28 September 2012

sharing


So I thought I would ask a little question to those other lovely bloggers out there who read this little corner of the internet.

 I love to read my favourite blogs and keep up to date with them, and feel I have made some lovely friends over the last year or so through doing so. There have been many a wise word of wisdom and encouragement. I also love to discover new blogs, and get caught up in yet another amazing tale. So following on from my motivation rant I thought how could I make the most out of the effort, time and love that I put into this blog? So I thought the best thing to do would be to share the love, and provide everyone with a chance to promote their blogs on my site. I think being able to help out another blogger would be a great way to share in a network of free promotion for us all. Now my site isn't very big, and doesn't draw in a huge amounts of hits, but enough to know that there are people out there reading it! I've had a blog list on my side bar for a long time, and I use that mainly as my reading list. But I would love to showcase my friends, and the blogs that I love reading on a daily basis!

So if anyone would like to send me over a button to link to their blog, or even business I would be more than happy to discuss and display it! I'm not sure how many I can display at a time, I'm thinking 5-7 depending on how many people take up my offer! So it may have to go on a month by month rotation...

So your buttons will need to be 250px wide, and either square (250px high) or rectangular 100px high. 

And if in return anyone would like to display my button on their blog that would make me very happy indeed!

email me at abigail.e.oliver@gmail.com for images and codes (if needed)
 

27 September 2012

a theo update


So Theo has reached the magnificant age of 20 months. I'm not sure why, but I like the sound of 20 months, and I have certainly been enjoying this wonderful age! Of course it's still not easy, but the frustrating days and bits just get over shadowed by the cute and amazing bits.

So Theo is closer to being two than is to one, that's scary, I've got a nearly two year old...?

So I thought it was a little time for an update before I forget loads of things. First I'll start with words, because that seems to be the biggest, most exciting thing at the moment. It's amazing to see how quickly he picks up new words and how much he is just talking ALL the time. They may not be intelligible words just yet, but he is talking to us and babbling non-stop. Most of his words aren't perfect, but I can figure out what he means by the way he says it, and that he always says the same thing for the object etc. For example he says "flower" but his version is something along the lines of "ow-arr-rrii" which is pretty similar to butterfly! He is constantly saying "oh look" and pointing and trying to name objects. Yesterday a friend came over with her little boy, and it was amazing to see them actually communicating with each other. Theo was telling his friend to get inside the box house, and they were passing each other toys and directing all the time. It was amazing! He has stated to link a few words, such as "hello...tractor/daddy/grandpa/yaya/car/dog/alma and he tries to say mr.tumble! On that note he still isn't really saying Mummy. He mastered Grandpa in a day, and said yaya to my mum (her name for grandma) last weekend, and everything is daddy, daddy...but still no mummy. He knows that I am mummy, as when you ask him he will point to me and he also does this funny thing where he will touch his or my chest and say "nyaa" which I'm guessing has something to do with my boobs and therefore his version of mummy (as of course I was only ever seen as the milk machine...) He knows and says pretty much all the body parts to head, shoulders, knees and toes, just the shoulders and knees to go! He likes to point out facial features the most, poking us in the eye and tugging on our ears and sticking out his tongue!

Anyway, so that's all very exciting! He seems to like mainly naming things at the moment, and we have great fun pointing out loads of different objects and naming them or making noises for them. But probably my favourite thing at the moment is when we are stopped at traffic lights he will shout from the back seat "ready....go!" (ready sounds a lot like daddy though) It's so funny, and when followed by a round about he goes "weeeeeeeeeeee"

Theo is still really outgoing and will say hello and bye to everyone. People in the street, in shops, people who come to the door, friends, strangers, adults, children; everyone gets one! Theo is also very affectionate, a little too much sometimes as he tries to cuddle everyone if he gets the chance. The other day we went to a pub for lunch, and there was another little boy a few months younger, so we introduced them and within about 30 seconds Theo was hugging him and gave him a big old kiss on the lips...not shy at all!

