Aug 7


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Lovely weekend visit from Emma. Much wine, wii, and, sadly, whinge from the smaller members of the family.

I am now half way through completing challenge No. 15 by taking Rhys and Emma to Haile’s farm for fruit picking. Black currents for Emma, rasps for everyone. Oh and a poke around the farm shop revealed my favourite chunky oatcakes, never before seen south of the border, venison sausages and meringues. Oh happy Sunday.

Only half way through the challenge though, next year I’ll complete it by taking Meredith too.

Jul 26

Back to work, neglected blog

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It’s been over a month since I last posted, largely because had little brain time to think about blogging.

I’m enjoying my return to work but due to a massive new project and extra responsibilities my job has taken a larger chunk of my life than the allotted 3 days a week. Fair dos, it’s interesting and exciting and I’m not complaining, but I am looking forward to the day when things have settled down.

So here’s a catch up, starting with No. 3 with my June mosaic meaning I’ve completed half the PAD project for 2011.

I’ve also kept to no. 4 and managed at least one PAD challenge every month. This is my June Scavenger Hunt. Check out the link if you want an explanation of what each photo represents. I doubt I’d have completed over 200 days of photos without the monthly hunt and other challenges, they are great inspiration for dull days. I also learnt about a photography trick this month called cross processing.

What else? Let’s see.

The June mosaic has evidence of No. 28, we’re working on a plan for October for No. 19, and I have started on the sling for No. 31, although this has rather stalled with lack of time. Must complete this task, especially as Rachel has completed her pregnancy challenge and produced the beautiful Polly Delphine.

The June PAD mosaic also has two shots for No. 51. Matt took Rhys to see Titchy Tiny Science at the Cheltenham Science Festival, a children’s show all about vibration and sound, while Meredith and I ate cake and drank tea in the cafe tent. The weather was truly atrocious. We then had a break for Rhys to attend a birthday party before we raced back to Cheltenham Town Hall to visit the stalls and learn about magnets, the heart at the Blood Bar, nuclear power, heat sensors, Jenner’s fight against small pox, and a bicycling skeleton. I can’t recommend the festival strongly enough and I hope that next year, when I am no longer attached at the hip to a small baby, I’ll be able to attend a few more of the events myself.

I’m yet to complete No. 78 but Matt has taken up bread challenge again, this time using fresh yeast. Every time I eat home made bread I question why I continue to buy crappy sliced stuff from supermarkets. I think we should return to having an emergency toast/toasted cheese loaf in the freezer and proper stuff for the rest of the time.

Oh and if I can track down my Gran’s old recipe once more, I’ll steal some of the yeast to spread on toast and make some more of her ginger beer…

I spent some of the weekend working on the dull No. 80 and now my hands are dry and sore. Sigh.

Meredith has started having a banana for breakfast every morning so No. 85 is no longer much of a challenge. Indeed, Rhys has been seen with a banana in his hand on a few occasions recently, there is hope for that child yet.

And finally, I got a call up from the National Blood Service this week so I’m sure that No. 94 won’t be too long, iron levels permitting.

And that’s my round up for June and for half way through July. I promise not to leave it so long, not least because I have a list of nonMission related things I want to blog about in my head….

May 16

30-Day Book Challenge – Day 7 – A book you can quote/recite

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My memory is great for general information and less so for detail and exact phrasings so this isn’t my easiest day.

But I have a memory of sitting on a very overcrowded commuter train going home from London with a very overtired Rhys. It was his bedtime and he was too tired for the usual train distractions. To try and help him doze off, I started reciting Dr Seuss’s Sleep Book.

This book was a present from my good friend Emma who remembered it from her childhood. We read it every night for over a year while we tried to teach Rhys how to fall asleep by himself and by the end I could probably recite over three quarters of it. It’s not of inconsiderable length and it’s largely nonsensical so I’d say this is no mean feat.

When Rhys fell asleep in my arms, a lady who had been swaying next to me commented on how good my memory is and all I could say was, well, I have read it a few times.

