Monday, January 28, 2008


I know that there's a group in Cardiff that meets on the first Saturday of each month, but I don't know where or exactly when - please let me know the details if you know!

Also I'd love to know of other events in the South Wales, Bristol or Hereford areas that are linked to Chinese communities or culture.

Comments please!

10% OFF

I like that price!!

Seriously though - there are discounts to be had for very little effort.

Mumsnet offers discounts to their members and they're free to join! As a member you will qualify for discounts (mostly 10%) at several of my favourite retailers, including J0J0 M B, GLT*C, Bl00ming M@rvellous, The Wh1te Comp@ny, Letterb0x and B0den!

Any other tips bargain hunters? Comments please!


Recently Alice has started to kiss the objects that she's fond of!

Saturday - Alice picked up L's beaker with a straw and took a gulp - that had me running for the kitchen where I had the same cup (even with the same pattern!) in the cupboard, I filled up her cup and she drank the best part of 6 fl oz in the next 30 minutes! We've tried every sippy cup on the market and (until Saturday) Alice has refused to drink from anything other than a bottle or an open cup - but she drinks more from a bottle so that's where we've stuck, til now!

Sunday - new words, 'kisses', 'bear', still a way to go to match L's vocab but every new words makes my smile wider. Alice now claps when Mummy does the 'happy dance' and tells her that she's a 'clever girl!'

Today - we went to the soft play in A. Unsurprisingly Alice was much more confident at this session. She really enjoyed the soft play see-saw - it got several kisses! I think she would have stayed on it all morning if I'd let her. She also loved playing on the bouncy castle and in the ball pool. After that she astounded me by climbing the soft play stairs, unaided for no apparent reason and with great confidence. (At home I ALWAYS carry her up and down the stairs as they're very steep and have a flagstone floor at the bottom.)

Other people are noticing her progress too. At the weekend C said that Alice was even happier than before (hadn't seen her since mid November). I agree. Then today I read on a blog (can't remember which one) that adopted children seem to relax at about 6 months home and then again at about 12 months home - Alice's recent behaviour and progress would seem to support this.


This is from a fantastic charity that helps children in Chinese orphanages:

As you might know, we are in the final five days of a national competition on Facebook. We were in first place for quite some time, but now we are 45 donors behind the Free Tibet people. We have five days to find as many individual donors as possible in order to try to win the $50,000.

It is SO EASY to donate $10 and count as a unique donor. All you have to do is go here: Click "donate", and then it will ask you to register with Facebook. Once you are registered, you can donate just $10 and it counts towards our total. The donation is 100% tax deductible and is processed by I Give, a leading online charity site. Your credit card number is completely secure.

Facebook does not sell any information to third parties, and you can in fact go back and even delete your Facebook account as soon as you donate if you desire. I have really enjoyed learning how to use Facebook, however, and have found a lot of old friends on there that I have reconnected with.

I just wanted to say that this is REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME, so I am asking you as a dear friend or family member to please do this for me. I have so many babies on my heart right now who will not be on this earth in the next month if we cannot raise the funds they need for medical care. It takes a piece of my soul each and every time a
little baby dies in an orphanage when it would have been so easy to save their life with surgery. I have watched far too many babies struggle and then die over the years…and it is a very heavy burden to me.

If we win the $50,000 prize…that will save the lives of ten children dying of heart disease. That is so awesome. TEN CHILDREN. I hope you will be a part of us winning and saving their lives. I once had a conversation with a mom who had adopted a little boy whose life we had helped save. She said, "do you realize that the very fabric of the world has changed since our son lived when he didn't really have a chance?" She went on to say that her family realized that he would grow up one day and have kids of his own…perhaps be a doctor or a teacher or a researcher. I started crying when she took my hand and told me that because we had stepped in to save his life, the world would be impacted in ways we would never even know. Just because one boy's life was saved. I have so many children waiting for that same chance.

Don't forget that if there are two people in the home, then both can create a Facebook account and donate $10 and it counts as two donors. Everyone 13 and up in the Eldridge home has done so here. The contest is just on how many unique donors we can get behind our cause.

