Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Bees Knees

I've totally blogged about the Bees Knees before, but it is just so great, here is another post about it:  

The Bees Knees is a kid's play area in the Battersea Arts Centre which happens to be a leisurely 30 minute walk from our (current) flat.  It is adorably described as an "indoor garden" and has a big turf covered "hill" with a slide down one side.  There are also loads of toys and other kids to play with.  Oh, and did I mention that it is free?  'Cause it is.  How cool is that?!  

Charlotte and I have been twice in just the last week.  It is the perfect activity for these cold winter days.  We meet up with friends, have a coffee (and perhaps a slice of honey cake . . . ) and try to chat while simultaneously chasing our kids.  A great time is had by all!

Although, I have to say it is much more fun for Charlotte now that she is mobile.  The first time we went to the Bees Knees she didn't do much more than this the entire time:

I still can't believe how big she is now.  Where did my drooly little three-month-old baby go?!  Time sure flies when you're having fun!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

All Bundled Up

It has been a bit chilly here the last couple of days, so we've all been bundling up a bit more than usual.  Luckily, Charlotte doesn't seem to mind!

PS:  I just watched this video and realised how incredibly annoying my voice sounds in it.  Woah.  Sorry about that! 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Marmite Project

Behold, an unwitting American eats Marmite for the first time (and then tries to feed it to her husband):

See our other Marmite videos here!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Music Saves

Charlie was in the midst of a meltdown and I started recording a video of our little drama queen to send to Jason.  All of a sudden, completely mid-meltdown, she decides that she knows just what would make her happy again.  After this video (taken last week) she was her happy, bubbly self again!

Music Saves!

Monday, 23 January 2012

We're Moving!

As much as we've enjoyed living in Clapham, we have been a bit disappointed with our flat here.  We have had problem after problem with the flat itself (electrical issues, warped floors, mould . . . ) and other issues with the neighbours (unsavory characters) and neighbourhood (it is an area of Clapham better appreciated by young twenty-somethings looking to party and not the "Yummy Mummy/Nappy Valley" area that attracted us to Clapham in the first place).  We have been happy here despite the problems, but we are THRILLED to be moving to the London neighbourhood of Crystal Palace next month.

Our flat comprises the entire ground floor (our windows are on either side of the front door).

Crystal Palace is a southeast neighbourhood of London that got its name from an actual crystal palace that was built there in 1851 (more on that here).  The palace burned down in 1936, but the name stuck.  Our new flat is right near the overground train station (as opposed to the tube) that zips Jason right up to London Bridge where he works.  It is still an easy trip to get into town, yet the neighbourhood is very quiet and more family orientated than our current one.

We were originally looking in Dulwich and Blackheath/Greenwich, but we didn't love any of the flats we viewed there.  We were gobsmacked when we walked into this particular Crystal Palace flat because of the incredibly high ceilings and absolutely enormous rooms!  An extra special draw was that the kitchen was, by far, the nicest kitchen we had seen in any London flat.  Another huge draw is that our friends Mary and Rob and their daughter Emily have just bought a (gorgeous) house not far from our flat.  They move only a few weeks before we do.  :D

Here is a pic of the kitchen with the previous tenant's items:

We've upgraded to a MUCH larger space with granite counters, a dishwasher (finally!) and even a microwave (which we've been living without).

<><><><>Here are a few pics I took with my iPhone when we toured the flat (FYI, the couches in the living room are being removed before we move in:

our bedroom

still our bedroom
Charlie's room

the living room (it is actually MUCH larger in real life)
more living room
We move the day before Valentine's Day (how romantic!), but there is a lot to do before then.  We still have to find Charlotte a new nursery, pack our things, hire movers, and I need to start advertising my voice lessons in the new neighbourhood!  Ack!  What am I doing writing blog posts when there is so much to be done!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Bounce, Charlie, Bounce!

