Thursday, 28 February 2013

Photo of the week- sleepin' in my arms

The photo of the week comes early this week! Freddie had somewhat of a rough day yesterday. He woke up at 540am (yikes!), woke up crying from both his naps and spent the afternoon crying every time he bit down on something. Poor guy. The culprit? A new tooth. It has to be. 

We snuggled and danced around the house to distract him but by late in the afternoon it was apparent he needed something else. I gave him some ibuprofen, which usually seems to do the trick, but after another hour he was still mad. I thought dinner might be another good distraction but it was the opposite. He didn't eat much of the delicious potato, chicken, broccoli and milk mixture at all and, only after awhile, slurped down a decent amount of cold applesauce.

When it came time to go to bed later, I gave him milk, as usual, and William came in to read him "Goodnight Moon" and sing him a song (Let's not even mention the name of the song because we are all sick of it!). Freddie normally loves the book and song but was upset the whole way through both and when William put him in his crib he really let us have it. 

William left the room but I could see Freddie on the monitor immediately roll over onto his tummy and sprint (crawl-sprint) to the end of the crib closest to the door. This is where he stands every morning and after naps to wait for us. He was bawling and calling "mama" - so heartbreaking. I went in and sang him the song again (really need to pick a new song!) and put him back in. He had almost been asleep in my arms so I figured he would just roll over and go to sleep but instead, he did the same crawl-sprint-cry to the end of the crib and stood up to call us. :(

Picture the same scenario on repeat two more times with a sleepier Freddie in my arms each time. Finally, I just decided to hum the song (couldn't bear to actually sing it again) with him in my arms. He was asleep within a minute. I forgot what that felt like! I think it'd been 6 months since he fell asleep on me before bed and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. He was so snuggly and cozy and I loved it every second of it. So much that I had William come in and do a photo shoot with us. :)

When I put Freddie in the crib a few minutes later he opened eyes, looked at us, rolled over and went to sleep. And even though we were expecting him to wake up through the night, he slept the next 11 hours as normal and woke up happy as a clam.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Who's that LADY?

Well, there's no going back. I'm officially old...or am I? I need your help with this one. Let me set the scene for you. A couple days ago, Freddie and I were at the playground. It's a dinky little playground with a few swings, a rusted merry-go-round (apparently called a "roundabout" here), a small jungle gym with a slide and one big metal thing that, as far as we can tell, has no purpose.

It's in between the beauty that is Arthur's Seat and some dodgy-looking high-rise flats. There's even a little bit of graffiti on some of the toys. Not the nicest or most modern playground, but it has some baby swings and it's within walking distance of our place so we go there a few times a week.

Ninety percent of the time, we are the only ones there (see above description). This is great in some ways- Freddie doesn't have to wait to use any of the toys and we can be as crazy and loud as we want without driving anyone nuts. However, with just the two of us, the playground sometimes seems even sadder. So, when we got there last Thursday we were thrilled to see not just one but TWO other families there. The sun was popping out from behind some clouds and it was above freezing so basically the nicest day we've had so far this year.

I put Freddie in one of the swings and started chatting to another mom who was there pushing her 1ish-year-old boy. They were French and, although her English wasn't the best, she was very friendly and even offered me one of her freshly-baked mini breads. Yum! (And very impressive that she made them herself. I, on the other hand, had just scarfed a Nutri-Grain bar on the walk there. Lame.)

The other family was a mom with her 3ish-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy. The girl was running around like crazy, repeatedly climbing up the jungle gym. She was really cute and kept waving at us from the top before she went down the slide. The boy was getting antsy in his stroller so the mom brought him over and put him on the third baby swing, in between the French boy and Freddie. Freddie didn't know what to do he was so excited- three out of three swings occupied! So much to look at at! So many people to smile and laugh and babble to. What a day!

I said hi to the little boy and his mom and got a nod in return (from the mom- the boy was staring at Freddie). The French mom (maman, right?) offered them some of her little rolls. We both attempted to get the conversation going with the other mom but she wasn't really into it. One word answers and not much else. She seemed tired/maybe having a hard day.

We stayed about ten more minutes on the swing, then hit up the slide and merry-go-round. I started getting Freddie back in the stroller and noticed the mom of the two wee ones was doing the same. By this point, her boy was getting pretty cranky. He hadn't been a huge fan of the swing and was putting up a little bit of a fight going back in his stroller ("buggy"). I got Freddie harnessed in and we headed for the exit.

When I got to the gate, I noticed the others weren't too far behind me so I slowed down and held the gate open for them. I smiled at the frazzled mom (the "I feel ya- kids can be tiring" smile) as she was walking towards me but again, got nothing back. I felt bad for her and thought she really must be having a rotten day. I pushed Freddie halfway out the gate with one arm and continued holding the gate with the other. The little girl got to the gate first and her mom said "Now say thank you to the lady." THE LADY.

