Archive for April, 2010

Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod!!!!


2010
04.27

And breathe…

So Hubby has just popped home for lunch and told me that he’s spoken about my book to one of his business contacts whose wife works at a publishing house.

ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod

Breathing is becoming an issue!!!!

She has apparently suggested that I get my first chapter and a synopsis in shape and email them over to her, and she will be happy to advise me on it. Aaaaaaaarrrghhhhh!!!!!

This is happy screaming, honest. I’ve known that Hubby’s business contact’s wife is in publishing for ages, but I thought we were waiting until I actually had a substantial part of my book ready before mentioning it to her. Hubby was apparently not in on the waiting part of the plan.

So now I’m feeling pressure!

Pressure to finish my first chapter (how long does a chapter need to be??!! PANIC PANIC PANIC), which is currently a measly 700 words long. The rest is sort of vaguely in my head, as is the synopsis. So now I need to get my act together. We may not have this contact for ever, so I need to strike while the iron is hot (and other such cliches!).

Any idea how I can find an extra few hours in the day to do this?

Ups & Downs


2010
04.25

This week has been a mixed sort of week. The highs came first, followed by the crash (almost literally), and then thankfully some more highs. So I’m sorry for disappearing so soon after starting this blog, but my head has been in a strange and busy place for most of the week…

The early part of the week was spent visiting friends, both old and new. A few of my friends had babies around the same time I had Squishy, so we visited them and marvelled at how tiny Squishy is even compared to babies younger than her. Not that there’s anything wrong with her – she’s absolutely perfect – she’s just petite. At 11 weeks she is just growing out of her newborn clothes, which is a huge difference from Twink who was a chunk from birth and was moving into 3-6 month clothes by this age!

Next Squishy and I went on an adventure to London to meet up with some new friends (well, I’d met some of them before, but only once or twice). There were loads of us, with hoards of children, and we all had a massive picnic in Coram’s fields. Squishy slept in her sling almost the whole time, just waking up once for a quick feed and then deciding she wanted to watch the world go by on the train going home. When we got home, Hubby decided to take us to our favourite pub for dinner and all in all life was good.

Then Friday happened.


It started so well…breakfast in Starbucks (we don’t eat out all the time…it’s just we hadn’t had time to buy any actual food, so it was a choice between going out for breakfast or eating pasta…) with Hubby who then popped into the office briefly before coming home to pick us up for Twink’s Water Babies lesson. It’s a real treat to see so much of him on a weekday, so we were having a lovely, happy time.

We were about a minute away from the swimming pool when a warning light came on in the car…then the steering went reeeaaaalllly heavy. Trying to move a three tonne car with no power steering and the engine working against you is not easy. So we pulled over. Turns out important parts in our car had snapped. For no reason whatsoever. Just one of those ‘it’s not fair’ type things. Grrrr. We managed to limp to the swimming lesson, but had to rush (slowly…there are a lot of roundabouts where I live and even Hubby found turning the car a challenge!) to the garage in the hopes our car could be fixed.

This car is Hubby’s baby (and he’s worked really hard to get a nice car), so he was more than a little stressed by the whole thing. Especially as we were just gearing up to buy it new brake pads and tyres. Even more annoyingly, the garage is tiny and in the middle of an industrial estate, so we had to stick Twink in the pushchair, Squishy in the sling and walk for miles to keep them happy and entertained, while we tried not to worry about how big a dent it would make in our bank balance.

In the end it wasn’t that big a dent…but then we had the 3 hour long bedtime from hell, just when we needed some wind down time! Twink just doesn’t seem to want to go to sleep, although he sleeps fine once he’s asleep.

In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t that bad. Our car broke down. It got fixed. There are bigger problems to have. Ironically I was also supposed to be buying a car this weekend (we currently share), so we spent Saturday looking for one, but all the cars we can afford seem to be damaged…so we have to wait until we have more money…and I have to share a car for a few more months.

We made up for the stress today by going for a picnic at the safari park again, where Twink again slept through the animal drive through bit, but had huge fun in the soft play area, and was even persuaded to eat an ice cream this time!

Turning a top into a romper suit


2010
04.18

Look at this:

After I put this top on this morning, I decided I didn’t like it. It’s just not long enough & people really don’t need to see my tummy. So I thought it would make a perfect romper suit for Squishy…I just love babies in stripes!! So began the bodge fest. Step one was to get some idea of a pattern. Obviously this involved dressing Squishy into the top and taking some ludicrously cute (& blurry – I’m not a photographer and she is very wriggly) photos that really didn’t get me any closer to a romper suit design.

