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Friday, 23 December 2005

dix


You can climb up the stairs now, but you're not entirely sure how to come back down again without doing it head first.
Every day you get a little bit more confident and don't hold on as tightly or as long when you walk around the room.
Lumpy chunky food goes down without a hitch.
Even mummy gets a bye-bye wave now.
You babble and sing and I can see the words starting to form in your little fuzzy head.
Two chubby arms reach up for me when I bend down to pick you up.
You understand "no" but you don't always listen to it.
You love bagels.
You've seen and felt snow.

These are all the things you have accomplished and experienced in the past couple of weeks. This is why life with you is never dull and never ceases to amaze me. Happy ten months birthday, Jack-Jack. I love you with all my heart.

Thursday, 22 December 2005

postcards from home


What mummies look like when they have time to take a shower and slap on some makeup.



"So...we meet at last, Mr. Bond."

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

meanwhile, back in the uk...


We leave our dog for 10 days, and he sprouts tusks.



(Amusing photo courtesy of my in-laws.)

Saturday, 17 December 2005

and back again


After a rather lengthy drive through rush hour traffic, snow, and roadworks, we arrived in Montreal at the fabulous Hotel Sofitel in Montreal. Big, bright, shiny, and new, the Sofitel is a stunning bit of indulgence. The friendliest hotel staff we've encountered, incredibly lovely rooms, and excellent food - we couldn't fault it one bit. We had a mini suite, allowing us to put Jack in a separate area of our room so that all of us could get some undisturbed sleep. Or at least that was the plan before Jack decided that waking up through the night was a lot more fun than sleeping...but I digress.



Our first evening, we had a very yummy meal at Baton Rouge with my radiant newlywed friend Susan and her hubby Patrick.

On Thursday, we met Gordon and Jacqui for lunch, two of my dear friends from my Discreet days. At lunch, Jack got plenty of cuddles from an adoring Jacqui, and happily accepted the attention.



We had an amazing meal at the hotel that night, while Jack napped in his stroller next to us. I had lobster and they offered us three different kinds of desserts to sample. THREE. At the same time! Oh yes.

Yesterday morning, Montreal got a record snowfall of 41cm. I must apologise because I think this is my fault - I kept telling people that I missed snow, and obviously someone was listening. Oopsie. We trudged through the big fluffy flakes and unplowed sidewalks to meet Dina and Maggie, and a plethora of assorted kiddies. Although I adored all of the kids (Maggie's boys are absolute sweethearts and Dina's boy Ben is gorgeous), I must admit that a little 7 week old girl called Naomi stole my heart. She's Dina's latest production, and such a little cutie pie.



Best snow day ever - I could have spent the whole day chatting and laughing with these two.



Jack enjoyed his first metro ride, bundled up in his snowsuit.



And this poster caught my eye. Is it just me, or is that beaver getting a bit too friendly with Caillou?



For lunch, we met up with one of my oldest Montreal friends (in years of friendship not actual age, mind you) Eric. Seeing him is always like picking right up where we last left off, which is truly an amazing thing. That night, we met my hilarious and wonderful friend Paul for a delicious Indian meal at Ghandi in Old Montreal. Bellies full, souls warmed by the company of great friends over the past few days, we returned for our final night in our down-filled hotel bed. Luckily, the weather was fine today and our drive home uneventful.

I cannot thank everyone enough for all the gifts for Jack (and some for us, too!) and the amazing warmth you all possess...even on the chilliest and snowiest of days. You've made this homesick girl so much happier.

Last but certainly not least, congratulations and way to keep a secret goes to Jen and Mark on the arrival of Aidan Becket Christopher. Apparently she was too busy giving birth to respond to my email and organise a visit. Imagine!

