Thursday, 4 December 2014

Mixing Scrum and Kanban (Scrumban)

At my previous job, my team was part of a pilot to switch over to an Agile methodology for development. It was generally successful so we continued doing it after the pilot had ended. We started with Scrum, and did Kanban when needed, and ended up merging the two into a sort of "Scrumban" process. This was just based on our experience with the two processes as a team, and not based of any official sort of Scrumban process. 

Unexpected output: strtok

I was reading up on the differences between Java and C++ (as I have used the former the most recently and wouldn't want to wonder why declaring an array in the Java way in a C++ file was causing errors in a side project I'm working on). 

One of the things pointed out was to read up on the strtok function (splitting up a String into tokens based on a delimiter) as it works quite differently than how it works in Java. So I read through it that evening - it does work very differently, so if I have to use it I need to remember to be careful when doing so. 

The next day I looked at my laptop and found this:

Tokens everywhere! Something must have gone wrong...

(My son had found a pile of Magic: The Gathering tokens and decided they needed moving)

CV Update

I had to update my CV last month after being made redundant from my previous job. As I got the job after impressing them during my placement year while at University, my most recent CV was from the middle of my second year at University, essentially necessitating a rewrite. What I would have had on it previously (my GCSEs and A-Levels) has now been reduced to two lines as the rest of my professional career is taking up the rest of the space. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


My Grandad's funeral was in September. He had a lot of waistcoats so myself and some of my family each wore one. 

A large number of my memories of our time together are from my childhood. I think the earliest is going to visit one day and asking where his moustache had gone; he told me it had jumped down the sink. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Khans of Tarkir Prerelease

I managed to get to two pre-releases for Khans of Tarkir (making up for missing M15 apparently). 

The Saturday event was in Bedford; I hadn't played at the store before, so it was interesting to go along. I picked Sultai (BGU) for my clan pack and started building a deck. I had a hard time getting a decent amount of creatures, and realised that I could switch out blue for white and I would have a better chance. I had a lot of the common enters battlefield tapped lands that were half blue, so I did play Sidisi, Brood Tyrant as my only blue card (although I never drew it in a single game, and only use blue to activate the ability on Smoke Teller to peek at some opponents morph creatures). I went 2-2 and had some fun.

On the Sunday, I went to my usual store in St Albans, and picked Abzan (even though I had already played those colours, it was one of the other clans I had planned on playing). I opened a pretty good pool and went about building my deck. 

1 Mardu Hateblade - This was mainly played for the deathtouch ability

1 Ainok Bond-Kin - I had two of these on the Saturday, and they looked pretty good, just outlasting it once would make it a good blocker for a few turns. 

1 Abzan Falconer - This drew removal pretty quickly, and for good reason as it is a great creature
1 Mardu Hordechief - This card helped a lot, I think I always got the token when I cast it (not always on turn three)
1 Tuskguard Captain
1 Watcher of the Roost - I cast this as a morph one turn when my opponent had a flier. They attacked me (I was tapped out) and I unmorphed it to trade. 

1 Unyielding Krumar
1 Longshot Squad
1 Alabaster Kirin

1 Wingmate Roc - Somewhat unsurprisingly, this was really good in sealed
2 Abzan Guide - This was really good as well, I gained a load of life off it one game, giving me a very healthy buffer
1 Necropolis Fiend - I think I cast this once, exiling all the cards in my graveyard, but a 4/5 flier was enough to win in a turn or two anyway. 

1 Suspension Field
1 Debilitating Injury - good in a format with morph creatures
1 Abzan Charm - I think I may have used all three abilities over the day
1 Abzan Ascendancy
1 Dragonscale Boon
1 Smite the Monstrous - Started with two maindeck, but often didn't have that many targets
1 Dutiful Return
2 Throttle

1 Sandsteppe Citadel
1 Nomad Outpost
2 Jungle Hollow
1 Scoured Barrens
1 Blossoming Sands
3 Forest
3 Swamp
6 Plains

(I think that is the correct basic land distribution, I know I played 18, and about half the deck is white). 

