Remember in December when I packed off my not so little boy and sent him to pre-school a whopping 9 hours a week?  And for those 3 hours on each of those 3 afternoons I would cry when I got home because I thought I was breaking him.  I thought that my already anxiety ridden ball of WhoNeedsToLeaveTheHouseToHaveFun was going to turn into the toddler version of that guy who still lives in his Mom’s basement when he’s 45 and just does a Butthead type giggle whenever any female speaks within 20 feet of him.  And honestly, the outside world needs his cuteness in it, so I couldn’t be turning him into a hermit.

Everyone tried to be supportive and offered up their own anecdotes about when their little Alfie or Olivia first started and how they would cry a bit and didn’t want to go.  The only thing is that their children weren’t having full on panic attacks at the sight of the school shirt.

So I crossed my fingers and started to bribe Noah.  Each day he went through the whole three hours without crying he’d get a treat.  Some days he’d score a little car and on others he would get a special snack.  And just when my momma expressed concern that he’s start expecting the reward for doing something ‘normal’, he started to change.  He’d still get a bit nervous before going, and sometimes there would be sniffles when we got there, but one day he just up and walked away when we got inside and went about his day.

Hello?!  Where’s your detachment disorder?! Where is your need for one more hug.  Just one more!!  And why don’t you want to take your school shirt off?? It was like a practical joke.  I’d be dreaming of the moment to arrive but couldn’t believe it could actually be here.

 

21 june school

Then different key workers would say random things when I would drop him off or pick him up: “Noah’s so lovely” “It is great to have Noah back from holidays. I really missed him. ” “Noah had the all of the kids laughing” “Noah is the sweetest boy” .  Of course, I wanted to be able to just believe everything because it’s a wonderful feeling when someone else says things that reflect what you think about your own child.  But I am me.  I smiled and nodded and gave a “a ha haha” when I thought appropriate and figured that everyone got the same lines, because I am cynical to the core.

Plus, I’d never seen Noah at school beyond the drop off and pick up.  Parents are welcome to volunteer, but not if you have another child with you.  I had to rely on their word for how each day went.  Not that I don’t ask Noah as soon as we get in the car, but some days I get told he had an alligator sandwich for snack, so his word isn’t really worth that much.

The first time I got to see him in a setting with other children and an authority figure he wasn’t related to, was at Mini-Strikers.  Oh the joy that came over him as soon as he walked into the village hall.  It was like a whole different child crossed the threshold when I opened the door.  Okay, his listening skills… need work.  But it wasn’t a disobedience thing as much as an overflowing with excitement.  He shares well (until someone snatches his ball/racquet/beanbag and then sulks a bit), interacts with the other children, adores Mr. Andy and wants to include Amy in every activity.  It was and continues to be an amazing thing to see.

 

22 june Mr. Andy

So I shouldn’t have been, but totally was, overcome with emotion when at a Teddy Bear’s Picnic that the pre-school was part of, I got to see Noah interact with the staff at the school.  My little Nervous Norman was so comfortable with them, so happy to share his excitement and achievements.  And the responses they gave to him completely warmed my cynical heart.  Their smiles were genuine, their affection honest and they were as happy for him as he was for himself.  The best part was that they didn’t even know I was watching since I was with Amy trying to keep her from jumping off of a balance beam.

My baby boy is growing up in so many ways.  I am so proud of him and so so happy for him.  We’ve got roughly 3948 more anxieties to work through, but this has been huge.  I have no idea what happens when he walks through the doors of his school, but whatever it is … works.   I am so sad now that he will be leaving at the end of the month.  Let’s hope I don’t break what they’ve fixed because Noah 2.0 ROCKS*!!!

 

22 June race

 

22 June balls

22 June run

*Noah 1.0 ROCKED too.  But this version is even better!

Welcome 2010. I am very happy to see you. Already I feel like it will be a good year. At least better than the last.

ET Phone Home

Don’t get me wrong. 2009 was not ALL bad. Amy came into our lives and that has been a wonderful* thing. But in general it was pretty much a ‘meh’ year. A roller coaster ride that made me more nauseous than filled with adrenaline and fear and exhilaration. A noose of stress seemed to linger round our necks for most of it and the lack of sleep didn’t help to pretty us up.