My heard skipped a beat. I was so shocked I almost didn't know what to do. Am I a hundred years old? Was I not wearing my skinny jeans  and black eye liner (on the top lids only- thanks for the tip Madge)? I mean come on. No one (except maybe the "ladies" of The Bachelor) wants to prematurely be called a lady. Only thing I can think of that's worse is ma'am. Ugh. And I'm still a few weeks away from being 30! How could she!?

Anyway, she was having a hard day and it is in my nature to forgive so if we see them again I will be nice but I don't think I will ever forget. When I got home I did the obvious thing to cheer myself up and I listened to this catchy tune and danced around the living room with Freddie. Maybe I should have listened to this Britney Spears classic as well (HA).

Friday, 22 February 2013

Photo of the week- a guilty-looking Freddie

I am starting to see how people just give kids anything they want- they are just too darn cute! Look at this face and tell me I'm wrong. :)

I've had a busy week with a few writing projects so the household chores (spoiler alert- this part is boring) have taken a backseat, to say the least. I realized yesterday that we had barely any food in the house so unless William and Freddie wanted to eat plain pasta with a side of canned green beans (ew) for dinner, I was going to have to go to the store.

Or...I could shop online. I've probably mentioned this before but just to reiterate, online grocery shopping is simply THE BEST. For a few pounds, you can avoid the tedium of going to the store and just sit back, relax, and let the food come to you. Genius. Only slight hiccup? I was trying to do the order while watching Freddie, who has become a speed demon.

Freddie's attention span usually seems to be about a minute or two. He'll play with one toy for a bit, see another one a few feet away that looks interesting and go for that, then see a sock on the couch and climb up to get that and so on. I needed about ten minutes to do the food order so I was passing him toys and socks and diapers and anything else within reach while trying to keep him an arm's reach away from the computer.

I looked over at him at one stage, while he was pulling the entire pile of clean laundry off the couch one shirt at a time, and saw he found a small wad of toilet paper that I'd used to blow my nose (spoiler alert- this is a little gross). I picked up the laundry and put it back but noticed he was completely enthralled with the toilet paper. You know he has a thing for unconventional toys (faves at the moment are an empty water bottle and the rubber spatula) and ok, it was a little gross, but there wasn't much snot in it so I thought why not- let him at it.

I continued shopping online (mmm peppercorn sauce and Quorn chicken) while he played with the tissue. He picked up the whole wad, ripped it in two, then did it again, and again and again. This was a fun game (it lasted 10 whole minutes!) until Freddie started eating it. I told him "No," which he is definitely starting to understand, but after another minute he tried to eat it again. I fished it out of his mouth (ew) and said "No" again. He seemed to understand. 30 seconds later, he had some on the way to his mouth so I said "No" and he paused, looked at me, looked at the tissue and slowly put it in his mouth.

This was repeated several more times until, unfortunately, the game had to come to an end. But, I got the food order done so I consider it a definite success! Wonder what he'll find to play with tomorrow. :)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Valentine's Day party for under 1's

Happy belated Valentine's Day to you all! Freddie and I co-hosted a Valentine's Day party for 11 of my "mom friends" (also just known as friends) and their babies last Friday. No, that's not a typo. 11 moms and babies- that's 22 humans in total- came over Friday afternoon for tea, cupcakes, punch and apple-flavored rice cakes. I'll let you guess who ate what.

I'm no Martha Stewart, to say the least, and I wish I had more of my sister Anna and cousin Carly in me when it comes to cooking and baking, but I put on the best spread I could. I made cupcakes, brownies and scones and served a cranberry-lime punch, tea and coffee. And now here's where the honesty comes in...I have to give Tesco, Betty Crocker and Fisher credit because I used their box mixes to make the cupcakes, brownies and scones.

I have a couple things to say about this. First, they were delicious! Tip of the hat to whoever puts those mixes together. Thanks for saving me time and the hassle of making it all from scratch. Second, I did put a little of my own spin on things. I added walnuts (chopped them myself- impressed yet?) and chocolate chips to the brownies and ordered heart-shaped, edible sprinkles for the top of the cupcakes. Can't say I did much to the scone mix except I did knead the dough the recommended 5-6 times. No cutting corners there!

We had a great time eating, chatting and watching the babies play together. The balloons in particular were a big hit. Freddie and William are still having fun with them (as you can see below). Having 11 babies all around the same age (around 7-12 months) together was absolutely hilarious. I can only imagine what it's going to be like in another few months when they are all walking! We might have to move the parties to the park then.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Photo of the week- my good little napper!

Earlier this week we had the windows guys back again to fit the windows. If you read my previous post (big time rant) then you know I had strong feelings towards them for accepting my only-being-polite offer for tea when I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off while also having a sad, clingy Freddie attached to me.