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

on the road again


Really must stop this going to bed at 10 and waking at 6 nonsense - I wasn't designed for early mornings. Anyhoo, we're off to beeyootiful Montreal in a couple of hours! We are very much looking forward to seeing several of my homies and finding out if I can remember how to stumble my way through the French language. If all else fails, I will use the skills the British have taught me: when speaking to people who don't understand English, speak it very slowly and extremely loudly (Optionally, add an "ay" sound to the end of several words. For example: "WHERE-AY ARE THE TOILETS-AY?")

Not sure if we will be able to blog from east of the border, but I'm sure we will return with several amusing photos and funny accents. Mangetout, Rodney.

Monday, 12 December 2005

silly o'clock


What do you do when it's 5 in the morning and you're awake due to jet lag? Why, you catch up on your blog reading, of course! Jen the ex-neighbour lady tagged me for this one, and I pass this along to anyone else who may wish to participate. Type "[your name] needs" in to Google and let the fun commence.

Lisa needs a kick in the arse.
Lisa needs a bigger grin and lots more warmth from an overly conscientious Julia Roberts.
Lisa Needs Bearcat Love.
Lisa needs to ditch her bangs.
Lisa needs more feed for her cattle.
Lisa needs to save up alot of money for gas and tickets.
Lisa needs time away to come to terms with the severity of her actions and the extent to which she damaged the trust of the community.
LISA needs a purely gravitational orbit.
Lisa needs various screening tests and immunizations.
...and my personal favourite...
Lisa needs to make her name singing and dancing like a woman that knows she wants
a penis and she knows how to use it.

This post has been brought to you by Eastern Standard Time, British Airways, and the twelve cups of tea I had yesterday. I thank you.

Sunday, 11 December 2005

back in the motherland


My top travel tip to all of you is this: do not get food poisoning the day before you are due to go on a long haul flight. It's really not an ideal start to the festive season, although it's an efficient way of losing 2 1/2 pounds in 24 hours. I spent all day Friday between bed and the bathroom, feeling like death and causing great concern amongst my loved ones. My in-laws saved the day by driving all the way up from Kent to pick up Jasper and look after Jack while I slept and Paul went into the office. Thankfully by Saturday morning, I felt almost human again.

The flight was great (hot food and no turbulence - I don't ask for much these days) and Jack was good as gold throughout. As we came in to land, we saw that Toronto was blanketed in snow - hurrah! We came home, we ate Swiss Chalet, we went to bed. This morning we woke up at an almost decent hour, did some grocery shopping for Jack, and now the menfolk are having a snooze. The grandparents are lavishing Jack with attention and I haven't had to do much of anything since we got here.

It's great to be home.

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

go - be free!


This afternoon, I met up with the girls and babes at Cheeky Monkey's play barn in Fulbourn. I'm telling you, it's the key to any mother's sanity - you can unleash your kid in a totally safe environment, while you sit and chat amongst soft toys and plastic balls. A total stressbuster! Under 1's get in for free (despite the gasp from the lady at the till who said "I thought by the size of him that he was well over a year old!") and mums can enjoy decently priced sandwiches and cakes.

Look - it's a baby hot tub!



Proof that men really do love themselves:



It was a great couple of hours and here's hoping Jack sleeps well tonight as a result.

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

homeward bound


We're flying to Toronto on Saturday (please don't break in to our house and steal things while we're gone, thanks) for a much-anticipated holiday. I haven't been home in three years and I've missed it and my friends dearly. We are both very much looking forward to having a break, and plan on filling our time spending money in shopping malls and eating. I think my first holiday activity will involve handing Jack to my parents and saying, "Here's your grandson. I'm going to sleep for six days now. Enjoy!"

I will likely post again from home because they have electricity in Canada now. How things have changed since my departure!

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.

Thursday, 1 December 2005

ahem...


My apologies, I've been absolutely poo at updating my blogs lately. A combination of busy days and Jack's decrease in napping (oh joy) means far more condensed computer time. I will answer those emails soon, I promise.

