30 November, 2012

Happy Holidays.

So, today was a weird day. I put the bratface in the pushchair (which we never do for trips to central London) to take her to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with friends. We got there without incident, and when we got out of the tube station I reached for my phone in my back pocket to see what time it was... only to find that I'd been pickpocketed. Phone, gone. Luckily I'd backed it up just a couple of days ago so I didn't lose any pictures, but still... pain in the butt. All good, I'm being very zen about "stuff" these days, so I borrowed a mate's phone to cancel mine and we headed into the park.

A couple of hours in, we found the baby change facilities for fresh baby butts all around. We took it in shifts to visit the grownup bathrooms, and when my turn came around I left Madam with the pushchair and our friends. Duty done, I came back, collected Madam in her wheeled throne and we headed out. I went for my bag, only to realise that it wasn't there. A friend's husband ran back into the baby change and came out, my bag in hand. My confusion mounted, as I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I hadn't moved it from the pushchair. Upon opening the bag... wallet gone. Sixty pounds in cash, credit cards, debit card, drivers license, NI card... gone. I borrowed yet another friend's phone to cancel my cards while our group scattered, looking for the dumped wallet in trash cans in the area. One police report filed, no wallet found, much time wasted. *sigh*

I maintained my zen throughout. Impressive, eh? I mean, there was nothing I could do about it. Getting upset wouldn't make it any better, cards can be replaced, it wasn't a million pounds stolen, and Bratface and I were unscathed. No big deal.

I'm pretty impressed with my friends. I kept telling them to go on with their day, that I'd find my way home after I dealt with the police (who told me that pushchairs are a particular target in the holiday season), there was no point in sticking around wasting time, but not a single one of them took me up on it. It was all "can I get you a hot drink?" and "do you need money to get home?" I have some pretty awesome friends. I love that I'm finally at a point in my life that I have friends who put as much into the relationship as I do. It's pretty awesome.

Plus, we got to hear the German guy singing "Gangnam Style". Doesn't get any better than that.

23 November, 2012

Thanks.

So, right now I should be baking four pies, a few dozen cookies, a carrot cake, and some dinner rolls. That's before prepping all the meat and veg for tomorrow's yearly Thanksgiving bash at ours. What am I doing instead? I'm watching my daughter throw puzzle pieces around the room and cast her eyes around for the next household item to destroy. And enjoying every second of it.

It's not like we had a near-death experience last night, but a trip to A&E was close enough to suit me. She's totally fine, she just slept really fitfully, I realised she was burning up, and then she had a weird little episode where she wouldn't look at Himself or me which prompted me to jump in the shower with her, still in my pj's, trying to get her temp down. When that didn't work, the panicky mother in me had us all in the car on the way to the hospital. They checked her ears and throat (and the tongue depressor made her lose everything she'd eaten in the last day all down my leg... broccoli smells BAD secondhand) gave her Calpol (which I could have done at home, if my panicky head had been thinking clearly) and waited for her fever to break (which it did, of course). She was asleep on the hospital bed, butt in the air, before we'd been at the hospital for half an hour.

The staff were lovely. Nobody even raised an eyebrow to indicate that they thought I was overreacting, they were professional and polite, it was exactly the reaction I needed in my (slightly) overwrought state. Hey, I managed not to cry... the whole time. *grin*

It's cliche, I know, but it really puts things into perspective. The drama of the last week in my London life, the emails from the silly little girl in NYC, none of that matters one teeny little bit. My kid is healthy, happy, and a tornado of destruction (I think that's normal, right?) and that's all I need in this world. I have a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

23 August, 2012

I'm ba-aaack.

Yeah, it's been a while. I'm trying to raise a tiny human, my hands have been a bit full. Literally.

The She-Beast has two teeth. She bites me sometimes. It hurts, but not as badly as it hurts me to smack her. It's painful to see the shocked look on her face when I pop her sweet little mouth (full of razor sharp piranha teeth) and the tears well up in her eyes like I've told her she can never have chocolate again. At the same time, one of these days it's going to be a baby at one of our groups that she bites. Not cool. Hence the discipline, although at this rate I'm going to have to resort to a muzzle as she doesn't seem to be learning her lesson... more than once, she's laughed at me when I smacked her. *sigh* Turns out we're actually related.

