as there was one errant match that had been rescheduled to take advantage of both teams lack of interest in the F.A. Cup).  Usually this would mean a weekend off for me, however IMG doesn’t like me taking weekends off.  This weekend saw the start of our latest acquisition Major League Soccer.  Since this is the start of a contract and not really sure what we were going to get or exactly what we were doing with it, I went in to shepherd the first weekend.

Now for those of you for who the letters MLS or indeed Major League Soccer mean nothing, it is the United States version of the Premier League (although without being too unkind the standard is some way off the latter).  So with evening kick-offs on the West Coast of the United States this meant overnights for yours truly.  It has been a long time since I have done overnights and although in themselves it wasn’t too bad, I have felt jet-lagged ever since.

Nevertheless this did mean that although the day time was for sleeping, with three little ones this wasn’t going to happen that easily (although I did pretty well on the Saturday), we could do something during the day.  Therefore we invited Nanny Fran, Auntie Liz, Auntie Mary, Great Uncle Michael and Great Auntie Yvonne for a celebration of Ezra‘s birthday.

Lucinda’s mum and dad were away for the weekend in the Isle of Wight else we would have made a bigger event, although with hindsight the fact that I had only had 3 hours sleep did start to take its toll and so I was glad there were only 5 guests.

I think Ezra enjoyed being the centre of attention although being the 3rd sibling he wasn’t the centre of attention for that long.  His sisters hogged the limelight as much as they could.  However, they were not the one getting presents and since it was his party we let him open the presents that we given him.  He was very excited with his Peppa Pig Weeble set.  As mentioned previously it is his favourite programme (although he insists on calling it Georgie Pig) so having his own Peppa Pig characters that his sisters have to ask him to play with gives him a little more power.  He also received some more wooden track and a new train for his train set.  Now he can play choo-choos with a bigger tracks and even had points so he can have a second route.

With all the new, boy-related, toys that he received for his birthday the toys that he has taken to bed and played with the most was, somewhat predictably, the cheapest. While buying Ezra’s birthday present Lucinda saw the first edition of a collectible magazine set.  With all those collectible magazine sets, the first edition is 99p to entice you in.  This magazine set was aimed at young children and was about my favourite subject as a small child, dinosaurs.  With the first magazine you received an adult triceratops and a baby tyrannosaurus rex.  We thought he might like them but did not foresee the fact that he will not put them down and they would take precedence over his weeble George.

With the advent of Ezra’s second birthday comes the next health care check up.  When you have your first child you look in the books and the guidelines to make sure that your little one is meeting all the targets (or in Éowyn’s case exceeding them all), this becomes less important as the second and third come along.  Nevertheless when a letter comes from the doctors wanting you to make an appointment to check on your third child’s development you start to look at the list of targets and mentally tick them off.

Ezra is meeting and exceeding them all except the target number of words.  By a child’s second birthday they expect them to know 50 words.  When we received the letter we though about all the words that Ezra says and could not make it passed thirty.  Slightly concerned about this I jokingly said to Ezra that he needed to pull his finger out and start saying a few more words.  He has taken that chiding to heart and is seemingly coming out with a new word or two everyday and stringing them together.  We haven’t seen the health worker yet but Ezra now knows his fifty words and all is good.

Two days after Ezra’s birthday was Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday, whichever you prefer.  As usual it wasn’t much of a rest for Lucinda as I was at work but, as mentioned above, there was a celebration at Éowyn’s school on the Friday before (Friday 13th, Ezra’s birthday and Red-Nose day – what a busy day).  The Mother’s day concert started with songs sung by the children followed by cakes and cup of tea for all the mums.  Not exactly relaxing considering everything else that was going on, but it is the thought that counts.

I will leave other family related news to the next update and let Ezra have an update all of his own for his birthday (well, nearly all of his own).

Peace and Love




A visit from the Tooth Fairy

The trilogy is complete and the third update of the week lands at Baggie and Lucy dot com.  So after the epic write-up(s) of our family holiday to Tenby what could possibly have happened to warrant this update?

If you have not guessed from the title of this update the biggest news of the post-holiday period is that on Friday 6th June 2014 Éowyn lost her first tooth.  Yes, our oldest child has taken another step to remind us that they are only children fleetingly.  Unfortunately, this came as a bit of a shock to us and especially to Éowyn.   There was no warning, the tooth had not become wobbly, she was simply eating a corn on the cob and out it popped.  Therefore we were not mentally prepared for it (and hadn’t ever really spoken to Éowyn about it in any depth) and Éowyn certainly wasn’t mentally prepared for it.  I had not yet returned home from work and this probably made it worse, indeed she was inconsolable by Lucinda.