THANK YOU!! I would be SO GRATEFUL for your help.
Amy Eldridge
Love Without Boundaries

Sunday, January 27, 2008



Been busy - all the usual things.

M, C and L stayed this weekend and N came for lunch yesterday. Wonderful to get Alice and L together and we all had a fab time, really fab, relaxed and happy, wonderful. More on that tomorrow (probably!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The grumpiness continues sporadically - I continue to blame the rumbling teeth. Of the 8 that were moving, 6 are now through at least in part. Alice said 'Aaah,' tonight when she saw me with the teething gel!

Life's been really hectic recently - lots of paperwork to do and now more organising to get the beach house sale and move organised.

Yesterday was really busy - hence no posting! We went into A'g, collected my sewing machine and ran a few errands (got ABSOLUTELY soaked!) before going on to a new activity in the morning - soft play. The soft play was great - playmats, ball pool, activity climbing bit (for when she's toddling and climbing) including slide and a bouncy castle. It was very social - I knew about half the mums there - and several grannies came along when they heard we were there, it was lovely to introduce Alice to them and good to catch up. Alice was very clingy to begin with, but by the end of 90 minutes she was much more confident but didn't go more than a metre or two from me. She had a wonderful time and was so exhausted that it was a battle to keep her awake in the car!

Then I was a grown up for the afternoon!!! I know that there's no greater responsibility than caring for children, but I had an afternoon off. The Magnificent T looked after Alice and I went for an afternoon of pampering. Alice had great fun with T and her son C - they got her on her feet and when I came home she showed me that she can walk 5-6 steps unaided between people. Lots of pride - from me and her!!

Today? Swimming, still clingy, it's taking a lot to get over the Christmas break. Quick trip to the vet's - Daisy's arthritis has flared up but I'd taken the correct measures already. Then, after Alice's lunchtime nap, a trip into local town to collect the Chinese artwork that's now been framed and an impromptu visit with J and D.

2 more good days, we're very lucky.

Sunday, January 20, 2008



Alice has had 8 teeth for months. The next lot started rumbling just before Christmas - 8 have been moving all at the same time, poor baby. She's got very good at saying 'Aaahh,' to let me look at what's going on or to apply teething gel, but it's not always very wide open, so sometimes it's difficult to see.

On last inspection, a couple of days ago, 5 of the 8 had broken through, 1 completely. Since then the symptoms have risen again and another is definitely through.

Yesterday she was a little grumpy. Last night she went to bed without issue, but coughed through the evening. She continued to cough this morning and had a green and runny nose - so I cancelled our swimming date. On and off through today she's been grumpy again, picky with food (most unusual) and a very slightly elevated temperature - but no more cough! The teeth are definitely bothering her and she doesn't often complain.

Spirits were raised with the help of a few white chocolate drops - used in a bonding exercise - taken from Mummy's lips. My girl'll do almost anything for chocolate - not that she gets the chance that often.


. . . sometime this evening . . . the hit counter got to . . . 30,000 . . . in about 13 months . . . WOW.

Saturday, January 19, 2008



Finally - you get to see Alice, her love of cuddlies and cuddles!


Squeaky shoes encourage walking, the brick trolley helps too!


Friday, January 18, 2008


So I've treated you to a few clips.

What do you think?

They're very short as they take so long to upload. Also Blogger seems to cut the end of each clip, might try You or U T*be?

Comments, opinions, anyone?!



I accepted an offer last August, today we FINALLY exchanged contracts!

Now I'm just left to ponder why my life is never simple?!


Busy week, all the usuals and lots of paperwork - I'm trying to get organised!!

One of the side-effects of the long wait was total ostrich behaviour with paperwork - bills went unopened, sometimes unpaid for a while (ooophs!) and paperwork PILED up. It needed tackling, papers needed sorting and then shredding or filing. Expenses needed compiling. The accountant needed figures.

