Monday, 23 December 2013

Meeting Santa 2.0

Because this is Freddie's second Christmas we thought why not meet the man in red twice this year. We've had Christmas decorations up, been playing Christmas music pretty much since after Halloween and have been talking a lot about Santa so it was only natural that the next step was to say hi to the man himself. 

We went to see Santa first at the Commonwealth Pool a couple weeks ago. I'd heard from many people that kids around Freddie's age (19 months) were not usually big fans of meeting Santa and the odds of him actually sitting on his lap were slim to none. This, of course, did not stop us from going but it did make me take a shower beforehand in case I had to be in the pic, too.

Turns out this was a good move (thanks for the advice Francie!) because Freddie gripped my hand tighter than ever as we cautiously walked up to Santa. It was a long walk up to the big guy and Freddie was moving at a snail's pace- very unusual. But, when we finallyyyyyyy arrived at Santa's seat, Freddie waved to the elf and was very interested in the mini-Christmas trees, fake snow and reindeer.

He and I (our hands still glued together) walked up to Santa and said hi (well, I did). Freddie sat on my lap and leaned as far away from Santa as he could while still being close enough to accept the bag of reindeer food and a present from him. We took a few snaps and that was that! Once we walked away Freddie turned and waved goodbye to Santa and the elf and had a blast playing at the pool's soft play center for an hour. The pic of him with William on Santa's seat was taken after that hour- hence, the tired face!

We met Santa again at the Dad's Rock Christmas Party. This was such a hoot. Dozens of little kids running everywhere. There were cool toys to play with, including a really nice toy kitchen made of wood, and a disco dance party where they could show off their moves. Freddie's favorite toy at the party was definitely the balloons. I never realized what a great dance accessory they are!

Meeting Santa here was a similar experience. Freddie clung to me and would not let go but, despite the extreme skepticism, there were no tears. We got a family pic this time and a really cool book called "Santa is coming to Edinburgh." Thank you Santa!!

Freddie with his good friend Madison!
Wish I'd showered for this one!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Photo of the week- Like Father Like Son

So, today I missed out on our usual Sunday activity of taking Freddie to his swimming lesson at the Royal Commonwealth Pool (isn't it great how everything is 'Royal' here?). Freddie has been in swimming lessons since he was about 8 months old and it is always a highlight of our week. We make a day of it and get there early so we can watch the divers dive off the platforms, take a long, hot shower before getting in the pool and we always stay for lunch, always a delicious mix of sandwiches, crisps and fruit.

We have our little treats we like to get at the pool, too. For me, a hot chocolate from the hot drinks vending machine. It always makes me feel like I'm at an ice-skating rink when I get one of these, which makes me nostalgic for the time in 3rd grade when I decided I wanted to be a professional ice skater and took lessons. Note to anyone out there who is thinking the same- it is NOT easy.

And for William and Freddie, little cartons of milk with a straw. Here's a pic of these two peas in a pod from last Sunday. Aren't they cute?

And, if you're wondering why I wasn't at the pool today, it's not because I didn't want to be. I was at my first driving lesson. YIKES. More on that later!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

We got our Christmas tree!

The holidays always make me feel the most American. Maybe it's because my Mom always went all out celebrating any holiday when we were younger or because they just make you feel nostalgic in general or maybe it's because Americans have an enthusiasm that cannot be rivaled, especially in times of real celebration.

We get excited at the drop of a hat - something I love about our culture and never fully realized until I left the U S of A - and this is especially apparent around holidays. We go wild at the 4th of July, dressing in red, white and blue, setting off fireworks and attending/participating in parades. We throw Halloween parties complete with dry ice, "mud" pie with worms and haunted houses created in the garage. And we cannot celebrate Christmas without a fine, full and fat, real Christmas tree.

I searched high and low for a cute Christmas tree farm with hot apple cider and candy canes close to Edinburgh. I had no luck. I found one such place near the Scottish Borders but it wasn't open yet (and didn't have hot apple cider) and I had already decided I wanted a tree today (well, Sunday). If anyone does, however, know of anywhere you can go cut down your own tree here, please let me know for next year. Or I might just have to go get another one this year.

Anyway, we did see that our old trusty friend, Gorgie City Farm (where we met Santa last year) was selling trees and I thought this was probably as "cute" as we could get considering it is a kid friendly destination, it's close and we knew they were selling trees this year. I, as always, was concerned about timing because Freddie sometimes doesn't wake up from his afternoon nap until 3:30pm and the farm shuts at 4pm in the winter (sidebar- it is SO dark here. Always.).

