Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (December 2015)

We made it to the end of the year and I’m actually publishing my Me & Mine post on time! December has passed by in a blur of illness, sleepless nights and vague preparations for Christmas. Thankfully we were all more or less well for Christmas and spent the week staying with my parents and visiting with Barry’s parents too. Unfortunately the sleepless nights continued whilst we were away but I have a feeling that may just be the way of things for the next few months at least.

This month has seen Gabe turn four months old and he’s really starting to show his character now. He’s such a chatterbox and generally quite a laid back kind of baby these days (apart from at 4 am when he likes to keep his daddy awake for a few hours).

Toby is still developing at lightening speed. His speech has come on even more in the last month and he’s so clever. He’s playing with toys meant for kids a year older than him and he impresses me every day with the things he knows and can do. He’s starting to develop great relationships with our families too, which is really lovely to see. He still doesn’t get to see them that often so it’s taken a while to get to this point but he loves spending time with his grandparents and his uncle and auntie too.

This month’s Me & Mine photograph was taken on Tuesday just before we were about to leave Blackpool and head for home. For once we didn’t have to use the timer or remote as my photographer sister-in-law took the picture for us – thanks Becca!

December 2015

And seeing as it’s the last Me & Mine post of the year I couldn’t let it pass without putting all the year’s photos in one place (although there are only 11 as I didn’t manage to take a picture in January). This is the year that saw us become a family of four and I love that we have these monthly family photos as a record of our lives together. I’m definitely going to carry on taking our family photos each month, for as long as the kids will let me at least!


March 15

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

July 2015

Me and Mine August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015


Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (November 2015)

This month has been a bit of a mixed bag, but as ever time is absolutely flying by! I can’t believe Gabe is now three and a half months old and that we’re heading into December and Christmas will be upon us before we know it!

We had quite a lot of quiet days in November; Gabe is doing really well with his sleep at night now, sleeping from 6:30 pm to 5 am most days, but his naps are still a bit hit and miss. We’ve not been going out in the mornings very much as I’m trying to get him used to napping at home in his crib. On the odd day he might have a two hour nap but usually it doesn’t last much past 40 minutes at the moment. Toby has been brilliant really – he’s definitely used to his brother being around now, and although he doesn’t always seem too happy about it he’s really good at behaving when I take Gabe upstairs with his nap.

We’ve all had colds this month which has been a bit miserable and it has been disturbing Toby’s sleep more than anyone – in fact I think I’ve been up with him more than I have with Gabe this month! This weekend though we took the plunge with something that we have been putting off for months; we took the cot down and moved Toby into his big boy bed! We went to stay with my mum and dad last week and he slept in a bed there without any issues so we decided it was about time we made the move at home too.

Two nights in and it’s going well so far. He woke up the first night but that’s fairly normal at the moment and last night he slept right through without any problems. He didn’t even get out of bed when he woke up this morning – just lay there waiting for me to go and get him. Having a bed now at least means if he does wake up I can just get in bed with him and go back to sleep (we went straight for a full size single rather than a toddler bed) rather than having to sit next to the cot for ages waiting for him to settle back to sleep, or sleep on the uncomfortable floor!

As I mentioned we went to visit my parents in Blackpool last week – this was partly because we haven’t seen them for ages but also so we could do a few things to progress our relocation plans. We looked at a few houses and even saw one we think we would like to buy which is very exciting – more news on that soon hopefully!

And lastly I had my first night out in forever this weekend. I went out for a lovely meal with some of the mums I met through pregnancy yoga classes. I had a fab time, and even managed to stay out for a cocktail. I’m glad I didn’t drink too much though because having only got home at 1 am, Toby woke up at 2 am so I ended up sleeping on his floor for two hours (Toby is totally anti-dad if he wakes in the night so I have to deal with him). Gabe then woke up at 4 am and although Barry got up to feed him and he tried his best he just couldn’t get him to settle so I had to get up to him at 5 am. I did manage a bit more sleep snoozing on the sofa in the morning while Barry watched the kids but I was still exhausted!

