Thursday, 22 December 2005

Merry Christmas

Thursday, 22 December 2005
It's a bit early but Merry Christmas and here's a picture to make you smile

Have a lovely Christmas and a great 2006

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Not such a blast from the past...

Tuesday, 20 December 2005
This is not going to be a sentimental look at my childhood where I wallow in the memories of endless summer days etc. I did have a great childhood, I grew up in the country so climbing trees, riding bikes and generally exploring my surroundings was the order of the day but I don't feel the need to wax lyrical about those times.

However, there are things from my childhood that I do miss. Not just the life of no responsibilities and the fact that I could get much, much further on my bike than my parents seemed to realise. But also certain books that I loved yet can't find copies of to buy for Lia, places that are no longer the same, TV shows that I loved with presenters that you could respect and look up to rather than ones that try too hard to be your mate.

Just as an aside (and apologies to overseas readers who know nothing of what I speak) I was prompted by seeing Johnny Ball in the audience of Strictly Come Dancing to tell DF that if Johnny Ball, John Noakes and John Craven were gathered on TV to announce the end of the world my generation would totally believe them. No ifs, no buts, those were men that represented truth and, although they were grown ups, were totally on our side.

I don't watch much children's TV at the moment (bound to change as Lia gets older) but the presenters are absolutely dire and I dread the day Lia wants to watch Dick and Dom...

Anyway, that's slightly off my topic for the day. What I really wanted to talk about was sweets. Certain sweets that I loved in childhood that you can't get any more. Yes they brought back Spangles (although you don't see them that much any more) but for me there were certain gaps that just couldn't be filled.

And one in particular. Texan bars. I remember these as being rectangular with a thick, chewy candy covered in chocolate. The candy was quite orange and the toughest thing that you could ever put in your mouth. Not only that, when you did manage to suck it enough that it got softer it didn't break, it just stretched and stretched and stretched. I loved Texan bars and I also loved the competitions I had with my brother as to who could make one last the longest (very sticky results!)

So imagine my total and utter delight when I was looking for the address of a particular website selling old fashioned sweets to send to someone - A Quarter Of... - and discovering that TEXAN BARS ARE BACK!!!

Okay, you can only order them in fives but that's great cos I'll be chewing well into 2006 so I make my order and spend a couple of days stalking the postman until they arrive and finally, yesterday, they were in my hot little hands.

First disappointment, they're the wrong shape and they're half the size of the originals if that. But at least the packaging is as I remember and, lets face it, everything is smaller these days to what it was when we were little.

So I unwrapped and took a tentative bite (my teeth are not as sturdy as they were!) and bit right through! Okay I had to chew and chew and chew but the taste just wasn't right.

So there's two choices here, one my memory is not up to the task or two, they're not the same as before. I'd have to say that I think my memory is just fine and, given the rules about additives and the like these days, the recipe has changed but maybe I'm wrong and I've been romanticising this sweet for 20 years and can't really remember what it tasted like.

The real point to all this though is that, whatever the reason, I've been disappointed and I wish I'd never found them and so could have spent the rest of my life remembering them the way they were.

Still, I suppose I could always just prove I'm getting older by starting to moan about how they just don't make things how they used to...

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Christmas is coming...

Tuesday, 13 December 2005
and we're all getting well and truly festive in our house.

The Christmas tree is up and decorated (has been since the 3rd) and takes up a large part of our small dining room. Presents are wrapped and under the tree (I think Lia's a bit too young for us to worry about Santa this year!) and all that's left is Christmas Cards to be written - a job I hate but I'm working through them slowly.

Lia has a Christmas party to attend on Friday at the nursery and will meet Santa for the first time. I'm hoping that she won't freak out too much as DF has a belly and a beard so hopefully she'll just see him as an older version of Daddy.

She's also meeting the Greek Santa on Sunday as there's a Greek church near where we live so we're heading there for the Christmas Service. I'm not too thrilled (church does very little for me) but it'll be nice for DF and Lia so I'm prepared to make an effort.

We'll be celebrating Christmas with my family this year which means a 100 mile drive on the 23rd. They were all full of 'we won't get her toys this year, she's too little' last time we saw them but I've since found out that most of them have succumbed and bought her a toy of some sort. Don't get me wrong, I have no objection to her having toys but at the moment her favourite playthings are the tv remote, free pizza menus we get through the door and her burp cloth (great to play peek-a-boo with) so I don't see the need for lots of expensive toys at the moment.

Still, I have to remember that this is the only child in the family, after her the youngest is 27, so people are just indulging a long unrequited need for kiddie things at Christmas. I will be putting a quota on toys in the future though as I'm not having the house full of stuff she plays with once and ignores.

T'is the season of eating too it would seem. Lia's apetite knows no bounds and DF and I seem to be heading all over for meals. It was his works Christmas lunch on Friday, we were out with my parents on Saturday, it's my works Christmas lunch on Wednesday, we're out for lunch on Saturday, a Christmas curry with friends on Monday and then a works buffet for me next Wednesday! All that before that actual Christmas food (which is incredibly well done by my family it has to be said).

I've decided to leave all thoughts of dieting till 2006 but once the holiday season is over I will definitely be on the getting fitter trail. Not only do I have the Big Fat Greek Celebration to look good for but I'll have a small, slim, half-Greek daughter who will be starting moving around so I'll need to be fit to keep up with her!

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Food Glorious Food...

Wednesday, 7 December 2005
Before I start I should just say that I've decided to refer to DD by her name (or at least the shortening of her name) as I spend more time editing it out than writing posts.

So, Lia has been eating 'real' food for a month now and after a rocky start has launched herself at the multitude of food available to her with gusto.

Last night when I picked her up from nursery one of the girls told me that they love feeding her as she's easy to feed and very enthusiastic with anything they give her. I'll admit we did have a bit of a rocky start but it's been quite a while now since she's refused anything so I'm hoping that continues (I'm not looking forward to the fussy stage).

Her breakfast consists of ReadyBrek which, whilst it doesn't make her glow, can be guaranteed to make her, and anything within a ten yard radius sticky in the extreme. Still, she likes it, it fills her up and it's easy to make so we're sticking with it (no pun intended) for the moment. Plus four out of seven days the girls at nursery feed it to her so I just have to clean the clothes, not everything else. She's pretty good with everything else but for some reason this is the one food that she has to get her hands in and then wave them enthusiastically all over the place.

Nursery days include pureed meat and veg for lunch and pureed fruit for tea. Well they call it tea, Lia seems to look upon it as an afternoon snack as she's ready and waiting for food when I get her home. She'll wolf down half a jar or more of baby food and then rusk and fruit for pudding!

As we're still at the us feeding her stage it's not too bad mess wise but there have been some spectacular patterns made when she's had a mouthful of something and coughed (I'll leave those to your imagination I think). She's not showing any signs yet of wanting to feed herself anything (I have no idea when she's supposed to start doing that) so hopefully it'll be a while before we have to cover the room in tarpaulin before each meal.

Still, I'm thankful that she's taken to it so well and there's very little refusal of anything offered to her and I shall await the mess to come with at least some comfort in the knowledge that nursery will deal with at least half of it.

Monday, 5 December 2005

Today's the day!

Monday, 5 December 2005
It's parking permit day!

I was almost sad enough to take the day off work to watch the traffic warden's go about their business and ticket the £*$^"@s that park on our street but I had to take a day off for DD's christmas party in a couple of weeks so I'm at work.

Still, I'm whiling away the time imagining all those little yellow gifts being left on windscreens.

The even better news is that we found out when they put the signs up that we've been given exclusively residents only parking. For those not in the know about these things, basically there are different options the council can come up with and the most popular has been residents only 8pm - 8am and everyone else can park for up to 2 hrs for the rest of the time.

Giving us totally residents only means that no one else can park unless they are a visitor and have a visitor's permit. This is the best news I've had in ages and I can't wait to see how much of a difference it makes.

In other news, DF and I are now almost over our colds although DD is still suffering a bit. She's now having three meals a day though and progressing nicely with her food - we've even found that she loves bananas and so we can finally get her to eat some fruit.

That's all for today.

Thursday, 1 December 2005

Six Months Old!

Thursday, 1 December 2005
Wow, how does time manage to pass so quickly? Our little monkey is half a year old today and I can't quite believe it.

So what's the last month brought us? Well, she's started nursery and thankfully she loves it - she's all smiley when she's dropped off and she forgets I even exist most of the time as there's so much going on for her to see and do.

She's now eating two or three proper meals a day and has tried most things. As a 'half-birthday' treat she had toast for the first time this morning and she seemed to like that. She's not that fond of sweet stuff as yet (this can only be a good thing) but she loves chicken and most veggies (except cauliflower).

She's sitting up quite happily for short periods of time but hasn't started getting herself into the sitting position yet although I'm sure that won't be too long now.

I think that's it really. She's still sleeping real good so no problems there and she's generally just a happy little thing that smiles at the world in general. Betwen nursery and real food it's been quite a month for her.

Oh, one last thing, she attended her second (thanks Scully!) stitchers get-together in November. She also spent an hour or so in Hobbycraft with me yesterday so she's hopefully going to be a crafter like her Mum.