Éowyn always has been a daddy’s girl and whenever she is sad, or frightened or hurt it will always be me that she looks to for comfort.  With Lucinda unable to console her, I received a phone-call from Lucinda asking me to talk to Éowyn.  Therefore work was put to one side while I spoke to Éowyn.  Making her tell me what happened made her focus on talking instead of succumbing to hysterics and then I could ask her the important question: ‘Did she know what this meant?‘  Somewhat taken aback by a question, she thought about it for a while but couldn’t answer.  I replied that she would receive a visit from the tooth fairy, who would leave her shiny coins.  This perked her up, especially after I told her that she could spend those shiny coins on whatever she wanted, although I don’t think that she fully grasps the value of shiny coins and what she could purchase with them.  We also spoke about the fact that she was growing up and was a big girl.  By the end of the phone-call she had calmed down significantly and now was more concerned about what had happened to the tooth to ensure that she could put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy.

It seems that the current going rate for a first tooth is £2.  Unfortunately the tooth fairy did not have a two pound coin but did leave two shiny £1 coins (so shiny that it looked like that the had been cleaned with Cillit Bang!).  Éowyn was so excited the next morning when she woke to find the money and came running in to show me.  I asked her what she would like to use the money to buy.  ‘Can I buy two Kinder eggs?  One for me and one for Amélie?‘ How can you refuse that?

That Saturday was another big day.  As regular readers will know for various achievements both girls had been promised items from the Disney store and both had chosen Frozen related items.  Unfortunately the success of Frozen has not been reflected by the availability of the items in the stores and on the website.  So while we were on holiday we had charged Nanny Fran with a one week challenge to source an Elsa dress and doll for Éowyn and an Anna dress and doll for Amélie.  Nanny Fran is not one to shirk a challenge and came good on three of the four.  Only the Anna doll for Amélie had eluded her.  A stroke of fortune, however, meant that Lucinda found one in another store and so, at long last, we had a full complement to reward the girls.  Saturday was the first day that Nanny Fran and Auntie Liz had to come down and bring them.  As you can imagine the girls were beside themselves with excitement, both at the prospect of seeing Nanny Fran and their Aunties (for Auntie Mary was going to visit too), and the fact that they were going to receive their Frozen dresses and dolls.

You can imagine how excited they were when they opened their bags and took out their dresses.  They put them on immediately and after Daddy extracted the dolls from their respective boxes no other toys got a look in that day.  You will be happy to know that Ezra had not been left out.  When Nanny Fran had visited the Disney store there had been an offer on Muppet related merchandise, so Nanny Fran treated her Grandson to a Gonzo cuddly toy.  You can see from the photos below that not only were the girls were delighted with their presents Ezra was  quite happy with his.

Not that Ezra currently deserves a present.  That is perhaps a little harsh but the girls did receive theirs for their achievements while Ezra, though cute and an ideal baby from a sleeping point of view has not had any major achievements of late.  As he marks his 15th month he has not yet begun to walk.  His preferred method of locomotion is crawling but when that is an inconvenience (for instance when you are trying to run away with the TV remote control) he has resorted to ‘walking’ on his knees!  He will not even entertain the idea of walking and will not let you hold him up.  He will cruise along the furniture and even crawl to you and pull himself up on to his feet against your legs but he will not try to walk.

You may recall that Amélie was also a late developer when it came to walking, in complete contrast to Éowyn who was walking quite early.  Amélie, however, just decided one day to walk, getting up and completing a dozen paces or so; maybe Ezra will do that.  He has until the 4th July 2014 to beat his sister; we will watch this space.

He has, however, developed another habit, one that is not welcome.  He has turned into a bit of a biter.  It is obviously a developmental stage probably borne out of frustration and his inability to communicate or control his emotions.  They are not play bites though and his teeth are sharp.  He has left marks on both girls and myself and Lucinda.  It is a difficult one to deal with as he is a little young for the thinking step, but a firm ‘No’ and then if he persists to try and ignore him is our current strategy.  He is a little strange at times though, for if he is frustrated and he can not get hold of you to bite you he will bite himself.  You almost feel that it is better for him to bite you than hurt himself.  Hopefully this is just a phase that he will grow out of soon before he causes someone real damage.

