The Blogiversary – A Year Of Blogging

I got a lovely reminder from WordPress that the blog started a year ago (last Thursday technically!). We were away for the weekend so this is the first chance I’ve had to reflect on it (in writing).

So which way to look at it? There’s the numbers approach (which I will summarise later), the photo approach (again, keep scrolling…) and a selection of my favourite posts so far.I reckon that’ll do…

What of the blogging experience so far then? I’ve really enjoyed putting our time with Bea into words so far. I’m not always as up to date as I’d like, I’m also not often confident to voice my opinion too much on here like a lot of other bloggers are (credit to them by the way!) and I still have no idea what shape this blog will take in the longer run. It’s hard finding the time outside of work, and in the last few months in particular, there has just been too much to comment on so I’ve been sat back and just enjoying the experiences in real life, sorry!

The blogging world has been an interesting world to enter too – there’s a wealth of information, opinion and bloggers out there, and there’s a lot to learn should I wish. I can say fairly confidently that I won’t be quitting the day job any time soon though!

So, the blog by numbers (sorry, can’t help it, I know Lucy will be tutting as she reads this…):

62 posts

3544 views (which is bonkers!)

1,779 visitors (not sure how this one works!)

29 WordPress followers

5 Email followers

There’s also a smattering of Instagram and Facebook likes/follows too, which I’m very gratfeul for! I’m glad people like to come and read, it’s a real sense of achievement when people actually do!

That’s the numbers out of the way.

Favourite posts? Not entirely sure, but I’ve picked some of these out to reminisce.

Here’s where it all began

This one brings back some strong memories of starting out as parents: LINK

This one was the first post that resonated with a friend: LINK

We’re still hooked on this particular series: LINK

The start of a manic December: LINK

We all make mistakes: LINK

And finally, time for some of my favourite photos. We’ve taken soooo many, and I made the decision early on not to share any photos of Bea’s full face – this has been a challenge, but one I’m glad I did. She might want to be involved in the future, but I want that to be her decision! Anyway, I’ve selected (and added) my favourites from the blog so far!

Just looking through all these makes me excited for the year ahead!

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Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne

Since Lucy’s gone back to work, I’ve been responsible for getting our meals on the table when Bea and I get home. We’ve started planning our meals of a weekend so that we’re sorted for the week ahead. It’s really tricky planning any regular kind of variety, but we’re getting there. You can see our current week’s food here… Continue reading “Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne”

#ParentingIsAwesome

Ok, in my last post I mentioned that I would explain the meaning behind the hashtag that sits under the title of my blog page. Originally, the strapline was ‘a (relatively) positive look at parenting’ as I felt a lot of what I’d heard about parenting was pretty negative – focused heavily on logistics, lack of sleep and how your life isn’t your own any more. Continue reading “#ParentingIsAwesome”

Babyproofing the house: Round 1

So you may have caught our last Milestone Moment. Bea has been threatening to move under her own steam for some time now; it’s finally happened.

Time to delve into the world of babyproofing. Here are the results of my initial foray into Google:

Mother And Baby Reviews : I’m still none the wiser after reading these.

Parent Guide : The Holy Grail of all babyproofing knowledge. Seriously, well played Google. A friendly, well-written and more importantly, really clear set of comparisons.

Childproofing on Pinterest : As with anything on Pinterest, far too easy to get lost in something completely irrelevant but some nice infographics to get the point across.

Baby Centre UK : A very, very thorough list of some fairly obvious things. Perfect for the overly anxious.

Mothercare : Not a very well laid-out page, but lots of everyday things mentioned if you can pick them out.

Parents.com : One of those annoying slideshows with adverts everywhere. Didn’t get past the snazzy whale-shaped bath seat on page 1.

After flicking through those, we’ve decided to go with these.

I’ll let you know how they go…

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Happy Mother’s Day!

March has been a slow blogging month. Sorry if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new post! I think I can look back on it in terms of content, if not quantity. I finally got around to writing a feature that is about something I am passionate about – children’s reading, and then wrote a very personal but heartfelt message to Beatrice. This post is probably going to be the last one of the month, so it makes me proud that the content for this one is just as important to me as the other two!

