Saturday, 1 October 2011

Time Goes On

This poor blog has been neglected and I am not sure it will get better to come. As with everything else the day seems to be over before half of what I want or need to do gets done. It is not to say that our days are not rich and full.

Jocelynne continues to grow and each milestone seems to happen faster than the last. Creeping around furniture quickly turned into tentative steps and now she toddles as if walking has been something she has done all her life.

First shoes were purchased and quickly out grown. Chattering seems to be turning into recognizable words here and there.

Eating and feeding herself goes well and I am glad every day that we chose to do Baby Led Weaning.

Teething continues on an almost daily basis and only a few remain to come through but they seem to be taking their time and causing both Jocelynne and all those around her as much grief as possible.

Jocelynne's ingenuity never ceased to amaze me and her lack of fear and self preservation give me fear EVER SINGLE DAY.

Some of her favorite things are to help me empty the washing machine, we have a front loader and she has figured out how to open the door and pull the laundry out or if the drum is empty leave me presents to find when I go to add the next load. She also loves to hand me clothes to hang on the rack to dry. When all the items to be hung are on the rack she very much enjoys pulling stuff off and handing them to me so I can hang them again.

Philip continues to love his job and we are so happy he has a job that allows him to be home with us every weekend. Almost unheard of in his trade.

I have passed my Weight Watchers training and have taken my first meeting and right now this tends to drain much of my free time. Just before I started training I reached my goal weight of 140lbs and am trying to learn how to maintain at that weight.

I also joined a gym which has nursery I can use while I work out allowing me to work out during the week while Philip is at work. I have really enjoyed the gym and love pushing myself and seeing the progress I am making. It still excites me when I think that last year I would be lucky to do 10 "girly" push ups and can now do 15 "real" push ups and am starting to push myself by doing them on the Power Plate or balanced on a fit ball.

Life moves quickly but is never dull and at the moment I just try to savour each moment even if I can't share it on the blog in the way I hope to.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

With Madame's cousins visiting this weekend we thought it would be a good time to grab some cupcakes and head down to Grandma Kay's house so they could help Jocelynne celebrate her birthday a little early. As Jocelynne had her first go with a cupcake it made me laugh that she was not overly impressed.

Getting some pointers from Mummy

" Really I'm suppose to like this"

Think the grass might taste better

Really I am not impressed

Maybe it will taste better if I put my foot in it

No definitely no better after putting my foot in it

Let me give it another go

Hmmm this might just be edible

Always important to coordinate your cloth diaper with your food

Friday, 10 June 2011

As one door closes

I have been lucky enough to have a years maternity leave from my job, it is something that is available to all new mothers here in England and I am truly grateful. I know that many women in the US don't have the option to be stay at home moms for financial reasons and most must return to work about 12 weeks after their child is born. I know personally I wouldn't have been ready, I would have been a nervous wreck. While I have not been earning my full salary while on maternity leave I did receive 90% for the first six weeks followed by £125 a week up until 9 months and the last three months are unpaid. It has been amazing to spend the first year with Madame as we are both finding our feet in the new world we belong to.

My maternity leave ends a month from today and after a lot of discussion and looking into child care options I have decided that returning to my role in London is not the best option for our family. Due to my commute and the long hours that Philip works as a chef Madame would spend 12 hours a day five days a week in child care of some sort and I would only bring home a few hundred pounds a month after train fares and child care. Not only am I not thrilled by the prospect of Madame spending 60 hours a week in child care but the monetary benefits don't seem to justify it.

In some ways it was a very easy decision to make as I knew I didn't want Madame in child care that long but in another sense I loved my job and loved being part of the working masses. It also kind of feels like the last door closing on my Pre-Madame life.

