I'm going out on a limb and calling last night a success with Ryan and his new room. Did he sleep through the night? No. Did he wake up somewhere in the neighbourhood of 6-8 times? Oh yes he certainly did. Did we have a repeat of the night before resulting in a snotty baby on my chest while I attempted sleep on the sofa? Nope. All because, get this...
He. Stayed. In. His. Own. Room.
So was I happy when I was STILL awake at 5am trying for the 3rd time that hour to put him in the cot? Ohhhhh no I wasn't. But I was happy when Matt, who was leaving for work at 8am, came into OUR room to kiss me goodbye and reported that Ryan was STILL ASLEEP!! This meant, I could follow suit and return to my duvet garden of dreaminess.
Of course, by 9:30 Ryan was certainly letting me know, baby monitor or not...through TWO closed doors, even...that he was more than ready to start his day. Thankfully for him, his Mommy was better-rested and more than happy to oblige. In fact, we even had the opportunity with some brilliant sunny weather to get away from destroying Mommy's book club catalogue and get outside for a walk!
SOME people weren't a fan of being in their own space last night.
We ended up downstairs on the settee again because he REFUSED to be put down in his cot and sleep. Crying-it-out and Controlled-Crying are not options for us as we'd still lose sleep anyway because he wouldn't give in AND because neither of us agree with those methods.
As frustrating as it is to be a bit sleep-deprived, we cannot justify leaving him in a room to cry by himself. It's not the message we want to send anyway as babies at this stage are developing their trust vs mistrust and ultimately this can lead them to be fearful and deprive them of some degree of self-confidence.
We want to teach Ryan what it means to be reliable and the best way for us to do that is to not cater, but respond to his basic needs...physical and emotional.
Of course...throw in teething and bunged-up nose and you get one unhappy little bunny. Matt and I aren't the only ones that lack of sleep is affecting.
At the end of the day, we have accepted that he is a baby. This is what babies do. Sometimes they sleep and sometimes they don't. He's not manipulating us and he's certainly not a puppet-master. There's no magic fix and gone are the days where we're in charge of our own schedule. It's part of being a parent...the good with the bad. If we try something and it works...great! If not...move on to plan B...or C...or Z. Luckily we haven't run out of alphabet letters...yet.
Ryan. You have been evicted. Please, leave Mommy & Daddy's room.
Ryan. You have been evicted. Please, leave Mommy & Daddy's room.
There was no Davina involved nor any need to say any goodbyes on this eviction though because he's only going just across the hall to...
...his OWN room!!!
After lots of back and forth and trying to decide if the time was right, Matt and I decided all signs pointed to "yes" for Ryan to move into his room. We still have a few things we'd like to get done to the room to personalise it. For starters, Daddy has promised Ryan some more "manly" curtains, like Chuggington or Roary the Racing Car, to replace the current mauve, floral print.
So, after struggling with the cot to get it from our room to Ryan's in one piece (which is harder than you'd think considering we had to battle a narrow pathway, the railing around the stairs and the wooden beam above that was JUST low enough to make it all awkward) we put the finishing touches on for now, and that was the blue, foam letters to spell out RYAN down his bedroom door.
Then we put him in his cot and asked him what he thought...
Ryan received this cute little interactive book from his Nan a while back and he really gets a kick out of the movable hands on the clock that make clicking noises as you rotate them. Since Ryan is so fixated on shoving everything in his mouth, why did it even surprise me when I hear clicking and look over at him this afternoon to see him turning the clock hands with his tongue?!?!
I nearly spat out my drink!
Oh, and speaking of things of the projectile persuasion. Mr. Waddles was the victim of an unfortunate event at bedtime that led to me needing to shout downstairs for Matt's swift assistance...and Mr. Waddles has a message for all of you out there...
...He says to please forgive him if he doesn't care to hear about if you had " a case of the Mondays." Something tells me he got it a bit worse.
He is currently re-fluffing in the dryer.
Sadly, I didn't get a picture of myself, but believe it or not, I did get it MUCH worse. Put it this way, I unlatched Ryan who did his usual sleepy-moan. So I started to hold him upright to wind him, and the ENTIRE contents of my little man's stomach came flying out and covered my entire left side from the shoulder down and ended up all over his face and clean sleep suit as well. It was so bad, that despite having to hold back laughter, Matt had to whisk Ryan away to change him while I immediately disappeared to the shower to shampoo and comb the mess from my CURLY hair.
