Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 . . . NEARLY

I'm treating myself to an early night (insomnia will probably follow).

I didn't think about blogging about 2007 until moments ago, the short story is easy to guess - best year of my life . . . ever . . . without a doubt . . . she was worth every shred of paper and every minute waiting, over and over. Tomorrow is our 6 month anniversary . . . what an incredible time . . . how my life has changed . . . and next year I get a full 12 months of it, not just 6!

Happy New Year - I hope that 2008 brings health and happiness. x

Saturday, December 29, 2007

PLAYTIME!




WHAT YOU LOOKIN' AT?

STATS!

29,000 in just over 12 months!

TODAY'S LUXURY!

I had to get up early - to make sure the rubbish was outside before the binmen arrived. I went back to bed and hoped that Alice hadn't been disturbed, she hadn't. She stirred at about 8:20, but only burbled and then went quiet so I left her and the next thing I knew it was nearly 10am! When I went into the nursery, Alice was awake - lying quietly on her side. We went back to my bed for her morning bottle (as usual) and stayed there until the postie rang the bell an hour later! I rushed to answer the door, Alice only had a clean nappy and her PJ top on (thanks K and family!) - so then we were downstairs in PJs, the indulgence continued and Alice played happily (half-dressed in bed things) until lunchtime (the heating was on!)

Photos (from the top):
  • Being silly and having fun!
  • Playing with her new shape sorter. Show her the right hole and she can post each shape, she can do the circular and starry one without help! It plays music when shapes are posted or when the drum roles. Alice loves it so much she kept picking it up and giving it a hug!
  • Playing with the h@ppyl@nd animals from GFN's Christmas present - a farm!
  • Drinking from her new tea set - ELC, very disappointing, too small - what you can't see from this angle is that she's drinking from the teapot!!

CATCHING UP - SINCE CHRISTMAS!

Boxing Day - quiet day at home - already blogged.

Thursday - lots of special friends. Coffee with GFW and J before they left, lovely to see them. They were amazed how much Alice has grown and matured, I was delighted to see how Blob is growing! Then onto a pub lunch with more friends from primary school - including GFN.

Friday - retail therapy and then special family over for tea - too busy for photos!

Today - coming in a post of it's own (later)!

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS - SPECIAL ONES

The lady was a present from friends - she's delicate and gorgeous, very much like the person who gave her!

The tram was bought in San Francisco in 1985 - while Mum and I were on holiday there. Mum was amazed to find a Christmas shop there in August (how times have changed!) We both loved SF, especially the trams, so Mum had to buy one for our tree. This decoration had a specific place on the tree - eye level in the centre, just in front of the trunk. It became a family joke to try and move it and see how long it would take for Mum to notice! I love the happy memories associated with it.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS - THIS YEAR

More purchases from Ch*na Spr*ut, a set of Chinese ethnic minority dolls and a set of red and green stocking.

I like the fact that our Christmas tree reflects both our heritages - I hope that Alice will enjoy it too.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS - LAST YEAR

Last year I bought some pottery shapes at a Christmas fair, they're each hung with gingham ribbon. The set includes a candy cane (the ribbon is at the wrong end so it hangs upside down!), Christmas puddings, heart, a bauble and a stocking.

Then just before Christmas I got a bargain from Ch*na Spr*ut in the USA - a set of cloisonne ornaments. All sorts, egg shapes, stars, trees, baubles - all either red, white or green, many with pandas on. I was especially pleased as they arrived just after Christmas, in time to go on the tree.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS - TRADITIONS

Every year my family buy some new decorations, maybe one, usually more, sometimes a set.

Usually old and new decorations are mixed on the tree - this year, however, a lot of (breakable) decorations stayed in the box.

This decoration (shell bell) is one of a set left by Father Christmas at my Dad's - on the year's when I spent Christmas in Wales (with Mum's family) Dad would come to visit on Boxing Day, bringing with him a cardboard box (as I wasn't with him, Father Christmas couldn't find my stocking!) One year this bell (and other shell decs - stocking, apple) were in my stocking, they've been hung on the tree every year since then.

ALICE IS A STAR!