I don’t generally make New Year resolutions, because who actually keeps them and how different are they then the promises people make themselves throughout the year? But I do promise to actually update the blogs. And even throw in some older entries that should have been added ages ago.

There will be a change. I fully intended to give Noah and Amy their own monthly review, but as you know, this fell apart in a spectacular fashion. It pains me to not have kept on top of it because I have serious issues about giving Amy a 2nd Child complex. But years of perfecting procrastination skills mixed with exhaustion levels of untold proportions have created a cocktail that has turned my brain into something resembling maggot cheese (feel free to Google it or just imagine). With only 7 to 8 days between “monthdays” as well, it is a lot to put together in such a short space of time, so I am going with the monthly thing! That way I can guarantee they both get an update each month and it means going through less of the thousands of photos I take every month to choose the good ones. And I am pretty sure that there will be more going in in the months to actually update about non-mommyhood stuff too. I think. I hope.

But if not, it is only because that is who I am. Last night was the first night in 22 months where I felt like a person separate of anyone else. I wasn’t just a mother. It was weird, but it was great. And as short as that liberation was, when Amy awoke hacking up a lung and hoping that we’d left some Moet for her, I was thrilled to see my baby girl and her ear to ear smile. Though I was even happier that Noah stayed in his room until 5.25am when he climbed into our bed and snuggled up with me and fell asleep holding my hand.

It may be exhausting, confusing, frustrating and stressful, but I love these midgets of mine. It might seem a normal thing for a parent to say, but considering there were days when I was convinced I didn’t even like them, never mind love them, it fills my heart with joy to know that I’ve made it through to the other side. Even if that other side means stepping on Hot Wheels and having someone spit up between my toes, wipe their nose on my shirt, wake me up 5 times a night for a snack, cry because I dare touch the other one, etc.

So bring on 2010 and the adventures that shall come with it. With a break every now and then to remind myself that I am still me underneath this Mommy costume, I look forward to what is ahead of us and experiencing it all as a family of four.

That’s right. I’m not giving birth this year. 2010 is looking better with each minute that passes!!!

Our NYE in Pictures:

Clementines and Party Hats

Clementines and Party Hats

Two Crazy Midgets

Two Crazy Midgets

Amy DOES Have a Mother!

Amy DOES Have a Mother!

Midget and Mommy Madness

Midget and Mommy Madness

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!

Sweet Sweet Champagne How I Love Thee

Sweet Sweet Champagne How I Love Thee

May 2010 continue to be as wonderful as it started for me, for us and for all of you! Happy New Year!

A few years ago, my Momma and Randy were over here visiting and took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. We didn’t really know anywhere in the area, so we took to the Internet to find somewhere “nice” (not a chain.. not weird food.. not a carvery type joint) and stumbled upon The Birch at Woburn and decided to give it a go.

Having never ventured even as far as Woburn Sands, we were shocked to find such nice little villages so close to the booming metropolis that we were calling home. It was like Real England had been hiding in the shadows the whole time when I thought we were nowhere near it. Because of not knowing where we were, we actually passed the restaurant and ended up in Woburn itself and stumbled upon the Abbey and all.

After eventually finding out way back, we made it to the restaurant, got seated and quite enjoyed our meal there. Success!!

Lee and I then returned again a few months later and although some things were tasty, over all it was a let down and I was in fact sick by the time we hit the parking lot.

Due to this, we hadn’t been back in a couple of years!

Today, we made a return visit when Lee and Noah took me out to lunch for my birthday. The sun was shining and although we were tired from a late night out on Friday, we were all in pretty good spirits especially when once again realising that Real England is almost so close we can touch it .. without ever getting on or crossing a major highway/motorway.

We sat in “the bar” area which is more rustic looking than the tables located in the proper restaurant bit, but it was all the same menu so it didn’t really matter. Plus, with Noah, the less tables around for him to flirt with/demand attention from.. the better.

When the waiter came around to tell us about the menu I almost tuned him out straight away. I rarely ever order Specials of the Day because I normally forget halfway through what they were talking about. When he rattled off the soup and started with “tomato” I instantly thought.. .oO(ah here we go again), but he followed it with red pepper and horseradish cream. Okay, so there was no way I was going to order it seeing as I hate tomato soup, but I liked the interesting twist. He got to the special starter and it was grabbing me until I heard “stilton”, but it was alright since I’d already been busy debating myself over which of two that jumped out of me that I was going to have. And then I heard “veal”. Oh my.

