Monday, 28 July 2014

Second Quarter Review

So, this is the second quarter review of the new years resolutions I made in the first post of this blog.

1. learn to drive
Still not on my radar. I'm hoping the end part of the year I can think about this! 

2. pass my Certificate in financial planning exam for work
My exam is finally booked! 11th August. I'm still terrified because i've not had much time for revision. LJ has gone backwards in the bedtime progress and I spend an hour, sometimes an hour and a half every night in his room getting him to sleep. This isn't even counting bath time and dressing! I basically start my evening at 9pm and we are lucky if that's after eating. It's exhausting! I've got some study days booked off and i'm child free so hopefully I can get a lot done in that time. I REALLY REALLY want to pass this and have it out of my life!

My distractions have also been that i've got in too deep in the world of Thomas.
Yes, that's right. Thomaspedia. I just happened to be searching to see if a 'Logan' train existed as it's been a few years since i've been aware of Thomas. I opened a whole world of 'spoilers' and 'reviews' and Thomaspedia. Turns out there WILL be a Logan train but as I learnt today, it might be super exclusive and currently only released in the US and costs $$$. I will try my hardest to get him the cheaper version (Book & Logan train) for Christmas!

I feel this is my first battle for the must have Christmas Present as a parent. I will WIN. 
(and pray he still loves trains and Thomas at Christmas)

3. complete some pinterest projects 
Remember how I finally sorted my name letters? I wrote about it here. Well they got up on the wall this week!

I moved them 3 times and i'm still not 100% sure on where they are. It's a small room and I have a few things up at the moment. Also, as nice as I thought they looked, when they were at certain heights, all I could see was the imperfections. They needed to be high up so that they had a good effect but I couldn't see them closely. 

I haven't had a lot of time to look at my Pinterest lately but I did quickly look up some new storage ideas and pinned a few ideas. I'm one of these people who has to re-arrange a room every so often. I did it to LJ's nursery a few weeks back and so on Tuesday, when LJ and I were home, I decided to change the living room about.

I was really impressed with how good LJ was! This is the kid who wouldn't be laid down as a baby ever, who needed me to be close by or needed to be carried about. Walking was maybe the best thing that happened for us and getting stuff done. He now happily goes between the living room, kitchen and conservatory with various toys, I don't have to worry about him hurting himself (too much!) as he's stable on his feet and he can come to me when he needs me but most the time he's happy watching an episode of Thomas while I unload the dishwasher. I can now begin to describe how much better you can feel about your life when you've managed to do 3 loads of washing and tidied up and looked after your child! It's just never come easy for me because I have a very mummy's boy and I refused to let him cry it out when he was little because he didn't want to be left on his own. Judge that how you want, I think you either have a 'good' baby (I say good, babies can't be bad but maybe we should say chilled baby) or you have a baby that needs to know your right there. LJ has never been one to sleep easy, stay asleep, occupy himself or lay happily in his cot by himself (and yes, I did put him in it from a very early age and TRY). So this was an amazing day for us! 

I started with hoovering and pulling out the sofa's and then I moved everything about! We have a really long lounge and it used to be when you walked in the door there was a two seater sofa that divided the room. While we are temporary living here and my brother still comes home often to stay, that end bit of the room had become a 'dumping ground' for various things. We store the Pram there too and we have a IKEA Storage unit for LJ's things and then his toys are at the front of the room. I did a little switch about and soon had the space optimised! It's mainly in LJ's favour but we spend the most time in that room when we are at home. I wish I had done this a few months back because it would have been a great space to walk a walker up and down! 

I moved all his toys to the same place and used the (unused) coffee table to blue tac some train track down, so that he could stand and play trains at all times. We have a box of the track stuff but at 5:30am when i'm half asleep i'm not always great at building it. He loved this feature! So it was a win win and we didn't have to spend £100 on a train board like he'd played on the day before at Bressingham. 

I couldn't help but shout 'LOOK AT ALL THE SPACE FOR ACTIVITIES' when Ali came in from work. For those who don't get the reference, please review the below video.

Yep. It's been a fun week. 

I also kept up with producing photo books for LJ's year and just recently, his birthday.

