The Ordinary Moments #7 – Thank God for baby groups

I feel like I have had the busiest week ever this week and until the husband gets home tomorrow from his skiing trip (not jealous at all….) it won’t really be over.  I like to be busy but even I have found the last week a bit of a struggle and so I am very much on a countdown to the Easter holidays as we are heading back to the UK to see family and friends and whilst we will be travelling around a lot we will also hopefully get some down time!  I work three days a week, am involved in running our local Military Wives Choir and run a baby music group on a Friday morning.  This week, to add to this, I have also been helping out with our unit wives club dress sale which was held on Friday night.  Foolishly I offered to keep all the items given to be sold at my house and as they were a bit slow to arrive at first I then said I would also label them ready for sale.  This was a massive error of judgement! As the dresses (and shoes, jewellery and bags) flooded in, my house began to resemble a jumble sale.  I spent about ten hours of my life this week matching dresses to descriptions in the book we were writing everything in and then labelling them up with the correct number, price and size and at this point in time I never want to see another dress that doesn’t belong to me or that I am eying up in a shop ever again…… 

The saving grace this week has been the amazing friends I have made by going to baby groups since Teddy was born.  They have known that my husband is away, have seen that I have been unbelievably busy and have rallied around amazingly.  I will admit to going to my first few groups with quite a bit of trepidation as I wasn’t sure whether I would go mad being surrounded by hundreds of babies.  However, the friends that I will take with me from this posting are the ones that I have met through having a child and I will be eternally grateful that they came into my life when they did.  So this week’s post is a big thank you to the ladies who have offered to babysit both in the evenings and daytime and who have entertained Teddy so that I can get on with stuff.  It has reminded me what a fantastic community I am part of and I will be sad to leave them all when we head off in the summer for pastures new.  I think sometimes people forget how amazing these groups are for meeting other mums (myself included at times!) and sometimes all you need after a busy week is a cup of tea and a chat (aka rant) whilst the kids play.  I think the busyness of this week has also rubbed off on Teddy and it seems he has also found this week a bit tiring……

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The Ordinary Moments #6 – Yum Yum!

We like cooking in this house and even more than we like cooking we like eating.  Thankfully Teddy seems to be cut from the same cloth and has always been a good little eater.  From those newborn breastfeeding days where he basically fed ALL THE TIME (or so it seemed) to the early days of weaning he has hoovered up whatever is in his path and doesn’t seem to have discovered many things he dislikes (long may this last!).  I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that he now pretty much eats what we eat and as a result think that with any future babies we have I will go more down the baby led weaning route than I did with him as I now realise it is a hell of lot easier only preparing one meal at a time.

As Teddy grows up I find mealtimes more and more fun.  I love watching him enjoy the food he is eating and even more so I enjoy watching his facial expressions as he tries new things – cherry tomatoes that popped in his mouth have been a particular highlight recently!  He now chats away during mealtimes and they are a lovely sociable part of our day when he is not distracted by everything and anything and when we can enjoy each other’s company (even if the conversation is still a little bit one-sided….)  

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At the weekends we enjoy having mealtimes as a family as during the week it is not generally possible due to the constraints of the working day.  Yesterday we went out for the day stopping for lunch in a sunny square in Osnabruck.  I had packed a lunch for Teddy but unfortunately for me my club sandwich and fries were much more appealing so we ended up sharing (probably a bonus for my waistline though!)  He sat beautifully in the high chair eating his lunch and watching the world go by whilst we enjoyed the sunshine and people watching and I was really pleased that he is such an easy baby to take out and about.

Fingers crossed his love affair with food continues and that he doesn’t become super fussy as he grows up.  One of cousins was also an amazing eater when tiny but is now a total nightmare with food so I am hoping that we don’t follow this route.  In the meantime, Teddy is sitting on the sofa watching the rugby eying up his Daddy’s biscuit and cup of tea….. 

