Monday, 31 December 2007

Alex's first Christmas!

Firstly, apologies for not posting about Christmas until now, New Years Eve! We have had an exciting week with various visits to relatives hence the lack of posting. Alex's first Christmas was really exciting...he didn't really understand what was going on, although by yesterday he had finally got the idea about unwrapping presents...well sort of!A Christmas photo of the three of us

Christmas day saw us having a family breakfast in our own home and then piling things into the car and driving across the city to my sister-in-law's (Fay's) house, where she and her fiance Rich hosted the celebrations for the whole family...8 adults and 3 children (aged 4, 18 months, and 8 months). Rich cooked a traditional Christmas dinner for the first time, and his Mum was so concerned about this that she provided enough cakes, pies, tarts etc to sink a battleship...we all went home armed with a tin of food! The dinner was great with everyone enjoying the chats, food, laughter and general silliness associated with family times. My home made crackers went down a treat and were a great success.
Granny and Grandpa Pete enjoy Christmas lunch
Everyone sharing Christmas dinner fun and silliness
Look Daddy, I have a hat and a cracker!
Alex and his cousin Tom (18 months) share a moment of reflection

Presents were opened after dinner, and Alex really didn't know what to make of it all. He sat there with one strip of wrapping paper torn off a present for ages just looking. In the end we unwrapped his presents for him and he had fun rolling on the floor and crawling round with the two dogs and watching his cousins playing. Christmas is so special with children around...they get so excited and have so much fun. They played with wrapping paper, bubbles, some of Alex's toys, jumping off the stairs, dancing to a musical toy as well as generally bouncing on the adults. All in all it was a great day and lovely to see the cousins all playing together, especially now that Alex is going forwards (commando crawling!).
It is hard work opening a present!
Wrapping paper provides endless fun for Tom

Tom, Alex and Sam played happily on the floor together
Cuddles with Granny!

Boxing day was a peaceful day at home as we exchanged our presents for each other and Alex. Alex loved his big plastic activity centre and I just loved Tim's present of an Alcohol ink set to play with, complete with applicator, spare pads, silver and gold mixatives, 9 inks and a blending solution. The rest of the day was spent experimenting with the inks (with a mixed degree of success) and watching Alex play with his new toys. Sadly Tim wasn't very well, but he still managed to have some fun with his computer and we enjoyed a Chinese meal and a movie in the evening.First attempt with Alcohol inks and gold mixative...this didn't work too well as the gold came off on the stamp rather than the ink stamping onto the gold
A successful background which also contains a subtle gold wash...I haven't tried stamping on this yet.An attempt at putting colours exactly where I needed them for a scenic stamp....I am quite pleased with how this worked.

Thursday 27th December saw Alex and I driving down to Somerset to see my family. The original plan was for all three of us to go, but sadly Tim wasn't well enough to travel so Alex and I went on our own. It was a long way and after about three hours of travel Alex started to get fed up, but in general the journey wasn't too bad and we arrived at 3pm. We did an exchange of presents for the two babies (Alex and Daniel) in the afternoon and then I gave my home made presents to everyone and they all seemed to love them which was good. Alex loved his stacking rings from Gran (his Great-Gran), his book from my parents and his train set from his Uncle and Aunt! It was fun seeing Alex interacting with all the family and 'playing' with Daniel. My brother took a classic set of photos which shows Alex playing with a toy then Daniel reaching over and grabbing that toy and Alex looking bewildered!
Auntie Nel and cousin Daniel
Alex sharing giggles with Uncle Andrew

After the little ones had gone to bed we had our Christmas dinner (Roast beef with the full works followed by Christmas pud and mince-pies - very yummy!) and had a lovely chat with everyone. It was lovely to have all of my family there, including Gran and Great-Auntie Jean (known as Auntie), although it was a shame that Tim wasn't there.
Auntie Jean, Nel and Mother enjoying their Roast BeefAndy and Gran share a moment of chat
Dad, Auntie Jean and Nel round the dinner table

Friday (28th Dec) morning was hillarious as both babies were awake by 7am and were given to Grandma to play with in bed, while Grandpa tried to sleep beside them! I just love the various photos of that occasion. The aim was to go for a nice long walk during the day but the weather was revolting so we ended up inside sorting out some of the old toys and books from when Andy and I were little, doing a jigsaw and playing with the little ones.
Grandpa asleep in bed while Alex and Daniel play with Grandma
Sharing Grandma's lap
After breakfast and the over 80s share a moment with the under 1s!
Sharing a toy between two. Daniel definitely had the advantage as he can sit up and get two hands on the job!

