Friday, October 31, 2008

By the way

This has to be the funniest costume I found for a baby.

Wild wild Northwest London

So with few other options coming to mind, Blake spent his first Halloween as a cowboy! Most of the stuff we had so I just needed to order a hat, which I knew would also not stay on very long. Here are the photos (scroll quickly, there are a lot!)
Little pumpkin and cowboy Blake

We also had a little gathering with some local babes; quite a cute show they put on for us!
Babes do Halloween

I bought some candy and we had...wait for it...ZERO trick-or-treaters!! Fortunately I find eating leftover candy to be one of the joys of this particular holiday.


Happy Halloween from DwL! If this small person comes knocking at your door for treats, make him do a trick first! (And a great trick would be to sleep through the night...!).

This is a sleepsuit sent by Granny Karla and later today I'll put him in his other costume. Had to do a bit of a makeshift one since I decided in these credit crunching times that I didn't want to spend £25 to buy something!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Clean living

As I looked around my messy kitchen this afternoon (if you don't know why it's messy, see the previous post about baby food preparation), I thought about what life would be like with a cleaner. Our downstairs neighbour, Beth, has one, and I've had the pleasure of meeting her every now and then as we're going out or coming in on Wednesday mornings. Like probably a lot of cleaners around here, her command of English isn't great but it does make me laugh when she sees us and lets me know that she thinks that Blake looks like me: "Same you, same you!"

So, yes, in a lot of ways, I would like a cleaner: to avoid the guilt I feel when I use the computer instead of dusting, or mopping the kitchen floor (generally encrusted with bits of cheese, or once-soggy, sucked-on toast); to ease any anxiety that if and when people come over (and they don't, but anyone is more than welcome to come anytime!) I don't have to be looking around thinking "Oh shoot, how didn't I see that layer of inch-thick dust under the couch?!"; and to generally make my life that little bit easier. Then I thought about it for a few seconds more. I don't actually want a cleaner, I just want to be able to find an extra half an hour a day to make my home cleaner.

And just in case you're wondering, yes, he did nap today. I decided to have one too.

Quote of the day

After a pretty horrendous night's sleep (which included Blake ripping his dummy out of his mouth and flinging it about 6 feet out of his bedroom and into the hallway...perhaps a future England cricketer or Major League Baseball pitcher on our hands here), I have just been looking at advice on what to do if an 8-month-old baby doesn't sleep.

I've just read a great quote and am going to leave my research at this for the moment: My motto is, Most sleep for the greatest number of people. Looks like I'll be comfort feeding then, but perhaps I, my bedfellow, and our downstairs neighbor will be happiest.

Playing in the leaves

We missed the most vibrant of the colors but thought it would be fun for Blake to play around in a pile of leaves...

Monday, October 27, 2008

A word about weaning

Like most mothers, I want to be the best mother I can be. This aspiration, combined with my perfectionist, competitive, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies, has led me to an interesting place with regards to our little Master Blake's diet.

When I thought about being a mother, one of the things I never ever (EVER) even thought about was what my child would eat once he moved on to solid foods. The answer was, of course, baby food in a jar. That's what I probably ate as a baby, and my past brief excursions down the baby aisle in the supermarket always led me to know that there was a huge range of delicious, nutritious and easy-to-serve meals for little ones, with very appetizing names (adjectives like "farmhouse" and "tropical" come to mind; I'm a marketer's dream customer). For lack of another option I would gladly eat some sort of baby rice pudding or custard to satisfy a craving for something sweet. There was also the hard fact that I very seldom cooked for myself, or for me and Matt, bar the occasional dinner party (apart from baking, which somehow I see as a different activity). So jars it would be.

Well, let me tell you what actually happened....when Blake was about 4 months, I started hearing talk in my circle of mother friends about how to start weaning, and how you can cook all these great recipes, blend them up and then freeze them in ice cube trays so that with just a few seconds of defrosting, you can serve your baby a homemade meal, perfectly balanced in its nutritional and vitamin content, etc. Sounds easy, right? In a way, of course, it is, but I'm just taking a break from about 3 hours of backbreaking work to write this post, and have also provided photographic evidence of the chaos this activity can cause in the kitchen. First you have to buy the vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese, and accessories, lug them home and attempt to fit it all in the fridge to await a time when the bebe-gourmand is asleep to spend some time cooking. But if only it were just cooking! There is the washing, the peeling, the boiling, the draining, the whizzing, the decanting into the ice cube trays, the cooling, and finally the putting into the freezer. Oh, and then there's the washing up of all the pots, pans, spoons, blender parts... At some point I started to get pins and needles in my back! Did I mention the need to label the freezer bags since everything containing sweet potato starts to look the same when blended?

Thus far I haven't broken down and given Blake any food from a jar (although I'm not a total zealot, it's not like I'm making my own yogurt and bread, nor am I going out gathering nuts and seeds for snacks). Partly I'm worried that once he has a taste of the jars he'll decide that he won't eat my stuff which could be an ego blow that I'm not yet ready to deal with. And I think more the issue is that I know that this can't, and won't, go on forever, and that once I'm back at work I'll be lucky to find time to get our clothes ready for the next day of work/nursery and that the time in the kitchen will have to be put on the back burner (pun intended, I think, or is that just a metaphor?). There of course should also come a day when Blake can just eat what we eat, which will make life a lot easier. [No doubt there will probably also come a day when he'll decide he won't eat anything healthy whatsoever and demand McDonald's Happy Meals, with absolutely plain hamburgers - just bun and meat - like I did for much of my youth.]

