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.

Friday, 28 October 2005

trailer park boy


What do you do when you're not feeling well? Why, you sit around in an undershirt and tracksuit bottoms and watch television, of course.



All he needs is a bag of Cheezies and a can of beer. I'm not sure if Jack's got another tooth coming in or if he's got a bug of some sort, but he's been an unhappy chappy lately. His little nose has been very runny, he's been crying a lot, and let's just say that his nappy contents have been diabolical. I have a feeling that he's got a cold, so he's been on a bland diet and plenty of Calpol. To top it all, he absolutely hates having his nose wiped, so he screams like a banshee whenever I go near his nostrils. It must suck when you've got a cold but you don't know how to blow your nose. Poor little guy.

all apologies


Now that Jasper is used to having me around fairly often, he gets more destructive when he's left alone. He stays in the kitchen while we're out, and has been chowing down on anything he can get his paws on. A few weeks ago, he got Jack's teething keys off the kitchen counter and chewed them up. Then he managed to eat a bag of Jack's formula (and was surprisingly well afterwards). Today, I came home to find an empty breadbag in Jasper's bed. He'd eaten an entire loaf of extra fibrous wholegrain bread. I dread to think of the consequences that may occur later this evening.

We've got to look into ways to get this behaviour to stop, but it's so hard to be angry with him when he looks at us like this for the rest of the day:



We need a supernanny for dogs.

Monday, 24 October 2005

come over here and say that, sweary boy


Women "can't cook to save their lives", celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has said. The controversial chef said more men are learning what to do in the kitchen, while women are more likely to be able to mix a cocktail than cook.

"When they eat, they cheat - it is ready meals and pre-prepared meals all the way," he said in the Radio Times. [source]

Ah, Gordon. How I admired your ability to push those who needed it, your passion for food, and the time you made Belinda Carlisle cry. Now you go ahead and say something like this, just to get us gals in a tizzy. Or did you? I could be cynical and say that Ramsay made this comment to gain publicity for his new series (aptly entitled "The F Word") which begins this week. Having read the rest of the article, I get the sense that the quote was taken slightly out of context - and actually, perhaps saying women can't cook isn't a bad thing.

I have several women friends who proudly proclaim that their idea of cooking involves a microwave and a corkscrew, and their male partners tend to do the majority of the meal preparation. Now that women are no longer barefoot and are now out of the kitchen, it's not surprising that many feel uncomfortable in front of an oven. So does the decline in the domestic goddess indicate something gone horribly wrong? Has Bridget Jones spawned a generation of blue soup kitchen disasters? Maybe it has more to do with women finding more important things to do with their time than cook a five course meal and roll their own pasta. Or maybe we've had enough with juggling the career, kids, and all things domestic. If Paul can and wants to cook tonight's supper, I would be insane to decline. Although I am perfectly capable of cooking (and tend to do so out of enjoyment rather than necessity), I wouldn't feel less of a woman if I didn't know how to make my own pie crust.

Men have learned that it's perfectly acceptable (if not quite sexy) to be adept in the kitchen. Women have learned that they don't need to be Delia (or Martha before she ended up in the clink) to be...erm...women. To say that women "can't cook to save their lives" is a bit inaccurate. Some women don't cook because they have lives.

Saturday, 22 October 2005

octobaby




You can almost crawl and you can sit up by yourself.
You've got three teeth that we brush every morning and every night.
You can eat lumpy food, but you're not very fond of jelly.
You can fall off the side of our big bed (and give me a heart attack), but manage to escape injury.
You know who mummy, daddy, and doggy are.
You like pausing after a long drink of milk to give the bottle a little shake.
You always smile when I look at you, without fail.
You are the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me.

Happy eight month birthday, Jack-Jack.

Friday, 21 October 2005

gosh, just look at the time


October 1st came and went without me noticing - I arrived in this country 5 years ago on that date, a poor peasant girl with only 10p in her pocket and a bagful of dreams. Well, actually, I arrived with a work permit, a couple of suitcases full of essentials, and some Canadian credit cards that were about to take a beating...but I digress. The point is, I can now apply for British citizenship for a large sum of money, some paperwork, and a few months of waiting around for someone at the Home Office to type up a nice letter of some sort. Since I need my passport to go home in December, I won't apply until the new year. You people can be thankful for the moment that you have one less person wandering around with a British passport and a weird accent.

