Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cockpits & Cockles

One of the best places to visit in America is the US Air Force Museum at the Wright-Patterson Air force Base here in Dayton, Ohio. I could spend days there, wandering around all the planes and spacecraft and artifacts. There are hundreds of things to see but the World War 2 era planes are my favourite because there are such gems as the Spitfire, Mustang, flying fortress and famous planes like Bockscar & the Memphis Belle.

The Memphis Belle was displayed on the riverfront in Memphis, Tennessee for years and in 2005 when I was down there with visiting family we went to find it. The man at our hotel said it had been moved 600 miles away to Ohio and he was sad for us, us being English and probably not even knowing where Ohio was, never mind ever getting the chance to go. He laughed when we told him that's where we lived. What are the chances of that - the plane just getting moved the week we got there? I think that might be a classic case of Murphy's Law. Anyway, we still haven't seen the Memphis Belle because it is being restored but we'll be first in line when it gets displayed.

On the way home from the museum we swung by British food shop Wise Choice Foods which is owned by a widower, Harry, from Wales. Harry is a lovely, friendly man who chatted with us the whole time, gave Jack free lollies and even offered us a cup of tea - how British! (or how business savvy, depending upon your cynicism).

Anyway, on the way to the shop Craig had said to me "let's just buy what we need, not nostalgic stuff and things we don't need that will just sit in the cupboard". He said that because years ago we went to a British food shop and we bought all kinds of stupid food that we didn't even eat in England, like tins of treacle pudding and spotted dick. The latter we bought mainly to show American friends and get a laugh at how rude our puddings are! So we studiously entered Wise Choice intent on purchasing just the essentials that we had agreed on beforehand. Namely: Quavers (Jack) , black pudding (Craig) and cockles (me). Did we stick to it? Especially since the economy is horrible and we are trying to budget? Not on your Nelly! We waddled out of that shop with Turkish delights, pork pies and palma violets galore! Cockles too - at $9/jar. I think Harry is more of a shark than we gave him credit for.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Danny at 1 Month

Danny's a month old today. He's big & tall, got rolls of fat around his neck & cheeks, got long fingers and toes. Blue eyes, fluffy blonde hair, and just starting to recognise us I think. No smiles yet though.

Two thing I wish would change right now is the spitting up and night time sleeplessness. At 4am this morning after his feed and several burpings he looked all serene and sleepy so I tip-toed over to his crib and laid him down. He immediately opened one eye like Popeye, barfed all over himself and me (for the 2nd time) and started crying. At that point you just want to lie down on the floor and cry yourself don't you. You just want a fairy godmother to come down and make it all right and rub your shoulders and sing the baby to sleep. In reality, you change crib bedding and clothes and burp cloths and bibs and start the whole routine again. Praying all the noise hasn't woken the toddler next door just dying for an excuse to get up and cause mayhem.

When Craig leaves in the morning he says "savour this because it will go by so quickly" and it's true - this month has flown by. But OH, I'm tired and fed-up of baby sick. Sorry to sound so whiny but it's hard to cherish a moment when you smell of sour milk and you haven't showered in two days.

To cheer myself up, I'm going to venture out on a big walk with Cody and the little fella. It's 50 degrees today and sunny - marvelous! Getting some sun on our cheeks is just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hurray for Pancakes!

It's Pancake Day tomorrow and I'm ready! Got the lemon juice ready to squirt folks. As a child I never knew it was pancake day till I got home from school and mum had the kitchen all ready, then me and my sister would get so excited. I loved them so much I was always convinced I could eat ten, when I fact I'd be stuffed and holding my belly groaning after two. I want to start the same tradition here with my boys, even though it isn't really done in the USA. 

We did go to a Mardi Gras party last Saturday and I know here (especially in the south) they call Shrove Tuesday "Fat Tuesday". So once again with the UK and USA, we sort of have the same traditions, but not quite.  And the English pancakes are completely different to American ones. Not sure why.  Anyway, back to the party last Saturday - it was great bar two things: we had to leave early to get kids to bed and avoid the ice storm, and I was horrified because Danny threw up all over one of the guests. In my defense I did warn her that he chucked-up a lot and discouraged her from picking him up but she insisted. After about 10 minutes of her rocking him and me holding my breath he spat up a bit and she said "oh, he did spit up!".  As I reached over to get a cloth and get him from her he launched a huge one, splattering it all over her black pants and nice shirt. She was such a good sport about it but Oh My God, how mortifying. 
So, I learnt a lesson here - no matter how much people ask to hold Danny right now I'm going to do my best to put them off without causing offense. I don't want friends covered in spit-up and I don't want Danny catching a cold.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

Not Singing the Baby Blues This Time

I'm a woman made of stern stuff and yet I was absolutely dreading Craig going back to work this week and leaving me on my own. I think I was worried because last time we did this I got the baby-blues at the same time that he returned to work and I spent the week crying and shuffling about the house in my PJs wondering what life was all about. Not so this time!