Here's a couple of pics that made me smile (and in case you're wondering, she inherited those eyelashes from daddy)...

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

I'm sorry, I have a cold...

Wednesday, 30 November 2005
Okay, so it's now two and a half weeks since the three of us came down with colds and we've still got them. To be honest, I'm pretty sure we all came close to recovery around the beginning of last week and this is a second version of the original but whatever the case, we're still suffering.

We've all now moved onto a stuffed up nose and a cough. DD seems to be coping okay - she'll sleep through still but occasionally wakes to cough long enough to ensure that Mummy and Daddy are awake then she'll go back to sleep leaving us to cough for an hour or so before finally doing the same.

It's an annoying cold. Not enough to take to our beds or stay home from work but enough to drain energy and make the smallest additional event seem a huge hurdle. And the cough is a dry tickle at the back of the throat that is a real killer once it starts.

As I said, DD is coping fine, she's bunged up and coughing but is showing no real signs of distress.

What we have had from her though is a couple of Mount Vesuvius type eruptions, one on Sunday night and one last night. Sunday she was strapped in her bouncy chair while we ate our dinner and she just opened her mouth and EVERYTHING SHE'D EATEN SINCE THE DAY SHE WAS BORN came out of her. DF and I watched open mouthed and when she'd finished she just went back to happily playing with her toys. Given her lack of concern we finished our dinner before cleaning her up as it seemed the easiest option.

Last night was a similar event only this time she managed to do it all over DF. She'd had most of her bedtime bottle and we'd just plied her with a bit of calpol (she doesn't like it as she really doesn't like sweet stuff) so DF thought he should try see if she wanted a bit more milk. Bad move. The second eruption was much more impressive than the first covering the pair of them as well as a large part of the floor.

I was sent off to fill the bath (trying not to laugh as it'd start me coughing) only to come back and find the pair of them naked with their clothes in a heap on the floor and DF using his foot to push the clothes around to wipe up the mess...

They then went off to the bathroom and had fun cleaning themselves up while I (with no urge to laugh any more) picked up the clothes and cleaned the floor. And typically her clothes were all white and his were all black so I couldn't even put them all together in the washing machine, I had to separate the lot first.


Thankfully she's coughing much less this morning so hopefully we've seen the last of the eruptions for the moment.

Monday, 28 November 2005

Life's too short

Monday, 28 November 2005
I was planning on posting about the trials and tribulations of real food versus the mouth of a nearly-six-month-old but I've had my day thrown for a loop a bit. I got to work this morning on time, DD was all smiley and happy at nursery and, apart from the Monday morning blues, life was pretty good.

Then one of my colleagues took a phone call. Another of our colleagues died yesterday. No warning, no nothing. She was at a concert in the evening and seemed fine but she died when she got home.

She wasn't that old and didn't have any health problems that we knew of. Yes she was a large lady which isn't necessarily a good thing as we all know, but it's still a total shock.

This comes on top of the death of another colleague who was diagnosed with cancer and died in the space of my maternity leave (her funeral was one week before the date she was due to officially retire).

I guess what this has made me really think about is am I happy? Do I have any regrets? Would I change anything in my life?

The more I think about it the more I'm sure that I don't have any regrets, I don't wish anything was different. I don't think there's anything I'd have done differently and nothing I'd really change about my life. Of course, I'd love to win the lottery and life a life of luxury but really I'm happy where I am now. Any changes of events in my past would have brought me to a different place and I wouldn't have DF or DD so how could I justify regrets?

So I'm lucky and, although deep down I knew it, I'm thankful for the reminder I've been given to appreciate what I've got.

Monday, 21 November 2005

Being organised...

Monday, 21 November 2005
This isn't the first time I've posted on this subject and trust me, it won't be the last. If this wedding and christening actually goes ahead on the correct days, with the right guests, hot food and a proper party it'll be a miracle.

I'm organised and I always have been. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I'm neat and tidy but I know what I'm doing when, how long it's going to take, who'll be involved and what I have to do. I'm also never late and, apart from the odd time when I was pregnant, I don't forget things.

To illustrate what I mean I shall tell you that this weekend I cooked a christmas cake and three christmas puddings, got the three of us to the photographers to have some professional pics taken to give as christmas presents, organised what time off we're having over christmas and so when DD is at nursery and basically finished my christmas shopping.

To illustrate why I'm having a bit of a rant about this I shall tell you that in the two months since we decided that we're having the wedding and the christening the Greeks have managed to book the room for the party. That's it. We don't have a wedding service and time booked, we don't have a priest and a church for the christening, no caterers, no nothing.

Several of my family have already booked their flights and accommodation (the organised gene is an inherited one) and at the moment all we can safely offer is a room they can hang around in...

This event will probably be the death of me (or at least may finally be the thing that drives me to drink). If it was up to me everything would be organised now but all I can do is nag DBF who in turn can nag his mother who in turn can say, 'don't worry, there's plenty of time yet'...

I know the Greeks managed to get the Olympics organised when all around them there were doubters but I'm convinced they're going to fail miserably with my weddding. The frustrating bit is that there really is nothing I can do but wait for them to sort things out.

The even more frustrating part is that until we have dates set for the wedding and christening some of those on the international guest list can't book flights and hotels as they can't be sure of what dates they need to be there. And they're all nagging me for information.

This all seemed like a good idea two months ago but now I'm really not so sure...

Tuesday, 15 November 2005

A long post about little things

Tuesday, 15 November 2005
So DD has had her first cold. She and I both came down with it on Thursday and it's a real stinker! She coped very well though with very little crying. Her main problem was sleeping as she'd wake up finding it hard to breathe so she'd cry but a quick visit from Mum or Dad and she'd settle again. The bad news is that DBF is now suffering from it (of course as it's a man cold he's home from work today) but at least DD and I are over the worst (and she's sleeping again).

DD is now experiencing real food on a daily basis. I did attempt to cook and mash carrot on Friday but that took waaaaaaay too much time and effort for so little reward (remember I was stuffed full of cold too) so I used the free bottle of baby food we'd got in some baby pack or other. DD lapped it up and was eager for more so I've told the nursery to get on with giving her food and I bought more jars this morning. She'll get fresh stuff at nursery and in a week or so I'll be giving her fresh fruit so I don't worry too much that she's having jars as well.

Saturday we went en masse to Swindon to meet up with some stitching friends of mine for lunch. It was to celebrate the birthday's of two of them and there were secret pressies for both. I think I've mentioned before that I belong to an online UK stitchers community and we'd all got together and stitched designs and one totally mad volunteer had made them up into two quilts. The lunch was great fun, the gifts were well received and DBF did a marvelous job of appearing to enjoy himself whilst surrounded by mad women.

We've booked a venue for DD's Christening - Sunday 28th May. Or at least DBF's mother booked it yesterday. We're having the party at the Officer's Club in Athens which is apparently very regal and dead posh. The main reason we chose it though is that it's cheap. DBF's father is an ex Brigadier General so the cost to us is so minimal that we aren't even including it in our budget! That's great as it means we can afford a few more guests.

After talking about it for ages I finally booked a photographer for this saturday so we can have some professional portraits taken of the three of us. I have this idea that we'll have a family portrait done every year around Christmas as a way of keeping track of how we grow and change. It also means that this year we don't have to worry about what to get people for Christmas as we can give them all a copy! I don't suppose we'll get away with it every year though...

Parking Permits. I never thought something so insignificant could become so important to us. Our street has actually featured on a TV programme about the worst parking places in the country. Basically it's a one way street that is a little over three cars wide and there's parking on both sides. It's terraced housing so there's no off-road parking at all so you have to park on the street. There are a couple of main roads nearby where the residents don't have any parking options at all. It's also five minutes walk from our street to the centre of town so people park there and go to work, park there are go shopping, park there and go eat and so on and so on.

Basically it's a total nightmare. Come this time of year we can't take the car out on weekends as there's never anywhere to park when we get back. There's a huge bootfair in a school playground just round the corner on sunday mornings so the streets roundabout are stuffed with cars. People park and go into town ALL day for Christmas shopping. Evenings you're lucky if there's a space as people go for late night shopping or those that park and go to work stay later to do a bit of shopping.

Oh and don't get me started about how BADLY they park. If you live on our street you learn to parallel park with inches to spare round the car (I'm not kidding) but non-residents park across what could be two spaces or leave their car two feet from the curb so you can barely squeeze past it. It's a windmirror graveyard as at least two a week get destroyed.

I guess you get the message from that minor rant that I've had enough right? Well I've been lobbying the council for years (seriously, we've lived there six years and this has been an ongoing bone of contention for us and many others on the street) and finally, last wednesday we got a letter from the council that the permits will be in place on 5th December!!!!! This is totally amazing and I can't even begin to describe how happy I am. I'm even considering taking the day off so I can watch people come to park and have to move...

Wednesday, 9 November 2005

A Big Fat Greek Celebration

Wednesday, 9 November 2005
I know that some people are wondering why I haven't posted this piece of information here yet but all I can say is that there were a few people I needed to tell in real life so they didn't find out from here. Those people have all been told now so I can post the news without fear of upsetting anyone.