We've just come back from Texas, where we spent a week offending the locals and exposing Madam to her grandmother's loving attentions. We arrived in London spoiled (Madam) and exhausted (both of us), only to be met at the airport by Himself bearing a gift for the bratface (one of those rubber Sophie giraffe toys that squeaks whenever you look at it too hard). I came home to a clean house with newly installed baby gates and flowers on the mantel... impressed? *grin* He'd also been to the grocery store to get basics so I wouldn't have to go to the store my first day home. Awesome.

The catering thing is going fairly well, I've booked a first birthday party for 40+ people on Monday. Gotta love word of mouth, a friend from one of our baby groups mentioned me to someone she knows from other groups, and the eventual trail led to a booking. I'm making the cake, various nibbles including homemade crackers, and a vegetable lasagne for which I made homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheese today. Just call me Suzy Homemaker. *grin* I have to admit, there's something extremely satisfying about watching milk turn into cheese. I'll definitely be repeating the process.

Our five year wedding anniversary is this Saturday. I'm still having a hard time believing we've been married for five years... *lol* I found Himself something suitably bizarre in Camden, but I got an early gift on Sunday. He came back from having taken madam for a walk while I worked on the menu for this party I'm catering (she would NOT leave me alone, even though Himself was in the floor to play with her... she's like a cat sitting on the newspaper you're trying to read) and asked me if I had to do any cooking during the week or if I would do it all at the weekend. I said that I had to do some of the prep during the week to get it all done in time, at which he disappeared upstairs. When he came back down, he stayed on the stairs long enough to announce that I was getting an early anniversary present, and when he came around the corner he was holding this:


That's right. A Magimix. The most amazing of all the food processors. And it's red. And yes, you read right, it's the XL. The largest one you can get before you're into commercial territory. It's AMAZING. I can finally make proper hummus, and all those veggie dishes that call for blended cashews, and I can make peanut butter, or almond butter, or tahini, or bread, or pastries, or smoothies, or... I have begun to hyperventilate. *lol* This most amazing gift after he put the kibosh on any further kitchen toys. What a guy! *smug* I have installed it snugly next to my other most wonderful kitchen toy, the Kitchenaid my suikertante gifted me last year. I am building a VERY impressive kitchen here.

So yeah, life is good. How about you?

03 June, 2012

Yum.


Three guesses as to what's on my glasses in that pic.

If you guessed that Madam threw up in my face, you'd be correct. And it wasn't just a little. And some went in my mouth.

I always wondered what my reaction would be if she ever chose to reenact that iconic movie moment. My choices were myriad, as I'm sure you can imagine, but to what I'm sure you will agree is my credit, I did not throw her in the floor or scream. I didn't even throw up on her (which I think would be poetic justice and more than a little revenge for the last eight months). I instead handed her to her father (who had the shocked look of a man who's just seen a dismembered dead body on his face) and calmly took off my glasses and wiped my face with the burp rag Himself hesitantly extended in a shaking hand (horror or repressed laughter, jury's still out on that one). I then had the presence of mind to snap a quick pic of my much-maligned glasses before trotting off for my second shower of the day. *grin*

Motherhood creates badasses. I am living proof.

07 May, 2012

I was allowed to procreate.

I talk absolute nonsense to our daughter during the course of the day. I'm taking this opportunity to list a few of the bizarre things that I find falling out of my mouth during my twelve hour monologues.

1. "Do you sense an outing in the offing?"

2. "Look at your legs all akimbo..."

3. "I will take your poop nugget and give you a clean butt. Is that a good trade?"

4. "Is your daddy indulging in a bit of animalistic puffery?"

She's going to be so weird. *grin*

03 May, 2012

Feathers and felines.