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The Ordinary Moments #5

We have had a ridiculously mild winter here in Germany this year.  Last year it basically snowed from January through to April and my winter memories from 2013 are therefore as follows:

  • dragging my humongously pregnant form out for a daily walk trying to evict Teddy from my body a little bit earlier than he clearly wanted to appear whilst trying not to slip over on the snow that was EVERYWHERE thanks to some of my British neighbours not following the German rule of clearing the pavement outside their houses.
  • Standing outside the hospital whilst in labour with a blizzard blowing around us but just desperately needing some fresh air (the hospital was like a sauna and I am someone who sleeps with the window open whatever the weather)
  • Being eternally grateful for whichever neighbour it was who cleared my driveway and path of snow when my husband was in Kenya and I was glued to the sofa breastfeeding.
  • Putting a screaming baby into a snowsuit he didn’t want to go into just so I could escape the house for a bit for a walk into town (only to be told off by a myriad of Germans for him not being smothered in layers upon layers of blankets)

This winter has been a totally different kettle of fish.  We have actually been disappointed at the lack of snow (my 2013 self is staring openmouthed at this admission) as we love skiing and with our nearest ski resort only just over an hour away we were hoping to make up for last year’s lack of skiing with lots of weekend trips.  As it stands we have managed a week’s skiing in Austria and one day locally which has made my husband very sad (good job he has managed to get himself on an army skiing trip next week….. lucky boy!)  On a positive note, however, the mild weather has meant that Teddy has started playing outside much earlier than I anticipated and there is no need to put him in the epic layers that children were being put in last year.  He loves being outside and will make a dash for the garden if we ever leave the kitchen or patio doors open.  His current favourite thing to play with in our garden is the brush and he has spent a considerable amount of time in the last week or so practising his sweeping.  I am obviously hoping that this love for cleaning will continue!  He also loves going to the park.  He has been a fan of swings for a couple of months now but we have now added in the slide to his park routine and this fills him with total and utter joy.  He slides down (with help of course) and then flips himself over to try and climb back up again, dissolving in giggles as he slips and slides around on the bottom of the slide.  At the moment these periods spent outside are a bit of a novelty but they are increasingly becoming a regular part of our time together and therefore becoming a more ordinary part of our week.  It is so lovely to see him become more interactive and interested as he plays outside.  Watching Teddy explore the outside world is a total joy and I cannot wait to see him progress as we head into spring and summer!  

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PS As you might have noticed, I am currently enjoying experimenting with my photos by putting them in collages etc.  I am currently loving PicMonkey when on the Mac and A Beautiful Mess when on the iPad or iPhone (can you tell we’re an Apple family…..)

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Teddy is 1!

Where the heck has the last year gone???  As Teddy turns 1 today I am both thrilled to have got him to this point and sad that it has gone so bloody fast.  It seems like only yesterday that I was being wheeled from the delivery unit to the postnatal ward cradling my not so tiny little man (he was 8lb15oz) and wondering if my lady parts would ever be the same again (you can read my birth experience here if you so wish!)  I am now very much the mother of a toddler not a baby and whilst this is exciting it is also rather overwhelming.  He is changing so much every day and if the next seventeen years go as quickly as this one has in no time at all I’ll be packing him off into the big wide world.  This thought terrifies me and I can finally see what my mum meant when she told me that you never stop worrying about your children however old they are.  If only I had a time machine…..

My little boy astounds and amazes me every day.  He is a happy, chilled out little fella who likes to give big open mouthed kisses and twist my hair around his fingers whilst he sucks his thumb (this is starting to become very painful as he gets stronger)  He has just started walking although because he can crawl so FAST he isn’t particularly interested in doing so.  He loves listening to music and playing with his instruments and the piano but he has also recently got into cars and enjoys pushing them around the carpet going ‘brrrrmmmmm’.  He loves toys with buttons, remote controls and phones and will sit for quite a while looking at his books when he has the occasional quiet moment!  He eats everything and anything and throws his food on the floor once he is either finished or bored of a particular item.  He is beginning to use a fork and spoon independently to feed himself which is making mealtimes a whole new level of messy!  He generally sleeps well at night going to bed quickly and easily at 7pm and waking up at about 6.30am.  He has gone down to one nap a day which is a bit of a killer as it leaves me with less time to drink my tea in peace and watch ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ (when the Sky is working!)  He is happy to be left with his childminder and we have not had a single morning when he has cried or been upset.  He loves hanging out in the kitchen, sorting out his cupboard which we have filled with non-breakable items and playing with the dishwasher (he loves the dishwasher for some reason!)  Most of all he loves bath time and could happily spend hours in there if allowed.  He is my gorgeous little auburn haired soldier and words cannot describe how amazing the last year has been! Thank you Teddy and Happy 1st Birthday!!

