Sunday, 17 May 2015

Ten Months!

My Chalkboard is somewhere between here and King's Lynn!

How Old:   Ten months!
Weight:   21.8 pounds
Likes:   Walking (whilst pulling our fingers off), hitting things with her spatula, bouncing, chasing mummy, eating (especially peas), rocking out to music.
Dislikes:  Sitting - it's so overrated, being held too close, the hot Ohio weather last week, animals (it's like a new fear...I'm planning on exposing her to as many as I can!),  tomatoes, lime green hats (Uncle Chuck's managed to terrify her).
Eating:  We are slowly coming off of Nutramigen and replacing it with three meals, snacks and plenty of watered down squash. I can't get her to drink water, so I put a tiny squrit of Robinson's fruit squash in her bottle and she necks the lot.  As it's been so hot here, I am desperate for her to drink anything.  She has a new safe food - beef!  She loved the steak ground and mixed with veg, but was not keen on the mini meatballs. I'm trying stewed tomatoes today!  She's now starting to dislike us feeding her purees so we are leaning towards more finger foods.

Emma's first trip to Little Italy!
Sleeping:  Emma has been an absolute gem with settling into American time.  She didn't really sleep on the flight but went through the night the very first day we arrived.  She's still sleeping 7-6:30 with some hour long naps in the day.  
Routine:  Usually when Emma wakes up we give her breakfast right away.  She then has a play for an hour or so and it's back to bed for a nap.  After, we tend to get her out and about until bottle at 10:30 and lunch at 12:30.  She then has an afternoon bottle at 3:30 followed by dinner at 5:30 and bedtime milk at 7:00.  I'm not really sure how we got into this routine, but it seems to be working!
Sizes:  She's a solid 12 month USA sizes - I'm not entirely sure what she would be in UK sizes as most of our clothes are American.
Milestones:   Walking with help, feeding herself (finger foods), waves and clapping (plus the odd high five!).  She can do something if she is shown once - using her spoon as a drumstick, rocking, etc. She can wave, high five and give kisses (only if you're mummy) on demand.  She even has started to fake sneeze and say what sounds like "Ah-choo!"
Mum's favourite moment:  There have been some absolute gems of moments this months.  The clapping or the pure look of glee on Emma's face when we gave her the lawnmower to push.  She has so much personality at the moment and I'm loving it!
Dad's favourite moment:  While waiting on B's new Kia, Emma started to get bored in the waiting room.  B put her on his shoulders and started chasing me around the showroom.  She was shrieking with laughter - proper baby squeals and laughs.  We were in hysterics as she was so delighted by the whole scenario.  

She loooooooves the new Radio Flyer trike

Moving to America has been one HUGE endeavor.  I have a separate post in the making outlining the move and all of the joy surrounding that.  It is so nice to be with my family; I really appreciate the help with Emma on a daily basis.  It's also been wonderful to have my darling B back after his relentless shifts before the move.

I don't know who looks happier!

We are obviously missing England - our friends and family mostly - but we are slowly working our way through and establishing a life here.

So far we have:
1.  Bought a car
2.  Registered Emma at a Doctor
3.  Signed up for an Old Navy, Babies R Us, Starbucks and Dick's Sporting Goods store cards
4.  B got a fishing license
5.  Registered for a one year membership to Anytime Fitness - I love it!
6.  Eaten our weight in good food - Salads at Arabica are our favorite
7.  Bought a big girl car seat - Graco All in One
8.  Eaten Froyo (most important item on the list)

Emma is settling right in.  She loves her new room and the new toys which Nonna has borrowed/found for her.  She has played with her cousin James (probably the most adorable game of peek-a-boo ever). And she has made loads of new friends.  We have a  few more playdates scheduled or on the horizon, plus some great ideas for things to do in the area (thanks for the suggestions!).  I've just bought her a swim suit as I'm pretty sure we will be spending plenty of time in a paddling pool if the weather is anything like it was last week!

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our shipping (scheduled for arrival in Cleveland on the 25th May) as we are keen to have our high chair and other bits and bobs.  I don't even remember what we packed, come to think of it.  In order to make room for our lives I had to get rid of everything in my old room - funny how much stuff you have saved over the years!  I found everything - photos, old notebooks, essays, a time capsule, old report cards.  I even managed to find $100 in a card from when I got straight As - it pays to go through everything!

