new year, new me!

ugh, i hate that phrase. you all know how i feel about new year’s resolutions (as evidenced here). but i wanted to let you all know that i’m sticking to my word and have rejoined weight watchers! the other day i was having a particularly crappy day and decided, instead of sitting around wondering why God blessed me with german genes, that i’d bite the bullet and sign up. so i cancelled our sky subscription service (shock!!!) and signed up for ww. don’t worry!!! i won’t bang on about my weight every day between now and the day i hit my goal (because i WILL, damn it!), but i wanted to hold myself accountable in a way by telling you all about it. as if paying to lose weight isn’t enough, right?

so wish me luck! i’m excited to see a lot less of myself soon. i’m sure you are, too. šŸ˜‰

bam. accountability.

bam. accountability.

ten months

dear sophia,

last saturday you celebrated your ten month – day. we can’t believe how fast you’re growing (i know, i say it every month!) and can barely remember the days when you were our tiny new baby. you’re almost officially a toddler, and i can’t wait for you to start walking and running and skipping around the house. i’m also terrified of your mobility, since you have SO MUCH ENERGY all the time and never ever stop moving, unless daddy is reading to you or you’re ready for bed. God help us all when you take those first steps.

this month has been pretty epic in your little world. you celebrated your first christmas, new year, and epiphany with us. you traveled around the country to see aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, godparents, and friends. you became fast friends with our goddaughter grace and broke her poor little five year old heart when we came back home. you’ve got eight (!!!) teeth, can cruise around the room like a pro, make animal noises (elephant, kitty, and sheep) and perform other party tricks like blowing kisses and playing peek a boo on command. you’ve begun to stand on your own pretty confidently and you like to dance to the hot dog song from mickey mouse clubhouse and gangnam style (sorry to my classical loving friends; girl is a pop fan!). you’re such a happy baby; you laugh and laugh when daddy carries you on his shoulders or spins you around. you are so adaptable and laid back in most new situations, but you love us so much you cry whenever we leave the room. you give us big, open mouthed kisses and love to cuddle your stuffed kitty (dubbed mr. meowgi by daddy…the poor cat!). you can say dada, mama, and baba, which we’re pretty sure means baby. or boobie. hmm. you are our little love, and we love you more every day!

only two more months til your birthday! we can’t wait to see what these next two months, the last official months of babydom, bring for our little family.

we love you!

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mama needs a camera!

hello my lovelies! i’m sorry it’s been awhile…we’ve been away for the last few days visiting family and are planning one more small trip for the weekend. after we’re back and settled into real life, i’ll update you all on life, i promise! also look out for a 10 month post for s. seriously, my baby is going to be 10 months old in a few days. where has the time gone?

in the meantime, i thought i’d plead with you all to help a girl out. i entered a competition the other week at UK retailer john lewis to win a Canon digital SLR camera with 4GB memory card and case by posting our adorable picture of s kissing the old year goodbye on new year’s eve. i miraculously made it into the top 10 photos for the competition! now all i have to do to win the competition is garner the most likes and repins of john lewis’ pin on Pinterest. now, you all know how obsessed i am with that website, and you all know how much i love john lewis. so i HAVE TO WIN. there’s some woman who has 239852735 likes and repins so it’s kind of unlikely, but if any of you can use your internet charms and wiles to get some likes and repins, now is the time to show me your stuff! here’s the link to the JL pinterest page:

 

please please please help me out if you can! the competition only goes until 5pm (UK time) tomorrow, so get pinning! love you all lots and talk soon!

happy new year, and all that jazz…

peace out, 2012!

happy new year! we said goodbye to 2012 the rock and roll way, with a normal day for s, pizza, (one) beer and 11pm bedtime for p and me. oh my, how times have changed. it was actually quite refreshing spending the day with family and remembering how much our lives have changed over the past year instead of going out, partying, and forgetting much of the night.

but today, after the dust has settled, it all seems a bit blah. p says he hates new year because it’s so anticlimactic. midnight comes and all of a sudden everything is supposed to be DIFFERENT. sleeping through the ball drop (or countdown, as is the case in the UK…man, i miss dick clark and times square new year!) made it even more surreal for us this year.