Once I become a citizen, I shall immerse myself in all things British and attempt to assimilate myself into this great culture. I will speak with a fake accent (haven't decided on a region yet), ensuring that all sentences end with things like "What, ho!" and "Innit?" No longer will I use the forbidden words such as cookie, garbage, trunk, and jazzercise. I will hang net curtains in all of our windows, carpet every square foot of the house, and develop an intense interest in gardening. I will complain endlessly about things, but when approached by someone who can actually amend the situation, I will say that I'm fine, thank you ever so much. All conversations will commence with a discussion about the weather. All occasions will be accompanied by beer. In fact, it's a lot like being Canadian but with a different accent and less snow.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to brush up on my British knowledge for my citizenship test. Does anyone know how many episodes have aired of "Eastenders"?

Thursday, 20 October 2005

all over the place


I've got many things to say, but none of them are interesting enough to fill up an entire post. Point form it is, then.
  • Interesting British cultural difference #237: they got the Roadrunner cartoon here, but not the theme song. I sang it to Paul in the car on the way home from Devon, but I couldn't remember a few of the words. For example, "Roadrunner, roadrunner never bothers anyone...um...something something something is his idea of having fun". This is probably why people don't go on a lot of long road trips with their spouses.
  • As I turned off a roundabout today, I saw one of those three-wheeled Robin Reliant cars (North Americans will recognise these from "Mr. Bean") on fire. It was blazing away at the side of the road whilst an elderly couple stood calmly on the grass a few feet away. I assume someone called for roadside assistance of some sort, and a dustbin and brush for the car.
  • Spotted in Swavesey today, a sign warning "Beware of the ducks". Man, that's one tough neighbourhood.
  • While flipping through the channels the other morning, I caught Delia saying, "And now I want to talk to you about making toast." If you don't know how to make toast, you probably shouldn't be in the kitchen or in any area containing heated appliances and pointy cutlery.

swing swing swing


We've just returned from a lovely morning/lunchtime with Ruth and Naomi, and we tried out their brand new park. The toddler swings that were far too big for Jack at the end of August are now fine.

Before:



After:



Scary, eh?

An upper tooth has just broken through the surface, so this makes a grand total of three chompers. Is it just my imagination, or do the top teeth make babies a lot more miserable than the bottom ones? Over the weekend, Jack started commando crawling (which isn't to say that he creeps around without wearing underwear, which I suppose is technically true) so he can now get across the room in the time it takes me to blink. A friend's daughter can crawl and pull herself up on furniture to walk around the room - and she's only a week older than Jack. I've said it before, I'm in no rush to get Jack crawling. I find it tiring enough chasing a rolling baby around the house, let alone a crawling and climbing baby. I'm too old for such things.

Yesterday, Jack rolled and crept around a roomful of mummy friends and their babies, and tried to snog all the girls - and baby Joe. I'm not sure what this means.

Monday, 17 October 2005

two words: free samples


We're off to the BBC Good Food Show in November, and I'm all agog. As you know, I'm a sucker for celebrity chefs, and I don't care how geeky that sounds. The thought of seeing some of my favourites live while spending a day wandering around and eating sends my heart aflutter. Sadly, you are only allowed to book one celebrity chef session per day so I had to choose between Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver - Jamie won.

Now hear me out before you start wrinkling your noses and making gagging noises. I used to think that Jamie Oliver was an obnoxious git. All the "pukkas" and "lovely jubblys" came across as gimmicky, totally distracting me from what he was actually cooking. I watched the "Jamie's Kitchen" series, and I gained a newfound respect for Oliver. I thought what he did with those kids was amazing and we saw a completely different side to him. When reruns of "The Naked Chef" were broadcast, I finally gave in and started watching them. What I saw were dishes that not only looked tasty, but were things I would happily make myself. I have a strong affinity for people who cook by approximation - and by that I mean those who use a "handful" of this and "a glug" of that - and who care more about taste than how pretty it looks on the plate. I bought his books, have used several recipes with great success, but most importantly, got several ideas from his books and created my own versions. It's one thing to follow a recipe by the letter and create a reproduction, but it's quite another to be inspired by a recipe and make it your own. As wanky as that sounds.

