Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Travels begin...

Well, we've arrived!  The flight went remarkably smoothly – the extra legroomseats were well worth the money, and we actually ended up on a row of 3 seats to ourselves which was marvellous!!! There were also a number of really lovely people who helped me at both ends of the flight with the bags.  The problems only really started as we got to baggage reclaim, where I think Baby J realised just how tired he was and he threw a complete fit, lying on the floor screaming and arms and legs flailing. Nice!!!  One of those moments when I stood there saying to myself ‘There’s nobody else here …. There’s nobody else here …. ‘.  He finally fell asleep in my arms and I managed to transfer him to the pushchair before having to try and manage pushchair and luggage cart – not easy when both seem to have completely independent steering!!!

I was so grateful that we'd arranged for a water taxi from the airport to the hotel – it was expensive but it was well worth the money!!!  Everything went completely smoothly on the trip to the hotel – apart from the fact that J decided he was scared of the noise of the boat engine so we had to sit inside instead of out in the sunshine.  Oh well, I still got some amazing views of Venice!

The hotel was great – the room was a good size and lovely and cool, if somewhat quaintly decorated, and the staff were absolutely superb and couldn’t have been more helpful. When J refused to settle for a sleep, they suggested where we could go for a walk and a lovely little place for lunch – except J fell asleep before I got the food so I had lunch on my own!   I changed my plans for a walk when I realised just how horrendously difficult it was to get the push chair over the footbridges, and we just stayed on the far side of the Grand Canal for a bit.

We had a very pleasant time – I mooched and window shopped a bit, and once J woke up I bought a lovely lemon sorbet – I had the sorbet and J had the cone, and then he had a great time chasing a flock of pigeons!!!  In the evening we had an early tea in a backstreet cafĂ© before everyone came out for the big Italy v Spain football match, and J ate about 2/3rds of my adult portion of pasta!!!

The next morning after a good night’s sleep and a very pleasant breakfast, we were sat outside the hotel passing some time watching the boats go by (J was transfixed!) when lovely hubby appeared 45 mins earlier than wewere expecting him!  J treated him to a huge smile when he saw him – there was no doubt he remembered Daddy!  We had a very easy transfer to the ship, but J fairly quickly started to get overwhelmed when we arrived and he was very enthusiastically greeted by a number of the crew – they were lovely and welcoming, just a little too much when he already had no idea where he was.  He’s starting to show some signs of settling in – sleeping a bit better and a bit more willing to walk rather than be carried – but he’s still throwing some very impressive tantrums over the most ridiculous things!!!  Hopefullythese will start to disappear as we both settle in to life onboard a bit more….

Then next call was Split in Croatia – amazingly beautiful place, and we went on a walking tour in the city.  We visited Diocletian’s Palace, the only Roman structure to still have most of its walls etc standing,

the Catholic cathedral which was originally Diocletian’s Mausoleum (ironic as he martyred loads of Christians!), and the Temple of Jupiter.

It was all really lovely and interesting, but once J woke up he very quickly got overheated and het up (it was 35 degrees!), and we had to leave early to get back to the air conditioned ship.

Then 2 sea days – and I am already finding how restricted the ship is because of its size – there are very few places to take J out of the cabin.  So I’m going to haveto get my brain in gear and get a little more creative with activities!!! 

And we just left Istanbul - had a great time, and I'll blog about that in the next installment.  In the meantime hubby is working and J's getting up to mischief so I'd better go .....

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Ship ahoy!

So it's that time again - we're off on our travels this week.  And as usual I've had the best of intentions to pack in loads of time and to give the house a thorough spring clean, but a combination of a very demanding and energetic toddler and the wonderful exhaustion of pregnancy have left me feeling spectacularly unable to follow through.  So now it's become a question of getting the bare minimum done...

