eleven months

dear s,

holy cow! you’re almost a year old! this time next month we’ll be celebrating your first birthday, and your official graduation from baby to toddler. well, really, you’re a toddler already. you’re my little walker now! you get better and better every day, and now you can stand up from a sitting position, cruise/run around the room while holding onto your wheelybug or the sofa, and walk half a dozen to a dozen steps confidently before falling down on your adorable little bottom. you’re a handful now, but we love (almost) every minute of it.

although you spend most of your energy on moving (and moving and moving!), you’re starting to talk a lot more, too. somehow in the last month you lost the ability to say mama, but call both of us dada instead. you still love to make animal noises, your favorite being meowing like a cat. you can also parrot our own speech, and repeat gone, bye, and yeah most of the time. you call gram gaga and like to chat to your kitty when you’re falling asleep. i can’t wait for you to start talking even more!

your social skills are developing quickly and you love to play with (read: climb on) other babies and older kids. every week we go to kindermusik class with a mixed age range of kids. we also meet up with some friends who have babies at restaurants, the library, and cafes. this weekend you went to your first birthday party! i can’t believe the other babies in our nct class are starting to turn one. it’s your turn soon!!!

we’re starting the process of moving you to your own room by napping you in your nursery, and so far you’re doing remarkably well. you generally sleep from 7pm to 5 or 6am, but lately you’ve been getting up at 4 thinking it’s playtime. please, s, give us a little more sleep! you still take two naps most days, but i think before too long you’ll drop one or the other. take your time! really, it’s ok to sleep lots!

you’re a champion eater, having three full meals and one or two snacks a day. you’re almost competent with your sippy cup, but don’t really understand that a cup without a lid will spill if you bash it and throw it around. you’ve decided you don’t like cucumber very much any more, but love cheese, bread, hummus (the piri piri kind!), and anything starchy. you also like peas, blueberries, fromage frais, and weetabix. you’re happy to explore new flavors but let us know when you don’t like something, either by making a face and spitting it out or sweeping everything off the table and flipping over your plate and mat.

you only take milk from me in the morning and at night time, and sometimes once during the day, but you’re more interested in grown up food and need me less and less. but that’s a good thing, because instead you’re becoming a cuddly bunny who likes to lie on top of us while we scratch or rub your back. like father, like daughter! you also love to give and blow kisses and laugh all the time.

thankfully you still love to read. you sit so nicely with daddy while he reads to you and even read yourself stories in your crib while we get ready in the morning. your favorite books are the touchy feely ones because you really like to be involved in the reading.

thanks for being such a fabulous baby for the last eleven months. and happy almost birthday!!!

love you! ❤

happy eleven months!

happy eleven months!

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first birthday prep (or how to plan a frat party with babies)

in less than two months, s will be celebrating her first (and most badass?!) birthday. it’s equal parts exciting and depressing for us to plan. exciting because our baby is almost almost almost officially a toddler and we get to celebrate the wonderful ways she’s changed our lives over the past year. depressing because, as cool as we make this party, she won’t remember it.

so there will be booze.

obviously. because otherwise it’s just a silly afternoon where a bunch of parents wish they’d smuggled in their flasks of whiskey while their respective babies crawl and scream and cry and poop all over each other. just like every other day, really. just kidding. mostly. in all seriousness, i really want this party to be laid back and fun for kids and adults alike. so there will be beer. and tequila. if you know me, you know that one of my mantras in life is this: EVERYTHING is better with tequila. so there will be beer with tequila (desperados, anyone?!), cupcakes with tequila (for the grownups only, no need to call the authorities!), and, since i’m a little old fashioned, tequila with tequila.