Step 2 was more sensible – find romper suit that fits her & sort of cut round it. I say sort of, because I wanted to keep the pockets and all the neatly finished edges (because that way I don’t have to hem anything!). So it may turn out to be a little roomy in places, it is definitely not symmetrical and the sleeves are definitely going to balloon out at the back…but hey…I bet she’ll love having all that space for her elbows! I also didn’t have any matching thread, but babies like contrast…right?!

Basically I cut out a romper suit shape (without legs) from the front and back, detached the sleeves (keeping them the same shape as on the original top as each end was edged already) and saved a strip of edged material to add to the top of the back piece as the back of my top was taller than Squishy and had to be trimmed. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but as I’ve mentioned before, this was a bodge job and I just cut a little bit here and a little bit there until I thought it might do what I wanted it to. Then I just sewed it all together, turning the sleeves upside down so the bow is at the shoulder instead of the wrist. Sewing the sleeves involved lots of mini pleats which explains the odd shape, but sleeves have never been my forte and they usually look alright once they’re on.

So far I’ve done everything except finish the legs. That can wait until my model is awake and can try on her new outfit so I can adjust the waist (if Madam prefers a more fitted design) and figure out where the crotch needs to be. Here is the outfit so far:

This is the first real item of clothing I have made for myself or my family in too long. Thank goodness for the inspiration provided by my adorable daughter! One day I aim to make a larger proportion of my children’s wardrobes (my sewing room is a work in progress), but for now, every single item is a cause for celebration! Hopefully tomorrow I can post a picture of Squishy in her new finished romper suit!

Edited: Here is the finished article:

Squish doesn’t stay still for very long, so I’m sorry about the blurred photograph. The romper suit is definitely a botched job, but it fits well enough, and the fabric is so lovely and soft. If I do it again I think I’ll either decide against randomly adding a gusset at the last minute or will actually make it properly. I.e. I’ll copy the shape of the gusset in the romper suit I copied rather than just cutting out an odd shaped bit of fabric, hemming it & sewing it on. It ended up ridiculously too small (to the point where it may as well not be there!) & is the cause of a rather large hole…but you can’t see that unless you’re actually looking at her crotch…and she’s always got her legs moving so fast you’d probably be struggling even then!

As with everything last minute, I had decided that I HAD to finish it that evening, so adding the poppers on was done in a rush and therefore had to be done several times. For the record, you can remove hammer in poppers with a pair of pliers and a helpful husband! I just kept on putting the stupid things in back to front…there’s some saying I could put here….something about haste and speed…but I won’t, because even though I know it’s true, the next time I get excited about a project for one of my children, I will once again be in a mad rush to Just Get It Finished!

Woop Woop!


2010
04.16

I need to tell you a secret…

This cheeky mummy has had a cheeky drink tonight. A fantabulous Cosmopolitan style cocktail in fact. Citron vodka and pomegranate…LUSH! Yes, I know I’m breastfeeding, but I’m allowed one, and here’s the best bit…I’ve got the evening off!! Twink is staying overnight at his Aunt’s and we’ll be picking Squishy up at about 11 as I didn’t have time to express enough milk for overnight. This is the first time Squishy has been offered a bottle, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping to be able to have a night off for my birthday (it’s my 30th…shhh…) next month, so hopefully she’ll accept milk from a bottle. Twink never did. He was (is) a stubborn little baby who would just go hungry and wait for me to return. It never seemed to bother him how long he had to wait, but us more grown up types were concerned about things like dehydration, so we had to wait months for our first night off with him.

I should probably explain that his Aunt is actually my best friend who I am incredibly lucky to have (you may remember she was at the birth and caught Squishy). Our family all live miles and miles away, so I’ve pretty much just hijacked hers. I can’t think of anyone else I would trust to look after my babies from so young. Without her we wouldn’t have had a break for nearly two years, and more importantly, Twink loves her and her family. I’m sure Squishy will too.

So tonight we have had a proper evening off. We went to our favourite pub/restaurant for a lovely meal, and discovered they’ve started having a ‘cocktail of the week’. This week is the Cosmopolitan with a twist. The Cosmopolitan holds a lot of memories for me. Hubby and I must have drunk gallons of them on our honeymoon. They may have just tasted better because the beach actually invaded the bar. We were sitting inside but with our bare feet in the sand (I didn’t wear shoes for the whole holiday – I love the feeling of sand between my toes!), and the sun was always sunny, and the heat was just the right side of hot…seriously, those were the best drinks I’ve ever had, and the best holiday (so far!). I could go on about the fabulousness of my honeymoon forever, but this is supposed to be a blog about the Cosmopolitan (well, vaguely, I am a little blurry after my one drink…I’m a lightweight these days, so sorry if I’m not making much sense!).

