Puffin Rock

Our three year old daughter is obsessed with a children's program called Puffin Rock; a beautifully illustrated, happy little show about a couple of puffins and their various wild friends.

We're lucky enough to live near to Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire so I had the idea to take Ivy to a real life 'Puffin Rock' this year so that we could try and spot all her favourite characters from the program.

We left Alys at home with a friend and had such a wonderful day with Ivy. She loved going on the boat and was amazing at walking all day long. She was really excited to see the puffins, Silky the seal, May the rabbit, the pesky seagulls and we even listened carefully for Mossy the shrew in the undergrowth.

We also managed to catch the spectacular display of spring flowers that Skomer is famous for. It was truly beautiful and the most amazing spread of bluebells I have ever seen.

Ivy asks daily when we can go back on the boat so I think the day was a hit!

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Fields of Sunshine

I have been pretty rubbish about getting regular portraits of Alys and recording her monthly milestones (sorry second child!) but I was determined to get some first birthday shots, so the other day we packed up and headed off for a photo shoot in a field full of sunshine!

Picture the scene...mid photo shoot and the farmer drives through the field. We're trying to stand there nonchalantly with a massive 'one' balloon floating behind us. I'm sure we didn't look strange at all!!

At 12 months Alys:

// Has 3 full meals a day and 2 or 3 milk feeds. She also feeds at night, although we are trying to wean her off these in an attempt to help her settle herself. (This mostly depends on how exhausted we are!).
She has two day time naps and wakes at least once at night, although this has recently improved from a long stretch of waking up to 8 times in the night (zzz).

// She crawls around everywhere and eats everything she can find on the floor, although she's pretty good at sticking her tongue out and looking sheepish when I tell her to stop it! She's just starting to pull herself up to standing on low things (like a step) but hasn't got to the stage of using a walker or cruising on furniture yet.

// She has two teeth at the bottom and one and a half on the top!

// She'll happily play with the contents of her toy box but mostly loves chasing her sister around and ripping up books when my back is turned.

// She now says 'hiya' very clearly and in context and can also say mama, dada, ivy, ta and can sign 'I love  you'.

At 3 years and 8 months Ivy:

// is very independent and knows what she wants. Recently she has become a lot more confident with exploring and loves to climb and jump outside.

// is still very sociable and would rather be with people than playing on her own. However, she is becoming more independent in playing outside or on her scooter. She loves to be with Alys and they will play nicely together.
She loves to cook and I am trying to encourage her confidence in chopping and preparing food more independently.

// is still pretty fussy with food but we've given up making a big deal out of it now because nothing has worked; she will try new foods occasionally. Her favourite foods are fish and chips and cake.
She generally sleeps all night.

// is enjoying school although it makes her so exhausted. She is doing well with her lessons but needs to work on her sharing skills!
Her vocabulary is excellent and she seems to pick up new words all the time and amuses us when she comes out with something new. She is using 'babyish' talk and mispronouncing words less and less which makes me a little sad - she's growing up so fast!

Oh girls, you exhaust me but you are a joy!

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Linking with Country Kids, My Wild Ones


Life Lately

You may have noticed that things have been pretty quiet on the blog recently and that is because the last couple of months have been all about surviving the weeks, holding everything together as much as possible and letting go of anything that wasn't absolutely necessary.
Honestly, we're in an draining season of life at the moment full of sleepless nights, illness, discipline and work. It's all fulfilling and we're in exactly the right place but it's also exhausting.

I know I'll regret not writing down what we've been up to though so I'm going to try and wrack my brain and record a few memories. Here goes!

// At the end of February Ivy got really bad tonsillitis. It took me a couple of days to even work out what was wrong with her because she didn't have any obvious symptoms, she was just being really grumpy and tired. I got it as well a few days later and felt like death so I can understand her grumpiness! Unfortunately the illness really took it out of Ivy and it took her a good month to get over it, which led to lots of 'fun' behavioural issues which made home life a joy(!)

// March was pretty busy with the run-up to Easter and all the craziness that brings to a clergy family! Both sets of parents came to visit which was great, and I also managed to escape on a two night retreat to Nicholston House on the Gower. It was the first time I had left Alys for more than an hour or so and the first nights of interrupted sleep I'd had for months!

// We managed a few trips out and about, and had a quiet Easter holiday trying to rest and recover from illness. We love enjoying the surrounding beaches and Ivy is getting much more confident in climbing and exploring.

// Josh and I went out on a rare day-date for his birthday which was wonderful! We had a beautiful meal and walked a bit of the coast path near St David's. It was so good to reconnect and feel like a couple rather than just parents for a few hours.
I also enjoyed a belated Mother's Day breakfast!

// Josh had a few days off after Easter to try and recover from all the busyness, but we had a fairly disastrous trip away which left us even more exhausted! We were meant to be visiting Lincoln for a dedication and decided to make a weekend of it and see friends in Harlech and Stoke-on-Trent as well, staying in Travelodges along the way. Ivy was ridiculously excited to be staying in a hotel which was pretty cute but sleeping all in one room and trying to settle two children was a nightmare! After a couple of sleepless nights and lots of driving (but some nice visits with friends) we arrived in Lincoln only for Alys to start being sick everywhere! We didn't even make it to the dedication but had to turn around and drive seven hours home with a vomiting baby! Nightmare!
It was inevitable that both Ivy and I also got the vomiting bug (although Josh has miraculously survived) so the last couple of weeks has been a haze of utter exhaustion and lots of laundry.

// Alys has been doing really well and started crawling on the 14th April (it only took her eleven months! ha!) so she's now into everything. She can say Mama, Dada, Hiya, Baba (Ivy) and ta and loves to lean in to give 'hugs' and say 'ahhh'. So cute!
Her sleep is still terrible (seriously, I don't even know how we're functioning!) but sleep training starts this week! I think...maybe...!
Ivy knows her own mind, but is so fun to be around. She is growing up so quickly now and loves draw and cook, as well as explore outside and ride her beloved scooter.

So, that's the last couple of months. It's been a bit of a blur and all I can concentrate on is the exhaustion although I know there have been some fun times too. Here's hoping for more sleep in the next couple of months!!

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