Saturday, 31 July 2010

Year 2 Day 304: Pa-Pa-Paparazzi!

No,'re right. Our child is not a pose-able toy. But I Just. Can't. Resist. Too bad Myst doesn't take direction very well. He'll never make it as a Top Model.

There we go! But no smiles? C'mon!

Ryan and I took our walk early today so I had my 10,000 steps before 1pm. I would have even have kept walking if I didn't get side-tracked by walking through the park and losing momentum going back up the steeper end of the hill. He screeched as expected and I looked and felt like I had just run a 10K. Ew!

At some point before we went to Em & Daz's for the night, I had to take a photo of my two favourites -- my gorgeous guys! I love them both SOOOO much!

Ryan was excited to see his cousin, like usual...

" No...I didn't do anything. It was Amy."

In the end they both enjoyed their share of telly-viewing for the night by bogarting the tv.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Year 2 Day 303: Mommy's Monkey

Someone woke me bright and early this morning with his little screeches and decided he was way too alert to go back to bed. Any guessed who that was?

If you answered my little monkey, then you're CORRECT!!

He finally fits into his little 'Banana Bandit' outfit that was sent from the States from a family friend (and one of my former elementary school teachers) Mrs. Mall. Wow! I'm an adult now and still can't bring myself to call her by her first name! I feel so silly.

She and her daughter, Jen (my friend) sent loads of wonderful stuff just before Ryan was born and this was one of the first outfits I pulled from the box. It's so cute with little bandanna-wearing monkey heads and a banana on the bum of his trousers! I couldn't wait for him to finally be long enough to be able to wear it.
Luckily it was quite damp out today, so I thought it to be the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, I only took just a few photos today and this was the least blurry of the bunch. But it did really suit him and kept him nice and cozy while he scooted around the floor.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Year 2 Day 302: Start to Finish

Ryan got another experience with cod tonight, but this time I think he ingested more and he did loads better with gagging. I've noticed once he has had a food once or twice, he is much better at getting a productive cough if the food gets in a funny spot on his tongue or the roof of his mouth -- and cod can be pretty sticky.

I've also been doing a bit of sign with him to help him communicate needs. Lately when I sign 'finished' (which is almost like a twisting motion like you're shaking water off your hands from your chest) he holds his hands out to the sides if he is finished. Well, that...or he blows raspberries...

...WITH food still IN his mouth. Look at those cheeks puffed up!

Want to see the video?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Year 2 Day 301: They're BAAAAAAACK!

This time with a vengeance, too! The big question is: Will this teething session last another 3 months or will we see results sooner rather than later? Also, this photo is a little deceiving because to the untrained eye it appears as though little Ryan is just getting a bit "jiggy wit it." But nooooo. This is when he begins to bounce up and down on the balls of his feet whilst remaining stiff like a board...all mere SECONDS before the following...


I was hoping another 4 mile walk would knock him out tonight, but he managed to stay his squeaky self the entire way through. Still, it gave me (and many passers-by) plenty of entertainment.

I did reintroduce baths back into the routine. We are in need of a proper bath "chair" for the big bath now since he likes to play God in his baby bath and create mini-Typhoons to potentially drown his "village" of toys nearby on the carpet. So Matt and I agreed it's time to make the transition. But since we don't have the chair yet, he had to settle for a Johnson's bubble bath with Mommy.

I brought him downstairs after to put his nappy on him and lotion his baby legs and he enjoyed a nice episode of Waybuloo. Then he was dressed in his penguin vest and scooped up to be carried back upstairs for bed.

It took less than 10 minutes into his feed for him to be spark out, so I'm hoping and praying he will stay down longer tonight than he did last night as I barely slept a wink. But it does look like the bath may be helping and more than likely needs to stay.

::crossing fingers::

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Year 2 Day 300: Sixty-Five and Counting Down

Only sixty-five days remain of the second year of my 365 photo-blog. I've contemplated leaving it after this, but I can't see myself taking photos any less, so who knows.

