How did this happen?

My baby is 2 years old!

What!?

“Hi – I’m 2!”

How did this happen?

How old? 2 I tell you!

How old? 2 I tell you!

When did she grow up?

Seriously!

Seriously!

And what is it about birthdays that makes us feel all nostalgic and in awe of our children? I feel like I’ve spent the month looking at her and thinking ‘wow!’

I can’t believe how clever she is, even if when she counts she misses out the number 2. Junebug knows all her colours and some shapes (hearts and stars of course). Her memory impresses me, often referring to something which happened weeks ago. She knows loads about her little world and is always telling me about what we’re doing or what she wants to do next.  Singing is one of her favourite things to do, she frequently requests the wheels on the bus or incy wincy spider and sings along so sweetly doing the actions. Frozen songs are very high up on the list of songs she likes to sing along to. All. The. Time.

Junebug amazes me with her care and affection too. She pats me on the back or smooths my hair when we have a cuddle and loves to give Daddy a kiss goodbye in the mornings. She looks after her dolly so kindly and even puts a blanket over her little pushchair at ‘naptime’ saying “shhhh baby, sleep”. She has grown in her understanding of the cat too, she knows cuddles are nice but when Bear walks away it’s a good idea to let her go. Each night as we pray together we ask who she would like to pray to Jesus for; she always mentions her best little friend and recently her auntie who is about to have a baby as well as cake, obviously.

Sweet girl.

Sweet girl.

Her love of outside is one of her daddy’s favourite things about her. Always wanting to play on her swing or slide, or just run up and down the slope in our back garden pretending to be planes. She loves checking up on the flowers she has planted or sitting in her tent reading stories to her ‘friends’.

I love her confident and friendly nature. Junebug loves going out to see friends whether a playdate or at a toddler group. We met some lovely friends at our singing group due to my funny girl running over and plonking herself down on a lady’s knee to play with her and her granddaughter. We’d not spoken before, but now we are all good friends. I hope she keeps this characteristic, it’s one I’m jealous of.

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Junebug can be a reall girly girl. She loves wearing ribbons or clips in her hair and she likes it when she can wear a pretty dress, especially if it has pockets. Pink is her favourite colour and she loves playing with her dollies and cuddly toys. Drawing, other arts and crafts, baking and reading are all very high on her list of ‘best things’.

However, she loves planes, bikes, trains, helicopters and cars hugely! I have become an expert at deciphering between engine noises due to her interest. And she loves to rough and tumble and throw balls; so she can be a bit of a tomboy too which we love.

I feel like I’ve blinked and my little pudding has grown up! I love this stage though and am trying to savor it as I figure it will disappear as fast as the baby stage. I can’t wait to look back at this when she is a big kid and remember, and probably sob as much as do now when I look back at her tiny baby photos and memories.

So. Much. Love.

So. Much. Love.

Thank you from a grateful mum.

Thank you to the check out lady at the super market who noticed my distress and asked if she could help. Thank you for not making me feel like an idiot for forgetting my purse, for being understanding. Thank you for getting someone who could help me.

Thank you wonderful lady who listened to my problem, comforted me while I cried and didn’t dismiss me as an emotional twit. Thank you for looking after me and thinking practically, which I had lost the ability to do after a crappy morning. Thank you for looking after my shopping for me, for telling me it’s all ok, for sorting it all out. Thank you for going above and beyond.

Thank you to my little daughter for not making a big fuss when we had to leave your pretty pants and shiny potty at the shop, even though I had let you pick them out and carry them round. Thank you for being a really good girl while mummy was being silly.

Thank you to my marvelous husband who didn’t get cross that I had gone to the shop even though we’re low on cash this month. Thank you that you let us disturb your lunch hour and gave me a big hug. Thank you for lending us your card so we could go back to the shop sooner rather than later.

Thank you to to the kindly stranger who had overheard my upset over my mistake and worry about disappointing my little girl. Thank you for paying for my shopping for me so that when I came back I would have a nice surprise to cheer up my day. Thank you for reminding me that there are some really special people out there who show God’s love and generosity perfectly. Thank you for this act of kindness which not only cheered up my day but my week, my month, my life. Thank you, I’ll never forget it.

Activi-tot!

