Friday, 5 December 2014

We got hitched!

After nine years together, William and I got married November 21st at 2:30pm. We were thrilled both our families could make it (despite us giving them six weeks notice!) and a lot of our Edinburgh friends.

A couple highlights from the day -

- Getting my hair done by the fabulous Lesleyanne Kearns.

- My dad (who arrived in Edinburgh two hours before the ceremony) left his glasses in the taxi from the airport so I took him and my mom to a drug store on the Royal Mile on the way to the Registrar to get a pair.

- Then, because we were early (and tired), we stopped at Starbucks to get a coffee before walking the rest of the way up the Mile. Some great comments from the Starbucks baristas!

- Keeley and Freddie walking down the aisle holding hands. Margaret, the only one with her hands free, holding Elsie, a bottle and a burp rag.

- Anna having the rings instead of Stephen (and because Freddie decided last minute to hold Keeley's hand instead of the rings).

- Walking down the aisle with my parents and trying to hold it together.

- Nursing Elsie in the car right outside the Lothian Chambers building.

- Driving to our reception at Hemma with Freddie plugging his ears and yelling 'I don't like loud noise! No like loud noise!" (our exhaust pipe broke that morning)

- Great food and friends. Fun to have all the kiddos!

- Celebrating our 'honeymoon' by my nieces, two of my sisters, myself and Freddie getting the flu. Ha!

Thanks SO much to the talented Raymond Keith for taking our photos.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Free parenting (and life) tip!

I know I haven't blogged in awhile and trust me — I feel guilty about it everyday! Who would have thought planning a Halloween party (for nine 2-year-olds, their parents and an Elsie), a wedding (it's next Friday ahhhhh) and a ton of work would take up so much time!

Anyway, as a way to say 'I'm sorry' for my lack of posts, I've decided to share one of my best parenting tips. And although it might be somewhat controversial, I've been living according to this rule pretty much since Elsie was born and I stand by it 100%.

Don't fold laundry. Ever. 

Or at least not the kids' clothes. What's the point! They just get food or mud all over themselves right after they're dressed anyway. Now that Elsie's eating solid foods, I change her clothes at least two times a day — usually three. 

So now, every night when William and I see that giant, never-ending pile of clean laundry on our couch, we simply divide it into piles of clothes belonging to Freddie and Elsie and then stuff the piles into their drawers. 

You won't believe all the time we save by not folding anything! If you're finding it hard to fit in cutting your nails, washing your sheets or the latest episode of 'Geordie Shore,' I highly recommend you stop folding your clothes. You'll never go back!

Now, since photos of heaps of laundry are boring as all H, here are a couple cute pics of the kids from recently. 

Els out for dinner the other night. She got her first tooth yesterday!

Freddie with his 2 and a half year-old birthday cake (a train!). Choo Choo!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Guess who?

There's no doubting Freddie and Elsie are siblings. I've always thought their red hair, round cheeks and big blue eyes are a pretty close match. However, it was only recently that I realized just how much these two look alike. All thanks to big blue snowsuit...

PS I redid my blog header. Elsie is official now!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Summer in Seattle, 2014

4 generations of Padden females.

We went off on our annual Seattle trip on August 19th. Margaret ("Bobo"), Freddie, Elsie and I flew over for three weeks of fun in the sun with William joining us for 10 days in the middle. We had a fabulous time at Clare and Jon's wedding, playing in the sand at Seaside and relaxing in beautiful K-town. Couldn't have asked for a better holiday, thanks in most part to the company.

The kids had a blast with their cousins and we came back with Elsie now rolling over and Freddie speaking in full sentences. "I don't like that, Mom" - pointing at his pancakes this morning (!!). One second later - "I like that, Mom" (pointing at his pancakes again). We are still getting over the jet lag, which has been horrid for everyone this time for some reason, but have lots of fun activities planned for this weekend to tire everyone out and resume a 7pm bedtime!

Els and Greta getting acquainted.

Keeley, Freddie, Ollie and Reenie Roo at the kids' table.

Freddie, Keeley & Reenie having a ball.
Els taking a load off on Grandpa.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Our trip to France!

We just got back from 10 days in beautiful France - a country I'd never been to (Paris-Charles de Gaulle doesn't count!). We spent the first three nights celebrating our friends Thomas and Izzy's marriage and the following week at a farmhouse with the entire Fitzpatrick clan - including the Kenmore Fitzs.

There were fields of grapes, sunflowers and various other crops (wheat?), giving us a gorgeous view anytime we drove anywhere. We went to a traditional French market, old chateau and cooled off in nearby rivers and lakes.

Freddie and Elsie had a great time with their cousins Keeley and Corina and new friends, Rory and Ava. It was a madhouse of children (six all under the age of three) and Irish but within the insanity (bedtime the first night included about 2 hours of EVERYONE screaming!) came so many laughs. Boardgames, red wine (I had to time it right to avoid Elsie's feedings!) and oh so much cheese.

