Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (April 2017)

April seems to have absolutely flown by this year. I don’t know whether it was because of Easter or because it’s a shorter month but whatever the reason I seem to have blinked and missed it! Having said that, when I look back we’ve actually fit quite a lot into the month.

The first weekend we headed up to the Lakes to see my in-laws and had a trip to Cartmel too. The next weekend we went to the beach at St Annes after Toby reached the end of his first reward chart.  On Easter Monday we went back up to the Lake District to hunt the Gruffalo in Grizedale Forest. And then yesterday we went to the SeaLife Centre in Blackpool as Toby’s reward from his second chart.

So looking back it’s actually been a very busy month. No wonder I’m exhausted! Anyway, this month’s Me & Mine photo was taken on our trip to Grizedale. Read more

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (March 2017)

For once I don’t feel like the month has disappeared before it even started! The first week of March saw us heading south for a holiday at Bluestone in Wales (which I still haven’t finished writing about!) and we had a lovely week away. You can watch the little video I made about our trip here if you like.

Since we came home things have been pretty normal. The boys have had colds again, Gabe’s sleep has gone back to being rubbish (he’s teething on top of his cold so it’s to be expected really), and some days I just can’t wait until bedtime!

We’ve had plenty of fun times too though; Toby and Gabe continue to be equally awesome and infuriating. I can’t believe next month we’ll be finding out which school Toby will be going to in September! He seems to have had a massive growth spurt this month. He’s constantly hungry and all his trousers are getting too short. I love an excuse to buy new clothes though so I’m not going to complain. Read more

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (February 2017)

I’ve seen a lot of Me & Mine posts today all saying how fast February has gone. I know it’s the shortest month but it really does seem to have disappeared in the blink of an eye.  We’ve had the usual winter coughs and colds all month, along with a nasty bout of tonsillitis for me but nothing too serious at least.

We haven’t really been up to much in February (apart from my flying visit up to Scotland) but Toby and Gabe have been a lot of fun this month. Toby is just a sponge at the moment and wants to know everything about everything. And Gabe’s personality is really starting to shine too, he’s turning into such a little character. He’s even been sleeping a bit better too!

Once again though the month has got away from us without us taking a family picture so this one was grabbed this morning before I took the boys to nursery. Hopefully next month’s photo will be a bit more exciting as we’re off to Bluestone in Wales next week for a little holiday!

Me & Mine February 2017

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (January 2017)

I’m not going to write a very long post this month as I don’t really have much to say! Christmas and the New Year seems ages ago now, and yet January has absolutely flown by. We haven’t been doing anything very exciting – we’ve managed a few family trips to the park and a day up in Cumbria visiting the in-laws but that’s about it. Remarkably though, apart from Gabe having a snotty nose for the whole month, none of us has been ill either!

We did go out a couple of weekends ago with the intention of a walk in the woods and a chance to take this month’s Me & Mine photos… But we were thwarted by a grumpy Toby, the sun going in and it getting freezing cold, and a path that turned far too muddy for the buggy to cope with.

So instead we took these pictures in our kitchen. Read more

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (December 2016)

So this is it…December 31st and 2016 is done. If I’m being entirely honest I’ll be quite glad to see the back of this year. There have been some good times – we moved house in July and being near to our parents for the second half of the year has been great, even if the move itself was pretty stressful. We’ve now got an amazing new kitchen too (which I will share soon I promise, but it’s still not quite finished). We had a lovely holiday at Center Parcs in May, even if Toby did have chicken pox for the first part of it.

On the whole though I will remember 2016 as the year of illness and sleepless nights. Gabe has spent most of the year either poorly or teething or both, we’ve seen coughs and colds, conjunctivitis, chicken pox, stomach bugs, hand, foot and mouth…there really haven’t been many bugs that we’ve avoided!

We did manage to get through Christmas without anyone being ill, apart from a few sniffles, and for that I’m grateful. My brother and sister-in-law came to visit just before Christmas and we had a fab evening playing a new game (Codenames if you’re interested – I’d thoroughly recommend it) and Toby loved having his auntie and uncle to stay. It also meant we had someone to take our Me & Mine picture this month, even if it is only taken outside our house.

Me & Mine December 2016

We set up the camera at the end of the table on Christmas day too and so I thought I’d include an extended Me & Mine picture this month too…

Me & Mine Christmas Day 2016

2016 has been a year of survival for me, of getting through the days and hoping we all make it to bedtime without too many tears. I’ll be the first to admit that I have struggled to remain positive a lot of the time and I have to thank my wonderful husband for bearing the brunt of my emotional outbursts over the year. Sleep deprivation has a lot to answer for I think!

When I look at the year’s Me & Mine pictures all together though I see how far we have come. Gabe was just a baby at the start of the year and now he’s a fully fledged toddler. And Toby has gone from a cheeky toddler to an even cheekier pre-schooler who is too clever for his own good sometimes!