The day started off normally enough... Madam awoke, happy as usual, we FaceTimed with Himself so he could see her like he does every morning, we had our breakfasts and went swimming. We ran a couple of errands on the way home from the pool, came in for lunch and Madam collapsed exhausted on the sofa because sitting in the pool watching kids splash and jump around never fails to tire her out. She woke up, we had spoken to Auntie Godmother, and were Skyping with Mamasita when it happened...

Chaos.

A streak of fur, an explosion of feathers, a freaked out Madam.

That's right, folks, Kit brought a bird in the house.

It was her first, she's always been too lazy/fat/inept to actually catch anything, and we had become complacent in our belief that our cats just weren't hunters. I don't know if it's the birdfeeder I've put in the back yard, but somehow she actually managed to lay teeth to prey. And bring it in my %*^@£$ house.

Thank goodness for Skype. I set Madam in the kitchen in her high chair with a biscuit and the computer so The Madre could keep an eye on her (which turned out to be lucky because the cookie I'd given her went down a little too well and she got a bigger piece in her mouth than she could handle gracefully) while I began the Extrication Manoeuvres. Having chased the bloody cat out and shut the door, I tried pulling the couch out from the wall in the hopes that it would just fly out the open front door. No dice. A wet smear on the laminate and a few loose feathers were all that appeared. Luckily, the wet smear was just water. *shudder* I finally lifted one end of the couch up onto a box and poked the bird out with a mop, which thankfully seized its opportunity and headed for freedom.

I cleaned the floor, changed Madam into fresh clothes (because no food goes down without taking whatever outfit she's wearing with it) and called Himself to catch him up on the events of the afternoon. And to demand flowers for my efforts. Which if I don't get when he comes in, might lead to my booking a spa day at the weekend. So really, it'll be fine either way. *grin*

Anybody else got a good wildlife removal story? Do tell.

23 April, 2012

Eine Kleine Nappymusik

So, mommyhood can be hectic. Hence the last post on here having been so long ago. Let the updates begin.

Madam says "mama". A lot. And thinks it's particularly hilarious when I say "no, say da-da". She laughs, looks me straight in the eye, and mouths "mama" with intent. She also eats. A lot. Himself's sister and her husband were up for a visit yesterday, and that means cinnamon roll pancakes. Madam had bits off everyone's plates. Then we went for a roast dinner at our local pub. We got an extra plate, upon which I put a little bit of everything from my dinner. She ate corn, peas, carrots, green beans, mashed swede, broccoli, and cabbage, all of which went down with alarming speed. Let's just say, today's nappies have been a magical mystery tour through everything she's eaten in the last couple of days. Her other favourites include avocado, rusks, black olives, and I'm currently feeding her bits of a banana while I type. It stops the yelling.

Let's take a moment to catalogue the additions to the growing "Things I Never Thought I'd Do Because They're Totally Gross or Make Me Look Crazy" list.

1. I kiss her right on the mouth, even if it's spitty.

2. If it falls out of her mouth onto her shirt, her face, or my hand, I eat it. And lick my fingers.

3. I have been known to sing while walking down the street because it makes the yelling go away.

4. Sometimes nappy changing can be a bit like an extreme sport. Sometimes poop gets on my hands. Most of the time, I wash my hands straight after the change. Sometimes I don't. I'm pretty sure I've never eaten anything before the next handwash, but I couldn't be certain.

On the "Gabs the Person" (versus the other Gabs, "Gabs the Mama") front, I'm still blazing through the house trying to get things liveable in the long term sense. I've done everything from sorting through Madam's ever growing too-small pile of clothing to replacing the showerhead and hose and painting the downstairs bathroom. Bright blue. Without permission from Himself. It looks awesome.

Anyway, all is well in the House of Gabs. Thus, we go to bed (where Madam STILL sleeps like a starfish). G'night, one and all.

21 February, 2012

Cakes and clean kitchens.

Things are pretty good.