Bloodfell Caves & Mardu Charm - One of my lands already produced red, and I could add in a second and play the charm. I felt I didn't need it as I had two spells that gave a creature -4/-4, which in most cases is the same as 4 damage. Two 1/1 tokens would be nice, but I had a lot of bigger creatures that they wouldn't really matter later in the game, and I felt it was better to have good mana than adding a splash. 

Dragonscale Boon, Savage Punch, Smite the Monstrous - Extra removal themed cards if needed. I started the event with the second Smite the Monstrous main deck, but took it out as I felt I only needed the one. 

Highland Game, Longshot Squad, Shambling Attendants, Sagu Archer, Alabaster Kirin - Extra creatures if I needed them in certain matchups. 

Round 1
I lost the first game as my opponent (playing a fast Mardu deck), removed all my creatures while playing lots of their own. I won the second and third games, one to my opponent stumbling on mana a little, but both games were fairly close. 


Round 2
My opponent was playing a Sultai deck, with a lot of defensive creatures. I went up to 31 life thanks to an Abzan Guide before they blocked it with three creatures to kill it. I came close to winning in a single big turn by casting Abzan Ascendancy with about 4 or five creatures out (and I think a Abzan Falconer to give everything flying), but they countered it. 

My opponent was getting ahead of card advantage, playing Bitter Revelation, Treasure Cruise, Weave Fate and Dig Through Time, but (mostly thanks to Outlast), my creatures were big enough that they couldn't attack through. They did lay a giant Hydra (came out as an 8/8), but I had the Smite the Monstrous to turn it into 8 1/1 snakes, which was a little more manageable.  I ended up winning as my opponent ran out of cards, although I did get down to three life (from a previous 31), before stabilising (Wingmate Roc helped, token for blocking, creature for attacking and gaining a little life as I also had something with vigilance). As we were shuffling up, time was called for the round (yup, the whole game took the entire round). 


Liz had arrived with the kids, so we wandered to a bakery to get something to eat quickly. 

Round 3
The first game was very back and forth, I think it ended when I cast a Wingmate Roc and my opponent realised he couldn't beat it. 

In the second game, I drew my 7 cards, saw one land so mulliganed. One land, mulligan. No lands, mulligan. One land in a four card hand - I'll keep it. On the draw, I not only drew into lands to cast a three drop on turn three, but I had all my colours. All the cards I had drawn were cheap ones, so I put a lot of pressure on my opponent as I wasn't sure on my chances in the long game due to the cast disadvantage. The last card I cast to give me an empty hand was a Smite the Monstrous on a newly cast Meandering Towershell (at that point my opponents only creature as I had removed any others they had cast, through removal and them blocking). 


Round 4
My opponent is playing Jeskai, and have a lot of tricks. I get a strong draw in the first game and cast something they can't deal with to win (possibly Wingmate Roc again). The second game is a lot closer, but I ultimately win. 


Round 5
Final round. First game I get off to a good start and my opponent can't catch up. They are playing an aggressive Mardu deck, but I get bigger creatures out faster. In the second game they play a Bloodsoaked Champion and one or two other creatures and get me down to a low life total thanks to removing all my creatures. I made a play mistake here by allowing them to attack with the Champion as the only creature before using a removal spell on it, so they could return in as they had attacked with a creature. Later in the game, I cast Abzan Charm on 6 life to draw two cards (and lose two life), as I needed to draw into something to help me stabilise. I didn't, so lost. The second game was a little closer, but I started losing my creatures again, took a hit from Zurgo Helmsmasher, and didn't draw anything to remove him next turn so lost. 


I won 6 packs in the end. Pretty happy with the result, considering the last time I played was the Journey into Nyx prerelease. Back when Shards of Alara was out and I was drafting a lot, I always had issues with mana, but I had more success this time around, which is good. That is probably part me having more experience and part more experience with developing multicolour sets in Wizards of the Coast. 

All in all, I think it is a fun set. I'm still not sure about morph, I have generally just blocked if they attack with one, as it forces them to unmorph it or use a trick or they lose it, meaning they're not developing their board. I'm more likely to get blown out this way, so I will see how well this strategy works to see if I need to be more cautious. 