Jack's nighttime sleeping has been erratic, so just as we relax a little when we get a night or two of uninterrupted sleep, he has a really bad night just to keep us on our toes. We have tried letting him cry for a short amount of time - which, I hasten to add, is not following the "cry it out" method of parenting - with limited success. He either wakes up grumpy because no one's playing with him, or he's cheerfully wide awake and raring to go - at 4 in the morning. Maybe it's teeth and maybe he's bored, or maybe he's excited about Christmas. All I know is I'm dreading the flight home and subsequent jet lag. For all of us.

To be honest, I'm actually very excited about going home. I haven't been back in three years and I'm really missing my friends and family. I can't wait to introduce Jack to everyone and simply enjoy being at home...and being able to put my feet up for a little while. Bliss.

I'm starting to negotiate my return to work, which is both exciting and daunting at the same time. I love my job and enjoy the people I work with, but the thought of not being with Jack all day long is just weird. If I had my way, we'd have a nursery at work and I'd be able to pop by and see Jack whenever I wanted to. Maybe we can use a meeting room and permanently book it in Outlook. Ideally, I do not want to work full time but I fear that this won't be an option. I'm hoping they will be flexible when considering my request, because the last thing I want is to return on a sour note. Fingers crossed.

Right, Jack's ten minute nap has just finished so I must dash. Pictures and proper entries coming soon. Maybe when we're in Toronto and I've got three extra pairs of hands to help!

the world needs more free samples


The Good Food Show was excellent and there were more celebrity chefs there than you could shake a whisk at. See if you can name the celeb chefs! (warning: UK/Ready Steady Cook bias)



Oooh! Aaaah! The Jamie Oliver presentation was very entertaining, and after his grand entrance in the infamous VW van, he was joined onstage by the thoroughly nutty Gennario Contaldo.





We ate lots of freebies, bought some bacon from Jimmy (Oliver's mate and star of the "Jimmy's Farm" series) and a 2kg loaf of pumpernickel bread (what can I say, it's hard to find in this country and I got a bit overexcited). We also met a Canadian guy from Richmond Hill (just north of Turonna) who was peddling a rather yummy strawberry flavoured liqueur.

We saw a cow.



Jack enjoyed the view from his daddy's head as we waited for Rick Stein's arrival.



All in all, it was good fun and a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. *urp*

pleasantly surprised


Yesterday, my husband sent me a beautiful and huge bouquet of flowers. We hadn't had a huge argument, he wasn't apologising for something stupid he did, it isn't my birthday, our anniversary, or Valentine's Day. He sent them just 'cos.

This is how I make it through my life without going postal. Thank you, my wonderful husband. I still cannot stop smiling.

Thursday, 24 November 2005

what a difference a year makes


I turned to Paul last night and suddenly spouted "Jack will be a year old in three months!" One year old! That's just mad. We were trying to think about what life was like for us one year ago, and Paul thinks it involved a lot of sitting on the sofa with a big belly - for both of us. (har har) I looked up my blog entry from exactly one year ago, and this is what I wrote:
Okay, I know that I've been moaning/whining a lot lately about pregnancy. To be totally honest, I do love being pregnant. I mean, how cool is it to feel a little baby wriggling around inside of you, knowing that you provide its lifeline? I've been fascinated by my growing belly, and not a day goes by that I don't notice something new (good or bad). I suppose some find the idea of having no control over your own body to be rather terrifying, I find it incredibly interesting. It's rather exciting to not know what'll happen next. Each little milestone is a great event; I cannot wait for the next one.

I do admit that I am very eager for the baby to be born. I am so curious to see what he will look like and more importantly, I cannot wait to hold him in my own two hands. I am an extremely tactile person (as my poor overcuddled dog will attest to), and rubbing my belly isn't really comparable to the kind of contact we will have in a few months.

Heather very kindly gave us two huge bagfuls of clothes, little shoes, dummies, a baby bath, and a toy for the car seat/buggy. I couldn't suppress the involuntary "awwwwwwww" noise that came out of me as I folded up each item and put it in the cupboard. It's hard to believe that these little tiny clothes will contain a real baby in three months. At the moment, my perception of him is the blurry skeletal figure we've seen in scans, that wriggles around inside of me and gives me a good kick every now and then. How I wish we could take another peek inside with a surgical camera or something similar - if only to figure out what on earth he's doing when it feels like there's an earthquake going on in there.