BUT, i am bound and determined to make this year even better than last year. i’m going to get fit(ish), focus on being a great mom and wife, and figure out what i want to be when i grow up. i’ll let you know how i get on with all of these goals, especially the get fit goal. due to some healthy german genes and an even healthier appetite for starchy food, my battle with weight has been an ongoing struggle for some time now. i’ve successfully lost weight a few times with weight watchers, but life and cakes tend to get in the way from time to time. it’s taken nine months of post birth weight (non) loss and a kick up the bum from my mom, who’s documenting her own weight loss story on her blog, to start thinking seriously about how i feel about my body and how i want s to think about her own. i don’t want to dwell on the fact that i have X amount of pounds to lose, but that i want to become a happier and healthier mom for my daughter. i want her to grow up with a positive body image and think that the first step towards that goal is feeling good about myself and allowing her to see that. anyway, maybe writing it down will help it to be so!

wish me luck! and of course, the occasional iced mocha. and let me know how your own hopes and resolutions for the new year are getting on!

happy 2013!!!

christmas baby swag

after a week of coughs, stuffy noses, a trip to the doctor for (ugh) an inhaler, and lots of rest, s is feeling pretty good right now. she’s moving all over the shop and leaving me with zero time to do anything other than wince at her less than graceful falls to the floor from her permanent position of standing. so, since the presents are FINALLY wrapped (thank you to amazon for allowing me to send most of my gifts and forego the relative present wrapping fiasco that normally ensues but NOT to my mother who has decided s needs not one but 12 days of presents, all of which i have to wrap myself!!! ;)) and the pepperkaker dough is chilling in the fridge, it’s time to let you know what our spoiled little angel is getting for christmas. and no, it’s not ruining anything because a. she’s too young to read this and b. she’ll probably be more excited by the wrapping paper than anything else.

the best of the best:

usborne touchy feely nativity book

this book was actually a pre-christmas gift (ie. spur of the moment purchase) by us for s, mostly because it was half price and i can’t resist a good deal. but seriously, she is absolutely obsessed with this book. there are tons of different fabrics to feel inside the book and she spends tons of time every night before bed flipping back and forth between the pages and kissing the baby jesus. p is beside himself with pride at his little catholic baby (he wishes!). i love that it’s so interactive and tells the real story of christmas.

elc sensory discovery balls

this is officially a santa gift, and his elves whispered to me that s was getting these awesome discovery balls in her stocking this year. she doesn’t really play with balls yet and i’m all about her having toys that are appropriate to her developmental stage, whatever that is right now.

wheelybug bee

this is the BIG gift from s’s gram and poppa. personally, i want one for myself. i know she’s not really ready to ride on anything yet, but a lot of her christmas wishlist included 1+ toys so that they can grow with her. i can see the dents in the walls already. LOVE it.

hape eco my second book

during one of my many walks around the floors of john lewis i saw this adorable wooden book. s likes a good book and she will be able to happily chew away at this while learning numbers (i know, a little early!) and hopefully turning the pages a little more easily.

run dmc top

this is my favorite personal purchase. i seriously can’t wait for her to wear it. every day. that’s all.

bickiepegs doidy cup

we’ve been working on drinking out of a cup lately, and have just stopped giving a bottle at night, since apparently it’s bad for babies’ teeth to suck on bottles after one year, although i can’t really see much difference between bottles and sippy cups. s loves to ‘drink’ out of my cup but usually spills water all over herself in the process. this cup is designed for tiny hands (seriously, the handles are so small and cute) and is tilted so babies can see exactly what is in the cup without having their heads straight over the top of the cup, which usually leads to spillage. we’ll see how it goes.

little jellycat pet’s tails

this gift is from aunt kelsey (sorry, the amazon package came the other day and i just had to see what it was! don’t worry, it’s all re wrapped now) and is pretty much the cutest thing ever. s can also meow like a cat, so she will love it.

manhattan toy lanky cats: ziggie

continuing the cat theme, this toy is another of gram and poppa’s twelve days of christmas gifts. it looks exactly like our cat jet. the eyes are a little creepy, though!

this is only a very small percentage of s’s gifts for her first christmas. luckily we were very restrained with our purchases this year, since friends and family (and santa) didn’t hold back. we know that this time of year isn’t about the things we have or give to each other and try to spend most of our time celebrating the real holiday and giving to people who don’t have as much as we do, too. but who doesn’t love a bit of swag? šŸ˜‰

if i don’t get the time to post again, merry christmas! holiday pictures and updates to follow soon.

nine months

dear sophia,

today you are nine months old! for some reason, nine months feels so OLD. you’ve officially been in the world as long as you were in my tummy (give or take ten days…i’ve almost forgiven you for making your daddy and me wait so long to meet you). and man, have you made your mark. i feel like the days are flying by lately and that soon you will be a toddler. phew, what a scary word!