Friday, 19 September 2014


In the first week of September, we went on holiday to Weymouth with my mum. It was the first holiday Evelyn had been on, and she turned 6 months while we were there so we could give her some food. 

We got the train down on the Saturday, leaving home early so we could walk through London at a leisurely pace instead of trying to get through the underground with two prams. We met my Mum, Chris and Jenny at the train station and walked to the beach, with Jenny getting a bucket and spade of chips on the way. Kaleb had a ride on the carousel on the beach, and then had a paddle in the sea. We had fish and chips for tea, and I gave Evelyn some bread sticks and yoghurt; the first food she tried. She pulled a very amusing face when trying the new flavours. 

On the Sunday, Evelyn had a paddle in the sea along with Kaleb. She sort of stayed still on all fours letting the end of the sea wash over her hands. Chris attempted to get his lighter out of his pocket while we were in town and managed to drop it directly down the drain. There was a butchers in town called the "Sausage Factory", where I got some specially flavoured sausages to try out for tea; I liked the sweet and sour ones. As the sun was setting, Kaleb looked out the window and said "Sun going to sleep". Chris and Jenny went home in the evening, getting the train back that me and Liz had taken to get there. 

We took the kids to the sea life centre on Monday. We were walking through the underground tunnel when Evelyn woke up and she started looking around in amazement. There was a simple seal ride there that we all went on; I had Evelyn on my lap. 

On Wednesday we went to the Observation tower. Liz stayed at the bottom with Evelyn, and I went up with Kaleb, Mum and Martin. 

Afterwards, we got on the train car that went to the sea life centre, and got onto another train ride nearby, followed by a wander around the sand sculptures. My Mum got Kaleb an inflatable rocket boat, and he had fun playing with it in the sea. 

Liz had a spa treatment planned in Poole for Thursday, so I went with her and Evelyn. I took Evelyn for a walk along the quay and had an ice cream outside the oldest pub on the quay. 

Kaleb rode on a donkey on the beach on the Friday. He looked nervous at first when he was put in the saddle, but started to enjoy himself as he rode along. 

We left the house we were staying in on the Saturday morning and had the car packed, but stayed in Weymouth for the day. The kids watched a Punch and Judy show and played on the beach. At the end of the day, we had a wander around the gardens by Nothe Fort, and along the coast before driving home with my Mum.  

Monday, 28 July 2014

Casual Magic

I got a chance to play Magic: The Gathering with Liz for the first time in a while. Both kids had gone to bed early, so we were spending sometime together. We weren't sure what decks to play (considering she hadn't played a game outside of pack wars for quite a while). In the end I picked two more casual decks that I had constructed but not played that often. One was a Zombie deck (mainly black with a little blue), and the other was a bloodthirst/counter themed deck. 

BR Bloodthirst
This deck has a very low curve.

3 Rakdos Cackler
4 Gut Shot
4 Tormented Soul
4 Goblin Fireslinger

4 Stormblood Berserker
4 Duskhunter Bat
4 Contagion Clasp

4 Volt Charge
2 Cryptborn Horror
1 Hellhole Flailer

4 Gorehorn Minotaurs
1 Bloodfray Giant
1 Rakdos, Lord of Riots

The deck can (and did) push through a lot of damage quite quickly. The Cryptborn Horror was played in one game and was pretty sizeable (about a 6/6) early on in the game.  

Bu Zombies
This deck has an odd curve (by which I mean the converted mana cost of most of the cards is an odd number...)