All in all, we are getting there.  It's been so very hard to leave the people we love, but distance means so little when people mean so much.  You're in our hearts.  I hope you all know that.

As for us, you know I'll keep blogging.  Emma is getting bigger and more and more clever - I don't want you to miss any of that!  So if you don't get to see me or talk to me every day to find out what is going on, I'll keep you updated here, on instagram or on Facebook.  Don't worry - we will be right here.  Thank you, cyberspace.  You managed to close that gap that is the Atlantic.


Friday, 17 April 2015

Nine Months!

How Old:   Nine months!  She's been out as long as she was in! 
Weight:   21 pounds?? Maybe??? 
Likes:   Standing (with help), bouncing, her mini jam jar, chewing on everything, eating. 

Dislikes:  Having her bum changed, the slow service mummy and daddy sometimes offer, her formula! 
Eating:  Emma has done so well with food this time around! I've just written a post about our experience with FPIES and it was actually featured on the FPIES UK website. We have quite a few safe foods and Emma seems to love everything! Her favourites seem to be quinoa, butternut squash, red pepper and lamb!
Sleeping:   She's such a rock star. She's consistently going 7:30 - 6:00. Don't talk to me about jet lag. I don't even want to think about it! 

Routine:  We have dropped a few bottles! Much to our dismay, Emma isn't interested in her milk. She has breakfast when she wakes up follows by a full bottle at 10:00 am. She then has lunch at 12:30, a full bottle at 3:30, dinner at 5:30 and then a night bottle at 7:00. I'm not sure what we should be doing, but she won't have the bottle with her food and we are determined to keep her protein levels up! 
Sizes:  She's now a size 4 nappy and 9 month onesies. The trouser situation is another story. 12 months? 18 months? She is LONG! 
Milestones:   High Fives! What a dude. Waving Hi/Bye (when she feels like it). Rotating and making a move to crawl - although No movement yet. Standing with help. She also had her first pair of shoes bought for her!  

Mum's favourite moment:   Feed time - every day!  Emma’s reactions are hilarious - she loves food and often stops and just waves at me or tries to kiss me.  I melt…and steer clear of her dinners with lamb.
Dad's favourite moment:  B has a few this month:  while packing boxes for the move, I asked B to pack everything he didn't want to take on the plane. Emma ended up in a box surrounded by clothes. He also likes the fact that Emma's babbling is more along he lines of dadadada and not mama mama. 

In other news, things are slowing progressing with the big move to the USA!  Moving when you have a baby (or are pregnant for that matter) really stinks.  Moving to a new country when you have a baby is downright rotten.

Let's look at my life:


There is SO much to think about when moving abroad.  Last time I did this, I literally packed up a few suitcases and jumped on a plane.  We didn't have accommodation and I didn't have more than clothes and a laptop.  After eight years I have gained a LOT of stuff including a husband and a baby.

So - where on earth do we begin?  We have sold and donated virtually everything we own.    The important stuff is all coming with us via barge and it takes roughly three weeks for everything to arrive in Cleveland.  We have had to pack our three suitcases because we need to know how much we CAN take on the flight and what has to go in the shipping.  I can only imagine what will happen in the last week when we discover we have things we should have shipped.  We will cross that bridge when we get to it though!

I think the reality of leaving is starting to set in. We have said our “See you soon”s to family and friends - each time it is getting more and more difficult. 

(Our Awesome Leaving cake - compliments of my wonderful Mother in Law!)

More on all of that later!  As for now, I’m going to attempt to continue packing! 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Embracing the Allergies

This week is Allergy Awareness Week and as a result, I thought I would write about our experience with FPIES.

 When Emma was quite new we thought we would try out some Cow and Gate formula.  Breastfeeding just wasn't quite working and we needed to get her weight up - so we figured a top up would be the best thing to do.  She vomited.  Not a little spit up - but a proper vomit.  I remember coming downstairs and I found B sleeping on the floor with her and she was wrapped in a towel.

