Wednesday, 18 February 2009

i knew this would come in handy one day

'Knitting' may delay memory loss

Engaging in a hobby like reading a book, making a patchwork quilt or even playing computer games can delay the onset of dementia, a US study suggests.

Watching TV however does not count - and indeed spending significant periods of time in front of the box may speed up memory loss, researchers found.

Those who had during middle age been busy reading, playing games or engaging in craft hobbies like patchworking or knitting were found to have a 40% reduced risk of memory impairment.

In later life, those same activities reduced the risk by between 30 and 50%. [source]

So now I'm wondering if knitting in front of the television cancels each other out. Damn.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

songs and stories

This morning, Jack climbed into Mia's cot and sang to her to keep her entertained. He sang "Away in a Manger" which included the new verse "The baby Jesus hurt his head, and he had to go to the doctor's." Snappy! I like it!

I was invited to try out a new bit of software from Microsoft called Time for a Story. It requires Live Messenger, a microphone, speakers/headphones, and a web cam, and allows you to read stories to your kids (or anyone else you have on Live Messenger) online. It's great fun and interactive; kids just don't listen to the story or watch it on screen, they can click on images in the story to see what happens.

At the moment, there are only Noddy stories available which is fine for Jack - Noddy's one of his favourites. I haven't had a chance to try this out with him yet, but I know this is something both my parents and my in-laws would really enjoy using. Storytime is a huge hit in our house, and having a grandparent read to the kids is even better. They're both already on Live Messenger and have web cams, so it wouldn't take much effort to get them up and running. The interface is quite simple, so if you've got a parent/grandparent/other relative who isn't very computer-savvy, it shouldn't be too difficult for them to set up and use.

Granted, this is only a beta version, but I was a bit annoyed that it insisted that I use Internet Explorer to launch the story (I prefer Firefox or Chrome.) It also won't run on a Mac due to limitations in Live Messenger for Mac. Whether or not Microsoft will make this compatible with Macs and other browsers is yet to be seen, but I think they'd be foolish to alienate/piss off a vast number of potential users.

Overall, it's a fun concept and I would definitely use it. We have the advantage of having laptops, so my plan was to take the computer right up to bed with Jack and Mia, so they could get snuggled up while listening to a story.

Monday, 16 February 2009

big scan, big relief

I've been nervous and stressed for days now. I always get this way before the 20 week scan, because this is the point at which they'll be able to see if something's seriously wrong for the first time. Normally at this point we'd also be finding out the sex, but we're keeping it a surprise this time. And frankly, I simply didn't care - I just wanted to see a healthy baby in there.

The morning started off splendidly when Mia threw up in abundance all over herself and myself. Just as we were getting ready to drop the kids off and go to the hospital for the scan. Hurrah. With only minutes to figure out what on earth to do (and no spare time to call a friend and wait for them to come over), we decided that Paul would stay here while I went to have the scan on my own. It was very, very odd to go to a scan on my own and I didn't much like it. I had such a bad feeling about things, mostly because of how the morning was going. But then things looked up, starting with Good Parking Karma. A nice lady passed me her parking voucher which still had two hours left, saving me £2.60 in extortionate hospital parking fees. Paul always passes our tickets along if there's time left, so Good Parking Karma has finally returned to us. I was first in for a scan, so I had only a short wait with a cup of tea.

The scan went brilliantly and all parts are present and accounted for. My placenta is definitely posterior and high, which is a very good thing. I stressed that I didn't want to know the baby's sex, and I can definitely say that I'm more confused about this topic than I was going in. I keep wavering, and it's not being helped by a distinct lack of visible bits when she measured the femur and the fact that she once referred to the baby as a "he" then quickly reverted to "it". Then at my midwife appointment today, the heart rate was 130-140 (boy, according to the old wives.) So anyway, it's still a surprise and I'm still very happy with that. Incidentally, it probably would have been difficult to see the baby's bits because s/he had the legs tightly crossed the whole scan and had a hand in front of the bladder.

It was very odd to be at a scan without Paul. The sonographer asked if I had anyone with me, and it was weird to say no. We are planning on doing a 3D scan later on, so at least Paul will get to see Minty again then.

And now for some photos!

Thursday, 12 February 2009


Oh, hello there. Yes, I know this blog has been woefully neglected lately. I simply have nothing interesting to say these days - which hadn't stopped me in the past, mind you. So, here I am. Apologies in advance for the dribble that shall commence.

I'm currently wearing MIA's dress. It's very breezy, and because it's monochrome, it goes with anything! Apparently it's not a maternity dress, but we like flexible apparel. In all seriousness, I think it looks better on MIA than Agyness Deyn; you need a little something to fill out the ladybird bits.

We're heading out for our annual Pre-Valentine's Dinner Date Because Set Menus and Crowds Piss Us Off evening tonight. My in-laws are helping us out at the moment while Paul recovers from knee surgery (keyhole, he's doing just fine) and acting as babysitters tonight. It'll be lovely to have a civilised evening that doesn't involve Nick Jr and nappy changing. Speaking of civilised evenings, we've booked a table at Heston Blumenthal's restaurant The Fat Duck to celebrate my 40th (*gah!*) birthday at the end of March. We're heading down to Bray in the afternoon, having dinner, then spending the night at a lovely B&B on the riverside. Really, really cannot wait. Good food, a night alone with my husband, the opportunity to sleep past 7am - I'm all agog. I am so looking forward to this.

Have just calculated that I after 10 working days in May, I'm off on holiday and then maternity leave. Niiiice.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

almost halfway there, and i better not double in size

On the left, my Mia belly at 19 weeks. On the right, my Junior Mint belly at 18 weeks.

Photobucket Photobucket


Monday, 2 February 2009

Chicken pox is not fun

My little girl has the pox, so I've been at home taking care of her while she recovers. The best thing about getting chickenpox at this age is that it really doesn't seem to faze toddlers that much. She's been a bit grumpy, but otherwise pretty much herself. In fact, right now she's sitting on the floor playing with cars singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to herself. The worst part is being stuck indoors, but I have a couple of projects to keep me busy and pelvic pain that's kept me on the sofa anyway.

Mia's new words this weekend were Jasper and Mia. I absolutely love how sometimes she says "yay" instead of "yes". So when I ask her if she'd like a snack, a bath, or head up to bed, she'll shout out "YAAAAY!" We like enthusiasm around here.