4 Gravecrawler
4 Diregraft Ghoul

4 Geralf's Messenger
4 Diregraft Captain
4 Cemetery Reaper
4 Forbidden Alchemy

4 Moan of the Unhallowed
1 Door of Destinies

2 Rise from the Grave
1 Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
1 Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
1 Zombie Apocalypse
1 Army of the Damned
1 Killing Wave

14 Swamps
4 Cavern of Souls
3 Dimir Guildgate
2 Vivid Marsh
1 Drowned Catacomb

There was an awkward point during one game where I managed to draw three Cavern of Souls, but wanted to cast Moan of the Unhallowed and didn't have the coloured mana available... The deck was quite fun. A little slow to get going, but was able to get in a fair amount of damage quite quickly once it had. In some ways, it is a little too aggressive for some of the cards, particularly the five plus costing ones, and maybe even the Cemetery Reaper. The Door of Destinies worked quite well, even though I had to take a turn off to cast it, I could cast two cheaper Zombies next turn to get a big boost. 

The games were quite fun, and it was nice to play a much more casual game than usual. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Evelyn Growing

Evelyn has been growing already. She's gone up two nappy sizes since she was born, although when we started putting her in the reusable nappies they looked so tiny compared to the ones Kaleb wears! We have had an initial go through of the clothes she wears to take out ones that she has grown out of already. 

She has had two lots of her jabs so far. As expected, she cried at them, but seemed to calm down quite quickly afterwards which is nice. After the second lot, Liz had an evening out with work colleagues and had left me and my mum with Kaleb and Evelyn, who wasn't that interested in having any bottled milk. We think this was due to either still being grumpy from her jabs, or being too hot as it was very, very hot weather then. 

I fed her twice this week and she had no problems with it, so things are looking good for me looking after her tomorrow while Liz has a KIT day at work. I'm planning on taking her swimming for the first time tomorrow morning; Kaleb will be in nursery so we can see what she thinks of it. I am expecting her to not like it that much as we gave her a bath today and she did not like it at all. I have been meaning to take Kaleb swimming at some point too, hopefully we'll find some time to all go, although we have a lot to sort out around the house. 

We're planning on painting Evelyn's room before she moved into it. My Dad has got my old cot down from the loft for her to use, so we just need to look for a new mattress. 

Conspiracy Draft

I went along to a Conspiracy draft a few weeks ago - it was a fun event. I didn't see many of the special draft cards, but ended up getting an interesting black green deck. When we went to our multiplayer game, I was sat next to another black green player. The early game consisted of me playing a Runed Servitor, an opponent playing Grudge Keeper, and the next opponent also playing a Grudge Keeper... So possible to lose life regardless of which choices were made while voting. 

I threw around a lot of damage in the mid game with a Pelakka Wurm equipped with a Fireshrieker, and then moved it over to a Spiritmonger when it died. At one point I sacrificed a Sakura-Tribe Elder to allow me to get extra wolves from Predator's Howl due to morbid. 

With a lot of creatures on board (a lot of tokens too), the game was starting to stall. I was running low on cards (so didn't want to play my Skeletal Scrying) so instead made a massive attack to try and end the game. With a lot of creatures dead, I cast Assasinate on a Magister of Worth I had enchanted with an Unhallowed Pact, so got to bring it back. This caused me to lose due to direct damage, but the game did end quite soon after, so I was partially successful. 

I'm hoping I will be able to play it again sometime as it was a fun game. 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Kaleb's Words

Kaleb has been getting on really well with his words recently. He started with a single syllable version of longer words, but is now starting to spread them out into two syllables (like "track" into "track-ta" for tractor). 

He has also started putting two words together. Some of them are animal names and noises, like "cow moo" and "quack duck". A number are various chocolate variants; "choc bar", "choc pot", "choc moo" [Chocolate Milkshake] and "choc cake". Also food related, he does say "cheese please" and "more cheese", as well as the more general "more please". Recently he has started saying "tee tie" [tea time]. 

One of the double words I have taught him is "oh no", which is usually does alongside putting his hands on his cheeks in a mock shocked face. 

Helping out his sister, when she is crying he sometimes lifts up his tshirt and says "bay milk" [baby milk], and of course "bay cry" [baby cry]. This is sometimes followed with "poor bay" [Poor Baby]; repeating me as I sometimes say that after repeating him saying baby cry. 

Kaleb sometimes lets us know if he needs a change as he'll say "change nappy" (he usually does the makatan sign for this at the same time). He has recently had a seemingly uncontrollable urge to wash his hands as he'll point up at the sink saying "wosh hans" [Wash Hands]. 