We tried formula again a few months later (November), and this time, we nearly sent her to A and E.  After severe, projectile vomiting Emma went limp and unresponsive.   Little did we know that our little one was allergic to cow's milk protein.  

Being the stubborn person that I am, I declared that that was the final straw for formula. Why would I give my baby something which caused that reaction?  After quite a bit of arguing and kicking off with our GP, we ended up with Nutramigen, an amino acid based formula for babies with milk protein allergies.  I thought it was the end of our problems as she started to fill out and progress well with the formula.  

And then we began weaning.   Acting on advice, we started weaning her using the Gina Ford puree method.  What is the first thing you are meant to give babies?  Baby Rice.  She didn't like it.  Next?  Something easy.  Sweet Potato.  Carrot.  Things were ok for awhile, but as I increased the volume of puree, she suddenly started reacting in exactly the same to certain foods as she did the formula.  The projectile vomiting, the limp and unresponsive state.  

What's a mother to do?  Any time I went to the doctor I was told I just needed to try foods and see how she reacted.  I hated that idea - why force her to eat something if I know she can't handle it?  My instincts told me that Emma wasn't ready for solids just yet.  We could wait - she was getting everything she needed from the Nutramigen.   She LIKED food - she liked the taste and texture.  So we would give her food to play with - I just wasn't interested in forcing her to eat it.

This all went along fine until Nursery suggested that she needed cereal of some sort.  They suggested Baby Porridge - sure enough, five hours later, she vomited in her car seat and started choking.

Enough was enough.  I wanted an answer.  The Doctors, Dieticians and Health Visitors couldn't help me, so I had to find the answer myself - with the help of my dad and some other contacts we discovered FPIES.

FPIES - Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome.  Her reaction is textbook:

According the FPIES website:
"The classic pattern of an FPIES reaction is when a healthy infant or child develops symptoms shortly after eating a food. There is a characteristic delay of 2-3 hours before onset of severe and repetitive vomiting and eventually diarrhea.  The child may appear very ill and sleepy (lethargic), and may become pale or blue.  When evaluated by a doctor, he/she may be found to have low blood pressure, seem dehydrated, and have blood tests that mimic infection (sepsis); which in some cases can lead to sepsis-like shock."

And just like that - I felt better.  It's an answer. I found my way to the FPIES UK site and the support I got from them has been amazing.  The site has so much information on it.  The group have been my guardian angels over the past few weeks.  Any questions I have had - morning or night, someone would always take the time to offer advice or share ideas.  We are all parents who are afraid to feed out kids - we don't know what food is safe and the only way to find out is trying - and sometimes failing.  

They told me to get two lists:  Safe foods and trigger foods.  Try a teaspoon of a new food - see what happens.  Even a small reaction could become greater with a greater volume.  I've been using the Food Survey from other families to try and figure out what to try for our food trials.

There was a wealth of information available suddenly - not medical information - but information from PARENTS.  Parents who have have kids who suffer from FPIES and just want to help out other mums and dads.  For them, I am incredibly thankful.

Emma's lists
(and we are so lucky compared to some other little ones)

Melon, Pear, Pea, Courgette, Banana, Blueberries, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Apple, Butternut Squash, Prune, Cantaloupe, Green Bean, Chickpeas, Sweetcorn, Red Pepper, Quinoa, Kale, Cinnamon, Clove

Milk, Oats, Rice, Carrot, Sweet Potato, Potato, Parsnip, Cod, Cornflour

Is it scary?  Yes.  It's also frustrating, stressful and heartbreaking.  It's not fair.

But the good news is there is help.  I am so grateful for the FPIES community as they are helping me embrace food and feed my baby with confidence.  

The moral of this story:  Trust your instincts.  
I knew something wasn't right and I'm glad I fought it.

The FPIES Awareness video from last year circulated the support group the other day.  Please watch and listen.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Dear (American) Baby,

Dear (American) Baby,

Tomorrow marks a very important day.  It is my last official day as a teacher at KES.  After eight years I am finally making good on my promise.  We are going home!  

I know in 10 years you are going to ask why we left England.  When I was younger, I would have loved to have lived somewhere a bit different.  You may not think much of Ohio, but I'll tell you what - that place gets under your skin.  I am so passionate about our great state - and not just because it is home.  It's a good place.  It really is.  There really is no place like home.