So far:
  • most of the papers have been sorted - filed or shredded,
  • spreadsheets have been compiled, linked and tallied,
  • the files have begun to be sorted - more figures included in the spreadsheet, lots more shredding,
  • 2007's P60 has been FOUND, major relief (it was in the paperwork I took to China, it had stayed in that file ever since!)
  • the accountant has been visited, but he's yet to say what info he's missing,
  • bills have been paid,
  • direct debits have been organised!
There's still plenty to do, but it's more than a start and now I'm sleeping more easily!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I lost the internet connection part-way through the first attempt, I'm hoping this one is more successful!

Monday, January 14, 2008


I've been experimenting, with my camera and Blogger to upload video clips.

This is a quickish clip of Alice, jigging to the theme tune of a TV programme - nothing too special, except that it's my baby, jigging and briefly talking.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Alice . . . kissing the television!

Yes, the television is on, I was listening to the Radio 4 programme again this afternoon. (Very interesting . . . this time I picked up upon very different aspects!)

Part-way through the programme Alice got close to the television, peered for several moments at the speakers, looked around the side and then kissed the screen - at the beginning of her investigations I was speaking (on the programme) and by the end of the kiss it was our travelling companion C - Alice very obviously knew our voices! x (that's from Alice for C and me!)


Another quiet day at home, except for a quick trip to the supermarket.

Why so many quiet days at home? Trying to strengthen some bonds (a few, smallish attachment issues) and to rectify the sleeping issues and get back into a routine.

So for now . . . please don't expect to hold Alice, even if she tries to dive into your arms . . . in the long run it's in her best interests to learn the importance of being with Mummy - it's about creating trust and a sense of identity . . . it's not up for debate . . . it's not negotiable . . . it's Mummy's way or not at all.

An explanation about the photo - Alice spent quite a while this afternoon playing with the farmer and her husband, she was determined that she was going to get them to stand up, unfortunately she chose a tricky task for carpet, but that didn't stop many minutes of trying.


I thought that I'd taken more photos, but didn't look very hard for them.

Then today I couldn't find any of the photos I thought that I'd taken - the camera had created a new folder without me realising, oops!


I adore this photo.

Not posed . . . but for once I caught the moment!

Alice has spontaneously given Fusspot several cuddles today - Fusspot liked it!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Play . . . lots of it . . . time with Alice and the dogs.

(Just in case anyone was wondering, the cardigan is a favourite - regardless of the colour scheme in the playroom!!)


We went for a week. We stayed in a 4* Cypriot hotel and quickly remembered that Cypriot 4* doesn't equate to British 4*!

We had a family room, it was quite tight for space with 2 adults and 2 children. M was 4 and C 2. It was M's first year at school (now she's in the Juniors!) As was typical for C as a very youngster, she was poorly while we were away.

Memories . . . lots of fish . . . scampi . . . a fish restaurant, very good but we had communication problems . . . several national football teams staying in our hotel and the surrounding ones . . . a beach with black sand (was it The Governor's Beach?) . . . M and the girls getting very wet from an expected wave on the black sand beach . . . struggling to find the camel park . . . the camel park . . . very friendly camels . . . shopping . . . play park . . . good times.


. . . but not just any cardigan . . . this one's special!

I bought it nearly 3 years ago in February 2005. I was in Cyprus with GMA and her girls. We found a lovely shop of children's clothes. I found the cardigan, I had to be persuaded to buy it. At the time it was just too small for C. It was in the sale, but still expensive. I loved it the moment I found it - so so soft, yellow and navy, my favourite colours.

I never imagined that it would be another 3 years before my daughter would wear it, but then I never dreamed that my nearly 15 month old daughter would be wearing an age 2 cardigan!!

And the facial expression - this is the 'kissy' face, don't know why but I've seen this expression an awful lot in the last few days.

. . . I can feel a post about that holiday coming up!

Friday, January 11, 2008


Quiet time at home means time for Alice with her dogs. She's getting very good at stroking gently and takes time to stroke all 3 - when given the chance.

