Monday, 31 August 2009

Brush my teeth Mommy

Chloe now has 8 teeth and I had been using Dentinox toothpaste which comes with a little toothbrush with rubber bristles that you put over your finger. Chloe loved getting her teeth cleaned with that - the toothpaste doesn't foam the way adult ones do and it tastes like apples. But as she got more teeth I thought I should start to use a proper toothbrush. So I bought a baby Oral B one and tried it with her. She loves it even more than the rubber one. When she see's me getting ready to clean her teeth she lies back and opens her mouth. So cute. I clean her teeth on my bed with her lying back against the pillows. She doesn't spit the toothpaste yet so there's no need for it to be done in the bathroom. It's easier like that.

Here's a picture of madam getting her teeth brushed. It's not a great picture though.

Here's a wee picture of Chloe in a dress that her Auntie Amanda bought her. Amanda is my brother Pete's girlfriend.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Back to studying

As I'm not working I thought this year would be a good opportunity for me to gain some more qualifications. I don't have any A-Levels due to the fact that I was in and out of hospital for a number of years and so was just physically unable to go to tech. But I'm intelligent and find office work mind numbingly dull. I'm the sort of person who likes to be challenged at work and I would hate to spend the rest of my life doing admin. Plus I want to have my own way of earning money rather than relying on others.

So I'm going to tech to do AS Level/A Level this year in Chemistry and Biology. Usually you would have to spend one year doing an AS Level and then a further year completing the full A Level. However I will be doing the AS Level between September and Christmas, sitting the exam in January. And then I will do the A Level from January, sitting the exam in June. It's only 3 hours on a Monday and Tuesday night. It will be hard going and a lot of work but hopefully by June I will have two A Level qualifications.

That leaves me with the opportunity to do a further 2 A Levels the following year, so I will end up with 4 which is more than enough to get me into university. That's the plan anyway.

My original dream was, (and I guess still is) to do medicine. That is a career I would love, but I know it's unlikely to come true due to the sheer expense and duration. But I know I would like to do something in the field of Science. Perhaps a Biochemist or similar. I really don't know but either way I'm on the right track.

I'm really looking forward to studying again and getting my brain back into gear. I have always found it easy to articulate myself, but recently I find myself searching for words that I know but that seem to have fallen out of my brain! It's incredibly frustrating and I'm convinced it's due to the inactivity of my intellect. I really need to start exercising my intelligence again.

I wouldn't want to work at the minute anyway as Chloe will be a baby for such a short time and I don't want to miss anything. So this is the perfect time for me to further my education. Then, in a couple of years Chloe will be at nursery school and I would be in a position to take up a more full time course, preferably at uni.

So I spent all afternoon sorting that out. Chloe and I went for lunch at my grandparents house, Chloe's great grandparents. She loves it there. She crawled under the kitchen table and climbed over the table and chair legs as if on an obstacle course. She loved exploring how she was able to climb over things. It's wonderful watching her learn what her body is capable of. The photo below is of Chloe playing the piano at my Granny's house. She loves playing it (or in her case bashing it!)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Chloe - 8 months old

Chloe was 8 months old yesterday so I though it would be nice to do an update on her development.
Dear Chloe,
You're at such a wonderful age at the moment, you bring joy to every day. I have honestly never come across a baby who is as happy as you. You rarely cry, you just smile and giggle all day. You're so pleasent and easy going. I'm very relaxed with you and don't impose a routine so maybe that's part of the reason you're so relaxed.

You're still breastfeeding on demand although you have cut down quite a bit since starting on solid foods. You breastfeed in the morning, when you take a nap and then you feed on and off in the evening until you fall asleep. You eat 3 meals a day and you love everything. You eat anything that's put in front of you which is great too see. You weigh about 21lbs now.

You are still sleeping in my bed.

You have 8 teeth now - one broke through this morning. You rarely fuss when teething. Indeed the only reason I looked for a tooth today was because of your dribbling! You're a very dribbly baby when you've a tooth coming through.