My best tip is to sign up to Photobox, Albelli, Snapfish and Vistaprint and look out for the offers they send through via e-mail. I have never paid full price for a photo book and a lot of them have an option to buy credit for one-three months. I then set a reminder on my phone for a week before the credit is due to expire and make my photo book up to that date.

The newborn album was via Snapfish, the 2-7 months and 7-11 months were via Albelli and the birthday album was Photobox. 

The birthday album was the first one i've actually wrote text in. This is partly because I never had time with the others before they expired and partly because it was a story of his birthday celebrations so that he could read at a later date. 

I love my books!! I can say I really do sit down and look through them regularly. It's amazing to see the change in LJ and see all the photos i've taken of him and easily show other people.

We took along his books so far to his first birthday party and it was a fun chill out activity for those family members sitting around enjoying the party.

It was also great to see my little photo projects next to each other! The bump pictures are in his newborn album and it was the first time I saw them all side by side. The monthly photos look great too! I'm still upset about my missing 5 month photo but oh well! I've decided to continue the monthly photos (Until the stress kills me!) ready for his next birthday album. 

I'm also so happy with LJ's 1st Birthday photos by JAndrewPhotography  in his birthday book. I just want to print these and have them everywhere! The full set is here

Another project I finished up this week was my Nana's 70th Birthday Photo Video. My Auntie and mum snuck into her house when she was on holiday and kidnapped her photo tin and took hours to sort out the photos into different era's and then chose a song to cover each Era. They then passed them along to me and I spent my evenings scanning in old photos and then threw them all together in iMovie in the correct order. My Nana loved it and we took time in the afternoon of her birthday BBQ to all crowd round and watch it. I'd share it with you all but because it includes songs, Youtube has banned it in our country. This sucks because it would have been the easiest way to share it with all our family, but looks like i'm making DVDs. 

4. Write a journal entry in my new notebook blog entry for every day of 2014.
In reality this was never going to happen. Aint nobody got time for that. 
I have tried to keep up to date as much as possible and find interesting things to discuss as well as just my baby. The funny thing is, to keep all my resolutions, i'm often too busy to do the blog!

5. Learn how to use my new DSLR camera.
I haven't really done much more than point and shoot lately. One year olds are FAST and you don't have much time to play around with settings when you want to capture moments. 

I did do my part and help out a friend who had the same camera as me. I showed him how to get the camera in the right setting to shoot video. It's simple but if you don't know how then it's a lot of manual searching to find out. 

6. save save save. 
We were on target for our house deposit, then house prices went up. It looks like we're going to have to save a bit more to cover all the costs. Sorry dad, we might be with you a bit longer than first planned! 

In other news, Ali totally put me on a ban of buying things that I didn't need too. I did really well for a while and then I relapsed slightly. I guess I forgot how happy it makes me treating my boy or buying him cool clothes! Slap on the wrist for me and back to saving!

(Everyone needs a jellyfish vest, right?) 

Gap Sale... Next Sale... it all went downhill. 

7. Get media organised.
This is under control! 

My external hard drive that I back up all LJ's photos on too is organised down to the week! (For the first year). This was a bit of a core at the start because I had to play catch up but once it was all set up, it was easy to keep on top of putting the photos and video (They are sorted separately) into the correct folders as I went along. 

It was nice and simple to use the video's to make the Year video and then most recently LJ's 12 month video. 

For the second year, I have gone to just months as they don't change as quickly as the first year and you don't really count their age in weeks anymore. This makes it even easier to keep under control. 

I also named the folders with the dates that i'm looking for. I didn't really need to do this much for the month folders but when I was organising in weeks, it helped loads as I could throw them in the correct folders without too much brain input! 

I'm still worried about my macbook. It turned 5 years old last month and struggled big time when I started throwing GB video files at it from a whole year of my child's life. It's my birthday on Friday and i'm asking for money and putting it into a separate account for saving for my brand new shiny iMac. One day. Maybe in time for LJ's 5th Year video?!

8. Video everyday.
I'm still at it! Some days I miss out but I have been trying to get my mum to help out with videos on the days she has LJ. 

We watched the LEGO movie on Sunday and LJ in his true twerking style, got involved big time...

I have been rubbish at uploading videos to youtube for the blog. I'll try and keep more up to date after the Summer. 