Right after Noah was born I read an article about rose veal in the UK and how they were promoting it rather than perpetuating that it was a really bad thing to eat. I couldn’t help but cry when I read that veal comes from baby boy cows. Here my own baby boy was laying across my lap having a nap and I was reading about eating some cow’s baby boy. I cried. A lot.

Noah’s over a year now and I’m pregnant and sometimes I can understand why in some species of animal, the mother eats their young. My tears over veal are long gone and in fact I’ve been craving it like crazy.

So back to the man.. “fillet of veal with a mustard potato cake, served with asparagus wrapped in parma ham and topped of with seared fois gras”. DAMNIT! You had to throw in the fois gras. Instantly I knew that Lee had found his main course and I was left fearing I’d be there for hours trying to choose a main. But before I knew it I heard “salmon fillet on a bed of tagliatelle with crab and shrimp in a garlic cream sauce”. SOLD!

We asked for a moment to decided on the starters and when he .. or actually a totally different waiter… came back to take our order we were ready to go.

Lee’s menu: Terrine of Local Venison served with mustard aioli, roasted pear and rocket salad, the Veal Special (and to be added later, the Hazelnut Brulee served with Brandy and Orange Ice Cream and Shortbread)

My menu: Smoked Salmon with Potato and Horseradish Salad served with baby leaves and sauce vierge, the Salmon Special (and to be added later, the Glazed Lime Tart served with Coconut Ice Cream and fragrant lemongrass syrup)

Noah’s menu: A bit of everything with emphasis on the smoked salmon starter, the potato from Lee’s main and the Salmon and Crab from mine .. Lee’s brulee and my ice cream.

I went there not feeling like pasta at all. I was hoping for something more potato-y and with vegetable. I left completely happy with what I ordered and just wishing that fois gras was something that I didn’t find too rich and was pregancy friendly, because Lee’s meal looked AMAZING and the veal melted in the mouth. He even said that the fois gras there was better than the stuff he had at Boxwood Cafe.

The service slipped a bit toward the end, but it afforded Noah some running around time, diaper change time and time for me to be emotionally retarded and full on cry at the table when a song came on and I couldn’t stop thinking of my Daddy and how he was missing yet another one of my birthdays and how I never got to show him anything of England … where I live… and how he is so missing out on Noah.

But other than my hormonally charged self being unable to rein my tears in, it was a perfect lunch out to celebrate my favourite day of the year .. a day early.

And afterwards we drove through Woburn and then found this village that we were told we would love to live in and agreed.. we would love to live there. However, when I got home and looked up the houses for sale there we agreed that it might take a while to get there seeing as of the two possibilities (the third was too small) the cheaper one was just over £500,000.

But we got to discover a little more of what is around us and see more of what kind of place we want to go to when we leave here. We also got to drive through the deer park by Woburn Abbey and then come home and all have a nap… with Noah napping in his own room!!

What a Happy Day Before Birthday. Looks like the fates took their heads out of their bums and remembered how important my birthday weekend is after all!

And of course… I couldn’t let this lunch go by without taking photos!

At least there was one olive left when I remembered

At least there was one olive left when I remembered

Raisins while we wait

Raisins while we wait

My Salmon Starter

My Salmon Starter

Lees Starter

Lee's Starter

Where did it go?

Where did it go?

Finger Lickin Good

Finger Lickin' Good

My Main

My Main

Lees Main

Lee's Main

My Dessert

My Dessert

Lees Dessert

Lee's Dessert

Ahhhhh All Done

Ahhhhh All Done

I have always wanted to be able to bake. If you scroll back through posts of mine you will see that every once in a while I get the urge to create food from scratch. Pasta, cookies, dessert bars. That sort of thing. And while I was quite successful at the pasta, the baking has always been … not quite there. I am afraid of the oven. It always seems too hot or not hot enough .. even when I’m following directions. But as Noah’s birthday is coming up, I felt like I had to be able to make something myself. Sure I could go to Costco and buy cupcakes for £14.99 or buy a cake that would be wasted as it would be too big and we are not really a house of cake eaters (until this week when this baby has me wanting cake constantly). So with two weeks left, I thought I’d give it a go.