What news I hear you ask?

Well the news that I'm an engaged woman! Well, not officially as I don't have a ring but seeing as though we've set a date, picked a venue, discussed the guest list and pretty much everyone we know has been told we're getting married I think we can safely say that I'm an engaged woman.

This has not really come as a big surprise to most people. Let's face it, eight years, a mortgage and a baby is kind of a big hint that we're not planning on splitting up any time soon.

So why now? Well when DD was born we registered her birth with her Dad's surname. I had no problem with that but now I feel the odd one out and that I need to have the same name as her. I'm not embarassed or ashamed but it just doesn't feel right.

This is a totally personal thing. I have no problems with other people not marrying (with or without kids) but to me it doesn't feel right and so I pushed the issue with DBF and we finally agreed to go ahead.

The date is 27th May next year. We'd already picked this date as the Christening for DD and so we're going to get the whole lot done at once (and therefore only pay for one party). It's going to happen in Athens and the best news is that pretty much all of my family and friends from the UK can come as well as guests from as far away as the US and Oz.

The bad news is that I'm already fed up with the organisation of the whole thing and am ready to throw a total strop and demand we elope. The only thing that keeps me going is that even if we did elope we'd still have the christening and so most, if not all, of the issues would still be there.

So, watch this space for exasperated posts about my trials and tribulations about trying to organise a wedding long distance in a country where people believe that forward planning only needs to encompass the month prior to any event...

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Hi ho, hi ho...

Tuesday, 8 November 2005's off to work I go.

So today's my second day at work and I'm shattered! Who'd have thought that starting to use my brain again would be such a killer.

Yesterday went fine. I dropped DD off at the nursery and she seemed okay with me going (she's a bit little for tears which is good). I managed the whole day without phoning or going to visit, in fact I started to feel like a bad mother because I didn't cry or have the urge to run down there all the time.

Then I spoke to a friend who used to be the Childcare Co-ordinator and she said to me that it just proved that I'd made the right choice with the child care as I had no worries.

That made me feel better as did DD's little face when I went to pick her up. She had a good day, apparently she grizzled a bit when they tried to get her to sleep but she can be like that with me during the day. Still, other than that she had fun, drank all her milk and played lots.

The really good part is that today when I went to drop her off again she was all smiley and happy with the girls at the nursery and much more interested in what was going on rather than me leaving. In fact my real worry now is that she'll be bored the days she's home. LOL

Another milestone passed successfully though and now we have proper food to look forward to as the next big thing.

Oh and thanks to those of you who left lovely comments about DD, we know she's gorgeous but it's always nice to hear other people say it too...

Tuesday, 1 November 2005

Five Months Old

Tuesday, 1 November 2005
So here as promised is the five month post. We'll start with a picture - apologies for the red eyes but I only took two pics and this was the best on offer...

So DD is now five months old and a total pro at rolling over. She can also sit with some help, stand when supported and is just great at hanging onto her feet and waving them about. Her mission appears to be to cover as much of the world as possible in drool.

She's able to go to sleep on our own and is also sleeping decent hours over night and during the day. Feeding wise she's still on milk but all of it comes from a bottle now and none from mummy's magic boobs.

Spotty dog is still her favourite toy and she's also still quite obsessed with feet but slowly learning there's other exciting things out there, especially our wizard and dragon hand puppets.

This month we're been all over the place with ten days in Greece, four days in Canterbury and three days in Stoke. She met lots of new people and was very well behaved most of the time.

She's also much, much more vocal and cries a lot less which gives Mummy and Daddy's ears a bit of a rest and means that she's a bit more understandable.

Finally, she now has a proper room of her own that's decorated just for her and here, as promised are some pics (and yes I know I could do with more hooks on the curtain but I need to get some more rings)...

Monday, 31 October 2005

A Minor Miracle

Monday, 31 October 2005
I haven't posted this before because I've been a bit worried about tempting fate (not that I'm superstitious really but better to be safe than sorry I always think)

Anyway the big news is that DD is totally able to go to sleep herself and has been doing so for over a week now! No fuss, no bother, no crying, we just put her in bed and she lies there having a chat with herself and after about ten mins she goes to sleep.

All the worry we had about how hard it was going to be to get her to do this and she just did it on her own. I don't know if it's got anything to do with her being in the same room as me in her travel cot for a few days when I was decorating her room because nothing else in her routine has changed to bring this on. Or maybe she's just big enough now that she's more comfortable being on her own.

Whatever it is though I'm not knocking it. Plus we've been bringing her bedtime forward slowly but surely and that together with the clock change means that she's now in bed at 8.00pm and she sleeps through till 7.00am. This is perfect for when I'm back to work so until she starts sleeping a bit longer (I guess when solids are introduced and also when she's moving more) this'll be her bedtime.

I'm sure there'll still be plenty of nights where she wakes up but knowing that I can put her in her cot awake is a great feeling. She's also gone to bed awake during the day and gone to sleep no probs then as well.

In other news she's now constantly demonstrating her new trick of rolling over. She did her first back to front roll last wednesday and has been unstoppable ever since. She's also making serious efforts to get moving whilst on her front but I guess it'll be a while yet before she manages that.

Tomorrow is five months old so I'll post a piccie then together with some of her new room.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

Magic Boobs

Thursday, 27 October 2005
For the last five months I've been the owner of a pair of magic boobs. Milk flowed at the push of a button (or rather the suck of a nipple) and all was good in the world.

Well, all was not that good. Sometimes the milk flowed without warning. Sometimes the milk squirted DD in the eye at twenty paces it was so eager to get out. Sometimes DD wanted so much milk that it seemed to be flowing constantly. 4.00am feeds were a killer. Then there was the 24/7 bra wearing that was tantamount to torture.

However, all that was offset with the fact that nothing compared to having her lying next to me getting her dinner. For those times the feeling was totally selfish, she was mine, and only mine, because no one else could do this for her. She could love other people for cuddles, kisses, warmth but nobody else provided the food.

Okay, so that's not strictly true, she was only exclusively breast fed for a few weeks as I introduced bottles early on. However I controlled the bottles and for a long time it was only one in the evenings given by Daddy.

But it all had to end sometime and I chose my going back to work as the trigger. Since our trip to Greece DD has been having more bottles and less breast and for the last week it's been one breast feed only in the mornings. Well this morning was the last morning.

The magic boobs are no more. From tomorrow it's five bottles a day and Mummy gets her boobs back (and more to the point can go to bed without a bra on).

Current medical thinking says you should breast feed till six months but I think that all the extra hassle required just for one or two feeds a day (or, heaven forbid, expressing!) is not worth it. Five months is more than okay and most health care professionals seem stunned we've made it this far.

I know that I was lucky to be able to breast feed and lucky that DD soon settled down into short feeds of about 25 mins at a time which made it much easier. But I also know she's happy on the bottle and I don't have to feel guilty about not making the full six months. Yes I'll probably miss the actual feeding but I sure won't miss the bonus features as listed above that could drive me to distraction.

So we've got a week to both adjust during which we've got to try and sort out a routine for work mornings. Luckily as she'll be having a bottle feed DBF will be able to assist with the feeds while we all rush around like headless chickens getting ready...

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Time flies

Wednesday, 26 October 2005
When you have a baby...

It seems like only a couple of weeks ago I was finishing work for my six months maternity leave and here I am on the brink of going back!

I officially return to work on 7th November so the rest of this week and all of next is packed with all the things I have to do before I go back (Dr's appointments, car service, visiting friends, etc) and so the last few days will fly by.

DD is going to nursery. I'm lucky two ways, one that I work on a hospital campus and the nursery is five minutes from my office and two that my accommodating boss is allowimg me to work one day a week from home so fridays I'll be home attempting to get work done around DD. I'm not sure how it's going to work but that's the initial plan and we'll see how it goes.

People keep asking me how I feel about going back and I really don't know. I'll admit that my mind could do with the stimulation but DD is also just starting to get interesting so I really don't know if I'd be happy staying at home for longer or not.

It's not really an option anyway as I could have another six months at home but I wouldn't get paid and we can't afford to not have my salary. Next year is going to be quite expensive for us so we really need to get my salary back to full strength (I'm on half salary at the moment) and get on with saving.

I think it'll be good for DD too. She spent a bit of time with other little children at the weekend and she really loved them being around. I'm not one for mother and baby groups really so if she didn't do nursery she'd kind of be deprived of other kiddie contact.

She's such an outgoing baby too that I have no worries about her being okay with other people but I admit it'll be a huge wrench to leave her.

By the way, Lorna, I haven't ignored your comment and will post some pics of the new room but after the weekend when we've got the curtains up and the light fitting changed.

Friday, 21 October 2005

If you're reading this...

Friday, 21 October 2005 may well be my 1000th visitor so check the counter down the side and maybe stop by the comments and say hi.

Just a quick update as I'm waiting for DBF to get back. It's weird, we've been apart before but he's only been a four hour flight away which doesn't seem too long. This time he's been flying since before I woke up this morning and he's not due to land for another 30 mins!

