Cousin love

I think it’s going to take three blogs to catch you up on our last couple of weeks.  I had intended to blog a little and often as we headed up North on holiday, but various factors put paid to that idea – from the holiday cottage we were staying in not having any internet connectivity, to Sophie pouring bubble mix on my laptop and rendering it useless!

But I’m back online (phew, was getting shaky!) and have just finished sorting our hundreds of holiday photographs – who knew it was possible to take quite so many pictures of the Forth Bridge!

I’m not going to start with our holiday though – I’m going to begin my updates in reverse order, starting with a v quick picture blog of a lovely day last weekend.  For my dad’s birthday, my parents plus my brother and his newly expanded family joined us at a lovely pub down in Weybridge.  I’d been nervous about going to a rather suave looking gastro pub with my crazy children – but the Hand and Spear was so large that we had a room to ourselves.  The children could run wild without disturbing anyone!  But they were actually remarkably well behaved – check out the calm photograph.  Everyone is sitting down quietly (probably because the pudding had just been served!)


The lunch was the very first time Sophie and Alex had met their brand new twin cousins, Lucy and Rose. Alex in particular was very excited – saying they were “as cute as puppies” and reminding us that he had to stroke them gently.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  I’m holding Lucy and Rose is fast asleep top right (really hoping I’ve got that right!).


My parents were in their element surrounded by their four grandchildren!


Alex and Sophie both seemed so grown up – it’s hard to believe they were ever the size of their cousins!


They do love their ice cream!


It was fab to get together as a family – such a rare occurrence in our busy lives.  I’m so glad we got a snap of us all together.  Happy birthday dad!



Guess how much I love you

Just a v quick picture post as this was just too cute at bedtime tonight!

At bedtime, the boys usually snuggle up in the spare bed in Alex’s room whilst I give Sophie her final feed in her room.  They read stories  together (often several times in one sitting).  Tonight, when I joined them, I found them reading “Guess how much I love you” – apparently a real children’s classic, but one which I only came across when we received it as a gift.  I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures as they acted out the story together.

“I love you this much” – stretching out their arms as wide as they can go:

“I love you as high as I can reach”:

I love reading with Alex – he’s quite particular about what we read every evening, making very careful (and time consuming) selections.  His current favourites are:

  • We’re going on a bear hunt
  • The Highway Rat (and most other Julia Donaldson books)
  • Hairy MacLary
  • The Hungry Caterpillar (mostly so he can look at all the yummy food and tell me how much he likes chocolate cake and ice cream)
  • Lark in the Ark
  • The Lamb who came to Dinner
  • Aliens in underpants / Dinosaurs in underpants (!)
  • Commotion in the Ocean and Rumble in the Jungle

He’s getting on really well with learning his letters – he can sing the whole alphabet now and recognise “A, L, E, X and S”. in writing  Few more to go!

My water baby

Sophie and I have just finished a ten-week baby swimming course.  Matt did the same programme with Alex on a Saturday morning when he was about six months old, but this time round, I’ve taken her myself on a Wednesday afternoon.  She’s been brilliant in the water – often being the baby the tutor uses to demonstrate various submerges.  She’s been dunked under water since week one, and seems pretty at home beneath the surface (which seems appropriate given Matt and I met scuba diving!).  I must admit, it feels pretty wrong pushing your tiny baby under water, but if you’re going to do it, it’s probably best whilst they still have their natural reflex to hold their breath!

Last week, the tutor took some underwater photographs, so here are a few snaps of my daughter and her crazy hair:

Water baby


Water baby

and us on the surface together:

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Shooting Sophie

Not literally of course!  Last week was the penultimate photography class, and we moved on to considering composition more and playing around with props/texture.

So here are a couple of delightfully cheesy snaps of Sophie posing with some cute props the tutor brought to mark her turning 4 months old today:


and just to give you a taste of the class set up – here’s a wider shot of the room with us all posing our babies, with Sophie looking very pleased with herself on her tummy!

This week’s homework is to try and take some creative shots, but I’m running out of time.  The weather is dark and gloomy so the light is rubbish, and the one time we went out to somewhere with interesting shapes (Tate Modern and the South Bank) I forgot to take the SLR – whoops!  Got a selection of textured materials out and plan to see if I can get some shops of Sophie when she wakes from her next nap.  Will post them later (if they are any good!).