While I won't be returning to my role in London not working at all would leave our finances stretch just too tight and leave absolutely no money for any fun things like holidays, and activities for Madame. What started out as a weight loss journey with Weight Watchers has opened the door to me becoming a Leader in the Weight Watchers organization. A couple of months ago as I was getting closer to my healthy BMI and also struggling to make decisions about returning to work or taking a part time job closer to home I made enquiries into becoming a leader. I truly believe in the Weight Watchers program and have been so lucky to have an amazing leader who has helped me so much over the last 9 1/2 months and I thought it would be amazing to have the chance to help other reach their weight loss goals. I have now made it through the interview process and start the training to become a leader in a few weeks. I am so thankful that while I am leaving one job that I really loved that I am able to start another that I feel really passionate about.

I am nervous about learning to juggle motherhood and work at the same time but Weight Watches offers me a position that can grow and evolve as I am ready. For the moment once I finish training I will only take on 1-2 meetings a week but as both I and my manager feel ready for me to take on more and if it works with my role as a mother I can look into taking on more meetings. It exciting to think that as Madame grows and starts things like nursery and school that I have the option of taking on more hours.

Closing the door on my Pre-Madame work life does not seem so hard when there is such an exciting door for Post-Madame work life to open.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Colchester Zoo

As Madame is growing I am getting excited to start having family days out with her that are more based on things she will enjoy than just having her tag along with Philip and I on our adventures. The Friday before late May Bank Holiday we got our first experience with this when we took Madame to Colchester Zoo. I have to admit that I knew she was probably too young to really appreciate it but was not wrong when I expected her to just enjoy a change of scenery and a day of being dotted on by Mum and Dad.

I did learn a really important lesson, in a move uncharacteristic of me I forgot to pack either of our slings and arriving at the zoo realized that Madame's push chair was too low to see into many of the enclosures so we spent a lot of time getting in and out of the pushchair. In the future I will definitely remember to at least throw the ring sling in with our stuff.

Madame loved the African exhibit where most of the animals were in large enclosures roaming around. I think as most of these animals were also larger and in more open areas it was easier for her to see them. I think we will probably wait a year or so before doing it again but we all had a great time!

Monday, 2 May 2011

BBQs, Bonnets, Bluebells and Much Much More

After two four day bank holiday weekends in a row we are a little hung over on fun and excitement here. It seems like we have been going non stop for almost two weeks and while it has been fun it will be nice to get back to normality. I also feel that I have been failing to document Madame and how quickly she is changing and growing and the new tricks she learns almost daily.

The Wednesday before Easter saw a trip with Auntie Pauline to Hyde Hall gardens which have some stunning gardens and views of the area around it.

Madame decided to wear her outfit that Auntie Jeanette got her which says I love my Auntie. Different Auntie but as Auntie Jeanette lives far away in America we thought Auntie Pauline would enjoy it. (Thank you Auntie Jeanette she looks way too cute in it)

Good Friday Madame had her first swimming experience and she loved it so much we have been back twice already and have plans for many more trips.
That evening we attended a BBQ at Auntie Pauline’s and Uncle Richards. Jocelynne had a great time playing with all the fun toys Auntie Pauline had for her and the yummy food Auntie Pauline had made just for her. Thanks Uncle Richard for getting such great photos of Madame!

Saturday I made my first of what I think will be many Easter Bonnets over the years to come. Tooting my own horn I think it turned out lovely.

Easter Sunday I decided to indulge Madame with a few small pieces of Easter chocolate from Grandma Kay against my better judgment and Madame repaid my kindness by being sick all over her Easter dress. Luckily there was a cute back up dress.

As we came out of church service the Salvation Army marching band was marching in front of our church on the way to theirs just down the road Madame had a lovely time waving to them as they passed by.

Grandma Kay joined us for Easter lunch and Madame enjoyed having someone else to terrorize um I mean entertain her. Monday while Daddy attended the annual motor bike show on the seafront I wore Madame out with another trip to the pool and then we joined Daddy for lunch at Bobby Jo’s American style diner.

After a few days of boring day to day we got back to it again Friday with a Royal Wedding and a Royal Wedding themed first birthday party for Madame’s friend Amelia. Madame had a fittingly patriotic outfit.