I'm presuming that's the reason today has seemed so long but hopefully it won't take long for him to arrive. We only live 30 mins from the airport and his company have booked a taxi to bring him home so I reckon another two hours tops and he'll be here.

The only other news is that I managed to get DD's room done. It's now bright yellow with a jungle border and it looks really good (even If I do say so myself). I also finally realised that I do have a theme for her room even though it's been subconscious as lots and lots of things are jungle related so when we went for a walk into town today I got curtains and a lampshade to match. This means DBF will have a small part to play in the redecoration as I need him to put the curtain pole up.

That's all, we're away for the weekend as it's my Godson's naming ceremony so I'll be away for a few days.

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

On My Own

Wednesday, 19 October 2005
I'm half way through a week alone as DBF is in Kuala Lumpur for work.

He didn't want to go (especially so soon after we got back from Greece) but there was noone else in his office to go so he got the short straw. Thankfully he's been having a good time despite missing the two of us. I haven't really had time to miss him as I spent the first few days back home with my family visiting aunts and uncles who hadn't seen DD yet. Having said that, evenings are tough when it's just me and DD as she is very demanding and there's nobody else to give me a break.

Anyway, I'm now embarking on a project to keep me busy for the next three days till DBF gets home on Friday night. I shall be making DD's room much more like a baby's room than an ex-study with a cot shoved in it.

I'm hoping that it'll all be finished by the time DBF gets home as he hates doing stuff in the house so if I suggested it when he was here he'd come up with millions of reasons not to do it. Whereas now it'll hopefully be pretty much a done deal when he gets home.

Saturday, 15 October 2005

Greece Part II

Saturday, 15 October 2005
Our days quickly fell into a pattern - up around 10.00am, breakfast, head out to meet friends or family, back to the appartment for around 3.00pm for DD's afternoon nap and then dinner out with more friends or family around 9.00pm.

DD slept for three hours every afternoon which was great, it meant we could relax in the appartment and DBF could chat with his family without their attention being fixed on the baby. It also meant that I got some stitching done which I really enjoyed, in fact it sometimes almost felt like a real holiday!

There were a few more occasions when DD got too wound up and consequently screamed and screamed but after the first time I could see them coming so managed to make sure they weren't too bad. Having said that, Thursday evening was particularly bad as, contrary to our plans, we ended up staying in the appartment and being visited but DBF's Great Aunt, his Cousing and his Mother's friend.

The first issue was the fact that I was a bit tense given that we'd planned to spend the evening with the group of DBF's friends that I like the most until I was told that his Aunt and Cousin were coming about 6.30pm so we couldn't go out until they'd arrived and spent some time with the baby. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem if they'd turned up at 6.30pm but that famous Greek time keeping was very much in evidence and they arrived at 8.30pm!

The second issue was that Jenny, the friend of his Mother arrived. I'd not been told she was coming so the first I knew was the intercom announcing her arrival. Not so much of a problem you'd think but I'd been warned that if I did meet her I should be aware that she's a bit mad and has a bit of a drinking problem...

Well trust me, it's more than 'a bit' of a problem.

She was completely insane. She squealed at the baby, bounced her up and down and (for reasons I don't understand) shook her head like crazy making her large amounts of hair go everywhere whilst holding DD up in front of her face. I could actually see the pressure rising in DD as she had no idea what was going on or how to react to this kind of mania.

Jenny was sporting a bandaged hand in a sling and I was told that she'd had an operation on a tendon that day and she was supposed to be resting it. This didn't stop her picking DD up though and I wondered why she wasn't registering any pain. I later discovered that she was on super strength pain killers given to her by her doctor husband which, coupled with the several large whisky's she got through during the evening, meant that she possibly wasn't even sure where she was let alone which bit of her hurt. Oh, and the ouzo she'd had before she even arrived with us probably didn't help either.

At least the mixture of drink and drugs explains the absolutely hideous dress that she bought DD. DBF's mother has some strange ideas for clothes but the first thing even she said was we could change it. We left it in Greece (I did toy with the idea of keeping it and making DD wear it when she'd been bad) but I did take a couple of pictures so when I get round to sorting those out I'll post one.

Anyway, having two more mad women around as well as Jenny meant that I spent much of the evening in our room trying to calm DD down. This was probably good for me too as I have extremely low tolerance for alcohol abuse and I'm sure that I'd have said something waaaaaay inappropriate had I been around more.

So that's some of the more negative parts of the holiday but there were plenty of good times too.

We spent lots of time with DBF's mates who I really get on with and are great company. Most of them I'd met before but there were some that were new to me but all of them I really had fun with. The good thing about his friends is that most of them speak really good English so it's not so important for DBF to be around to translate and this means we're both more relaxed. Hopefully my Greek will improve greatly over the next few months as I'm much more determined to learn now.

We also did shopping with other people's money which is always fun. We came back with several bits of bedding for DD's room (they have much nicer stuff over there) that his parents and sister bought and his Grandmother gave us 300 euros between the three of us so I actually came back with more money than I left with!

As well as DBF's friends I met many more of his family all of whom were lovely and we had an especially nice evening with the family of one of his Uncles. This Auntie actually treated DD like a human being and spoke to her normally. DD loved her and responded to her in a way she didn't to anyone else out there (much to DBF's mother's disgust). DD chatted and chatted and chatted with huge smiles to the extent that I thought we'd have to leave her there as she was having such a good time!

So all in all our Greek adventures were fun and we all had a good time. We left DD only once, on the last night, and she coped okay but it took her Grandmother a lot of effort to settle her to sleep (something I knew would happen as we left the appartment just as other visitors arrived so DD was bound to be wound up a bit). I coped ok too which is just as important. Okay, we were only five mins away but we were out for four hours and it was the first time I'd left her so I didn't know how I'd feel.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

So I'm back

Tuesday, 11 October 2005
And we survived the trip.

The flight out started well - DD fell asleep on me just before takeoff and slept for about an hour. However, once she was awake it was a different story. We managed to keep her entertained for a while and she took a real shine to the guy sitting next to me who luckily was happy to play with her.

Landing wasn't so great though - she screamed for about 45 mins as we descended and we weren't able to console her or get her to suck anything to help her ears. It didn't help that we went through thunderstorms too so the plane was really rocky (this didn't help my sanity either!)

Anyway, we arrived in Greece at 2.30am and were greeted by the ecstatic grandparents. We managed to just cram all of us and our luggage in the car and arrived at their apartment around 3.00am. DD took a while to settle but she slept ok.

The next day DBF's grandmother was there bright and early and his sister turned up too. We spent the whole day in the (not very big) apartment with his parents, grandmother and sister going nuts over DD.

I don't know what it is about Greek women but they all turn into squealing idiots when faced with a baby. It's only acceptable to speak to them in a voice reminiscent of Joe Pasquale on helium and it's totally necessary to flap and wave at them all the time.

Consequently when we tried to get DD to sleep that night she was so wound up she screamed for four and a half hours!!! Not how we wanted our first proper night there to go but she was definitely telling us she wasn't happy with the situation.

Sunday we went downtown in Athens to meet a friend for coffee and I learned just how awful it is to try and take a baby out in Athens. There are absolutely no baby changing facilities anywhere, the pavements are covered with cars, trees, rubbish and pot holes and nobody, but nobody, gets out of the way for the pushchair...

It's appalling that in a modern European capital city it's damn nigh impossible to take a baby out - in fact I got used to everyone staring at me because I did take her out. In the ten days we were there I saw less than ten other prams out.

Later that day we started what was pretty much the trend of the holiday, we'd go out to eat around 9.00pm and get back around midnight. This fitted in with both the Greek way of life and DD's body clock that never adjusted to the two hour time difference.

DBF's parents apartment is quite small so DD was sleeping in a cot in our room (about a foot away from our bed). This was quite strange for all of us and every little noise she made woke us up (just like old times). However, she slept good the second night and most of the rest of the time so we can't complain.

She did get a bit of a stomach upset though - I think it may have been the water as we took the formula we use with us but obviously it's totally different drinking water there but it too settled down after a few of days.

So the first couple of days went as well as we could expect I guess and the only real issue DBF had was getting used to his teenage bedroom now being pink!!!!

Monday, 10 October 2005

Ten Things...

Monday, 10 October 2005
...I love about Greece

1. They give you free bread and water the minute you sit down in a restaurant.

2. You can go out and eat ANY time you're hungry, even 3.00am

3. You are never more than five minutes walk from a bakery and fresh bread

4. There's a kiosk on every corner that sells most of life's essentials

5. Outdoor cinemas on rooftops and in back yards where the film starts 'when it gets dark'

6. Shops that fill your bag with wet-wipes, cigarette lighters and pens when you buy something

7. Not having to wear a coat in October

8. Lacta Chocolate

9. Friendly individuals

10. Small, specialist shops (department stores are few and far between)

...I hate about Greece

1. Everyone smokes

2. There is absolutely NOWHERE to change a baby when you're out, even in the most modern of places

3. It is basically impossible to navigate the streets of Athens with a pushchair because of cars, holes, trees and extremely rude individuals

4. As a race, the Greeks are impatient and rude

5. Cars parked everywhere there is a space and a lot of places there isn't

6. The green man doesn't always mean it's okay to cross the road

7. Driving is the scariest experience you can have

8. All women turn into screeching haridens when faced with a baby

9. People riding motorcycles with their children (we actually saw parents with two children aged about 3 and 5 ON ONE BIKE)

10. Toilets anywhere but especially public toilets

11. Did I mention the smoking? Well it's worth mentioning again...

Friday, 30 September 2005

Four Months Old

Friday, 30 September 2005
Well almost, we're a day early but we fly to Greece tonight and I don't know if I'll be able to get internet access there.