And a go I gave it.

I made the batter from scratch, the icing and even the lemon sugar to sprinkle on top.

Sure, to those of you who know to cover both hands when getting something out of the oven or that turning the oven a little higher won’t cook the middle any faster, it may seem funny that I am so excited by such small achievements, but I am. So shh.

At first I thought that the batter was too thick and was convinced that it was going to bubble over and I’d either have monster sized cupcakes or they’d end up on the bottom of the oven. But look! They came out like perfect little cupcakes!

Fresh from the oven

The icing didn’t look as nice and I was pretty worried about whether I was doing it right. The dry to wet ratio was so not working according to the recipe, so I went off piste and decided to do it myself and threw in some lemon zest for an added lemon zing!

Icing on the cupcakes

The first thing I actually did was make the lemon sugar. Now it smells great and tastes great, but I have no idea why I had to make so much of it and have yet to figure out what else I can put it on. Looks like I’ll be making a lemon cake this week!

Lemon Sugar

When I put the three parts to the puzzle together, the results were mindblowing. Well, they blew my mind anyway. And my constant patting myself on the back has started to not quite blow Lee’s mind, but wear out the bit when you smile and nod to be polite. But look at these babies!!!

Lemon Cupcake

Mmm Cake

Friends in Cake

And they really do taste as yummy as they look. Even Noah agrees. Actually, scratch that endorsement as we found out tonight that the guy loves coriander. Blech.

Guess what?

I am eating lunch alone.

Before you get all “aww” on me, I have to confess something. I am THRILLED about this. So what if it is barely 11.15am! So what if I didn’t have breakfast this morning because I was too busy showering, making Noah’s breakfast, changing him, dressing him, taking him to the doctor and going to the grocery store?! It matters not, because I am eating lunch alone.

It is so hard to time meals around Noah. Even when I have my lunch ready to eat whilst he has his, I always feel guilty as he pauses mid chew to look at what I have and then he uses those big brown eyes and just gives me a look like “don’t you love me enough to let me have that for lunch too?”. Before long you realise that whatever you’d made for lunch, you’ve made the baby friendly version .. just in case. Although there is no such thing as just in case when it comes to Noah. Whatever you have .. he wants. Even if he’s just had tons to eat of his own food.

Just another thing he’s inherited from me: no matter what you’ve got to eat, the other person’s always looks and tastes better (except for when my Momma, Randy, Adam, Noah and I went to Boxwood.. where I just kept winning and winning).

So right now, I am enjoying listening to the echoes of crouton crunches bounce around inside my head as I sit in silence. No tv, no toy suggesting “Let’s sing a song” or saying “Hello Baby”. Just me, my salad and my Capri-Sun.

Life is good.

As a sickly Lee and a not himself Noah lay sleeping in our bed, I took the opportunity to arm myself with cleaning products and get to scrubbing the washroom. I sat cross legged in front of the toilet and as I scrubbed I thought to myself how great my life is. Not perfect, but great. And it’s really not that far from perfect: if I had my Dad back and airfare was cheaper so I could visit my family more often.. oh and we didn’t live in Milton Keynes, it could well be considered perfect.

Sure, I may cry a lot and still be completely overwhelmed with this motherhood thing. But I have the most amazing husband who loves me despite the fact that I am… well, me.. and I have a baby boy who is generally very healthy and happy and love love loves me to no end. It can get a bit exhausting and it is not easy when it comes to bedtime and he refuses for anyone else to dare settle him. But when he was only a few days and a few weeks old, I wished for the time where he’d be able to show me that he loved me back.. if in fact he did. So I can’t really complain now when he wails because he wants Mommy.

Who would have thought even five years ago that I would be living in England, in the same house as someone else, someone who actually decided they wanted to spend the rest of their life with me, and raising an amazing little boy who somehow grew to be the size of a toddler before making his appearance.

I’m happy scrubbing the toilet when I know I’ve got these two here with me. I’m happy doing the laundry and sweeping the floor. I’m happy to be steaming veg and making purees that will end up on me, the sofa, the floor, the highchair, the Bumbo and every piece of clothing that Noah owns. Sometimes I’ve just got to take time out and look at my reflection in the sparkling toilet to realise it.