So, back to the point – do any of you remember Twister ice lollies? Green and white spirals with a red centre, on a stick. That is what my Cosmo tasted like tonight. A twister in a glass. Lush! As much as I adore my children, a few hours without needing to be responsible for anyone and a cheeky drink was exactly what I needed at the end of this oh so long week. Now what? Well, Hubby has chosen an action film (predictably!), so I’m off to enjoy some baby-free snuggles on the sofa….except he’s fallen asleep!


My name is Allie & I’m a procrastinator


2010
04.13

I like to think of myself as a writer.

If I’m honest I don’t feel that’s entirely accurate. Although technically I do write for a living, I really want to be writing fiction, not writing/proofing random articles and blogs about business stuff. The problem is I don’t have time. Or head space.

I’m a very particular writer…things have to be just right or inspiration doesn’t come. I like to be sitting at a desk, in a tidy room, writing on decent paper with a pen that writes smoothly. Some music helps, as does space to pace (I think best on the move, so need to walk to get the ideas flowing). No one nearby to hear me talking to myself would be best, but Hubby already knows I’m nuts, so it probably wouldn’t worry him.

OK, so I do know that what all that amounts to is a giant pile of procrastination…but I have a head full of baby and toddler at the moment, and switching over to the world of my novel (& there is a novel…although most of it is still stuck behind a traffic jam in my head) is not easy.

Not sure how to give myself a mental slap and get on with writing some (any?!) fiction, but this blog post is the first step. I plan to use it to guilt me into finishing the first chapter some time this year (maybe that’s aiming low, maybe it’s just realistic!).

So, if I’m reading this back later on, here’s a little message for myself…

WRITE SOMETHING

***

Disclaimer: just because I’ve admitted I write for a living & have aspirations of writing fiction, don’t start holding it against me and expecting this blog to be well written/articulate/coherent…chances are it won’t be ;-)

Various Animal Attacks


2010
04.12

We had a FANTASTIC weekend here in Cheeky Mummy Land!

Saturday was a lovely sunny, hot (yes, I did say hot – I have the tan lines to prove it!) day and we randomly decided to go to a Safari Park. Twink oddly decided he would fall asleep on the way there leading to a very comical scene where Hubby and I kept trying to poke Twink awake so he could see the animals in the wild animal section. After a few shouts of ‘Twink’, and repeated prods, he opened his eyes enough to look out the window and saw a tiger. He then rolled his eyes and went back to sleep…so Hubby and I drove round oohing and aahing at the animals while the children slept in the back…not sure that’s quite how it’s meant to be!

Once we had parked up & tied both children on (Squishy in the Moby on me, & Twink in our brand new Beco on Hubby) our first stop was for an ice cream. Except Twink decided he didn’t want an ice cream…yes…really! I can only assume he was too tired having only just woken up as usually he would fight me for the ice cream. So, sadly, I had to eat his as well as mine…except half way through he took offence to that and insisted on holding his half eaten ice cream cone while we walked round the park. Didn’t bother me, but I don’t think Hubby liked having ice cream randomly dripping down him as Twink waved it around!

Since Twink missed the safari drive through on the way in, we decided to drive round it again on the way out. Now, we have a nice car…old, but top of the range…we like cars! The car is Hubby’s extra baby. So you can imagine how thrilled he was when one of the Patas monkeys leaped onto the roof! Hubby did try to foil it by slamming his foot on the accelerator, but that just caused the monkey to hammer at the roof in anger :-P I could see Hubby’s heart sinking, although Twink loved it when the monkey then somehow sat on the window trim next to Hubby so he could peer in through the window and screech at us. I tried to take a photo for you, but the monkey got bored of posing and ran off.

I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know the car suffered no injuries as a result of the monkey attack.

…but we were almost rammed by a rhino!

It was by the side of the road calmly eating grass. We stopped next to it to marvel at its size and attempt to interest Twink (he really was non-plussed by the wild animals just outside the car…think he thought it was just like seeing them on tv…). Then the rhino decided to cross the road. Being the size of a small tank, it didn’t stop to check both ways, or even to make sure there wasn’t a car right in front of it. It just headed towards the road…and us. Again, Hubby saved the day by putting his foot down sharpish! I think my heart actually stopped!