You have been crawling from 6 months and just before you turned 7 months you started standing up whilst holding onto things. And just today you cruised for the first time. You were standing holding onto the bars of your playpen(on the outside) and you decided to walk along. It's amazing to see you developing so fast. You just seem to want to walk. Indeed, from the moment you started crawling you would crawl 2 hands, 2 feet at times. (Pic belows is you cruising)
You clapped hands at 6 months and you wave hello and goodbye and have been doing for about a month. At 7 months you started saying 'Hiya' whilst waving. I guess this is because I always wave at you and say 'Hiya Chloe'. So that was your first word. Your second word was 'Dada'. You say this in response to him coming home from work. And on Friday you decided to say your third word.........'Yuck!'. Lol. I couldn't believe it when you said that. You were trying to eat my car keys and I would usually take them off you and say, 'Yuckie'. And so, as I went to take them off you on Friday you said, 'Yuck'. You've been saying it constantly the past few days. You love to hear your own voice. But still no sign of you calling me Mama. You had been saying Mama for a while a few months ago, but it was babbling as opposed to calling me it. So I'm still to hear it.

Your favourite book at the minute is Playtime Poppy Cat . You're favourite toy at the minute is this Dolly. You also love this Heimess wooden teether. I keep it in the pram for you. It's great when you're teething.

You love the bath. I just bring you in with me in the evenings and you splash about.

I love you baby girl!

Mommy x

'What mess Mummy?'

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Our Wee Home

Today Neil and I took Chloe to see the Tall Ships which are docked in Belfast at the minute. Visiting the ships with Chloe meant a lot to me as I remember my Dad taking me the last time they were here, which was in 1991 (I was only 5). So I really wanted to take my daughter there. We took loads of photo's.Well, I have never seen Belfast so busy. The crowds were unreal; people everywhere. But it was great. They had the ships set over 2 docks and a continental market and funfair. The only problem we had was with the pram. There were just so many people. We had to be ruthless and mow people down in order to get moving. But it was a really good day. Northern Ireland, and in particular Belfast, gets a bad press because of the Troubles. It was the 40th anniversary of the start of the Troubles a week back and I thought that it was wonderful that the visit of the Tall Ships coincided with that. The last time they were here people were still fighting with vigour. The Troubles really were in full swing. And I wondered how different it must seem now to those same people visiting this year. Ok, so some people are still fighting, but we have a ceasefire which, for the most part, is upheld. There's still a heavy police presence, but I'm sure the absence of the army was very conspicuous.
We stopped for a few minutes to watch an air show and I found myself crowd watching. And I saw guys in Celtic tops wandering amongst guys in Rangers one. One's from the Falls amongst the Shankill boys. And nobody cared. Everyone was just enjoying themselves. There were black faces, white faces, asians, gays, the whole mix. And that's great! After all the Troubles and the atrocities people have seen, including members of my own family, it's about time people started enjoying themselves. I love the fact that Belfast is becoming so multi-cultural.
And as I'm Standing there looking out over the sea, for the first time in my life I felt proud of our wee home - proud to be Irish. Northern Ireland's wonderful. She really does deserve peace.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Lazy day

I wasn't feeling too well today so Chloe and I had a bit of a lazy day. This basically consisted of hanging out on the bed in our room and playing. Chloe sleeps in our bed and so we decided it would be safer to put the mattress directly on the floor. This is fantastic as we spend most of our time in the house in the bedroom and so Chloe can play safely on the bed with no worry of falling off and getting hurt.

All I really did today was a couple of loads of laundry and mopped the bedroom floor.

Here's a couple of really cute pics I took. I think she looks a lot more grown up in this one. She's doing an expression I don't see too often. But she looks so cute with the remnants of her dinner splattered down her. She's a lot like Neil in this picture.

Splashing in the bath with Daddy! Not a great picture on my part but you can see the splashes.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Breast is Best!