I cleaned our kitchen from top to bottom (literally) this weekend. This would be between holding and feeding Madam while Himself painted a wall in the living room. Our house is looking good. We chose a lovely shade of duck egg blue for the wall, which has done an admirable job of covering up the patch job Himself undertook to fill the holes left by the previous owners. Not sure why there were so many holes in the wall over the fireplace, maybe they couldn't decide how high to hang the mirror...

I didn't necessarily intend to spend most of Sunday in bleach up to my elbows. All I started out to do was clean the glass hood over the hob, but to get a good angle on it I had to get up on the ladder... that's when I saw the tops of the cabinets. Once seen, they could not be unseen. Out came the bleach and multiple scrubber pads, not to mention most of a small rainforest's worth of paper towels. (I know, I know, shame on me. I stick with reusable as often as I can, but sometimes only a paper towel will do.) That led to a total re-org of all my kitcheny bits, including barricading Sophie's regular perch on top of the pantry in an attempt to stop her from hanging over my shoulder like a grotesque while I cook. Yeah, I said grotesque. Because a gargoyle has a spout in its mouth. I learn things from Stephen Fry.

The other highlight of this week was the opportunity to cook a proper meal for a change. As I'm sure you're all tired of hearing, Himself doesn't eat. I mean, he eats, but he doesn't want me to have dinner ready for him when he gets in at night. He says if he eats a big meal in the evening he can't sleep well. (Yes, he's a bit of a granddad about it.) So he eats toast, or cheese and crackers, or a bowl of cereal. Skinny bas...ket.

Our next door neighbours are fab. I chat with the mum regularly, the dad has helped Paul out with numerous household jobs, and the sons are both perfectly nice guys. I had momentary thoughts of matchmaking the older one with one of my sisters, but I couldn't pick which one to set him up with so I finally gave it up for lost. Anyway, the mum and the younger son share a birthday. Let's face it, I'm skint, so I decided that instead of proper gifts I'd cook them a meal. I waffled around with choices, but didn't want to freak them out with anything too exotic, so I settled on chicken pot pie with new potatoes. The fun part came with dessert. I pinned a cake months ago that I'd been looking for an excuse to make. Thus the journey to fourteen layers began. Yes, fourteen layers. Well, it was meant to be fourteen... it turned out more like eighteen or twenty. I just kept going as long as there was batter left.

I'll say now, this was the second fiddliest cake I've ever made. It's only second because the most fiddly cake I've ever made requires a candy thermometer for the icing. This narrowly escapes the title, though. It's no joke. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if I'd taken the advice of pretty much every person who'd tried it and posted online, which would have been to buy a load of the disposable aluminum cake pans from the pound store. No, I decided to just cycle my three silicone pans through the oven multiple times. Three hours later, I had a cake. *lol* No joke. Between taking one out of the pan, cleaning it and the non-stick liner, waiting for it to cool, filling it again and getting it back in the oven, it was a long process. Even so, it was very fun. The meal went over very well, apparently they all ate so much they were having a hard time walking afterwards, which I take as a compliment of the highest order.

Next on my list are the curtain's for Madam's room. Maybe I'll get a start on those this weekend and continue with the productive trend. Or maybe I'll bake some more, as Himself's sister and her husband are coming up to stay over on Saturday. She's a sucker for anything chocolate... maybe I should make the monster cake again? We'll see if the pound store has those pans, that's going to be the deciding factor. For now, I'll leave you with this. When the neighbour saw the cake for the first time, the first thing out of her mouth was "Have you seen the movie Mathilda?" *grin* Rock on with the massive cakedom. And a good night to you all.

07 February, 2012

Musings upon flailings.

My daughter has figured out that kicking is great fun. Not kicking me, or the cats, or anything specific at all. Just kicking. The sheer act of flailing her legs around seems to be (to her) the single most amusing thing that's ever happened. To be fair, I find it pretty funny too. Even when I'm trying to change her nappy or get her dressed. If you're having a hard time picturing these struggles, imagine trying to put pantyhose on an octopus. And the octopus is on speed.