So yeah, I'm with Mr. Waddles...I don't think your Monday could have had quite the finish.
Only five days remain in the second year of my 365 blog. I fully intend to carry on at least with another year as I quite enjoy looking back at the photos and how we spent our days. Most of all I like that my family and friends can keep up at their own leisure with what we're up to -- especially now there's a third somebody to consider this side of the pond.
For now...enjoy a Ryan photo (playing with the cube at cousin Amy's house).
Ryan couldn't wait to try on his new winter coat from Nan and Grandad -- well, Mommy couldn't wait to see him in it, at least. And you can't tell very well by the photo, but considering how exhausted he was from their visit, plus a visit from Em, Daz and Amy AND a nice chicken dinner, he was so very cooperative!
Matt and I had just been talking this week how much cooler it has been getting and how we needed to find a nice, warm winter coat for Ryan. So the timing couldn't have been better!! Plus, after his modeling session...little man came out all nice and warm as pie.
I've been trying my best this week to make certain Ryan has been having both breakfast and lunch consistently, ensuring he would get a minimum of two meals a day even if he had to be put to bed before we had dinner. Today I thought I would change up the menu a bit from jam sandwiches, a carrot and sticks of cucumber...so I substituted some pasta twists with a sprinkle of Edam cheese.
Upon DEVOURING his jam sandwiches, Ryan began to segregate his cheesy pasta from the non-cheese-covered twists. You can probably guess which one didn't make the cut! He nearly had me in stitches as I watched him not just drop the pasta off his tray, but pick it up, raise his arm into the air, and drop the pasta from up high just to watch it fall and meet its demise in the carpet. The funniest bit of it all was he was so serious through the whole thing.
He had a change of heart afterwards, however, but I had quickly scraped away the twists.
He took a decent nap this afternoon, for a change. Afterwards we went to the library to get some books. Ryan chose The Five Little Ducks.
When we got home, Matt was already back from work, so Ryan took a break for some In The Night Garden on the telly. Again, he had me giggling to myself as he managed to get one shoe and sock off of only ONE foot...but was quite content to leave the other on.
We went to Em & Daz's shortly after to celebrate Emma's birthday, but about an hour into the visit, Ryan started to get fussy so we headed back home. Matt and I thought he was going to fall asleep in the car on the way back, but he stayed awake.
I think it was just so he could get some Daddy cuddles before bed.
Finally! We had brilliant lighting and despite the photo's subject staging a napping-strike ALL DAY, he still managed to keep his cool through the photos and I think I got quite a few good ones out of the twenty-plus that I took.
First, I'd like to point out a few things. One being the teddy bear -- a gift from Ryan's Great-Aunt Margaret and Great-Uncle Eric from Manchester. They brought it when they came to visit a couple months back and it was exactly what I was looking for to go with the colours in the photo.
Another thing is Ryan's outfit -- we picked this out from Tesco and the top reads "I'm Daddy's Best Invention." As far as phrase/novelty tees, I thought it would suit the photo perfectly considering another item in the photo has quite the significance to Daddy as well...
...And that would be the "Strida Walker," which used to belong to Matt when he was just a wee one. Josie (MIL) was such a sweetheart and scrubbed up all the blocks inside after bringing it downstairs during our visit last week. Matt wants to give the whole thing a lick of paint, but I'm quite fond of the vintage look of it...so we'll see what happens. But I'm absolutely loving that our son is learning to walk using the very thing that his Daddy used when he was little!
Of course when we initially set up, Ryan was more interested in the grass than cuddling his teddy and looking cute for the photo...
But I did get a couple here and there where he seemed happy to smile and ham it up for the camera.
So, I then decided to give him some smaller props to hold and distract him from the grass.
Only he kept dropping them and eventually dove, face-first, into the grass after them.
Since we were under the apple tree, I got the fabulous idea that he should hold some apples. But anyone who knows Ryan can guess what he did with those...
...He tried to EAT them, of course!
Want to guess then what he did when I took the apples away and gave him back his teddy?
If you were following from yesterday's post, you were probably expecting me to reveal the prop I was waiting on to do Ryan's 9-month photo. By the time we got things sorted tonight, it was too dark outside for any natural lighting...so you will have to wait again.