There's a growing pile of things on the spare bed for packing - factor 50 suncream, summer clothes (not like we need them at the moment!), and my attempts at light weight toys for the little man.  It'll be the first time I've flown with him on my own, and he's not good at the best of times at being confined, so it could be interesting!

We fly out to Venice, have a night in a hotel on the Grand Canal (it looks beautiful - I just hope the little man lets me enjoy it!) and then join the ship the following day.  Hubby is coming to collect us from the hotel, and so we get to have our reunion in private which is lovely - and if his reaction to seeing Daddy on the computer is anything to go by, it should be quite wonderful!  I'm just so looking forward to being able to share parenthood again, even if it is just for a couple of hours a day around his very demanding job.  And to share the pregnancy - especially that wonderful time when I start tto feel the baby kick.  It will just be so nice to be a family again!!!

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Quiet Book journey begins!

Have I mentioned that I am addicted to Pinterest?  For any of you who don't know, Pinterest is a wonderful website which allows you to create internet pinboards, and to share links to anything that interests you.  I have boards for crochet, crafts, sewing and recipes among other things.  And I have discovered so many new and wonderful ideas through this amazing site.

This is where I discovered Quiet Books.  Here in the UK they are pretty much unknown, but I adored the idea of making a material book for my little one, and making pages to interest, stimulate and educate him.  So I've been planning to make a quiet book for a while, but I finally decided to start the book when we set a date for baby J and I to go out and join his Daddy's ship - it's amazing how much motivation you can get from the thought of having to entertain a very lively 18 month old for a few hours on a plane on your own!!!

I've completed my first page - and I am so ridiculously proud of it!  The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of Baby J's favourite books, so I decided to design a couple of pages on the theme.

This is made completely from felt, and I've had to hand sew it all as I've been without access to my sewing machine (cutting a long story short I had a bit of an accident and am now on crutches and having to stay with my parents until I'm mobile again and can look after my little guy on my own).  The front and back of the caterpillar are sewn on, but the central sections are on velcro so they can be taken on and off as many times as he fancies! 

The pictures of the next pages are unfortunately not ideal - for some reason they uploaded upside down and I don't have a clue how to sort it out!  But hopefully you'll get the idea...? 

This is the cocoon, and it's very basic - just a zip down the middle, so you can unzip it and 'find' the butterfly inside.  I haven't done yet but I think I may have to attach the butterfly to the inside of the cocoon by ribbon - I keep remembering how easily little hands lose things!!!

I am really enjoying making the quiet book - I've got a few more pages underway and I'll blog about these once they're done.  Then the idea is that I'll attach pages together, then break out the crop-o-dile so I can use eyelets to attach the pages together, maybe by ribbon, so it can be added to as time goes on.

So there we are.  We go out to the ship in 4 weeks time, and we'll stay on board for about 6 weeks.  So I'm frantically sewing and trying to find as many games and activites that are small and portable and will amuse a lively 18 month old (as he will be by then!).  So any ideas or pointers gratefully received!!!  And in the meantime, I'd better get back to my sewing.....

Monday, 21 May 2012

Boys will be boys!!!

Today we have had the amazing pleasure of wall-to-wall sunshine all day!  So not to look a gift horse in the mouth, we had some fun in the garden.

My little man has shown a great liking for playing with water, so I set him up with a tub and a variety of stuff to splash about in the water.  And he had great fun - splashing about and making lots of noise and mess.

And then his Granny and Grandad arrived with a brand new toy for him - a bright yellow watering can.  He was very interested, and fairly quickly picked up on the idea of pouring water out of it - although I could not persuade him to pour the water onto the plants - it was far more fun to pour it on the grass, the patio, his feet ..... 

But everything changed when he discovered a pot which I haven't got round to planting.  He started digging around in the soil, and then found that he could dig up soil ...

and pour it into his half filled watering can!!!  Nice!!!

This kept him occupied for at least 15 minutes - almost unheard of for my little fella! - and he gradually got more and more mucky.  And you should have seen the state of the watering can!!!

