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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The busy life of a six month old!

I was just reviewing my diary for the week to see what we were doing and every day is chocked full of dates and appointments. Not for me but for little Miss Hannah. Since joining http://www.thelittlegym.com/ we have met lots of other babies and Mums and have been making lots of playdates.

Today we have our regular Bugs class for 4 to 10 months old. This is a 45 minute class taken by one of the teachers at the gym and it helps our Little Bugs develop core muscles and practice new skills while meeting and socialising with other babies. It also gives me a chance to meet and discuss things with other new mums at the same stage as us. We have made some great new friends and their are 4 of us that seem to really hit it off and are starting to arrange playdates outwith the gym.

On Wednesday we are hosting our first playdate at our house. It is called "My Favourite Toy" and there are 4 or 5 babies coming and they have to bring their favourite toy to share with the other babies. I am hoping the sun is out so we can have it in our sunroom as it is a lovely room to play in and allows you to sit in the sun even when it is still a bit cold outside. I will post some photos and write an update on how it went afterwards. I am really looking forward to it as I love organising parties and events and hosting people in my new house.
We are then going into Bethesda in the evening to have dinner with Aunty Vix. I have a craving for some good Chinese food so going to one of Vicky's favourite Chinese restaurants. Hannah will be asleep so she won't get to taste any of it. I make a point of giving her a taste of anything I am eating when she is near so she gets a wide variety of tastes other than babyfood. We have been making some of our own baby food from books by Annable Karmel and they are working out really well. Favourites so far are Chicken and Corn Chowder and Fish with vegetables in a cheese sauce. I have tasted them myself and they taste really good for baby food.

On Thursday we are going swimming with some of our new friends as well. We meet at Melanies apartment and use the indoor pool there. It is so much easier than going to the public swimming pool and great for me to have some company to chat to while we are splashing about with the babies. We are really looking forward to getting our own outdoor pool open for the summer and will probably be scheduling that for the end of April so that it has a chance to heat up before Memorial Day weekend at the end of May (opening party details will follow). We have already bought Hannah a pool float for her to bob about in the pool and to allow me to swim while pushing her with me http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?SKU=18041960&
and it is, of course, a Ladybug. Now I just need to get some adult floats with drink holders for myself and Jarlath and we are ready for the summer.

We are also going to our neighbours house for morning tea on Thursday to meet her properly and play with one of her three young boys. The youngest is about 2 so a bit older than Hannah but it will be good to build a friendship if we are both bringing up kids on the cul de sac.

Friday we have another gym class and we are hoping to learn some more baby sign language - they sometimes do this at the Little Gym but are not really consistent with it.

So good bye from "The Baby that lunches" as Linda and Bob Watson called her ( speak to you on Skype this week).

H and h Xx

ps Six month check up stats:

Weight 17 lbs (75th percentile)
Height 28 inches (off the chart for her age!!)
and all well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory

Using the multiple-viewpoint technique that worked well in The Boleyn Inheritance (2006), Gregory fictionalizes a little-explored episode in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1568, after fleeing rebellious Scottish lords, Mary is placed into the custody of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his wife, Bess of Hardwick. This turns their Derbyshire estate into a hotbed of intrigue and possible treason. George, normally loyal to a fault, falls in love with Mary; Bess secretly reports to William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, while fretting about her foolish husband and the continual draining of their funds; Mary plays them against one another while plotting to escape, with Cecil noting her every move. Gregory skillfully evokes the suspenseful atmosphere—it was never certain that the 1569 Rising of the North in favor of Catholic Mary would fail—but the protagonists’ inner thoughts, as presented in short alternating chapters, are unnecessarily repetitive. Although this isn’t her best work, Gregory’s writing is sharpest toward the end, as the unavoidable consequences of Mary’s long imprisonment are finally felt by all.

I love all things Gregory and all things Tudor so was very excited to borrow this book from the library in a delicious hardback format. There is something quite special for me of reading a book in library hardback with rough edged pages and thick paper.

Did I love this book, well no, certainly not as much as her other novels. Did I enjoy it, well yes, but I always enjoy her writing and she always seems very well researched and credible. The short chapters helped me get through this book quickly as it was so easy to "just read one more" before going off to carry out a chore or wake the baby. So my recommendations is to read if you are a fan of the author in general but do not pick this one as the first ever book to read from her (my personal recommendation for first book would be The Constant Princess).

It also got me thinking about the accuracy of history books. With the many references to falsified information in this book, I wonder how we actually know which accounts of history were true and which were made up. My husband had an interesting response when I posed this question to him - "History is always written by the victors" - which is so true as it is their accounts of events that will always remain on record. Just some food for thought. Xx

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What's in our food?

I have never been one to really bother that much about what is in my food. I eat kind of healthily but am not too bothered about buying organic or reading food labels. Well that all changed since I have started making some of my own baby food and I truly cannot believe what goes into some, seemingly, healthy foods.

For Example, frozen peas. In my innocence I expected the ingredients to be just that, peas and perhaps a little water but no, on closer inspection in seems that most brands of frozen peas have salt or sugar added and some have both! Why would you want sugar added to your frozen peas or salt for that matter, but I never add salt to my food. So I eventually find a pack that is just peas and move on to the canned goods aisle.

A tin of sweetcorn in water. Fairly innocuous you say but no. Again most of them have salt and sugar added and some have other ingredients that I have not even heard of. Ten minutes later I find a tin marked "No salt added" that does not have anything else added either.

Is this just in America because of the greater choices they seem to have in Grocery stores or is this a worldwide phenomenon? Don't even get me started on the American obsession with putting Cinnamon in everything!
It would appear that it would be a lot easier for me to just buy ready made baby food and it seems it would be a lot healthier as baby food over here is heavily regulated by the FDA (the American Food and Drugs administration) and cannot have anything other than pure ingredients added to it. It is also, probably, cheaper to buy it ready made as well as by the time I buy all the ingredients it works out quite expensive to make myself.
But in the end it is worth it because when you see this little face after a tasty homecooked dinner, it is worth all the effort and the extra time reading the labels in the grocery store.

Bon Appetit. Xx