There is one more first that I need to get you across before I leave you and that is Éowyn’s first Sports Day.  Yes, it is that time of year that schools up and down the country hold their annual sports day.  Éowyn’s class had been in training since their returned from half term and I regularly asked Éowyn how she was getting on.  Knowing that she is not the fastest (we Bagnalls are not build for speed) I was trying to cushion her from potential upset, explaining that as long as she did her best, then that is what matters.  It seems however, that the teachers had already wheeled out the perennial classic: ‘It is not the winning but the taking part‘.

Chatting with Éowyn, she seemed quite content with her ability and that she wasn’t the fastest runner, however she did say that she had come second in the obstacle race.  Therefore, on the way to Sports Day I thought I would give him some fatherly encouragement and told her that the obstacle race was the race for intellectuals.  Anyone can run in a straight line but running and negotiating puzzles takes a special person with special abilities.

The Sports Day was a big event with the day divided between the lower school (Nursery to Year 2) in the morning and the upper school (Year 3 to Year 6) in the afternoon.  Each year had three races so you can see why it took best part of half a day to complete all races.  The three races were a straight sprint, the aforementioned obstacle race and a relay race.

As suspected Éowyn did not perform very well in the straight sprint.  This was due in part to the fact that she is not a particularly fast runner and partly because she was not concentrating at the start of the race and had given the other children a five yard head start.  She was also slow at the start of the obstacle race.  The obstacle race is not about top speed though and she soon caught up and her princess training obviously paid dividends for she came out of the ‘balancing a bean bag on your head’ stage in the lead.  She increased that lead in the ‘pass a hula hoop over your body’ stage and so by the time she came to the slalom run she had a healthy lead and wasn’t caught.  Yes, Éowyn won a race and was so proud, as indeed were we.

We thought that she may have won a second winner’s sticker (no medals here, just stickers) in the relay.  Her team were winning with only a few legs to go.  Éowyn was running the antepenultimate leg but the boy who was running the leg before her (the preantepenultimate?) had a bit of an incident.  Half way down the track his trainer came off.  He never noticed until he was about 5 yards before the hand over, however instead of carrying on sans trainer he turned and ran back to retrieve the offending footwear, then sat down and put it back on (which took a while) before completing his leg.  In the mean time the other teams had completed a couple of legs and poor Éowyn was running against no one (as were the last two in her team).  It was quite funny to watch and Éowyn didn’t seem particularly upset by it.  It is just a shame that I wasn’t filming it, may have been worth £250 from ‘You’ve been framed!’

So, it has been another eventful week in this enclave of the Bagnall family and I leave you with this interesting fact:  today is Friday 13th June 2014 and it is a full moon.  So if you are selenophobic or friggatriskaidekaphobic you may want to stay in bed.  However I do beg you to bear in mind that this is the first time that this combination of superstitions has occurred since Friday 13th October 2000 and you will have to wait until Friday 13th August 2049 for the next one.  So when you look up at this year’s Honey Moon (June’s full moon has several names including the Strawberry Moon and the Rose Moon as well as the Honey Moon) appreciate this heavenly occurrence for you will not see it for another 35 years and 2 months.

Peace and Love



Bagnalls abroad

I was doing so well with updating this website and then May befell this corner of the internet.  Regular readers may be wondering what has happened, ‘has he got bored?’; ‘has he run out of gas?’ or ‘has nothing happened?’.  Quite the contrary my dear readers, we have been away, on holiday, vacating (if that is a word).  The football seasons have finished, live programming is slowing (not quite gone away but definitely reducing) and so we decided to take advantage of this hiatus in my busy work life and head off for the sun as a family. 

We only booked the holiday last month (Friday the 13th for any of you friggatriskaidekaphobics among you) and were due to fly out on Lucinda’s birthday from Gatwick airport.  We upgraded to more sociable flight times (0730 instead of 0430) but still decided to book a hotel near Gatwick just to avoid unnecessary fuss on the morning, it is hard enough to get yourself packed a ready that early in a morning without the additional hassle of attempting to get two sleepy youngsters ready too!  So with suitcase packed and Lucinda’s presents and cards packed we headed to Gatwick on the Thursday night bound for Tenerife the next morning.