Charlie loves to bounce, especially with her cousin, Alex!  Here's proof:

PS:  Sorry about the annoying song.  It came about in our (failed) attempt to get Charlie to bounce in her Johnny Jump Up.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A Mother and Child Reunion

A lot of people asked me what my reunion was like with Charlie after being apart from her for two-and-a-half weeks.  (I have been away on a few trips before, but never one this long.)  Well, let it be known, that it was one of the sweetest moments of my life.  I got a big long hug that was just about the most wonderful thing ever.  We don't have any pictures from that moment, but I assure you, it was magnificent!

I was explaining to my friend, Mary-Maye, how the first week away from Charlie felt almost liberating.  Don't get me wrong, I missed Charlotte enormously, but the thought of getting 8+ hours of sleep per night, eating a meal without sharing, leaving the house without a pushchair and diaper bag, not planning my day around naptime, etc., was pretty great!  Yes, I felt a lot of guilt for being away, but I also firmly believe that following my passions and living a fulfilled life is one of the best things I can do for my daughter.

By the end of the second week, however, my tune had changed.  The tour with the choir was quite successful and loads of fun, but I could hardly think about my Charlie without breaking into tears.  It was rough.  We skyped a lot and that helped.  I even got to watch Charlie take her first steps via Skype in that last week.  Luckily, I was busy enough that that last week-and-a-half really flew by.  Before I knew it, I was waiting for Jason and Charlie at Seatac.  We had the car ride up to Mount Vernon to reconnect and then Charlie and I spent more cuddle/playtime once we got to my sister's house.  It was pretty great.  This picture was taken (with the iPad) that evening:

Overall, spending weeks at a time away from my babe isn't ideal, but we're making it work.  I am grateful to have such amazing musical opportunities.  It is a good thing, too, because I have many more on the calendar!  

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Marmite Project

Behold, an unwitting American eats Marmite for the first time (this is a really, really good one!):

Monday, 16 January 2012

Felt Board

Though I wrote this post back in January, I've been looking forward to linking it up with the Pinterest Challenge going on over at my favourite blog Young House Love.  This project wasn't inspired by one particular Pinterest image, but the inspiration definitely came from scoping out lots of felt projects over there!    Feel free to post questions and I'll get right back to you!  And please follow me on Pinterest (link is on the upper right of your screen.)!

We are all still recovering from our jet lag, but in the meantime, life goes on here at Milton's Manor!  I am catching up on emails and assorted tasks around the house, we have secured a new flat (more on that soon) and I finally finished Emily Bemily's Christmas gift!  I made her a set of felt dolls and a few shapes as well.

The dolls look like her little family (Rob is particularly dead on) and they each have a few outfit changes and some accessories.  I'll admit that the Mary doll looks very little like Mary, but I did give her a bottle of beer soda, so that makes things a little more realistic.




Then I wrapped it all up in itself and tied it with a yarn bow:

The dolls and accessories are made from 100% wool felt and the large piece of blue felt is synthetic (give me a break, wool felt isn't cheap!).  The whole thing was really easy to make.  If I had had more time (and some craft glue) I would have added more details to their little outfits, but I'm still very happy with how it turned out.  In fact, I'm so happy with it, I want to make one for Charlotte now, too!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Jet Lag Baby

this picture taunts me

Charlotte and I have been up until 4am for the past two nights (as I type this, it is 11pm on the third night).  4am is 8pm on the west coast of the US which was when we were putting her down to bed on our trip.  She's taking short naps so she should be super tired at night.  Nope. 

Jason read that babies need a day of recovery for each hour of time difference.  We were a whopping eight hours earlier.  I don't think I'll ever sleep again. 

Jason and I have both been taking nighttime duties, but as I don't have to check in at an office in the mornings, the bulk of nighttime duty has gone to me.  We play with toys, read books, watch infomercials and try over and over again to do relaxing, sleep inducing activities such as drinking warm milk and singing quiet songs.  She won't all for it. 

So, in the meantime, we're counting down the days for things to get better.  And they will get better . . . eventually . . .

