Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from all of us here in the Ayers family.

 Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An early Christmas present from the bank

I had to laugh.

Today I received two cheques (yes, two!) from my bank, each for the princely sum of two pence.

Cheque

Now I have to waste a first class stamp postage to cash them into my account!!

I think I'll wait...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This week, I'm mostly laughing...

Jocelyn has been surprising us with her laughter this week. We haven't really heard her laugh properly before. However, Jase was making funny faces in the bath on Tuesday and Jocey came out with a huge chuckle! We were both really surprised and pleased to hear it.

She's really coming on and beginning to explore her environment now. She was putting her foot purposely under the tap tonight to feel the water between her toes.

And always, we are rewarded with her beautiful smile.

Home 006

Home 007

Here she is hugging the musical zebra. This is currently her favourite toy.

Girls 001

She is like a ray of sunshine in our lives.

Art and Panto

Lauren and I had a wonderful day on Tuesday, her day off from nursery.

We headed up to the Park Club and we were there all day. She played on the climbing frame and slides with me for a bit (it was cold though, so we went back indoors after a while) until it was time for lunch.

At lunch time, we ate at the little restaurant on site. She loved her little fish fingers and polished them off. I was quietly amused that I seemed to be the only mum having a burger (a nice one made on the premises though, not a mass produced one). All the other mums there were picking at their salads. Looking around, I seemed to be the only one enjoying my food though...!

After lunch, we went down to the crèche where they were supervising small groups of children making Christmas decorations. Lauren loved it! She painted a little reindeer money box.

Home 014

Not conventional colouring for a reindeer, but definitely imaginative!

After the painting session, we went to their Christmas panto. It was a production of Sleeping Beauty, put on by a small company of six. It was great fun and full of terrible jokes (as a panto should be). Lauren seemed to enjoy it although was quite tired by the second half. I think she was a little bit scared of the evil witch as well! However, it was a really good end to a fun day and gave me further confidence to do things with the two girls on my days alone with the two of them.

Friends to stay

At the weekend, Jason's friends Gareth and Gillian came to stay. They had been at a concert in Shepherd's Bush and dropped in to stay with us on the Saturday.

It's been a year since we saw them last. Way too long!

I was glad that I cooked them one of my big hearty meals because they told me that they had been eating pizza and burgers the previous night as the concert finished late and all hope of a proper meal had gone. My almond and honey roasted lamb with South Indian vegetables disappeared in a flash, along with a sticky chocolate pud!

Lauren was a bit shy at first but quickly warmed up to our house guests. She was on her very best behaviour but unfortunately was so excited that she didn't want to go to bed!

When we finally persuaded her to go to sleep, Jase and Gareth did their great Star Wars trivial pursuit challenge. It was actually a lot of fun, and red wine helped Gareth and Gillian to a good victory with the general trivia.

Here's a picture of Gareth, Gillian, Jocey, Lauren and me.

Home 013

We had a wonderful time! I wish we had house guests a bit more often. Going out is next to impossible these days with the two girls but our night in proved that eating in can be just as much fun!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Back to work

I am so glad that Jase is back to work. I am also happy to report that he seems to be enjoying it, despite the long commute.

He's having to leave at the crack of dawn, so we are both really tired at the moment. We're unable to get to bed early because of chores around the house and we get up in the night to feed the girls.

He tells me the work appears interesting and challenging and that the team are friendly. I'm just glad that he's out of the house and back in the office again, as he was getting a bit down at home.

I am a bit worried about all this commuting. It didn't matter so much before when we lived in Edinburgh because we didn't have the girls. It takes Jase about an hour and a half to get to and from work, which probably means that he cannot help with taking the girls to and from nursery. When I get back to work this will put me under a lot of strain.

Jase is currently experimenting with alternative routes to work to see which takes the shortest time. However, it all leads me to believe that we will have to move house next year, sooner rather than later so that he can cut the commute time down.

We need to start seriously saving up as moving house is a very expensive business these days, and there are still a few niggly jobs to complete around the house.

Ouch!

We've had a really busy time lately trying to clear the house of junk and clutter before our guests arrive for the festive season. Jase has been to the tip and the local charity shops on several occasions with unwanted goods and general rubbish. We recycled a truck load of plastics and paper as well.

Unfortunately, with all this lugging about Jase seems to have hurt his shoulder. He's been in quite a lot of discomfort with it, and I'm convinced he's strained his rotator cuff muscles. His personal trainer showed him a few shoulder stretches to try to improve things and I've shown him some stuff I learned from our physios at work.

Jocelyn, our sunny princess was also out of sorts yesterday after her immunisations. She was absolutely fine at the time of the injections and for a couple of hours afterwards but then woke up from sleep in the middle of the afternoon crying.

It was really upsetting, because Jocey is a calm baby and very rarely cries. Yesterday she was screaming. She was obviously sore somewhere and upset by it but couldn't tell me.

She cried for a good 40 minutes before the calpol finally kicked in and enabled her to sleep. Fortunately, when she woke up in the evening she was absolutely fine and back to her normal cheerful self.

Now I'm a pretty calm mum but I must admit to being quite upset by it all yesterday. It was heartbreaking to see her so upset. I hate it when the girls are ill, upset or distressed.

Jocey is again her normal cheerful self today; we're off to Lauren's carol concert at her nursery soon. I'm utterly exhausted (I've not been able to get to bed before midnight any night for about 3 weeks because we've had so much to do and sometimes we have to do those things after Lauren has gone to bed) but I'm still looking forward to it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rained off and grumpy

Last weekend, we were looking forward to going to see Santa and the live Nativity scene at the Park Club.

