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Archive for January, 2010

Cupcakes and work thoughts

Oops, been a while! Got a bit lax already. Poor.

Work first; I spoke to my boss last week about my return to work at the start of April. Good news – they have a branch for me, one they’ve kept knowing I’m coming back. Bad news – it’s on the other side of the city. By quite a long way. It’s going to be about an hour and a quarter each way. I struggle with the idea that there’ll be two and a half hours a day that I’m not being paid for, but nor am I spending it with TWM and hubbie. I’m trying to see it as a positive – some wake-up / wind-down time to myself each day. I need to see it as a positive, since I have to go back to work, like it or not. I also have a small issue round needing space to express milk each day, which I am not sure they will be able to provide. At the moment I think I will go back to work and then raise the issues with my new boss on a work-life balance platform. That way I show that I am willing to be there and work hard before getting bolshy!

At the weekend I made my first attempt at something from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook which I received as a Secret Santa pressie. My first one creation was Red Velvet cupcakes, and they went down a treat!

Ingredients ready (I'm a bit anal about baking)

Batter (with cocoa powder and red food colouring!)

Out of the oven, ready for frosting

The finished product - only 1 as they didn't last long!

I am planning to try another recipe from the book in the next few days – I have all the ingredients now, it would be rude not to!

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I nicked this from another blog, who borrowed it from here:

“When I catch myself thinking, “My husband isn’t very thoughtful,” and my mind starts kicking up examples of thoughtlessness, I retort, “My husband is very thoughtful” – and sure enough, I think of lots of examples of thoughtful behavior. When I think “My daughters squabble a lot,” I answer, “My daughters get along very well.”

I’ve been trying to do this to a certain extent with my return to work; if I tell myself I’m dreading going back and am constantly telling other people how awful it’s going to be – that will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I’ve been trying to remember the good things about my job, the banter with other staff and the opportunity to use my brain. I need to continue and develop this – remembering why it’s better in the long term for my career, and the treats we’ll be able to enjoy because of the salary. (Y’know, treats like food, and heating, and stuff) I think it’s also something I can apply to my family – I have a hubby who is so kind and helpful in our home, and I never want to take that for granted. I need to remember that and thank him for what he does, rather than focusing on the (very few) things he doesn’t do.

I got my belated Christmas present this week – the comfiest boots in the world, ever (TM). It’s like walking on clouds, as my sister said when she tried them on yesterday. I’m looking forward to breaking them in and making them even comfier!

Also, I finally managed to get hold of the Art of Crochet magazine the other day. It’s something I’ve been looking for for a couple weeks, as I have wanted to learn to crochet for a while. I know there are plenty of books or places online where I could start learning, but I am big enough and ugly enough to admit that I need a ‘gimmick’ to get me started on a new hobby. I enjoy knitting, but a lot of patterns call for a bit of crocheting to finish and it bugged my happiness that I couldn’t do it. So I was delighted when I found the first part of the magazine in our local supermarket – it’s been out of stock everywhere! I’m not going to buy many more issues of the magazine as once I have the basic technique I will take it on from there myself. I shall post pictures of my progress!

Longies (for over night nappies) knitted by me and my mum

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Food and sleeeeep!

Since TWM was four months, he’s been waking up twice or three times a night. He was always hungry – we tried re-settling him just with a cuddle and some music, but he was never for having it. I was aware that conventional advice would be to have weaned him at that point, but we were very keen to follow Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and as such wanted to wait until as near to 6 months as we could. We started BLW three weeks ago: since the middle of last week, he’s started sleeping 8pm – 8am with just one wake-up at 2am for milk. Last night he slept 8pm – 6am, came into bed with us for milk, then slept til 9am. And I feel gooooood!

Baby Led Weaning does what it says on the tin. The theory is that a baby’s gut matures between 4 and 6 months, and so to avoid the risk of allergies, intolerances, and other intestinal problems in the future, to avoid weaning until baby is around 6 months. Babies will also show signs of readiness for weaning, which are different to traditional ‘signs’. Things like waking in the night from four months have been seen as a baby being ready for food, when in fact it is a growth spurt – and the calories in milk, be that breast milk or formula – are far greater than those in purees suitable for babies from 4 months. Putting things in their mouths is a developmental advance and isn’t (on its own) a sign that a baby is ready for food.

BLW says that once a baby can sit up on its own, has lost the tongue thrust reflex, and reliably reach out and grab things and bring them to their mouth – all of which will happen at or around six months – they are ready for weaning. The advantage of waiting until this time is that because their gut is matured you can offer any food, negating the need for pureeing and also for feeding food to them. A BLW baby will learn to feed themselves with finger food, and explore tastes and textures for themselves. They learn to chew before they swallow, which in turn helps the development of the muscles they use for speech. So TWM sits at the table with us and has some of whatever we’re having. He’s had banana, kiwi, apple, pear, pineapple, strawberry, raspberry and satsuma. Veg; he’s particularly enjoyed broccoli, carrot, butternut squash. He likes rice cakes and breadsticks. He’s had brwon rice and potato. He’s had a suck of the meat from a beef casserole, chicken in black bean sauce, and mince from bolognese. It’s easy, and it’s cheap – no buying different or special food.