Both evenings we were in Somerset we decided that Alex and Daniel could share a bath and that was the greatest of fun. Alex just loves to splash with his hands, his latest bath time trick and Daniel kept trying to grab Alex's feet causing much hilarity all round.
Alex playing on Mummy's bed before his bath
Splish, Splash what fun we are having in the bath together

Andy, Nel and Daniel left at 9am on Saturday leaving Alex and I to spend some quality time with my Mother, Father and Gran. As it was sunny we went out for a walk down the lanes trying out the new pushchair (our Christmas present from them!). We set off back to Sheffield after an early lunch. The journey was long (an accident on the M5 slowed things down) and loud as Alex had one snooze during the traffic jam, but refused to sleep later on when he was tired and just screamed for about 30 minutes until he finally fell asleep. It was lovely to get home and see Tim...Alex was so excited to see him!
Alex out for a walk with his Great-Gran

Yesterday I came down with a horrible stomach bug and felt pretty rotten for most of the day so really didn't do very much, except open a couple more presents with Alex who got very giggly over the wrapping paper. I also built Alex's garage (a Christmas present from Granny and Grandpa Pete) which he loves, and extracted the big red bus from the ridiculous amounts of packaging. The bus was a present from Andy and Nel and Alex really likes the various bricks to put in it as they rattle nicely.
Today I am still feeling under the weather and so have spent a gentle day playing with Alex and tidying my crafting things and my desk. Even the tray on my desk is more organised and I now have just three items left to sort before filing away properly. This means I can start the New Year as I hope to continue...with a crafting session tomorrow morning!
I hope you all enjoy celebrations tonight and Happy New Year for tomorrow. More soon,

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas preparations

Well, Christmas is finally upon us. After a frantic couple of days wrapping presents, washing, cleaning and cooking we are ready for Christmas, just!! We went to our first Nativity service with Alex yesterday, at St Thomas Crookes, Sheffield and it was wonderful. It was an under fives nativity and he was a sheep with this very cute hat on. He was beautifully behaved in church either sitting on our laps or crawling on the floor, only being noisey when the carols were being sung as though he was trying to join in. He was absolutely fascinated by all the other children and everything that was going on, watching with wide eyes and big grins all round. It was so lovely to go back to church again after so long.
Today, Christmas Eve, felt really strange as for the first time since we got married we were not travelling away somewhere. It was nice to be at home, but it almost felt like any other day...which is not what I am used to. However, Alex and I went to the Carols Round the Crib service, which was wonderful. Alex was giggling away at all the other children running around and grinning every time we started singing, and again kept trying to join in. It was a shame that Tim didn't join us this time, but the service did help to make the day feel more like Christmas. This evening we are going to have a take-away and watch a movie before going over to Fay and Rich's for Christmas Day tomorrow.

Happy Christmas everyone!
Love and God Bless,

Friday, 21 December 2007

Crafting bonanza and NOISE!

My last day of work before Christmas was Thursday, and it wasn't an easy day. Why is it that everything has to go wrong just when you want to finish easily, early and forget about everything work related? I got there in the end but am going to have to have a major rethink about something when I go back...trying not to worry about it or think about it now.
Alex has been so LOUD over the last couple of days...he seems to have had another developmental spurt this week what with learning to go forwards and now trying to string different sounds together so alongside the very loud shouting we have had some very cute strings of noises including DaDaDaDaGagagag and squeals of joy and excitement. It is so lovely to hear him enjoying the new found vocabulary, although it isn't so great at 5am! He is also enjoying the fredom of going forwards which is causing utter chaos as he can now get into more and more things.
I have had a very busy couple of days crafting wise as I have made 4 bracelets for my family thereby finishing off the last of the Christmas presents. This first one is a chunky green design and is for my Mother to go with her necklace.
This next one is for Gran, again in green, but less chunky to go with her necklace!
This blue one is for my sister-in-law to go with her necklace.
Finally this purple one is made from beads from an old amethyst and metal necklace of my mothers that broke years ago and is for my Great Auntie Jean who will be with us for Christmas at my parents.
The other bits of crafting today have been to make 24 tags for the Christmas presents. I basically covered an A4 bit of card in red and green ink and then stamped music in red all over it before cutting it into 24 pieces, rounding the corners, stamping Happy Christmas in green and adding stickers, using my crop-a-dile to make holes and add gold ribbon. I am quite pleased with how they have all turned out...I just need to wrap all the presents now!
I also finally finished off the bookmarks, they are all laminated and had an eyelet set in one end and the threads added. I think they look great all together and I am thrilled with them. Lets hope everyone else likes them. More soon,