I have finally, finally stopped procrastinating on Pinterest for long enough to write this post about some of the fun activities Junebug and I have been doing since Christmas. It’s not an extensive list, just a few of the stand out things we’ve made together or I’ve made for us to play with. Really, one of our favourite things is to go outside. We go to the park or the botanical gardens to explore, collect sticks or have a picnic. Now the weather is improving I am excitedly searching for inspiration for awesome things to do in our back garden.
The reason I am wanting to celebrate all the fun we’re having is that I am surprised by how much I love having a toddler! I knew I loved babies and I’ve worked with school-age children a lot but the toddler years were more of an unknown. I was aprehensive… but I love it!

So here we go:

Giant Threading Beads

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I cut up old kitchen and toilet paper tubes to make the beads and Junebug helped me paint them. Once they were dry they are great for threading onto pipe cleaners. This is good fine motor practise and a fun way to talk about colours and introduce patterns. Junebug enjoyed wearing it as a necklace too.

Lightbox with transparent shapes

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This was super easy to make and Junebug loves playing with it. It’s just an opaque box which I think I found at the supermarket with a battery powered led light string stuck inside. Then I found these cool coloured shapes on amazon which glow really nicely and make good patterns. We also use cut out pictures on here or magnetic letters, lots of fun! It’s best in the evening with the curtains drawn.

Butterfly Garland

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For Thanksgiving we made and autumn leaf garland to decorate the house so I thought it would be nice to have something for spring. This was a very simple craft. I cut out some butterfly shapes and covered them in glue then helped Junebug stick scrunched up tissue paper and coloured cellophane to the wings (more fine motor practise). I doubled a small pipe cleaner around the middle, twisted it  and shaped the ends to look like antennae. June bug helped me thread them onto a ribbon which now hangs in our front room.

Photo Jigsaws

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This is still a bit beyond Junebug to do herself but she enjoys making the pictures with me and talking about who is on them. It’s a good sorting activity too to mix them up and get her to help me find all the red sticks etc. Easy to make it’s just 5 large craft sticks, one colour for each photo, glued to the back of a photo, then cut with a craft knife.

Playdoh

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This is one of Junebug’s absolute favourite activities, I love it too as she can sit for ages playing with it independently. She gets the box out of the drawer and asks me for the little table and then sits on the kitchen stool, bless her. More fine motor skills practise, we like to poke things into our playdoh; large wooden beads, craft sticks or little coloured matchsticks.

Rabbit Tails

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Junebug loves ‘rab rabs’  so this seemed like a fun idea which also incorporated her love of pom poms and learning colours. I printed bunny shapes in all the colours of the pom poms we have then cut out and laminated them. To attach the tails I used self adhesive velcro on the tail of the bunny and the pom poms. Junebug loves counting (starting at 3) and talking about colours (especially pink and orange) so this game works well. We also make them go to sleep and sing ‘hop little bunnies’ with them.

Drawing in the big lightbox

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Self explanatory really, we put a length of lining paper in the bottom of her big lightbox and she sat inside to draw. Junebug loves it when we draw with her and requests endless cars, I’ve got quite good at drawing cars now. The lightbox itself I made nearly a year ago, it’s just a large box on its side with holes poked in to put battery powered light strings through. Then I covered up the wires on the outside with wrapping paper.

Large scale painting

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A happy recycling day opportunity arose and after speaking to some kind neighbours we scored a couple of massive boxes to play with. One I will save to make games for Junebug’s birthday party. This one we are in the middle of turning into a fold-a-way playhouse for outside. This was such a great time together getting covered in paint and creating something really fun. We used sponges to make the brick ‘house’ side, into which we will cut a window and door. then we used our hands to print flowers and butterflies on the ‘garden’ side. I have never seen a child get paint all over herself quite so much but her huge smile and giggles made it worth the mess. When it’s done we’ll be able to stand it up on the deck and play house, I’m so excited!

Other things Junebug enjoys are baking, reading, playing with her soft toys, collecting things in bags (especially my things), musical instruments and singing, jigsaws and dressing up. I love that she’s often quite happy to entertain herself while I try to keep up with the never-ending piles of washing up and laundry!

Remember: toddlers aren’t scary!

Pastel

Another month, another fun topic for the I Heart Faces challenge. I took this photo of Junebug last month and just love it, definitely one to print! I was doing some work on the computer and she brought her teddy in to look out of the window, it was such a sweet moment I just picked the camera up and snapped, this is just as she noticed me. I love the natural light through the window, matched with the colours it gives a beautiful airy feel.
Little Junebug has such a cute way with her dollies and soft toys, or ‘friends’ as she called them. She is always sitting with them reading or carrying them around to look at things. It makes me think she’ll enjoy being a big sister one day.

Darling girl and her teddy - both in pastels.