Ever since we got home from China, GFN has been reminding me to get some 'proper' photos taken of Alice, a couple of weeks ago we finally got to the studio! I wanted 'lifestyle' photos taken - the ones against a white background. I wanted Alice to be wearing special clothes, so I chose her birthday dress and Chinese outfit - pure coincidence that the colours turned out to be red and green.

My Christmas present was some of these photos. I've always wanted a canvas of Alice and I also had a multiframe collection.

I'm posting with the photographer's full permission. I think that he was rather taken with Alice, he was certainly impressed with how quick she was to mimic him, not that that helped us to get decent photos. There were lots of lovely photos (my photos of the photos don't do either frame any justice). The multiframe is a collection of my favourites and really captures the different aspects of her personality and expressions - a second frame of this is going to be on display in his studio (so he must have liked the results!)

ALICE'S HAIR

Alice's hair continues to grow, it's no longer standing up (except for bed-head mornings!) Luckily GMA and Father Christmas have provided a few hairclips - they're not as easy as you'd think to put in!

YESTERDAY'S PRESENTS







NOT QUITE WHAT I INTENDED WHEN I SAID 'CHICKEN FOR LUNCH!'


TODAY'S EVENTS AND SLEEP

Alice and I were exhausted after yesterday, so with a change of plan we had a really quiet day.

We said goodbye and thank you to S as she went on her travels. We should have gone to see H and J but instead we stayed at home, kept things simple and tried out a few more toys.

Alice went to sleep quickly at lunchtime and slept well, but this evening (despite being really tired at bedtime, yawning, eye rubbing etc) she took nearly an hour to fall asleep.

Along with her hair, sleep is something that has changed a lot since she has been home. In China and the first few months home, Alice would fall asleep within minutes of being put in her cot (with no fuss). In November things began to change, now she screams as she's lowered into the cot (begin to lift her out and she stops immediately - she has learnt the power of crying!), she fusses a lot, moves around the cot a lot and takes ages to fall asleep. I've tried swaddling her - it helps to restrict her movements and sometimes helps her to go to sleep much more quickly, other times it fails and she gets free. But I'm worried about over heating whilst swaddled and with its limited success I'm not trying it as often. I've tried giving her a dummy again, it doesn't seem to help much but it gives her a distraction - strange to see her with it, she hasn't tried it since the first days together, now she can manipulate it just as she wants, somehow when she's sucking on it she can make it make a snapping noise (it's easy to tell on the monitor when she's sucking on it!)

PRESENTS AND TEA!

One of Alice's present was this breakfast set.

It's all painted wood - tray, plates, cutlery, cup, vase with flower, eggcup and egg, salt and pepper, strawberries and sliced toast too. I put the tray together last night, Alice played with it a lot today! I showed her how to sip from the cup, making a sipping sound and an 'Arr!' sound after the drink, then finishing with 'Yum.' As the cup is passed she also says 'Ta,' whether she is getting or giving the cup! So sweet. No doubt she really likes her presents, this one especially - thanks GMA and Co.

(More posts about pressies to come!)

SETTLING IN!

Top - Panda fits right in!

Bottom - Alice loves him (giving him a hug!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

ALICE'S FIRST CHRISTMAS

Lovely day.

FC visited and left a stocking full of great things - FC plate, mug and bowl, hair clips, cuddly panda (just like the big one that lives in the car, how did he know?), books, boats for the bath, a Fifi phone and a supersoft pink taggy blanket, as well as chocolate, chocolate coins and a satsuma. All were extremely popular, so much so that it took Alice nearly all morning just to empty the stocking!!

Mummy gave her big panda (Mummy couldn't wait til Christmas!), a Leappad interactive book, more books, new outfit for Christmas (to go with the bolero cardi from her birthday outfit, all Mons00n) and a trampoline.

Alice had so many parcels under the tree that we've saved some to open tomorrow. This morning the great attraction of pressies was ripping the tags off, by this evening (with a little help from GFW) she'd learnt how to rip the pressies open - but the wrapping was more of an attraction than the contents! She's been thoroughly spoilt with wonderful pressies, lots of toys, plenty of books and quite a few clothes too.