That leads me nicely onto the other end of the spectrum which is the problems we were having with Theo hitting other children when playing. Which thankfully (touch wood) seems to be getting better. We went to a playgroup the other day and I think, we managed a whole session without one hit, unless he got a few sneaky ones in when I wasn't watching. But now if he does do it, or do something else a little naughty he will instantly hold out his arms for a cuddle and go "awww". Which to me is his way of saying sorry. When we are out I will always take him to the side and tell him that it's not nice to hit, and that it's a not very nice thing to do and that we need to say sorry. So I think it's working...

I'm not sure whether it's because I've stopped nursing him or what, but Theo also seems to want a lot more physical attention from us. He wants to have hugs all the time (and they really are the best, proper arms wrapped round your neck hugs!) He will come and park himself down on my lap and snuggle in for a proper cuddle, which I love. I have to say I was worried that I would lose out on the one on one close time I had with Theo when I stopped feeding, but I don't think we have. Plus the cuddles are a little nicer than him climbing on me, pulling up my top and grabbing at my boob and me having to lie there a little trapped!

Theo is still extremely active, he runs everywhere we go, wants to daringly climb everything and is even started to jump! He still dances all the time too, and it's just the best! (here are a few gifs I made of him, a little annoying sorry!)


7Ydpas on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

2QVPg_ on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs


Theo still gets a little clingy at time, especially when we are at home. Actually only when we are at home. If I try and leave the room to go to the toilet then he will stand at the gate and wail until I return. He will happily play with his train set for a long time, but as long as I'm in the room with him. I am trying to be a little bit more inventive at home and am going to start doing more activities with him, hands on, and exploratory  play, so if anyone has any good, cheap and easy ideas send them my way (or websites for that matter!) The other morning I quickly made up a little game, where I filled tupperware boxes with different objects, such a pebbles, macaroni, crayons and thread (the only things I could find around the house!). First we shook them and listened to the different sounds, then opened them to look and feel the objects, then we tried to fit the lids back on but the game ended with Theo trying to put the bits of macaroni in the middle of the thread spools, which entertained him for a good ten minutes..wish I'd just done that from the start!

In terms of eating Theo still goes very up and down. Some days and weeks he will eat three square meals, by himself. No me trying to shove food in his mouth and pleading with him to at least try his food. Then some days he just point blank refuses to try things, things I know he likes! We have a little doll who we like to bring out at these times so he can feed her some first, then usually he takes a little nibble for himself. Sometimes we resorted to letting him eat on the sofa, just so I know he has a full belly before going to bed, not great, but it works...He is still really good at self- feeding a can use a fork and spoon pretty well, it always amazes me when he polishes off a whole bowl of porridge by himself!


In terms of current obsessions it's still very much trains, planes, cars and tractors, oh an naa-niis (his version of nee-naw ie emergency vehicles) He always points to the sky and does his plane impression, and likes to point out every car, "oh look - car" and ha started to ask us to put Thomas on the telly...uh oh! He stands there and points at the boxset and nods his head over and over saying "yeh, yeh". He does this every time he wants something, just yeh, yeh, yeh!

Oh dear I still haven't gotten to sleep! I hope you're all still hanging in there, I'll try and speed things along! But it's going well, sometimes he doesn't sleep completley 'through' and has a little wake up about about 3-4, but can usually be settled back pretty quickly. On a good night he will sleep from about 7.30-8pm til 6-6.30am, then with a little cuddling and snoozing in bed he can be persuaded to stay in bed until about 7. But usually he is up from about 6, where I go in and we read a little story and I set up his train set and doze in his bed whilst he plays. I think we have done quite well with the whole sleeping thing (finally) and haven't had too much trouble with the transition to the bigger bed. But I think I will go into more detail at a later date with that one!

But I think I'll leave it there! We're having so much fun at the moment, but I am well and truly knackered at the end of the day...so on that note, the sofa is calling me!

oh and I know I mentioned it before, and I promise I won't do it often, but we would be ever so grateful if you took a minute to give us a little vote on top baby blogs, by clicking on the icon to the right! Thanks!!

24 September 2012

Motivation




Talking about photography yesterday got me to thinking about my life pre-baby. Of course I had a lot less responsibility and commitments to anything and anyone, let alone another persons little life, but I remember a time when I felt a bit more alive. Where I could put my mind to something and actually do it, I had dreams and things I wanted to discover, and I could throw caution to the wind and actually go out and achieve these things.