For now, I'm back to the kitchen where I have a bit more pureeing to do. I think I may have to leave the clean up til tomorrow!
By the way, in my research for this post, I learned something new: Gerber, a popular brand of baby food in the US, means "to puke" in French!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Baby talk?

At 2:30 a.m. last night, I had a thought about what babies' babble must be when they get together:

BL: "Hey mate, how's it going?"
Friend, we'll call him Hugo (Blake's first baby friend): "Yeah, not bad, how 'bout you?"
BL: "Pretty good, that place I got to stay's working out pretty well...I'm really loving the complimentary drink of warm milk in the middle of the night."
HD: "Oh, how do you get that then? Do you have to ask for it?"
BL: "Yeah, in my place you just start yelling and then usually the landlady comes in. If she doesn't hear me at first then I get out that little megaphone they gave out at the hospital when we were leaving, you know the one they said to use in emergencies? I just get that out and it makes my voice louder, so the lady comes running in a bit quicker."
HD: "Oh cool, yeah, that sounds like a good time to use it. And then you just get your drink?"
BL: "Well, sometimes she acts like she's not going to serve me, and gives me that plastic thing and says 'Shh' a lot. But she knows I'm not a dummy - that bar has a 24-hour license, I know - so eventually she opens the bar. Then it's just right back to sleep for me....really good."
HD: "She sounds nice, your landlady."
BL: "She's nice, sure. In the daytime she looks a little rough, like she works all night or something. I mean she could use a haircut and maybe to wear a bit more makeup to hide those black things under her eyes, but her face is funny. Not as funny as the man's though; I eat his nose which is hilarious. The woman just looks on kind of wearily when I do that. We have fun most of the time."

Are you an 8-month old? Is this an accurate description of your conversations with other babies? If so, let us know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Election '08

Colin Powell's recent endorsement of Barack Obama made me realize that as a "leading online publication"*, DwL should probably come out and officially back the Obama-Biden ticket. I sent my FWAB (Federal Write-in Absentee a world of catchy acronyms, this isn't one of them) in already, but unfortunately mine goes to Massachusetts where it doesn't have much impact. I had thought about ordering a t-shirt but the Obama store on the official website is rather daunting (and perhaps a little pricey? $75.00 for a totebag?). Oh well, if it helps fund a last-minute push to get the man into the White House, I hope people are buying them!!

For any readers in North Carolina, if you have the chance to vote for Daniel Johnson (fellow HHS '94 classmate ) in the 10th Congressional District, please do so and get others to do the same!

*DwL is counted by many - especially a certain Mrs. Blakey of Hickory, NC - as their first source of news on the web

Late October update

We just got back from a few days at Granny Lyons' house, enjoying some autumnal fresh air. The question of the day must be, is there anything more fun than smashing your hand into your dad's face while he's trying to take a quick nap on the floor? I think the picture tells the answer...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Volunteering is tiring, as is being a mother

What a full (read exhausting) weekend. I was in charge of the cake stand at the NCT Nearly New Sale on Saturday, which sounds easy, surely. But it was a lot of work although I think the sale made a good profit for the NCT so that is good. Matt was a star Daddy and took Blake for most of the morning. Unfortunately while we were all three away from the flat our agent called to ask us if he could bring people by; we said yes not realizing the extent of the messiness that we'd left that morning. Sigh...

Anyway, Blake is so quick these days it's hard to pin him down for a photo. He loves phones of all kinds - mobile, digital, his rotary-dial toy that Anna gave him, etc. Here he is with our landline, which has only been working intermittently since he started shoving it in his mouth at every opportunity.

He is also aiming to set speed records for crawling and can now stand for a second or two on his own. Will my prediction that he will walk by the end of November come true?!

Baby congrats for Meghan and Mike who welcomed daughter Cyrena on 25th Sept, Claire and Tim on the birth of son Sebastian last week, and John and Laura Barrett whose daughter Elinor arrived on her due date!! Enjoy these first magical and slightly surreal weeks of being a new parent!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Me and my shadow

Just got back from the gym, which I've joined so that I can have an hour to myself every now and then, but also to get both Blake and me used to the fact that in February, I am going to have to leave him for a lot longer than an hour every day!

So far he hasn't really loved being in the creche, and I can usually hear him crying when I ring the doorbell to go in and pick him up. I don't really know what to do with a Mama's boy on my hands!!

So in line with the theme of his going wherever I go, today's pics reflect a time about a week or so ago when he got really into shadows and was intensely interested in what they were, chasing them and no doubt wondering why he couldn't quite "get" them into his little mitts.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mobility and other

I thought I had no time when Blake wasn't moving, but now I know differently!! My blog postings reflect this lack of free time. I will endeavor to do better, Granny Karla!!

Most days are spent chasing him around, keeping him away from wires, cables, phones, gadgets, etc. My phone stopped working and I thought it was broken; a few hours later it was working again so presumably it had just been temporarily drowned in slobber. Lesson learned!

Here are a few pics. If anyone knows of any professional services that come into to your home and sort out your digital photographs, I'd be interested to get the details...otherwise we are headed down a path of never having any prints, ever.

We said goodbye to Will and Raina this week as they headed back to Australia. We loved having you around for 5 weeks and good luck with finding jobs and a lovely place to live; we hope all goes well in the next couple of weeks!

I am mailing my overseas absentee ballot this afternoon, and running the cake stand at a "nearly new" sale this weekend.

This is about all I've been up to! Must sign off now to go figure out how Blake has turned on the tv to a radio station which advertises itself as playing "Polish Rock Music". The song just on was Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory, so I don't the music is quite Polish. Hope you are doing well, dear reader!