Well, let me rephrase that...I fully intended on taking a photo. Since Ryan is 9 months old, as of yesterday, I wanted to do his 9-month photo in an outfit we recently picked up for him at Tesco. He's starting to outgrow many of his clothes so we're trying to slowly replace bits of what he has with 9-12 month options (even though trousers in that size are WAY too long at the moment).
There was a prop, in particular, that I was hoping to include in the photo but it slipped our minds to remember to get it tonight -- so I've decided to postpone the photo until tomorrow. In doing so, I had held out all day for that photo and before I had realised, it was time to get our little bunny bathed and in bed.
The first thing Ryan is interested in when we visit his cousin, Amy (BESIDES his excitement over seeing his cousin, Amy) is cousin Amy's activity block. This was the very thing that caught his interest enough that he wanted to stand as much as possible to play with it, and he even first learned to pull himself to standing by using this very block!
Of course, now he can pull himself to standing without much trouble and I am even confident enough as his Mommy to stand back a bit and trust that he can balance himself well enough holding on. He does occasionally let go entirely and try to walk off (forgetting he can't walk, I guess) and a couple times today he would let go and just stand at the block without holding anything -- but I am talking only a matter or 3 seconds or so.
Anyway, Daddy and I suspect that at this rate...in another 3 months, by his first birthday and Christmas (or maybe even sooner) he may very well be walking! ::gasp::
I have come to the conclusion that changing my dear son's nappy at times is as simple and easy as trying to give an enema to an angry alligator.
You see, he loathes (and I mean LOATHES) being on his back most of the time, so unless distracted by some song-singing on the telly or a pretty purple bottle of Mommy's A-Z Multivitamins, you have no chance. Lately the difficulty has been successfully executing the clean-up portion of the experience while he flips and flops his body whilst trying to spin into the infamous gator death roll.
Especially when he's grabbing at the wipe that's covering his boy bits (to protect one from getting hosed down) and then trying to put said wipe into his mouth -- because what else would a baby want to do with a baby wipe, right?
Then there's the tedious task of trying to secure closed the new nappy while he continues to try to flip to his belly, or better yet, while he's bashing you in the knuckles with the multivitamin bottle you so cleverly gave him previously to distract him.
Bruised knuckles or not...this boy is leaving with a clean bum and nappy. Even if it means leaving a bit of destruction in his wake.
Ryan was in much better spirits today. He slept on me last night on the sofa downstairs and although I didn't get proper sleep until after 6am, it was nice not having it interrupted by screams of him in his cot. Instead I was woken up to a soggy hand clenching my nose. When I opened my eyes I saw a wide open mouth with four little pearly whites grinning back at me.
He hasn't had any fever today and he seemed to be himself again playing with his toys and chasing the cat in the walker and screeching. I thought he might have been ready for a nap in afternoon, but when I tried to put him down he wasn't having it, so I brought him back downstairs and thought a little time in his Jumperoo might wear him out.
Now, normally when he is sleepy he will also be quite fussy...but this wasn't the case as I watched him bounce, bounce, bounce away. It wasn't until I looked up at one point and noticed him nodding off that I actually believed he was even tired!
His head would start to tilt and his eyes rolled back...but as soon as he would slump, his own body weight would shift the springs enough to bounce and he would then look up and start bouncing as if nothing had even happened! I watched for a good three minutes or so before he properly rest his head and went to sleep.
After a temp of 101.1 around 3am, I kept Ryan up for about an hour to monitor his temperature. By 4am I could feel him sweating on me, so I knew the fever had broken. He was awake and crying at 4:20, 5:20, and 6:20 before I finally just brought him downstairs to rest on me on the sofa.
Of course, THEN he decided to sleep.
He was okay enough during the day to play, but you could hear in his breathing that he just wasn't fully himself.
After Matt came home from work, we decided to play it by ear and still went through the bedtime routine even though he returned back downstairs with me in the end. So we thought we would just let him stay up and get in his cuddles since he was feeling so poorly.
We attempted to put him 45 minutes before we came up to bed, and he lasted about 10 minutes once we got into bed ourselves. Pillows under my right arm and baby on my left shoulder, we retreated yet again to the front room to set up camp on the sofa. No sense in having two sleepless nights in a row.
