18 Months Old Today!

 
No party, but we’re celebrating. My darling, dearest baby boy is 18 months old. I can’t believe I had to be convinced to have a second child. Husband spent years begging, hence the four-year age gap between the kids. I had such bad morning sickness with my daughter, I really didn’t like being pregnant. And it was another tough pregnancy, with worse morning sickness. But it was worth it.

Dubz runs around in a frenzy and has done so since he was 12 months old. He is happy and busy. He is obsessed with elephants. He said his first two words (dada and mama) at 10 months and nothing concrete since. There are lots of sounds that are almost words. He’ll get there in his time. Right now I am enjoying his funny little ways.

Burglary schmurglary

After we were burgled last week, I only had a few hours to be scared and angry and sad. Then there was the time-consuming business of dealing with the insurance company. Most of us keep warranties and receipts for electrical goods. Bbt how many of us have our jewellery valued? I’m not Elizabeth Taylor, surely my jewellery isn’t worth much, I hear you muttering. You would be surprised what it costs to replace gold jewellery bought 20 years ago.

And even if you don’t have your jewellery valued, you should at least have pictures of the items, especially pictures of you wearing your jewellery. I have spent hours looking for photos of me wearing jewellery but most of the time I have a baby or child in front of me so you can’t see much apart from my head. Check any mum’s phone or camera and you will find hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of her children. I rarely appear in pics, as if some mythical figure ‘the mum’. 

So this week I will be making Husband take photos of me wearing all my remaining jewellery, and taking more selfies of me and the kids so that I can prove I’m more real than the Loch Ness Monster.

The Crown Jewels, Not Quite

It’s been a bit of a tough week at my house. We all went to the in-laws’ for a couple of days. We left our five year-old there and came home with our 17-month old on Tuesday (our daughter adores her grandparents and takes every opportunity to stay with them). We arrived home to find we had been burgled.

I’ve never been burgled before, so assumed burglars took televisions and computers and whatever jewellery is in your jewellery box. I thought I was one step ahead by hiding my various bits of jewellery in different drawers in different rooms. What a shock to see my sock and knicker drawers overturned onto my bed. They got most of my gold jewellery and half of all my jewellery. 

I can handle loss of belongings. I’m not overly materialistic. BUT, most of the jewellery they took were given to me by my father. My dearest, but departed, father. There were pieces of jewellery that I would wear and think of him. I don’t need those things to think of him. But they were nice to have.

So, next week I will be trying to focus on being thankful for the things I have. Not just physical things, but memories of much love.
Xx

Grown-Up Time

When we only had one child, Husband and I would go out once a month for a date. Now that we have two kids, it is tougher. We manage once every two months. Husband’s parents come to visit us from the West Midlands once a month or every other month. We try to go out when they visit, but sometimes we don’t have the energy to do anything.

I am so tired. Every evening, when the kids go to sleep, I just want to slovenly stretch out on the sofa. And wear sweatpants. I love wearing sweatpants, but would never leave the house wearing them. Going on a date would require proper trousers, brushed hair and perhaps some mascara. 

But then we go out, like tonight, and have such a nice time chatting and eating and drinking. And I remember. I remember that Husband is my best friend and not just the person who helps me with the kids. Then it is worth taking a break from the sweat pants.

For all of you lucky enough to be sharing your life/raising children with your best friend, remember that they need a few nights away from ‘comfy’ and need some ‘making an effort’ time. 

But going out is more than just ‘couple time’, it’s going out with friends or family and being you. Sometimes we all need a teeny tiny break from being mum or dad. We were all people before we had children (sweatpants or not).

Goodbye Hallo Ween

Halloween went well. Mg daughter, Moozles, went to a schoolfriend’s house then trick-or-treating (six five-year old girls losing their minds with anticipation–talk about scary). Then we got home in time to trick-or-treat on our neighbouring streets with Moozles and her brother. We didn’t let Dubz have any candy since he is only 17-months old–he just loved getting to walk around at night. He is quite independent, so we didn’t take the stroller/buggy and he had a fab time wandering around.

This made me think how kids love going out after dark. We are normally quite strict about a 7pm/7.30pm bedtime at our house. What do other people do? Do you let your kids stay up at weekends, vacations or school holidays? Maybe I should be more relaxed? Apart from an occasional wedding or family party, my daughter hasn’t stayed up past 8pm very often.

Halloween Survival Tips

Halloween Survival Tips
My first 10 Halloweens in London were quite uneventful. In fact, we only had one trick-or-treater. And as we were not expecting him, we did not have any candy. But last year we moved to a very Halloween-friendly area of South West London. My then-four-year old went trick-or-treating for the first time. My father-in-law stayed home to pass out candy. Unfortunately, we did not get many trick-or-treaters. I did not know the rules then. But I do now.
 
1. If you want trick-or-treaters, you must have some kind of Halloween decoration in front of your house, on your window or window ledge. If you do not, trick-or-treaters will not knock or ring. Any little decoration or pumpkin will do. In America, you just need to keep your front porch/door light on.
 