In the build up to our holiday the weather in the UK had been atrocious: the wettest April since records began, night frosts in May (Snow in Scotland and in parts of the Midlands!) and generally cold, dark, damp days.  So, with the magic of the internet at our fingertips, we searched for long range weather forecasts for Tenerife.  Tenerife, (for those of you that don’t know is the largest of the Canary islands – more geography later) and the Canary islands as a whole, were experiencing a heatwave at the beginning of May with temperatures of around 40°C (104°F in old money) but the long range forecasts that we could find were predicting thunderstorms and rain for the majority of our holiday.  ‘Just our luck’ we thought and we became a little despondent.  We have a knack of taking the rain with us on holiday (Barbados, Italy, Kent), which is good in some ways as we are both fair skinned and easily burn but wet and windy weather is not conducive to a happy holiday, especially with two little ones (then again neither would 40°C temperatures either).

This was also going to be Amélie’s first flight (and only Éowyn’s third!) beating her sister by exactly a week for the bragging rights of who was first to fly (although both flew as foetuses) by virtue of being 598 days old as opposed to Éowyn’s 605.  So it was with a little trepidation that we headed off to the airport at Oh my god it is early o’clock.  Just what you want on your birthday.  We checked in and went through security and on to the plane pretty painlessly (without any of the trips to the toilet that accompanied Éowyn’s first flight!).  It was a full flight with very little leg room on our chartered 737, however with Éowyn now requiring a seat of her own it was nice that we had a row of three seats to ourselves.  Both girls were excellent on the plane especially considering it is a long flight (4 hours 20 minutes on the way there) without any onboard entertainment (thank Steve Jobs for the iPad!).  With a certain amount of counterintuitiveness (is that a word?) we actually think that a longer haul flight maybe easy purely down to the fact that the children can be entertained for hours with a film or cartoons on a small seat mounted screen.  Hopefully we will test this theory soon.

An hour coach journey greeted us on arrival in Tenerife, as did 22°C and overcast skies.  It is Lucinda and my first experience with a package holiday (usually we book everything separately and hope for the best) and it does take the worry out of many things.  You literally arrive at the airport and follow the signs, however it does mean that a big group of you all arrive at the hotel at the same time and so at the end of an exhausting trip it takes another 40 minutes or so before you get to the front of the check-in queue and finally get the keycard to your apartment, all the time while attempting to keep two children in view (extremely difficult when they run in opposite directions – imagine herding cats).  The other benefit of a package holiday is that you have a rep who can help sort out issues and we called upon our rep almost immediately.  Check-in was relatively painless until we tried to confirm that there was a cot (for Amélie in the room).  There was no cot and there were no cots available until tomorrow.  Not what you want to hear after 12 hours of journeying.  Thankfully that problem was handed over to the rep and by 1800 we had a cot in our room in plenty of time for Amélie’s bedtime.

Before we even arrived in Tenerife there were two things that I wanted to do while we were there: a) visit Loro Parque and b) visit Mount Teide.  We only had a week so two big trips were all that we thought we could reasonably manage and still have time to relax.  So the next morning we booked the trips via the reps and again decided to embrace this package lark rather than hire a car (and car seats) and head off under our own steam as we would usually do. 

We also checked out the kids club and the crèche, so that Mum and Dad could have a little me time too!  Unfortunately I think this was one of the few disappointments on the holiday.  Éowyn loved the idea of going to Kids club (or holiday school as she called it) but had a bad experience on her first day when one of the boys screwed up her drawing (which was bad enough) but that was compounded by one of the adults in charge dismissing the importance of that to Éowyn by merely giving her another piece of paper and throwing her screwed up drawing in the bin. We only managed to convince her to go once more (I had to stay with her for 25 minutes before she felt settled) and although she seemed to enjoy it, she didn’t want to go again. 

Amélie was the same.  The crèche was not free and we had decided to pre-book 3 sessions when we booked the holiday as it was cheaper to do so.  However, when we arrived there just because you had booked didn’t mean that there was a space available for you.  Spaces at the crèche were limited to only 6 (which is good) but these got booked up very quickly and the time slots didn’t seem to marry with the hours we had booked and were thus owed.  We had booked 3 two hour sessions but the timeslots available were either one hour or 90 minutes and trying to juggle when Amélie could actually go with the hours we were owned got very complicated.  Nevertheless we managed to book the correct number of slots for the hours we were owed and all seemed hunky-dory.  However Amélie had other ideas and did not want to go to the crèche.  This is not like her at all. Éowyn is often shy and takes a while to accept new surroundings, Amélie just charges straight in there and settles herself in without a care.  Not this time.  Maybe because we were in a strange place and then she was being left in a strange place but there were tears everytime we left her, which was not pleasant.

Éowyn did however make one friend by the pool and girl of about the same age as herself called Brooke.  She constantly looked out for her and was so excited whenever she saw her whether that was by the pool or in the restaurant, but unfortunately they didn’t get to play with each other everyday because of trips that we had both booked.