Capturing Alex

So, with the weather suddenly sunny and Spring-like, I spent some time in our local park with Alex this weekend trying to do my photography homework!  As I mentioned last post, we were trying to capture motion using shutter speed settings – aiming to photograph a moving object frozen in motion, a moving object captured with motion blur, and if possible a moving object captured sharp with a blurry background…

It was a lot of fun trying to do it – although my results aren’t that good.  But, for the record, here are my attempts!

1. A moving object frozen in motion:

And another attempt:

2. A moving object captured with motion blur (poor Alex, I kept spinning him to try and get a good shot – and he looked a bit green by the end!)

3. A moving object captured sharp with a blurry background (this is the slowest slide ever, so it was tricky to get much blur!)

Let’s hope the sunshine continues so we can get out and about a bit more and I can keep improving!  It’s been a fabulous weekend – with lots of family visitors.  The house is feeling quite quiet this evening!  Will post about that this week, but now it’s time to sleep!  I shall leave you with a cute Sophie picture:

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And a proud Alex after a monster Valentine’s Day card making session:

Proud of his cards

Good night all!

Photography for parents

So, I mentioned that I’ve started a photography course for parents in my last post.  This is a fabulous concept – a weekday class for parents with pre-mobile babies which aims to teach them how to take great photos of their children.  We have a posh digital SLR camera but I have absolutely no idea how to use it properly, sticking to the automatic settings most of the time – so I’ve signed up to learn how.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a creative photographic genius, but I think the class is going to give me so much more confidence at experimenting, and loads of new techniques to try as well as tips for getting the best results when photographing Alex and Sophie.  Plus, it’s a lot of fun – and such a treat to take a class where babies are welcome but that focuses on grown ups!  I’m enjoying spending lots of time really looking at Sophie – sounds silly to say that, but when you’re staring through the lens, you notice more and take more in I think.  She’s such a cutie!

Each week, we’re focusing on a different topic – starting with light and composition.  So for the first time I really thought about how to position Sophie (and myself with the camera) to bring out the light in her eyes.  And here’s my homework:


Last week, we covered aperature settings and practiced playing with depth of field.  My homework was a bit rubbish as the light was terrible – it’s been such a dark and gloomy week!  But I was attempting to get different things in focus.  For the record, here are a couple of shots:




Today was all about shutter speed – and we spent most of the class standing on the pavement outside the building trying to photograph passing cars.  It must have been a very odd sight – seven mums and buggies photographing a busy road in East Dulwich!  Will share my homework if I manage to get some funky blurry shots of Alex this weekend!!  Don’t think you need to see the local traffic photographs…

More photos soon…

June in pictures

It’s been a busy couple of weeks – so I thought I’d capture what we’ve been up to in pictures…

We’ve spotted boats on the Thames at London Bridge:

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We’ve buried ourselves at the Brixon Rec softplay:

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Alex has become the fastest Under-2 in Southwark – well, Alex won the running race in the Southwark Childminder’s mini Olympics – we have a medal and certificate!  Maybe his first of many titles 😉  Apparently Alex’s childminder taught him to say “I’m gonna win, I’m gonna win” before the race – and when the whistle blew, he sprinted as fast as he could.  He’s clearly inherited his parent’s competitive streaks!  Here he is walking home victorious:

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We’ve been out on our bikes;

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We’ve buried ourselves again – this time in sand at the Brockwell Park playground:

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We’ve been on a tractor ride at Godstone Farm:

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And we’ve ridden on our first fairground ride on our own:

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We’ve LOVED playing in the water play at Myatt’s Fields:

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And fallen in love with a pink buggy:

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Clearly Alex is preparing for the arrival of a baby sister in October 😉

First birthday party

This will be brief as I’m getting a tad out of date with the blog and need to catch up.  It’s been a very busy couple of weeks – the highlight being our NCT class first birthday party!  Alex is the oldest of the seven boys born to the NCT group we attended in the build up to his birth (we have a ready made Rugby Sevens team!).  Gradually the gang have turned one, and we decided to mark the occasion by having a joint party.