In about a year’s time I’ll no doubt be reciting the book for Meredith, so just to keep my hand in: “This book is to be read in bed. The news just came in from the County of Keck that a very small bug by the name of Van Vleck is yawning so wide you can look down his neck. Now a yawn is quite catching…”

May 2

April 2011

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April 2011 by Stripyzebra
April 2011, a photo by Stripyzebra on Flickr.

The mosaic shows that April was a very green month, with lots of fun and a few family “firsts”.

It’s hard to believe that a third of the year has now passed, a photo taken for every single day. Summer started early; I never expected to have my first bar-b-que so early in the year. No. 24 has kick started. And no. 48 needs to start asap!

And that Meredith is now 8 months old. I can barely remember life without our smiley little girl. Things are about to change drastically – I return to work on Wednesday and she has her first full day at nursery. I hope it’s not too much of a shock for us all.

It’s been a bit quiet on the Mission front so I’ve kick started May with no. 94. I’ve written a brief article on nuisance bonfire smoke – one of my pet hates – for our local magazine, the Woodmancote News. No idea if it will be published or not but I figure that I should be allowed at least one small piece given I help deliver the magazine.

If it gets in, I’ll post the article up on the Mission blog.

In the mean time, we’re off to the Woodmancote May Day fete. For once we are home for the Bank Holiday and we have glorious sunshine so we’re looking forward to seeing the community celebrating this holiday. Hoorah for May Day!

Apr 7

No.72 – Clean up work laptop and nursery ramblings

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Mission task no. 72 is done.  The said item has been handed into the office and not a moment too soon as it gave up the ghost and refused to start when I arrived in London.  My shiny new laptop will be couriered to me soon, hopefully with all the tools I need ready to use.

I start back to work next month – initially 3 days a week – and Meredith begins her nursery career.

She had a taster of being away from Mummy yesterday – a trip to Coram’s Fields with her Great Aunt Maggie – while I was in the office. She had a lovely time on a swing and looking at goats and a cockerel. I think she might adjust quite well to nursery and, as Daddy says, least their room has a carpet, which will be a real bonus for Ms Cruiser of 2011′s poor head.

To help counter any separation worries, the nursery’s newsletter announced yesterday that their care has been upgraded from satisfactory to good in a recent Ofsted Inspection. I can’t say I am surprised, they have always taken good care of Rhys and been very proactive in his development. Nursery spotted that his hearing wasn’t right and was causing him problems with his behaviour and his speech, and he has built some special relationships with the staff whom he adores.

Rhys, in turn, inadvertently helped their good Ofsted report by bombarding the poor inspector with questions (the inspector was impressed by the nursery having such confident and outgoing children – there’s a euphemism if ever I heard one) and by bumping his head in front of the inspector and allowing the staff to demonstrate the nursery’s first aid care and injury reporting skills.

It feels too early for Merri to be heading off into the big wide world so I’m glad she’ll have her big brother to hold her hand for the first few months and that she’s going somewhere the staff already know her by name.

It’s a daunting thought that, when my maternity leave ends, the next time I have an extended break from work will be retirement, presuming I can ever afford to do so after all the Baby Boomers have drained the country of resources. On the other hand, I have some exciting new challenges at work ahead of me and the joy of unaccompanied trips to the loo, hot tea, and 5 minutes without worrying that small child is about to bump her brain again. There will be office trips to London that will allow time for eating sushi with one of my closest friends and hopefully completing task no. 57.

Please remind me of these positives when my arms are missing Meredith next month and I duck as another deadline comes close to whooooooshing past the top of my head – thank you Douglas Adams for summing up my writing experience.

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Mar 28

Mission update

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Busy week!

As well as updating No. 33, I can cross off No. 99. Last week, after a slight hiccup, I finally met up with neighbour Kay and her gorgeous little boy Reuben. And also her neighbour and beautiful daughter Charlotte. Reuben is a day younger than Meredith - and so will be in a different school year – and Charlotte is 4.5 months old.