So, to this month’s Me & Mine picture – despite spending a few days in Blackpool all together we didn’t manage to get a family picture there so this one was another last minute job, so last minute that I didn’t even use the big camera. This one was an iPhone selfie taken at the garden centre yesterday. I actually quite like it though – it captures a normal Sunday for us…we often enjoy a garden centre coffee and cake at the weekends!

November 2015

Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (October 2015)

Me & Mine October 2015

Another month gone and we are creeping ever closer to the end of the year. Things have been getting a bit easier this week as we get used to every day life with a toddler and a baby. There have been a few tears this month as Toby started a new nursery and he is still finding his feet there. We still get crying every day when I drop him off but things are improving as the weeks go on. Gabe is getting bigger by the day and we are starting to get somewhere with his sleeping, particularly during the day. He’s much more amenable to being put down these days too which makes life easier. And just this week Toby really seems to have started to enjoy being around his brother again. After the initial novelty wore off he had been a bit put out by Gabe’s presence and the fact he was taking a lot of my attention but now Gabe is napping upstairs a bit more so I have more time for Toby again he’s decided this little baby isn’t so bad after all.

We’ve started making plans for moving back to England this month which is exciting. We had a visit from Barry’s parents last weekend – Toby loves seeing them but it can be a bit exhausting for everyone trying to fit everything in to a short weekend. Living closer to both lots of grandparents and being able to see them more  will certainly take the pressure off and make it more relaxing for everyone. I’m so excited to get the wheels in motion for the move and hopefully I’ll have some more news to share with you on that front soon.

I was actually organised this month and our Me & Mine photos were taken a couple of weeks ago just before we went for our walk in the woods. I know you can’t really see much of Gabe but he’s definitely in there somewhere!

October 2015

Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (September 2015)

This is our second Me & Mine picture as a family of four. Gabe is now six weeks old but we’re still figuring things out and trying to get ourselves into something of a routine. Although day to day life still feels quite hard when I look back at where we were a month ago it is already massively easier than it was then, and things can only get better, right?

Although Gabe is often unsettled during the day, and my Lillebaby carrier has become my new best friend, he is sleeping fantastically well at night which makes the days an awful lot easier to deal with. In the last week we have started putting him up to bed around 8 pm and he will then sleep until somewhere between 2 and 4 am, when he’ll have a feed and go back to sleep until 7ish. I am well aware that for a 6 week old baby this is amazing and it feels brilliant to have our evenings back again. I’m not counting my chickens too soon though – from about 10 weeks old Toby used to sleep from 6:30 pm until 8 am every night. I was so smug…and it lasted about two months. And then he had his last set of vaccinations, got a cold the same day and never consistently slept through the night again until about two months ago! So although things are going well so far I am well aware things could change at any minute.

Being a parent to two small boys certainly has its challenges and we were well and truly tested on our tag-team parenting on Saturday night when Gabe was awake at 1 am and then again an hour later, at which point Toby woke up and was sick all over his bed, and then again over himself and me half an hour later! He’d been up earlier in the evening not feeling well and we weren’t sure what was wrong with him….I think I got about 3 hours sleep that night. Not one I want to repeat in a hurry but we got through it and we will again if we have to.

Barry has been fantastic over the last month. I know he feels a bit ineffectual sometimes when it comes to Gabe because he’s still breastfed most of the time and so he only wants me. But I can only do that because Barry is doing everything else. After leaving for work at 6:30 am he comes home to a sink full of washing up, laundry to fold, meals to cook, Toby to collect from nursery…the list of jobs seems never-ending and he does them all without complaining. I simply wouldn’t be able to manage any of this without him, and not only for the practical stuff… he’s been a wonderful emotional support as I’ve struggled with breastfeeding, a baby who is almost permanently attached to me and a toddler who is coping with it all admirably but who is the source of massive mummy guilt for me as he spends another morning watching CBeebies (embarrassingly he’s watched so much he can now sing along to nearly all the theme tunes).