Me & Mine January to December 2016

2017 is going to a big year for us. The first full year in our new house, Toby starting school, Gabe learning to talk (and hopefully sleep!), I might even go back to teaching at some point. Whatever 2017 brings I’m sure we’ll cope with it just like we always do, and here’s hoping it’s a bit easier than 2016 was.

Whatever you are doing tonight to celebrate the new year I hope you enjoy yourselves – I’ll probably have a glass of wine in front of the TV and be in bed by 11 pm! Thank you all so much for reading Toby Goes Bananas this year and I’ll see you again ready to start afresh in 2017.

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (November 2016)

So here I am, late again, but not quite as late as last month!

To be honest November is a month I think I would rather forget – it seems like it has just been a month of never-ending illness for us. Gabe has had the worst of it (and has made sure the rest of us knew about it too) but this last week or so we’ve all had some sort of stomach bug, I had an awful cold as well and now both the boys are snotty too.

Barry spent almost a week in Germany for work too, leaving me to cope with poorly non-sleeping Gabe. At least we now live near enough to my parents that my mum could come and give me a hand one day so I wasn’t all on my own.

What with all the illness, and trying to get the painting finished in the kitchen, we didn’t really go anywhere further than the park in November so I didn’t manage to get our Me & Mine picture, and I didn’t really want another living room selfie.

Yesterday though, we actually got out and went to visit Jodrell Bank. Toby loves space and the planets and although he’s still a bit little to really understand most of the actual science he still had lots of fun playing with all the interactive exhibits.

So, November’s Me & Mine picture was actually taken in December, but only just. We actually asked someone to take the picture for us, which we never normally do, but I think it turned out pretty well.

me-and-mine-at-jodrell-bank

You might notice that the picture above is a little bit blurry….that’s because I cropped it from this one…

me-and-mine-november-2016

That’s one hell of a telescope!

I’m really hoping that we’ve all got our winter illnesses out of the way now and we can have a happy and healthy Christmas! Please do come back at the end of the month to find out how we’ve got on, and to see our last Me & Mine family portrait of 2016.

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (October 2016)

I am super-late with this October Me & Mine post – heading into to the ‘so late I might as well wait until next month’ territory but after nearly three years of doing this I wasn’t about to miss a month now!

It doesn’t feel like we’ve really done much since my last Me & Mine post but we spent two and a half weeks without a kitchen (I can’t wait for it to be properly finished so I can share it with you all); Toby is now completely potty trained in the day (and almost night too) and has only had two accidents in the whole month; Gabe has got eight new teeth, and has started walking; Barry has been working at home two days most weeks and so has done a lot less driving; and I put the finishing touches to the boys room (with a bit of help from my brother who came to visit over half term) and managed to keep everyone fed and reasonably happy even without a kitchen!

What we didn’t do was have a chance to take a family photo so we’ll have to make do with this selfie that I took after the boys came home from nursery tonight. We’ve also got the nursery bear for the week so she made it into the photo too.

me-mine-october-2016

And this one is a bit blurry, Toby is pulling a face and Gabe is cut off the bottom but I love everyone’s faces…

me-mine-crazies

So that will have to do for October – I promise I’ll try harder for our November post!

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (September 2016)

Another month gone and this one has really flown. It only seems two minutes since we were taking our August Me & Mine photos on the garden bench.

This month has been a quiet one. We haven’t really been up to much at all. Still just settling into our new routine. Gabe started the month with hand, foot and mouth disease and has ended it with four molars all coming through at the same time. But in between he has learnt to feed himself with a spoon and fork, he’s learnt to climb the stairs (at lightening speed, almost giving me a heart attack when I couldn’t see him and realised he’d made it up two flights of stairs without me noticing!). He’s also turned the TV off approximately 723 times and it’s driving me insane! Oh and yesterday he let go while standing up for a couple of seconds and didn’t fall over – I wonder if he’ll be walking by our next monthly update?

Toby has been getting used to nursery this month and has now moved into the pre-school room. We have made some progress with potty training too (full post coming soon!) but I think there’s still a way to go before he really gets it. Apart from that he is still just a little sponge, absorbing every word and fact that comes his way. A few weeks ago we were visiting Barry’s mum in hospital and there is a helipad outside. From out of nowhere Toby just said ‘oh look, a windsock!’ I mean where does he learn this stuff? (TV mostly – see, CBeebies is educational!)

I’ve signed up with a couple more supply agencies this month but still not actually got any work. To be honest I don’t know if I could cope with it at the moment with Gabe still waking up several times a night. And I have no idea how I would get both boys up, dressed and to nursery on time if I was going to work! I’ve been attempting to keep on top of blogging this month, and I was definitely inspired when I went to Blog On last weekend. Hopefully Gabe’s sleep will improve a bit soon and I might actually get some time in the evenings to get my laptop out. And while I’m not working I really need to make the most of my two days when the boys are at nursery.

And lastly, this month Barry has mostly been driving. He’s been encountering some awful traffic on his commute and spending four hours in the car some days. Add on to that a two day trip to Germany which involved getting home at twenty to one in the morning only to have to get up at half five to go back to work again and safe to say he’s looking forward to finally starting his two days a week working from home soon!