Ryan has developed some excellent monkey-skills. Matt was playing on the floor with him a bit tonight and he was practically trying to climb Daddy's arm. Unfortunately Daddy is feeling a bit poorly and is trying to limit his physical contact with little man -- which he is finding VERY hard since he loves the one-on-one time they have together. So he did cave a bit and take some time out to play.

Ryan loved it, naturally. In fact, he has been a squealing machine this afternoon and evening. We had a longer walk than normal because I've fallen behind on my 10K steps/day goal a few days last week and have been determined to make them up so the average is still 10K. I think Ryan spent the entire second half of the 4.4 mile journey screeching and squealing like a little piglet.

Usually a nice long walk ensures a nice long sleep for him...but not tonight. Shortly after following our nightly routine and putting him down, the *PING* of his eyelids opening almost echoed off the walls.

He was NOT ready for bed.

So back downstairs he came until nearly 1am to continue rolling around on (and off) his play mat and squawking like some rare jungle bird.

Perhaps I should thank the full-moon?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Year 2 Day 299: Snack Time!

We thought we would give Cheerios a go tonight after returning home from our walk. Ryan doesn't quite have the pincer grasp in check, but he certainly does a decent enough job picking up his Os. Look at the form and technique!

And eating them -- no surprise there.

And looking like he's up to no good. Hmm.

"Back away from my Os and nobody gets hurt, Mommy!"

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Year 2 Day 298: My Sunshine

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Even on days when I'm feeling a bit low and down in the dumps...I can look at my little guy, watch a grin spread from ear to ear, and suddenly everything seems right in the world.

Dear Ryan,

Thank you.

Mommy xxx

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Year 2 Day 297: Happy 1st Birthday, Amy!

Today our niece (Ryan's cousin), Amy, turned a year old! She had her birthday party at Scallywags, which is an indoor, soft-play centre (a bit like Chuck E. Cheese's, but without the video games). This is also Ryan's first "official" birthday party that he has attended as a guest. Woohoo...a spot to fill in the baby book!

I can't believe a year has already gone by -- the same way I can't believe seven months have gone by with Ryan. It really is mad how fast time flies when they're so small!

Matt wanted to proudly carry Ryan in when we arrived...but he was quickly baby-napped for a munch by his Nan. By the looks of things, I don't think Ryan minded one bit. In fact, at one point he was quite mesmerised by one of her rings and kept reaching out to get it until he ended up on her lap again, I think it was his plan all along. He was especially tickled when Uncle Daz came and sat next to him with the birthday girl herself!

As one may guess, Ryan's favourite bit was the one involving food. We all sang 'Happy Birthday' before Amy had some 'help' to blow out her candles. Then the kiddie party guests had some nibbles, but the only thing I found suitable for Ryan was a bit of cheese sandwich. He nommed on that for some time and then I offered him some chunks of melon that I brought along...cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew. He shared some of his of honeydew with Amy and we think she rather liked it. Then, Ryan finished off his meal with some Raspberry Ripple ice cream. In fact, he had a hard time parting with the spoon when it was all gone. Big surprise?

Now we look forward to tomorrow when we go to Em & Daz's and can see what Amy got for her birthday. Then again, Ryan's mostly excited for Sunday Dinner.

Mmm! Yorkies!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Year 2 Day 296: I'm Up, I'm Up!

Ryan has been rubbing his eyes nearly all day but wouldn't go down for a nap for more than 30 minutes at a time. This was a bit frustrating as the lack of sleep would then make him fractious and he would just whinge. He would sleep fine on my shoulder, but the second I would put him down...up he'd pop like a little weasel.

We went for a walk in the early evening before Matt got home and he was then here waiting for when we got back. Ryan got a bit of kip then, but still wanted to be a fussy-pants the rest of the night. Thankfully when I took him up to bed he was down for the count.

