Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone. Hope you've had a wonderful day!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Movie impression revealed

For those of you who saw the film impression post from last week. Here is the answer, OK more of a Dad impression where bubba is an accessory but the likeness is definitely there.

Unfortunately Dad has since shaved his bushy beard, possibly to avoid being confused with Santa.

Monday, 20 December 2010


I'm just having a fiddle with the design of the blog, getting a bit bored with the spots. Not quite there yet so bare with me.

In the meantime, here's a picture of Alex from this afternoon. He isn't quite 'getting' the concept of his Jolly Jumper, preferring to use it as a way to propel himself up the door frame, spiderman style. At least he's got the 'Jolly' part down.

Spiderbaby in action

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A very very short Christmas story

Setting: Bay Fair Shopping Centre, Mount Maunganui

"Best if you keep baby looking at you and just pass him to Santa"

looks uneasy

"It's probably best that he doesn't look at me, most babies are frightened of the beard"

"Don't worry, his Dad had a beard almost as bushy until very recently" (see previous post)

"Oh really, well then..."
Turns baby towards him

Big smiles

"Um... over here"

smiles at camera

"Job done - lets go home...
I'm sorry? that much for just one photo!"

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

More impressions - can you guess?

10 points and a photo of Alex getting into the Christmas spirit to anyone who can guess the film. The answer will be revealed next week.

p.s. Sandra, you might find this easier than most...

Backyard tradition

A few days ago Alex got to experience the ancient New Zealand tradition of sitting naked in a big shell filled with water in the backyard. Did the young man enjoy, and fully appreciate the significance of this important occasion? See the video to find out.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


In the past week we've at last seen a real interest in moving around from our little 8 month old, and not before time. Not content to move in the traditional, and some would argue, more effective baby moving method i.e. crawling Alex has decided to roll everywhere. This works fine when the object of desire is to the side of him but presents some challenges when it's say... directly in front but just out of reach. He manages pretty well all things considered.

He's also keen to stand at every opportunity and holds himself up on the sofa pretty well. Here he is showing off for the camera.

Friday, 3 December 2010

The Family Series: Second cousin Ruby

Decided to try comic form for today's entry. You will probably need to click on the image to read it.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Showing his loyalty

Yesterday in a fit of enthusiasm I attempted to bake some healthy scones, all wholemeal flour and no sugar etc. etc. Let's just say they didn't quite work out, unless you were looking for a small wholemeal weapon or an unattractive paperweight.

This morning at breakfast I discovered the true loyalty of our 7 month old baby boy. Disinterested in his strawberry and banana breakfast I thought I'd see if he fancied a nibble on one of the aforementioned rocks... i mean scones, soaked in tea to be slightly edible. Well, the enthusiasm was enormous, in fact when he discovered his piece of scone had fallen from his hand he was visibly upset. My heart did swell.

The video below shows a dedication to him mother's cooking well beyond the call of duty!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Byron Baby

Here are a few photos from the last leg of our Australian trip, where we stayed with Amma on the gold coast, had a lovely trip to a slightly soggy Byron Bay and visited the lovely Kate in Brisbane.

A tasty brunch and the morning papers in Byron

It's never too cold for a quick walk on the sand

A quick visit with Kate in Brisbane

Alfresco baby

Part of the appeal of moving bubba to the other side of the world is obviously the weather and the outdoor lifestyle that comes with more warm months. Given he's not yet walking, or even crawling for that matter (will he ever?) he can't fully appreciate the great outdoors.

One way we've made the most of it is through the great art of eating outdoors, as demonstrated by these photos. As well as being a lovely way to dine, or lunch or breakfast for that matter, the other bonus is it's much easier to clean up the um... slight mess which accompanies the darling boy whenever he has a meal. Win win!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Family Series: GrandPa

Next stage on our journey was an introduction to GrandPa in Merriwa. A nice, relaxing change in pace from Sydney. A place where bubba got to see real versions of all sorts of animals only previously seen on his peek a boo iphone application including horses, cows, sheep and the very unusual beast which GrandPa breeds almost exclusively, and rarely found outside of the Upper Hunter area, the electric folding bicycle creature. Not to be missed.

Baby Alex seemed to take to his GrandPa with his usual enthusiasm, starting off with staring followed by big smiles and finally random laughing. This despite the cold he acquired during our travels (and promptly passed on to his GrandPa).

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Family Series: Mean Uncle hOb

The self titled 'Mean Uncle hOb' whose name is actually Navin (I don't have time to go into that particular story) is the first in a new series of posts about family members Alex has met in the past few weeks.