We ate so many chocolate croissants - they were a staple at breakfast, snack and anytime we had a cup of coffee (which was quite frequent, to say the least!) - that Freddie is still asking for them.

Here are some pics from the wedding...

Finding shade under a tree

Francie entertaining children

It was HOT

Probably our first family photo!

The Fitzs

Where's the groom?

Reenie Roo enjoying her ice cream

Funny faces

Monday, 14 July 2014

A rite of passage...

Freddie and I both went through a rite of passage this afternoon....he got his haircut from a real hairdresser! Sob! Haha just kidding. It went very well. We talked about it all day - how you get to wear a cape and sit in a big chair and make funny faces at yourself in the mirror.

When it came down to it, he got a little nervous but once I agreed to stand by his side and hold his hand, he was fine. We looked at the penguins on his cape and stuck our tongues out in the mirror. Only slight hiccup was when Elsie decided she wanted a nap so I put her in the sling and rocked her/shoved the paci in her mouth with one hand while holding Freddie with the other hand.

The hairdresser (we were at Trade Cut on Easter Road) was really nice and - get this - it only cost £5! William joined us, too, and got his hair cut after Freddie's. Next time we'll probably make it a whole family affair and I'll get mine done too. Elsie might even like a trim!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Elsie is 2 months old!

Whattttttttt! How can this be? The time is absolutely flying. Elsie has had a pretty great first two months to her life. Right now, she's really into smiling and cooing, as well as the old faves - eating and sleeping. She had her first vaccinations yesterday but did really well - only a little cry, had some milk and was fine.

She is doing great at tummy time and can hold her head up really high now. We've even started to see her lurch from side to side, trying to roll over. Freddie loves doing tummy time with her and shows her all the time how to lift his head and roll over. I'm sure she'll have it down in no time.

She likes her baby gym and chair but more often than not can be found laying on a blanket (or towel, if it's closer) and 'reading' a book.

I have no idea where those month by month stickers are for her onesies but we did a two month old photo shoot today anyway. What a cutie!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Taking Instructions From a 2 Year Old

Freddie's language has really taken off- he's repeating everything we say and even speaking in short sentences. It's hilarious to hear the things he comes up with. Tonight, for example, he went through a whole string of names without taking a breathe (KeeleyFrancieCorinaBobbyNina).

And earlier, we were having a picnic dinner in the meadows and as soon as he was done eating he jumped up and said "See ya" to William, Elsie and I and sauntered off towards the toys.

What's really hilarious though, are the instructions he gives us. It's clear he thinks he's in charge and we're just along for the ride. Here are some examples:

1. Before meals he points to his bib and says "BIB" and points to his neck.

2. Before his nap he says "blue blankie" and "sound machine," again with the point of a finger for where they should go.

3. "Bubbles back garden" is a common after dinner request.

And, my personal favorite:

4. When he's done going number 2 he says "Wipe, Mama. Wipe bottom, Mama." No prob Fred- that's what I'm here for.

At the beach last week, enjoying a blueberry ice cream cone.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Welcome Baby Elsie/Happy 2nd Birthday Freddie!!

Guess these two will have to get used to sharing so might as well start with a joint blog post! Elsie Grace Kearns was born at 5:40pm on Friday, April 25th. After three days in labor, we were very glad she decided to eventually come out!! She weighed 8 lbs, 13 ounces (4 kg) and was 51 cm long.

First bath! Loved it obviously.

William and I were sure it was going to be a boy so were shocked when we saw otherwise. She's been a great eater and sleeper (two very important qualities at 11 days old) so far and an overall joy to be around.

Big brother Freddie was instantly taken with his little sis, and even bypassed her gift (a sticker book of diggers and various construction equipment), just wanting to hold her. We are all so excited to be a family of four!

Double stroller!

Yesterday we celebrated another big day - Freddie's second birthday!! He found his birthday shirt at the end of a string attached to his bed in the morning, tried out his balance bike and helmet in the afternoon and expertly blew out the candles on his 'F'-shaped carrot cake after dinner. What a fun day!

It's been an amazing two years with Freddie (the best!) and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to do an imovie of some of our adventures (call it the Rich Kay in me). Consider yourself warned - it's 15 minutes long - but if you have the time, it's a great look back on the first two years of this little guy's life. We love you Freddie!

Watch the video on youtube (I couldn't embed it in the post for some reason.)

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Photo of the Week- 39 weeks pregnant!

The due date is 2 days away and we are getting VERY excited to meet the new member of our family.

Freddie definitely knows the time is getting closer and every time we leave the doctor's office or hospital after a check-up he holds his hands up and says "baby?" like - where is it?

He has been giving my belly a lot of kisses and putting his ear up to it to see if he can hear it. When I asked him when the baby is going to come out, he said Tuesday so we'll see if he's right! He's also been extra snuggly with me and wants me to do a lot of the bedtime routine lately. It's fun to spend the extra time with him (usually William does most of bedtime) but I hope he's not too distraught when there's another little human here taking up my time!