**note: i am not an alcoholic. in fact, after approximately two drinks these days i am done for the night. so obviously most of this is a joke and does not affect the parenting of our beautiful child, who i’m sure will enjoy tequila just as much as me when she’s all grown up. and not before then. i’m sure she’ll be as innocent as a flower until her 21st birthday (please just let me live with this delusion for awhile).

and there will be cake.

we’re still ironing out details for this aspect of the party, but i found a fantastic local bakery two little cats that’s happy to provide a smash cake for s’s photo shoot (surprise! oops) as well as cupcakes for the party. i thought two smash cakes might be a bit extravagant (read: paul thought) so we will have to settle for adorable photos of s smashing a cupcake into her face during the party. on the menu for the cupcakes: raspberry and lime flavored with lime green sugar sprinklings and fresh raspberries on top. yum. as for the smash cake, i’m hoping it’s going to look like this fabulous cake above!

there will be decorations.

Source: hapykoi.com via Kaitlin on Pinterest


Source: indulgy.com via Kaitlin on Pinterest



i toyed with the idea of having a very hungry caterpillar theme for this party, but decided instead to go with bright colors and more basic decorations. i especially love the ideas from 100 layer cake!

and there will be presents.

Source: amazon.co.uk via Kaitlin on Pinterest





Source: amazon.co.uk via Kaitlin on Pinterest

since march is fairly close to christmas, and since my house already seems to be a toy factory, we’re planning on keeping gifts pretty minimal this year. what i would love for her to get, however, is a few musical instruments. she shakes and bashes all of her toys already and really enjoys rhyme time and music of all kinds, so i think she will really appreciate a few things like these.

and there will be s.

Source: rstyle.me via Kaitlin on Pinterest

everyone who knows me knows that i love a little bit of baby style. in fact, i’m kind of obsessed with pinning gorgeous dresses/tops/jeans/shoes/anything to my baby d board on pinterest. and i have absolutely no restraint when it comes to baby clothes. we had BETTER have a girl the next time around, otherwise there are going to be many lonely, depressed articles of clothes that haven’t been worn in s’s nursery. so here is my inspiration for baby birthday style. (ok, so it’s more than inspiration. i bought it today but shhhhhh! don’t tell paul! ps. i want EVERYTHING from the beatrix potter range at baby gap right now. check it out here.)

i’ll keep you updated as the plans progress!

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!!!

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 food 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. 😉 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 £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 £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.

guest post: baby led weaning wednesday at awayathomemom

one of my friends from uni in the states, away at home mom, blogs about her adventures with raising a baby in an alternative setting. she, her husband, their daughter, and their bernese mountain dog live in an RV and plan to travel the states instead of living the regular static american lifestyle. check out her blog for her weekly baby led weaning posts, among other things. this week i guest posted about our BLW adventures (specifically throwing food, yum). enjoy!

baby led weaning…or, how everything in my house became sticky.

so tonight we officially started on our baby led weaning journey. we bought an AMAZING ex display stokke high chair from uk kid’s supplier kiddicare for £100 (normally £150ish for the chair alone)…it’s pretty badly scratched on the legs but came with a baby set and cushions in the price (which are normally £47 and £33 respectively!!!) so we couldn’t argue! we were anxious to let s have a go, since she’s been grabbing food off our plates and out of our hands for weeks now.

s’s first meal consisted of cucumber and cantaloupe, and looked a little bit like this:

enough with the photo shoot…give me the FOOD already!

dad, you’re funny. looking.

melon…not sure if i’m down with this flavor.

s LOVED the cucumber…chonked down on it for a good ten minutes happily, until she’d dropped it all on the floor and i wasn’t comfortable giving it back to her covered in cat hair. yuck. the melon was another story. i wish i’d captured it on tape: her reaction was hilarious! she sucked on it for awhile, but was less interested, and spat up a little afterwards. no gags tonight, thank you to the BLW gods (p would have had a heart attack…he’s not ready for chokey baby yet). tomorrow morning: toast!

i never ever thought i’d be this excited about food. ok, yes i did. but not in this way. i’m already planning her first birthday smash cake. gotta love the mess!!!