this month you’ve been working on honing your party tricks. you still love to clap along to music and wave at yourself and other people. you’ve also learned how to blow kisses (adorable! gram is so proud) and high five. you say ‘dada’ to your daddy, and i think you know what you mean when you say it, even though i’m usually dada too. you’re not only crawling all over the shop, but have also started pulling yourself up to standing and cruising along any surface you can find. your favorites are the dangerous ones: end tables, the TV unit, the bookcase. you fall sometimes but always get yourself back up. you really are such a determined little girl. i’m pretty sure i should invest in a copy of parenting the strong willed childĀ ASAP. your great grandma thinks you’ll be walking in a few weeks, and for our sake, i really really hope she’s wrong. i love watching you develop, but man, i can’t be the parent to a walker just yet!!! give us another month and i’ll give you some cake. šŸ˜‰

this month you took your second trip to the US to be with family after your great grandpa passed away. he was such a wonderful man and was lucky to be able to meet you, sing with you, and share some cuddles this summer. the trip home was pretty rough on all of us (daddy didn’t get to go, but aunt kylie came along for the ride) but it was worth it to see everyone. i think you really helped lighten the mood for a lot of people. you also got to properly celebrate your first thanksgiving at beaner’s house! although we enjoyed the trip, we are not planning on flying again until you can sit in your own seat. it was so hard to keep you still, since all you want to do these days is move move move!

we’re looking forward to celebrating your very first christmas with you in less than two weeks. we know you’ll be more excited about wrapping paper and lights than gifts and traditions, but it means so much for us to be able to spend time together as our little family of three. we hope you enjoy it all more than you enjoyed your first encounter with santa!

so thanks for a lovely nine months. here’s to the next nine, filled with smiles, milestones, and hopefully a little bit more sleep.

i love you!

nine months!

nine months!

how (not) to travel with an eight month old and other musings

hello, old friends! it’s been far too long. i’ve had a million and one things i’ve wanted to write about in the last few weeks, and approximately zero time to write about them. okay, that’s a lie. i’ve spent my fair share of time vegging on the sofa, but i decided i deserved it. it’s been a long month.

my grandfather passed away last month. he was pretty much the coolest man ever. it was so sad to say goodbye to him but so wonderful to celebrate his life. i was lucky enough to be his first (and possibly most spoiled) grandchild and to have countless memories with him over the past 27 years. in the end he was in pain so his death was a blessing for him. i know he’s looking down now and smiling, telling all his friends that he’s better than the weather.

ok, enough of that. my grandpa wouldn’t want any of us to mope around. so instead i’m going to whine. a lot.

if you get nothing else from this post, please remember the following:

DO NOT TRAVEL WITH AN EIGHT MONTH OLD BABY. EVER.

seriously. the four (yes, all four) flights we took on the way to and from the states last month were probably the worst combined experiences of my life. p couldn’t travel with us, so it was just me, s, and my poor,Ā defenselessĀ little sister (who has since vowed never to have children). why was it so horrible, do you ask? well, i’ll tell you.Ā that baby screamed for a total of EIGHT(hundred?) hours while i held her against her will in my lap. virtually every passenger on all four airplanes gave me the stinkeye. a very well intentioned and well endowed flight attendant nearly smothered my baby while attempting to stifle her cries. half a dozen other flight attendants and random staffers stole her out of my arms to cuddle/play with/comfort/annoy the shit out of her. how i managed to get home without leaving my poor darling baby in a bathroom somewhere and/or punching someone and being arrested by air marshalls is beyond me.

therefore i solemnly swear not to fly with my lovely and slightly demonic little girl until she is old enough to sit in her own seat and to be spoonfed benadryl. seriously. i can’t handle it. also, p is on night duty for theĀ foreseeableĀ future. which is forever.

enough of the whining. for now. to lift the mood and make everyone feel better, here are the photos we ordered from the fantastic francesca db photography. merry, merry christmas to you.

next time: s’s christmas list! because i know you all love a little bit of baby tat.

restaurant review: wahaca and pinkberry (at bluewater shopping centre)

so even though pretty much every waking moment of my life is consumed by s (and i love it, i really do) i thought it might be a good idea to branch out a little bit in the blogging world. so let’s talk about food!

when p gets a rare day off, we like to venture out and explore something new. our days usually include eating, obviously, as well as shopping and mooching. today we went to bluewater shopping centre just outside of london. for those of you who haven’t been there, let’s just say it’s pretty much the mecca of the shopping world. it’s one of the top uk shopping centres, behind the westfield centres in london, metrocentre in newcastle, and the trafford centre in manchester. i’ve been to all of the top malls (apart from the new westfield centre near the olympic park) and they all live up to their reputations: full of tempting, posh stores and inappropriate romanesque statues. so we were excited to try this one out.

