Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A Graduation Getaway!

Byron graduated back in the middle of July.  It had been a long four years for him doing his forestry degree at Bangor, but what an exciting four years too! which had us living in a different country every year: Wales - Canada - Scotland - Wales, and which also saw our family of two grow to a family of three! 

During that time we both lived as students in 1st year as I completed my masters degree too, then in 2nd year I took on 2 jobs in Vancouver to support us while By studied, in 3rd year Byron supported us while I was on maternity leave with Ella and then in his final year neither of us were working! so there's been a lot of frugality and struggling along the way but I'm happy to say we've made it out of the other side and not only did he pass his degree...

but he passed it with flying colours, by getting a first! and not only did he get a first, but he also got a special award from the Royal Forestry Society for his dissertation! and he also accepted a graduate job at the biggest forestry company in the UK! 

and let me remind you that he did all of this whilst being married, with a new baby, amidst sleepless nights and early starts, sometimes alongside having a job, and responsibilities at church...

and so we pretty much think he is a superhero! and couldn't be prouder of just how completely awesome he has done!

The graduation day itself kicked off with a rocky start...after Ella had decided the previous night to have a little party in our wigwam hut for half the night!

I'm not sure whether it was waking up in a strange environment or what, but for whatever reason it was one of the worst nights she could have pulled that stunt! 

So after having only slept half the night, it's safe to say she was pretty grumpy and the fact that Byron's graduation ceremony co-incided with nap time was another nail in the coffin!!
Ella and I had to watch By accepting his certifcate from a secondary lecture theatre with a large screen (as you only get 2 tickets to the grand hall where the ceremony takes place and so his parents had those), and I wish I could say we clapped loudly and I wiped away tears as he walked across that stage but he was one of the last faculties to be called up so we'd sat through plenty of name calling already and truth be told at the moment his name was called I was trying to make sure the empty plastic cups Ella had found and was drinking out of didn't contain any alcohol and that I could hold one of her hands to ensure her from fleeing the building whilst trying to snap a picture of our awesome daddy with the other hand! Graduations with babies are not the most leisurely experience!!

I had plenty of time to reflect upon his awesomness at other points in the day...but not at that exact moment!

We left the theatre the second after his name was called to let Ella have the run around she so desperately needed! and she loved exploring the halls and the grounds!

I really don't have anything nice to say about Bangor uni because my experiences of studying there were awful, but they do have some pretty buildings I'll give them that!

So this little girl was seriously sleepy and in need of a nap...

I drove her around for a while so she could have a nice nap and unfortunately missed By accepting his award for his dissertation but I did get some peace and quiet from this crazy one while she slept, and managed to take in a nice view of the Menai Bridge while she did so!

and this was a picture of what I missed - By accepting his award! #momlife!

Eventually after a nice hour long nap, we headed for some well needed lunch - I hadn't eaten all day and we went to one of our fave spots - Dylan's...

because you can't beat that view on a sunny day!

and when in Anglesey it would be rude not to stop at Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour, Ella was naturally loving it and trying to steal as much of Granny's ice cream as possible!

She also went for a little dip in the paddling pool...with a view!

and Daddy was not too important on his special day to get down on some playpark rides, suit and all!!

By's Mom was kind enough to turn the graduation into a little mini getaway by treating us to staying over for 2 nights in these cute little wigwam hut things! 

The scenery was amazing, and we lucked out with the weather! 

Our Braai King was super happy to be getting some meat on the barbie!

Ella loved being a sheep herder, sheep are pretty much her fave thing ever...after dogs that is,

and seriously she herded those sheep through three different fields! It was impressive!

Love that knee bend! capturing her in motion!

and the glow of golden hour!

I wandered down the lane and caught the sunset through this gate...

and then this little hare popped right into my shot!

and I loved the sunlights glow through these hedges.  

Wales, you are really beautiful in the sunshine!

Friday, 26 June 2015

A Little Toddler Update @ 16 months!

So since Ella turned 1 and we stopped the monthly updates, I've been missing blogging about all the cute things she's up to and a couple of people have told me they've missed hearing all her news so I thought it was about time to give an Ella update! 

I feel like as soon as babies start walking they suddenly turn into a toddler overnight! Ella started walking at 15 months...and ever since there have been little toddler signs popping up left, right and centre! I tried hard to ignore them at first and keep calling her my baby but there's no denying it she's really left her baby days behind her now :( which is oh so heartbreaking as her mommy, but it's obviously very exciting to see all the new things she is learning and doing now!

So this is Ella at 16 months, I'm writing most of this down so I don't forget for myself!

words she can say:

Rara (what she calls our budgie Roxy)
boo boo - (what she calls blueberries)
one more

She can also say 'yeah' but for some reason only in a whisper! and she can make a lion noise, but again only in a whisper!

sounds she makes:

snoring - this is one of her new faves!