I happened to catch a bit of Delia (I think you can get a cream for that now) while flipping channels the other day, as she was instructing us to use eight grinds from a pepper mill in her vinaigrette. Yes, eight grinds. No more, no less. I find her cooking to be very prescriptive, to the point that she not only specifies ingredient amounts, but which utensil to use when preparing the dish. Don't use a spatula for god's sake, only a metal spoon will do! Some people love Delia Smith's style and I commend her for providing thorough instructions for those who may not be very confident in the kitchen. I think that she did encourage people to get cooking, and that's a good thing. I cook by taste, look, and experimentation, which is the sort of thing that Oliver encourages. This is why he appeals to my culinary side.

Right so, we're seeing Jamie Oliver at the Good Food Show and I'm pretty pleased about this. Hopefully Rick Stein will understand.

i'm like kate moss, but with boobs and without a drug habit


I'm very excited to reach two milestones today - I've lost 30 pounds and I now have exactly one more stone left to lose. Whee! Eating what I wanted during pregnancy was fun. Really, REALLY fun. I often reminisce about Green and Black's ice cream, fish and chips, Burger King, and family sized bars of chocolate. On the plus side, this is the first time I've lost weight without counting calories, measuring portions, or keeping a food journal of some sort. I *heart* the GI diet! It's common sense, really - cut out the sugar, switch to wholegrains, and don't eat insane amounts of food in one sitting. That's it, honest. It's also the first time I've lost weight every single week (we'll pretend that our weigh-in after Devon didn't happen, mmmkay?); I've lost at least 2 lbs. each week. Although so far Paul has lost more than me (typical male!), I'm thrilled to bits with my progress. My goal is to lose that last stone by the end of the year, and try not to put it all on again when we go home for Christmas. Heh.

Oh and despite losing 30 lbs., I still have these comedy pregnancy boobs. Do they ever go back to normal?! Bigger boobs was NOT what I needed.

Friday, 14 October 2005

wazzup!


So, what's new in the world of Jack? He is perfectly capable of sitting up, but it bores him. Why sit when you can roll, roll, roll your way to fun and excitement! He almost sat up from lying down and almost crawled today. He's so very close, and each day he figures out another element of crawling. It started out with getting up on all fours, then pushing himself with his feet (which resulted in launching himself face first into the floor - he wasn't amused), realising that one knee needs to go in front of the other and one hand needs to do the same, and today he very nearly choreographed all of his moves together. I am not in a rush to get to the crawling phase, mind you. I don't fancy chasing a fuzzy blur with spikey hair around the house all day long.

Jack sings and babbles so much more now. He's graduated from endless "mama dada buhbuh gaga" conversations to all sorts of noises that sound vaguely like baby dinosaurs. (Or Jodie Foster as "Nell".) I think he's starting to repeat sounds I make to him, but it's hard to tell if it's just coincidental. Sometimes when I speak to him, he stares intently at my lips and he moves his mouth silently as if he's mimicking me. There is an alarmingly disproportionate number of "dadas" to "mamas" in his current vocabulary - that's the thanks you get.

Jack tried cottage pie for the first time tonight and wolfed down a huge bowl of the stuff. I made the mash topping with both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, and crammed several veggies into the meaty filling. How much is one serving of fruit or veg for a baby, anyway? They're supposed to get five servings a day, but what constitutes a serving?

6-9 month clothing is too small, but 9-12 month sizes are too big. 'Splain that one to me.

the maytag repairman would have been happy to see me


Our washing machine broke over the weekend, but the earliest appointment we could get with the repairman was yesterday. It was getting to the point where Jack would have to wear a pillowcase and I'd have to dig my wedding dress out of the loft if it wasn't fixed soon. We were told that the repairman would arrive "between 9 and 6", so I dutifully stayed at home and waited. As it got later in the afternoon and Mr. Hotpoint hadn't shown up yet, I went next door to ask our neighbour to let the repairman in if he arrived while we were at our swimming class. Of course while I was next door, the repairman showed up. (Actually, I think he just rang to see if I was there because neither my neighbour nor myself saw anyone pull up to my house, but I digress.) He came back a few minutes later, in a huff, grumbling about having rang me four times. He dug around our washing machine, pulled out 12lbs. of dog hair and unidentifiable wads of something resembling blue Silly Putty and said to me, "Whatever that is, don't put it in your washing machine again." Thank you for your sage advice. Wankhead.

Just before we left for swimming, I decided to take the trash out to the bin, at which point the bin bag decided that it would be best if its top half and bottom parted company. On the way back from swimming, I was cut off by Mr. Whippy. The ice cream man pulled out in front of me, his big white truck blaring a music box rendition of an Abba song. I shook my fist at the world and curled up in bed with my happily babbling baby.