If I’m honest, this month has also been a blur of amazing awesomeness and it’s been hard keeping up with all of Bea’s new skills – this has definitely been one of my favourite months of being a parent yet. More on that in the future… Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Bedtime Reading 1: Once Upon an Alphabet

Since starting this blog, I’ve always wanted to include a regular book review feature. One of the most exciting parts of planning Bea’s nursery was where to put the books! At this point, some of you will be completely on board; others will be already be looking at other blogs by now… Continue reading “Bedtime Reading 1: Once Upon an Alphabet”

Milestone Moment: First Swimming Trip

Determined to get my blog goals for the week done! Time for number three. You can check out one and two on the respective links if you haven’t done so already!

Last Saturday, the three of us went on our first public swimming outing, and also our first time swimming as a trio. Bea has been going to lessons for what seems like forever now – I think from around 8 weeks old? – and loves going in the water. Occasionally, I get to go along to the sessions and see how she’s getting on, and frankly I’m amazed at how fearless our little girl is! She also gets picked out for the demos as she is a really calm baby…(slightly proud teacher daddy moment there, sorry!) One memorable week involved her being picked out, only to be dunked about half a metre under the water and taken about a metre along. She came out looking vaguely flustered and slightly confused, but that was about it! I’m a poor swimmer, and hate going underwater, so I’m certainly going to have to face my fears a bit. Lucy, a particularly strong swimmer, has tolerated it till now, but I can’t really show Bea that it’s scary to go under at an age where she’s really responsive to our emotions and reactions!

Our trip out

Anyway, we decided to finally take her out ourselves. Swimming nappy and little swimming nappy cover thing in hand, we set out to a local pool at Wymondham. I’ve nicked all their pictures off of Google because I wasn’t going to go around a swimming pool taking photos!

For anyone who’s Norwich-based or thereabouts, this is a really fantastic place to take your little one. They were friendly and knowledgeable on the phone, so we could be prepared before we left, the place is bright and airy, and the family changing facilities are spacious and clean. We were really, really surprised as I think our expectations were a fair bit lower!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre changing rooms

There are two pools once you’re in: a main one for adults, and a shallower learning pool. This learning pool is still a fair size (see below), and is something like 0.7m deep. It was also warmer than I thought it would be, though make sure you pay attention to your baby’s needs as they feel the cold a bit more than you!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre pools

Daddy V. Mummy

I think it’s fair to say I fell into the habit of pushing things a bit further than I probably should have. I think this can be a fairly common phenomenon, but must stem out of whichever parent spends more time with their child. Without meaning to, Beatrice certainly got mouthfuls of water in my care, whereas she was generally much better off in Lucy’s well-trained hands! Obviously this can happen to either parent, but I was certainly less sure in what Beatrice’s water skills were. In this case, I underestimated her ability to keep her head up when on her front (whoops!). I must point out, no babies were harmed in the writing of this post though!

It was brilliant to see Beatrice grinning away (gulps of water aside) and the fact that she is naturally starting to kick around. She also started splashing for the first time properly – I don’t get to see many ‘firsts’ now I’m back at work so this was awesome! She has a pretty strong arm too. Just make sure to hold on when they’re splashing, as you’ll inevitably be blinded at some point. I’m proud to say that she didn’t slip or fall out of my grasp

Will we go again?

Definitely! It was very easy, lots of space to float around in, floats and toys were provided, and Beatrice had a great time. Over time, I’ll definitely get over my fear over swimming under water and also get to know my daughter’s abilities in the pool a lot better.

Big thanks to @splashandgiggle for turning our daughter into a little waterbaby, she loves it!

Blog goal 3 down! I’m not sure if I can do goal number 4 by Sunday, but I’m going to find a way round that…when did you take your baby swimming?

Cheffy Daddy: Lamb Curry

So, time for Blog Goal number 2 for this week. The snazzy font in the featured image above is made using the Typorama app, which is free and is brilliant by the way!

Not sure why, I’m certainly no future Jamie Oliver (think the ship has sailed on that one), but I felt like posting some of my cooking efforts. Lucy and I do really enjoy cooking when we get the chance. Lucy’s a keen baker, and I like to make a mess when I do savoury stuff!