Now this isn't to say that I wish my life was different now, or that we hadn't had Theo, or that he wasn't in my life now, because I really really don't. Bringing Theo into this world has been the best experience of my life so far, the biggest adventure and the biggest test of my strength and spirit. It's also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Growing, delivering and nurturing a new life is without a doubt my biggest achievement to date. But that doesn't mean I can't wish for a little more, right?

I know lots of people struggle with the loss of their identity when they become a 'mummy' and for a while it's fine, that's all you want to be and you can't imagine not being completely engrossed in this little being and not wanting to leave their side, ever. But slowly as they get older and want more independence, so do you. I want to feel like I have a place in this world other than being a mum, I want to push myself in other ways and experience new things, aside from all that motherhood throws at me.

When I was younger I always worked hard for what I wanted to achieve. When I was in school I was pretty good at athletics and sprinting, and would push myself to train and compete outside of school and I had ambition, but sadly as I got a bit older and went to college I discovered the joy of going out and drinking, which kind of put a stop to my athletics dream (I regret this). When I was in my gap year I worked 3 different jobs so I could save up enough money to go traveling, and planned and went on two great trips. In University I overcame my shyness and pushed myself to go out into the world, into the unknown, to travel and meet new and interesting people and subjects and make work. I mostly worked really hard at uni to achieve good results and I loved it. There were obviously times when I didn't feel inspired or motivated and I know everyone goes through these patches, but mainly looking back now it was a time where I could achieve a lot when I put my mind to it.

But now I just feel lazy. I want good things to happen to me and opportunities to come up, but I just don't have the energy to put into getting them myself. I want to sit back and for things to just come to me. But I know life doesn't work like that, if you really want something you have to go out there and work really hard for it. You have to put yourself on the line, take chances and try your hardest to make things work. So if I know this, why can't I do it? Am I trying to do the wrong things, am I not inspired enough, am I looking in the wrong places, or am I simply in a rut and don't know how (or not willing to put the effort in) to get out?

I honestly try and sit down and think of what I would like to do with myself. What job would I like to do, what would make me happy, push me and motivate me? I don't have a clue. I just don't know where to start really.

If someone would like to come over, tell me all the things I'm good at and how and what I should put those things into, that would be a great help. But for now I'll just sit here and wait...and try and convince myself to apply myself.

In a few weeks Rob and I will be taking a little trip, just us. We will be visiting two of my best friends, who have always managed to inspire me. So I hope that does the trick!

In other news, I decided to finally put myself on the Top Baby Blogs website, in hope to promote myself and my blog and the tipis a little more. It's a start right? Anyway they have just reset the counters so it would be great if you would like, to vote for me and this here little blog. I don't expect to get very far, but it would be great if you enjoy this blog to give me a little love! (You can do it everyday if you really feel like it!) Thank you x

Click To Vote For Us @ the Top Baby Blogs Directory! The most popular baby blogs

23 September 2012

flashback

We recently decided to get our act together and get a few films developed that we had lying around, so I thought I would share them with you. It was so much fun waiting for them to come back, as we knew what was on some, but not all. We had a real surprise when one was an old film of mine from Glastonbury festival 2008/9? (With an ex boyfriend and everything...awkward!)

We do still take photos on film, but not as many as I would like as we simply can't really afford it. Plus with my slight instagram obsession it's all to easy to just whip out your phone and point and shoot, rather than play around with shutter speeds and apertures. But I miss it, after three years (and previous) of only using film, and developing and printing my own photos at University it's really hard not to do it anymore. It's the one skill I possess and really really enjoy, but can no longer really put it to any use. Other people have creative outlets such as drawing or sewing, which they can use whenever they feel like it, but for me it's not as easy as that! Yes I can still take photographs, and look at the finished product, but I miss the craft. I miss using my hands, playing and working through the processes, and creating my work. I've spent hours and hours of my life in the dark, working hard to produce pictures I was proud of, and it feels strange that it's not part of my life anymore. Maybe one day when we can afford it I can set up my own little studio with it's own dark room and spend my days that way, I can dream right? But for now I'll just have to settle with taking the photos and when we do take our old slr, or hasselblad for a spin it just feels so good! And the results are lovely, no post production needed, just original true great quality.