Last week my mum was visiting and got him settled in bed for the night. In the morning he said a three word sentence for the first time "where nanny gone?". 

Of all the words he's said, the ones I remember the most are when I helped drop him off at nursery after Evelyn was born. I don't normally but was on paternity leave so had the time off. Trying to leave him in his room he said "don't go" in a little upset voice. As usual once we actually left he had a great day at nursery. 

As the weather has been getting nicer recently, we have been going for short walks. When he wants to go for a walk, Kaleb will come over and say "wall ken" [Walk Kenny] - Kenny is the name of his little kangaroo backpack that he wears while walking so he can't get too far away from us. 

While walking, Kaleb will often point at a car and say "car", and if it is moving and drives off, it will often be followed by "car gone". There is a little park near us, Kaleb lets us know what there is there: "swing, slide". 

As we all seem to sit in the same place while eating, Kaleb points out whose chair is whose, even if we aren't sitting in it; "mummy chair, daddy chair, bay chair" [baby chair] - Evelyn's chair being a little bouncy chair she sits in sometimes while we are eating. 

At nursery recently, he was holding a toy car and walked over to another child and said "car share", which was very nice of him. 

He has been repeating number "wan, too, tee, for, fie, sics, nie". Sometimes he will attempt to say seven and eight, and sometimes combines them into one number. I'm not sure whether he understands that these are number or what their significance is yet. 

It is very interesting watching him increase his vocabulary so much so quickly. I'm looking forward to him learning more and more, and hopefully soon he'll say his first four-word sentence. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

First Attempt at Modern Zoo

Ever since Wild Nacatl was unbanned, I thought it would be fun to build a deck with it. As I drafted ZEN a lot I already had a bunch of fetch lands, which helped a lot. I really want the allied colour fetch lands to be Modern legal as it would help a lot. I have been trying the deck out with no Tarmagoyf as I only have the one, and went to a Modern tournament in St Albans with the deck below. I am trying a bunch of 2-ofs to see which ones I like. 

One Drops
4 Wild Nacatl
4 Kird Ape
4 Loam Lion

These creatures make up the bulk of the aggressive creatures. I had been considering some 2/1's as well, and might try a couple out sometime, but if there are a lot of 1/1's around it makes them less effective, whereas the 2/3 Apes and Cats can be blocked by smaller creatures and still be around. 

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path to Exile

Two lots of efficient removal. I loved playing Lightning Bolt when it was legal in Standard. I seem to have gone off red decks in Standard since it rotated out, maybe it just doesn't feel the same (not that I play much Standard). 

2 Rancor - I was trying this one out but never really drew or played it. It was my plan for a bit more reuse in longer games while still being useful early on (attach to a Nacatl and swing for 5...).I might replace one or both of these with something else. 

Two Drops
2 Strangleroot Geist - Fairly Efficient, although I have a couple of effects that give +1/+1 counters, which does work too well with this unless it has died once already. 

2 Stormblood Berserker - I'm still not sure about these. It is cheap for a 3/3 that is really hard to block, especially with the amount of removal I have to mess up combat. 

4 Lightning Helix - A slightly harder to cast Lightning Bolt, but the extra life is nice to offset the mana base...

2 Travel Preparations - I quite liked these, the extra counters is good and I get to use it twice. This is usually for longer games, but if used early on it can help get some extra damage in quickly. 

Three Drops
2 Woolly Thoctar - I thought these worked quite well. These are sort of my Tarmagoyf replacement, although it is always the same size. I had meant to keep track of graveyards for interest, the one or two times I remembered to a Tarmagoyf would only have 3 or 4 power. I'm considering adding another one. 

2 Kitchen Finks - I almost didn't run these as I was worried about having too high a curve, but I can see myself adding in an extra one or two. 

2 Ajani, Caller of the Pride - The +1 ability is quite good for some extra bumps. The -3 is usually for finishing games. I took some of the Cat tokens for the -8 just in case, but can't realistically see myself getting to that point. 