This Sunday, I made us a lamb curry. This was a lot easier than you’d think, especially if you skip out the whole blender phase. We like chunky bits anyway!

I’m not going to take any credit for the recipe itself, it’s a Mary Berry one taken from the BBC Food website (which is an amazing website by the way!).

Ingredients

If you look closely enough, you’ll see I left out some of the ingredients that we didn’t have. I don’t know how different it would taste with those added, but this slimmed-down version was still delicious and something we’d definitely be able to do again with our stock ingredients!

A quick summary of the actual process (again, I’m basically nicking this from Mary Berry with a few lazier moderations!):

  1. Fry the onion, garlic and ginger till the onions are softened. It’s probably best to keep the heat low-medium, making sure you don’t burn the garlic.
  2. Add the spices and stir them in until all the bits are coated.
  3. Then add the lamb chunks and fry for about 3-4 minutes, turning up the heat a bit to brown the lamb. Again, get it all coated in the spice mix so it all tastes glorious.
  4. Add the tomatoes, some salt and pepper, and let it simmer down for about half an hour. You can get the rice on or any extras whilst this is happening (we use a mix of Basmati and Jasmine rice).
  5. That’s it! The sauce should thicken and you should be left with a delicious, quick and easy lamb curry! It definitely felt like a treat at the end of a good weekend.

img_1872

This would almost certainly work with any meat. We had some leftovers from my Daddy/daughter day out in the freezer, but I’m sure anything else would work fine.

Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you more Cheffy Daddy delights in future blogs! Whilst I wouldn’t recommend this one as part of a weaning baby’s diet (it was a bit spicier than expected, not sure it’s worth the risk!), Lucy has had a go at making some things that are suitable for Bea at breakfast time that are considerably less squishy than her other options! If you want a sneak peak, you can check out my Instagram page.

Two down, two to go…

‘Sharenting’ and the topic of digital citizenship (aka photos of our baby)

On Sunday I set myself four blogging goals. Here is the first one (I didn’t say I’d do them in order!) for the week. Hopefully I can get around to blogging more regularly.

The timing of this is actually somewhat coincidental. Since signing up to WordPress, I’ve been following the odd parent blogger that has been kind enough to like finding out about our little parenting adventure. There are around 20 of you out there following at the moment, so thanks for stopping by and having a look!

One of the people I’ve been reading is This Tiny Blue House, and their recent post on digital citizenship struck a chord here.Maybe it’s the fact we’re both teachers that makes us slightly more aware/cautious about our digital footprints. I tried leaving a wordy comment on her blog, but the internet decided to disagree with me, so I guess a blog post is the next best thing!

With this blog, I decided from the off that I didn’t want to show any full pictures of Beatrice until she was able to decide that she wanted her photos to be on here. I can’t say completely why, but it just felt like the right thing to do. In a few years she’ll know that this blog is part of her life and may want to go back through where it all started (I know I’d be curious!). Already just putting the odd (granted, fairly unique) tag into Google images reveals quite the digital trail!

I’m equally aware that this isn’t a foolproof goal. We share pictures of her on Facebook with family and friends, and like many have closed groups for sharing day-to-day ones. This is obviously a bit hypocritical, but there is a relative control over what is shared there. We’ve never been big sharers online and this is just an extension of that I suppose.

#SaferInternetDay

Today is also ‘Safer Internet Day’ which is generally aimed at preparing children for their life as a digital citizen. As I said, the timing of this post is actually coincidental, but it has thrown up some interesting things, such as the word ‘sharenting’ and some valid concerns from children themselves. Firstly, ‘sharenting’ is a great word by the way! Even if it seems to be attached to negative connotations, it’s a brilliant portmanteau.
It’s thrown up some interesting statistics too (albeit not terribly scientific), which made me think about the children I work with. It’s something I will definitely discuss with them.

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Taken from the Newsround website

You can read more here if you like. By the way, I’m not criticising anyone who does any ‘sharenting’. Most of the photos I see online are positive, and way better than anything I seem to manage with our camera (maybe that’s it, my photos just aren’t up to scratch…). Children are growing up with this being commonplace, and generally know what could happen to a photo of themselves online. I guess it comes down to your own attitude towards it with your children as to whether it has potential to be positive or negative. Either way, I will continue to take countless photos of our girl growing up and equally look for photos of those little moments that I can share with you! Please go and have a look at the discussion Jenny has generated on her post above, or feel free to comment on here too. Blog goal 1 of 4 achieved. Phew!