The word "home" has been playing on my mind recently.  What exactly is "home?"  If I asked my students they would tell me it is a place where you feel safe and loved.  It is where you have family.  You have two passports and you have a family who loves you on both sides of the Atlantic.  That's incredibly lucky.  Your situation is a little bit different - but I think that is part of what makes you as special as you are.  You are both English and American - plus you would have lived in both places.  So where is your home?

Home is where Daddy and I are.  We could make a cardboard box home.  Because really - it doesn't matter where we are living or what cars we are driving or who we are surrounded by.  We are going to be happy wherever we are together.  

I didn't realise that when I was younger.  Perhaps I knew your Daddy was out there an I just needed to find him.  Back in 2007 I promised Nonna I would only move to England for a year.  One year.  I was going to teach in this exotic place called King's Lynn.  The only thing I knew about it was that there was a Youtube video that showed someone driving around the one way system in the town.

I think it was luck that I ended up here because nearly everyone I meet always asks me "Why on earth would you move to King's Lynn?"  Fate?  Maybe.

One year turned into three so I could finish my Masters at Cambridge University.  Then, Daddy finally had the guts to ask me out.  Eventually, one year turned into eight years so he could finish Medical School and complete his US Medical exams.  

It was now or never.  I couldn't let Nonna down.  

Living in England has taught me a lot about life.  I learnt who I am as an individual - I did something pretty ridiculous when I picked up and moved across the Atlantic.  I discovered that I am actually a little bit brave.  I learnt that I can do what seems impossible.  I learnt my strengths and weaknesses.  As a teacher, I have learnt who I am in the classroom.  I found my voice and I know how to teach a subject which I love.  I am thankful for the chance to meet so many fascinating people - they really taught me to become the person who I am.

If I'm honest, I'm a little bit scared of moving back to America.  I've been gone for so long. So many of my friends have moved on - is it fair to come back and pick up where we left off?  I've gotten used to the English way of doing things - can I pick and choose which way to do things?  Am I going to remember to drive on the right side of the road?

There are so many things that I have loved about living here - the coast, the cups of tea, the castles, the random sheep hanging out in the road.  I think I'm going to miss a lot of things - but then I remember all of the things I miss about Ohio and I get confused.  I know that I can love both places and love different things about each place.  But I don't think we have to like one place better than the other. I don't think that is the point of having a history in a place like this.  I think we need to look back on our chapter entitled "King's Lynn" and smile at the memories.  We can look back and remember - there is nothing wrong with that - but we also need to look at the Present - the here and now and love and cherish everything we are DOING. 

Whilst the move back to America is daunting and overwhelming, I am enjoying it. I am enjoying going through our things and remembering. I'm OK with passing certain things on to someone else because I know they are going to create their own memories with something that meant a lot to me.  

This, Emma Rose, is a huge adventure.  You are only little and have no idea what is happening around you, but trust me - everything is changing.  This change is going to be happy and sad, scary and uncertain, exciting and stressful.  

My English baby - you are also an American baby.  Never forget where you come from - never forget where you are going.  After all, both places have made you (and me) into the person you are.

Love always,

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Eight Months!