This week has really been okay. The lows? - well dealing with the spit-up issue and doctors visit weren't pleasant. I'm also not fond of the 3am-5am period where Danny will not go back to sleep after a feed and I'm convinced I'm the only idiot in the world awake. Then there's the whole "not breathing" thing, where you wish they would sleep deeply but when they do you tip-toe into their room and poke them to make sure they are alive. Done that quite a few times this week.

The highs? My boy Jack making me laugh on a daily basis, even if he did bust my lip. He got into bed with me this morning, poked me in the eye and said "wake up mama! I brought you an elephant". And indeed he had - a plastic one that made funny noises. His friend Katy came over last night so he was happy. I think it's safe to say that Katy is his best friend.

Captain Jack & Crocodile Katy
(costumes courtesy of Nana Lloyd)

Another high is that Danny has started to open his eyes a lot and moves his head to my voice. He also has the most gorgeous smile, even if it is just wind. He sucks in his bottom lip and looks like an old man with no teeth - it sounds creepy but looks adorable, trust me. Just those little things mean the world to me.
And Craig, what a cracker he is. At 4.45am one day this week he took over baby-duty even though he had to go to work that day, because he knew I was on my chin-strap.

So all in all a successful week. This weekend we've got a Mardi Gras party to go to and at some point must catch up with Matt & Gina to have a little drinkie and celebrate their wedding anniversary. It sure is nice to be able to partake in a glass of Chianti again!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bad Few Days for Danny & Me

Our poor lad Danny is not a happy camper at the moment. Immediately following a feed he spits it up. Not just regular baby spit but projectile stuff that comes down his nose and sprays everywhere and makes up at least half to 3/4 of what he just ate. Jack was a spitter for months but nothing like this. This worries me and is so draining because it means both Danny and me go through several sets of clothes every day and I'm going through burp cloths quicker than "Octomom".

I know he's getting some food down but it seems like he's extra fussy (but aren't all babies this age?). I've been checking his nappies/diapers and making sure he's not dehydrated but of course I googled "projectile spitting up" and then convinced myself he had all kinds of gastric problems and blockages. So off we toddled to the doctors today.

Firstly they weighed him. Two weeks ago he was just over 10 lbs and should have put about 14 oz on since then (1 oz per day is normal). Today he weighed ....... 11 lbs 8 oz., which is a gain of 24 ozs. Blimey!  No wonder he's wearing 3 month-old clothes.

Next, we talked about how much he's chugging back each time he feeds.  He should be eating about 24 oz formula/day. He's eating 32-40

Then we talked about how often Hungry Horrace is eating: well just about every time he gnaws on his fingers and looks at me pleadingly, which is every 2-3 hours. This means he's eating WAY too much too often. 

SO, the plan for the next two days is to only feed him 3 oz every 3 hours and try to make sure he's digesting it all before next feed. I'm also switching formula to Emfamil Gentlease.

I was all gung-ho about the docs visit, came home & fed him just 3 oz and he threw the whole thing up again. All over himself, all over me and the couch. He's sleeping now and I'm dreading the next feed. If he's not keeping it down by Thursday I have to go back and we'll take it from there.

Did anyone out there have this problem with their baby? If so, some help would be much appreciated.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I've got a Fat Lip!

I have a fat lip and it really hurts. Resulted in me in the bathroom last night putting icy cold water on my face while blood flowed into the sink. My teeth went about half-way through my bottom lip. 

So, how did I get this fat lip?

Did I get a Glasgow Kiss from my toddler?

Did I get it while stumbling around in the pitch-dark in my baby's room at 2am this morning looking for the bloody lamp switch so I could feed him before he woke the whole house?

Did I trip over one of the pesky animals that like to lie at the bottom of stairs, under chairs, in doorways and every other conceivable place that's best to trip up one your family members?

Did I burn Craig's dinner and he gave me a hard  lesson??? (this theory is outrageous on two parts: you know I don't cook and Craig wouldn't ever hurt me)

Did I fall over while tipsy on wine & trying to find pots and pans to make midnight munchies? 

Or was it something else?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Save me from the Shopping Channel

Being a stay-at-home mum must take tremendous self discipline. I've already sunk into the depths of day-time telly and grazing from the fridge.