It seems Mean Uncle hOb (let's call him MUH for simplicities sake) has not been living up to his title and we were totally spoilt during our time with him in Sydney. He gave up his bedroom for us, drove us around and kept us fed and watered with the best restaurants the Northern Beaches has on offer (he calls them his extended dining room). He's really going to have to work harder at the whole 'mean' thing or a name change will be required.

It was also a good time to stay with health conscious Dr Navin (so many names) as both Haydn and I were in various states of disrepair and needed Navin's potions, pills & healthy food to get us back on the road again. In exchange for his kindness Alex didn't pee on his carpet or throw up on his bed - it must be love!

A tooth or two

Not content to simply pack up his life in London, visit a tropical island, attend his first wedding and start the move to the other side of the world - baby Alexander has also been busy growing not one but TWO brand new front teeth. He's very keen to use his newly discovered chompers at any opportunity, so much so that we're considering hanging a sign around his neck warning strangers not to leave their fingers unattended too close to his mouth.

The photo above was taken just before tooth number two made an appearance. The process has been relatively painless... from what we can tell. Possibly helped by the amber teething necklace kindly donated by Nanna B a few months ago.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Alex comes 'home'

OK, technically speaking it's not home for baby Alexander as he's never actually been to Australia before but given he's been to four continents and half a dozen countries in his relatively short life we can safely call him a united nations baby. Where ever he lays his nappy that's his home.

We actually arrived in Sydney over a week ago but both of us have been struck down with a range of ailments preventing us from doing any blog updating, and unfortunately little Alex can't quite reach the keyboard to update the blog himself... not yet anyway.

So far we've had a week being sheltered, fed, watered and generally spoilt by 'mean uncle hOb' whose is not living up to his name so far, we think he might be lulling us into a false sense of security.

We've also caught up with lots of lovely people, most of whom I managed to forget to photograph including: Nat & Miles, Sandra & Ian, Megan & Glenn, Nicole, Dan, Fern & baby Elliott, Lori, Steph, Belinda, Darren and the lovely and very tiny 2 week old Lily and last but definitely not least Rach and the gorgeous Emily. Phew!

Now we are in relaxation mode at Grandpa's house in the countryside. Alexander seems to enjoy staring at his newly discovered Grandpa for extended periods of time. Next we continue, all rejuvinated, up to Amma's place on the Gold Coast.

Current temperature in Merriwa: 24 degrees
Current temperature in London: 8 degrees

So far so good...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Help my baby is a carnivore!

So I have been doing my best to introduce baby Alexander to a wide range of foods now he's started on solids. As we're doing this baby led weaning business he usually gets something off my plate, which inevitably means vegetables or fish, and perhaps some bread or the odd noodle. We also taken some backup baby food with us to Bali which included the odd chicken, pea and pumpkin mush.

At the wedding on Sunday there was an amazing buffet spread so I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce Alex to some new foods. He's not been hugely interested in any particular food so I brought a small amount of beef, chicken and a few other bits. Well... when I waved the beef near him he almost bit my finger off. He then proceeded to suck the life out of it for a good 10 minutes. His enthusiasm for the dead cow was only surpassed by vigour with which he munched down the chicken.

Hmm... beef and chicken... OK. How exactly do I cook those? Any recipes where I don't actually have to touch raw meat are welcome below.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Alexander's not getting married

Well not yet anyway, but he has been to his first wedding. His uncle Adam married Christina on Sunday, the main reason for us all being in Bali. The wedding was beautiful in a magical setting and maybe unsurprisingly Alex was a little angel, not making a peep throughout the ceremony and falling asleep, on cue, during the speeches (well, no one's that perfect).

Alex has taken a real shine to his uncle, whom he's only just met, and of course the feeling is mutual. He's also had the pleasure meeting a whole raft of Butler clan, a virtual flock of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. We've also had reunions with lovely Aunty Sian and Nanna B. Combine that with the hotel staff and baby Alex might just explode with affection.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Bali loves bubba

Since arriving in Bali almost a week ago baby Alexander has been charming his way through the staff at the hotel. We can no longer go anywhere in the complex without some member of the reception, waiting or cleaning staff waving and saying 'hi Alex'. They have no idea who I am except that I'm usually in the background when that gorgeous blue eyed Alex baby enters the room... or pool... or restaurant.

This is normally followed by big smiles from all the staff and half the customers and the baby in question giving a big smile back. In fact if someone in the room doesn't look at him Alex just stares at them, sometimes for several minutes, until they smile back.