Let's hope he doesn't give Daddy a hard time in the morning so Mommy can have her lie-in. Plus, he has an important day to rest up for!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Year 2 Day 295: Friends, Fun and a Little R & R

Ryan and I had a special visit today from some friends. Jamie and her daughter Reagan from up north and Patty and her husband Ian from down south. Patty and Jamie are fellow ex-pats who have also frequented the site UK Yankee (before some nameless mods on there got all 'high and mighty' and started banning people for little to no valid reason). In fact, Patty is even from my home state of Ohio!

We've all mentioned, in the past. meeting up at some point and Jamie has even met up with Patty & Ian a couple of times, but it was only earlier this week that Jamie and Patty came up with the brilliant idea to visit on their way back from seeing Jamie. Unfortunately two husbands had to miss out -- Alan, who is Jamie's hubby, and my very own, Matt. The men-folk had to work being it was a mid-week visit, but we all agreed that we will have to get together again with everyone next time. I know Matt looks forward to meeting everyone, too.

Ian and Patty arrived first with Jamie and Reagan following closely behind. I gave them a little tour of our happy home and we had some chit-chat in the front room while Reagan and Ryan met for the very first time. Reagan made the first move by touching Ryan's head, and naturally, my little flirt tried his charm on her. Apparently Ryan's courting techniques could use some fine tuning, however, as he went from giggling and babbling to Reagan to trying to eat her hand.

Hmm. Me-thinks not a good move there little buddy.

We aimed to check out one of the local pubs, only silly me, I neglected to make note of the times they served lunch and we happened to miss the 12-2pm window. This left us with settling for a familiar 'American' chain...Subway.

So into this tiny establishment we went with our badass American selves.

Ian was there, too.

Photos were taken before everyone's grande departure and I definitely look forward to seeing everyone again, soon...with even more 'American' power.

And in the meantime...I think love is in the air!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Year 2 Day 294: Parasol FAIL

I finally decided to give the parasol for Ryan's push-chair a go today. We made it as far as the end of the drive before I was fed-up and I took it back off. Between the strong winds and constant flopping up and down as I'd push forward, it was getting on my nerves. Not to mention it blocked Ryan's view almost completely.

Later at home, I used my good pal, Google and learned I had it on all wrong and it was supposed to be attached at the top. I decided to try it that way, but quickly discovered that it blocked MY view then. I'm just too short!

Just can't win, I guess.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Year 2 Day 293: In Our Night Garden

We made a new discovery tonight when Ryan and I returned from our walk. In fact, it's not uncommon to come out on an evening or wake up on a morning to find a completely new flower has bloomed in the garden without any warning -- and this was no exception. I had NO idea!

I do try to take a photo of each new bloom to note when it appears so that next year I can plan my gardening accordingly.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Year 2 Day 292: This Could Be Love

Matt rang the house mid-day to tell me to get the beef mince out of the freezer so we could have pasta "mess" tonight. I decided then that Ryan (who is seven months old today) was ready to have his first encounter with this scrummy meal of twirly pasta, beef mince, and mushrooms all in some Home Pride Creamy Tomato & Herb sauce. Oh...and silly me...I almost forgot the best part...the cheesy topping!

I sat just opposite Ryan as I usually do when he eats in his Bumbo, so I would be close by should he have any trouble with the twirls or mince -- also to keep pasta from being thrown at the walls. But I should have known better -- Ryan will certainly not be one to waste any food if he has any control over it. Nearly everything went straight into his mouth! He did gag a little on the pasta twirls, but mainly because they got sticky inside his mouth and either stuck to the roof of his mouth of the centre of his tongue.

Tricky twirls.

I have to say that I was quite impressed at how his general approach has advanced a bit. He used to just grab food, squash it and shove it in his gob. Now he picks it up and really looks at it before carefully putting it in. In fact, I think this is why he gags less now than he did at the beginning -- yet another positive for BLW. Also, he doesn't quite have the pincer yet, but that didn't stop him with the smaller bits of mince. He did a modified version with two hands and still managed to get it to his lips.