***

As today is Monday, I thought I’d set myself a little challenge for the week. If you’ve read the ‘Who Am I?’ page, you’ll know I like to get a bit crafty now and then, but I haven’t managed to do anything since Squishy was born. She is a bit of a velcro baby, and doesn’t currently settle for anyone who isn’t me :( . So my challenge for this week is to do something crafty. Anything really, although high up on my to do list is finish Twink’s crayon bag that I gave him at Christmas *blush* and I have a couple of months to sort out Hubby’s birthday present, which I’m hoping will be a lovingly handmade shirt. I may also do some freezer paper stencilling, or some crocheting. Basically, I have lots of options for the craft itself, it’s finding the time and the free hands that will be the challenge! I’ll leave you with a picture of the crayon bags I made for Twink’s cousins…leaving my poor son’s bag for last…

Crayon bags I made earlier

Sleeeeeeeeep


2010
04.09

When you become a parent, suddenly sleep gains sooooo much more importance, and even complete strangers will ask you how much you’re getting. Ironic really, when you consider you’re probably getting less than you ever have before (& if you have a 9 week old baby and are still getting lots of sleep, I don’t want to know!). The process actually starts before you even have your baby – sleeping is practically impossible when you’re heavily pregnant. Especially if, like me, you have SPD…it wasn’t fun.

My sleep history has never been good. I’ve been an intermittent insomniac ever since I can remember, trying every natural remedy under the sun (lettuce leaves eaten before bed was the oddest…apparently lettuce contains opiates! Didn’t work though, and as much as I like lettuce, going to sleep with that taste in your mouth is not easy!). I’m sort of used to it now and can function on surprisingly little sleep.

What I’ve learnt though is that being woken up by small people is a different kind of tiredness to being kept awake by insomnia. It drains so much more out of you. The sleepy breastfeeding hormones help, but then Twink decides to wake up at dawn after a night full of feeding Squishy, (and after a late bedtime for me as I’m incapable of going to sleep before 11!) and I’m feeling a little dead. I don’t even get up to Twink (husband does, bless him), but it still disrupts what little sleep I was getting (Squishy likes lie ins so has usually settled in for a nice long sleep just before Twink wakes up). Today I’ve been awake since 5am after going to bed about midnight. Yawn.

So when random strangers ask how she’s sleeping after both getting her name wrong and asking if she’s good (she’s my BABY – she’s blimming fantastic okay?!) I have a tendency to get a little sarcastic.

The answer, in case you’re interested, is that she sleeps fine, like a baby in fact (better than Twink did at this age), but generally I’m lying awake next to her making mental lists, surfing the Internet or…you know…enjoying cosy cuddles with a sleeping newborn.

***

This is my first post written entirely on the WordPress app on my iPhone, which means I can’t do as much to it as I usually would, & for some reason the photos are stuck at the end. I will edit that when I can get to my laptop, but in the meantime, one photo is a sleeping Twink resting his head on my bump, & the other is Squishy asleep on my shoulder…lovely sleeping babies :D

Me & My Veg Patch


2010
04.08

With all the lovely sunshine we’ve had today, me & the friend who visited (bang on time, making me feel doubly bad for all the things I was thinking yesterday when I thought she was late!) today, spent the afternoon in the garden so the boys could race around without destroying my house. It gave me the opportunity to have a look at the state of our garden properly.

We’ve (well, my husband & his step dad have…I wouldn’t want to give you the impression that I actually garden myself…I prefer to take a supervisory role!) been working on it a lot over the last few weeks, getting rid of a skip full of unwanted plants and concrete slabs. The result so far is that we now have a good sized lawn again. The next stage is buying a swing/slide/some kind of garden toy for Twink, some chickens for me (my Granny kept chickens on her croft & there’s nothing like the taste of really fresh eggs) and digging out the vegetable patch before planting some vegetables.

We have decided to postpone the last bit as a little experiment. Last year we planted a nice selection of vegetables. What we harvested was one inch-long carrot and a potato the size of a two pence piece.

Not exactly what we’d hoped for!

However, despite an over thorough weeding sesh late last year resulting in the removal of all visible plants, something is growing! Something is growing in straight lines, in between all the weeds.

Brave little plants.

The thing is, we have no idea what they are! We can’t remember what we planted where, and as you may have already guessed, we are NOT gardeners, so definitely can’t identify plants by sight. At some point I imagine we will have to decide they are ready to pull up and find out what they are, but as that will probably be when they start looking a bit dead, they may not be edible…I’ll aim for homegrown veg next year instead!

It’s a bit dark now to take a photo of The Patch, so I might update this post tomorrow, if I feel up to admitting that the weeds are bigger than the mystery vegetables. Hey. Maybe they’re not weeds. I honestly wouldn’t know.