Quite literally, he was today! The boy cannot be stopped! He has to be climbing onto or out of or OFF of something anymore. Gone are the days where he will sit patiently in the wicker chair in the bathroom holding his plastic duck while Mommy brushes her teeth. Gone are the days where I can leave the room to prepare lunch and be confident that he won't be spread-eagle across the tray of the walker trying to climb out and into his push-chair. Fully-walking or not, we have a mobile baby who doesn't have much in mind for staying put for very long.
Today he pushed the walker (yes, from the OUTSIDE) from one end of the front room to the other and onward behind the sofa and back again. He was on FIRE!
But that wasn't a foreshadowing for how the day would end...
By mid-afternoon, a mildly runny nose I had noticed from the morning was like a leaky tap that wouldn't stop. His eyes appeared glazed and his energy quickly diminished. He had a feed before Matt got home and I thought he would go down for a nap, but he lasted 10 seconds in his cot before his nose was bothering him and he just wanted a cuddle. It wasn't until nearly 7pm that he finally passed out on my shoulder so I took him up knowing it wouldn't be for the night.
Shortly after eight, he was crying again upstairs so I brought him down to have a scrambled egg and toast soldiers while Matt and I had egg on toast. I noticed he was looking distant, but when I touched his skin it was like a hot coal. His temp measured 100.7 so I got a nice bath ready and gave him some Calprofen for the fever. We even elevated his mattress slightly with pillows to help.
Now I sit finishing the blog with a baby asleep on my shoulder once again. He lasted 20 minutes before I made him battle the snot-sucker because he woke unable to inhale or exhale easily through his nose again. I suspect this will be ongoing tonight, I just hope after such a long, busy day this little guy and his bunged-up nose can get some rest.
Tonight's photo is a bit of a double meaning because not only is Ryan both British AND Cheeky, but the actual bum or cheek of his jeans is representing as well! The jeans are still a bit roomy and I have to roll them a couple times because Matt's height gene hasn't kicked in, but this purchase a couple months back couldn't be passed up when we saw them at Matalan. We knew if we bought them in a 6-9 that he could at least grow into them and they would last a while. There's nothing either of us loathe more than wasting money on something that won't last him a bit, considering how fast babies grow out of things.
He showed them off for Nan and Grandad when we stopped by for a little visit.
He also got the chance to re-enact his performance with a push-walker when Josie brought down Matt's old one that he used when he was just a baby. It's wooden with a metal handle and it holds a set of multi-coloured wooden blocks in the base. It was definitely a hit, but will need a good wipe down with the dust it had collected in its 30+ years without use. A photo of this will be a must when it's all ready.
S.D. "POS" Card, an 8GB memory-recording device, died suddenly the 12th of September, 2010. It was the casualty of the finicky card-reader purchased several years back from Dollar General and a victim of shoddy design and quality. He was less than 12 months old.
Mr. Card was purchased in a small camera shop in Merry Hill Shopping Centre to replace another card and he allowed the taking of many wonderful photos, including the birth of the world's cutest baby. S.D.'s photos were featured on this very blog on a daily basis. At the time of his death he was about to provide the photos for day 347.
S.D. Card is survived by his 1GB cousin, S.D. Polaroid, who has provided tonight's photos. Funeral arrangements: TBA.
Let me start by saying how unbelievably excited I was to blog tonight because Ryan took his first steps with his cousin, Amy's push-walker!! No help from Mommy or Daddy...just off across the floor all on his own! He's still unsteady in his balance, but the boy has NO FEAR and is so determined. The best part of all was that my camera was naturally close by and all that was required was to get Matt to spot him in case he fell over so I could snap some photos.
And let me tell you...snap some photos I did! I don't recall how many I took, but in reviewing them on the way home I knew I would have a difficult time choosing just one or two.
Once Ryan had been fed and put to bed, I anxiously came back downstairs and retrieved my camera from its case. I removed the memory card and inserted it into the card reader just as I do every night before I blog. When I saw that it hadn't recognised any new media I knew I was in for the familiar game of "insert-remove" as the card reader had an annoying knack for not wanting to read the card right away. I must have done this close to 50 times before getting fed up. That was around the time Matt came into the room needing to use the PC briefly.
I had a bit of a strop and pulled the memory card out and tossed the card reader aside, purely out of frustration that it wasn't reading the card. When I inserted the card back into my camera I soon realised it wasn't seeing the photos there either. So, I removed the card yet again and examined it closely only to discover...