Amazing, isn't it? I love that I have such a detailed record of my pregnancy, because in such a short span of time, there are many things that I have totally forgotten about. I'm also glad that I've kept up this blog since Jack's arrival so that when we're facing the prospect of #2*, I can remind myself of the joys/stress/hilarity/wonder of life with a baby.

Happy 9 months (a bit late, sorry!) Jack-Jack. The first 9 months of your life sped by a zillion times faster than 9 months of pregnancy! But like I said a year ago, "Each little milestone is a great event; I cannot wait for the next one."

*(Not quite yet, thank you! I'm old and need time to recover from the first one.)

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

much worse than his bark


The weekend of the wedding, we left Jasper in the very capable hands of our lovely neighbours, who look after their son's black Labrador during the week and treat Jasper like their own. When we returned, our neighbour apologised profusely and showed us the huge, ugly, open gash in Jasper's ear he received from another dog that morning. Jasper had been attacked by a poodle (don't laugh - standard poodles are huge and were originally bred for being guard dogs), totally unprovoked. The idiot woman who owns the poodle didn't seem too bothered about it, claiming "that's what dogs do". Apparently she has owned "hundreds" of dogs, so obviously she knows what she's talking about. She even had the gall to try to make out that Jasper had a go at her dog first, which is laughable considering the fact that he's so docile that even Jack makes him run away at times. At the time of the attack, she didn't even offer to leave us her details so we could get in touch; it was just luck that our neighbour knew who she was and where she lived as most of the dog walkers around here know each other. She gave us the money to cover the excess on our pet insurance for Jasper's treatment and Paul reported the incident to the dog warden. Hopefully there won't be another incident but if there is, at least there's a record of this one.

What really pisses me off is the fact that she is taking no responsibility for her dog's behaviour. Will it take another attack, perhaps on a child, to get her attention? "Bad" dogs are the result of poor or no training, and the treatment they receive from their owners. It's not the dog's fault that he's owned by an idiot, but if he were to bite a human, he could be put to sleep. What should happen after an incident like this is the idiot woman should be forced to take herself and her dog to obedience school, and she should be fined to deter her from lazy dog ownership in the future.

Thankfully, Jasper's five stitches came out today and he's healing up nicely. Very luckily, he doesn't seem to be nervous around other dogs and hasn't been acting differently from his usual big soppy fuzzy puppy self. Think I'll go over there and bite her myself, the cow.

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

will trade food for sleep


When people start waxing nostalgic about the days when their kids were little babies, I tell them to take Jack for the night and enjoy the company of a cute but incredibly awake little boy to see if this keeps the nostalgia at bay. Perhaps it was because we felt smug that we had a baby who slept through the night fairly early on. Maybe it was all those times we told people that we had the happiest baby on earth. Whatever the reason, we are now paying for it by having to endure sleepless nights. Jack's been waking up at around 4 in the morning (sometimes having slept for a few hours beforehand, but sometimes he'll wake up every hour on the hour since we put him to bed), bright-eyed and standing up in his cot with a huge smile on his face. No amount of rocking, soothing, ignoring, feeding, cuddling, pleading, or bribing can get him back to sleep. It's 4am and it's time to par-tay! We've taken turns spending the wee hours in his room, either getting up every few minutes when he starts crying again or holding him until he finally gets bored and falls asleep. We are experts at tag team baby wrangling.