Amelia’s mum did an amazing job with the food and cakes to match the theme.

Daddy also braved porriage with Madame for breakfast while Mummy got to sleep in. Even after the best attempts to clean her up with a wash cloth we just gave in a threw her in the bath before we headed off for the birthday party.

Saturday we attended a belated Easter party thrown by the great Baby Sensory leader Jenny Sexton, Madame and I love attending her weekly sessions and I think Daddy had a good time being able to join in the fun with Madame.

Yesterday after church Madame enjoyed her first walk in the woods with Grandma Kay as we went out to see the bluebells, unfortunately Mummy forgot to take any pictures.

Today we had another trip to the swimming pool and then a quiet afternoon. Daddy goes back to work tomorrow and I know we are going to miss him, especially at dinner and bath time by that point of the day Mummy is worn out and has appreciated all the help that Daddy has been around to give.

We do have the bank holiday at the end of the May to look forward to and Daddy has taken the Friday before and the Tuesday after off. We are already planning lots of fun activities hopefully to include a first trip to Colchester Zoo for Madame.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Weight and Fitness Update

So it turns out it is harder and takes longer to get out of the house without a baby than with. Philip was off on Friday and was kind enough to offer to keep Madame while I went to my weekly Weight Watchers meeting. After a bad night with Madame and trying to get her settled for her nap before I went I finally got out the door with just enough time to slide in for the tail end of weigh in before the meeting started, only to realize half way there that I had left my membership card and weight card at home in Madame’s changing bag. I am so accustom to always having Madame therefore the changing bag. I raced home but by the time I made it home weigh in would have been over and it was still a 10 min drive to get there. Luckily there is a meeting just down the road from me on Saturday mornings so I was able to go and get weighed. I am realizing as I go on that similar to AA I need my meetings to keep me going. The accountability of getting on the scales each week and the inspirational discussions afterwards keep me on track. After a good week with tracking and sticking to my points I was not disappointed with a 1.5lb loss bringing me down to 153lbs and a total weight loss since September of 33lbs it averages out to just over a pound a week since I started back at Weight Watchers. My weekly weight loss is quite different as I seem to follow a pattern of nothing or very little weight loss for a few weeks and then 3lbs falls off, but to see an overall average of around a pound a week makes me very happy. Last week I made the big leap of actually setting my goal weight. I knew what my healthy weight range should be but was having a hard time actually setting a number in that healthy range. After some thought about times in my life that I had been happiest and where I was weight wise at the time I decided that I wanted to set my goal weight at 140lbs which just leaves me 13lbs to loose. Once I hit 140lbs I might decide to rethink the goal but to be honest I really like food, it is a huge part of my life with a chef as my husband and baking as a hobby I will never be one happy to go completely without treats but it seems at the moment I have found a balance that is allowing me to enjoy in reason and still work on my weight and health. Fitness wise the last month has been a big turning point, the weather has finally started to show signs of spring and a number of sunny and decently warm days have seen the push chair come back out for long strolls with Madame. I am having to learn what works best for both of us as I never realized how easy I had it last summer and fall with a newborn that was quite happy to spend hours a day in the pushchair as long as she was fed and changed when required. Madame as a nearly 9 month old still loves walks but does not have the same tolerance for being in the pushchair for hours on end. I have learned to time our walks for 30-45 mins before she is likely to nap and she is happy to enjoy the scenery while walking and then to nap in the pushchair when she gets tired giving me another 45-60mins should I want it. I have also learned that instead of walking a great distance from the house and then back again to wander and weave around through the areas near the house so that I am never too far if she decides she has had enough. We are lucky to have lots of parks and walking trails which link up to each other quite near the house that are easy enough for me to turn off and head home or continue on if Madame is happy. I have also joined a weekly fitness class just for mums of young children set up in a large church hall with lots of room for children to play while mums work out. Madame thinks this is great and enjoys watching Mama doing funny dances and when she gets tired of this she can crawl all over the room with a few kids who are 2-4 years old doing a great job of entertaining the little ones as well. Looking to the future I am excited about the next two weeks as I am trying a kettle ball class twice while the mum’s on the move takes a two week holiday for Easter. My mother in law has been gracious enough to offer to take Madame while I do the class and if I like it I might have to see if I can make the evening classes now and again to add some exciting new things to the mix. With walks back on the cards and the aerobics classes I am finally seeing changes in my body shape and size and how clothes fit not just numbers dropping on the scales. I have to admit that this has been a huge boost for me as I had kind of hit a rut and while the scales were still slowly going down the fact that dress size wasn’t and learning to deal with a new body image since giving birth had started to become demoralizing. I am happy to report the last purchase of bras saw a reduction in band size and I have now realize I probably should have actually gone down two band sizes, live and learn it will be exciting to buy even smaller the next time. I am also close or fitting into cloths that I brought over with me from the US five years ago that have been hiding in my closet for almost five years after I found the joys of hard cider and chocolate bourbons not to mention chocolate digestive, bakewell tarts, and the discovery of Lola’s Cupcakes when I worked in London. While lots of people would rather buy new as they get smaller due to luggage allowance and everything I wanted to bring with me when I started my new life in England only my favourite and most sentimental pieces of clothing came with me. It is exciting to find dresses and old Levi jeans that now fit again. While loosing the last 13lbs is going to be exciting I am more excited about my new level of fitness and the new attitude to exercise. I never would have had the guts to take a kettle ball class before “fat” people didn’t do that and I was stuck in the fat person mentality. I won’t be signing up for the London Marathon anytime soon but I am now excited about finding new ways to push my body and try new things, who knows in a couple of years I might just be signing up for the London Marathon but maybe I should sign up for a couple 5 and 10k races first um actually maybe I should learn how to run first as I have never run for exercise.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