… I actually had a “successful” day as a mommy and it is not even over.

Before today I was impressed if I managed to get a shower in while Lee was at work. Some mornings it is easier than others. And if Noah wants you around… he lets you and the rest of the neighbourhood know it. And although he still loves his Mommy, he is starting to play on his own a lot more… like the good old days!! The good old days being 8 weeks ago!!

Last night he slept in his crib until 6.20am. Okay, so there were a few hiccups when he realised that he wanted his soother and didn’t open his eyes, but all in all it was a good night.

Success number two was when he woke up from his nap happy, got ready for his weigh-in, didn’t cry when he was on the scale and didn’t cry for food. We got to the mall where we sat down and he ate, then we walked around a little before heading to Gymboree where there was a class for 0-6 month olds. He was a superstar. He went along with everything and never whined once!!

And when it was done and I placed him in the stroller, he promptly fell asleep. We came home and he went into the crib where he has been sleeping ever since.

What a superstar!!

And Noah is too!

It was so strange talking to other adults face-to-face. Strange but good. I have yet to understand why the membership fees are so high, but will work out if it is worth joining so we can make it a weekly thing!

Next stop Gambado!! Where Lee and I can play too.

Now if I get some housework done I’ll also be a successful housewife.

Baby steps.

One month ago today, my life changed forever. I lied in the hospital bed looking at the baby in the Plastic Basket next to me and was just overwhelmed with emotion. I was elated that the little he or she that was inside of me was now out and I could actually see, smell and touch him. I was so scared that I wouldn’t be everything that he deserved in a Mommy. I was exhausted after having gone through one long and not so straightforward labour. I was so happy that he arrived in time to meet his Zed and that my Momma was there to hold my hand through it all. I was heartbroken to know that my Dad would never get to hold this perfect little boy that he would have loved to bits.

To be honest, I am still all of those things … and more.

In the past month I have cried endless tears, smiled until it hurt, marvelled at the way Noah develops day after day, wondered if I will ever sleep through a night again, been frustrated at the things that haven’t gone to plan, fallen more in love than I ever thought possible and been so grateful that I’ve been able to experience this all with the greatest husband there is.

Noah and The Number One Daddy

We’ve had sleepless nights, painful feeds, heartache when he wouldn’t gain back his birth weight, frustrating minutes that felt like years when he cried and we didn’t know what was wrong, but I cannot complain. Even though I wake up every morning with a headache from not getting enough sleep, the bags under my eyes are growing like my belly was and my stomach looks like a tiger attacked me, I honestly cannot complain because Noah is perfect.

Perfect Noah

Sure he cries when he is scared, hungry, bored or just wants a cuddle. He also likes to poo when we are at our most exhausted or after we’ve just changed him. He’s even given us the finger.. quite a bit. However, from the moment he was born he looked at the world around him with the widest eyes and look of amazement. He loves to be cuddled and cuddle you back. He is so content, all things considered. I mean, I am his mother and that should be enough to send any baby over the edge. As if they don’t have enough things to worry about, what with leaving the warm dark comfort of the womb and entering into this twisted reality of life.

But he’s been a superstar at adjusting. He’s even done things ahead of “schedule”. Okay, I will admit, some have to be flukes, but we like to think it is because he is wise beyond his weeks. Before babies are supposed to be able to “see”, he was staring into your eyes or at pictures on the wall, and mostly out of windows (possibly planning an escape). He has been holding that head of his high since the start and is already smiling proper non-gas propelled smiles, turns from his back to side and side to back and today on his one monthday he actually flipped himself from his tummy to his back. Best of all, he makes us laugh, which is the most important trait to have in this house. Whether it be his uncoordinated flailing arms and legs, being completely amazed or stunned by the most simple of things, his ability to wake himself up scared with his own gaseous emissions, or just the million different facial expressions he has… he can always crack up his Mommy and Daddy.