So without further adieu, here are some of them: 




A few portraits from when Theo was a teeeeeeeeny baby! (Jesus look at my terrible skin, in desperate need of a haircut, tired eyed face!)

These next few are from Theo's little first birthday party, what a lovely suprise to get these ones back and to remember it!








I have a few more films to share with you, and hopefully in the future we'll try and keep up to date with our developing as I would love to show you more!



21 September 2012

wedding plans

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Rob and I went to look at a wedding venue/location. It's safe to say we loved it, and I already started planning it out in my head like you do.

I have never been the type of person to dream about getting married, I didn't have a dream wedding planned in my head, and I certainly didn't have any budget or different wedding scenarios  (ie Monica from friends and her wedding book...) I was actually fairly cynical of weddings until recently, not really seeing the point of them, and didn't think they really mattered to a relationship. Which is fine, some people don't need to be married to be happy with each other or raise a happy family, and I like that too. But I think since meeting Rob, and knowing that I don't want to be with anyone else, and that I finally feel settled has changed something. Plus bringing Theo into the world made me want to take that step towards commitment and to becoming a little more secure and rounded, if that makes sense. This is just for my family alone, this doesn't mean that if people aren't married they are less of a family than those with married parents!
I had a really good conversation with one of my dear friends Anna, who felt the same way about marriage and it felt good to share these thoughts with her, I can't imagine having this same conversation with her 5 or so years ago, but how things change ay?

Anyway my main reasons for wanting to get married are to celebrate mine and Rob's relationship, and to share a special day with our closest family and friends. To be able to get everyone who we hold dear to us for one day would make us both so happy. To make a vow and commitment to each other that we will always try and work at our relationship no matter what life throws at us, that we are there to support each other through the good and the bad. I want to make these vows in front of the people I love too. I want to set up our family for the future, and for things to be a little more concrete. And I want to have a good old party!

When Rob proposed last year it was as a commitment, and there was no plan to be married in the near future. But slowly as the year has progressed, and we have attended a few weddings, mainly my Mum's and saw how beautiful and meaningful they can be, it made us want to start thinking of our own. I had a few things in mind about how I wanted it to look and where we wanted it to be, but we had no idea of budget or anything. I read somewhere that the average wedding in the UK costs around £20,000. £20,000?! are you kidding me? There is no way in hell that Rob and I have that kind of money, and even if we did, I couldn't justify spending that much money on one day. But after starting to look for wedding venues it seems almost impossible to do a very cheap wedding, exactly the way you want to do it. In my head I just want to be able to be outside (weather depending) in a pretty garden or field, where we have enough space and not too many restrictions, for under £1000. Unless you have friends or family who have the type of land, it seems impossible to find somewhere cheap.

But we did find somewhere that ticked pretty much all of our boxes, but was a little more expensive than we planned, but even so we were pretty much ready to book it, when we decided to have a serious talk about the dreaded money. The thing is, is that we have decided we kind of need to move again. I know I know, we are obsessed with moving, but I don't feel like we've found the right place yet. We found the right house, but it's not in the right place. We want to move back over to near where Rob's parents are, and my friends are, and lots of the places I go with Theo are. Also thinking about the future we want to be near good schools, and this area has quite a few. So we needed to seriously weigh up our options and put our priorities in order, and we can't do both. Moving and being settled in the area we want, near good schools is the most important thing. This made me really sad to think that we couldn't get married in this pretty much perfect place we found.

But then I read Janet's story of her wedding, which looked beautiful and so much fun, that it sort of changed my perspective on things a little. Yes it would be amazing to have the perfect wedding venue, and it look like something off of my pinterest wedding board, but if it's not attainable at the moment, then what is the most important thing: getting married in a pretty location and it looking good but costing more than we can afford and therefore putting it off for an unknown amount of time, or choosing to do it sooner, at a not as perfect or pretty location but it being affordable, but still end up having a great day (fingers crossed)

So I think we've come to a conclusion, I think we're going to simplify it a lot, and go for something a lot cheaper for the venue, and try and keep all the other costs down too (I know there will be some hidden costs we didn't expect along the way!) and still plan for next September (and try and save as we go!)