I completely understand that there are different schools of thought when it comes to weaning; I wouldn’t judge anyone else for their choices. For us, I did lots of reading and my own research, and BLW is right for our family. I like all the advantages it has; and fundamentally I’m lazy! He’s still breastfeeding five or six times a day – and will continue to get the bulk of his calories from breastmilk for some time to come. In the meantime, this is a lot of fun!

Cheese
Carrot
Kiwi and banana
Soup aftermath

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Bye bye snow

…about blimmin time, too. I’m so over snow.

At the weekend, hubby and I took TWM out to Strathclyde Park which is very near us. The loch has frozen over which is odd to see, as it’s a large body of water. There were numpties running across it, which made me imagine that I might find myself in the next series of 999 Rescue or similar, as Onlooker #2.

Frozen loch

Managed to get out for a good walk today with the pram which was good, although was worryingly out-of-breath after half an hour or so. MUST get back on the Wii Fit. Then met the girls from our NCT class and their babies this afternoon. It’s been great to have stayed in touch with people who are at a similar stage. We see each other most weeks for a brisk(ish) walk and then hot chocolate. One of the girls has discovered peri- and then post-natally that she has blood problems – which have turned out to be caused by a rare form of leukaemia. She and her husband are handling it really well but it just makes you realise how precious life is. At the moment her prognosis is good, but she is having to give up breastfeeding now so she can have treatment next month. She is feeling so guilty for it; apparently motherhood comes with a long line of things to feel badly about.

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I’ve spent the morning clearing stuff out of cupboards and storage upstairs. I have a delivery coming on Friday (did I mention I’m getting a tumble drier?!) and I needed to make space in the spare room for it. To do this, I had to sort through all the clothes TWM has grown out of already… which was hard.

Weird, because I’m nowhere near ready to think about another baby; but somehow sorting through the outfits he wore when he was tiny made me miss the tiny newborn he was. I can understand how people end up having another baby quickly. Even if I could think about going through another (admittedly easy) pregnancy and birth, we can’t afford the childcare for a second child. Well, not if we’re going to pay the mortgage too, and apparently we need to do that. I go back to work in 12 weeks after mat leave, and I’m trying to get my head round the idea of leaving TWM during the day.

For all I miss my wee tiny baby, the 6-month-old I have is wonderful. He’s such good fun and makes me laugh every day.

Santa's little helper

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My problem, at the moment, is that I don’t think I’m 100% sure what this blog is going to be about.

  • It’s partly to keep some sort of record of my son (The Wee Man / TWM) and his development and progress – you think you’ll remember stuff in the future, but already I look back at photos of his first few weeks and realise there’s little things he did that I’ve forgotten about. We have recently started weaning and it’s proving challenging – getting my boob out was quick and easy. BLW (baby led weaning) requires a bit more thought and preparation! I would like to be able to look back at successes and mistakes in the future.
  • It’s also a challenge to myself, to ensure that I’m making my life count. I’ve been really challenged by this blog – I recognise so much of me (and my husband) in the ‘before’ descriptions and it’s making me really think. How often do I challenge myself, take myself out of my comfort zone? I suspect the answer will shame me, and so I haven’t examined the issue too closely. I think I should, though.
  • I would also like a place to discuss – or monologue, I suppose? – on issues that are important to me. I have strong feelings on some subjects, but can’t always articulate them. It might be helpful for me to crystallise my thoughts here and receive useful comments / discussions.
  • Lastly, a way for others to keep up with what we’re doing. We have friends and family who live far from us, and it’s easy to forget snippets of news if you’re not speaking often.

I won’t over-think it. I should get into the habit of just posting when I have something in my head.

For now – here’s my boys.

Music time

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Hello world!

Well, New Year, new blog. Along with the half the rest of the world, I suspect.

I used to keep a diary on a parenting site I belong to, and although it was quite a specialised subject(!) I really enjoyed getting thoughts down on virtual paper. I found it quite cathartic. I have followed other blogs periodically but always found it hard to keep up – until today. I heard about Google Reader and in a small but revolutionary way, my life has changed.  A few blogs are already on my subscription list and I’ve been quite excited when I’ve been notified of a new post. I am looking for more to add!

Plenty of time to lay my life bare online, but for the moment – I’m a 28-year-old happily married mother of one gorgeous baby boy. I’m a part-time eco-warrior (would be full-time except for my car and the tumble drier which will be delivered this week) and a full-time Christian. Being happy and chocolate are important to me.

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