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

More Cousins

We've spent the last few days with Jason's stepbrother and his family in Denver, CO.  They live in a gorgeous (and spacious!) house here with their two daughters Susie (8 months old) and Maggie (3 years old).  Even though Susie and Charlie are only four months apart, Charlie was more interested in following Maggie around.  Although, I'm sure that will change by next time we see them!  

Here are some pictures from our visit:

Susie and Maggie

Charlie is going to miss all their great toys!

Charlie learned a lot of new play skills from watching Maggie play.


What a sweet face!  

The girls went on a walk with the dads which allowed time for Jenn and me to work on refreshing our cloth diapers.  THANK YOU JENN!!  

Ready for a chilly walk.


Saturday, 7 January 2012

So long, Stockton

We had a great time visiting Jason's family in Stockton, CA.  Here is what we've been up to:

Getting to know our new nephew/cousin, Liam:

Working on some walking skills (yes, the tongue helps):

Eating strawberries with Grandma:

Getting our teeth cleaned by Jason's dad:

And fabulous playtime with cousins!

Tomorrow morning we head to Denver to visit Jason's step-brother, Jeff and his family.  We are sad to leave Jason's family, but luckily there are more little girls for Charlotte to play with in Denver!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Starlight Express

 . . . or Coastal Starlight . . . whatev . . .

When Jason and I started planning our west coast trip, we decided to build in a little bit of down time.  We talked about a side trip to Carmel or even a trip to the San Juans, but eventually decided to take the Amtrak Coastal Starlight.  We needed to get from Washington to California anyway and a train ride sounded like MUCH more fun than dealing with an airport during the holidays.

Charlie has enjoyed short train rides in the past and we thought she might have fun walking around and smiling at her fellow passengers.  Luckily, we were right!  We all had a great time!  Here are some pics from our trip:

Charlie enjoying the scenery from our room.

Charlie napped quite well, but things didn't go quite as smoothly overnight . . .

We all enjoyed eating in the Dining Car.  The food was delicious!

Charlie watching mama at the wine tasting in the Parlour Car (I'm behind the guy in the yellow shirt).

Stripey pyjamas, a toothbrush and a pay-as-you-go mobile.  What more could a girl want?

We didn't take many pictures of our room, but trust me when I say it was very small.  You can see pics of one of the rooms on my friend Naina's old blog about her husband, Josh, donating a kidney.  

Though we all had a rough night's sleep (thank you Charlotte . . . ) it is something we would definitely consider doing again.  Especially if they are still serving that Tom Douglas lamb shank!!  Mmmmm.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Good thing we bought that travel health insurance . . .

She's totally fine now, but last night we took Charlotte to the emergency room.  She had a fever the day before yesterday and then spent yesterday with a high fever as well.  She was cranky and needy and just not herself.  We eventually borrowed a baby thermometer from Jason's brother (you know, that kind of thermometer) and her temperature was 104.  She was also make some funny jerking motions when she was sleeping and I was starting to worry that they were little seizures due to the high fever.  Given that Jason has had a few seizures, we didn't want to risk anything so we headed over to urgent care.  We got there and they sent us right over to the emergency room.  

We were all grateful we remembered to bring Cookie Monster.

To make a long story short, Charlotte had an ear infection (and possibly other infections).  They were able to get her temperature down and then gave her a shot of antibiotics in her leg (along with a prescription for amoxicillin).  By the time we were ready to head home, she was feeling MUCH better:

playing with the iPad on the way home

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Jason, Charlotte and I arrived in Stockton early yesterday morning.  The train ride down the coast was a lot of fun (more on that later) and we have been having a great time with family here.  

Last night we celebrated the turning of the new year with the Bolivians so the kids could enjoy the fun:

Charlotte isn't crazy about wearing hats . . .

Jason's brother and new baby boy, his sister-in-law and his wife.


Rebecca (and the coveted iPad!)

Sweet Charlie

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