We booked two trips while we were in Tenerife and the first was on the Monday and at 0740 we headed out on a coach to Loro Parque.  Loro in Spanish means parrot and that is how Loro Parque was initially conceived as a reserve for parrots but it now has a diverse number of animals (and plants – the orchids particularly interested Lucinda) and is probably the biggest attraction in the whole of the Canary Islands.  The zoo still has the most diverse collection of parrots in the world (not the most as a Mr. Antonio de Dios of Birds International in the Phillippines has the largest collection of parrots in the world – over 10,000) but also has chimpanzees, gorillas, tigers, jaguars, sea lions, dolphins (the largest dolphin show pool in Europe) and is only the second place in Europe to have orcas (killer whales to you and me).  It has the longest shark tunnel in Europe and the world’s largest indoor penguin exhibition.  Loro Parque has set up a foundation and most of its profits go back into conservation projects.  Have I sold it to you yet? 

The zoo is wonderfully laid out but the main attractions are the shows.  We only managed to see the sea lion, dolphin and orca shows (we missed the parrot show) but thoroughly enjoyed them all and the only disappointment of the whole day was the fact that the penguin exhibit is being expanded and so was closed.  There was a small enclosure with some Humboldt penguins in but that was it.  Damn you Loro Parque we will now have to come back and visit you again!  There are plenty of photos on the Flickr page if you are interested.

Our other organised day out was to visit Mount Teide.  The Canary Islands are volcanic in origin and lie off the west coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.  Tenerife is the biggest of the islands and is dominated by the volcano Mount Teide, the highest point in all of Spain (in fact it is the World’s third largest volcano after Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on Hawaii’s Big island).  The area around Mount Teide has been given national park status and is a World Heritage Site.  Teide is currently dormant (which is good) and last erupted in 1909 however the area around the volcano is bleak and mostly barren giving it an appearance similar to many of the planets that Captain Kirk visited and either ended up fighting or falling in love with an alien that dwelt there.  The only strange being that we saw was a man dressed up like one of the original inhabitants of Tenerife, the Guanches.

The trip was entitled ‘A Jeep Safari’ and so in convoy we headed with other tourists around the national park stopping at various sites to get a close up look of the terrain.  This included walking through a lava tube and through the pine forest that surrounds the caldera.  Unfortunately we didn’t go to the summit of Mount Teide (in fact we didn’t ascend the final 5,000 feet!).  The road ends at 7,730 feet and from there the quickest way to up the volcano is via cable car, however unless you arrive particularly early the queues for the ride can be four hours long!  But even the cable car itself doesn’t go to the top the final 660 feet requires special permission the park office in Santa Cruz and it is limited to a maximum of 150 per day.  There is a 6 hour hike that would have avoided the queues for the cable car but we decided to be content with the view from the road.

Before we returned to the hotel we stopped for lunch at the camel park where there was a camel ride included as part of the trip.  Health and safety hasn’t really arrived in Tenerife and the Bagnalls sat precariously either side of a seesaw-like bench strapped between the camel’s humps with only a small strap to stop you falling the 8 feet or so to the gravel below.  Lucinda sat with Amélie on her lap and I sat with Éowyn on mine both holding onto the camel with one hand and our wards with the other.  It seemed a very long 20 minutes!

Our only other excursions were the half kilometre trip down to the beach.  Down being the operative word as the hotel was up quite a steep slope from the beach, which was an effort on the way down and an even greater effort on the way back up.  Being a volcanic island the sand is black volcanic sand and heats up extremely well, it is highly recommended to wear flip flops or sandals and it is rather hot under foot.

The hotel was excellent and being all inclusive took away the worry of a) finding somwhere to eat b) finding something for the kids to eat.  This is only the third time Lucinda and I have been all-inclusive and we have to say that this was by far the best for choice and quality of food (and wine and beer).  So much so we have both put on half a stone (7lbs/ 3 kgs) in the week we were away – ah well, back on the diet!  The weather, too, was kind without so much as a hint of rain.  The hottest it peaked was 33°C but was mainly in the mid to late 20’s which is perfect for us and apart from being overcast on the first couple of days it was blue skies all the way.

So, as you can probably tell, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and our only regret was that we didn’t book 10 days!  But this is turning into an epic (I think it is the longest entry I have made thus far) so I will stop there and for those of you that haven’t fallen asleep I have included a few of the 1,000 or so photos that we took, there are many more on the flickr site.

Peace and Love