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The Ordinary Moments #4

We are extremely blessed to have amazing people on both sides of our family and a bunch of fantastic friends.  Despite living in different countries we stay in touch in all the ways that modern friends and families do through a combination of telephone, Skype, FaceTime, email, Facebook and instagram and therefore do not generally feel that we miss out on events in the UK.  However, since Teddy has arrived I am more conscious of time flying away from us and I feel more keenly the months passing without us having actual physical face to face contact with the people we love.  Whilst all the methods of communication named above have an amazing purpose nothing can beat spending actual time in real life with family and friends and this week has been a reminder of that fact.

Last Sunday the first of our half-term visitors arrived in the shape of my sister-in-law, her husband and three boys aged 8, 5 and 3.  On Thursday we waved goodbye to them as they drove back across Germany and Holland to return home on the Rotterdam-Hull ferry.  We filled the time with ice-creams at the amazing eis cafe in town, a trip to Bielefeld Tierpark (a brilliant free zoo), a day skiing in Winterberg (where two nephews skied for the very first time, the older one skied for the first time since he was 3 and the littlest one finished the day saying he never wanted to leave), a morning wandering around the market (with the requisite hot chocolate obviously….) and an afternoon at the local swimming pool.  Whilst all of these things have been brilliant fun what I have enjoyed most is seeing Teddy interact with his ‘big’ cousins.  He is the first grandchild on my side of the family and so whilst much adored does not have quite the same kinds of experiences that he does when we see my husband’s family where he is number 8 (and boy number 7) grandchild.  Watching his face light up as his cousins let him join in with their games has been delightful and I am already looking forward to our big family holiday in August when he will be with all 8 of his cousins.  As our only child (although hopefully not forever!) he has a very different time at home than when at his childminders (who looks after a number of older children) and I am always quite conscious of ensuring that he has plenty of opportunities to play with other children.  He was in his element throughout their stay and was very bad tempered for the afternoon after they had left as suddenly he was back to being with just boring old Mummy and Daddy (even if Daddy is the best thing since sliced bread at the moment……)

Thankfully, that evening more family arrived in the shape of Teddy’s paternal grandparents.  Having not seen him since early December (other than on the iPad screen!) he had a lovely hour before bed of Nana and Grandad cuddles and even treated us to his first proper steps (if we don’t include the occasional stagger he has done over the last few weeks)  The following day my parents and siblings arrived (and no, we don’t really have a big enough house for all these guests) as we had decided to finish the half-term holidays with an early 1st birthday celebration.  As both my husband and I are from families of teachers everything has to be crammed into school holidays so for most people it was very much a flying visit but a much appreciated one none the less!  

The last week has demonstrated two things; that we have amazing families (which we did know but it is always good to be reminded!) and that face to face time with family and friends is something to be truly thankful for.  It has made me even more excited about our move back to the UK this summer as Teddy will be able to spend more time with the grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins who love him so much.  For lots of people this kind of interaction with family is something that is easy as people live near each other and see each other regularly.  For us it has to be planned and can therefore sometimes be lacking in spontaneity.  However, these ordinary moments of Sunday lunches, picnics, games on the beach etc are what I think about when we are living miles from family faced with making friends all over again.  It is family (and I am including my closest friends in this group) that is constant whilst everything else in our lives is changing yet again and I consider myself a very lucky girl to have such an amazing safety net beneath me in the shape of an amazing bunch of people!

Bonding with his cousins aged 8 months!

Bonding with his cousins aged 8 months!

The Ordinary Moments #3

This is my third link up to MummyDaddyMe’s Ordinary Moments. I am finding that it is a brilliant impetus to keep me blogging but am in particular really enjoying reading other people’s ordinary moments (and other blog posts). It’s so amazing being a mummy but as a first time one it’s sometimes a bit overwhelming and I am finding it so reassuring knowing there are places I can look online for sensible, realistic advice! I finally understand why people get so into blogging as it’s such a fab supportive community and an amazing outlet for thoughts and feelings. I am also loving the fact that if I stick to it in the future I will have a sort of diary of Teddy’s childhood!

Bathtime is something we take very seriously in this house…. If I added up how much of my life I have spent in the bath it would quite probably be a considerable chunk of time. I like nothing better than lounging around in a really hot bubble bath accompanied by a magazine and some music (and a glass of wine or piece of chocolate if it’s a special occasion – like a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday etc) and I relish the ‘me’ time it affords me each evening.