I've been watching Jerry Springer and The Maury Show. These things are addictive. It never ceases to amaze me that people will drag their spouse on telly and announce some horrible secret. The Maury Show is particularly bad, with women saying to their husbands things like "I had an affair 3 years ago and your son might be someone else's child". A paternity test follows and then we sit biting our fingernails as the results are disclosed. I have something else to admit here - I'd LOVE to go to Chicago and be an audience member on the Jerry Springer Show.

Yesterday I watched the live feed of the Caylee Anthony memorial and cried.

Today I watched CNN News and got totally sucked in to all that is weird about America .... I was enthralled by the new law being passed in Alabama to castrate paedophiles. I was dumbfounded that a single, jobless debt-ridden woman from California just had 8 babies when she already has 6 and lives on welfare. I was scared by news of the economy. Infuriated that Merrill Lynch has been giving big bonuses to executives again on the sly. Scared that the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma last night are on their way to Ohio. And so it goes on.....

I finally gave myself a slap around the chops and took Danny out for a big walk to get some fresh air and re-join the human race. I'm going to have to get a grip on myself or I'll progress to wearing my nightie all day, watching the shopping channel and buying decorative plates with pictures of puppies on them.

Here's two good reasons not to become a couch-potato:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Snapshot of Spring

I really do miss the English landscape sometimes. The grass is so green already, the snowdrops are up and some of the dwarf Daffs are in bud. There's probably a few crocuses poking up here and there too.

In Ohio, after what seems like months of snow and ice, we have melt. Yea! Not exactly a horticultural spectacle but at least I can see grass, even if it is brown. The problem now is that the ground is saturated, so every time Cody comes back into the house he brings 4 muddy paws with him. The secret is to catch him at the door and towel-dry his feet before he runs across my wood floors and beige rug and through the house onto our bed. Yesterday he was too quick for me and I did a lot of cursing and shaking my fist at him. I really must stop doing that before Jack copies me.

Anyway, we might not have snowdrops, but we do have these little gems - cardinals. The cardinal is the state bird of Ohio and the male adds such a welcome splash of colour in my garden each winter.

I have to tag on another picture of Jack & Danny too or else I'll be in trouble with the English family. I can't wait to get these two boys outside in the sunshine!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Further Relegation for Frank

So, how am I? Phew, this week just flew-by didn't it? Or maybe that's just from my perspective, given that I'm enjoying Craig being home with me and it's been a tad manic with a new baby and a loopy toddler that would rather strum his air guitar than let me put his underpants on in the morning (I really must get that on video for you). I'm off the medicine, scar is healing, lost 25 pounds already and my boobs have receded, thank goodness. There was a 2-day period there where I could have given Chesty Morgan a run for her money.

And How's Craig? Fabulous. Enjoying every single second of bonding with his new son and it's all I can do to tear him away to help me with something. It warms my cockles every time I see them together.

Danny is a Little Gem. Sleepy, laid-back, & cute as a button. His weight yesterday was 10 lb 1oz and he's in the 95% for his height, so we're going to have another big one on our hands. And did I mention his big feet?

How our Jack Doing?
Fabulous too. Loves school. Loves to play with his friend Katy, especially at swimming class. He has taken to completely ignoring me (see "air guitar" above) but right now I'm being a little lenient with him, given that he's sharing us with a new baby. I'm so pleased that he also loves to read and his favourite stories at the moment are about Curious George. It's about time we got him some Dr. Seuss books too, since everyone raves about how good they are for toddlers.

And Frank? Well now that he's been shunted down the totem-pole of importance in the house again, his expression says it all ...

Two Peas in a Pod

Here's a picture of Jack and Danny, taken when each of them was just 1 week old.
Question is, which is which?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Cherished Cards from Day Care

Here's an offering of the pictures and cards that were made for our Danny by Jack's friends at day-care:

Jack's picture is top left.

His best friend Dylan's picture is the angry one, bottom row, middle.

One of my favourites is Joey, bottom row, second from left. He ran out of room for the "Y". He was asked if the two figures in the picture were Jack and his new baby brother Danny. He said no, the two figures are spacemen and the blue object on the left is an alien space cannon

Teachers Serkalem (top row, 2nd from left) and Lula (bottom row, far left) joined in

Frankie's offering (top row, second from right) comes along with sound-effects. You have to open it like a card and say "ta-da!" like it's a surprise and it has a birthday cake inside

Eva insisted on making two (top row, middle and middle row, far right)

Artie looks like a little tough-nut. Short hair, ear pierced. I love that he chose the biggest, pinkest feather for his picture (middle row, far left)

Did Ellery draw the world (middle row, second from right)? If so, he's a genius! Or is it Danny's face? If so, he might be a little crazy

The last cards (bottom row, right) are from two girls much older than the rest obviously. I should have tried to fool you all and said Jack drew them.