Post Bath Noah

Sure I may sound like every other parent who thinks that they have the smartest and cutest kid in the world, but it is different with us… because I really do. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where he doesn’t look so beautiful, but we stay in our PJs those days and don’t show the photos to the world. There are also days where he wants to be held all of the time and cries even when you put him down so that you can have a pee! But the majority of the time he is perfect. He has already surpassed all of my expectations because he seems happy almost all of the time. Happier than I ever imagined and as long as he is happy, I am happy. There is no pressure here to grow up to become a doctor or football star. So long as he keeps smiling and letting us know that he knows we love him, even if I dress him in silly outfits or make him dance to silly music, or just that he has to suffer the rest of his life with me as a mother (which may cause so much embarrassment that he may actually believe the opposite to be true).

Easter Noah

This has been the longest month of my life and the shortest at the same time, but at the end of it I can honestly say that I am a happier, more contented person within myself and I have Noah Alexander James to thank for that. He has no idea at the moment, but I hope he grows up to realise that he has made my world an amazing place to live in. A couple of months ago I feared that I wouldn’t be able to say that, but he’s proved me wrong. I don’t like being wrong most of the time, but I’ll let him off of the hook.

Smiley Smiles

Happy One Month, Grumpy Pumps.
Mommy Loves You!

2 years ago today I was waking up in hopes of seeing the sun shining…and I did. I went to breakfast with my friends at the Calypso Cafe in the Marriott and cried in the elevator to random strangers on return to my room. Not that I wasn’t looking forward to getting married, but I found the stress extremely hard to manage without Lee being by my side.

Luckily, over the past two years we’ve barely been apart.

Not that I cry any less. But I am who I am.

The sun shine on our wedding day did not last. The winds came in and the rain came down. A lot of it. Our beach wedding come garden wedding turned into a In The Hotel Corridor Wedding. The reception was wet, but fun… lots of fun… until the power went.

Last year we again jetted off to an island for our 1st Anniversary – only this time there was no 8-9 hour flight because we went to Dublin. Once again, on the 20th of January we experienced wind and rain. Only this time, it was COLD rain. Very cold rain. So we spent our anniversary dinner in the pub next to the hotel and were asleep by 10pm. The old marrieds that we are.

We had talked about where we’d go for anniversary number two, but something…. rather someone… changed our plans for us. BoB came along and now I’m not allowed to fly anywhere and it has been recommended that we not travel far from home. So anniversary number two is being spent in exotic Milton Keynes where the weather report for today calls for Light Rain and winds at 23 miles per hour with gusts up to 35 miles per hour.

Okay, what have I ever done to piss mother nature off?

Anyway, as disappointed as I was initially to know that we’d not be going somewhere to celebrate, I’ve come round to sense and know that it doesn’t matter where I am, but so long as Lee’s still by my side I am the luckiest girl in the world. I’m not so sure about his luck though, which makes me all the luckier.

So no Guinness and oysters or salt fish and johnny cakes for us. Instead we spent the morning cleaning the kitchen – Lee on dishes and laundry and me turning our hob and oven into a thing of beauty. And this afternoon we’ll have a late lunch/early dinner at Brasserie Blanc to celebrate the clean stove and our anniversary.. and visit a photo booth to get our photos done for my new visa.

Don’t let anyone tell you any different …. WE are the King and Queen of Romance!

And next year, so long as there is not a BoBsibling on the way, we shall be celebrating somewhere that doesn’t boast of its concrete cows and roundabouts.

Happy 2nd Anniversary to US! Here’s hoping the 3rd year is filled with less drama and more sunshine!!!

Another year has come and gone. Like most there were ups and there were downs … often in the same day. But 2008 is shaping up to be the craziest year of my life yet (hard to imagine if you know me well). They say that how you spend your New Year is how you’ll spend the rest of the year. If “they” are right, then my year will be spent in a quiet house with Lee, watching crime shows, eating M&S party foods, doing DIY and playing Scrabble.

I’ll take it!

Though I am a bit of a realist and know that once BoB arrives, sleep will go out the window, sanity will be non-existant and I will still be wondering if our bedroom will ever fully escape the “urban” look. Whatever 2008 has in store for us, we’re ready. Maybe not ready, but we’re looking forward to it.

So Happy New Year to everyone and I hope that your Ups far outweigh your Downs and that 2008 brings lots of love and laughter when you least expect it.

Happy New Year to Me
Lee wishing me a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year BoB
Lee wishes BoB a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to You!
We wish YOU a Happy New Year!