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

forward movement

As the title suggests Alex is now crawling forwards...not fast and it is more like swimming than crawling, but he can actually go forwards now. He is so pleased with himself it is lovely!
At work we have a Christmas competition each year, and this year it was festive biscuits or cookies. I decided to make white chocolate chip cookies and cut them into a bell shape and decorate them as above. I was quite pleased with them and they tasted yummy.
There were a number of entries as you can see, and I have to say that the person who judged it hadn't realised that cookies were allowed as well as he was judging for biscuits...i.e. properly hard biscuits. This caused a few ructions, but the ones that won did taste very good and I could understand why he chose them. It was interesting as he was a chef for 20 years before deciding he could do without the stress and changing jobs to become a lab technician, so he gave us good feedback on our cooking. He liked mine a lot, they were just too soft to qualify as a biscuit apparently!
We had our works Christmas lunch today, and instead of the traditional turkey lunch we went to K-Pasa which is an Italian/Mexican food place. I must say the food was delicious and we had a great time with lots of fun chats and some nice presentations. It also meant that I got to come home early and spend some time with Alex which I enjoyed as always.
Crafting wise I haven't done much over the past two days...I finished off the bookmarks by laminating them and then adding fibres to the top. My crop-a-dile came into its own, cutting through the thicker layers like butter and setting the eyelets beautifully. I also finished off decorating the Christmas crackers as the picture shows. It was quite fun adding little embellishments and stickers to them to make them a little more individual. Tonight I hope to do some beading once Alex is safely in bed. Last day of work tomorrow, so more soon.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

A Christmassy Atmosphere!

We put up our Christmas decorations this weekend to the sound of carols playing loudly on the stereo and Alex shouting in accompaniment. Since we got married and lived in a tiny little house we had an18 inch Christmas tree...this year we decided to buy a bigger fiberoptic tree and it is great...1.2m means that it is still small enough to sit on top of a speaker out of Alex's reach, but is so much nicer than our last one. We have also 'thrown' tinsel and fairy lights around the room to great effect. All together it looks very festive and was a lovely thing to do.
When we went shopping yesterday it was to the sound of carol singers from the local church which I just love, and they were really very good...singing in 4 part harmony and despite having no voice at the moment I was determined to try and join in.
At weekends it is my turn to take main responsibility for Alex and to give Tim a break and I just love it. Alex and I have so much fun playing together or me doing my thing while he plays on the floor at my feet. I just love making him laugh, although that isn't always easy...something that will make him laugh one day will only raise a smile on another day. A game that made him laugh today was him gently grabbing my mouth and nose and me wriggling my face in response...great fun but not so good when he is supposed to be breast feeding. Story time is good fun too...some days he will sit peacefully and listen whereas on other days he will try and grab the book and play with it! This photo is just to prove that he can sit up when he feels like it!
He hasn't been very well over the past couple of days, indeed yesterday was the most vomitous day we have had for ages. Fortunately that has improved today. I just wish he would learn to sleep...he was absolutely shattered today and therefore really grumpy in patches after not sleeping last night.
I am making progress on the list of things that I have to do before Christmas...I made the fudge today which was a complete success. The instructions from Mother were so clear that for the first time I got it right...previously I have burnt the mixture while cooking it. Much to Tim's dismay, this fudge is actually for two Christmas presents, I just need to package it up. I will make another batch for Tim! The only crafting I did this weekend was to make the Christmas crackers using a pack from The Works...they have turned out really well and I have filled them with much nicer treats than you usually get in a cracker. I just need to decorate them now...I have only done two so far!
Anyway, must go and get ready for work tomorrow. More soon, I hope.