So, I tweeted them and asked what time they sell the trees 'til. I was proud of myself for utilizing this social networking platform that I typically consider too overwhelming (it's impossible to keep up with everyone's tweets!) except for the case of entering blog competitions, which has become a favorite pastime. And, lo and behold, they tweeted back! Good news was- they were open until 8 so there was no need to rush. And, moral of that story, I might just have to use twitter more.

Here are some pics of us picking out the tree, shoving it in the car and decorating it at home. Freddie is SO excited about it and every morning runs in and points at every single ornament. I can't wait to see what he does when Santa comes!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

It's Christmas in Edinburgh

The big wheel has enclosed gondolas now- classy!
The city of Edinburgh turned on its Christmas lights on Sunday and, not ones to miss an occasion, William, Freddie and I walked into town with our friend Anthony to take in the festivities. I was expecting to see people sipping on mulled wine, snacking on crepes with nutella and some overall holiday cheer. What we got, simply, was millions of people! It. was. PACKED.

Once we weaved our way through the crowd we took in the activities in St. Andrew's Square (carousel, gingerbread factory, a scary version of the swing ride, etc.) and then saw a pretty cool fireworks display. After that we found solace in the Princes Street Gardens and the cute train ride they have set up there. With lots of room to roam, this was the best place to be for Freddie and us crowd-sensitive adults.

Apparently the Christmas festivities in Edinburgh this year have been completely revamped. It's all been organized by a different group of people than usual and, from first glance, seems more involved (in a good way) and a bit classier. Only complaint- the ice rink is a lot smaller! 

Checkin' out the train and rockin' the Rudolph hat.
All in all, it was a great evening out "on the town" and, despite not getting the gingerbread lattes we wanted, a fun way to kick off the Christmas season. (What can we do- there's no Thanksgiving here!) Ho ho ho!

None of us felt the need to put on make-up. Ha!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Photo of the week: Freddie in the leaves!

The days seem to be alternating between Fall and Winter as far as temperatures go but we were lucky enough to have a warm(ish) and blustery Fall morning on our hands today. Freddie and I celebrated this small miracle by playing in the piles of leaves in Holyrood Park.

The park (or Queen perhaps?) employs a couple of leaf-blowers to blow all of the leaves into long lines and piles for a tractor with some sort of combine harvester (I think that's what it says on the side of it) to pick up. Lucky for us (and unlucky for them) are the days when we get to the piles before the tractor!

Freddie loves running through the piles, inspecting individual leaves and throwing them in the air. It's definitely an activity that reminds me of my childhood (we used to go door to door and ask our neighbors if we could bring their leaves to our yard to make our mound bigger) and the best part is- we didn't even have to rake them up!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

New baby update!

We had a check-up with our midwife today and I'm happy to report that everything looks good with the new baby! I've been a little stressed out lately, thinking I should be fatter than I am and worried that the baby might not be in there. But, thankfully, it was just nervous pregnancy hormone-related feelings (or at least that's what I'm blaming it on).

We got to hear the baby's heartbeat and, just like last time, it was amazing to hear. Freddie and William were there too, and it was an exciting moment for all of us. Freddie was a little protective of me during the appointment and wanted to sit on my lap while I had my blood pressure taken etc. He was full of skeptical looks for our midwife Lyndsey (who couldn't be nicer) but once he noticed the clock in the room he was able to relax a bit (clocks and the moon are his two biggest obsessions at the moment).

17 weeks down, 23 (or more haha) to go! And since we don't have any more pics of the new babe (next ultrasound isn't until next month), here are some from the last time around!

Yowza! 8 months prego
Just after Freddie was born.

What a cutie!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Time to Par-tay!

Freddie and William went to the Dad's Rock Halloween Party yesterday and had an absolute blast! Dad's Rock is a great organization here in Scotland. It's a playgroup for just dads and their kids. We found out about it from a friend of mine and William and Freddie have been going every since.

They have multiple locations around Edinburgh and welcome dads and their kids every Saturday morning. They play with toys, sing songs and dance around. It's completely free and they even give the kids a snack.

Fred and his cowboy Dad

For the Halloween Party yesterday Freddie reprised his role as Freddie Mercury. We changed his costume slightly from last year (added a belt) but figured, why mess with a good thing?!