Another member of the Alexander Butler fan club recruited. Job done.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Final Farewell

Our last few days in London saw more goodbyes. This time to people we'd only known a few months but would miss very much. It's strange to think that a snap decision to chose a particular anti natal class on a Tuesday evening meant we got to meet some fantastic people. It turned out that all the women in our NCT class were quite high flying career wise but we didn't find that out for several months, instead I discovered a group of incredibly open, sharing, generous and funny people and fantastic mothers.

I also got to spend time with their gorgeous bubbas and see them develop their own unique personalities, even though none are even 9 months old yet. As I sit in my hotel room in Bali, on our way to the next stage in our adventure with our own bubba I'm imagining what all these beautiful babies might become one day.

  • Starting with Nicholas the feisty and flirty Italian, I'll have to say professional footballer, if only to keep his dad happy.
  • The lovely Sarah with her calm considered nature and wise eyes, I'm sure it's not just because she's the oldest in out little group. Perhaps a psychologist, she seems like she'll be a good listener.
  • Poppy with her always smiling face might put her inquisitiveness to good use a journalist or reporter maybe.
  • Dilys is clearly the adventurer in the group, always wriggling, always on a mission somewhere, at this stage usually to knock down a stack of blocks her mum had just built.
  • When I think of Tilly I think of her in the garden with the big lovable sheepdog Barclay by her side. Tilly will be the nature dwelling animal lover to me.

Of course the truth is they will probably be doing jobs that haven't even been invented yet but either way, I hope somehow we will still be in touch with everyone to find out.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Saying goodbye

We leave the UK in just one week... ONE WEEK! Can you believe it? I'm struggling a little especially as there feels like so much to do. Poor little bubba had to compete for his mum's attention this week in between conversations with estate agents, banks, ebay purchasers and several moments of stress and grumble.

We've also had to start saying goodbye to friends which I'm not very good at. Of course Alexander is blissfully unaware that when he's passed from hand to hand and kissed on the cheek by numerous people that this will be the last time he'll see many of them. I know with some friends it will just be a short while, for others it could be years but there are also other wonderful people we probably won't see again.

He probably won't know what's happening now but one day we will need to teach our boy how to cope with change... so now is a good a time as ever to figure it out for myself.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Dear Baby Alexander

There's something I need to tell you. I know you've only been in this world for 6 months and are getting comfortable in our little London flat, but soon it's all going to change again. You might have noticed a bit more mess around the place of late? lots of big brown boxes in front of your push chair, packing tape by your high chair, that sort of thing. Perhaps you've noticed that mum's been a little more frazzled than usual? Well... the thing is... we've decided to move to the other side of the world... Australia to be specific, with stops in Bali and New Zealand before we get there.

I really hope you'll like it there, the weather is warmer so that means more trips to the park, more trees to stare up at, more beaches to visit. Do you remember the beach in Florida? Well Australia is a bit like Florida, only not American.

I'm afraid you'll have to say goodbye to your wonderful little baby friends, Poppy, Tilly, Sarah, Nicholas and Dilys and their lovely mummy's. It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. I'm sure we will stay in touch and have a couple of skype reunions.

We will need to say goodbye, for now, to the baby whisperer Amy and lots of other lovely friends in the UK but I'm sure they will come to visit Australia in time. Mum and Dad will be working on them all!

Hopefully we can find a replacement for the swimming lessons and baby play classes you enjoy so much. And some replacement cafes and restaurants (ok, perhaps that's more for mum).

The good news is you will be able to spend more time with Amma and Nanna B and you'll meet uncle Adam, grandpa Beron and mean uncle hOb as well as lots of other lovely new people who will no doubt love you to bits and lavish you with affection... possibly while mum and dad nip off to aforementioned beach or cafe.

It's going to take a little while to get there, remember that flight to Miami? It's going to be a bit like that but about 3 times as long. Luckily we can use your new Australian passport where you look less like a baby criminal than you do in your British.

You're such a resilient, adaptable little man that I'm sure you will handle all the change with ease. I can't necessarily say the same for your parents.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Hair apparent part 3 - punk baby

I know it's getting a bit ridiculous now but we had to pay homage to the mohawk , especially as were currently discussing a hair cut for the little man.

I'm not keen to chop his lovely locks but its actually in his eyes now so it's probably time.

What do you think, to chop or not to chop?

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Dear Health Visitor

Fishers Lane, Chiswick,

I understand you are very busy, you've seen a line of people before me and there is an equally long line after me. I realise that you are understaffed and part of an under-pressure NHS. I'm sorry that Alexander accidentally had a wee on your scales, but hey, he's a baby in a strange place, these things happen. I'm aware, as you say, he's quite pale with his big blue eyes and fair hair - people mention it a lot.