Darling girl and her teddy – both in pastels.

So this is my submission to the challenge this month, see other fantastic images at http://www.iheartfaces.com/2015/04/i-heart-faces-photo-challenge-pastel/.

Thanks for looking xx

Spring has sprung!

Here in jolly England we are feeling much brighter and enjoying longer days as spring is finally here! As a family we celebrated this at the weekend by heading into the countryside for a gentle walk. We chose a gentle walk between a few villages, only 4 miles or so it should have taken a couple of hours at the most. However hubby let me bring the camera (add on 45 mins) and we let Junebug walk a bit (add on 20 mins) which meant not only were we going to finish a lot later than planned but we had to stop in the middle to have lunch. Best made plans…

It was a gloriously sunny morning and warm, especially when walking along with a toddler on your back. We really appreciated spending time together, away from all the jobs at home, and being able to show Junebug more trees and animals. She loved it!

I took advantage of the scenery and happy family to take some photos, you’d think we were never short of family photos but there aren’t that many of all three of us. This field of purple and green stood out to me, and I love the way the tracks run across the scene.

Luckily the tiny village halfway round had a great pub where we stopped for lunch. Junebug managed to entertain the entire clientele for a good hour playing peepo, grinning with her mouth full and jumping up to dance on her chair every time an upbeat song came on. “Dance Daddy, let’s dance Daddy!” She is such a little showoff and seems to know that people of the older generation will reward her cuteness with plenty of attention. It was hard to drag her away.

The final surprise on our trip was the appearance of this feller who just wanted to pose prettily in the sun for me – I had to oblige.

We are so thankful that we are heading into better weather and sunnier days, hopefully there will be many more family days out like this one. I’m so lucky to be part of this happy trio!

Everyday life.

Hi all. I am working on a blog post of all the fun activities Junebug and I have been doing recently. I promise it will be up soon.

But for now this is another entry to the I heart faces photo challenge competition for March. The theme is ‘everyday life’ so I have gone for more of the feel of it rather than a great quality photo. This is Junebug pinching her Grandad’s toast at breakfast one day while we were staying with them. Junebug loves spending time with all her Grandparents, partly, I’m sure, because she enjoys being centre of attention and there’s always plenty of cake and biscuits around. We don’t live near by so unfortunately it isn’t possible to see them a lot but recently I showed her a photo of Grandad (my Dad) and she said “Papa” – my heart melted! So this photo is maybe an ideal of what I wish everyday life was like, more sweet moments with Grandparents.

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Everyday life with Papa.

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com
Read more at http://www.iheartfaces.com/how-it-works/grab-a-button/#eO8Ux6oEc5lzhUwc.99

Thanks for looking – Hxx

Can I do New Year over again?

I find New Year really difficult. This year in particular. There’s so much pressure, and there’s not enough time.

I spent December 2014 gearing up for Christmas; shopping, decorating, advent kindness elves with Junebug, deciding to quit my job, more shopping, wrapping, and eating way too much. Then Christmas was here and it was beautiful. We spent time with family and really enjoyed Junebug’s excitement.

Junebug was a star in our church nativity.

Junebug was a star in our church nativity.

Opening gifts from her stocking on Christmas morning.

Opening gifts from her stocking on Christmas morning.

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But then, all of a sudden, it was New Year’s Eve. And I had made no resolutions. Not even one.

So can I do it over please? Now I’ve had time to think about it? Although now I think I’ve had too much time… I now have so many resolutions I have to split them into categories!

Family (This comes first as it’s the most important thing.)

1. And that’s the first resolution, to always put my family first.

2. I want to make sure I’m teaching good habits and manners to Junebug so, now she’s getting older, this year I’m going to be more dedicated to that.

3. Allow Luke to persuade me to try for another baby.

4. The Blessings Jar. I am going to fill this jar with notes, pictures, tickets, anything which happens which is a blessing or reminds us of blessings so that next New Year’s Eve we can empty it out and look through it and realise just how amazing God is to us. (I’m really excited about this one)

I painted a season on each side with the words "Let's count our blessings".

I painted a season on each side with the words “Let’s count our blessings”.

Work

1. Really get Photography by Helen taking off and put real effort into learning more so I can be better for my clients.

Driving

1. Be more confident driving on the motorway.

2. Drive into stationary objects less.

Me

1. Lose weight and get fit – no extremes just be healthier.

2. Keep on top of things more, be organised and prioritize jobs.

Me.

Me.

So here’s to 2015 – I am finally ready!