We think it may be from teething, but I'm horrified to think that this will go on for another year and a half. I'm pretty sure that my sanity is already nearing its sell by date, let alone 18 months from now. The funny thing is, I don't feel as dreadful as I think I should from the lack of sleep. In fact, I can still manage to stay awake during an hour long pilates class at 10am, which is no small feat. Hopefully this is just a phase and we'll get a full night's sleep again soon. I think I now know why babies are designed to look so cute - it's very difficult to be upset at a little being with a face like this, even at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Saturday, 19 November 2005

we're baaaaack


Apologies for the lack of updates while we waited for BT to hire some trained seals to fix our phone line. They managed to sort out the problem faster than their usual engineers, even with the lack of opposable thumbs. Plus, they're a lot cuter.

Jack seems to master a new skill every few days and at this rate, he'll be writing a novel by Christmas. He is crawling properly now (as opposed to commando crawling) and has quickly learned the art of standing. This means that all the things I thought were beyond his reach are now well within his reach, and generally ends up in his mouth. He's constantly exploring, his eyes darting around the room for interesting objects followed by a surprisingly speedy crawl towards said object. If you place five toys and a plastic bag in front of him, he will always go for the plastic bag. Who needs toys when you've got television remotes, mobile phones, interesting buttons on the surround sound system, and a big furry dog to chase? Last weekend, he waved "bye bye" for the first time. Oddly, he won't wave if you flap your arms frantically at him and say hello; he'll only respond if you say bye bye. Even more oddly, he won't wave at me at all. He'll get a look that says, "How cute, she's pretending that she's leaving me and wants me to say goodbye. Fat chance lady, I know that you ain't going anywhere without me."

Jack had his 8 month check and the doctor said everything is as it should be. He now weighs 20 lbs, which probably explains the chronic shoulder ache that plagues me. The GP tested his eye/hand co-ordination by placing a few tiny sugared sprinkles (hundreds and thousands, as they're called here) on a desk in front of Jack to check if he could see them and what he would do with them. Jack leaned in for a close look and very carefully touched each one with a pointed index finger, which apparently was what he was supposed to do. This seems to be his preferred way of investigating most objects, with one pointed finger and a determined stare.

He's fed himself a complete meal twice, although admittedly, it was a sandwich both times rather than a self-feed using cutlery. Still, it's quite nice to let him get on with his lunch while I eat mine, which I think makes it feel more like a proper family meal. On the downside, he's just discovered that if he holds his food out, a large black dog will come running and gladly accept the offered food item. Jack thinks this is hilarious, Jasper is now his best friend at meal times, and I've now got to keep an eye on where Jack's food is actually disappearing to.

And finally, what on earth is going on with my son's hair?

Friday, 18 November 2005

and there was much rejoicing


After nearly two weeks without an internet connection (not including the three hours last Friday when I was able to receive email), BT finally managed to repair our line. This is a miracle considering the fact that when Paul rang them earlier this week to check the progress of our case, they claimed it had been closed and everything had been repaired, and the dig had been cancelled. I'm sure we'll look back on this one day and laugh.

Right so, time to catch up on all the exciting events of Lisa's life since our broadband went walkies. First, we went to a lovely wedding up near Nantwich where Paul played the role of the best man. And smashing job he did, too.

Here is the lovely couple, Russ and Debs:



Here's Jack, enjoying the fine taste of confetti:



And here's Paul and I, scrubbed up and wearing clothes that aren't covered in dog hair and/or baby food:



For those of you interested in this sort of thing, click here to see a more detailed picture of my "I'm Not a Dumpy Mum, Honest" outfit.

This morning, Paul and a few of our workmates ran a fun run for Children in Need. It was damn cold.



Jack cheered his daddy on...



...and I looked at firemen.



I would like to take this opportunity to thank my husband for putting an update on this site, and for the enchanting hold music. It was "Girl From Ipanema", and now you'll have it stuck in your head all night long. Baby blog update coming tomorrowish. Thank you and goodnight!

Monday, 14 November 2005

normal service will resume soon...