bluewater is situated just south of the thames estuary and looks like it was built in an old mining site. the hills around it have all been blasted out. it really looks so cool! the centre itself is a two floor triangle shaped building with hundreds of shops, restaurants, a cinema, and an event centre. the restaurants (the most important part, obviously) are varied and, for the most part, very posh. we decided to try out wahaca, an authentic style mexican street food restaurant, for lunch.

wahaca, complete with recycled bottle lighting!

i have to preface this review with the following: p and i consider ourselves mexican foodĀ connoisseurs. i’ve spent quite a bit of time in mexico (my parents go to isla mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of cancun, every year and have taken me and my sisters a handful of times) and p loves to cook mexican food at least once a week. we’ve had good mexican (chipotle), bad mexican (chiquito), and even great mexican (nanna mexico) outside of mexico itself. so we were equal parts excited and terrified to try wahaca (the phonetic spelling of the mexican city oaxaca).

we were not disappointed. the service was pretty good, even though we were seated next to probably the most negative family on the planet. p ordered the citrus fizz, a soft drink not unlike a mojito (minus the rum, of course), and loved it. i ordered a diet coke, which is a diet coke. šŸ˜‰ i’m always a little angry inside at england for not serving free refills of soft drinks or for not even having fountain drink machines, but hey, this is europe. smaller is the norm. we decided to order a few street food options each and share. p ordered pork pibil tacos and the chorizo quesadilla, and i ordered steak tacos and chicken taquitos. all the food was EXCELLENT. both taco dishes came as three tiny, perfect corn tortillas topped with pulled pork/steak strips, pico de gallo, cheese, and sour cream drizzle. the tortillas might as well have been flown in from the dusty streets of isla mujeres, and tasted as if they’d been made that morning by the tiny ancient mayan women i’ve walked past dozens upon dozens of times before. the quesadilla was standard: tasty but nothing unique. the taquitos were yummy and deep fried and also topped with pico de gallo. the portions were small, but were designed to be that way, since customers are encouraged to try lots of different options, tapas-style. we debated ordering seconds (since s ate half of the tortilla from the quesadilla and some of the pico) but settled on fresh churros with hot chocolate sauce instead. yum! the bill came to Ā£24 and we were not disappointed. p raved, ‘this is my new favorite restaurant!!!’ approximately two seconds after tasting the amazingly authentic tacos, and s screeched with happiness throughout. we’re definitely going back, and thinking about petitioning the company to set up shop in cambridge!

s and her cheeky face

before leaving to drive home (and sit in traffic at the dartford crossing…note to self, don’t drive on the london orbital during rush hour) we decided we needed something sweet. as i’m a fan of LC and the hills (i know, i know. i blame pregnancy and a bored me with cankles for getting me hooked on that one) i know all about the frozen yogurty goodness of pinkberry. there are only three in the uk (the other two are at westfield stratford city and selfridges on oxford street, london) so i really wanted to try it. us east coast girls don’t get much of a froyo experience, and in my hometown we only JUST welcomed a coldstone creamery. the staff were so friendly, i felt like i was back in the states. seriously, british customer service usually leaves something to be desired. not here. we sampled a few of the flavors, since we hadn’t been there before. i settled on a small (giant!) coconut with fresh raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, and blueberries on top. p got a small pomegranate with waffle cone flakes, strawberries, raspberries, and granola on top. we gave a lot of the fresh fruit to s, which she gobbled up quicker than you can say pinkberry. they didn’t have high chairs, so s sat on p’s lap and spilled red berry juice all over her white tights and her daddy, but no one minded. for around Ā£7, we could complain about nothing other than the lack of child seating and some mediocre granola. win!

faster, dad, faster!

conclusion: six thumbs up for our bluewater dining experience! stay tuned for more food reviews soon. i hope to do some cambridge based ones soon, also including their varying degrees of baby-friendly-ness.