This post is due to a conversation I had today with a breastfeeding friend.
I'm still breastfeeding Chloe, and I fully intend to keep breastfeeding for as long as she wants. I am a real advocate for breastfeeding and the health benefits that come from it. But I also understand that some women choose not to go down this route, and that's fine too. But one thing really peeves me off. People saying they couldn't breastfeed. In 99.9% of cases that isn't correct. The excuses I've heard have been: I wasn't making enough milk for him, he/she fed constantly, it hurt cause my nipples are weird (huh?), I was too engorged etc.

Breastfeeding is really hard work! Babies do tend to feed constantly for the first few weeks. Indeed, Chloe fed every 2 hours during the day for the first 4 months. That doesn't mean you aren't producing enough milk. It hurts no matter what. For the first 2 months my nipples were raw and even bled. They harden up over time. And if you're so engorged that a baby can't latch on then hand express a bit to soften them up. So please don't make excuses. Choosing not to breastfeed is a valid choice and does not affect how good a mom you are. But please don't tell me that you couldn't breastfeed, because that trivialises the effort I put in. Breastfeeding wasn't a walk in the park for Chloe and I. I went through agony at times and yet I kept at it because I didn't want her to have any formula. And she hasn't.

I don't think I'm a better mom beause she's fully breastfed, it's just the choice I've made. So if you've chosen not to breastfeed because you found it too difficult then say so, but don't say you couldn't!
Here's a great video about extended breastfeeding. Although I have to say I don't think many people would consider breastfeeding until 8 yrs old. I know I wouldn't.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Garage clearout.

I went up to my parents to finish clearing out their garage. They have a huge garage that you can fit 3 cars into. Well you could, except for that fact that the entire contents of our old house and all my childhood things are currently residing there. This would probably be OK if it was organised. But as the years rolled by we put item after item in there, never bothering to catalogue it properly. We always said, 'Oh I'll come back to that.' But 'that' was soon buried under yet more items and was quickly forgotten.

So my Dad finally decided enough was enough and he wanted the garage back to it's original function - that of an organised dumping ground. Well, that and the fact that the cat had peed on some of my old clothes and the stench was horrific. Or, at least, that's what he told me. Until I realised, while sorting through the suspect items, that a mouse/hamster/furry thing that used to be alive had chosen here as it's final resting place.

I'd have rather had the cat pee.

But, when going through the boxes/ bags/ heap of junk I found a few items I'd totally forgotten about. One was a shallow box. I took the lid off, expecting to see some broken ornaments. But inside were some cards. I opened them up and realised they were 'goodbye' cards addressed to me from some of my friends in England.

The story behind that is that when I was 14, my dad got a job in London, so we moved over to Buckinghamshire. But we all hated it. NI is a very friendly place, everyone talks to everyone else. You say hello to people walking down the street. But England, or in particular London, isn't. I know I'm generalising, but people tend to keep themselves to themselves and can appear to be quite stuffy because of this. And when you're used to talking to everyone, this is a bit of a culture shock. And if you tried to speak to people you didn't know they looked at you as if you were crazy. It's not necessarily bad, just a totally different way of life, one we're not used to. You're very anonymous there.

However, in school I made some very good friends (and even a boyfriend) and when we decided to move back home to NI I was genuinely upset to be leaving them. But they had all written cards and given me presents which was very sweet. I kept in touch for a while, but, as happens, life moved on. And eventually those cards which I had treasured were relegated to the garage.

I rarely think about the time we had in England, it's like a distant memory. Although at the time I didn't enjoy a lot of it I'm glad to have had the experience. Finding those cards today made me smile, feel very nostalgic, and, if I'm honest, a little bit sad that perhaps I don't think about old friends as much as I should.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Whew, what a day!

We spent all yesterday drag racing. Drag racing is basically 2 crs lining up to race each other over 1/4 mile. Whoever gets the fastest time wins. Simple really. This was Neil's first time since he had a lot more tuning done on the engine. But just as he was about to start we realised he had a boost problem due to a blowout in the up pipe. So we weren't hoping for too great a result. But he managed to run a 10.6!!! This was an amazing time in general. And when you take into account that he had lost boost and that this was his first time out in months that makes it even better.

