Thursday, 22 May 2014

One of these days...

The top of that ridge is called 'Crib Goch', which translates as Red Ridge.

It is pure treasure in the eyes of both mine and one of my best friend's, Karl. Crib Goch is an 'arete', or ridge, which provides the most challenging ascent of Snowdon (the second tallest mountain in the UK). It's a knife edge with an elevation of 923 meters (3,028 ft in old money) and is famous for being a challenging, but enjoyable, scramble.

Karl and I will often escape the hustle and bustle of the rat race (and the nagging of our other halves), for the peace, tranquility and adventure of the Welsh mountains. When we went last time, we found ourselves looking up at Crib Goch with a desperate longing to conquer it... Unfortunately, our lack of experience combined with the dangerous weather meant we had to go for the easier route :(
I think about it often, and we were due to be going to Wales this month. Sucks that it will have to wait for another month.

Jonesy, we will make it to the top of Snowdon before sprog enters the world... that's a promise!

Nesting already...

With a few days of nice weather, I chose to spend some time working on our front garden. If you know me at all, then you'll know that I have the exact opposite of green fingers... so that would be red fingers then, according to the colour wheel. It took around three days, a fight with some serious brambles, and some well earned pennies, to get it looking like it is in these pictures. Very rewarding I have to say! A few locals from the village have commented when passing by... Which is nice -I'm always welcoming of positive feedback!
Unfortunately, I made a school boy error and forgot to take a 'before' shot, so all we have are the after shots. You're going to have to take my word for it - the garden was a STATE! A massively overgrown hedgerow, and soil that might as well be called a rockery, made for some strenuous work... The result are pleasing though.

Goodbye Friends!...

Not that I've told anybody, but about two weeks ago I 'unfollowed' all 300+ of my friends on Facebook, bar about ten of my closest friends and family. And boy does it feel good!!

It's only since then that I've realised just how much rubbish I have been feeding on. Surely it can't be healthy... constantly filling our brains with useless, pointless drivel? I don't miss it at all!! In fact, without it, I feel so fresh and so clean... I feel like I've undergone a Facebook detox!

Only a couple of weeks back, a video went viral that highlighted the social media and smartphone obessession pandemic that this nation is well and truly gripped by - ironically, that same video made numerous appearances on my Facebook feed. It's only when you take a step back from social networking, and take a look at the real world, that you notice how much time we spend with our heads in our smartphones/tablets/laptops, missing out on reality - it's difficult to see with your head in your phone. I'm not going to pretend that I'm ditching all technology and ways of communicating in the modern world, that would just be ridiculous... but I have a new awareness of just how often I used it as a boredom killer, pointlessly and unfrutifully... and for me that had to mean a commitment to ditch the 'habit'.

I'm not sure about you, but certainly for me, Facebook has proven itself as a life sapper. It became a problem when I realised I was having to check Facebook the second my eyes open, posting significant events online before I tell people in person, checking if anyone has 'liked' or commented on my post within a minute of posting it (For an ego boost? For approval?), feeling embarrassed for people as I watched people air their dirty laundry for the world to read, having to skim through hundreds and hundreds of useless cr*p that I have absolutely no interest in whatsoever but felt compelled to, simply because it kills time.

I don't doubt for one minute that Facebook is a great thing for many people. If you can manage to keep it under control, you have the perfect means to maintain positive relationships with people who you might not see as often as you like. It's a way of expressing your feelings, values, opinions... It's blogging and sharing your life with the many people who you've met, and are going to meet, throughout your life... Great! I'm all for that! It would be hypocritical to suggest otherwise, as I sit here writing a public blog. But I can't help but feel that, for many, Facebook just doesn't end there. It comes with all the other rubbish as mentioned before, and on reflection, I was unable to stay in control. At such as life changing point in my life, I am keen to lose the 'pointless' in my life and replace it with more important things... like my beautiful wife and our unborn child.

So if you see me around and expect me to know whats been happening in your life, because of our good old friend Facebook... It's likely that I haven't seen it. Likewise, if you ask me whether I saw your Facebook post about that amazing thing that happened last week... then the answer is probably 'no'. Perhaps we could catch up over a pint, or a coffee, or anything else that isn't social media?