I took her to Costco last week to stock up on the basics... you know, thirty-six pittas, twenty-four tortillas, fifty-four rolls of toilet paper and a vat of houmous. I took the Moby wrap with us just in case their trolleys didn't have baby seats, which turned out to be a good move, because they didn't. I started her off the old way, cradled with her head on my right side. Ask me how long that lasted. *grin* Constrained Madam is not a happy Madam. So, I switched her around to upright facing me. Turns out she didn't appreciate an up close view of my cleavage either. So I turned her to face out, hoping only that she could refrain from tossing her cookies on my shoes.

She loved it. I mean, she LOVED it. She stared from one person to the next, babbling away, and that's about when she realised that her legs were free. She started kicking. She kicked from kitchenware to baked goods, continuing through the refrigerated section and all the way to the checkout lines (those of you familiar with Costco will realise that her kicking took up a good hour and a half) where all of a sudden she stopped. That would be because in the fifteen seconds it took for me to pick a line and get in it, she fell asleep. My guess is that kicking is exhausting. She was so deeply out that I had to tuck her head into the wrap. All anybody could see were her little legs poking out the bottom. She slept through unloading the cart, paying, getting to the car, unloading the cart into the boot, and never woke up even when I took her out of the wrap and put her into the carseat. She slept all the way home.

The Mimi has come for a visit, she got into town a week ago. We spent a couple of lazy days, but anybody who knows The Mimi will know that those didn't last. *lol* She's "organising" me. Today we spent a few hours in the living room, packing up clutter and cleaning surfaces. We went out earlier this morning and picked up a few picture frames to finally put some good shots up on the walls, and also got a big handled basket to put Madam's cloth nappies and wraps in rather than piling them at the foot of the hearth. Mimi being Mimi had the candles lit and the lights on in the fireplace so that when Himself got home from work he got the full effect of our work. *grin* It doesn't count if the stage isn't set, right?

The other development is that we're trying Madam with bottles and soy formula. Not all the time, just one per day. Our chiropractor said that one bottle of formula per evening might help Madam sleep through the night, and said the difference between formula and breast milk is like the difference between a turkey dinner and a salad. I'm still doing the vegan thing, so I didn't want to get normal cow's milk formula, and Himself outdid himself sourcing the soy version (I think he had to try four different stores before he found it). We tried to give her a bottle of straight formula last night, please see the picture below to see how successful that endeavour was:


Tonight we mixed it about one third formula and two thirds breastmilk, and damned if she didn't suck it down and then take a nap on Himself! We'll do it again tomorrow night, carrying on adjusting the levels of formula to breast milk until it's solidly formula. As it was, even though she only swallowed about ten millilitres of the formula last night, she only woke once in the night and went back to sleep afterwards until almost nine o'clock this morning. I got a good uninterrupted six hours, for almost the first time in a month. Bonus points to Madam.

So, I'm going to settle in and finish watching McLintock with The Mimi and then get to bed. Tomorrow holds a plethora of fun for Madam, she's got her last installment of immunisations in the afternoon, so wish us luck.

08 January, 2012

Foodish snobbery.

I'll admit it. I've become one of those vegans. You know, the kind that would rather eat at home, because let's face it, what I can cook tastes better than what I could find in a restaurant that wouldn't make me sick after I ate it. Most vegetarian food in restaurants is laden with cheese, to the point that asking them to leave it off means there are a few lettuce leaves or some plain pasta left on the plate. I've had some truly asinine conversations with wait staff in restaurants, more than once over the fact that if they offer a side salad that surely they have the resources to make a bigger one for me to have it as a main since they don't offer anything else I can eat...