Well- and here's where the guilt sets in- I found out when they came this week (to actually do the windows) that they had a 2 hour drive to get to us (they arrived at 8:25am). They then worked all day with no breaks (not even a lunch!) in the freezing weather. It was even snowing when they were here yesterday. I feel like such a beast for my rant! Who am I to think that I'm the only one who is tired and has a million things going on. There's no denying it- I was an absolute beast. I tried to make up for it by bringing them multiple cups of tea and biscuits throughout the days so I'm hoping that kept them warm and me from feeling any guiltier. That being said, they did a fantastic job on the windows! They look so nice and new and somehow make our flat seem bigger. So great.

So, the photo of the week this week could be of the new windows...but that's boring! Instead I give you a picture of our little Freddie snoozin'. Because the windows in our bedroom were done on Tuesday morning (see I am trying to tie it all together), I was able to put Freddie down for his afternoon nap in our room instead of having to get out of the house and try to get him to sleep in the stroller or ergo (so tedious and did I mention it was freezing/snowing?).

So, I dragged his crib and sound machine into our room and got him in his PJ's. Then I realized our nice, new windows were letting in way too much light. Now, this is usually seen as a good thing and I am very appreciative of the fact that our flat is bright and airy but when it's nap time I'd rather it be dark and dungeon-like. Freddie has always slept better when his room is dark, which is why we've been known to tape black garbage (bin) bags to the windows. Hey, whatever works, right? I didn't have black bags, a ladder or the time to do this so I just figured he'll go to sleep eventually. And....he did!

In the broad daylight, with people sawing and hammering and smashing glass, he just dozed off. I went in a few times to sing him a song (Mary had a little lamb OF COURSE), remind him it was nap time and crank up the ocean waves but it didn't take him too long to understand and fall asleep. This might sound strange but I was so proud of him! With all that noise and daylight- it definitely would have been tough for me to fall asleep. He looked so cute I couldn't resist sneaking in and taking a few pics of the little guy. Here's my fave.

Monday, 11 February 2013

PB & J we have a problem on our hands. I have started giving Freddie peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. That's jam for you Brits (we call jelly jello in the states and when we say jelly we basically mean jam). Anyway- the problem is not that he doesn't like it. He LOVES it. The problem is I have to basically give him a bath every time after he eats it.

He starts out by curiously pinching the sandwich repeatedly before finally bringing a little bit to his mouth. Once he gets the first taste, the eyes widen, the lips start smacking and the rest is history. The first half of the sandwich flies in. After his initial hunger wanes, he starts to play with the sandwich more and more in between bites. He passes it from hand to hand, smashes it onto the tray and pats it on to his feet and thighs. Sometimes he even takes a moment to offer me some. It's so generous but I usually decline.

A half hour later and we are finally done. The delicious mixture that is PB & J has yielded an EXTREMELY sticky residue all over Freddie (arms, legs, feet, face, hair, ears), the high chair (tray, seat, footrest, floor) and me when I'm carrying him into the kitchen to get cleaned up (hands, shoulder, waist, HAIR). We both basically need a bath and a change of clothes.

What can I do? The bib has become a bit of a joke now. It protects such a miniscule area. After lunch I still have to change his entire outfit and either do a wet rag sponge bath, babywipe the H out of him or do a full bath. Last week I gave him a bath after the PB & J lunch and there were little chunks of sticky sandwich stuck to the side of the tub afterwards. Mmmm. Today I was lazy so I just stuck his arms and legs under the kitchen faucet (tap). We don't have the kind of time to be doing so many middle-of-the-day baths. We are busy people!

That being said, I am happy to wait out this playing-with-food stage because he is still so dang cute even (especially) when covered in peanut butter and jelly. Those of you with older kids might be able to give me a glimpse into the future though- at what age can they get 90% of the food directly into the mouth? 2? 3?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Dry shampoo is a Mom's best friend

Dry shampoo has saved me in many occasions. What a fantastic product! (And no, I didn't get paid to write that.) I had never heard of dry shampoo before I moved to the UK but I'm sure we must have it at home. This is the sort of high quality item every country must have. Right?

Well, for those of you who were, like me, ignorant to this wondrous product, it is basically exactly what it sounds like. It is a spray-on powder that absorbs the grease in your hair and leaves your hair looking fresh and washed. It's somewhat similar to baby powder, which I've definitely seen being used for the same reason, but it sprays out of a container like hair spray. It doesn't look as good as if you were to actually wash it but it's a close second.

When I'm too busy or too lazy to wash my hair I spray a little onto the roots and rub it in. It's a quick solution to the days when your baby doesn't do his usual long nap in the morning or you're up early to catch a flight. It's also good entertainment. Freddie loves the sound it makes when it's spraying and he loves rolling and patting the container on the floor (lid on). A word of warning though- don't overdo it or you won't be able to rub it all in and your hair will look white. Not a good look.