He got the quickest time of the day and got an engraved silver plate as a trophy, so we're really chuffed. Thousands of pounds and man hours have gone into the car so it's great to get a good result. But it's amazing how the anxiety of wanting to do well leaves you totally exhausted by the end of it. We went out to dinner with the guy that tunes the P1 and other friends and had intended to have a few drinks, but we were so exhausted we just left after the meal and went home to our lovely, comfy bed. Here's a couple of pics of us with the car.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Neil's 680bhp P1

Just thought I'd post up a couple of pictures of Neils car.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Got me thinking

I was out having coffee with my mom today and I mentioned that I had started this blog. She laughed and asked, 'What for?'. I mused on this point for a while and when I got home I noticed that I had a comment I hadn't noticed. I read it and it was the author of a blog I've been reading for a few years - Our Deer Baby. I can't even remember how or why I came across this blog but as soon as I started reading it I realised I really enjoyed it. In fact, this was the first blog I'd ever read and it's one of the very few that I make a point of reading daily. Karen(the author) blogs about her life as a mom and about her kids, and the comment basically said how great it was when your kids get older and they can read for themselves what they were like 'back then'.

And yeah, that is the whole point of this. It's not really for anyone else but Chloe. But I don't mind if along the way someone else enjoys it as well.

I'll leave you with a cute picture of Chloe - I think she's wondering, 'Mommy, when will I fit into one of these?'


I thought I'd share some pictures with you. Yesterday we went to the library and then to the park. We were walking by the playground when I saw that they have a baby area, so I took chloe in. It's a soft area with Mirrors and beads on hoops etc and Chloe loved it. Then I noticed the swings. Now, Chloe is nearly 8 months old so still technically too young for the swings but I figured I'd try it anyway. Well, it totally dwarfed her, but she loved it. She spent most of her time on the swing trying to converse with the little girl on the adjacent swing. I got this picture.She's looking at the other wee girl.

This photo was from the zoo where she was fascinated by these. I can't remember what they're called.

Meanwhile I'll leave you with this picture which I thought was gorgeous.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


I haven't posted as much as I'd have liked as thing have been a bit hectic around here. But I now resolve to post daily...ish.
Considering how busy we've been there hasn't actually been too much going on. Neil has got his car back and he's been tryng to get it ready for the drag strip at Bishopscourt race circuit on Saturday. He has a Subaru Impreza P1 that's putting out 680bhp(brake horse power). To put this in perspective, my Impreza STi is 300bhp and is very fast, so his car has over twice the power that mine has. He's been approached by a magazine about featuring the car as it's currently (unofficially)the fastest in Ireland, so we've been trying to get it ready for that as well.

But back to normal life. We bought Chloe a new pram. When I was pregnant we got a Silvercross Linear Freeway pram in Jet Black.

It's a fabulous pram, big and sturdy and very comfortable for a newborn. This was great when she was still wee and slept in the pram whenever we went out, but now that she's older she wants to see round her. Ths pram still works well for that but to me it's a bit cumbersome to be used just as a buggy. It's not particularly heavy or difficult to fold, but it's still bigger than a nippy buggy. But I didn't want a nippy buggy as they all tip over when you want to hang a very heavy nappy bag on the back of them. I have this(see below) bag by Pink Lining. And it was a prerequisite that our new buggy must be able to hold it, as I'd be lost without it.

So the only pram that we liked that was both sturdy yet light, stylish yet practical, and a bit more girly is this:

The Mamas and Papas Luna pushchair in Truffle. And we've made it more girly by adding this gorgeous liner, as modelled by Chloe:

I have to say I'm quite impressed by this pram. It's not expensive(same price as lightweight buggies) yet it looks and feels a lot sturdier. It's also soooo light to push and easy to manoveur with one hand. I'm really pleased with it.