This post is really long, and probably not of that much interest to a lot of you, but I needed to get a few things out of my head about it. So if anyone has any tips of planning a very very budget wedding then please send them my way!

18 September 2012

our day in pictures


Tuesday's are a bit of a funny day for us, we have swimming lessons in the morning but not much else planned as theo usually (hopefully) sleeps after, and we just go home, which means a whole afternoon to kill at home.

I've been trying my hardest not to just switch cbeebies on a let that work its magic, because I feel guilty about the amount of tv Theo watches. I, like probably a whole host of people, thought that I would be one of those parents who didn't resort to sticking the telly on for an hour (or two) to be able to get a bit of peace. But I would like to meet an actual real parent of an over 6 month old who doesn't resort to some sort of stimulation like this, be it either watching something on the computer/iphone/ipad/dvd/recorded..because I don't believe one exists! But saying that all the same I am trying to stop the temptation of the easy way out and try and have a bit more of a constructive day at home.

This morning, admittedly Theo did watch some cbeebies whilst I was upstairs getting ready for swimming...otherwise he follows me around clinging to my leg, which when you are trying to get dressed can be a tad annoying!

But we managed to fit in a bit of playing before heading off to swimming. I made a house last night out of a big box from our new cooker (ugh long story) so he had a whale of a time this morning with that and his trains...









Theo decided to fall asleep on the way to swimming, meaning he only had a 20 minute nap today...yikes, so I definitely needed to pull out some magic to entertain him.

When we arrived home we played a little with his train set in his room, well I say we played, but I just sit on the bed and watch and occasionally rebuild the track when squealed at. He is happy to play on his own, I just have to be in the room with him otherwise all hell breaks loose in a matter of seconds.

When we'd finished that, and he (yes he) tidied away all his trains I decided to brave it and try cooking with him for the first time. I didn't expect it to be easy and dreamy, and it wasn't. But it was fun!

We made ginger bread men biscuits, from a packet which was given to us...I wasn't about to start spending time preparing the mixture, that's asking a little too much! He tried to eat the butter as he thought it was "tscheeese", and flung flour everywhere, but he was enjoying himself. But it's bloody hard to try and take photos whilst trying to semi control a toddler whilst using his hands or a spoon with a large glass bowl of mixture, and trying to show him what to do, so forgive me if they aren't the best!







Someone got a little sad when they had to go in the oven! The biscuits got a little bit burnt as I was trying to clean up, whilst rescuing possessions from being put through the car flap...so yeh they aren't the finest...but we dolloped some icing on them, tried to decorate them, have you ever tried to control a toddler armed with a spoon full of icing, and stop him putting the biscuits in the toaster at the same time?


Not a good idea, but here is the end result:




haha!

After this we had a little potter in the garden, before, yes you guessed it, flopping down in front of the telly. We made it to 4.45...that's good right?





if you can believe it, this bastard post has taken me about 3 hours to write, blogger's photo upload was being particularly helpful...anyone else had any problems?







17 September 2012

me and him

zSMnAe on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs



Rob was working all this weekend so I decided that I would have a little adventure, just Theo and I. We haven't been to the Zoo for a while, well not this zoo for just over a year! So I scraped together some pennies and treated us to a day out!

Theo's obsession with animals is pretty big at the moment, so I thought he would enjoy going even more now that he is a lot more aware of where we are, and what he's seeing compared to when he was six months! He loved pointing at all the animals, saying 'oh look' and getting very excited. We saw the lions getting fed, went to see the baby giraffe and zebra, Theo did his elephant impression when we saw the rhinos, we went on a tractor ride, petted some donkeys, had a staring competition with some alpacas, watched the chimps play and had a picnic. It was a fun day, tiring, as someone wanted to be carried for most of it, but good. Once again it felt nice to be out doing something fun with my boy, without feeling self conscious that it was just me alone.


















I like these little outings that Theo and I share together, most of time in the week we go places where I meet up with friends or to playgroups, where as soon as I let him down he's off running around and playing, with the only the occasional wave back to me, or a whinge. So it's actually really nice to spend the day just me and him with no-one else. We can talk and share food, and he likes to point out all the things he sees. Not saying they're all rosy and great ALL of the time, he's still a whingebag, but on the whole we have a pretty good time together.
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