...the corner now had a chip in the flimsy plastic. Clearly this had to have been from repeated attempts to get the card reader to READ THE CARD, which it wasn't doing. This confirmed my worst fear!
The pictures are gone because the card is broken and cannot be read!
This means the photos I have taken of my son over the last TWO days were lost!! Granted, I did just back the card up on Friday, so it could have been worse...it could have been a lot more photos. But still.
This is where I admit...I still cried about it.
I know, I know...call the whaaaaaambulance. But c'mon...anyone who takes loads of photos can probably appreciate that these memories are precious and losing them is just...so...sad.
Anyway, I'm a bit over it now. Still disappointed that I don't have the photos to show what happened tonight, but I guess that means I will have to re-stage tonight's events. Shame.
People really aren't joking, and I cannot emphasize enough how quickly this time goes. I find myself purposefully pausing and taking the moments in as much as I can because I don't want to miss a second or forget how it all felt.
Ryan was in his Jumperoo this afternoon and after a while I noticed he wasn't jumping, but instead just staring back at me with a puzzled look. I soon realised it was because I was the one staring at him first. I was just sat there staring at him with a goofy grin plastered across my face and it wasn't until I felt tears welling up in my eyes that I noticed him noticing me noticing him.
Then he smiled back at me as if to say, "It's okay, Mommy. I know. It's because I'm growing up."
He is such a smart little cookie -- or would that be a cookie still in England, or a biscuit?
Hmm...Matt says still a cookie.
Okay then, moving on...
He really is SO bright, and I'm sure every parent feels that way about their kids. I just love his innocence -- right down to the innocent way he tips all of Mommy's things off the end table, having no clue that it's about to make a big mess.
I still love him.
Even so innocent that he will bash his head with a plastic toy he is shaking. Stop for a minute. Look at said toy that just inflicted pain...and go right back to shaking it over his head again.
I also love the way he is so curious now about everything around him. Matt and I jokingly say he's nosy...but it's like every day his curiosity grows and he just wants to get right into and involved in everything! His latest obsession has grown from tapping two objects together, to tapping one of those objects against another surface to hear the sound it makes; like his sensory bottle (with curly pasta inside) against a cardboard box, his toothbrush handle against the wicker chair in the bathroom, or even one of his stacking cups against Mommy's face (which doesn't make any real sound, by the way -- outside of Mommy occasionally saying "Ow...ow...ow...ow...").
It's as if from his birth we have been watching a new feature film that has started out with a slow plot and has only just started to pick up with some really good action. He's learning so much, SO fast and he's honestly SO much fun!
Don't get me wrong...there's niggly bits I could do without. The night waking due to painful teething. The wiggling and flailing about when I'm trying desperately to change a dirty nappy. The general crankiness when it seems that even Magic Mommy or Daddy cuddles are just not enough -- and those just break your heart. But it is all just so worth it!
This little person is the absolute BEST thing I have ever done, without a doubt -- and I don't think I'm the only one in this house that feels that way.
...when your eyes aren't ON him for a split second!
Matt has a habit of taking his jeans off downstairs so he won't wake Ryan with the noisy belt when he comes up to bed at night. Because of this, they can be found usually draped over the back of the sofa. I've gotten so used to this it's like part of the living room furniture until he returns home from work.
I have recently arranged things in a "baby-safe" manner so Ryan has full run of the front room when in the walker. Certain things are blocked off, like the fire and small end tables, so he can scamper back and forth without worry of pulling something onto himself.
Apparently I forgot about the jeans.
When I saw him I could only laugh because he jets around the room now like a crazed lorry-driver and it seemed as if the jeans were as much a casualty as would be an innocent bug smashed against someones grill on the motorway.
This photo was a last minute addition as I didn't start reviewing photos for the blog until after he had gone up to bed. I took it because he was using me as a climbing frame and he was so truly ticked by the fact he was pulling himself up and then the camera would appear.
Upon closer inspection...(besides the bogies)...
I didn't notice anything throughout the day, but the more I look at this photo it seems his fourth has cut through as well. That's only about a week from his third!
But hey...I'll take that. No huge change in his temperament this time. Could this be a sign that he's just used to it by now? I doubt it...but hey!