And to cap it all, we're out of pie.

Thursday, 13 October 2005

deep thoughts


I'm a busy gal, so I can only blog in point form. Busy, busy, busy! Okay - lazy.
  • Why does it rain every time the window cleaner comes?
  • Tesco sent me some vouchers today with a covering letter stating "We see that you enjoy organic food, so we have enclosed some vouchers for you!" That's great, but I find it a little creepy that a) they know what I buy and b) they are letting me know that they know what I buy. Coming soon, direct marketers calling you up and saying, "We were just going through your bin and we noticed a lot of empties. Could we interest you in signing up for our monthly wine club?"
  • Is there any company in the world that can send an installation or repair person during a specific time slot? And by "specific", I don't mean "anytime between now and July 2007".
  • My new diet plan: "Eat a Slice of Pumpkin Pie a Day, and Still Lose Weight!" I'm not sure about the logistics of this, but it's worked for me this week.
  • I've got quinoa, but I don't know what to do with it. I'm considering using it to refill our beancubes.
  • To the man who parked in the parent/child spot at Tesco yesterday, driving a BMW with tinted windows: I'm sorry that your minute genitals give you the impression that the world owes you a favour, but that still doesn't give you the right to park like a twonk.
  • It amuses me that Blogger's spellcheck doesn't recognise the word "genitals".

happiness is...


...having a little boy on your lap while his monkey arms are wrapped around your neck and he's singing in your ear.

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

gobble gobble


Jack enjoyed his first Thanksgiving dinner on a very special plate:



Sadly, the plates didn't include Jack-Jack on them. Bah. He had a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, and broccoli (we thought stuffing and gravy might be a tad much for a wee person), with pumpkin pie for dessert.



The whole meal was a hit, and like a true (half) Canadian, he promptly fell asleep after stuffing himself with food. Mmmmmmm pie.

I was really pleased to discover that there is another swimming session in November; I assumed that this would be my last one before I return to work. I'm thrilled to know that I will have another six weeks of splishsplashing about with Jack. At the end of the month, we're attending an underwater photo shoot. You read that right - it's being organised by Merbabies (who run our swimming classes) and will be shot by Zena from Little Urchins. (Do check out the Little Urchins site because the photos are amazing.) We'll do a half hour session with five other babies, and they aim to take around 12 pictures of each baby and baby/mum/dad combo. I can't wait to see the pictures of our Aquaman!

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

so long, and thanks for all the fush


Big Jack and Heather are moving back to New Zealand. I was going to wax lyrical about how much they mean to me and how much I'll miss them, but I'll refrain as it would likely sound like I've had too many boxes of wine. (Again.) Suffice it to say, I'm lucky to have met them and they have both been a part of very significant milestones in my life. Most importantly, now we have an excellent excuse to visit New Zealand.

Farewell, my fabulous Kiwi friends. You leave behind many happy memories, a million laughs, and one sad Canadian. I wish you all the love and luck in the world.



Monday, 3 October 2005

now there is one less pagan in the world


We went to Dylan's christening on Saturday, so we scrubbed ourselves up and headed for the church. I haven't been to a Catholic ceremony of any sort before (but I have been to mass once about a million years ago) and haven't been to a church service in at least a decade. Amazingly, I didn't burst into flames when I stepped into the church, nor did angels descend from the heavens pointing at me and shouting out "Heathen! Heathen! And sometimes she eats cottage cheese right out of the tub!" Of course with Big Jack there, a self-proclaimed atheist, if lightning was going to strike anyone it would probably be him. I knew I was safe as I am merely agnostic.

The ceremony was very nice and the priest was hilarious. He asked us to join hands adding, "I know that you're all British and this isn't what you normally do" (he was Spanish). When Dylan cried a wee bit after the baptism, the priest said "He must be part Protestant" and after the ceremony he proclaimed, "Now there is one less pagan in the world!" I thought funny priests only happened on Father Ted, so there you go.

Why does the Protestant version of the Lord's Prayer go on longer than the Catholic version, anyway?

a toast


Yesterday, Jack tried toast and scrambled eggs for the first time. I put a tiny bit of Marmite on his toast fingers, which seemed to cause a bit of confusion at first.



Like father like son, Jack likes Marmite. Bleah.