I'm in the middle of filling in a form for Charlie, which needs a proper passport photo attached, with a 'non-smiling, neutral expression' and which has to be taken within the last month.
The passport photos I have lying around the house are at least a year old, so I took him to a photo booth today, and this was the result.
It totally freaked me out because he looks so grown up!
My little boy is disappearing more and more as the days go by. He may still only be 11, but I can feel the approaching teenage years weighing on me every day.
Those precious years of babyhood, toddlerhood and early childhood have long gone.
He's forming his own opinions, his own likes and dislikes - and they don't necessarily match mine any more - which is no bad thing!
He's into his last couple of terms of primary school before he heads off to high school, and everything changes again.
It's a real bittersweet 'gulp' moment for me.
Watching my son becoming his own person is totally mindblowing - something I never even dared dream might happen when he was born.
Every single day I count my blessings that he's here, doing so well, growing taller and stronger by the day, and making us so very proud. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
...But I'd be lying if I said that every now and then there isn't a little part of me that would quite like to make a flying visit back to those days when he still called me 'Mummy' not 'Mum'! :-)
Well, we FINALLY got around to taking the sides off Rosie's cot this morning, and putting the shorter head and foot boards on. (We've been meaning to do it since October half term last year, but that's as far as we got.)
She is SO excited about her 'new' bed and has been saving her new pyjamas for this auspicious occasion!
I actually feel quite sad about it - another milestone and another little bit of babyhood gone forever. I know she's not a baby any more by any means really, but she's still MY baby (and I'm certainly not having any more!) so each new thing feels slightly bittersweet.
She's growing up so fast, and now she hops straight into bed for her story and songs, so I miss out on our lovely evening cuddles before putting her in her cot. I'm definitely going to have to rearrange the bedtime routine a bit so I can still get my snuggle time!
I've put her old cot quilt and her big Minnie Mouse pillow on the floor beside her bed, just in case she decides to fall out, but she had her nap there this afternoon with no trouble.
She knows she isn't allowed to get out of bed on her own, and she never needs the loo in the night, so hopefully she'll stay put when she wakes up in the morning and call us to fetch her like she always does.
I just need to get her another duvet cover now - she's only got one, and she's a bit prone to nosebleeds (hence the fetching green towel over her pillow in the pic!) so I know I'll need a spare one!
So I hope you sleep well, my precious big girl. I'm so proud of you. xxx
I know, I know - I haven't posted here since Charlie's birthday.
Life has been so busy, and I have failed dismally (yet again) in the blogging department.
But we haven't disappeared off the planet - since I last posted, Charlie had his birthday party, Pete turned 40, we had a weekend at Center Parcs, Charlie has performed in numerous Christmas concerts, Rosie has thrown herself into Christmas in a BIG way, Charlie had cardiology/pacing clinic (all is fabulous - proper write-up coming soon, I promise), and we have had some wonderful times with wonderful friends.
I have pictures and videos on my phone that I need to upload, so brace yourselves once Christmas is out of the way! I need to bring the blog right up to date because it serves as my diary of all the things we get up to, and there are some pretty big holes in it this year...
Anyway, it's Christmas Eve. Both kids are in bed - one is asleep, the other isn't! We had a lovely day - we headed up to the churchyard this morning to take some Christmas flowers for Will, then we headed over to Cheltenham to take a trip on a steam train to see Father Christmas. Rosie told him, as she has told all the other men in red suits that she's encountered this season, that she'd like 'an iron and a guitar, please'. She LOVES Father Christmas, and hasn't been the slightest bit scared or shy of him.
Father Christmas asked her this morning if she would leave him a mince pie and a glass of milk - she told him she'd leave him a pie, but would leave him water instead of milk '...because it's good for you!' Honestly, she is such a pickle - some of the things she comes out with...
After a visit with Father Christmas, we headed over to Gloucester Cathedral for the carol service. It's such a gorgeous cathedral, and the choir is fabulous. We all really enjoyed it, and Rose was very pleased that we got to sing Away in a Manger - one of her absolute favourites, alongside Jingle Bells!
It made Charlie's day when one of the big interior floodlights blew up during the final prayer - there was an enormous bang, and he nudged me a minute later and pointed up into one of the arches way up in the roof.
"Either they've invested in a smoke machine this year," he whispered, "or something's on fire..."
I think one of the massive bulbs had overheated and exploded - there was a bit of flame initially, but then just a plume of smoke.