So, the monkey is four months old and too big for 3 - 6 month sleep suits! She's now officially in pyjamas and I'm not going to bother with sleep suits any more as she is so long they don't do up between her legs.

She's just started getting interested in toys (rather than feet) and Spotty Dog is her favourite. She is learning to reach out and hold things (and put them in her mouth) so I imagine we'll be getting more and more toys cluttering up the house over the next months.

She still likes feet though and can be easily distracted by them. She's also spending more time on her side when she lies down and so it may not be too long till she rolls over.

She's sucking her thumb like a good 'un and has occasionally managed to get herself back to sleep by doing so (although DBF and I get kept awake by the furious sucking). She even fell asleep in her cot watching the mobile the other day which was the first time she's slept without being fed or rocked so that was a great milestone for us (we know she can do it now even if she doesn't all the time).

She's still on two bottles a day as well as breast feeding and when we get back from Greece I'll work on getting her on all bottles and into a proper daily routine as I've got less than four weeks till I go back to work then!!!

That's it I guess, here's some photos - the first is her four month snap shot (please forgive the close up of a hairy DBF), the second is her with Spotty Dog (in her new pj's) and the last is photographic evidence of her foot fetish...

This may be the last blog for a couple of weeks but hopefully I'll get a chance to log on and give you an update while we're away.

Monday, 26 September 2005

The difference between English and Greeks (No 1)

Monday, 26 September 2005

As in we English are organised and the Greeks are not. It's a simple fact and one that I've learned to live with over 8 years but I don't think I'll ever really get used to it.

I'm super-organised, always have been. I also hate being late and I like to have plans in place to ensure that lateness doesn't occur.

Now I will admit that there are plenty of English people who are disorganised and late (my Sister is a prime example) but with the Greeks it's defective gene and I haven't yet met one that doesn't have it.

I'll also admit that to those who are not quite so anal about organising things those of us who are must be pretty irritating. DBF resists my planning on more or less a daily basis and I think now he just ignores me and gets on with floating through life safe in the knowledge that if there's something important to do I'll mention it.

A great example is Christmas. My large extended family comes together at my sister's house to celebrate and basically eat until they can't move. Every year I ask DBF to ask his parents to join us and every year he says he can't possibly speak to them yet because it's not even close to Christmas. No we're talking about discussions being held in November, not April. To me, his parents should be able to make an informed decision by then but to them it's an alien concept.

Greek people decide on the day what they're doing. And it can often take half the day to finalise that decision which is why they eat and party later than the rest of us. Going to Greece drives me nuts because I can get out of bed and ask what we're doing that day and be told one thing, by the time I've showered it's something completely different and by the time I'm dressed it's something else again. Also, nine times out of ten it's likely to change again before we're out of the door.

This is one of the things that really does my head in about being there and something that I'm going to have even more problems with now DD is involved as I'll have to get her ready too, think about what she needs, when her feeds are going to be, etc. I'm hoping that her arrival will mean that they too become a bit more organised but I'm not betting on it.

The main reason this is my topic of the day though is packing. I spent yesterday ironing clothes and planning what DD and I are going to wear for the week so I know what needs to be packed and when. I asked DBF four times to get the suitcase down so I can start loading DD's stuff in and I also told him not to wear anything this week that he wants to take with him as I can't guarantee getting it washed and ironed before we go.

I know that he'll pack Friday morning before he heads off to work and I know that he'll spend time looking for something particular that he must have with him that will end up being at the bottom of the wash basket or screwed up under the bed.

I'm just hoping that DD has inherited the organised gene...

Thursday, 22 September 2005

No worries?

Thursday, 22 September 2005
I was talking to a friend last night and she asked me if I was worried about the trip to Greece. Worried? Too right. My worries (rational and irrational) start with the plane crashing and work their way on from there...

In no particular order:

- The plane crashing (total paranoia fear I always have when flying)

- DD getting travel sick (my first bout was on a plane when I was three months old)

- DD screaming for the whole four hour flight

- Me getting travel sick

- Our luggage getting lost

- DBF's whole family turning up at the airport at 2.00am to meet the baby

- Me and DBF's family having our usual non-understanding each other fall out so the holiday becomes a complete stress for everyone

- DBF's family having issues with my parenting skills

- Totally inappropriate gifts from his family (I still have to work on appearing genuinely happy on receiving something I hate)

- My inability to speak Greek

I'm sure there are more but that's the ones that are most on my mind. Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong and capable person and I'll cope with all of the above but I just wish that it would feel a little bit more like a holiday and a little bit less like 10 days of stress.

Also, DBF doesn't cope too well with the guilt that his parents can lay on him. Before DD it was 'when are you coming home, what are you doing with your life?' type stuff. Now it'll be 'we never see the baby'. And I'm sure there is also an element of 'and we just don't get on with your choice of partner' in there as well. This means that if he's stressed, I get more stressed - if he can't cope with his family, why should I be able to?

It makes me sad that DBF feels that me and his family don't like each other and nothing will ever change that. From my side it's not true, I do like them but I find them very difficult and the fact that communication is mainly done through translation I don't think we have a chance to really get to know each other. To put all this another way, I have been to Greece twice in the eight years we've been together which should clearly illustrate how much I enjoy going there...

Well, maybe 'not enjoy' is not the right expression as I do have fun when we're there, it's the fact that every meeting between me and his family seems to end with more misunderstandings between us than ever and so I feel the less I see them, the better.

One thing is for sure, I must improve my Greek. I've been saying this for eight years now but as we want DD to be bi-lingual and as we've truly cemented the relationship as permanent I think it's much more important than it has been in the past. I hope that as DD learns, I will and once we get through this knackering first few months I hope I have more energy to learn.

Anyway, I've got a week to go and I'm not losing any sleep over it (sleep is waaaay too precious!) and I keep telling myself that as long as I do my bit, maybe this'll be the breakthrough visit.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Routine, what routine?

Tuesday, 20 September 2005
Just was I thought we'd got sleeping a bit more sorted DD went and proved that she rules this house and we'd better not forget it.

She'd been doing 8 - 9 hours a night for around four weeks and I guess we got complacent because we got a real shock a week or so ago when she started waking up again anything from 2 to 5 hours after she'd been put down.

This coincided with me getting sick and DBF having to be much more hands on around bedtime (he does his bit but it's normally me who has more success getting her to sleep) so I guess she was probably just reacting to a change in her routine but even so, it was as if she picked the worst possible time to start waking up again.

So it came as some relief when Sunday night she slept for seven hours (she did wake up a couple of times and make vague chatty noises which I studiously ignored) and now it's 8.00am and she's not awake meaning that she's been 8 1/2 hours in bed.

My brain takes a while to catch up with these changes though - I had a rough night last night because I kept waking up expecting her to be awake. I guess we'll need a few more good nights before I'm back to thinking she'll sleep through regularly and I'll be able to relax into sleep properly.

Having said that, the trip to Greece is looming ever closer and I know she'll be thrown completely when it comes to routine once we're there. We decided a while back not to get too worried about getting her settled into a decent routine before Greece as the whole way of life over there is far too different and it's very difficult to get them to change just to accommodate us.

We've got four weeks after we come back before I go back to work so that'll be the killer time of getting her to change her body clock. The real test is going to be getting her to sleep around 7pm instead of 11pm and also getting her to sleep without her being on the boob as I'll also be stopping breast feeding over those four weeks.

Something to look forward to!

Saturday, 17 September 2005

Three's a crowd?

Saturday, 17 September 2005
So I've been thinking about this for a while and I've decided that the correct number of people needed to have a baby is three, not two.

Sure, two is fine for the initial bit and is obviously the minimum requirement for the process - my theory kicks in after the birth part of the whole scenario. I have considered the benefits of an extra person around during pregnancy (painting the nursery comes to mind) but I think one to gestate the foetus and another to run around moaning that they'll 'never go mountain climbing because they have to be a grown-up now and they're not ready for all that responsibility yet and are you sure the little stick thing showed a cross not a line' is probably enough.

No, it's after the birth when you need three people. To be honest, it doesn't matter whether it's two girls and a guy or two guys and a girl (or I guess three of each in these days of turkey basters and surrogate mothers) but what is important is that at least two of the three are producing milk (hey, this is my theory so if we need a little genetic engineering so that men can lactate I don't see why it should be a problem).

The benefits to all of this are immeasurable - whilst it's managable to have a child with two parents (after all people do it all the time) it would become a breeze with three. Feeding could be done on a rota basis. One person would be guaranteed a full nights sleep out of every three. You've got a sorted baby sitting situation as one stays home and the other two go out. One goes to work, one looks after the baby, one does the housework.