We hired the community centre in Dulwich Park for an afternoon, filled it with balloons, bubbles (both adult and child varieties!) and many toys – and had a fabulous afternoon celebrating.  Sadly, one of Alex’s little friends, Freddie, was sick on party day, so we ended up with six of the seven which was such a shame – fingers crossed we all make it for their second birthday!

Helen (Angus’s mum) made a stunning birthday cake which Alex very much enjoyed (having a tantrum when I wouldn’t let him eat much of it!) – she managed to squeeze on all the names – Alex, Milo, Max, Angus, Freddie, Arlo and Ralph!

Helen's fabulous (and delicious!) cake

We, of course, did the obligatory baby line up – here they are all sitting beautifully:


Alex spent most of the party running around with his trolley, obviously loving the fact he had a massive room with minimal furniture to get in the way:


It was a lovely, if exhausting, afternoon – made all the more special by having my mum and Auntie there too!  Just in case you haven’t already spotted them on Twitter, here’s the full set of pics we took of the big day:


I’ve been a very bad blogger and not posted anything for a couple of weeks – sorry about that!  I blame the excessive Autumn heat turning my brain to mush!

We’ve had a good couple of weeks since his birthday.  It’s been fairly quiet, which has been nice considering how stunning the weather has been – leaving plenty of time for lounging in the local park or our garden 🙂  My mum is visiting from the USA, so we had a fun couple of days with her last weekend.  Alex seemed to remember her from her last visit which was great.

This weekend it’s been outrageously hot, so we’ve enjoyed donning our shorts again!  We’ve had lots of fun with our friends Catherine and Charlie, and their children Phoebe and Henry, this weekend – firstly breakfast at the Brockwell Park Lido Cafe, and later a lazy and rather yummy bbq in our garden followed by a trip to the swings.  I think the weather will turn more seasonal in a couple of days, but it’s been really quite enjoyable – if a little surreal – playing in the park with Alex in the evening in temperatures that could be August, as the sun is setting early with autumn leaves on the ground.

Here’s Alex this afternoon having fun in the park this afternoon:


And listening carefully to his friend Phoebe as she pushes him around the local park!


And finally, here’s Alex exploring the park early yeterday evening looking rather naughty:

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Probably the most exciting thing that’s happened in the last few days is that we’ve put our house on the market!  We’ve found a gorgeous house in a lovely road nearby that we have our eyes on – if we can find someone to buy this place!  The thought of having to keep the house spotless and tidy is filling me with horror – within minutes of entering a room, Alex has usually trashed it!  So here’s hoping for a quick sale!  Keep your fingers crossed.

Right – time to bed for me, I shall close this post with a little video of alex showing off his new ability to do high fives”…

Saturday night update

It’s Saturday night, and I really should be in bed as an unusual night awakening from Alex last night meant severely reduced sleep!  But I thought I’d do a quick post – although for those of you following our photos on Flickr, I’m afraid you’ll have seen the pics before!

It’s been a pretty quiet week with pretty attrocious weather which has somewhat restricted activities!  We took advantage of a break in the rain to head out on our bikes last weekend where I took my new fave picture of Alex:

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The biggest news of the week is that Alex was fitted for his very first pair of shoes – we had a great experience at Clarks in East Dulwich – he was very well behaved as his feet were measured, and then the team there took a photo of him in his first shoes as a little gift.  Very cute!  Here he is wearing his brand new shoes and mac – ready to face the horrible weather earlier this week.

New coat and shoes - ready for the Autumn

It seems shoe purchasing came not a moment too soon, as Alex is beginning to take a few steps on his own (actually, that’s probably bigger news than the shoe purchasing!)!  I think he’s still a bit of a way off proper walking, but on occasion he does make forward progress that looks more controlled than just falling over!  He’s growing up so quickly.

In other news, Alex has a new friend at his childminder.  He’s no longer the baby of the group, having been joined by a 10 month old girl called Martha.  Here they are, both exhausted from having fun at the local park!

Snoozing with his new friend, Martha

He’s been on good form this week, including for a babysitter on Friday night allowing Matt and I a night out together (watching Mark Kermode do a great talk at the Brixton Ritzy cinema).  Such a nice treat, especially after a horrendous week at work, when at the lowest point I had to commute all the way back home after arriving at London Victoria to pick up my purse and oyster card having left them in my nappy changing bag!  Took me 2.5 hours to get to my desk after leaving my house – rubbish!

