Sunday, 29 March 2009

The best toys

Nathaniel has all sorts of wonderful toys. Educational ones, entertaining ones, ones made out of wood, ones made out of furriness, ones in bright colours, ones in fascinating shapes.

But his favourite things in all the world are remote controls. So much so that we have had to dig out an old one from a DVD player that doesn't work and take out the batteries so that he can play with it.

Offer him two toys, one that is exciting and brightly coloured, and one that is the remote control, and you can guess which one prompts him to laugh and grab and wiggle his legs in excitement....

Scary-Aunt-Jenni (her official name) hands Nathaniel the best toy

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Today was the latest Micklegate Singers concert in the Chapter House of the Minster. It went pretty well - there were some good points and some very bad points, but I think that the audience mainly noticed the good points. The programme was a little on the boring side - too much Tallis and Palestrina for my liking. But even I have to admit that this sort of thing sounds good in the Chapter House acoustics.

The highlights for me were Angel Song II (Todd), Lux Arumque (Whitacre), Trement Videntes Angeli (Macmillan) and (would you believe it?), Rutter! The Whitacre is just haunting and beautiful, and even if some would classify it as a little Classic FM, it has a wonderful spine-tingling moment. The Todd and Macmillan were also "mood pieces"! Good proportions of both of them were waffly-ness - each part is assigned a line of music, but each member of the section sings it in their own time. What you end up with is just a gentle murmur of sounds, sometimes resolving into something pretty, sometimes not. It doesn't sound very promising, but has an amazing effect! The Rutter was the Hymn to the Creator of Light which has very few cheesy moments, and lots of wonderful discordant cadences. Really fun to sing!

One of the great things about singing in the Minster is that you get to prowl around it in the dark when it is deserted. After rehearsals it is fun to hide behind statues and jump out at people! I tried to take an atmospheric photo, but it just looks like the sun is streaming through the window rather than the eery darkness that it actually has.

We are never tempted to try on the choir robes....(!)

Half Birthday

Nathaniel is 6 months old today!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Birthday photos

Thinking of things that one wants for birthdays has always been a problem - we can never think of anything that seems suitably "birthdayish". So it was particularly exciting when I actually thought of something (albeit a little late, at only two days beforehand!) and suggested that it might be fun to get a shiny camera.

We had always enjoyed using the old film SLR camera that we inherited from parents, but it stopped working properly a while ago and we'd debated about whether to fix it or not and, as a result, never got round to it! Then digital cameras appeared in earnest and it seemed even less worth repairing.

Whilst our compact digital camera is very good, the one thing it struggles most with is taking pics inside in not much light - having played with MF's new camera recently, enjoying the crazy zoom and good indoor pictures of the boy, we decided that not being able to take decent photos of him at home was a disadvantage!

However, as 30th birthdays only come around every now and then, it seemed like something good to put birthday money towards. So we spent a happy time on the internet and in camera shops looking at the options for digital SLR cameras and evetually settled on a Nikon D40, which is the entry level Nikon model but has enough exciting bells & whistles to play with whilst we get the hang of it. We also got an additional telephoto lens to go with it so we also have crazy zoom!

It's even clever enough to take a piture of itself....(well, maybe not quite!)

Here are some of the photos we have taken with it. Not necessarily very exciting, but obviously one has to play with a new toy....

"What's that you're pointing at me?"

Crazy zoom!

Trying to be arty..?!

You can even see the dust...

The Return of the Pansy
(it's actually very small!)

Chew chew chew...

Excited baby

I think we need to get the photography books out again to remind us how to use it properly... watch this space to see if the pics improve!!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Spring arrives

The best thing is when you get the first warm day of the year and you spend ages in the garden sitting in the sun wearing hats and scarves! Today was that day and so we sat outside and reminded ourselves that our camera takes great outdoor photos!

Then Alex and Juliet came to visit so we did some more sitting!

Saturday, 14 March 2009


How do you decide when a baby can officially sit? Is it a duration thing, or just the ability to hold themselves up at all?

We have made the call that Nathaniel can now officially sit. He is really quite stable and can lean over and pick up things without over balancing. We were going to take a photo to show off his skills, but he immediately decided that he would rather stand.

He has realised that in order to stand, you have to straighten your legs, but isn't quite sure how to get into an upright position. This means that he spends a lot of time lying down, having straightened his legs from a sitting position.

This is a cheating photo - he's not really sitting unaided. You'll just have to believe us that he can!

Friday, 13 March 2009

More food

Tonight we all ate pork chops, mashed potato and broccoli. Even Nathaniel! The broccoli was a great hit, but got everywhere. It had to be removed from under his chin, behind his ears, under his nails, wedged under the seat of the high chair....

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

In the house

Nathaniel continues to enjoy doing the washing:

Sunday, 8 March 2009

All alone

Last night the Barbarellas (my female barbershop quintet) sang a gig in town and so I got the night off Nathaniel-watch. Although I have been away from him on many occasions - going to choir, when he and Ian go for a walk - they are mostly of quite short duration and I'm normally with other people. Its been almost 6 months since I did something as normal and familiar as walking into town on my own! And I greatly enjoyed it. Never let it be said that having kids doesn't make you appreciate the oddest things!

Anyway, this is all an excuse to post a picture of the Barbarellas that I came accross earlier. This is from last summer when we had our first ever solo concert. A good hour of nothing but Barbarellas - what bliss! The shirt I am wearing is the staple Micklegate Singers pregnancy concert shirt and has been worn by at least three Barbarellas so far!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Real Food

Nathaniel now owns a high chair which means that the task of eating has become much more managable! We have decided to give baby-led weaning a try which suits us rather well because we (well, Ian and I) are pretty lazy (ie don't fancy making millions of purees) and like to play with our food! For those who are not familiar with the baby-led weaning thing, it is basically an approach to weaning that involves just eating the food! As babies are physiologically capable of dealing with actual solids by 6 months, there seems little point in turning everything to mush. So instead, you just offer them real bits of food and they play with it and learn to eat it. It's just working with their instincts and letting them develop their eating skills in the same way as they do their walking and balance skills.

So, here is Nathaniel trying some green beans:

Friday, 6 March 2009


The weather has started to warm up, and so it is time to play in the yard. Ian spent the afternoon tidying it and hacking everything down to the ground, so soon we might have some good greenery. Nathaniel seemed pretty interested in the whole exercise!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Some time ago I proudly reported that I had managed to bake some cakes while Nathaniel was asleep. I had no idea how easy I had it then! Nathaniel is not a big sleeper during the day, so the times of doing that are past. However, now that he can almost sit up, he can occupy himself a bit better and so today I suceeded to making some rock buns.

It was a close call - they almost didn't get finished. Nathaniel sat happily for a bit, but eventually got really upset at the noise of the food processor mixing stuff. Fortunately, after we had taken a break, changed a nappy and had a bit of a play in the other room, we were able to continue for long enough to just about get them in the oven!

Playing with the molecule