4 Arid Mesa
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Marsh Flats
3 Misty Rainforest
3 Stomping Ground
3 Temple Garden
2 Sacred Foundry
2 Forest
1 Plains

The Basic Lands are there so I have some insurance against Blood Moon, and so I can fetch something untapped without paying 3 life for it...

I wasn't really sure what to do for a sideboard. Some of the guys on the MTG Google+Community recommended Graftdiggers Cage, so I'll see if I can get hold of some of them. 

4 Destructive Revelry - Hits Artifacts and Enchantments so a nice all-rounder. 
4 Fulminator Mage - I know people play Tron at that store and this was all I could think of at short notice. 
3 Electrickery - Thought it would be something good against Hexproof when overloaded, and also against Bitterblossom Tokens
4 Relic of Progenitus - Again, short notice picking graveyard hate. Graftdiffers cage would probable work better here. 

In the first round my opponent had mana problems both games (first not enough and then too much). It turns out they had switched out some lands for a standard deck so had a really odd mana base. 

In the second round, my opponent was playing a burn deck and due to me fetching shocklands, I lost on their turn three (although it was a close game). I was more conservative with land the next game and got it a lot closer but they killed me in response to a Lightning Helix. 

In the third round, I won against Tron. The second game was getting drawn out as I had awkward mana so couldn't cast some of the cards in my hand - I had about 4 creatures on board but they had a Wurmcoil Engine (and then a second one). I was lucky to top deck a second white source just when I needed it to play Ajani and make a Woolly Thoctar fly for the win. This match was the first time I used my sideboard, but didn't really use any of the cards from it. 

In the final round, I played against another burn deck and kept a "high" curve hand (i.e a couple of three drops and enough land) in the first game not knowing it was a burn deck and lost fairly quickly. I didn't do too much better in the second game. 

Considering it was the first time I played the deck, I think 2-2 wasn't too bad. I had a headache a lot of the time, but I suspect that was more due to tiredness due to the new baby :-) I might tweak the deck a little bit and see if I can play it again sometime. It was fun to play, even if choosing which lands to play and search for and in what order can get somewhat complicated. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Kaleb: Big Brother

We've had a week of life with Evelyn now and it is going well. Kaleb gets on well with her which is great. 

He can sometimes be over-exuberant without meaning to, but is getting better at interacting with her. Early on we would put her on his lap with one of us holding her underneath, but switched over to putting her on a pillow and putting the pillow on his lap so she is more stable. 

Often when he holds his new sister, Kaleb can appear very protective of her. Sometimes when she cries and we try to comfort her on his lap he will say "no" and push our hands away. One of the first times he held her, when we started to move her away he grabber her leg and arm and puller her towards him (this was one reason why we switched to having her on a pillow). 

Kaleb likes to point out the different parts of Evelyn's face - he can point out his eyes, ears, nose and mouth on his face and likes point at her face too. We keep on telling him to be gentle when he does this so he doesn't poke her too hard.  

He is very affectionate with his little sister too. He likes to give her little kisses on the head when she is on his lap or when he is getting ready for bed. He comes over to her Moses basket or pram when she is sleeping in it and points at her saying "bay" (translation: "baby"). 

Thursday, 6 March 2014


Three days before her due date, Liz gave birth to Evelyn, our daughter. 

Arriving early did mean that Liz and Evelyn aren't going to share a birthday (she was due on Liz's birthday). 

We found out Liz was pregnant later than we did with Kaleb; the first scan we had was around 14 weeks, so when we had the second scan at the usual time along in the pregnancy, it seemed a lot closer to the previous scan. 

As we've had Kaleb to look after as well, we have been a lot busier than previously, so it seemed to go by quicker. 

When it came to the point where Liz was full term, it was almost a surprise in a sense that I didn't realise how close it was, even though I knew it was coming soon. I think I worried less than around the same time with Kaleb, probably because I had a much better idea of what was coming. 