I resigned myself to the fact that I was probably going to have to strip him and take him straight for a bath - but how can a mummy mind when her little boy is having so much fun!

In the meantime I'm having great fun starting to make a quiet book for Baby J.  This is something I found on Pinterest (I am so badly addicted to that site!!!) and for those who don't know it's a handmade fabric book with the aim of occupying little ones and keeping them quiet.  Hence the name.  Clever, huh?!?  I'm making mine almost entirely from felt, and I have so many plans for pages!!!  But for now I just need to get going properly so I at least have something for J to take away when we go out to visit Daddy on his ship.  I'll blog more about it when there's a bit more to show, but in the meantime I really must get back to it!!!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Can anything else go wrong???

It's been ages since I've written anything on my blog, largely due to a catalogue of negative events in my life which seem to have rather taken over my world.  So I've decided to allow myself the luxury of an on-line moan, and then I'm going to get over it and move on!

So first we had the trauma of dear hubby returning to sea.  It was the most emotional it's been in a long time, as I think hubby realised just what a little bundle of personality our little man now is and how much he would miss him.

Then both Baby J and I seemed to come down with coughs and colds that got worse and worse - and eventually we both were confirmed with chest infections and put on antibiotics.  Then we both got a nasty violent sicky bug that was going round, and my chest infection cleared to reveal a MAJORLY persistent cough and cold still there.  I've now had no voice for nearly 3 weeks, and at the weekend I did some major damage to my ribs coughing and ended up in A&E. 

Praise God I have wonderful parents who live very close by, as we've had to move in with them temporarily while I heal and manage to move without constant painkillers and agony.

So enough now.  I'm really not sure I can cope with anything else going wrong.  So please God can we both have some good health for once so we can enjoy ourselves again - I know God will never give me more to deal with than I can handle, but sometimes it feels like He gives me more credit than I deserve!!!

Ok, moan over - and now I will look on the positive side and start to look up rather than down.  I will appreciate the wonders of raising a wonderfully energetic and inquisitive little boy, and praise God for all the amazing blessing He has given me in my life.

I'm going to try and motivate myself back to positive with wonderful brightly coloured yarny goodness and continue with my latest project - a join-as-you-go scrappy blanket using lovely bright colours and the fantastically satisfying method from Lucy of Attic 24.  That will definitely be the subject of a future blog!!!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Colourful creative craftiness!