A few nights ago I had some contractions and thought, this is it! But, sadly, it was probably just the result of too much spicy Thai food. I might get the same dish next week but my strategy has also changed to just trying to get as much rest as possible for the big day.

The sun is out in Edinburgh and we're heading to the beach this afternoon (stopping at the store to get sunscreen on the way!). So fun to spend some quality time as a family of three before the new guy or gal arrives! Anyone have any birthday predictions?

Monday, 14 April 2014

When to Bribe Your Kids

I've thought a lot about this and have decided there are two situations in which I am TOTALLY fine with bribing my children with treats. Yes, I did read that French book that was all the rage awhile ago that talked about not using food as a tool to get your kid to do what you want, amongst other things, and, for the most part, we do agree with that.

I've made a point of not giving in to Freddie's whining and, instead, have taught him to wait patiently as much as possible. It can be tough for him, especially when he's hungry right before meals or if he had a short nap and is just tired, but let's face it- as much as we'd all love to get whatever we want, whenever we want it, this sadly isn't real life.

But, that being said, there are still two areas where I am ready and willing to bribe Freddie with a little treat.

1. On an Airplane

Traveling with little kids, in a car, plane, train, boat, or whatever, can be the pits. They don't understand the concept of time and because of that feeling of endlessness, and the fact that it takes FOREVER to get to Seattle from Edinburgh, can make it a rough ride for everyone.

So, when we are on an airplane, Freddie can have pretty much whatever he wants. Snacks, juice, the in-flight magazine, headphones, the barf bag, whatever. And please- watch as much TV as you want! Glue your head to the screen, I don't care!

It's a time to do whatever it takes to get everyone to the final destination in one piece, with as few meltdowns as possible.

 2. Potty Training

The second situation where I am A-OK with bribing is potty training. About 6 weeks ago, I finally decided it was getting a little weird that Freddie was trying on William and my underwear whenever we would hang up laundry. He also went for our shirts, his own socks, dish rags, etc. but it was the undies he was particularly interested in.

So, I bought him some his own size. He was so excited - especially with the blue ones. We weren't planning on trying to potty train him until this summer, after the excitement of the new baby dies down, but he was just so into them that I decided to test the waters.

After a week or so of Fred just wearing the undies around the house at random times (and sometimes peeing in them), I ordered a little toilet ladder/seat contraption from Amazon (pretty much the only place I shop now) and the three of us set it up together one night. He was immediately taken by it, as climbing up on anything is quite a thrill, and after a couple tries, he had his first success!

We played it cool, gave him one cheerio (ha!) as a treat and decided to play each day by ear. For another week or so, he'd go once or twice a day until one day when he went seven times! It was then that I decided we can't turn back now, we have to go for it! So, we upped the treat to half a fruit snack ("root nack") for pee and two halves for poop.

It worked like a charm! 3 weeks later and he's pretty much completely got it. He only wears a diaper during naps (but I think we could cut this soon) and at night and is totally fine going on toilets when we are out and about. I am still in shock with how well it went, and so proud of Freddie for catching on so quick.

I am an honest enough person to admit that I even teared up a little when he first pooped on the toilet! Pregnancy hormones can get the blame for that one. :)

It's true! Everyone does.
Mom! Stop taking pics of me!

I can't wait for him to see this when he's older!

Thursday, 3 April 2014


It's every mother's dream - Freddie has friends!! It's been so fun to watch Freddie transition from not realizing others are in the room to actually interacting with other kids. When we see kids at the playground, in the park, at the library and at the swimming pool he says "Kidddddssssssss!" and waves/says hi and bye (whether they take notice or not).

I've probably mentioned this before but when I was pregnant with Freddie I did a yoga class where I was lucky enough to meet a great group of future moms. We've all stayed in touch and get together whenever we can - sometimes once a week if people have days off work and sometimes for a bigger gathering on the weekend. From this, Freddie has been able to consistently hang out with the same kids. He knows their names, is excited when they come over, loves when we go to their houses and talks about them after we've come back home. 

Yikes! Who cut that guy's hair!

Another place he's been able to make some friends is at Dad's Rock, the playgroup he goes to every Saturday with William. There are no mums allowed at this exclusive dads group so I don't always get the full details of what sort of chaos they all get up to, but I know Freddie loves it and now sings "We Will Rock You" when he comes home. Dad's Rock has stepped it up recently, too, with a few outings around the city. First, they went to the mammoth exhibit at the National Museum Scotland and, another Saturday, to the National Galleries.

Freddie's friend Madison (daughter of one of the yoga mums) goes to Dad's Rock, too, and the two of them have become buddies. At the museum, they checked out the mammoths, colored some fossils and 'dug for' dinosaur bones. Maddie's mom and I met them at the museum after their fun day out and it was clear they all had a blast.

We have a couple birthday parties for these kiddos coming up (can't believe they are all turning 2!!) and it's so cool to see Freddie making some great, possibly lifelong, friends. Even if they are all girls! Ha!

 Museum photos by Raymond Keith!

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