We were blessed with some decent sun today as well as a decent morning nap from the boy, so I didn't hesitate to pack up the push-chair for a lazy afternoon at the park. When we were leaving the drive a few sprinkles threatened to ruin our plans, but the sneaky cloud quickly passed and we were on our way.
Straightaway we noticed a big tractor/lawn-mower cutting grass down on the football pitches, so we fanned out our blanket and set up our camp under a nice shade tree. We watched the mower go back and forth a few times and then settled down for some fun with the stacking cups and a touchy-feeley story.
It wasn't long until Ryan wanted to eat-- I mean, explore the grass. I had to be careful to allow him the freedom to investigate, but still keep a close eye on when he was about to plop a leaf into his trap so I could intercept it.
But I do have to admit...I love his curiosity!
We had a snack of cucumber and carrots and he successfully devoured two whole cucumber sticks! We're still working on raw carrots since his resources are limited right now at two-and-a-half teeth, but he still likes to suck on them.
Before leaving we made a bee-line for the swings before the kids from junior and secondary school arrived and took over. Then we headed home and sir had a lovely 2-hour kip before Matt returned from work.
I'm hoping that all this outdoor time will help with his sleeping tonight...although I know deep down that he is just a baby and they don't always sleep how we would like them to. All I know is he napped like a Champ today -- and I can dig that!
He's climbing (or attempting to climb) EVERYTHING! There's no stopping him! Gone are the days of placing him on the floor and even just watching him flop around.
Now he gets placed on the floor and he's off! Crawling at the speed of light --erm, I mean speed of Ryan across the room and over to the rocking foot-stool (which, I might add, looks like it could be training for Most Extreme Elimination Challenge). From there he then manages to scale the edge until he reaches the empty car-seat box...and just look at him. Ever so proud of himself!
I wish I could take full credit for staging this photo, but my clever boy did this all on his own. Mhmm...no mommy is more proud than when her child tries to eat his own feet.
If you look closely in this photo (or click on the photo itself to make it larger) you can see the newest of toothy-pegs. It's the first time I've been able to capture a photo since it's arrival last week.
Nothing too exciting today. It has been gloomy and thunder-stormy outside so we have spent the day indoors and pretty much in our jammies! (Although I did change into my jeans.)
We played "Mommy-chase-Ryan" all over the front room and the very popular game of "No" and "Keep Out" where I get to pry the TV and telephone leads out of his sticky little baby hands. I'm telling you, he's QUICK!
When Matt returned home, Ryan was sat on my lap and we were singing along to some songs with cute little videos on You Tube. I learned the real lyrics to 'Teddy Bears Picnic' and discovered that no where in that song does it mention "see them in their underwear" as I previously thought. I used to think that song was hilarious when I was a kid for that very reason. I guess it just goes to show how silly I was and that I probably made up my own version and believed it to be the true one.
At one point, Ryan even dozed off on my shoulder for a bit, which surprised me as he was boycotting naps today. I guess the fatigue got the better of him. But he still went down at his normal bedtime, which his body has set to be about 9 o'clock. We start his routine around half-eight and by nine he is dried off from his bath, lotioned, dressed and happily nursing while Matt or I read him a story.
I met up with a fellow American expat today. We went to Merry Hill to get her daughter some shoes for school and then eventually ended up back in Kingswinford at her friend's house -- which is ironically close to the old flat on Beech Road.
Ryan was having a blast on the floor trying to find new things to shove in his gob while I did my best to keep them out.
We haven't been to my in-laws' to visit since Matt's birthday in August, so I was telling Matt all week that we really needed to find a good time to get together since they hadn't seen Ryan. When we arrived it didn't take long for Ryan to end up snuggled in his Nan's lap to look at his new book. He was very curious about this book as it had a clock on it with movable hands that made "clicky" noises.
Grandad then took the opportunity to get out his new camera for some photos and even gave Ryan a little peek of a video with his cousin, Amy.
Of course, Ryan didn't mind showing off his newest developed skills and strength for his Grandad. He even nearly took some supported (wobbly) steps toward Daddy at one point.
He's really looking forward to visiting them again very soon!!
After two and a half years in a long-distance relationship, I packed my life of 29 years into 21 boxes and moved to England to marry and be with my husband, Matt. Now I'm reveling in the youth of my 30s in Great Britain, supply-teaching in primary schools near Birmingham and enjoying newlywed life, being a mommy, and all the surprises they bring!