By the end of the meal Ryan had a Homer Simpson-esque 5 o'clock shadow of tomato sauce on his face and his hands were covered in orange as well! I think next time I will feel a bit more comfortable to give him more than I did this time as he was slightly frustrated when it was over.

Mind you, that frustration ended quickly when I brought his tub into the room and he realised it was splash time -- but I'll save that for another blog.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Year 2 Day 291: Public Service Announcement

Dear Public of Rowley Regis (and the surrounding Sandwell Area),

I am NOT a chav.

Should you see me walking along the pavement in my green Adidas tracksuit bottoms and hoodie, with my hair pulled back and pushing my son in his pram, please do not confuse me for one. I wear a pedometer, which automatically disqualifies me from such a status and instead makes me quite athletic in my mother country.

You see, when leaving for my walk this afternoon, I was cautioned by my lawfully wed that people may see me and assume that because of my attire, I was a chav. On the contrary, I wore my Adidas bottoms due to the highly windy weather conditions and because of their durability and comfort when walking long-distances. Walking for exercise, I might add...not to the nearest off-licence.

I hope that in the future, my choice in wardrobe will not bring any concern to passers-by that might otherwise make them feel the need to cross the street to avoid walking past a perceived delinquent. I'm just a regular mom with a reputable career trying to live a healthy lifestyle by participating in a bit of physical activity.

Better than being sat on my arse at home chain-smoking and watching Jeremy Kyle.

Kind Regards,

Your 'non-chavvy' Neighbour

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Year 2 Day 290: Stand-Up Man

Ryan is a huge fan of standing up now while holding onto our hands. In this photo, I had his left hand and Matt had his right (he also wouldn't take his eyes off Daddy). He's even been getting a bit ambitious and letting go of one hand before giving in to a severe wobble and falling to his bum.

We had pasta bake tonight for tea with some garlic bread. Ryan gobbled up the garlic bread and tried one of my pieces of pasta, but I quickly decided anything with a sauce was something that required this kiddo to be nearly naked as I didn't want tomato sauce all over his nice, white shirt. I clearly took this photo well after he had been cleaned off and I now wish I had not so I had evidence to show of Ryan's orange face plastered in tomato sauce!

I had to throw this photo in, although I'm not the one who took it. When I got downstairs after preparing Ryan's cot to take him up to bed, I saw Matt standing in the doorway of the front room taking photos of a sleeping Ryan like a paparazzo. He just couldn't resist and I can't say I blame him.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Year 2 Day 289: My Little Charmer

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold! This is the face that will steal many hearts for years to come -- I can surely see it now (and I'm allowed that right as his mama, naturally). I can't even begin to explain how happy this little boy makes me, nor illustrate the sheer joy he brings me. It's euphoric...and it's all mine (and Matt's too...I guess).

During the week we spend our mornings roughly the same each day. Mostly together on his play mat where he rolls about like a little tumbleweed. Sometimes we're practicing sitting or standing. Sometimes we're singing songs we learned from the telly programmes such as ones about Little Peter Rabbit, who happened to have a fly upon his nose or others about little green frogs -- and we even incorporate a little sign and finger play. Sometimes we even sit and hold hands...just because...and my little man looks right into my eyes while I gaze dreamily at his and fall head over heels in love all over again.

I've said it before, and as mushy as it sounds I'll repeat it again and don't truly understand the depth of your own love until you have a child of your own. Seriously! Love for your friends/family...not the same. Falling in love with your spouse or partner...close, but still it can't compare. It is by far the BEST. FEELING. EVER!

Anyway, I'll step down from my little Love-Fest, party of one for now.

When Matt returned home from work I asked if he could drop Ryan and I at Merry Hill to have a bit of a wander since he was going so spend some time with Daz in the man-cave (i.e. Daz's kitchen). We looked around in several shops when we were there and without fail in every one, Ryan managed to woo the ladies with his smile.

He did it in Boots. He did it in Asda. He did it in Pumpkin Patch.