So that's the (late) second quarter review. Not much of an update but hopefully by the third quarter review I may have more to report. 

Here's an old video that makes me think how much LJ has developed in the last two months. Amazing. This is why I do the videos and photos that I do!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

13 Months.

Happy 13 Months LJ! 

(Remember how I said I was going to revert to 6 month photos from now on due to the stress involved? ... Well I seem to have forgotten about it in the month that passed since the 12 month photos and thought - I can still do this.

We tried various different entertainment to keep him still but it didn't work. In the end I settled for letting him have my phone so he can talk to Siri (You leave an iPhone around and he will be talking to Suri in seconds) and I managed to get one photo. 

So what is the round up for 12-13 months for LJ?

My little man,

You now have 9 teeth, yes NINE. You doubled your teeth count in one weekend. 
You are 79cm tall, your cousin measured you today.
I have NO idea how much you weigh but you feel heavier. 
You now have size 4 feet.
You can say more words, you now say Ma, Dada, NanNan, Car, Ta, There and Quack Quack.
You are obsessed with Thomas and Friends and know your engines when I ask you to show me one. 
You are now running!
You can climb up on things and turn round to come down safely. (Most of the time, oops)
You love to be chased around the room and run and hide when we say we are coming to get you. 
You have started to throw tantrums when you don't get your way or get frustrated.
You do a great impression of a monkey.
You can stack your cups up in a tower.
Your hair has grown and you have one little curl at the back.
You love to play trains and line them up neatly and push them around the track.
You dance with your bum.
You love to watch water pour out of cups in the bath.
You still say 'Ooo' to everything.
You love to play with bigger kids and copy what they do.
You love to sit and drive in your play car.
You have started to master walking up and down steps. 
You still have a way to go with working out hills.
You are extra ticklish on your side.
You love to scream at the top of your lungs.
You now love to sleep in your cot (thank goodness!) but you still need mummy there to fall asleep. (one battle at a time)
Your pretty good at kicking a football.
You are learning so much everyday, you continue to amaze us.

Another bright idea I had (after the stress of the return of the monthly photos) was to edit the year video, one month at a time, in order to reduce my stress levels come birthday time. 

So here it is, a montage of a 12 month old in a hot summer heatwave.

My organisation for LJ's second year has been downgraded to monthly folders, this made it so much easier to just import all the videos in to iMovie for me to edit! Ta-Da!

If you missed LJ's first year video, you can check it out here.

So again it's been nearly a month since the last post. It seems i'm one of those people who can't just come home at the end of the day and chill. I always have a project (or five) on the go at all times and then get stressed out when i've got five half finished not even started projects. 

To cut a long story short - i'll try to be better.

So what have we been up to lately? 

There's been a lot of messy eating. Mostly in the nude. (him, not us)

It's been so hot! We finally got to get the paddling pool out! LJ got to sport his various swim wear that we obtained over the last few months, but he never wears for actual swimming due to his happy nappy.

We took the toys outside and built big train tracks and had everything out at the same time. Mummy took close ups of chubby baby hands playing so that she could remember the details.

There were a few summer treats that were finger licking good.

I somehow got talked into running 5K and having colour thrown at me, with 3 of my friends. We raised £340 for EACH (East Anglian Children's Hospices) and surprised ourselves with completing the course in 36 minutes with very little practice runs. Our charity page is here. You can still sponsor!  

It was SO much fun and i'm signing up for next year for sure! The colour party at the end was spectacular.

We hitched a ride to Woodbridge with my dad and explored the town, picking up a train book in the local charity shop and stopping for some park time on the way back.

I battled with you and the sunhat and won 90% of the time.

We went on many walks and found the street we need to move too! 

We #rockthatwall a few times with our new GAP sale purchases and birthday Converse.

LJ took lots of naps in his cot in the day! (Hooray!!)

We had our 12-13m injections and mummy nearly cried at how upset her baby was.

So I had an episode of mummy guilt, which resulted in a new choo choo train. (BUT he was REALLY brave, so he deserved it!)

We had some hilarious expressions in cute new birthday clothes.

I became even more obsessed with the TimeHop app as it showed me newborn photos everyday! (To read more about my favourite apps, click back on this post.)

