And so this is Christmas…

Isabelle’s first to be exact. Now it’s been a while since I’ve put finger to key pad and such a lot seems to have happened in such a short space of time, so I’ve got some serious catching up to do.

Christmas was spent ant Grandma and Granddad’s in Southend with New Year and Nana and Granddad’s in Notts.

Sarah and I have always loved Christmas and it was made all the more special last year when we found out that we were expecting a baby on Christmas Eve, which rather put pay to the boot full of booze that had just been bought to Sarah and hello to her love but mostly hate relationship with Schleur. Obviously it was all worth it and low and behold nine months later Isabelle was here.

So flash forward to our first Christmas together and the morning of the 25th saw Isabelle building her strength and stamina up for the present opening, well mostly rocking crazily as items were opened and then feverishly explore, with her very first rusk.

Thoroughly spoilt, we got her a few presents but didn’t go overboard with it being her first Christmas and all but we did get her a few bits as she was getting to that grabbing and exploring stage, grabbing like one of those little monkeys that you have when you are younger that you end up have grabbing onto curtains etc – obviously we didn’t suspend Isabelle from any curtains I hasten to add. Special mention though must go to the junior West Ham kit, complete with Isabelle’s name on the back, am sure that will help them win the bid for the Olympic stadium.

She also got spoilt rotten by friends and family but amazingly no body double dipped on any clothes or toys or anything, and surely there can only be so many items you can buy for a four month old, apparently not but that was great and meant we could tear up the gift receipts and throw them in the air as we celebrated no queuing to return items.

Queue we did though as Isabelle also hit her first sales, taking full advantage to kit her out for Spring and beyond at the Next sale among others.

Boxing Day saw Sarah’s brother, Lee, and his family round for Christmas 1.1, which was great and saw further rocking etc and later on in the evening much bemusement on Isabelle’s face with varying degrees of quality warbling on various Sing Star games, this bemusement was soon followed by boredom and then sleep. The fun and festivities was shattered by Sarah’s mum and dad’s German Shepherd, Max, who was distressed and bringing up foam. Cue emergency vets and in the end a twisted stomach and two operations. Thankfully though I’m happy to report that although it was touch and go Max is now fine and fighting fit.

Not to be outdone, with a terrible cough that just wouldn’t go away it was down to the Emergency Doctors the day after Boxing Day uber early with Isabelle to ensure that she hadn’t got a chest infection when we went up to Nottinghamshire, indeed she had and was given some penicillin to get her on the mend. Sarah and I just got used to squirting the penicillin into Isabelle’s mouth in stages armed with her feed to take away the taste which she didn’t like but then she doesn’t like the strawberry taste of Calpol but can’t get enough of Dentinox, go figure!

The day after Boxing Day will also go down in the annals of history as the first day Isabelle amused herself (no end) with her raspberry blowing, which of course meant we all spent the evening blowing raspberries ourselves to Isabelle’s obvious delight. I perfected mine in the style of the Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town from The Two Ronnies.

And so to Nottinghamshire where we spent our ‘second Christmas’ and although my mum and dad had seen Isabelle growing and changes in images and on Skype, even making an appearance in her own Christmas special on Christmas Day to them, they saw a massive change in her and what she was now doing. Cue lots of playing on the carpet, singing and videoing etc, and quite right too.

Just about squeezing everyone and everything into the car, including Missy of course, we made the two-and-a-half hour journey to Notts flanked by hefty patches of fog and ice patches. Gavin, Shona and the kids popped over on our first evening up there for the exchange of gifts and play catch up. It was still foggy when they arrived and Gavin, a giant of a baby brother, turned up in his black coat and a matching fedora style hat that, coupled with the fog and the light on the side of the house, made him look like Father Merrin from The Exorcist when he first pitches up to the house.

New Year’s Eve in the day saw Sarah, Isabelle, Missy and I head to Rufford Park, home of Rufford Abbey, reputedly once frequented by Friar Tuck apparently. Well, he wasn’t there that day but plenty of other people were, along with the ice and the mud, which didn’t really make for the most fun of experiences as we were pretty much slipping and sliding all over the place with the buggy, so alas Isabelle never made it to feed the ducks

It was great to catch up with everyone, including Gavin and his family, where we also spent much of New Year’s Eve, and also caught up with Isabelle’s God Parents, Dave, Lisa and Rachel, albeit far too briefly. Isabelle had an early Christmas visit from her other God Parents, Shaun and Sue, earlier in December which was a great surprise to both Isabelle and Sarah.

All too soon it was time to strategically pack the car again with the presents we brought up replaced by new ones we are taking home. It was a great and memorable Christmas for us with lots f memories and by the time it comes around next year hopefully Isabelle will have a few hazy ones of her own.

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