So I am not a jump right in kind of person, never have been. I like to think things over for a LOOOOOOOOONG time. Make up a pro and con list, do research, bang my head on the wall, drag my feet, get scared, chicken out, deal with all the guilt I can pile on myself IF it happens to be a bad decision before the decision is even made and then start back at step one and go through the whole process a few more times before I do anything. Yes you read right I berate myself for hypothetically making the wrong decision before I even make the decision. So this morning I finally made a decision I had been thinking about for over six months and have been seriously considering for the last three. In a lot of ways it’s a decision that would have been made for me in 3-6 months anyway I just decided to expedite the process. Got up (okay was woken by my lovely, adorable, love her to bits even when she wakes me at 5am with the worlds largest dirty diaper baby) put my baby in the car (after refreshing that diaper of course) headed to the shops and bought all the items needed and I started. The world did not end, I was not struck down by a lightning bolt, no one pointed at me in horror or disdain. If anything a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Maybe I should in the future stop after the research part and just go for it a little more often.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Giving into the Mess

I have to admit that when I chose to do BLW part of my decision was based on laziness. The last thing I really wanted to do was sit and shovel spoonful after spoonful of food into Madame’s mouth. I would rather put it out for her and let her do the hard work. Yes there is TONS of mess to begin with but I also looked at it as an investment, hoping that it would improve her fine motor skills and with any luck learning to use utensils sooner, which is still to be seen. However when starting out I also knew I wanted Madame to allow me to spoon feed her when necessary, this quickly turned into a big fail. I am not sure if this was due to what I tried to start Madame out on with spoon feeding (quinoa cereal) or just the fact that Madame is terribly independent and was not going to have the whole being fed thing when she thought she could do it herself. After a few weeks of failed attempts I pretty much gave up on things like porridge and soups and anything Madame could not easily pick up herself.

Someone suggested letting her feed herself by putting a bowl on her tray with a spoon and while I did not mind the mess all over her I knew it would be all of 10 seconds before Madame had the bowl up in the air and on the floor and I really had no desire to constantly be cleaning up porridge or soup off the floor. Today the answer became clear as I was grocery shopping. A bowl that suctioned to her high chair tray, I suctioned it close enough for her to use a spoon (not that she does hands are much easier) and let her go to town.