We introduced a pillow! He doesn't always sleep on it, but it sure helped with 'lie down on your pillow' and cot sleeping!

It's part of an amazing bed set that I got in the sale (I couldn't resist!) but i'll wait and save that one for when we are using the quilt too!

LJ discovered his true climbing skills and his new love for boxes.

LJ FINALLY fit into his Freshly Picked Moccs that I bought back in November. 

We hitched another ride with Grandad to Dovercourt Beach and fell in love with the shallow long tide for splish splashing. 

It went on for ages, it meant it wasn't too cold or deep for LJ to play in and we had lots of fun.

I even got in front of the camera for a rare photo with my little man!

I realised that LJ still lays in the same way he did when he was days old. 

We played more outside on our 'fake' grass.

We let LJ and the bunnies run free. 

They amazed us with how patient they were with him and how loving he was to them.

LJ learned to say 'Quack Quack' as we played outside in the paddling pool (sporting more swim wear).

We had the last week off together as a family, it was great to have some fun days out and chill days at home. We had some time off at Christmas together but LJ was very poorly and we didn't get out and about. One of the best treats was taking it in turns to sleep in or nap in the day! I haven't had that much sleep in a year! 

I didn't always win the sunhat battle.

We visited Bressingham Steam and Gardens for the day with my mum, brother, auntie and cousins. We have been coming here for years, it appears all the boys in our family are obsessed with trains. LJ was amazed at how big the stream trains were and how close we were to the little ones which were in operation.

Everything was Ooo but he did cling to mummy.

LJ fell asleep on one of the train rides, I guess it was all too much fun.

We met Mike the Knight at Bressingham, Mike the Knight is the programme that LJ and his nanny (my mum, pictured) watch in the morning when I leave them to go to work! LJ wasn't so sure about being close to Mike but he was happy to watch him.

We even had a go in a 'dirty diesel'.

If you needed a scale to imagine on. These trains were magnificent, it's a shame we don't have such grand trains anymore.

We even had time for a go on the swings. LJ has decided that he quite likes the swings now, that he will no longer look like the strange child looking like he's being hurt in a swing.

This trip also resulted in another two train purchases. We let LJ pick out which train he wanted (from a wall FULL of Thomas trains, i'm sure his mind was in candy land) and he kept picking two, so Ali said 'Let's just get two!' ... I'm down for whenever daddy wants to spend some money.

LJ decided to show some love to a cuddly toy, only 12 months after birth. 

I continued to be amazed by the gift of this baby boy that is all mine (Ok, Ali's too) and how bloody gorgeous he is everyday! (Although ask me again at 3am and I may be more hesitant) 

We used LJ's birthday voucher for Jimmy's Farm and had lots of fun as a family exploring the farm and feeding the animals.

We ate our lunch up in the woodland dens and LJ got to practice his walking skills over logs and through dens.

It continued to be hot most of the week, it was nice and shady in the woods.

LJ was in his element in the wooden cars in the sandpit area. 

LJ's favourite part of the day was watching someone mow the grass on an old pink tractor. 

We got LJ's feet measured and purchased some sandals to last him the rest of the Summer.

LJ spent most of his time at home with no clothes on and eating.

He did sport his new Bibsili monster and cow bib that we had delivered in the post. Bounty had a 2 for 1 offer running and I'd seen the bibs for a while. They are amazingly soft and flexible and catch any run away food.

We got down to under 100 stickers to go in our world cup sticker collection.

I got to go out with my friends for a birthday and had a lie in the next morning. I found my boys like this at 9am, it had obviously been a busy morning!

We went for some late afternoon drives around the block! I used to do this when I was little, it's such a great childhood memory. 

Oh and he was nappy free in that car. LJ got a good 2 hours nappy free time playing in water buckets in the garden.

Then we had even more messy meal times. Kids, don't clap and eat.

We visited grandparents and had more pool time (and swim costume change).

I got to spend 11 days straight with this little man and I loved every second. This is the new #partypartyapp, i've got something awesome up my sleeve to show it off some more! Stay tuned. Ps - isn't it cute how you can see him understanding what we were doing in the Photo Booth photos above!

I hope your all having a great summer and surviving this British heatwave. 

I'll have a LEGO update and a belated half year review of the resolutions coming shortly soon sometime.