This love of the bath appears to have been passed down to Teddy (could it be the amount of time I spent wallowing in hot water during pregnancy?) and bathtime is quite possibly one of our favourite times of the day. Each day at about 5.45pm we hit that horrible witching hour when my gorgeous happy baby is replaced by a whinging, clingy monster but as soon as we head upstairs and he hears the bath running he transforms back into his funny little self. If allowed, he will happily hold onto the side of the bath watching the water pour in whilst he becomes more and more excited at the prospect of getting in. If we deign to take him back into his bedroom to get undressed he squirms and wriggles until he is released back onto the floor and can crawl back to the bathroom. His latest party trick is throwing things into the bath ready for when he gets in. These can include some of the many bath toys he has but can also mean that anything within reach goes in too (including my iphone earlier this week… aaaggghhh!) Once he is in the water, party time begins and we now accept that we are going to get soaked by his splashing. He happily crawls up and down and, if the water is deep enough, swims around the tub pulling shampoo bottles in to add to his collection whilst chattering and giggling away.

Thinking back to my last Ordinary Moments post, bathtime is definitely one of those little everyday moments that I know I will treasure in the future and I therefore ensure I make time for it everyday. It is very much part of his bedtime routine and has been since he was tiny (even if the first few attempts in the baby bath were a bit of a non-starter – thank God for the baby bath hammock thingy!) As we get ever closer to his 1st birthday I am more and more aware that in no time at all, Teddy will not want me hanging around in the bathroom with him and the only aspect of washing I will be part of will be putting muddy clothes in the washing machine when he gets home from school. Until that day comes, however, I am going to enjoy every bathtime soaking I get but will, in the future, be making sure my iPhone (which just about still works now that it’s fully dried out) is well out of reach…..

"What in God's name are you doing to me????"

“What in God’s name are you doing to me????”


Much better thanks Mummy!

Much better thanks Mummy!

"My favourite place to be….."

“My favourite place to be…..”

The Ordinary Moments #2

Last night I watched the film ‘About Time’ starring Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy (amongst others!)  It is probably the first film I have watched in a while where I felt no need to pick up the iPad or phone and check Facebook, twitter, instagram and pinterest etc etc as right from the very start I was completely enthralled.  I don’t want to give too much away about the plot as I would hate to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it (and if you haven’t done so you must!) but the general gist is that you must drink in and savour all the little things that life throws your way and not live your life always looking to the future (something that I think we are all guilty of at times!)  I had planned to write about something else for today’s Ordinary Moments post but ‘About Time’ struck a chord with me.  Childhood (and even more so baby hood) is so fleeting and I wonder how many things I miss or don’t give my full attention to because of everything else that is going in my life.  Sometimes I find myself wishing the hours away just to get to Teddy’s bedtime so I can get all the other stuff done that otherwise falls by the wayside (bad mummy…..)  However, how important actually are those things in relation to how my child is changing and developing on a daily basis?  It is easy to celebrate each new achievement but then find ourselves already looking forward to the next one when really we should be savouring every moment with them when they are so little and still actually want to spend time with us (or don’t get the choice not to….)!  

Therefore my ordinary moments this week celebrate a day in the life of my child.  Not doing anything amazingly exciting, not necessarily doing anything new but just being an eleven month old little boy viewing the world as an interesting but sometimes scary place.  It is an absolute honour to be his mummy and help him find his place in the world and I only hope that he doesn’t grow up too fast!  Image

Top Left – “it’s so funny throwing my food on the floor and making Mummy pick it up over and over again!  It’s even funnier when I decide mid mouthful that I don’t want to finish my toast and spit it out…..”

Top Right – “I’m sure Daddy won’t mind if I re-type some of his important e-mails whilst we wait in his office….. The clicking noise I am making is amazing!”

Bottom Left – “I’ve got to keep my fire engine safe and nearby so that I can make a quick get-away when Mummy decides to change my nappy.  If I also hold onto to the play pen really tightly she will really struggle to pick me up….. Hahahaha!”

Bottom Right – “If I fall asleep here Mummy might not bother taking me upstairs to my cot and then I can be downstairs when Daddy gets home from work.  Once he is back I will be wide awake again and ready to play!”