I am happy to say that Madame is terribly efficient at using her hand to scoop porridge into her mouth and towards the end even perfected a technique to scoop up the porridge with rice cake. Way to go Madame!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pancake Day

In honour of Pancake Day Madame used her teeth to pick the blueberries out of some pancakes (see if mom ever makes her pancakes again!)

Monday, 7 March 2011

Madame's Monday Update

Sideways because she can

Dear Jocelynne,

So no new teeth this week I think that is a first for you at least in the last 6-8 weeks. Don’t feel bad or like you are falling behind really 9 teeth is plenty for the moment. I finally looked up how many baby teeth you will get and it is 20 so we are not even half way there. Seems like a lot of work to not even be half way there. Not that I am in any hurry for you to get the other 11 you have plenty of time really most of your friends your age only have 2-4 teeth.

You have made up for your lack of teething this week with a lovely runny nose. It is never ending I feel bad that all I do is wipe your nose. I turn around for two seconds and you have two huge ribbons of snot running down your face. Sometimes you blow the hugest snot bubbles it makes me laugh. Yup I said it snot bubble, said it on my blog for posterity to read hundreds of years from now, that’s right your great great grandchildren are going to know that you blew really big snot bubbles. On the not so funny side those snot bubbles turned green and you got a fever and started to pull your ears so we got to do our first round of antibiotics. They are fluorescent yellow and imitation banana flavour and you love them. I feel like the last two months of feeding you wholesome food is flushed down the toilet by how much you like your imitation banana flavoured antibiotics.

Speaking of wholesome food I have now realized that when I give you blueberry pancakes you put the whole pancake to your mouth and use your teeth to pick out the blueberries and leave the pancake untouched. I don’t know if I should be impressed at your skills to pick blueberries out of pancakes with your teeth at less than 8 months old or if I should be insulted that you are leaving the perfectly good pancakes I laboured to make you untouched.

You slept from 6pm to 3am last night without waking. I was so excited when I realized that you had slept for 9 hours without waking I almost woke your father to tell him. Luckily just before I did I realize he might not be that impressed with the news at 3am. I am hoping this was not just a fluke but will now become a habit.

Love you much,


Monday, 28 February 2011

Madame's Monday Update

Madame attacks a blueberry pancake

Dear Jocelynne,

It has been another crazy week with teething, you have two more new teeth number 8 and 9. We also had two trips to the doctors this week one for a cough I was worried might be a chest infection (turns out your fine) another for really bad diaper rash which turned out to be a yeast infection. The rash was the hardest part as your cried and screamed ever time I tried to change your diaper, it made me feel like the meanest mother in the world.

The teething has made sleeping a little interesting, Tuesday night Daddy took you and Mama for a long drive to get you to sleep and after you had been asleep for over an hour we brought you home but you decided to wake up. Mama was so glad that Daddy took over and got you to sleep because she was so tired at that point she pretty much passed out on the bed and fell asleep herself.

Grandma Kay watched you for the first time on Saturday so Mama and Daddy could go out for a bit. It only lasted for about an hour till you woke up and decided that you were not going to be soothed by Grandma and Mama and Daddy came home luckily we had not gone far so we go back in ten minutes.

You have become so vocal and in addition to random shrieks and gobbledy gook you now make repetitive da-da-da sounds and every now and again ma-ma-ma sounds.

Fingers crossed now that those teeth have cut through Mama and Daddy can get a few nights of sleep.

I love you so much


Monday, 21 February 2011

Madame's Monday Update

Dear Jocelynne,

You never slow down these days, you just go go go. Whether you are rolling all over the living room trying to find something you shouldn’t to get into (amazingly you can do this is less than two seconds) or shovelling food in your mouth, or learning new skills it is non stop with you. You love everything that is loud or lights up or flashes or moves. Mama has a hard time thinking of new and fun things for you to do and tries her best to rotate your toys over a few days so things seem new and exciting. I have resorted to pulling out cooking ware just to keep you occupied.