One of our favourite new tricks is her 'I don't know/where is it' gesture of throwing her hands up in the air.  This started just before we left Wales - we used to keep a little dummy supply behind a cushion on an armchair in her room, but we moved them because she discovered them one day! After that she would wonder into her room, throw the cushions from the armchair down on the floor and then throw her arms up in the air asking where they were! 

She is very good at identifying everyone and who is who.  When we stayed at my parents in between our moves we would go around the room and say 'where's Grandad' and she'd point to my dad, 'where's Auntie Alli' and she'd point to her, 'where's auntie Mara' and she'd point to a picture of her on the wall in the lounge where we were sitting, and when we would ask 'where's dada' she would throw her hands up in the air because he was up in Scotland already! 

Here's a little video of it in action at the farm.

Even yesterday, she had been loving this mattress we had down on the floor in the spare room.  She would go in for a daily jump, but once we built the bed it was meant for we moved it into a different room and she ran in desperate for a morning jump, looked all around the empty room and then threw her hands up in the air!!

Jumping is also a new thing she has just started trying to do this week! It is oh so cute to watch! She can't lift her feet off the ground yet so at the moment it's more of just a knee bend - with an accompanying noise of 'dat'.  She saw some kids in Edinburgh at the weekend bouncing on this bouncy castle tube thing and next minute she was trying herself, it was so sweet!

She also likes to 'do yoga' and bends over like this often.  We used to say 'oh look Ella's doing her yoga' when she would do it, so now if we say to her 'do some yoga' she'll do it on demand!

Her sweet tooth is here to stay, it took a while to show itself but now it doesn't look like it's going anywhere!!

She had her first proper taste of milkshake in Edinburgh on Saturday - and don't let that face fool you! She was loving it and kept chanting 'more, more'! It's funny we've been trying to teach her to suck out of a straw for months, because some of the sippy cups we bought her had straw mechanisms and she just couldn't work it out - gave her the milkshake straw and she worked it out straight away! I guess the oreos did it for her! 

She also loves ice cream! and likes stealing a lick of ours here and there! 

She is just mad about stones! She loved at my parents house picking up stones from their driveway and then going over to their pond and throwing them in.

She even tries to pick out stones in concrete paths if she can see them below the surface! and you can forget trying to get her to go anywhere with you in there is a whole path of stones like the one above - Ella heaven! 

So we just embrace it! and let her pick them up to her hearts content, and then she found this bench which she could post them through which was even better! Posting things through into holes is another favourite thing!

She found a love for the beach, just before we left Wales! Fortunately we're still only about 40 minutes away from the coast here so there will be plenty more time for her to have fun in the sand...if only the sunshine and warm weather would co operate already!!

I can't handle how cute she looks in shorts! 

Another sign she is growing up and losing her baby tendencies...her hair has been growing like crazy! and now she is developing some rather gorgeous curls! look at these crazy ones on the right! 

and again!

Her hair also got long enough to hold hairbands! so we tested it out with this mini pony! it still needs to grow a bit more to work properly but my heart was filled with this little person growing up!

She got her first pair of actual shoes! a little summery pink number! 

and then last weekend in Edinburgh we went to Clarks and got her first pair of sturdy shoes along with a picture of course! and even her first pair of wellies - which you wouldn't think we would need now it's summer but it's rained every day this week here!!

She is still a massive water baby!

We got a paddling pool for her while staying at my parents in Shropshire and she had so much fun splashing around! in fact I think she enjoyed the freedom of being independent in the water a little too much...because a few days later when I took her swimming in the actual pool she didn't want to be held and just wanted me to let her go!!! We have found out they do some good toddler sessions in our local pool here in Kelso so it's going to be back to regular swimming for this little water lover.

She loves to drink the water! even in the bath! ugh! Here she is going in for a big swig!! and then she always goes 'ahhh' afterwards as if it's been so refreshing!

She is still a huge animal lover, and doesn't seem to have any fear of them which I'm not sure is a good thing!

She discovered an opening in the gates as we were passing a cow field one day and wasted no time in just climbing straight through!! 

I had to climb in after her and fish her out which she was most upset about, I think she would have probably run straight up to the cows if I had let her! 

Here she is petting a chick at a little farmers market we went too.  She is also loving it in our new town because there are dogs everywhere! She loves to run after them, and if she's really lucky get some licks to the face from them - oh how she enjoys that! She is going to be super happy the day we get a dog that's for sure! 

She has developed a love for driving! after her little tractor tour around Shropshire..

and even just driving our car when we stop and park is something that she loves to do! especially when the key is in and she gets to do the indicators and windscreen wash too!! 

I filmed this little video of her going nuts at the wheel last night in a little car out future drivers when she turns 17!! 

She is still a big daddy's girl...

 he always knows the best games, and the ways to make her giggle the most! 

She still continues to be the happiest little thing, finding enjoyment in anything and everything! but we're starting to see some little stroppy moments too and stubbornness that comes from learning you can't always run away in shops or that sometimes Noddy on the iPad has to end!! 

but toddler tantrums aside, she just brightens up every day and we're so happy she's a member of our family :)