And so another month has passed and we are slowly settling into our new expanded family. This month’s photo was another last minute one, taken tonight on our bed after both boys had been bathed and dressed ready for bed in their matching sleepsuits (how cute?). I am once again grinning manically as I do a big ‘cheeeese’ trying to get Toby to smile, and Barry looks like he’s about to say something. Toby was very sweet and got hold of Gabe’s hand though which was just lovely. I think it might be quite a while yet before we can manage to get a photo of all four of us together where everyone is looking at the camera and no one is pulling a silly face so for now this will have to do…

September 2015

After we got this picture Toby wanted to have a go with the remote but couldn’t quite grasp that he was supposed to look at the camera, not at the button he was pressing. I still love this photo though so although it’s not perfect I wanted to include it anyway.

September 2015 outtake

Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (April 2015)

Slightly late as usual…I did actually manage to take this picture in April but then after lightening almost struck our house on Wednesday night we didn’t have any phone or internet for two days, and then I was out seeing Take That (amazing by the way!) so I’m only just getting around to posting this now.

April was quite a busy month, I had two weeks off school for the Easter holidays and we had visits from my parents and Barry’s mum too. Somehow with all of that I didn’t actually manage to take a picture of the three of us when we were actually doing something interesting! So this month’s photo is of a very typical scene in the Toby Goes Bananas house. Here we are watching a bit of In The Night Garden before bed.
April 2015

Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (March 2015)

Hurray! I managed to publish this month’s Me & Mine post on the right day, in the right month and everything! To be fair, I only managed to take the photo this afternoon after we got in from work and picked Toby up from nursery so it’s not the most exciting picture ever but this is pretty much the reality of our lives at the moment.

March 15

We haven’t had a very exciting month again this month. I seem to have been ill for most of the month, first with some sort of 24 hour stomach bug and then an awful cough which has hung around for weeks. Barry had the stomach bug too but thankfully Toby managed to avoid it. He’s just had his standard snotty nose this month and we think his back molars might be on their way too. On top of all that I’m still suffering from a dry socket where I had a wisdom tooth taken out so it’s taking ages to heal. It is slowly getting better though.

Reading this it sounds like it’s been a miserable month, and it has at times. But on a more positive note, Toby has been sleeping much better overall, we’ve had some nice trips out at the weekends even if they have just been to the park or to a garden centre for tea and cake. And of course we had the 20 week scan and found out all is well with our new baby boy!

Hopefully April will be a better month for everyone. I’m off school for two weeks of it which I’m hoping will give me a chance to rest a bit and get over all my ailments, and we’ve got visits from our families planned too. Fingers crossed we get a bit of sunshine too and we can all get outside and have some fun!

March 15 2

Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (December 2014)

In the final hours of 2014 I’ve managed to get our last Me & Mine photo of 2014 up! December hasn’t been a brilliant month for us really – we had two weeks of massively disturbed sleep from Toby, he was waking almost hourly some nights and screaming unless I was sat next to his cot or had him in bed with me. We thought it was just a cold and his last two canines coming through but when I eventually took him to the doctor it turned out he had an ear and chest infection! Luckily a course of antibiotics did the trick and he was much better by Christmas. His sleep still isn’t great but at least he is settling again quite quickly if he does wake up instead of being awake for hours. Fingers crossed things continue to improve and he might actually sleep through again one of these days!

Of course sleepless nights also meant work was even more difficult than usual – I was certainly glad when we finally made it to the Christmas holidays and happily for me I don’t go back to work until the 8th January! I’m sure as soon as I’m back though I’ll be counting down the days to Easter (no half-term for us here in Scotland!).

Anyway, to this month’s photo – it was taken on Boxing Day after a walk in the park with my mum and dad. Unfortunately we made the mistake of leaving it to the end to take the picture and so Toby was getting tired and grumpy and not really in the mood for standing still! At least we managed to get one though.



I’ve really enjoyed taking our monthly photos for the Me & Mine project and most months they are the only photos of the three of us that I have. I’ll definitely be carrying on into 2015 but for now here’s a look back at all our pictures from the last year…

Family Portrait January






April family portrait in the garden








October 2014



Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (November 2014)


Another month gone! I really can’t believe where November has gone – it seems to have disappeared before my eyes! Unfortunately November has been a month of illness, broken sleep, hard days at work and unrelenting tiredness.