eight months

dear sophia,

i can’t believe you’re eight months old today! you’re a proper baby now with your very own personality and quirks. it’s fantastic to see you grow, learn, and play every day. i’m so grateful to be able to experience all of your firsts with you and wouldn’t trade a moment (even the not so nice ones) for the world. here’s what you’ve been up to this month:

playing: you still love to play rough, and i think we have your daddy to blame for that. you love flying on his legs, rolling around on the floor with him, and sitting on his shoulders. i think he secretly throws you in the air, too, but i’ll turn a blind eye because i’m only KIND OF nervous about you getting whiplash or hitting the light fixtures. only kind of. šŸ˜‰ you’re still rolling and sitting beautifully, but you can also sit up from a laying down position and have just just just started to CRAWL!!! it only happened on saturday and luckily daddy, gram, and i were all there to see it (gram was there via skype, unfortunately not in person). it really really is the beginning of the end now for us. time to bolt the bookcases to the walls and get some gates up. and vacuum daily. even though it makes you cry, the naughty hoover. you’re also waving at the baby in the mirror (who we talk to every day) and anyone else who will catch your eye, clapping along to if you’re happy and you know it (and justin bieber songs…i know, i know), and are this close to blowing kisses. you’re smiling, chatting, and experimenting with new sounds all the time. you like to play peekaboo and are starting to develop a cheeky little sense of humor when you offer food and toys but take them away before we can get to them. you NEVER stop moving (unless daddy is watching something like return of the jedi on tv!). you are SO MUCH FUN to be around. also exhausting. phew.

eating: BLW is going so well and we couldn’t be happier. you love your food, and have started to show preferences for certain foods over others. you like your veggies sometimes, but prefer breads and rice cakes to the really healthy stuff. oh well, baby steps! you also really don’t like cheese. whose baby are you, seriously?! when i let you feed yourself messy meals, the room is covered in rice and sauce. but you love it! you’re so proud of yourself when you can do it on your own, so we let you as much as possible. you still love eating out at restaurants, but spend most of your time flirting with the waiters and other patrons (i don’t know WHERE you get it from, honestly). you feel so special when i let you drink water out of the bottle or grown up glass, and seem to prefer it to sippy cups. maybe you’re trying to tell me something!

sleeping: this month you’ve come along leaps and bounds with your sleep schedule. you go down at 7ish without a fuss, after a bottle feed from daddy or a cuddly feed from me when he’s at work. you’re adaptable and rarely cry at night, probably because you tucker yourself out with all your crazy activity during the day. we still haven’t moved you, but i don’t really mind anymore because it’s nice to wake up and hear your little snores from the end of the bed. you’ve been suffering from a cough that just won’t go away for the last few weeks, so sometimes you wake up coughing, but can usually get yourself back to sleep. the only negative with your sleeping this month is your waking time. for some reason (i blame daylight savings time) your body clock decides to wake you up at 5am. every. single. day. i love that there’s time for family breakfast before daddy has to go to work, but seriously, girl. 6:30 would be fantastic, once in awhile. as a result of your early waking times, you still have three naps most days. yesterday was a record: first nap at 7:30am. it was a loooooong day. you’re also teething again, so i think it wakes you up earlier at naptimes. poor bunny! soon you’ll have six teeth (or more!) and will look more and more like a big girl.

socializing: as well as being a kinetic and energetic little girl, you’re a little social butterfly lately. we go swimming with friends every friday and usually stay in town for lunch. most days we go into town to meet daddy for coffee and quick cuddles while he’s in between services and phd work. we meet other friends occasionally for coffee and you love being out and about all the time. i’ve just heard cambridge is starting a kindermusik program for babies in the new year, so we’ll add that to our schedule soon enough! you love shopping with me (unless you’re tired, in which case you usually scream your way through john lewis until you fall asleep). we also took you to your first mini photo shoot this month (see a sneak peek of it in this post), which you absolutely LOVED. you hammed it up for the camera and francesca, the lovely photographer. maybe we should make some money out of you through baby modeling!!! JUST KIDDING, but seriously, we would make some decent cash. šŸ˜‰

it has been one heck of a month. you’re coming along so quickly that i often forget what you were like only a month ago. i look back at pictures of you as a newborn and feel like you’re a totally different little girl! thank you for letting me share this time with you. here’s to another fantastic month!

i love you!

image

Eight months

veterans day.

i wanted to write a post about veterans day and the special meaning it has in my life, but it’s hard for me to find the words. i have pretty funny political views about the military and their presence in our world, but i have so much respect for the men and women who fought for usĀ in world war ii. my 90 year old grandpa ray is a wwii vet and one of the most important people in my life. we’ve always had a special bond and have had some pretty cool conversations about his time in the pacific, particularly at iwo jima and the surrounding islands.Ā 

luckily for my fumbling fingers, my fabulous mother has started her ownĀ blogĀ (which is just as fabulous as she is!) and posted about my relationship with my grandpa ray. check it outĀ hereĀ and give her a follow. i’m sure she’ll appreciate it!

happy veterans day, grandpa!

squirrels on the hill: veterans day