See, I told you I've been thinking about this a lot...

I'm sure there are downsides to this theory (such as what does the child call the third parent) but I haven't come up with any so far that outweigh the good of it all. LOL

Wednesday, 14 September 2005

A Meme!

Wednesday, 14 September 2005
Okay, I've seen these loads of times on other blogs but this is my first. The idea of this one is to highlight every phrase of the list that is relevant to you and then to add another phrase to the end. I've seen this one around but I picked it up from Lorna's blog.

I am bisexual.
I am homosexual.
I've run away from home.
I listen to political music.
I collect comic books.
I shut others out when I'm sad.
I open up to others easily.
I am keeping a secret from the world.
I watch the news.
I own over 5 rap CDs.
I own an ipod.
I own something from Hot Topic.
I love Disney movies.
I am a sucker for hair/eyes.
I don't kill bugs.
I curse regularly. But I am trying to stop!
I have "x"s in my screen name.
I've slipped out a "lol" in a real conversation.
I love Spam.
I bake well.
I would wear pajamas to school. I did a long time ago when I was at school...
I own something from Abercrombie.
I have a job.
I love Martha Stewart.
I am in love with someone.
I am guilty of tYpInG lIkE tHiS.
I am self conscious.
I like to laugh.
I smoke a pack a day.
I loved Go Ask Alice.
I have cough drops when I'm not sick.
I can't swallow pills.
I have many scars. Most are tiny but I now have a huge caesarian scar
I've been out of this country.
I believe in ghosts.
I can't sleep if there is a spider in the room.
I am really ticklish.
I love chocolate.
I bite my nails.
I am comfortable with being me.
I play computer games/video games when I'm bored.
Gotten lost in the city.
Saw a shooting star.
I have had two serious surgical procedures.
Gone out in public in my pajamas.
I have kissed a stranger.
Hugged a stranger.
Been in a fist fight with the same sex.
Been arrested.
Laughed and had milk/soda come out of your nose.
Pushed all the buttons on an elevator.
Made out in an elevator.
Sworn at my parents.
Kicked a guy where it hurts.
Been skydiving.
Been bungee jumping.
Broken a bone.
Played spin the bottle.
Gotten stitches.
Drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour.
Bitten someone.
Been to Niagara Falls.
Gotten the chicken pox.
Crashed into a car.
Been to Asia.
Ridden in a taxi.
Been fired.
Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back.
Stole something from my job.
Gone on a blind date.
Had a crush on a teacher/coach.
Celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Been to Europe.
Slept with a co-worker.
Been married.
Gotten divorced.
Saw someone dying.
Driven over 400 miles in one day.
Been to Canada.
Been on a plane.
Seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show
Thrown up in a bar.
Eaten Sushi.
Been snowboarding.
Been skiing.
Been ice skating.
Met someone in person from the internet.
Been to a car show.
Going to or have gone to college.
Done hard drugs.
Taken painkillers.
Met a celebrity.
I like playing practical jokes.
Been in a hot air balloon.
Been to University

Monday, 12 September 2005

Foot Fetish

Monday, 12 September 2005
My DD would appear to be suffering from this condition.

For some reason feet are her latest fixation. No, not her own, other people's.

Currently she's happiest sitting on my knee gazing intently at my foot. She can do this for hours (okay, several minutes at a time anyway). And she's not fussy about whose foot is involved either - DBF's foot is just fine and she was checking out her Gran's foot intently last week too.

I'm not sure what it is about feet but if it keeps her quiet then who am I to judge? I'm just thankful that we haven't spent loads of money on toys yet as she's shown absolutely no interest in any that we do have yet, it's feet that keep her happy.

I'm hoping that she gets over this obsession soon though as we're off to Greece in two and a half weeks and I don't really want to try and explain to the in-laws that their grandchild gets her kicks from staring at people's feet...

Friday, 9 September 2005

Good news!

Friday, 9 September 2005
DD's weight is perfect!

So perfect in fact that the Health Visitor I saw questioned whether the last one was maybe wrong! I have to say that if I hadn't seen the scales register the weight last time myself I'd have been likely to agree with her but anyway, I don't care about that anymore, I'm just totally happy that we're back on track.

This Health Visitor told me that I should hold off solids to as close to six months as I can as they are now recommending milk only till six months. Talk about mixed messages! Still, I'm happy to continue with milk for as long as possible given the hassle and end result smell of the alternative.

DD hit the 25th percentile line bang on this time and is 12lb 3oz (5.54kg). She is filling her 3-6 month clothes though as she's so darned long. I may have to stop buying sleep suits and body suits as she's so long in the body that they don't do up and the next size up are so baggy as she's so skinny.

Still, as I've said before, better to be long and thin - here's hoping she stays that way.

As for me, I'm feeling a bit better - not so snotty but I have a terrible headache and am still running a bit of a temperature. Thankfully it's the weekend and DBF will be around to help with DD more so I can get some rest.

Wednesday, 7 September 2005

I'm sick...

Wednesday, 7 September 2005
It started with a bout of the sneezes yesterday afternoon and this morning is a full blown icky cold.

I don't feel as bad as I think I should feel which is good but it's also making me think I'm going to feel worse by the end of today.

This is the second time I've been really sick since DD was born - the last time DBF bought the germs into the house but this time I have no idea where it came from so I have no idea how long it's going to last.

I'm reluctant to go to the doctors for antibiotics as I've had two courses of them since May and I know that the more you take the more your body forgets how to fight germs itself so I guess I'll get through today and see how it goes.

Thankfully I don't have much to do this week that's important but my parents are coming tomorrow and we're supposed to be having lunch with DBF so that may have to be cancelled. I may also have to postpone getting DD weighed on Friday as it's a mother and baby group and I don't think it's fair to spread germs there.

I hate being sick but my main concern is DD getting it too. We somehow got away with it last time when both DBF and I were sick and she remained fine so fingers crossed we get lucky this time too...

Friday, 2 September 2005

Good things and bad things

Friday, 2 September 2005
Bad thing - DD didn't sleep well at all last night. We're definitely spoiled now as she regularly does between seven and nine hours a night so when she wakes up after three and a half I feel really cheated. Especially as it took me over an hour to get her back off to sleep again. Still, it was incredibly hot and sticky and I couldn't really sleep so I don't know why I expect her to.

It wouldn't have been so much of a problem if I hadn't had a 9.00am doctors appointment this morning so I couldn't catch up with my sleep when DD had her morning nap as she didn't get one...

Still, the doctors was a good thing as I managed to sort out what travel sickness medication I can take whilst breast feeding and I'm going to be okay to travel. There's a whole rant involved with this topic but I'll cut it down to my useless doctor telling me I'll just have to do without and get on with it and the decent doctor I saw today (same practice, different GP) telling me there's no problem to use the patches that I use normally.

This is great news as, if you've read previous posts, you'll know that I suffer serious travel sickness (the last bout resulted in DD's arrival in the world!) and the idea of getting on a plane with nothing to aid the sickness filled me with dread.

Our second appointment of the day was a retirement party at my place of work. This should be a good thing but it's not. The lady who is retiring wasn't due to leave until November but was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the end of May. So really this wasn't so much a retirement party, more a 'so long it's been nice knowing you all' party.

It's true that it's always the nice people that crap happens to. I've worked with this lady for four years and she's always happy, ready for a chat and generally up for fun. Now she's planning her own funeral and saying goodbye to people.

I don't have anything profound to say about all of this but I am glad that I got to see her one last time and that she met DD as she spent nine months listening to my pregnancy tales and sympathising with me.

That's all for today, DD is catching up on her sleep now and it's the start of the weekend - two good things that, whilst they can't outweigh today's bad, they are enough to keep me going with a smile on my face.

Have a nice weekend people and don't forget to hug the people you love.

Thursday, 1 September 2005

Three Months Old

Thursday, 1 September 2005
So we've survived another month and our little monkey is growing like a weed (lengthwise at least). She moved into 3-6 month clothes a week ago as she was too long for 0-3 sleepsuits and body suits and I've just spent half and hour packing up all her other 0-3 month clothes as none fit now.

She's exploring her hands more and more now - she spends a lot of time with them clasped across her chest Les Dawson style or with both of them waving triumphantly aloft. She's also getting them in her mouth to suck on most tries (although when she misses she does a great impression of Bruce Forsyth as the fist settles just under the chin)

She's constantly on the move and can roll onto her side and back again with ease. She can also propel herself backwards at an alarming rate when lying on the floor by bending her legs, digging her heels in and pushing. I'm keen to start taking her swimming soon as I'm sure this leg action will translate well in the water!

What else? Well, she attended her first party (and had beer and soda water spilt all over her), she did her longest road trip so far, attended a Cross Stitcher's Get Together, had her first immunisations and got her first passport.

She also had her first taste of solid food and, whilst she appeared to like it okay, it'll be a while before the next try.