In fact, it was in Pumpkin Patch, as they were preparing to close up, that the sales associate was completely twitterpated with my son. She leaned in to give him a little hello and his smile spread from ear to ear! She then commented on his smile and his factor of munchability (his cuddliness) while he grinned even bigger and giggled -- and this sent her over the edge. She couldn't walk away! She just kept gushing about how she didn't want him to leave the shop and how his cheeks must hurt. Mind you, I was just happy that my little guy brought his A-game and chose to leave 'Seperation-Anxiety-Ryan' at home.

Work your magic there, mini-Cassanova!

We eventually made our way out and headed out of the mall and across the car park to Toys R Us. Their website said they were open until 10pm so we were going to continue our window shopping there...if only it weren't for the false advertising and the sign on the door that indicated they shut at 8pm instead.

I still had 5,000 steps to make up on my pedometer so I was fully prepared to just walk to Em & Daz's and meet Matt there with it being just over a mile and a half, but then thought it may be a bit too dark in that time and I wouldn't want Matt to worry, so I rang him and arranged to just meet me at Brewer's Wharf.

I walked around to a populated section when Ryan started to fuss a bit. I pulled him out of his push-chair and we walked for a bit along the Waterfront looking at the canal and narrow-boats until Matt arrived and we headed for home.

I got Ryan ready for bed as Matt did a quick tea of egg on toast and even little toast soldiers for Ryan to nom as well so I could eat mine at the same time. When we were through, I took him upstairs, fed his hungry belly and held his little baby hand as he drifted off to sleep with the help of his Pal, Scout and some soothing bedtime music.

Who knows, he's probably dreaming right now of his next master charm his way out of bedtime altogether. HA!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Year 2 Day 288: Who Are The People In Your Neighbourhood?

No joke...this is a REAL sign in the UK. I don't know that I have ever seen one of these before in the States, but they absolutely exist here. That being said, my walk this afternoon prompted me to include a special section in my post about what I learned about my neighbours today. I may even make this a regular, weekly thing complete with photos next time, but we'll see.

Along my route today I learned a lot about the people who live in the area. Did I meet or speak to anyone? No. Did I spy on them? Not really. All I did was walk on the pavement, pushing Ryan in his push-chair, and observe what was around me.

It's amazing what people openly advertise:

  • A couple was married in Vegas (license-plate sized sign in their front window stating such).
  • Someone is an avid gardener/green thumb (judging by the state of her front garden, I may be inclined to suspect they own a flower shop...or bought one out).
  • Likewise, someone else apparently does not own a lawn mower, or even a pair of garden sheers for that matter (this front garden mirrored that of the Amazon Rainforest...on Miracle Grow -- it was out of control!)
  • Someone is pregnant or was recently (her green pregnancy notes were openly displayed on the dashboard of her car -- something that would quite frankly worry me due to data protection issues).
  • At least two people have an obsession with hoarding or be in need of a 12-step-programme (they feel the need to display their ENTIRE collection of creepy porcelain dolls IN THEIR FRONT WINDOW!)
  • Someone likely has lofty goals of a classy US career or is a complete and utter Chav (based on her "pimped out" car with the phrase 'Play With Me' across the windscreen bordered with Playboy Bunnies and matching hot pink Playboy Bunny seat covers).
The last one may be a bit "judgy" on my part, but it definitely passed the time quickly on that walk. Distractions can be good.

When I returned I got tea on and prepared some homemade chips for Ryan's very first Fish & Chips meal!

Looks like little man had a "chip" on his shoulder tonight. Oh, that was a chunk of my Cod.

His gagging once again tested my Mommy-worry-radar and I did get a bit antsy in myself to let him work it out on his own. I was fully prepared to rip the tray off the Bumbo to help him, but my little trooper managed quite well. Of course, it didn't help that as he was coughing up and spitting out a piece of food, his fingers were right there trying to push it back in.