It was so high up, surrounded by stone and isolated from everything else because it was in an enclosed arch, so nobody was in any danger, but it was an exciting end to a lovely service. The smoke was dissipating a bit as we left, but they're going to need a VERY long ladder to fix it!
We headed home via Mum's house, so Charlie and Rosie could deliver their presents to Nanny in time for Christmas Day.
She's at my brother's house for Christmas dinner this year, then we're all off to her house on Boxing Day for her annual festive shindig.
Everything is organised here, at last - we are ready for Father Christmas to visit (or rather we will be, once Charlie goes to sleep!) The pile of presents is filling most of our lounge already, and there are still a few more to add... The kids are going to have lots of fun in the morning!
So enjoy what's left of Christmas Eve, folks. Hope those of you with little people in your house aren't woken up TOO early in the morning, and that tomorrow is a wonderful day for all of you.
From our house to yours - we hope you have a truly Happy Christmas.
Charlie's had such a lovely day today, although I'm still finding it hard to believe that he is 11 now - it sounds so much more grown up than ten!
He had an amazing stack of cards and presents this morning and was thoroughly spoilt. He's also had birthday greetings from all over the world via my Facebook account, which has pleased him no end.
He had a great day at school, and enjoyed handing out birthday cupcakes to all his friends.
He came home to dive into his new X-Men Lego set from Nanny, and then we headed out into the firework-filled night for a birthday tea at Nando's.
Afterwards, we headed home for some sparklers, as has always been Charlie's birthday tradition. As you can see, Rosie was rather taken with sparklers too - this is the first year she's been big enough to wave one round without one of us holding her wrist, so she thought she was very clever!
Charlie has a busy few days ahead - rehearsals for his musical theatre Christmas show are in full swing (he's even got a solo this time round, which he's very proud about!) and then on Saturday it's his party.
He's got five pals coming to the house for four hours of pizza, DVDs, fireworks (yes, more), Wii Party and a selection of very silly party games. Then his best friend is staying for a sleepover afterwards.
I'm feeling exhausted at the prospect already, but it should be good fun! (Although we've just had the entire downstairs of the house painted, so I'm going to be screeching at the kids to 'Mind my paintwork!!' the whole time!)
So tomorrow I'm off to buy enough food to fill six 10-11 year olds plus Rosie, and then I have to create a Minecraft Creeper birthday cake - bring on the green icing, and watch this space!
Almost exactly eleven years ago, at 9.33am on November 5, 2003, Charlie (finally) came into the world.
What an eleven years it has been!
He never ceases to amaze us, and we are so very, very proud of him.
Happy Birthday, Charlie-Boy. We love you so much. xxx
Well, our little Rose turned three today - I can hardly believe it. I honestly don't know where my baby has gone.
Her birthday didn't get off to a very good start - she was sick twice yesterday (once in my car - yuck) and generally didn't feel very well at all.
When she woke up this morning, she was still pale and her nose was streaming, but she wasn't feeling sick any more, and was soon clamouring for a piece of toast.
Despite looking a bit grotty, she was so excited that it was finally her birthday and her streaming nose didn't stop her having a fabulous time.
She had loads of lovely presents to open, and was absolutely delighted with everything - she kept saying to the world in general: 'Thank you, thank you - I love my birthday presents...'
The postman brought even more parcels, and two more friends delivered presents during the day, so she had a really wonderful time.
She was a bit sad that she couldn't go to playschool as she'd chosen a cake to take and share with her friends there, but we've promised she can take her cake and wear her birthday t-shirt when she goes back next week, for a belated celebration.
She really had had such lovely presents, and has had so much fun playing with everything.
We all sang happy birthday to her at teatime and she blew out the candles on her cupcakes (repeatedly...) which pleased her no end.
And she's very excited about tomorrow - Nanny is coming, and it's her first proper birthday party! She and seven little friends are off to Café Junior for a couple of hours of fun, so I'll be sure to take some pictures.
I've attached a few pics of the birthday girl - you'll have to ignore her pale snottiness - she had a fantastic day, and keeps telling everybody "I'm three now! Three. I'm a big girl. Next time I'll be four!"
Welcome to Charlie's News! Charlie was born on November 5, 2003, minus the left side of his heart - a complex congenital heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He had two open-heart surgeries in his first five months, and had his third stage Fontan completion in March 2010, aged six-and-a-half.
Charlie's heart is special - but not as special as he is!