We didn’t actually manage to get a family picture in September but we went out for a walk up a local hill yesterday and I thought it would be the perfect place to get a picture. However, it was really busy at the top, there was nowhere to put the camera and we hadn’t taken the tripod despite Barry asking me three times if I wanted to take it. So I thought, never mind, we’ll make do with a phone selfie. But the boys had other ideas…

me-mine-september-2016

So that will have to do for this month. I think it’s pretty representative of our lives at the moment anyway!

Hopefully we’ll manage a better picture next month. In October we are looking forward to getting our new kitchen/diner, it’s all ordered so we just need to wait for the work to be done now. I’m so excited about what it’s going to look like! We will also be starting to look at primary schools for Toby – I can’t believe he’ll be starting school next year, he only turned three a couple of months ago!

Until next month then…

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (August 2016)

I normally start these monthly Me & Mine posts by saying how quickly the month has gone but actually this month it seems an absolute age since I published July’s post. Since then we have actually moved into our new house and spent a month unpacking boxes and trying to find a place for everything to go. We’re still not quite finished but we’re getting there and there’s only really one room of chaos left!

In other firsts this month, it was Gabe’s first birthday a couple of weeks ago – so we’ve made it through our first full year as a family of four. And look how different we were a year ago!

Me and Mine August 2015

Although we didn’t really do anything to celebrate Gabe’s birthday (not even a cake – bad mummy!) he seemed to enjoy opening his presents and we are hoping to have some sort of house warming/ birthday party sometime in September.

Toby and Gabe have both started going to their new nursery this month too. They go two days a week, which is supposedly to give me time to do house stuff and perhaps even a bit of blogging. I have managed to do quite a lot of organising in the house, the blogging not so much! And today I even signed up with a supply agency so hopefully I might be heading back to the classroom fairly soon. I wanted to get the boys settled in nursery before the start of the school year so that if some work does come up they are already settled in and it isn’t all a last minute rush. They are both doing really well, and the staff seem great so I’m very pleased with how it’s all gone.

Barry started his new (old) job this month too so is currently commuting to Manchester every day. It means some long days for him – he leaves the house at 6 am but is usually back not longer after 5 pm so most days we are managing to eat together and put the boys to bed. I know it’s really hard for him though, because he only really sees the boys for that couple of hours before bed when they’re tired and grumpy. He will eventually be working from home two days a week though so hopefully things will get a bit easier then.

I think that’s probably about it for this month. We’ve just been busy getting to know the local area, realising walking to the park and back is just that bit too far for Toby and I will end up having to carry him, and generally just trying to get ourselves into a new routine.

I mentioned last month that I wanted to take this month’s Me & Mine posts on the bench in our garden and my plan is that every August we will take a family picture in the same place so we can compare how things change from year to year.

We took 194 pictures while we were sat here (Toby did have control of the remote for some of the time which might explain it) and luckily, amongst them all we did get one nice one where everyone is almost smiling and looking vaguely in the direction of the camera!

Me & Mine August 2016

We also got these lovely ones of Toby pulling faces…

Toby with his tongue out Me Mine

Pulling faces

And this one of me tickling the boys, which I actually love…

Family giggles August 2016

Until next month then…

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (July 2016)

Well July has been quite the month for us. On the 15th we moved out of our house in Scotland and we have been living with my mum and dad in Blackpool since then. We completed on our new house on the 25th but then the removals people couldn’t deliver our stuff until today. So we’ve used the time to decorate Toby and Gabe’s new room and do some jobs (with a lot of help from my dad!) and hopefully after a bit of unpacking we’ll be able to move in by the end of the week.

I’ve not written a huge amount about the new house so far – until last week I had only seen it in pictures so I wanted to reserve judgement until I saw it in person! There’s lots of decorating to be done and we’re going to complete redo the kitchen, but it’s going to be brilliant once it’s all done and until then it’ll be pretty good anyway. I’m hoping to do plenty of posts as we sort the rooms out and hopefully I’ll be able to share Toby and Gabe’s room in a few weeks.

The boys have both coped brilliantly with the move so far. Obviously Gabe doesn’t really know what’s going on but he’s been managing pretty well and even slept through the night for the second time in his life the other day! Toby has been fantastic too – he’s been loving hanging out with his grandparents and especially helping my dad in the garden. He’s been sleeping well too so I’m hoping that continues once we move to the new house and he’s sharing a room with his brother!

This month’s family photo was very last minute (so last minute in fact that we only took it yesterday) and was taken in my parents’ back garden. We’ve got a bench in our new garden and I’m planning on taking next month’s photo there and then taking a family picture in the same place every August. I wanted to do it this month but we just didn’t have chance and seeing as we haven’t even moved in yet I thought I’d leave it until next month.

So anyway, here it is…a slightly out of focus picture, with three quarters of the family looking at the camera, at the end of a very stressful month.

Me & Mine July 2016