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.

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Branching out.

Life is busy and exciting at the moment. Not only is Junebug becoming more delightful and more trying as each new day comes, the weather changing and reminding us that Christmas is coming and usual family life stretching me in a million different directions. But I have been taking official bookings for ‘Photography by Helen’. I’ve decided to give it a go and share what I love doing with others. Starting up is fun; you get to design CDs, you get to offer bargain prices and you get to practise every shoot with your own child first so you get it right. It’s also scary; you have to big yourself up, you have to decide how much to charge people and you have to not act like a nervous wreck when it comes to shoot day. I’m struggling a lot with that last one.

We’re taking it slow, me and my new venture. I don’t want to race too fast and end up in a heap with unhappy customers and a neglected family. It amazes me how time consuming it can be researching locations and planning set up, getting together props and equipment and don’t even ask me about the editing! But I really love being creative in this way and hope the lovely families I work with will love it too.

Here are a few of the practise photos of Junebug before a fun family shoot in a nearby park. I think autumnal outdoor settings are my favourite, I could do some everyday. Junebug does not agree and got quite grumpy when she couldn’t just play with the bricks.

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I am looking forward to some winter snow too – imagine the possibilities! Watch this space.

Local location.

My lovely husband (of 5 years tomorrow!) suggested we go out with my camera this afternoon. This is my number one thing to do so I really appreciated him suggesting it and coming along. After trying to think of somewhere exciting to go we finally settled on popping to some local gardens to see if there were some good photo opportunities. What a result! It was beautiful and I’ve taken some of my favourite pictures yet of my daughter and her daddy.

Bright sunlight meant I had the ISO right down and could have a really low f/stop and high shutter speed to capture the cute little expressions she had. I also really enjoyed going under the trees with her and having a first attempt at the dappled light they created.

Here are some of our achievements.

Looking at the daisies.

Looking at the daisies.

Being very serious, briefly.

Being very serious, briefly.

Wearing Daddy's hat.

Wearing Daddy’s hat.

Sitting prettily.

Sitting prettily.

This tree is the perfect height for me.

This tree is the perfect height for me.

Phoebe and Daddy.

Daughter and Daddy.

“Hat on!”

Two words I find myself repeating constantly at the moment. My child is such a cliche when it comes to wearing a hat in the sun – she does NOT want to that’s for sure! It is pretty cute though to see her face when she realises she has one on and tries to figure out how to get it off. She does now understand the command which soon follows her success – “Hat on”. This is possibly even cuter as she attempts to get the hat back on her little head and can’t manage it.

What's this?

What’s this?

Off it comes.

Off it comes.

A hat? Mum, come on.

A hat? Mum, come on.

Here Mummy.

Here Mummy.

Much better!

Much better!

Each day I am impressed by how much she knows about her little life; she knows her bib goes round her neck and trousers go on her legs. The other day she found some of my husbands socks out of the clean laundry basket and tried to put them on, just adorable. Babies learn so much through watching us it’s incredible. Junebug is always so pleased if I leave my phone lying around she picks it up, holds it to her ear saying “Hiya”. And I have never shown her where my keys live but she makes a beeline for my handbag to find them if she gets the chance. She is taking every little thing in observing me and it makes my heart swell when I see her trying to copy me whether its writing lists or using a spoon. More on this subject to follow soon I think.

Her 365th night

Phoebe asleep on her 365th night.

Junebug asleep on her 365th night.

Phoebe as near to exactly 1 year old as possible. Taken at 6.50am 26th June 2014.

As near to exactly 1 year old as possible. Taken at 6.50am 26th June 2014.

As I crept up to check on my little one last night I couldn’t help but take a photo. This was the last night before she turned one and a precious one in many ways. It had a sentimental sadness to it – this was the last of the firsts. Junebug has now experienced a whole year, she has seen Christmas, Easter,  and all the holidays. She has known all the seasons; wrapped up in winter and toddled barefoot in summer. The 25th June was the last date she had never been alive for before. As I think back over the year I have to believe we have been so totally blessed with great memories. I mean sure her first trip to the beach it rained and I haven’t taken her swimming as much as I’d like but how amazing that we have done all that we have done together. And while it’s sad that some firsts are behind us it is so much more exciting to think of all that is ahead. As a family we thank God for blessing us with such an inquisitive and funny little girl to fill our days.

Thinking…

Thinking…

A friend mentioned about writing a blog and I thought maybe I’ll give it a go. While perusing hers for inspiration I followed a couple of links and came across this set of photos telling the birth story of a little Matilda. What a coincidence! Almost a year ago exactly this is what happened to myself and my husband, and our daughter. There are many differences in our stories but our adventure was generally the same. Similarities: I gave birth in the passenger seat of our car. Differences: I had never given birth before, my husband was driving while it was happening, I looked a state having been unable to concentrate for long enough to brush my hair or put in my contact lenses, we stopped at a petrol station. In many ways I’m glad there wasn’t anyone with a camera handy!
With Junebug’s birthday fast approaching I find myself thinking over what happened a lot and each time am blown away by how lucky we were. Or really how God was watching over us. What many people don’t realise is that what happened was potentially life threatening for both Phoebe and myself. Phoebe had been breech until I was 37 weeks pregnant when we had a successful ECV. This meant I could have the natural birth I desperately wanted, however there is a 1 in 35 percent chance that my baby might return to the breech position in the next few weeks. Therefore they tell you you must ring when you go into labour so they can scan and see what position baby is in. Unfortunately the midwife we called was not interested in this, nor the fact that my contractions were lasting 60 seconds and were 120 seconds apart. “It’s only been going on for an hour? Oh it’ll be ages yet, don’t come in” An hour later there was blood all over my bathroom floor and my husband was ushering me into the car telling me we really needed to get to the hospital now. I am so glad Junebug was still the right way up as delivering a breech baby alone could have had severe complications. And she was perfect 🙂
Apologies to those of you reading this who have no interest in birth and babies, as I said it has been on my mind this week. And it’s only my first ever blog so forgive me.