We walked down to the health centre and had the babies weighed – Meredith is now the Devil Child as her weight was exactly 6. 66 Kg. Or 14 lb 6 oz if you prefer. She had her first trip in the buggy and seemed to enjoy it. There’s a photograph of her lying back in my sunglasses for the March Scavenger Hunt because it was a lovely *warm* spring day.

After we walked back and had a cold drink at Kay’s and a good chat about slings and real nappies and what horrors the small ones are up to. It was a lovely afternoon, and I’m sure we’ll meet up again soon. It  was only a little shocking to discover how young Kay is and that I’m closer to her mother’s age (42 years old) than her own! *denial*

9. When we got back from the speech therapist last week, Merri was sound asleep so I took the opportunity to get Rhys out on his bike again. The previous attempt he refused to even put his bottom on the saddle so it was a relief that he got on and did a little peddling while I held his seat with my finger tips.

Really and truly there are only two things stopping Rhys cycling away. Confidence that he can do it – which we know he can, because he can balance, pedal and steer his balance bike beautifully. And keeping his concentration so he doesn’t wobble or cycle straight into a street lamp. Watch this space…

56. Two lovely ladies (Legless and Little Peanut for those in the know) came over to discuss books and setting up a book club. Typically, Meredith was on a rare sleep refusal jag so my participation was rather curbed but I am  hoping we’ll repeat soon and have the lovely Esklisa and perhaps others next time.

75. I started to get my driver’s licence updated but met a beaurocratic nightmare online so I’m working on it. Weep.

89. I haven’t posted about this incredibly dull Mission but I can report that I am pretty much clutter clearing the table weekly. The fact the clutter is mostly redistributed into the study is another matter.

Feb 16

Sentimental claptrap

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It’s been a bit of a trying and emotional day.

Last night Meredith bit me a few times while feeding, and at one point drew blood. The fact she only has bottom teeth doesn’t stop the fangs sinking in and by goodness does it hurt. I’ve never been one for piercings.

Some women free flow milk but my let down is a bit more stubborn and it’s really hard to relax enough to let the milk flow while your palms are sweating and your toes are curled in anticipation of another chomp. In turn she gets frustrated that I’m tense and cries if I take her off (or when I screamed!) and then I worry it means she’s about to bite again…

We’ve had a couple of nice feeds this afternoon and the relief to both of us is quite palatable. Sometimes you need music to let go the feelings so I’ve had a bit of browse on YouTube and found a few tracks guaranteed to make me have cry just enough.

First, Ellie Goulding’s version of Your Song. It’s not my kind of music normally but it was the Christmas John Lewis advert for 2010 and somehow it seemed to be on the radio and TV a lot in the early months of Merri’s arrival. The line “how wonderful life is now you’re in the world” seemed ever so appropriate.

Then Vincent by Don McClean. I first heard a lousy version of this many years ago on Ally McBeal and it took a long time for me to track the song down. It’s just lovely.

Finally, the Loch Tay Boat Song. Far superior to the better known Sky Boat Song. I get quite bad bouts of homesickness for Scotland every so often and this is one of the tracks I listen to get rid of the feeling. I am hoping Meredith will have red hair as I think of her as my “nighean ruadh”.

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Feb 2

February arrives

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Originally uploaded by Zeb2007


And now we’re into February and the month has started with trouble.

Rhys has a vomiting bug and is the epitomy of pathetic. The tornado of questions and bounce is marooned on the sofa dozing and puking at random intervals. Horrid.

Meanwhile, Meredith has unfortunately had her first accident.

She has grabby hands – perfect for pulling hair, tugging on clothes, twisting bottom lips, and grasping mug handles.

She grabbed my tea from the fish tank unit as I was getting up off the sofa and it scaleded her foot. She has a few horrid but thankfully small blisters that seem to be healing well and while it looks sore, her foot doesn’t seem to bother her – she’s still using both feet to scoot around the floor on her tummy.

She also has two teeth which seems pretty good by 20 weeks. Hence we are drowning in a sea of drool.

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