The one question I get most often when people find out I'm a vegan is "what do you eat?!" I find it funny, because more often than not I pull a deer in the headlights and mutter something vague about veggies. I mean, I have memories of having eaten and it having tasted good, but I really should start keeping better track of what I've put in my mouth. For instance, most mornings I eat cereal with soymilk or a bowl of porridge, maybe some of that gorgeous Vogel's bread as toast. Lunch varies, I'm a big avocado and houmous fan so sometimes I'll throw that in a wrap with some fresh spinach and ground flaxseed, and I do love a good old fashioned peanut butter sandwich. Dinner could be pasta or rice with stir fried veggies, I prefer wholewheat pasta or brown rice for the taste and consistency, or if I'm in a hurry due to Madam's demands it could be soup with a grilled "cheese" or toast. I've experimented with vegan alternatives for macaroni and cheese, which while some of them have been tasty in their own right, just aren't cheesy (they tend to taste more like houmous, weirdly). I've even been known to order a pizza with no cheese, which honestly isn't as sad as it sounds. Tonight was homemade lentil curry (lentils with chopped tomatoes, garam masala, ginger, garlic, turmeric, onion powder and cumin) with brown rice, and it was awesome.

Do I miss cheese? Sometimes, yeah. Mostly for the mac'n'cheese experience. I don't miss milk, or yoghurt. I do miss ice cream occasionally, but some of the vegan alternatives for that are actually okay. Some things are vegan that you wouldn't expect, like some varieties of Oreos. A great chocolate substitute is the Mahalo bar, a vegan Almond Joy (they're tasty) and Booja Booja does a wicked truffle. I won't lie, after my curry tonight I ate a banana slathered with peanut butter, and that was a pretty good dessert in itself.

If you'd told me a year ago that I would be eating the way I've just described, I would have laughed in your face (probably around a mouthful of cheese-infused loveliness). Honestly, the only reason I ever even considered giving up my dairy fetish was the Madam-induced migraine habit I picked up during pregnancy. I could probably go back to eating dairy again, but after having read Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven I'm completely grossed out by what goes into it, not just for my own sake but for the fact that what I eat is what Madam eats. I don't want to funnel hormones from juiced up cows into her tiny body, so I continue to abstain. I'm not the best or most committed vegan in the world, I've eaten the occasional egg since I started this lifestyle, and I still wear my leather jacket, but I feel pretty good about the fact that I'm doing what I can to start Madam off on the right track with food. It's obviously doing her body good. *grin*

03 January, 2012

The Great Pooscape.

This morning saw us preparing for a visit to Himself in Soho. The weather wasn't particularly auspicious, but although Madam is made of spun sugar (or spice, or something else nice) her predilection for the shower proves that she doesn't melt, so we headed out wrapped in light layers and armed with an umbrella. Which proved completely useless.

I don't mind wind. It's flown many a kite for me in the past. I don't mind rain. It's good for my flowers. Singly, neither wind nor rain offend me in the slightest. It's when they gang up on me that I get disgruntled. By the time we made it to the tube station I'd given up on the umbrella because I got tired of stopping to turn it right side out again.

The first half of the journey on the tube was completely uneventful. Well, uneventful in the normal scheme of things... Madam always collects adulation as her rightful due, so soppy faces/noises only dogs can hear and questions about her age are fielded with ease. She slept, I read, all was well. Then, from the nether regions of Herself came rumblings. The sort of rumblings that mean business. You know, the sort that are followed up by suspiciously liquid sounds. Oh yeah, she let it go. Apparently, halfway through a journey that usually runs an hour and a half is the optimal time to clear her entire digestive system.

So now I had a decision to make. Do I get off the train in the hopes of finding a changing facility, or do I wait until we get to the office and trust that her nappy wrap will contain the badness? I wavered through two stops, but as we were approaching Hammersmith (an area of town in which I lived/nannied for long enough to know every single free bathroom available) I decided to err on the side of caution. Turns out that was a wise move.

By the time we reached the changing facilities in Mothercare, not only had she had time to have a leisurely squish around in the mess, she'd managed to squeeze it out the leg of her nappy and down the side of her trousers. Luckily, Mothercare has sinks conveniently located next to each changing station. Not only did I rinse off the nappy wrap to be dried on the radiator at Himself's office (don't tell his assistant, she'd freak), I rinsed her trousers and dried them under the hand dryer. Yes, yes I did. And I can't imagine how bad it would have been if we'd waited until we arrived in Soho to deal with it.

Adventures in motherhood. And she's still my favourite person. Go figure. *grin*