Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wait, what?

I have been wanting to share this with you guys for forever! Last week the stars finally aligned in such a way that we were walking passed the sign and remembered to snap a photo.

We had a little sandwich shop called Munch move into town on South street way back when. Maybe last summer? Maybe two summers ago? I can't remember. After a while, they got some little sidewalk signs advertising their business. I have always been intrigued by the way businesses advertise themselves here versus in the States because it is very different. But this.. this I could really not make any sense of. Maybe it's just a good sense of humor? Maybe it's to avoid any legal battles? I just don't know.

We haven't taken a poll or anything, but let me tell you, these are probably the best bacon rolls in the world! I can testify that the sign has not convinced me.. I've never tried one :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

So what about that blog thing?

I decided in September to do a 40-day fast from all the blogs that I normally read. I left it at that.

September was a long time ago, and it was towards the end of November that I started to write this response to that fast and then left it by the wayside. I was hoping that I had written more back in November, to see what I thought about the outcome of that decision a little bit closer to the time it had actually taken place, but alas, I wrote only a few sentences before I was distracted by something.

The fast itself was a struggle for me. Not because it was hard for me to resist clicking on the blogs I normally read.. I got over that after the first day or two.. but because I just wasn’t sure if it was really worthwhile. What was I accomplishing? Was I learning anything? Was I regaining the focus I had hoped to? I debated a lot after it was all said and done and couldn’t decide if it had been fruitful or not. The longer I thought about it though, the more I realized that it had been fruitful and it had been worthwhile, but not exactly in the ways I had hoped or expected.

One of the things I learned from doing this fast is that laziness seems to be deeply rooted within myself. Even though I wasn’t reading blogs, I was still finding ways to waste time while making a nice butt-print in the sofa. You could argue that I have a young child and so coveted naptime should be ‘my time’ to do with what I please. Maybe so, but I have no doubt that the choices I was making, even during the fast, were not the best choices. They were still the easy, lazy choices.. they just looked a bit different than what I had been doing previously.

Another thing I learned is that at this stage of my life, change comes slowly. For whatever reason, I can see clearly that as I came out of the fog of new-motherhood, any progress I made toward the person I wanted to be was tiny step by tiny step. An often-interrupted path moving in the direction of something better. At first I found this new characteristic really frustrating. Then I realized that it’s just reality. Really young children require a ton of attention, so I don’t have as much attention to give to my own well being. The pace of my own goals is much slower than it once was, but I am finding there is much to learn in this situation. Namely, patience!

I also came away from the fast with a healthy frustration. It made me very thankful that I could look back on the experience and be dissatisfied. The fast itself had not achieved all the things I had hoped that it would, but rather than giving up, I felt prodded to keep working as I learned. Because I had learned new things, I was more ready to combat the temptation of wasting my time in fruitless ways.

It’s a little over five months now since my commitment to that fast concluded. I still read blogs, but I have significantly focused them so that the blogs I indulge in outside of friends and family are useful to me, and not just serving the purpose of entertainment or amusement. I am still daily fighting the urge to just sit and putter the afternoon away (especially as the third-trimester fatigue sets in! :), and that’s ok, because I am aware that it’s a fight. Some days I win and some days I lose, and thankfully the days I lose are concluded with a feeling of discontent.

One practical way that I have always helped myself stay focused is by making lists. Lately I have been making myself a list each week. It helps immensely to keep me focused when I sit down and realize I have a few hours to myself. It is not prioritized (aside from an awareness within my own mind), and that little bit of freedom to choose what I want to do in an afternoon helps a lot. If I don’t feel like working on a project with a deadline a few days away, I can work on a photo album instead. Then, anything not finished on the list is carried over into the next week. And when I finish something, I get the joy of whacking it right of the list! :)

It’s a small thing, but as Tesco says, every little helps!

So I guess that’s what I came away with. Ultimately, a better understanding of my true area of weakness (it wasn’t so much the blogs themselves as it was the laziness), and some realizations to help me combat it. So it was worthwhile. It is something I will probably do again eventually (a 40-day fast, that is, not necessarily from blogs) when I am so moved, because anything you can learn from is worth pursuing!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

It was only three weeks ago!

So that means I can still post pictures of it, right? :) Pictures which are not mine, by the way, but were sent to me by more responsible friends who remember to have their cameras handy!

We are talking St Patty's day today. It was forever ago and we have all moved on with our lives, but I made a cake for it, so here we are.

Some of our friends decided to have a little shin-dig for the Big Green, which made me very happy. I am always glad when there is reason to celebrate something.. even if we have no idea why exactly we are celebrating (though there were some discussions on this that evening). So I offered to bring a dessert, naturally, and then had fun coming up with something appropriate for the holiday.

I hemmed and hawed and finally just decided to do a basic white cake. Nothing fancy.. but then I went crazy and made a surprise inside :)

Here is our spread of green and orange and Irish food.. It was very, very tasty. Aed was an especially big fan of the potato soup (not pictured) and the bread.. are we surprised? Nope!

There's my poor attempt at an Irish exterior on my cake. Little green 'shamrocks', though they weren't all very convincing in their role.

But the INSIDE of the cake was green!