She's been wonderful today, as usual, despite the fact that she's not feeling too good - her first pair of molars are coming through and she's been suffering, especially in the last 36 hours. She's had lots of numbing gel and pink medicine - to combat the usual symptoms. Unfortunately today she's had really bad nappies and she vomited immediately after lunch (having slightly choked on a satsuma segment the whole of lunch reappeared). Her sleep is suffering too - she finally dropped off at about 9pm tonight, very unusual and given the situation around bedtime it wasn't to do with over excitement - that's to come in future years!

Monday, December 24, 2007

THE BEST GIFT EVER

(even managed a little wrapping!)

Happy Christmas x

Friday, December 21, 2007

ANOTHER LOVELY DAY BUT IT'S GETTING HECTIC!

GFN delivered Alice's pressies this morning, as usual it was lovely to see him and Alice relaxed with him around very quickly.

Alice had lunch and then vomited all of her lunch - very neatly, neither of us needed a change of clothes! After a bit of play, some scrambled egg and some of the wonderful pink medicine, she went to bed and quickly to sleep. Then I frantically wrapped presents! I had to wake her up so that I could bundle her up again and take her out.

We delivered a birthday card and Christmas pressie (H B'day D x!) on the way to the Brecon Mountain Railway - where we met up with K&Co and caught a steam train to see Father Christmas! He asked if Alice had been good (yes, very) and what she wanted for Christmas (she stayed quiet, so I suggested books and cuddlies - because they're her favourites, not that she needs any more!) He gave us some presents and then he reminded the children to go to bed early on Christmas Eve and the grown-ups not to have too much of the Christmas Spirit! Another memorable day - emotional again, remembering the last 2 years - visiting FC on the steam train while waiting for my baby. It is a super way to go and see FC, Alice enjoyed it and even waved Bye-bye to the big man as we left!

Then it was a drive back home through the fog and ice while listening to Christmassy songs. Another late night for Alice, but she was very good about it and is now sound asleep!

CATCHING UP - THURSDAY 20th

Busy morning, running round finishing bits off and getting jobs done. Some last minute Christmas shopping (I underestimated how many of 1 particular gift I'd need!), Jo J*ngles (last class for this year), hair cuts (only trimmed her collar line, looks much better, don't know what they did to me as I was concentrating on Alice!) and then home for lunch.

Alice snoozed very briefly on the way to the hairdresser's, oophs! So she looked at the inside of her cot for a while after lunch. Mid afternoon we went to K's, Alice fell asleep 10 minutes before we got there, I let her sleep in the car in front of K's front window (her neighbour was a little surprised when I got her out of the 30 minutes after I arrived, she was very warm as I used Truffles Panda as a blanket!)

After tea I bundled her up and we went on a train (1st time with me!) to C'ph'y for a 'Parade of Light'. We collected the lanterns that we made last weekend and then waited an age for the parade to begin, then we walked down through town and ended up at the castle. Unfortunately we then had to wait a very long time for the fireworks to begin. The fireworks were excellent but the other children had had enough before they began, so we watched most of the display and then went back to the car - Alice continued to watch over my shoulder, she was entranced (but only when being held, not whilst in the buggy!) A good evening, very cold and slightly spoilt by poor organisation - I hope the Council are blog readers!! An emotional evening for me - holding Alice in front of the castle I couldn't help remembering last year, the uncertainty and the hope that 'next year' I'd have my baby - it was wonderful to be able to take Alice with me this year, very special.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

TODAY'S NEWS!

We had a quiet morning. After the school's carol service and staff night out last night, I was slow to get going and Alice was her usual amenable self and let me go at a leisurely pace!

Today's outfit was another lovely pressie from GMA and her family - a gift from their Florida holiday, from Gymb*ree (could become my favourite store!) I admired another IAP's daughter's outfit recently and in the process I was introduced to Gymb*ree. Unfortunately they don't have any shops over here any more, but you can shop online, so I did! I ordered some clothes (for next winter and Christmas) on Sunday evening, paid $5 extra for express delivery and they arrived this morning, 36 hours later!! Incredible and the clothes are fabulous too, I will be ordering again.