Hi this is Paul. Just thought I'd send a quick post to alleviate the worries of all you blog from a broad fans out there. You can put all thoughts of alien abduction out of your heads. Lisa is fine, its simply a comms fault. Our phone line at home gives us slightly better quality than 2 tin cans and a piece of string at the moment. It also means that the broadband connection has been knocked out. Have no fear BT are working on the problem but it does look like the solution involves digging half the street up. So until normal service can be resumed please enjoy this piece of music. Dee Daa Daa Da Dar Dee Dee DaDa.........

Sunday, 6 November 2005

aquafamily


Here we are, in all our underwater glory!







With some rubber caps, noseplugs, and sequined swimsuits, we'd make a great synchronised swimming team.

Thursday, 3 November 2005

nooz


Just a bit of an update for those of you who are curious. Sunday's swimming photo shoot was fantastic - once we found the pool. I'm telling you, people are rubbish at giving road directions, and that includes YOU, Mr. AA web site! After a bit of a stressful wander around Ipswich, we got into our swimsuits and into the pool. It was very cool; Zena from Little Urchins wore a diving mask and had an amazing underwater digital camera, allowing us to see some of the shots right away. She got images of Jack swimming on his own (both in his swim trunks and au natural), me holding Jack, and Paul swimming with Jack. It was a lot of fun and Jack didn't cry once, even though he'd been underwater around 8 times in 30 minutes. The pictures should be online on Saturday, so I'll post a link here over the weekend. I cannot wait to see them!

Jack was not a happy bunny this week, as he was feeling pretty miserable from some sort of nasty virus. Unfortunately, Paul was also unwell this week and spent Tuesday at home on the sofa. Even more unfortunately, that was the day that Jack got violently ill on Paul...twice. I managed to get a few sips of water into Jack that night and he slept most of the night. Yesterday, Jack happily ate his breakfast porridge and had two small bottles of milk before lunch. I left him playing on his blanket for a minute while I emptied the washing machine, and I returned to find a 50p-sized spot of blood on the blanket. I scooped him up and dialled the doctor's office with shaking hands, my heart dropping to the floor when the receptioncow told me that I couldn't get in to see a doctor until 5pm. She spoke to the doctor while I was on hold and managed to get us in at 3. I anxiously tracked Paul down at work (he was in an all-day meeting and I dreaded that he would be hard to contact), who came home when I told him what happened. I took Jack upstairs and held him, in floods of tears, thinking that if anything bad happened to him my heart would break into a million pieces and I would never stop crying. The doctor checked Jack out and said that spitting up blood wasn't that unusual, although it was understandably worrying for us parents. He thinks it was due to Jack's illness the night before, and just to keep an eye on him over the next little while. Jack had all his milk yesterday, ate a big bowl of mummy's homemade chicken and rice soup, and slept like a...erm...baby. This morning he greeted us with a big smile and is back to crawling all over the place and trying to grab things that he shouldn't.

Thank goodness.

Monday, 31 October 2005

trick or treat




This has a look that says "I will remember this moment forever, and will mention it to my therapist as a pivotal point in my traumatic childhood." This costume is a gift from my mom, and keeping in the spirit of Halloween, I stuck it on him and took pictures. Forgive your mad old mother, Jack.

hurray for pumpkins!


Congratulations and WOOOOHOOOOO to Steve and Dina on the birth of their beautiful little pumpkin, Naomi. We are so thrilled for you and cannot wait to meet Naomi and her big brother in December.

Wheeeeeeee I've got an excuse to go out and buy newborn girl things now!

Saturday, 29 October 2005

i'm out of control


Paul's gone oop north overnight to attend a stag day/night, leaving me in the hands of Chewy the Dog (who ate another bag of formula this morning) and Jack-Jack. I thought of treating myself to a slightly indulgent evening, rather than sit here and pine. I decided to take a vacation from the diet for one meal and get dinner from our favourite Indian restaurant, accompanied by a Green and Black's bar of chocolate I acquired earlier today. I put on my fuzzy slippers, sat down to watch an evening of schlock television, and ate a big plate of balti prawns, a chapati, rice, and samosas. Now I'm feeling very full, sleepy, and a bit queasy.

Par-tay.