Fusspot's been very naughty about chewing things recently, so as a last resort (and to try and save some of Alice's toys) I've given her back her bones (taken away when Alice also tried chewing them!) It's been a great success recently - Fusspot's chewing to her heart's content (and chewing a lot) and Alice's toys have remained intact (so far!)

However, returning the bones creates another problem - Alice thinks she should chew them too!! We're still working on not chewing them, but in the meantime she continues to torment the dogs by wrestling the bones from them - the dogs are gentle but persistent in regaining the bones!


Afternoon nap and teething - necessitated a change of outfit!

Fun at home, quiet playtime - all the favourites, including Grandma's hairspray!!


Look at the changes, wow.


It's trying to snow here, nothing about that on either the Beeb or Met Office forecasts. There's too much water around here at the moment, it's running down the lane and the splashes are coming over the wall. For now the sleet's gone back to rain but it's pretty chilly.


I put squeaky shoes on Alice this morning - to try and encourage her to walk, it didn't, but she did do a lot of bouncing on the spot!! (Not daft!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Wa1tr0se will be starting home deliveries around here in February - fab!!


Available here, but not for us!

I discovered the website when it was recommended on my US DTC group (for people all over the world whose papers went to China in October 05, but it's predominantly USA based). Great website, recommended as they sell an Asian food set. I tried to order, but they won't let me as I don't live in the USA.

Suggestions anyone? Anyone got a creative way around this?


This is the Doomoo beanbag seat that I blogged about.

Alice seems to like it, she sits for moments at a time in it (that's a lot when you're nearly 15 months old!) and she loves feeling the different textures of it.

We had a lovely day today - nothing overly special but it's just great to spend time with her, she's so precious and, as yet, so wonderfully unaware that she's got me exactly where she wants me!!

Now if someone could just find a way to stop time so I could just enjoy her even more!


We went to J0 J*ngles this morning, same day, different town, different instructor, much better! Alice jigged and screeched and then took a step, just one! (Because it was during our music class there was no photo of the first step!)

The rest of the day has been a quiet day at home, poor Alice has spent it being plonked just out of arms reach and being told to, "Be a big girl and walk, stand up, don't crawl!" Later in the morning she managed 2 and a half steps altogether (the 1st photo is of the end of the first step and the second is the end of that walk!) That was the longest walk, but we've had lots of single steps and several where she's taken a step and then another with the same leg, ending up doing a half turn!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


. . . mixing toys . . . not daft . . . experimenting how they go together!

In the second photo Alice is using the fork to set off the music in the shape sorter!


Last night's sleep I mucked up and gave in at my bedtime, two and a half hours later she went back to bed and we both finally got some sleep. Tonight I will go to bed, exhausted, with a renewed iron-will!

Another relatively simple day. Back to swimming lessons this morning. Alice did well considering she hadn't been in the water for 4 weeks. D and A weren't swimming after the lesson (as they've closed the creche, ugh), so I joined the other Mums for a coffee - fab. It was really good to properly get to know them and chat, I vow to do it again - next week hopefully!

Home for lateish lunch, nap time went fairly smoothly but resulted in another nasty nappy - those teeth are really making Alice suffer.

Then we went into Usk to get some errands completed - including another visit to the framing gallery - I hope to have the prints, embroideries, Chinese characters framed and home by the end of the week!

Back at home we had a while to play before supper - you'll notice that the TV is on (again) but only to play a CD. Alice 'danced' through her playing. Favourite toys continue to be the breakfast set (especially the wooden flower), the farm animals and the shape sorter.

Despite teething, food is a big 'YUM!' at the moment!

I kept Alice up for a while longer than usual - we went upstairs at 6.30pm and she was in bed for 7ish. I've started to stay with her for 5-10 minutes after going into her bed - to try and calm her, she still cries when I leave but it's much more of a token effort than a real cry as it used to be. She was asleep by 7.30pm (Hooray!) but has moaned and groaned a bit through the evening and she'll probably stir when I go to bed.

Overall a good day, she stayed in routine and the routine (tweaked) is working more effectively again, hooray!!