Sometime I think you should have been a younger sister as you love to watch older kids play and love it more when they entertain you. You love to go to Lynda’s house and play with Issy who is four and Amelia who is two months older than you. You also love going to Grandma Kay’s house and playing with your cousins who are eight and five. This weekend we took you to Daddy’s best friend Tina’s house for the first time in a long while and her girls Holly four and Shauna almost 11 had a great time with you.

Not only do you stand now but you have in the last few day started to stomp your feet and today while at your friend Ivy’s house you started to take a step or two going forward while holding Mama’s hands I was so proud of you.

Our nursing relationship is changing as well you are learning to eat so well and have started to nurse less. It is bittersweet in some ways I am ready to start getting my body back as my own and in other ways it is hard knowing this is the beginning of a still long road to the end of nursing.

I love you


Saturday, 12 February 2011

7 Months

Dear Jocelynne,

What a month it has been in some respects I think it has been the hardest month that you and I have faced. You had a really hard time adjusting to the time change when we got back from the US and this stressed Mama out because she adjusted faster so we were on different schedules. Mama was not getting enough sleep which is never a good thing.

Just about the time you started settling back into a decent nap and night time routine you decided to start teething. You went from no teeth to cutting seven teeth in just over two weeks. I guess you decided you needed seven teeth when you hit seven months you have four teeth on the top (the front two and one either side) and three on the bottom (the front two and one to the right side). It looks like your eye teeth are also close to coming through on the top.

Needless to say the teething really messed up your sleep again and also made you grisly during the day which was not the best combo when I was sleep deprived. We made it though some days we both cried. What helped me get through was the fact that even in the worst of the teething you would have some of the happiest moments, you would start laughing at something and you would just get hysterical with your laughter, big huge belly laughs while you kicked you feet.

You also finally decided you were ready to sit with out throwing yourself backwards after 30 seconds. You love to sit now and will happily sit and play with you toys on your mat for long periods of time. Within days of picking up sitting you decided you wanted to stand and now you want someone to help you stand ALL the time. You like to stand holding onto the furniture but are not really steady enough yet to do it safely so you and I spend a good portion of our day working on your stability.

You love to give kisses which are actually more like being slimmed but I love the fact that you love to do it. You have a new trick if I am holding you but not paying you enough attention, you reach up and gently pat my face until I look down at you, and then you smile at me and tell me a “story”.

You are getting so good at eating food you love pears, rice cakes, rusks, oranges, courgette (zucchini) fritters, cucumber, carrots, cheesy vegetable nuggets, potato wedges, sweet potato wedges and ham egg and cheese omelettes. I love watching you learn to eat; it makes me so happy that other than bananas you have not really refused any food.

This may have been the hardest month that you and I have faced so far but in some regards it has been the happiest too. You know when I need to see you smile, and you have decided you are a daddy’s girl and are quite happy to chill with Daddy for a few hours on his days off so Mama can head out for some me time. You are becoming more independent every day and while most of the time you would rather be down on the ground creating havoc than having a kiss and a cuddle it makes me proud to see you entertaining yourself.

You teach me to chill out all the time. Like giving up your pacifier cold turkey at less than 5 months old, even though I worried we would have to have it surgically removed when you went to college. I can’t tell you how much I worried about giving up the pacifier and all for nothing. Now that your teeth have come through you have decided that you will go back to decent naps and with a little guidance from Mama are back in your cot and starting to settle at night better, so I guess the hours of worry over the last two weeks that you might never go back to your cot and that you were going to wake every hour all night until you were 12 years old were useless as well.

I am so glad everyday (even the ones I cry) that I am your Mama and each new trick you come up with delights me beyond belief I hope that 7 months will be just as good or better than 6 months.



Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy

From someone who thinks the world of you!

And not forgeting Uncle Frank who shares the same great looks and birthday as daddy.