She's also the nosiest baby I know. She's only happy in her pram if she's propped up enough to see out and is no longer lulled to sleep by the motion of it which means shopping trips can be brief as she makes her displeasure known big time if we stay in one place too long.

That's about it I guess and I can't wait to see what the next month brings. I'll leave you with a picture taken yesterday. Her latest pleasure seems to be sticking her tongue out but she hasn't worked out yet that she can't do that and get her fist in her mouth at the same time...

Tuesday, 30 August 2005

Mummy knows best

Tuesday, 30 August 2005
Okay, the baby rice experiment is well and truly over for now.

DD is not showing any outward signs of distress but there has been a huge increase in the amount of poo - six nappies full today instead of one (and the day is only half over!) - and I don't feel this is right.

I only gave her about a dozen baby spoonfuls of the stuff each day for three days and half of that didn't actually get swallowed - it's certainly not in proportion to what I'm getting back!

So I'm stopping.

I've decided for the moment to give DD two bottles a day instead of one and the second of those will be 'extra strength' formula (for hungrier babies). There's no point in me trying to feed her up if she's evacuating everything she's being given.

The next weigh in is a week on friday so we'll see what two weeks of extra formula can do.

Monday, 29 August 2005

I'm not ready for this yet.....

Monday, 29 August 2005
For those that have never met me in the flesh I would like to point out that 'skinny' has never been a word people would associate with me, I'm definitely what some kinder people would describe as 'fluffy'...

I can blame genes for this (I have an extremely fluffy family on my father's side) or I can blame my love of chocolate but whatever the reason it's a given (although I am now working hard on less fluff).

DBF also has the tendency towards fluffiness - especially round his middle - but he carries it better because he's a) a man and b) 10 inches taller than me.

Speaking of tall, that's another word very few people would associate with me. In fact the only reason I'm not what you'd call short is that several members of my family are more vertically challenged than I am which means at certain social occasions I can count myself amongst the tallest people in the room.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I've managed to produce a long, skinny daughter.

Who knows how genetics works. DBF has a very skinny sister and I have a skinnyish brother so the fluffy gene is not always dominant in either family plus DBF is six foot tall so there is a taller gene in the mix there. Still, all in all it's a bit of a surprise (and one that I'm sure she'll be thankful for when she gets older).

There is a downside to this though as I took DD to be weighed at the end of last week and she's not putting on weight as much as they'd like her to. It's not dramatically bad, in fact the first thing the Health Visitor said to me was 'is she an active baby?'

Is she? Too right. The only time she's vaguely still is when she's asleep but even then she's a wriggler. At feeding she's constantly moving about and flailing arms and legs (which makes feed times SO much fun for me). Active doesn't even come close to describing her.

So the advice of the Health Visitor was to introduce a meal of baby rice into her day. It's a month earlier than they advise weaning to start but DD obviously needs extra calories - she's not hungry as she's happy and sleeping well so the issue is that she's burning more calories than my milk can provide.

So, I have a baby that doesn't stay still, who is unable to really support herself yet and I have to try and get spoonfuls of food into her mouth. I don't think I can really describe the picture to you but I'm pretty sure that you can imagine it. DBF gave up very early on during the first try out with the reasoning that I'm the one who'll have to feed her most days so I should get the practice in.

It's also had a dramatic effect on the nappies just in the two days we've been trying it. Yesterday we had three full nappies instead of the usual one and there was a VERY different aroma involved.

I know it's for the best, I certainly don't want her seriously underweight, but I wasn't ready to even start thinking about this kind of dramatic change in our routine just yet.

Oh well, nobody ever said life with a baby was dull and boring...

Sunday, 28 August 2005

So I really do cross stitch.....

Sunday, 28 August 2005
And to prove it here's one I just finished. It's by my favourite designer - Michael Powell and it's one of a pair of Mini Spanish Cottages. I have the other one to do at some point soon as DBF really likes them and wants to frame them as a pair.

Wednesday, 24 August 2005

Clickety Click

Wednesday, 24 August 2005
No, not a post about bingo, rather a post about hips.

When DD had her post-natal check up whilst we were still in hospital after the birth they diagnosed that she has a 'clicky hip'. This would be the technical term for a hip joint that clicks slightly. Now there's a medical term I can get to grips with!

Anyway, they told me that it wasn't anything to really worry about but I'd get an appointment through to take DD to the hospital at some point just to have it checked out. That some point was today.

So, the morning was spent organising myself to be ready to get me, her and all the junk I now need with me when I step out of the house, there on time. I then had to wake her up from her morning nap which absolutely kills me as I spend so much of my life trying to get her to sleep I can't believe it when I have to wake her up.

Anyway, we arrived at the hospital in plenty of time and despite me dreading the usual wait we were seen only 15 mins after our appointment time which was amazing. DD did manage to sick up all over me though but I guess the paediatric staff are used to parents and children who smell vaguely of regurgitated milk so I didn't let it bother me.

DD was undressed and the Doctor preceeded to wiggle DD's legs around and push them into very undignified positions for a young lady after which she announced that the click was still there and we had to go for an ultrasound.

Great, more waiting around.

But no, we were seen quite quickly (DD was building up for some serious yelling by this point so I think they bumped us up the queue!) She was again undressed, covered in goo and pushed into wierd poses (less undignified as she was lying on her side) and scanned until it was announced that she has perfect hip joints.

This means that the clicking is coming from a ligament rather than from the joint itself so we can rest assured that it'll go away of its own accord and we won't have to go back for further tests.

Just as well really as she managed to wee all over herself whilst lying down and both me and the nurse got seriously messy trying to clear it up...

Monday, 22 August 2005

Not everyone you meet on the web is a mad axe murderer.....

Monday, 22 August 2005
I've been participating in online stitching forums for a few years now and my favourite (and most frequented) is one that invovles a whole bunch of mad British women.

Every now and again we have a Get-together (GTG) and one of these events happened yesterday.

I'd only been to one before and obviously my circumstances this time were very different - I was accompanied by DD and DBF for a start - and I didn't manage any stitching whilst I was there but I did have a great time and it was great to meet some new people.

So I'd like to thank Kitty for being a wonderful hostess and all the other attendees for being great fun. I'd also like to thank DBF for performing above and beyond the call of duty and spending several hours with a bunch of women who, whilst not being axe murderers, are admittedly quite mad......

Wednesday, 17 August 2005

A Sigh of Relief

Wednesday, 17 August 2005
DD had her first set of immunisation jabs yesterday afternoon.

I'd read all the info about it - 50% of children are irritable for 48hrs after the jabs, 20% get a fever, etc and I'd heard all the horror stories from other Mums. So, armed with Calpol and resigned to no sleep for a couple of nights we headed into the unknown.

One jab in each leg and boy did she scream.

However, the screaming stopped by the time we left the surgery and although she was clingy and miserable for most of the afternoon (shock I believe) no fever and she slept at her usual time (11.00pm) for the whole night - eight full hours!

This is totally great news as she has to have two more sets of double jabs in four and eight weeks time and now at least I'm not dreading them (although there's nothing to say she won't have the reaction next time).

She does however have two little lumps on her legs where the jabs went in. She doesn't seem to be that bothered by them (I could touch them without a reaction) but I'm sure daddy will be upset by them later on.

Monday, 15 August 2005

Why is it that.....

Monday, 15 August 2005
....the day your ten week old daughter chooses to nap for a total of six hours during the day it's the day you can't take advantage and catch up on your sleep as you have to wait up for someone to come and collect two parcels...

Saturday, 13 August 2005

A Constant State of Indigestion.....

Saturday, 13 August 2005
A couple of weeks ago I was visited by a friend who was only days away from having her first child and she was understandably full of questions for me. One of the things she asked me if there was anything that I had that I couldn't live without.

My reply was 'a lap tray'. For those of you who don't know what I mean, it's a small tray with a bean bag attached to the bottom so you can have it on your lap and it's stable as it moulds to your legs.

My friend was a bit startled by my choice but I pointed out that I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of meals I'd managed sat at a table since DD was born and she has an uncanny knack of deciding she is starving just as my food is ready. So basically the lap tray was my only means of fending off starvation until she's old enough to feed herself.

The advantage of the lap tray is that I can feed DD on one side and balance the tray on the other and so get my food, maybe not piping hot but at least luke warm.

There are disadvantages of course. The main one being that you have to either have food that naturally comes served in bite size pieces or you have to have your other half cut it up into those bite size pieces as you only have one hand to work with. It's also not that useful when the baby gets her timing wrong and so is feeding on my left side as, being left handed, eating with my right hand is not as simple.

There are not really any words that can describe the degree of difficulty there is when you attempt to feed your baby and eat spaghetti bolognaise with your non-dominant hand whilst ensconced in an arm chair unable to move any part of your body other than your arm because that would dislodge the tray and the baby...

Another major disadvantage is that you end up with a baby covered in the debris of whatever it is you're eating. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to pick crumbs off various parts of her body with various levels of success. Dry food would, at first, appear a better choice as at least it doesn't stain like spaghetti sauce can on nice white baby clothes, but once you've had to attempt to remove a tiny piece of garlic bread crumb that landed on your baby's top lip and then she conveniently breathed in so it shot up her nose you'll learn to live with stains.