2. No matter how warm it is the week before Halloween, the temperature drops by 5C on Halloween. So make sure you can layer clothes underneath your child’s outfit because most children do not want to wear a coat over their costume.
 
3. As an avid on-line shopper, I sometimes forget that there are some shops which you have to go to in person. Pound shops and grocery stores usually sell decent decorations and costumes for a low price.
 
4. Many children in the UK like to dress up a bit scary for Halloween. From what I have seen, kids here prefer to be witches, ghosts, devils and monsters. In America, people dress up as everything under the sun.
 
5. In America, the clocks go back the Sunday after Halloween. In Europe it is the Sunday before. This means it is dark by 5pm. Trick-or-treaters begin at around 5.30pm. By 7pm, most people have run out of candy so don’t bother.
 
6. Bring an umbrella. Enough said.
 
7. You don’t get the candy hoard in the UK that you do in America. I remember using pillow cases when I went trick-or-treating as a child. Here you can get away with a small holder, as in the pumpkin basket in the bottom photo. You can get one for £1 at Poundland.
 
Happy All Hallows’ Eve!
Halloween Survival Tips Halloween Survival Tips Halloween Survival Tips

How do you like them chocolates?

Okay, okay, I might be going overboard with my constant usage of ‘how do you like them…’ in my post titles. I just can’t stop myself. I will try to make this the last one, but I cannot make any guarantees.
 
Anyway, this half-term Husband has taken the week off and we’re spending a few days with my in-laws in Leamington Spa. Today we went to Cadbury World. Oh, the smell of chocolate being made. Heavenly. I never knew I could feel intoxicated by just a smell. They gave us lots of free chocolate plus my mother-in-law bought enough from the gift shop to feed a small village. I say a small village, but the six of us won’t have much trouble taking down four carrier bags of chocolate.
Growing up in America, I ate plenty of Hershey’s chocolate. I enjoyed it, but didn’t realise how lovely Cadburys is. It is so creamy. I still enjoy Hershey’s miniatures or kisses, on the odd occasion. But dairy milk, whole nut, flake, crunchie and creme eggs. Oh my. Today I tried a wispa for the first time. Yum. I could eat chocolate every day. Oh wait, I do. Maybe that’s why I’m still carrying two stone of baby weight. I am too ashamed to say how many chocolate bars I’ve eaten today (okay, five).
Off to have have another dairy milk.

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins?

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins

A few days ago, I posted about my want of getting a pumpkin from an actual pumpkin patch. After extensive internet research, I found the closest thing to a pumpkin patch within a 30-45 minute drive of Southwest London. Yesterday afternoon we went to Crockford Bridge Farm near Weybridge in Surrey.

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins

Not surprisingly, I heard several American accents at Crockford. I obviously wasn’t the only American looking for a piece of home. I couldn’t even find a pumpkin in central London 11 years ago and now there’s a pumpkin patch not too far away. Amazing. Crockford even had a few shelves in their farm shop dedicated to American groceries.

Dubz enjoyed running around crazily, Moozles enjoyed the playground. I searched for the ‘right’ pumpkin. To my husband’s annoyance, I can never just buy something. I have to make sure it is the ‘best one’. But in the end, I did manage to find the best pumpkin. I think this may be an American thing as my British girlfriends seem a lot more relaxed about their purchases. Can anyone confirm or deny? 

Anyway, we had a fab day. And we will be turning our visit to Crockford Bridge Farm into an annual Halloween tradition. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins How Do You Like Them Pumpkins

Americanisms

Even though I have lived in the UK for over 11 years, I still sometimes forget British words. Yesterday at Chessington, I told my husband that the bottle of water cost two dollars. Then I called chips ‘fries’. Half the time, I pronounce tomato in the American way. I have had to recently explain to my daughter that I pronounce some things differently because I’m from America but that she should pronounce things like daddy or her friends. I don’t want her to be ridiculed for saying things in a ‘weird’ way, but she wants to do everything like me. I don’t think I’ll ever say everything the British way and I don’t want to. I like my Americanisms. So rather than going for a little lie down on the sofa to watch some telly, I think I’ll go veg out on the couch and watch some TV. Peace Out!

Happy Bug Day

Earlier this week, my five-year old asked what we were doing for Bug Day. After some confused exchanges, she clarified that it was Insect Day. Aha! What she meant was Inset Day. Schools in the UK have five teacher training days per school year, taken on different days per different schools. At my daughter’s school, the inset day is normally the Friday before half-term. So, today we went to Chessington World of Adventures to take advantage of some half-term fun but with term-time lines. A grand time was had by all, I think it might become our Autumn Bug Day tradition.
 
Selfies are the only way I make it in pics
Chessington looking Halloweeny
Cotton candy (that’s candy floss to Brits) seemed like a good idea until I had to wash and brush the sticky tangles from Moozles’ hair 
Dubz’s first taste of ketchup. He LOVED it!
My husband, the bird whisperer