I've had another shock with Alice's clothes recently - the baby grows that are on the small size are a size larger than I'd thought, she's nearly out of M*thercare's 12-18 months, at 14 months!

For fun I tried some squeaky shoes (bought in China) (shoes that squeak as she walks - to encourage walking) on her this morning. I'd bought 3 pairs, the smallest are already too small, sigh. Anyway, Alice really loved the shoes, they didn't help much with walking, but she did a lot of bouncing and had great fun. I know that there are differing opinions as to when a child should wear shoes - I'm going to keep Alice in the soft leather slippers until she's properly walking, but occasionally we'll have some fun with the squeakers!

I also keep meaning to post about her hair. I know that Alice is looking a little 'hippyish' at the moment - that's what comes from trying to grow baby hairstyle out into a bob! I see a hairdresser's appointment in the near future!!

YESTERDAY - TUESDAY 18th CATCH UP!

I haven't got the time or patience to get the photo explanations next to the photos, so from the top:
  • Photo 1 - couch potato in the making, I came in from the kitchen to find Alice sitting on the cushion like this!
  • Photo 2 - giving kisses, I wish you could hear the kissy sound that goes with this.
  • Photo 3 - I love that smile.
  • Photo 4 - taking a call!
The cardigan was a birthday present from C - thanks it's beautiful and I think that Alice looks lovely in it! Silly me, I thought it was a bit big, so kept it in the wardrobe for a while, that kid keeps on growing and fooling me, but that's what children are for isn't it? To make a fool out of their parents?!

CATCHING UP - TUESDAY 18th, THE TREE

I know that the exposure etc on the photo are odd - but it was the only photo from a few that showed that the lights were on! I took it before the angel was put on the top.

We spent yesterday morning decorating the tree. I decorated whilst trying to keep Alice away from the tree and the boxes of decorations! I tried to put the more Alice-friendly bits towards the bottom and many baubles didn't make it onto the tree this year (in fear of the Alice effect on the ornaments or tree!) Although the tree has plenty of decorations on it, you'd never know I'd even started the decorating by the looks of the boxes - they're still virtually full. Anticipating the next few years - while Alice and then Lil Sis are small, I think I may need to have a more sophisticated tree with the delicate ornaments (the ones with many memories) somewhere out of small people's way!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FLORAL PRINTS

To the anonymous commenter - please tell me a little more or leave me an email address for direct contact (I won't publish comments with email addresses in them).

Floral prints?
  • The recent ones (from 14th Dec) - matching top and tights (lovely pressies from S, M and T - thanks!) are from N*xt.
  • The ones from 30th Nov, red leggings and co-ordinating top are also N*xt (another super pressie from J and D, thanks)!

Monday, December 17, 2007

BUSY DAY, ALL MUNDANE!

No photos, no time. Busy but boring things!

Still coughing, GPs appointment for me first thing, more antibiotics - I think that its the 5thcourse since mid October. GP wanted me to go for a second chest X-ray, so I went straight on from the surgery to the hospital. Luckily the hospital were quite quick, so we went straight on to the Gym - I went to aqua aerobics and Alice went to the creche (for the last time as it's rumoured that the creche will close on Friday, but they haven't confirmed it yet).

Home for lunch and a nap for Alice while T and I put up the Christmas tree and made the house a bit straighter. T took Alice for a while so that I could go to the oesteopath (agony but hopefully will sort a few problems, clicky knees and painful finger and elbow!) Spent a while collecting Alice from my neighbours (T's parents), home for supper (cheese on toast, every mouthful greeted with "Yum!" from Alice!) and then she went to bed - screaming again but only briefly, I think it's probably because she's teething.

Me? Really tired (J - didn't use the 'sh' word, hope it wasn't me!), failed to get the Alice-free jobs done, again, there's always tomorrow!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

MY PICKLE

Pickle is the name of Alice's bunny.

But it's also the nickname for a mischievous child in our family. This afternoon Alice was definitely a Pickle - jumping on the sofa.

Remember this in 9 days time!