The month started well with Toby finally deciding he was ready to walk…but then after about a week, and a nasty tumble at nursery (which may or may not have been related) he stopped walking again and wouldn’t bear weight on his right leg. A visit to minor injuries, our GP and finally A&E and despite two x-rays we were still none the wiser as to what was wrong with him. Two weeks of daily painkillers later and it seemed to be getting better and then a few days later he seemed to be completely cured! We’ll never actually know what was the matter but whatever it was I’m glad it has got better and Toby is toddling all over the place again.

While we were still trying to figure out what was wrong with Toby’s foot, I got a nasty cold which left me with no voice at all (interesting when you’re trying to get a class full of unruly teenagers to be quiet!). I actually didn’t feel to bad apart from a horrible cough and no voice but the Toby and Barry both caught it off me and really suffered. After three days of temperatures up to 39.5 we took another trip to our local hospital, this time for the out of hours GP. Fortunately it was only viral and apart from a nose which is still constantly dripping snot Toby seems much recovered. Barry’s feeling better too, after a day off work early in the week and I’m pretty much fully recovered too! I’m really hoping we can all avoid getting ill again in December but with me teaching over 300 different kids a week and Toby in full time nursery I’m sure more germs will be coming our way soon!

So, all in all November hasn’t been the best of months for us but it is ending on a more positive note – last night Toby slept from 8 pm to 7 am without a single wake up for the first time in months and we managed to get this month’s Me & Mine Family Portrait out in the garden today – the first one with a walking Toby in it! And of course there’s so much to look forward to in December – of course there’s Christmas but that also means two weeks off school and getting to see all our family too. Here’s hoping December brings us good health – and plenty more sleep!

Taking this month’s photo was a bit more of a challenge now Toby is walking – he wasn’t that keen on staying in shot so I thought I’d just include this little montage as he walked further and further out of the frame!

November outtakes

Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (October 2014)

October started with a busy few weeks at work and then what was supposed to be a fun and relaxing week off. Unfortunately we decided to go to Butlins in Skegness which, despite not looking too far on the map, took hours and hours to get to. And then Toby decided that he wasn’t really going to eat and wasn’t going to sleep unless he was in bed with me. Which meant not much sleep for anyone. The weather wasn’t great either and we didn’t really get chance to take advantage of everything Butlins had to offer, I’m going to write another post all about our holiday soon but suffice to say no one came home particularly rested!

And now we’re back to work and Toby’s back at nursery and we’re counting down the days until the Christmas holidays (only eight more Mondays at work to go!).

We did manage to get a family photo at Butlins. This was just after breakfast on our last day and we were all ready to go home. You can probably see the tiredness on our faces. But this picture, just like all our Me & Mine family portraits reminds us that although we had a pretty rubbish holiday we got to spend a week together as our little family. And even when things don’t turn out how we hoped we should always make the most of the time do get to spend together.

October 2014

Me & Mine: A Family Portrait (September 2014)

OK, so I think we’ve had what you might call a fail with this month’s Me & Mine photo – not only is it a week late, it’s also quite a rubbish picture, grabbed in the half hour between getting home from work and putting Toby to bed. And I had to give Toby my phone to play with to get him to sit still for 30 seconds! I suppose though it does capture what September has been about for us – not a lot of family time, but just enjoying being together in the short time we do have together, especially during the week.

Toby is still enjoying nursery, and his napping is getting a bit better too. He’s got so clever this month, learning how to do lots of new things like shape sorting, stacking blocks and cups, peg puzzles and generally just figuring out what things are for. At almost 15 months he’s still not walking – he’s getting closer every day. Hopefully by the time I do our October post he’ll actually have managed it!

I’ve been busy with work and being in a musical this month – I’m definitely looking forward to the school holidays in a couple of weeks! And Barry has been busy being a super-dad whilst I’ve been off gallivanting on stage!

So, without further ado here’s our September Me & Mine family portrait (even if it was taken in October!)