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6 thoughts from 6 months

Six months (185 days) in. This time 6 months ago, I was sat next to Lucy on the maternity ward, having spent the previous fifteen hours getting to know our little girl. Grandparents had driven hours to say hello, the nurses and midwives were absolutely superb and we’d been running on that feeling of pure adrenaline that all parents are all too aware of. At this point, our baby girl didn’t even have a name. All that mattered was that our tiny (well, average) daughter had arrived safely into the world and our journey as a family could begin. I was completely in awe of the pair of them. All the build-up, anticipation and meticulous planning was over. Our lives were changed, and have been changing ever since.

bea close up.png
Early posing for the camera – think this was in the first couple of weeks

I thought I’d celebrate this post with a mixture of musings and memories from the last 6 months that I hope other parents can relate to. As always, the downsides of parenting (basically all the repetitive messy stuff) are taken as a given on here. We’ve had our fair share of public poonamis and we’re currently working out how best to treat some pretty mean eczema. Today’s not the day to talk about those!

Thought #1:  Do the reading

Once I knew we were expecting, I came back from the library with a couple of books, ready to go. If I’m really honest with myself, the need to do this came (a tiny bit) from that scene in Knocked Up where he has a bit of a meltdown and doesn’t read up on anything. I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ so I made sure I read up on things. I can’t actually remember which books I read now, which is a bit rubbish. I do remember that it left me feeling less terrified about the months ahead and excited to see Beatrice develop.

Thought #2: You will become addicted to Google.

“What age do babies blink?”

“Do you need to brush their gums?”

“Which cafe has the best changing facilities (so far it’s our local Sainsbury’s)?”

“How long are they supposed to sleep?” Hopefully this is followed up with ‘Should I let them sleep longer if possible?” (to which the answer is always yes!)

“What do you do when they start staying awake for longer?”

All of these are some of the millions of thoughts you and countless other parents have had. They range from the practical to the absolutely ridiculous, but be careful- there’s a high chance your baby’s first words could be “Ok, Google…”

Thought #3: Be Fearless

And no, I don’t mean go on extreme hikes with your all-natural baby wrap on day one. However, you’ve no doubt had a whirl on the travel system, the change bag has probably been packed for a month or so and you spent a fair whack on the car seat. Use them! Lucy and I took Beatrice out for a quick walk in the pram, then ventured out in the car a day or so later. After we’d got it sorted once, it was so much easier to head out for cake. If that’s not an incentive in itself, I don’t know what is!

bea-close-up-2
The smile I get home to every day!

Thought #4: The rewards come thick and fast, so keep up!

I’ve been amazed at how quickly things have moved so far. The phrase ‘they grow up so fast’ is particularly true at this early stage. I find myself regularly looking through photos and she has changed so much – she’s far more robust now, and sitting up! There have been so many little moments that have surprised us. Her first chuckle will be a very long-lasting memory in particular.

Thought #5: Prioritise your priorities

I’ve made sure that every evening possible, I’ve got home and spent all my time with Bea until she’s asleep. It has changed my attitude at work, made me more efficient and bizarrely more practical around the house. However, all of those things are to allow me maximum time playing, ‘chatting’ and giggling when I’m home. I got spoilt in those first two months!

Thought #6: Teamwork

It’s all about teamwork. That’s not just mum, dad and baby, but the wider network too- friends, grandparents, and workmates are all there to support you in loads of surprising and generous ways. If you’re a dad, remember that there’s a lot you need to be doing. It’s even better if you remember to do it without being reminded to…and make sure you get a day with your child from time to time (I know Lucy’s had some good days out when I’ve had my daddy/daughter days!). It also pays to be grateful to your other half for letting you get addicted to this blogging thing…

Feel free to leave any other thoughts for the next six months in the comments, and I’m going to try and get some regular features up and running in the next couple of weeks or so. I’ve also dipped my toe into Instagram, you can find me/us here if you like that sort of thing!

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