Glutton. (I say that with love.)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Year 2 Day 287: I Would Walk 10,000 Steps

Yesterday was my health assessment to begin the NHS/Sandwell 'Beijing to London' walk where I was given a pedometer and told to try and walk 10,000 steps a day to improve health and fitness. In just fourteen weeks, I return to be reassessed and if I have made a 2% improvement, then I win £40 in vouchers.

To be fair, I would do it regardless of the prize because the pedometer alone is incentive enough for me. Plus, it's my only alternative since running and jogging are not an option for a bit with my weak knees and ankles.

I obviously had Ryan with me in the pushchair and was prepared for a nice hike up to Turner's Hill, the highest point in the area, but we had to cut that bit out due to the rain and having a bit of a late start.

This was Ryan in the home-stretch of the walk AND I managed to get my 10,000 steps today!! I'd say that was a success!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Year 2 Day 286: Blah, Blah, Blah

We ran out of things to do Ryan looked for more. Seriously. You can tell how bored the poor kid was. He's playing with a BOX! He was actually laughing and screaming into maybe he was having more fun than I thought?

We found a fun website this afternoon. It was mentioned on one of the parenting forums I frequent. You see, Ryan often grabs at the keyboard if he is sitting on my lap and this particular site is designed just for that...babies. It's called Kneebouncers. It has different games to choose from where the only objective is to randomly hit keys on the keyboard to make something happen. In this photo, Ryan was waking a little green and yellow monkey. First the monkey would wake and go back to sleep, but when Ryan would slap the keys repeatedly, the monkey would wake and fly face first at the screen before appearing to smack into the other side.

This really tickled Ryan. So we played again.

And again.

And again.

You get the point.

I'm not sure if it was sheer boredom at this point or over-stimulation from the monkey, but Ryan then went down for a second nap! He hasn't done this (in the late afternoon) in weeks!

Nice change though, because it freed me up to start tea. Yay!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Year 2 Day 285: Ryan's Booty

Matt and I stopped by Matalan tonight as he needed a new pair of trousers for work. The jeans that he had been wearing up until now have permanent 'air-conditioning' so a newer pair was a necessity. Since Ryan is outgrowing many of his 3-6 month vests already, I was keeping an eye out for those...except this is what we came home with.

The 3-piece "Animal" outfit was courtesy of Daddy's winnings from the World Cup pool at work. He and each of his 9 fellow work-mates chose 3 teams from a hat. The teams Matt happened to pick were Argentina, Brazil, and Spain. Pure luck, really...but everyone at work joked that they should have just given him the money from the beginning. So tonight when we stumbled across this cute outfit, he decided it was too cute to pass up for his dear son and offered half of his prize dosh!

Of course we made a £2.50 exception as well for 3 pair of matching socks. Socks which I might add look almost scarlet & gray, which also means they will match attire of the Ohio State persuasion.

Convenient, yes?

And then of course we have the vests. He has sleeveless 6-9 month vests, and normally I'm not much for ones with artwork as they're normally on under all of his clothes...but I figured when he outgrows these I can turn them into a quilt...or pay someone who knows how to quilt to turn them into one.

Needless to say, I'm pleased with our clothing haul tonight and likely have a bit of pre-washing to do tomorrow before finding a special place for these new duds in his wardrobe -- all ready for our little man to wear!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Year 2 Day 284: Making it Cottagey?

We FINALLY picked up my gorgeous hanging basket, once again put together by my mother-in-law, Josie! (Thanks, Josie!!) We wanted to make a good place to hang it and even after buying a special basket "arm" we ended up placing it on a nail under the over-hang for now.

I must say, it looks really pretty from inside, looking out the kitchen window. And as it turns out, I will be able to easily water it, unlike previously thought, since I have something to climb onto.

I tried taking some other pictures as soon as we got back tonight, but the flash on the camera just bleached the colours, so I will wait until I can get a better daytime pic.

Matt was pleased because he says it really makes our place "cottagey."

Is that a word?