Lauren had been quite excited; she knows that Santa is somehow important at the moment (although I don't think she knows exactly who he is or what he does yet). There is a giant Santa (a blow-up one) at the door of her nursery at the moment and she's always happy to see him.

Unfortunately, when the weekend finally came the weather was absolutely foul. It was raining sideways here in London but we nevertheless decided to brave the inclement weather and ventured out.

Also against us was the fact that Santa was not due to show until 5pm. I was a bit worried as Lauren is often flagging by the time 5pm comes around and when she's tired she starts to get naughty and grumpy. She often refuses to have an afternoon nap now, so afternoons can become a little fraught.

They don't call it "The Terrible Twos" for nothing!

At first, she seemed to be quite cheerful and Jase even managed to get some good pictures of her.

Christmas Part 1 003

When we got to the club, it was very busy with about 100 screaming children running around indoors in the cafe area. All the parents were also huddled indoors because of the rain. It was a bit mad.

We escaped outdoors to find the live Nativity scene.

Christmas Part 1 009

At first, Lauren did enjoy it although she was a little apprehensive as the sheep were massive close up! However, this quickly turned into an absolute refusal to stand or walk on her own and I had to carry her for the rest of the afternoon.

Christmas Part 1 014

At 4pm, we were all told that the cafe area was shutting and that we would have to wait outside for the arrival of Santa at 5pm. It was still pouring with rain and with nowhere to sit in either marquee set up in the grounds (the only shelter available) we decided to head home. Lauren was really tired and grumpy by this time, and even Jocelyn was looking unimpressed.

What a pity!

We're hoping that this weekend will see some better weather for the Christmas fair and ice skating, otherwise we'll go swimming instead.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Growing more...

I've got some new photos of Jocelyn to share. I can't believe she's 13 weeks old tomorrow; that's half of my maternity leave gone already!

She's really growing very fast. She's now filling the 3-6 month bodysuits to their limit and wearing clothes that Lauren was wearing when she was 6 to 9 months old! Jocelyn turns 3 months tomorrow.

Look at these photos.

Lauren at six months

Jocelyn 07

You could be forgiven for thinking that they are both photos of Jocey. However, the first photo is Lauren at six months and the second is of Jocelyn, taken last week. They grow more alike every day.

My beautiful baby girls!

Jocelyn's Baptism

Two weeks ago, we headed up to the frozen north for Jocelyn's baptism. Just like Lauren before her, I wanted Jocey to be baptised in my church, the Church of Scotland. I was a member of the congregation and the choir of St Giles' Cathedral for eight years and Jase and I were married there by the Minister.

We stayed a few days in York to break the journey as we were driving up and picked up Jase's parents and Aunty Madge before setting off again for Edinburgh.

On the evening before the baptism, we had a wonderful meal out at Lune Town in Edinburgh. The restaurant is run by a friend of my dad's; they play golf together.

Here's Lauren polishing off some prawn crackers.

Baptism 002

Mum and dad with Lauren.

Baptism 008

Suzanne and Peter with Lauren.

Baptism 010

The two girls with the two grandmas.

Baptism 011

Lauren with Mama and Grandma.

Baptism 013

The following day, we went to the High Kirk for the baptism. It was a wonderful service; however, as we were one of three families there for baptisms, the church was perhaps noisier than usual!

We took no pictures at St Giles because it was bitterly cold and I didn't want the children to get cold. So we all headed back to my parents' house for pictures in their sitting room.

This is Jocelyn and Lauren with Suzanne and Peter.

Baptism 018

Jason's Aunty Madge and Suzanne with the two girls.

Baptism 022

Here are the girls with my mum and dad.

Baptism 025

And finally, the girls with Mama and Daddy.

Baptism 027

Mum cooked us all some fabulous food for lunch and we all had a great time. It was also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with our friends Jill and Mark as we had not seen them for a long time. Their two children played with Lauren; they all seemed to have a fun time together.

The weekend was quickly over and it was time to drive back to London. We were pretty tired by the time we arrived home on Tuesday. It has taken us a further week to tidy up and clean the house in readiness for Christmas (see this post).

So here I am finally sitting down to a well deserved rest!

You can see all the photos from the baptism weekend here.

More hours in the day

I've noticed that since Jocelyn arrived, our lives have been so much busier. I am sure that this is not just the effect of having a hungry new baby in the house, but also that we need to spend more time with Lauren when she feels jealous of the new addition to the household.

I know I haven't written any updates since November 10th; this is largely because I find that the only time Jase and I have to ourselves is when both girls are asleep at night. We've discovered that as parents of two children under 3, we can only choose between quality time together or sleep.

You can't have both.

Unfortunately, some nights we are so tired that sleep is the only option! I need more hours in the day.

Anyway, on the plus side, we've had lots of fun with the girls including going swimming with them, going up to Edinburgh for Jocelyn's baptism and I continue to go to my Mummy and Baby yoga with Jocey.

There's been some good news on the job front as well with Jase starting his new job on Monday. We are so relieved!

To top it all, I have had a massive tidy in the house, recycled tons of waste paper and old magazines and now the house is almost ready for the Christmas festivities. Both families will be heading to London to join us; we can't wait as this will really be the first Christmas in our own house. I don't count the first Christmas we spent here after Lauren was born as we were forced to celebrate Christmas on a building site!

This weekend, we are really looking forward to going to see the arrival of Santa and the live Nativity scene at the Park Club. I can't wait to see what Lauren makes of it!