Freddie and one of his best friends

He even kept his fake mustache on the whole time, which I was shocked at! It made him look very serious and really aged him- he could have passed for at least 3. Note to all the guys out there- nix the facial hair if you want to look younger!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween from the Kay/Kearns fam!

We had so much fun carving pumpkins the other day with Freddie. He loved pulling out the pumpkin guts and putting them in the bowl. We've also spent the past few days taking their tops off and then putting them back on. It's even more of a thrill then putting lids on tupperware!

Freddie has a Halloween party to go to at Dad's Rock this Saturday but sadly we won't be going trick-or-treating tonight. I'm going to have to find somewhere to do it next year! 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Photo of the week- bellies!

Thought I'd take a step back in time to my elementary school days and whip out a poem...

Roses are red,
Violets are blue, 
Freddie's gonna be a big brother...
cause we're expecting baby number two!

True, it's not as good as the poem/rap we wrote for my sister's 6th grade vice presidential candidacy (yes- she won) but you get the point! We are very, very excited to announce we are expecting another baby- due this Spring!

We've told Freddie the news and although I'm not sure he fully understands what's happening, he is very excited that we are talking so much about our bellies!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Adventures in cooking

Adding food coloring to the playdough
We've had baby gates up in the kitchen and hallway for months now. Our kitchen is pretty small and it's been just too dangerous to have Freddie in there while I am making dinner. So, we set up his own kitchen in the hallway with some other toys and he is usually pretty content to play there while I'm making dinner. Until recently...

About a week ago we were having a long afternoon inside, waiting for a package to be delivered- aka the worst, boring sort of afternoon. This is pretty rare for us- usually as soon as Freddie wakes up from his afternoon nap we are up and out of the house ASAP to go to the park or playground or see the ducks in the pond before coming back home for dinner. But, since we had to stay home, I quickly tried to come up with new, exciting, indoor activities. Not a bad idea since it's also starting to be freezing and we have both continually had a cold since we've been back.

The finished product
First on the list was making playdough. I found a recipe online that called for, according to my mom, the key ingredient- cream of tarter. I put an apron on myself (a first) and Freddie and he loved it. I have to say, it does make you feel like a legit chef when you have an apron on. Must do it more often. We stirred together the ingredients slowly, adding one at a time, and used various, non-essential pieces of equipment (measuring cups, spoons, forks, a wooden spoon, a spatula and the garlic press (I was getting desperate)) just to keep things interesting.

When it came time for the cooking part (you have to cook it on the stove briefly), I put Freddie on my back in the Ergo to keep him safe and sound. Within minutes, we had perfectly squishy playdough in two different colors and spent a good portion of the rest of the afternoon playing with it. We whipped up another two colors yesterday and now have yellow, blue, green and red (ok it's maroon- FYI it really changes color when you cook it!).

Since that first "cooking" escapade, we have made cookies twice and dinner together every night. I seem to have created a monster- my days of cooking alone have vanished! It's great to have Freddie in the kitchen though and lots of fun to see him discover the feel of all the different ingredients. One tip to all you cooking with a one-year-old though- add a bit extra of everything when you're baking to counteract all the spillages!
Every good chef tastes his work.

Making sugar cookies- guess who loved the dough!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Our trip to Seattle!

We're baaaaaaaa-aaaaacccccckkkkk. FINALLY, I am back to blogging. Coincidentally, I am also back in Edinburgh after a month-long vacation in Seattle. We had a wonderful time at my brother's wedding, whale watching on Lopez Island and hittin' the beach in Seaside, Oregon. And, of course, just hanging out in my old hometown of Kenmore and seeing friends and family.

Freddie and I got back a week ago and are finally over the traveling/jet lag. Actually, he bizarrely wasn't affected by jet lag this time, which I attributed to two things: 1) He didn't sleep much on the flight back (well, as much as I'd hoped!) and 2) He had a bad cold. Both blessings in disguise I guess because while I was up for 3 hours a night catching up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians the first couple nights back, he was fast asleep in his bed. What a guy!

It was impossible not to take over 300 photos over the course of the trip (that's only about 10 a day if you do the math!) but I have managed to stop myself from putting them all on here. Here are a few highlights:

Doubling-up in the swing!

Splash park with his big cousin/idol

Hava Nagila!
Fun with Grandma Martha's walker
Boys at the wedding

Paddleboarding on the lake
Whale watching!

Congrats Jody and Anton!

On the beach in Seaside!

Four cousins on the kitchen step at the cabin
Fun on the beach when the tide was way out

Digging his toes in!

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