Labour and Birth
On the Thursday evening beforehand, Liz had been complaining about her back hurting, and we had a broken nights sleep because of it. She continued with her Friday as usual and when we were getting ready for bed Friday evening, her back started hurting a lot again. Calling up the hospital, they confirmed that she was in early labour, so we started preparing getting there. My Dad was in London and heading back in order to come and drive to our house, and my Mum also drove up. 

When they both got there, Liz was around the point where the contractions were close enough that we should be going in, so we went to the hospital with Dad and left Mum with Kaleb (who had been asleep but seemed to have woken up to see what was going on). 

When we got there, we initially were put in a room on the delivery unit as the midwife led unit was full at the time. Liz was checked and was on the borderline of being sent home, but as it was awkward for us to get there they let us stay. My Dad had fallen asleep on one of the chairs in the waiting room (it was 2:30 AM) so we had to wake him up to let him know he could leave, and as we would be staying he could go to his house to sleep. 

Liz had been given some standard painkillers after she had been there for a little while. I had a 10 minute doze in one of the chairs while we were waiting. Liz requested some more help with the pain as it got worse, and was informed that we could move to the midwife led unit as there was now space there. Upon getting there, Liz was allowed to use the Gas and Air so was pleased for both being in the midwife led unit (which is nicer than the delivery ward) and also having Gas and Air to help with the pain. 

In the midwife led unit, labour progressed a little faster than we expected. Liz had wanted to be in the water a little bit if possible, but there wasn't anyone around to run the birthing pool that early. There was a bath in the room we were in, but we attempted to rest a little and by the time the shifts were changing and we had new midwives Liz was too far into labour to go get the pool ready. 

Right at the end the midwives were concerned about the amount of blood they saw after the waters breaking so pressed a special button and about five people suddenly appeared to help out. At 8:28 AM the baby was born and given to Liz, then we all had a cuddle before checking the gender (it's a girl). 

After the birth, all three of us had a bit of a cuddle. I had a cuddle with Evelyn while Liz had a check from the Midwives. Evelyn also had a check and her Vitamin K injection. 

As everything was fine we were left in the room for a bit while one of the midwives completed the necessary paperwork for us. We made some calls to family members to tell everyone (even waking my Dad up again in the process). We had discussed some names beforehand and had decided upon Evelyn for a girl. 

A little after midday, someone came round with some food for Liz and we were told that we should be able to leave in a couple of hours; I let Dad know so he could get ready to come up to pick us up (after first picking up the car seat from our house). 

Liz had a shower and got dressed and gave Evelyn a feed while Dad was on his way, and we were home by 6 in the evening, which was a great improvement compared to when Liz had to stay a couple of days after Kaleb was born. 

At Home
We arrived home and showed Kaleb the new arrival,  including a little toy gift that the baby had got for him. My Mum had also had a similar thought and gave Kaleb a soft toy to give to the baby (he dropped it in her car seat), and then she also gave him some flowers to give to Liz (although he also dropped them in her car seat). 

Liz was very pleased to not have to stay in hospital for a couple of days, so we have gone out a couple of times already. We had a wander around Luton to get a couple of bits of clothes for both Kaleb and Evelyn (we didn't have much in the way of baby girl clothes), in addition to usual trips out of going to the shops and taking Kaleb to playgroup/nursery. 

My Mum has stayed with us for a couple of nights, mainly helping to look after Kaleb which has been a great help so we can focus on getting Evelyn sorted, and Kaleb gets to have extra activities done with his Nan, so he's happy. We'll have Liz's Mum visiting soon too. Liz's birthday was only a couple of days after Evelyn was born, so we have a mixture of cards on display (birthday cards, new baby cards and big brother cards for Kaleb so he doesn't feel left out). We have also had a lot of family come to visit, and I'm sure we will see more soon. 