I won't subject you to a picture of my hair before and after dry shampoo (you're welcome) but I will leave you with a pic of Freddie this morning. We were wrapping a present for his friend's 1st birthday party later today (and for those of you who will be there- don't worry- as soon as he falls asleep I am hopping in the shower to for-real wash my hair). He loved playing with the wrapping paper- especially ripping a big piece into smaller and smaller bits. And (this is big) he even seemed to understand me when I told him it wasn't for eating. He's growing up so fast! ha

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Jogging without a jogging stroller

I did a crazy thing in June of last year- exactly one month after Freddie was born. I signed up for a half marathon. I was still probably 30-40lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy self (Freddie was almost 10lbs when he was born so you do the math on how much I gained in total. YIKES). I'm guessing I was feeling fat, out of shape and stir crazy, or a combination of all three.

Fast forward to now and I have 3 and a half months until the Edinburgh Half Marathon on May 26th. Now I've run a few half marathons in my time (and even one full marathon) so I know what I have to do to prepare for it. Doing it, however, is another story. Especially since I have a 9-month old, NO JOGGING STROLLER and it gets dark before 5pm.

I've been trying to do two 30-minute runs with Freddie during the week and then one longer run by myself on Saturday, when William can watch Freddie. I can honestly say that even though I'm up to an hour on my weekend runs, the 30-minute ones during the week are WAY harder. I love our Babystyle Oyster Stroller- it's comfy for Freddie, easy to push around the grocery store and can easily make the trek to the playground or Starbucks (two important destinations for us). But a jogging stroller it is not.

Jogging strollers usually have three real tires, hand brakes and are incredibly lightweight. They also cost hundreds of dollars and pounds. My budget right now for a jogging stroller is £0 ($0 if you were wondering what the conversion was). So, I have been running with Freddie in our non-jogging stroller and making the best of it.

There are definite benefits to running without a jogging stroller though. Here are a few:

1. It's an extra workout- especially when going uphill.

2. People get the H out of my way when they see us coming. I'm talking leaping off the sidewalk and onto the grass to let us go by. Almost as if they're scared we'll run them over.

3. I get looks of incredulity and comments like "Wowwwwwwweeeee isn't that great! Look at him (pointing at Freddie as he's flailing about)!! He LOVES it!!" and (from one older woman) "Well, that's one way to lose the tummy!"

I took that last one as she was impressed I was out there making an effort but I think she actually just thought I was crazy. Am I? Can I really run 13.1 miles again soon? If you have any advice for someone who hasn't run in about a year and a half, please send it my way. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Freddie is 9 months old

I can hardly believe it but Freddie is 9 months old today! We were really good about taking his pic every month with these stickers...for the first 3 months. Then we went to Seattle for a month, came back, took awhile to get over the jet lag, moved into our new flat and couldn't find them (surprisingly) in the many "miscellaneous"-labeled boxes.

William finally found them the other day so I've decided to resurrect the monthly photo shoots. It really is a cute way to chronicle a baby's first year. Maybe with the next one we'll manage to do all 12 months. Ha!

Here are some of the pics from this morning. He loved trying to peel the sticker off his top.

Now- someone please remind me on March 5th to take the 10-month old pics!! OMG- is he going to be 10 months old? How can that be?!

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Two months after he started saying it and I finally got it on video! Freddie started saying "Mama" when he was around 7 months old, then it switched to "Baba" for awhile and now it's back to "Mama." YAY! I still don't think he realizes that I'm his Mama but who cares! He still says it! :) I guess this means that, for now at least, I have a fourth choice of what to be called.

I have to admit, this has been one of the best moments so far since I've become a mom. It's so endearing to hear him say it and it just makes me think about the bond that we will forever have. It's emotional thinking about the days, weeks, months and years we have ahead of us. He's going to go to high school someday. Ah! To really pile on the cheese, I have to say I'm looking forward to every minute of it. :) (People with older kids- don't burst my bubble! If there are hard years to come I don't want to hear about it!!! ha)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Photo of the week- up EARLY's blurry but you get the point! This was this morning at 545am. Some little maniac decided to wake up bright and early!! I saw him doing a "crawling start" and then launching himself up the end of the crib to try to stand. Eventually I gave up on him going back to sleep and brought him in with us.
A lot of parents can get their kid(s) to sleep in their bed with them. We have not had success with this. And believe me- I am thrilled that Freddie sleeps in his own crib through the night without a peep usually. That being said, on the odd night that he wakes up with pain from his teeth or cause he has a cold, it would be great to have him lay down in between us and go back to sleep. So far when we have tried this he sees it as an opportunity to play and rolls around or climbs on top of us. Another favorite activity lately? Pulling my hair. Youch!
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