Last night DBF brought home take out. Big mistake as this has to be eaten straight away as it arrives in the house already lukewarm so I'm on to a real loser if I don't. DD was actually asleep when he arrived but by the time the food was served she was awake and sitting in her bouncy chair. As usual, the minute we started eating she started complaining and we found ourselves eating faster and faster in a rhythm matching her cries as they got louder and louder. Consequently we ate in under five minutes, barely tasted the food and spent the rest of the evening with a mild bout of indigestion.

My step-dad said to me, quite soon after DD was born, that the only thing you have to remember is that she doesn't do anything on purpose as she's too little to know what she's doing. That maybe true but sometimes I swear we have a demon child that sits and plots her next move whilst wearing an angelic smile...

Friday, 12 August 2005

New Design!

Friday, 12 August 2005
So here's my new blog design. I always meant to do it myself (I am after all a Web Developer by trade) but spending time messing about on the computer is something that ain't gonna happen until DD is quite a bit older.

So, following recommendations from friends I went to Design a Blog and this is the result.

I'm very pleased with it so thanks to Jane, my personal designer, who put up with a very loose design spec and got this up and running in under 48 hours.

I hope you all like it too.

Oh and I now need to actually populate some of the side sections but bear with me please as my free time is at a premium

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

A Bullet Bitten

Wednesday, 10 August 2005
So we've done it. We've booked flights to Greece for the three of us.

There's so many reasons I'm not looking forward to this trip but it has to be done so I shall attempt to grin and bear it. The good thing is that we're only going for just over a week instead of the two weeks originally talked about. We fly on a Friday evening and fly back on a Monday with a full week in between so it's not too bad.

We have to go because DBF has a Grandmother still alive who is too old to come here and needs to see her Great Grand-daughter. Also, apart from his parents and sister (who have already visited) none of his family will come here so it's a 'show and tell' trip.

What fun eh?

As I mentioned in my last post I've had a rocky relationship with DBF's parents so 10 days living with them in their apartment is my idea of hell - I don't get that close to my own family any more so why should I have to with his?

Oh and before you ask, no, there's no way we can stay anywhere else without them never speaking to us again. I'll have to have at least two more kids before we're too many to stay there comfortably!

The main issue is the language barrier. I speak very little Greek and they speak very little English. I did have Greek lessons for a while and I've always had good intentions to learn but have always let it slide as it's only important for a couple of weeks a year and I've always found languages hard. I understand quite a lot of what is said but the trips rely on DBF and his Sister as translators and it's really tough going all round.

It's also a completely different family dynamic over there - my family thrive on insults and banter with not much outward physical affection whereas his family are huggy/kissy people who take offence at the slightest thing and row all the time. I don't remember my parents or anyone close to me EVER arguing whereas DBF's mother shouts at least once a day.....

So, I have all this tension in me before we even get there (based on past experiences) and then there's the other major issue I have....

Travel sickness.

I do it in magnificent style and have done since three months old. The first time I flew anywhere (aged 16) I ended up in hospital having four litres of fluid pumped into me and medication that you don't swallow (if you know what I mean!)

So, I have to be totally doped up in order to fly and I still feel lousy at the other end (one of the things DBF's family can't seem to get their heads round is that it takes me a day or two to recover from the flight - I always get the impression that they think I'm faking it). This time it's worse as I'm not sure if I can take anything given that I'm breast feeding. I did speak to my doctor but she was less than helpful so I'm going to see a different one who I know is better.

I should also mention that DD is a direct consequence of my travel sickness. Last September we were in Greece and flew to North Greece for a long weekend in the middle of our two week stay. I stupidly thought that I could cope with less intense medication as it was only a 45 min flight. I got sick. Complete failure of the mini pill combined with a rare moment of privacy for the two of us and our gorgeous little monkey was the result.....

Oh, and that's the other reason I'm not looking forward to the holiday - given the events of the last paragraph I know that I'll probably never be able to persuade DBF to have sex on holiday ever again!

Saturday, 6 August 2005

A bit about me

Saturday, 6 August 2005

It occurred to me that I should maybe post a little bit about myself so those of you who have stumbled across my blog get to know me a bit better.

So, I’m British, not English as I have one English and one Scottish parent and the Scottish one drummed into me the idea of my Britishness at an early age. I also have a teeny tiny bit of Moroccan in me as my Great Grandfather was Moroccan (although I don’t even tan well so I’m pretty sure most of his genes have vanished).

I also have a complicated family of a full brother, a half sister and two step sisters. In this day and age that may not seem too complicated but add the fact that my half sister is the same age as DBF’s mother and her children are only a few years younger than me and you’ll start to see how tangled it is. Oh and my half sister has another half sister that is no relation to me! (She shares a Dad with me and a Mum with the other one)

Complicated though it is we all get along famously and I don’t remember anyone ever falling out with anyone else. I’m the odd one out as I live 100 miles away from everyone else but my sister lives next door to my mother (her step mum) and my brother is five minutes away from them both.

There’s no real reason I live so far away except that there’s very little work in the area of England they live (Kent) and if you want to earn good money there in Computing (which is what both DBF and I do) you have to commute to London which is a horrible expensive journey. Maybe we’ll end up there later on, but with DBF being Greek and owning a house out there we may well opt for the sun, sea and sand. Who knows where life will take us?

Having said that DBF’s family are a bit too intense for me. Especially now we have DD. I’ve had a pretty troubled relationship with them (enough to fill blog entries for the rest of this year at least) and although it is slowly getting better I don’t imagine it’ll ever be perfect. DD is their first Grandchild (also my Mother’s first Grandchild) and their obsession knows no bounds. I think if we lived in the same country as them at the moment they’d spend every waking second in her company……

Given that, it’ll be quite a while before I consider living over there.

What else? DBF and I have been together eight years and met when on the same Masters Degree course at Uni (so not a holiday romance as most people think). He only came to England for 11 months but is still here so I must be doing something right. J

We’ve talked about marriage but it never seemed important before the arrival of DD. The truth is that DD was an accidental pregnancy that turned into the best thing we’ve ever done. We’d always said we’d have children some time but had never gotten round to thinking about when. On the whole I think the only way we’d ever have gotten round to it was to have an accident as the issue was taken out of our hands and we just had to get on with it.

Now we both know that marriage would be a good thing to get sorted but we don’t want a big event and it’s something else we’ve got to fit in somehow. The biggest reason we haven’t bothered is the logistical nightmare of getting either all of my family to Greece, all of his family to England or all of both families to somewhere in the middle. We’ve both agreed in the past that we’d be best off running away to Vegas and just telling everyone when it’s over and done with. Neither family is too keen on us doing this but I love the kitsch value of it all and DBF has always wanted to dress up as Elvis so who knows what we’ll end up doing!

That’s all for now as it’s stupid o’clock in the morning and DBF has just got DD to sleep so I need to do the same while I can.

Thursday, 4 August 2005

Two kinds of people

Thursday, 4 August 2005

This entry was originally about how far DD has evolved up the food chain in the last two months but as I was writing it I realised it was heading more into the direction of a discussion about the two kinds of people who have babies - those who want them to stay ickle-wickle-teeny-tiny for as long as posible and those who can't wait for them to grow up.....

DBF and I fall firmly into the second category.

This all started right from the beginning when people were telling me that I'd miss having the baby inside me when she was born. Nope. Not at all.

Then when she moved up to the next size of clothing there were those that said 'oh, isn't it a shame they have to get bigger'. Nope. Not at all.

Don't get me wrong, I loved feeling the baby move inside me, I loved my teeny-tiny newborn and I love my two month old little girl that can smile, chat and hold my finger.

I’ve enjoyed all the stages so far but the older she gets, the easier it gets and I personally can’t wait for when she can move herself, entertain herself, feed herself, go to the toilet herself, sleep properly, tell us what she wants in a method other than crying and generally be less dependent on me and DBF for everything.

Now I know all of the above will take a long time to happen but I see each passing day as a step towards it all and I love seeing how she develops and the chain of events that lead to that independence.

Take now for instance. She’s lying on her changing mat stretching, kicking and wriggling quite contentedly and every now and again she looks up to check I’m still here and if I don’t pay her attention she squeaks at me and gives me a big grin. All of that is something she wasn’t doing this time last week and it means that I’ve had time to answer all my emails, smurf the web a bit and write this blog entry.

It also gives her time to explore her body and look at the world around her without having to gaze over my shoulder all the time.

DBF’s reason for wanting her bigger is slightly different. He wants to play. She’s nowhere near big enough at the moment to do all the things he wants to do with her and he finds that frustrating. For example, I spend my evenings trying to create a calm, relaxed environment to encourage sleep – I left DD with DBF for a bit a couple of nights ago and came back to find him spinning her round the room and her with a look of terror on her face!

Needless to say he won’t be doing that again for a while.

Anyway, I’m sure at some point I’ll be missing this early stage of babyhood but whenever I find myself looking back whistfully I will remind myself of the total sleep deprivation, the sore nipples, the constant nappy changes and the fact that every piece of clothing I own smells vaguely of regurgitated milk...


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