Kaleb seems to have gotten used to Evelyn quite quickly. He strokes her head (usually) gently and likes to try and hold her on his lap sometimes. We've had to guide him away from trying to poke her in the face and towards being more gentle a couple of times, but on the whole he has been really good with her. He is a very protective big brother, once when she was on his lap and got upset, when we tried to comfort her he said "no" and pushed our hands away. Another time at nursery he was standing next to her (being held by me) and one of his nursery friends came over to have a look at the new baby, but Kaleb pushed him away and said "no" again. When she's sleeping on someone, he has occasionally gone "shhh" to other adults while she is sleeping (this is usually followed by him shouting near her, but it is a good start). 

We had the Midwife visit earlier and while it is expected that a new baby will lose some of their birth weight, Evelyn's weight has stayed the same since she was born (3330 g). 

It has been a big change bringing Evelyn into our lives. We have to get used to handling a small baby again which was a little weird at first but I think I'm getting used to it again. Like Kaleb, she is a content little baby - she feeds well and sleeps a lot, but only really cries when she wants something (usually feeding). I'm looking forward to the time ahead, it is going to be a lot of fun spending time with my growing family. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Busy run up to the new baby

It's now less than 10 days till the due date and it seems to have come around very quickly. Time has sped along the last two months and we've recently been in a big rush to get everything ready.

Something me and Liz have always tried to do (since completing uni at least) is have a roast dinner on a Sunday. We used to growing up and why I can't remember our exact reasons for starting it outside nostalgia, it has been something we've strived to do, and something we carried on doing when we moved to Flitwick.

Cooking a Sunday roast earlier today came with the realization of how busy we have been recently as the last roast dinner we cooked in the oven was on Christmas day.

Since then we've had a mixture of birthdays and visits and haven't been in to cook, or were busy tidying so did something quicker instead. Not to say we've been without Sunday dinners of course; we've had many cooked for us by a number of relatives :-)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


We have had a very busy January this year. Starting off in Lincoln for a week to spend time with Liz's Mum, then the weekend after we got back we had Gemma's birthday, then another round of Birthdays the weekend after that. Last weekend me and Liz were a little under the weather but managed to sort out a couple of bits on our list of things to do before the baby is born while my Dad looked after Kaleb. 

Speaking of the new baby, Liz is full term in less than two weeks (i.e. if it was born it would not be premature). That came around a lot sooner than I thought - I think this time round we found out Liz was pregnant later than we did with Kaleb, so there has been less time (slightly) for us to get ready. The baby is also due two months earlier than when Kaleb was born, so I suspect that part of me might still be remembering how far along Kaleb was around this time in the year and not adjusting correctly for the difference in due dates. 

The main thing we need to get sorted is the spare room so the new baby will have somewhere to sleep. Luckily we have made a lot of progress inasmuch that we can walk into the room as opposed to just being able to get into the doorway before needing to climb over stuff, as was the case a couple of months ago. 

Sorting the spare room is a priority, but luckily doesn't need to be completely finished by the time the baby is born as it will have a couple of months in our room in the Moses basket first. 

I think it is slowly starting to hit me how close it is to there a new baby around, so hopefully I'll be able to focus on getting the house sorted for the arrival. I just need to find some more spare time to do it all in...

Sunday, 5 January 2014


2013 was the first full year that we've had with Kaleb, and it has been a fun one. He's grown so much in the last 12 months, at the start of the year he was just about sitting up on his own, and since then he's learnt to stand up, walk on his own and has started communicating through some simple signs and words.

Earlier in the year we went to Liz's sister's wedding and all had a lot of fun. Kaleb stayed up late, mainly because lots of people were telling him how cute he was, which he loved.

A couple of months later Kaleb had his very first birthday with all the family there. Kaleb still didn't fully understand presents at this point, but had fun with wrapping paper and new toys to play with.

Later on in the summer we went to Henley with Chris and Jenny and had a great time on the island.

We also found out that Liz is pregnant again, and look forward to welcoming another little one to the world in March.

I've been playing Magic a bit more than the previous year after Kaleb was born, and will hopefully continue this.

This Christmas we spent just the three of us, making a day of it and then visiting family afterwards. Kaleb seems to have started to understand presents and how to open them which is nice.

I'm looking forward to a great 2014, with Kaleb getting bigger and growing a lot and a new arrival due soon, I'm going for an exciting year.