Veg Patch

***

In other news, I visited a friend this morning and we exchanged carrier bags full of books! So I now have a large stash of books to add to my already huge pile of books I need to read. Luckily I have a small girl whose only wish in life is that I spend my days sitting on the sofa with her attached to me (& a not so small boy who goes back to nursery on Monday for 3 mornings a week) giving me lots of reading opportunities…if I can tear myself away from my new obsession with Twitter ;-)

Squishy’s Arrival & a bit of (unrelated) Stupidity


2010
04.07

I had every intention of just telling the story of Squishy’s arrival, but I feel I need to own up to being monumentally stupid at times…if anyone asks, I’m blaming baby brain, okay?!

Last night I sent a text message to a friend, asking when she wanted to meet up. This morning she replied saying we’d already made plans for tomorrow afternoon. Doh! That’s not it though…that’s just a little added daftness I’m throwing in for free.

Fast forward to 2pm this afternoon and I’m waiting for her to arrive.

2.30pm – I’m getting annoyed.

3pm – I’m really upset now. I decide to send her a text asking where the hell she is. But before I send the message I read the old message…& notice the crucial word; ‘tomorrow’.

3.05pm – I’m trying to sink into the sofa in shame. How I managed to read it & assume she meant today, I don’t know, but I felt ridiculously stupid.

So this evening I decided to bake a cake to cheer myself up.

Fail!

Yep, that’s a crater in the middle of my cake! I am usually quite good at baking, honestly, but apparently not today! The obvious next step was to hack it to bits & cover it in icing.

It’s a teddy bear…an alien teddy bear…a lilac alien teddy bear!

Meh, whatever it is it tasted pretty good & led to the line; ‘you don’t need to cut it, you can just pull the ears off’, which made me laugh! The end result of the cake was that I’m cheered up, so it did its job!

I haven’t left much time to write about Squishy’s arrival into the world, so I’ll keep it short and to the point (like the birth actually!):

  • One hour 50 minutes from start to baby.
  • One hour 20 minutes from my waters breaking.
  • About 25 minutes in established labour.
  • She surprised us all by being breech.
  • She arrived as the midwife walked through the front door – so technically ‘born before arrival’.
  • My bestest friend ever caught her (having arrived less than 5 minutes earlier) on her own daughter’s birthday, & is named on my notes as delivering her.
  • My best friend told us we’d had a boy (but realised her mistake a couple of minutes later!).
  • The birth pool went back unused as we didn’t have time to fill it.
  • The third stage took an annoying hour & a half – much harder work than just having the baby!.

And today is her 2 month birthday!

First Post & an Announcement Already!


2010
04.06

So…the crucial first post!

This is going to be a post in two parts because this blog has been 2 years in the making…yep 2 years ago we bought the url & I’ve been waiting for my husband to get it all set up ever since then.

He’s been very busy.

VERY busy!

At the beginning of the year he insisted he would get it done within a few weeks, so I sat down and excitedly wrote the about me page and this first post…which is now, obviously, ridiculously out of date! But I’m going to let it stand as the first post, and bring things up to date with my second post. I’ve had to update the Who Am I? page already as otherwise I’d just be outright lying to you, & I don’t want to do that!

So here’s the original post:

I’m going to start by making an announcement…I’m pregnant! This won’t exactly come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or has seen me in the last few months – I’m huge. My loving husband affectionately refers to me as a beached whale…my official due date is in about a week, but I’m definitely at the ready to pop stage. I even think we’re prepared for the birth and the prospect of a little newborn baby.

The dining table has been moved to the back of the dining room and has been replaced by the birth pool. The table itself has been piled with towels, snacks and other bits & bobs for the birth as well as an outfit and nappy for the baby. My house is as tidy as it ever gets and we’ve even managed to find a couple of drawers for the baby’s clothes and nappies. So now we just need the baby to arrive to complete the picture…preferably before it all gets messed up again!

Apart from growing fatter, I’ve had a busy few months making Christmas presents for everyone followed by new baby gifts for the first babies of 2010. I’ve also managed to make a taggie blanket and a couple of oddly shaped hats (not on purpose!) for my own new baby. I’ve now run out of steam…I know I should probably be making the most of these last few days as who knows how much time I’ll have to make anything once the bump makes its appearance, but I’m already exhausted and finding it impossible to sleep, so I can’t be bothered!

……

Obviously I was so exhausted that I gave up at that point as that’s all I wrote. As that was written at the end of January, & it’s now April, I’m sure you can guess that I’ve had the baby!

Here she is at about 12 hours old:

I’ll tell you a bit more about her dramatic arrival in my next post…


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