Despite all the above, I don't think it's OK to ask "are you actually his mother?" even if you are a bit embarrassed afterwards when I say "well, I'm pretty sure I saw him come out". I'm not really sure of a context where it is OK to ask a mother if her baby is actually her baby, but I'm certain this was not one of those situations.

Well, I would have been more annoyed if it hadn't given me a good story for the blog.

Kind regards,

Vanessa Arden-Wood
mother of Alexander Auberon Butler... really.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Hair apparent part 2 - mad baby

The second in our impressions series gives me an excuse to discuss a minor battle that rages between Alexander's mum and dad (Haydn and I to those in the know).

Once again the battle plays out in the hair follicle arena. You see I like the little man's hair all scruffy, ideally sticking up on top with his gorgeous little curls poking out by each ear - so cute! Haydn, however prefers the mad men look above, all brushed down and parted, 'the accountant look' I like to call it. I spend the weekends trying to hide the baby brush, usually unsuccessfully.

I suppose this battle will one day be resolved once Alex is big enough to have his own opinion - he will probably scupper both of us and go for a number one all over... but until then the hair wars will continue to rage on.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

How to ruin your best red shirt.


Film Directors are often heard to say, (especially when justifying a big budget)- 'the money is all there up on the screen'. Well judging by these pictures, the right one in particular- the same can be said for the Alexander's meager food budget- keep in mind the day we took these pics, it was one of the less messy affairs, usually its Hiroshima in that high chair.

It's not an easy task for a 6 month old to learn how to eat solids, least of all with a spoon. But the little chap seems to be a dab hand at negotiating the rigors of guiding spoon to mouth, it's just the keeping it in his moosh that proves tough at times.

For the record his favourite foods are ranked in this order:

2-banana yogurt
3-tender stem broccoli
4-bread sticks

Oh and he doesn't seem to like

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Hair apparent part 1

Here is the first in a new series of impressions young Alexander Butler achieves through the power of his hair

(and a tiny bit of 'photoshoping' from mum).

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A sleepy lesson

A few days ago Alex decided he wasn't going to sleep during the day, I think we managed about 40 minutes in total over the course of the day, mostly made up of the following scenario:

1. baby looks very tired
2. mum puts baby into bouncer
3. baby cries
4. mum persists with rocking tired baby
5. baby keeps crying
6. mum picks baby up
7. baby looks even more tired but still refuses to sleep
8. baby eventually falls asleep in arms/bouncer/sofa/pram
9. baby wakes up after approximately 4.5 minutes
10. and repeat

I'd forgotten how exhausting it is and how difficult it is to get anything done at all let alone cook dinner, clean or tidy the house, even take a shower when you don't get those baby nap moments. Alexander is not a huge sleeper during the day but we usually manage at least a few sleeps which last around 45 minutes when I can get a surprising amount done.

By the time Haydn got home I was properly grumpy and completely knackered and so frustrated that I didn't do any of the jobs I was supposed to do.

That night I remembered something...

I get to spend time with my baby ALL DAY LONG and he is the coolest, cuddliest, most fabulous little man in the world and what the hell was I complaining about.

The next day he clearly had catching up to do and was in and out of sleep most of the day - I gazed at his peaceful sleeping face secretly willing him awake.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Playing with your food

Master Butler is the youngest in our little mothers group, by almost a month. Normally it doesn't make a difference as all the babies are developing at their own pace. We already have a crawler, an expert roller and a master bouncer but now I'm feeling a bit left out because all the babies have started on proper food.

At first I wasn't looking forward to the idea of dealing with actual food instead of simply putting a boob in his mouth at the first signs of hunger, but now, watching the other babies with their puréed vegetables and finger food I'm kind of envious. I've been reading a book on Baby Led Weaning (yes, my life is that exciting) which as far as I can tell involves skipping the purée stage and giving your bubba a variation on whatever you're having... that's assuming you don't live on burgers and fried chicken for three meals a day.

Anyway, I have decided to give it a go as it seems to make some sense and looks like fun, hopefully it also encourages us to be more healthy and creative in the kitchen.

The other day I couldn't resist and gave Alex a raw carrot just to see what he'd do with it, judging by his enthusiasm in video below he shouldn't have too many problems when we get the 'solids' phase.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Babies don't keep

I saw this poem on a friend's facebook page and thought it was so lovely, as well as being an excellent excuse to avoid the cleaning and other chores for today!

Babies Don’t Keep

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

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