OK, slightly naff title, but I liked the idea of having all 'C's and couldn't think of anything better!
Another week has flown by, which means we're one week closer to hubby going back to sea and leaving us again :(. But on the up side, I've had some lovely chances to indulge myself with some crafting!
I had to complete a crochet project I've been working on - crocheted bunting for a 2nd birthday present for the youngest daughter of a good friend of mine. I had great fun being able to do something really pink and girlie for once - one down-side of having a boy! I was hugely inspired by things I'd found on some other blogs, added a bit of Mummy Lewis magic, and voila, completed bunting!!! And I am so pleased with how it worked out!!!
The colour choice was to match the redecoration plans for her room: I found a fantastic tutorial for the granny triangles from here, made a visit to the wool stall on our local market, and set off on my granny triangle journey. It was sublime - lovely colours, soothingly simple pattern and very pleasing results!!! I then decided to do a border of double crochet in the contrasting colour, and joined the triangles with a foundation chain between the triangles, and double crochet through the top edge to secure each one. I figure anything to go in a child's bedroom has to be as robust as possible, so I thought a few slip stitches was not going to be enough!!
As the bunting was for a little girl's bedroom, flowers were a must, and I found a lovely tutorial written by Lucy at Attic 24 (here). These has plenty of room for variation, and I altered the pattern for the leaves a little to give what I thought was a slightly better leaf shape.
I was originally going to try and do alternate coloured flowers (like the triangles) and attach them between eah flag, but I thought that might be a bit much ... or to be completely honest I ran out of time!!! Then after several different attempts to attach the flowers in different places, and much demanding of opinions from my very bemused and clueless hubby, I decided to keep the flowers to a minimum and attach them in the middle of the flags. And I actually love the effect!!! Simple but pretty, and not too OTT. I feel slightly smug looking at these pics, and I can't wait to see them in her room once the decorating is done!!!
So now I have to decide which of my WIPs to continue with next. I'm awful at finishing things - I start with a blaze of enthusiasm, and then I see something else I'd love to do ... and I get distracted.... Hubby keeps telling me I need to 'focalise' (he often makes up words - I find it quite endearing!), and he's right, I do. But it's not something I'm good at, and that's just part of me!
At the moment my WIPs include a crocheted zipped sleeveless cardigan for Baby J, an amigurumi monkey made from leftover yarn, and my first venture into the wonderful land of crochet ripples with an ambitiously (or perhaps stupidly!) large ripple blanket. (BTW since starting this post I may have discovered that I've still not got the ripple pattern right and need to frog the lot! Oh well, maybe attempt 2 can be a little more sensibly sized!)
Then one evening this week the wonderful Lizzie D (see her blog here) took me to an amazingly wonderful place of unimagined colour and beauty and scrumptious crafty possibilities!!! Lizzie makes beautiful handbags, and had discovered that one of the EBay fabric shops she particularly liked actually belonged to a lady who lives just up the road from us. She went round to collect some fabric and discovered that her house is an Aladdin's cave of the most gorgeous materials - I walked in and my jaw hit the floor! I'd drawn up a very organised list of potential projects and amounts of material needed, and ended up burrowing through mounds of colourful beauty for over two hours - and emerged with enough fabric to do all the projects on my list, and drooling with desire for more of the beautiful colours and prints!!!
And another pic of my gorgeous materials....
So now follow tons of pics of the scrummy fabric - and I can highly recommend her shop!
This one is to do some crayon rolls (in the optimistic hope that my little man may be persuaded to eventually like colouring!)
And these are for a floor cushion for Baby J - another tutorial discovered through Pinterest - I wanted it to fit in with the colours in the lounge, and have the potential to be gender neutral - and the frogs and tortoises were just too cute!!!
Then fabric for a couple of Mummy bags, with the excuse that I will 'try them out' for possible presents...
And some adorably 'boyish' fabrics for a portable highchair/toddler seat
I can't wait to get started!!! Problem is I need time without an inquisitive toddler - hmmm, maybe I'll just have to look longingly at the pile of beautiful material for a while longer...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Mummy trauma!!!

Well, I have finally done it - I have stopped breastfeeding my little man! Anyone who knows me will know that I've been through a lot to manage to keep breastfeeding my little guy - from refusal to latch, to nipple shields, mastitis and bleeding nipples (caused through early appearance of teeth!).
But I managed it - with a lot of help and support. I'd always said I wanted to feed Baby J till he was 12 months old, and then that got extended to our arrival back at home after our trip out to hubby's ship. But then when it came to it, I discovered that I was more attached to the feeding than I realised. I loved that snuggly, cuddly, personal time between my little boy and me - and although I wanted him to move to the next stage and I want the additional freedom of not feeding him for when hubby goes back to sea, I also wanted the snuggles and closeness.
So yesterday I had a visit from the lovely nursery nurse who has helped me through all the trials and tribulations of parenthood and PND, and when we talked about it she made me realise that I was just delaying things. On a him, I decided that the previous feed had been particularly lovely and peaceful, and I didn't want to get too emotional and ruin a final feed, so decided not to feed him last night.
I was upset - but he was fine! He sipped at some cow's milk (he's not a fan!), cuddled for a bit, and then went into his cot with no more than the usual objections. And he slept really well. So I think I'm going to have to accept that my baby is growing up, and although he doesn't need me in this way anymore, he still needs me. And as we close one door, a whole range of new ones open. Exciting!!!

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