We’ve had a fun day today with Alex’s swimming lessons starting a new term, albeit with a slightly less fun teacher.  He absolutely LOVES being in the water though – splashing everyone and grinning throughout the lesson, even after being dunked.  Such fun to watch.

Anyways, I really should head to bed – got a big day coming up with Alex turning one on Monday!  This time a year ago, I’d just been induced!  Not such a happy memory 😉

Family photo

Just a very quick post this morning to share a picture my sister-in-law emailed me last night.  It occurred to me the other day that we have almost no photographs of all three of us. As if by magic, Margaret sent me this photo taken at Sunday’s Easter egg hunt.  Thanks!

One for grandma’s bragging book I think!

Family Agar

Alex at 19 weeks

Last weekend, our photographer friend Tim popped over to give Matt a tour of his new camera.  Their subject for the photography training was, of course, little Alex!  And as a result, we have a gorgeous new set of photographs of Alex as he turned 19 weeks old!

Alex profile

Week two – home at last

We celebrated Alex being one week old by being discharged from hospital – at last. Ten nights in hospital with terrible food and almost no sleep wasn’t the greatest experience, so being released was quite a moment! Alex is still jaundiced, and we’ll probable have to pop back to be monitored, but at least we could take him home 🙂

We got Alex ready for his first journey, dressing him in one if the lovely cardigans knitted by his Grandma – think he might need to grow into it a little more (but at least it kept him warm!!):

Alex leaving hospital

As the car had been stolen, complete with our new baby car seat, we were driven home by our lovely NCT friends, Bryony & Dan.

After a warm shower and my first plate of nutritious food in over a week, we had our first of many visitors. Alex first met Katharine:
Alex with Katharine

And then a new friend, little Emmett who came with his parents David and Bergin! I love this picture of Matt and David with their children – quite a different picture from the ones we have of the two of them at Warwick University over a decade ago!
Matt, David and their boys

Over the course of Alex’s second week, we had lovely visits from friends and family, and drop ins from the health visitor and midwife – both of whom were pleased with Alex’s progress – phew!

Most exciting of all were our first excursions out as a family – the very first trip was through the park in his pram to the rather familiar King’s College Hospital for a jaundice check (still there, but no worse). He slept the whole way in his pram which was a good sign – and even on the bus on the way home.

More fun was his first trip in the baby bjorn sling to the local deli for lunch – again, he snoozed comfortably the entire time – but it was wonderful to get out of the house and into the Autumn sunshine with him.

Alex on his way to the deli

The week closed with the arrival of his incredibly excited grandparents from Michigan – am still amazed that they managed to wait two weeks to visit, but it quickly became clear that they were going to make up for lost times with the number of cuddles Alex was now getting!

Alex with Grandma

Announcing the arrival of Alex Agar! – first week diary

Sorry for the blogging silence – those of you we’ve spoken to will have heard that Alex’s birth and first week weren’t quite what we’d planned, and with a rather unfortunately timed burglary, we lost the means to blog. But we’re home now, stolen technology replaced and so we’ll try and keep this up to date with news and photos of the little man.

We’ll post the story of his birth (don’t worry – it won’t be graphic!) soon, but here are some pictures from his first few days!

Me having my first cuddle in the recovery room:

Slightly shell-shocked parents!

Meeting Uncle David

Early checks found that Alex had quite a severe case of jaundice, so he spent quite a large part of his first week undergoing light therapy.  Sadly this meant that cuddling time was curtailed as he was only allowed out of the box for feeding and nappy changes.  And the little man didn’t like wearing the protective mask very much, which made for a stressful time trying to keep it on him.  Here he is in his little box:

Alex having photo therapy

Thankfully his jaundice improved enough for us to get to enjoy him a little more – here he is with dad giving us a little grin!

Alex giving us a smile

There are loads more photos of his time in hospital on Flickr – you can reach them on the right hand side of the page.  We’re adding to them all the time.  More posts about his first month coming soon…

Baby Agar at 20 weeks

Here’s Baby Agar at the 20 week scan – we’re still trying to figure out whose nose he will inherit! He was pretty uncooperative at revealing his gender, but after a bit of prodding, we saw clearly that “Kate” was actually “Bob”!

And we even got a few glimpses of Bob in 4D – see if you can figure this one out!