My decision to do three shades of green was completely random, but made slightly easier by the fact that we only own one 'cake' pan (I'm not even sure it's technically a cake pan). Thus I went from lighter to darker, and it took forever to get all the layers baked. In fact you can see the layers get progressively more dense as they go.. that's because I'm a novice and was afraid that the batter might dry out a bit as it sat waiting for it's turn in the oven. So, each time I did another layer, I added a splash of milk. I think it would have been perfectly fine to just leave the batter as it was.. but I had myself convinced and once that happens, there's no arguing.

Then there was the whole 'Tesco wouldn't quit being out of powdered sugar' thing. That made the icing sort of difficult.. so it was a little grainy, but I am told it was still good (though not as good as it could have been!).

I really like making cakes. Aed really likes eating them.. along with everyone else, so I guess it's a win-win! The little guy was very upset when the cake was gone :)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Mothering Sunday

Happy Mothering Sunday!

It's just like Mother's Day, but the UK celebrates on a different day. I have declared that I get to celebrate both since I am from the States, but my babies began/will begin their lives in the UK :) I might be taking advantage of the situation a bit.

Ian gifted me with a pot of 6 or so not-quite-blooming hyacinths and I am so excited! Once they flower I'm going to pot them and enjoy their blooms for weeks! I'm sure you'll be seeing them in the near future. I also got one of my favorite dinners and lots of special words from my hubbykins.

Being a mama is such a gift! I am so amazed at the things I have learned and the ways I have changed since Aed made me a mama. He has the unfortunate role of the guinea pig - being the first of our children - but the very fortunate role of being my first baby who will always hold a special place in my heart. We've been through a lot together :)

And as his mother, I have the added bonus of looking at his stinking cute face all day.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the one who is making me a mother twice-over. Our sweet little bun in the oven.

30 weeks!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sometimes when you are 19 months old..

A recent encounter with cornstarch and water.. and yes, blue food coloring that left us blue for the rest of the day :)

I have been meaning to do this since Aed was 18 months old, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. I get all antsy when I think about how quickly my baby boy is getting bigger, and how afraid I am of forgetting all the wonderful things he is doing. Given that we just officially passed the 19 month mark, last night I sat down and wrote everything I could think of about my boy and his quirks, and thought I’d share some of them with you :)

As of Monday the Aedster was on the 91% curve for weight, and the 98% curve for height. Seems like Daddy’s genes are working their magic there :) He has a full head of hair (finally!) that spends most of its time curling into adorable little ringlets.. though sometimes transforms into a frizzy rat’s nest.. and occasionally seems to be ever-so-slightly strawberry blond.

He is a great sleeper, typically giving us 12-hour nights and (though I thought it would never happen) a 3-4 hour nap in the afternoon – depending on how tiring our morning was!

During the day, he spends the majority of his time 1) spinning anything he can get his hands on.. balls, weebles, tupperware, etc., and 2) reading as many books as our voices will allow.. and as many times over as we are willing!

Though he is by NO means a snuggler, Aed gets super sweet and cuddly at bedtime. He often snuggles his blankies and says, ‘awww’ as he pats them, and still loves his paci. He also says, ‘a-MUN!’ when we’re done praying :) And he will give hugs and kisses on request, but is a bit stingy with the hugs.

We really want to teach our kids some of the catechism questions, so we started with, ‘What is the Bible about?’ Aed knows the answer and responds with an enthusiastic, ‘Jeesah!’ when asked.

Somehow he learned how to ‘jump’, which involves bending his knees and then springing up without his feet ever leaving the floor. He gets very excited when asked to jump. He’s also an excellent dancer :)

Aed loves being outside and loooooooves water.. bathtime (or shower time now that he has overcome his fear of the shower!), the ocean, puddles, rain, the sink, bubbles, etc. (he also thinks it’s hilarious when I blow bubbles with my gum..)

He seems to learn new words all the time and I LOVE his little one-year-old pronunciations of them. My current favorite is still any word that ends in a ‘k’. He also makes tons of animal noises now and knows hand motions and/or sounds for cars/trucks, planes, and boats.

Mealtime has become very exciting and often involves Aed giving everyone sitting with him endless bumps, high fives, and ‘touches’ (think ‘ET phone home’). He loves eating most anything dairy and any form of bread (probably making up for all that time when he couldn’t eat those things), not to mention whatever anyone else is eating. If he wants what you have he comes over, reaches for it and says, ‘Om?’ or ‘Diiiiiiis?’ (this). So far he’s not much of a picky eater, which I am very thankful for!

Aed is also obsessed with shoes. Anytime there is a shoe in his sight, he either wants to play with it or wants it on his foot. This has lead to some awesome outfits.. like the pajamas and boots, and more recently, highwaters (turns out that outfit was too small!), white socks, and sporty sandals. :)

Just this week he has started doing two new things. One is singing! He has a few books that have lullabies in them, and one of them plays music. He will open the book, press the button and start singing away! He is particularly good at/fond of Twinkle Twinkle (he knows the first few words to each line) and Hush Little Baby.. He gets very offended if he thinks you should be singing and you aren’t! The other thing is he has started recognizing colors. He doesn’t say them consistently, though he does like to say, ‘Yeya’ (yellow), but has gotten fairly consistent in identifying them correctly. Makes his mama proud :)

If you’re still reading, I’m sure you can imagine how I could go on and on about all of his cute and amazing developments, but I’ll stop there :) We are so in love with our little guy and it is so fun to watch him grow and change with each passing day. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time and keep him just the way he is, but I know I’d be missing out on the fun that is to come!