First midwife home visit

The midwife came today along with her 1st year student. What a lovely experience it was.
Both were really lovely, friendly and reassuring. The student was fantastic and really confident. Sarah and I thought she had been doing it for years before being told she was a 1st year! The chat involved discussions around entitlements, support networks, antenatal courses, medical histories of both of us, contact details, future appointments, future dates, and general advice for pregnancy in the early stages.
I was interested to see how much I, as the Father, would be involved in the discussion. I've read in a few places that it's often the case that pregnancy related organisations focus solely on the mother and disregard the thoughts, concerns and involvement of the father. It certainly wasn't the case at all today. I felt respected and, although Sarah is their main focus (obviously), I was made to feel that I'm as much part of the pregnancy as she is.
I wonder how accessible the rest of the outside world will be for me, as a parent. I intend to use this blog as a means to review and critique the pregnancy industry for males. After today's experience I'm feeling fairly confident...

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

"This will be the making of you"...

Today I told a colleague that my wife and I are expecting... I just loved her response!...

"This will be the making of you", She said.

And, indeed, I sure hope it is. Obviously being a first time dad, I have only my assumptions and expectations of what it means to be a father. Along with my expectations and assumptions, comes a sense of uncertainty and a whole heap of questions.

How do I know if I'll be any good? How do I learn? Do I have to change? What if I struggle?

I reminded myself of God's fatherly love for us and his role as our Dad. I believe that, for as long as I follow his example, I am sure to be the best I can be. Undoubtedly, love is the single most important thing when it comes to bringing up children. God's fatherly character teaches me to be patient, kind, loving, forgiving, fun, exciting, honest, trusting... And it is from Him that I learn these traits, or 'fruits of the spirit'. As I become a dad and guide and support my children through their lives, I am sure to grow some myself. I will learn what it means to give up myself for my children and be moulded and constructed into my role and purpose as a husband and father. I can think of nothing that I want more.

Travel systems, names, nurseries and baby bits...

The excitement is overwhelming. For some couples, waiting until the first 12 weeks is over is a must, before getting too keen...

That's not how we roll... We have a travel system in mind, nursery furniture ideas, baby names, baby clothes ideas, a monthly saving plan for the next 7 months, colour schemes, maternity and paternity leave plans etc etc etc...the list goes on.

Rightly or wrongly, we can hardly contain our excitement. Let's hope that our positive vibes are helping bean through his/her crucial first few weeks....

And so it all begins...

As the saying goes, the darling wife has a bun in the oven! Yep, she's pregnant. In 7 months time - 31 weeks or 214 days to be precise - we will have our very own mini us... Exciting times!! In fact, since we found out, I have done nothing but obsess... I'm reading books/websites/blogs, nesting the house, reviewing baby stuff, dictating what my wife can and can't eat... The list goes on.

So what's the idea of the blog? Well, it's a mixture of things really. I love the idea of creating an online journal (blog) of my experiences. It's a kind of 'reflection' of my thoughts and feelings. Something to look back on, to share with the children and my wife in years to come. Looking inwardly, I guess it's also about feeling like I am doing all I can to proactively prepare for the biggest responsibility I will ever face. I want to be full of useful information, well educated in the most important aspects of fatherhood, and remain committed to growing as a person and as a father. In blogging I'm forced to research and spend time often thinking about my role as a dad.

I've found that some of the most interesting things I've read, and those that men can relate to most, are found within the treasure trove of 'Dad' blogs out there. It seems to me that the modern fathers interest in the upbringing of children and the sharing of those experiences is as popular as the expansive world of 'Mum' blogs. So whilst I reflect in my blogging, and use it as a means of personal gain, I feel that sharing it with the world could also be beneficial for other dads out there too.

From the joys and excitement of the 9 months of pregnancy (for me at least), to the stress inducing, well drawn out years of guiding a teenager through spots, hormones and things being 'so unfair!!!' I will attempt to write a thoughtful and insightful look into the world of a modern father. And to make things interesting, I might include a cheeky post or two about football, tools, cars, bikes and a whole host of all other things 'manly'...

... I know, I know... Just perfect!!