How Old:   Eight months!  I can't actually believe that.
Weight:   Our last weigh in was 17 pounds 3 ounces....she is much bigger than that though!
Likes:   Being chased and tickled, bouncing in the jumperoo, playing with her tea cup or new sippy cup, splashing in the bath, watching other kids.
Dislikes:  Getting out of the bath, going in her carseat (hello, legs of steel), having her nose wiped (GEEZE that's a challenge!)
Eating:  YAY FOR SOLIDS!  We have success - finally!! We are trying small amounts at noon with the occasional breakfast and dinner.  So far she has had an likes peas, courgette, melon, avocado and banana!  We think there is a problem with root vegetables... More on that later.
Sleeping:  We went through a phase last week when she had bronchitis where she was waking up every two hours or so and crying her little heart out.  She's been a wheezy, coughing mess and hating every minute of it!  She seems to be back to normal now and is back to sleeping 7:30 - 5!
Routine:  Feeds every three-four hours but I think she needs a bit of a 
Sizes:  She is still rocking size 3 nappies (only just fitting into them) and now GROWING OUT of 9 month clothes.  We just bought her 12-18 month jeggings!!  What?!
Milestones:  She is rocking at those reduplicated monosyllables (Dadadadada) and her abs are seriously made of stronger things than metal.  She can stand up with help next to the sofa - especially if there is a phone or remote control nearby for her to grab and gnaw on.  She's also SWIMMING!  She had her first underwater swim and cried. She also had her first experience on a swing - that was a good laugh!
Mum's favourite moment:   We play this new game where we hold Emma over one of our shoulder and the other chases her around the house.  This is all done to the song of pacman.  We are all laughing hysterically by the time that is over.  (Close second this month - B sneezed whilst holding Emma and she sobbed.  I sneezed in front of her and she laughed so hard she started snorting and some of her milk came out of her nose.  I died.)
Dad's favourite moment:  Anything that involves making her smile with a wide open mouth and scrunched up nose!  It's actually hilarious when she gets so excited and pulls this face!

I am a few days late with this post as we have had some very sad news in our family.  My beloved Aunt and Godmother, Rosanna, has passed away in my family home after a long battle with cancer.  Our hearts are heavy - but I am so glad that she had the chance to hear our exciting news:

We are moving back to America.

I can't actually believe I am writing those words.  It doesn't feel real yet, but I can assure you - it is very real.  B has a job in Cleveland!
We are going home!

 Emma has clearly taking the news well and is enjoying play time with her Auntie Erin, Granddad and Nonna! They will soon be fed up with us I'm sure!

We have enjoyed our time together at weekends and evenings, but I can't WAIT to spend all day every day with Emma!  As of Friday, I am finished with work and will become a full time MUM!

We are going to have a few weeks in America as a family - it'll be nice considering how work heavy the first year or so will be for B!


But seriously - that face.  I can't get enough!  Our little English Emma Rose is soon to be an American Emma Rose!


Friday, 20 March 2015

Remembering Rosie

On Tuesday, 17 March 2015, we lost my wonderful Aunt and Godmother, Rosanna Garofalo.  She was one of the most wonderful people I've ever met - not only because she was my Aunt, but because she was a downright wonderful person.  She suffered for a long time with various forms of cancer thanks to Lynch Syndrome, but throughout the whole ordeal she kept her head held high and worked and played hard.

I think we are all still in shock as she was just so young and taken from us far too soon. I'm still struggling to accept it.  Although I was unable to attend the funeral, I wrote the Eulogy which my sister, Erin, read.

Remembering Rosie

When I was a little girl, I remember staying with Rosie at Grandma and Grandpa’s house the night before Christmas Eve.  We snuck downstairs late that night and ate Hershey kisses off of the cookie trays.  The next morning my Grandmother was so confused as she was sure she had set out the Hershey kisses.  We giggled because it was our secret.  That was the kind of person Aunt Rosie was.  She laughed.  She always aimed to be a good person.  She loved her family unconditionally and put her heart and soul into building relationships with others. 

We are here today to remember her.  This is the third time in eighteen months our family has come to church to remember and celebrate one of our dearly departed.  Those of us in the family knew Rosie as an aunt a sister a niece and a cousin.  She was taken from us far too soon, but she wouldn’t want us to mourn her; she would want us to remember her vibrant and happy life.  It was only in the last several months when she started to feel unwell, that we learnt how many lives she made better just by being Rosie.

She moved to Boston almost 30 years ago and then on to Chicago. We never really knew how smart of a businesswoman she was, how well she understood her industry or how hard she worked.  Regardless of how she felt, she always asked others how they were doing.  In her job, she worked tirelessly to make sure her client’s needs were met.  Her colleagues told us that she was a force to be reckoned with and when she put her mind and strong work ethic to something it would always get accomplished.
Rosie always came home for Christmas and other holidays and quite often stayed at our house.  I think our most fond memories of her always seem to revolve around Christmas.  While preparing the Italian Christmas Eve feast, Rosie would excuse herself for a few hours to get her nails done and would come back when all of the work was finished.  The only thing left to make was the cocktail sauce – and it became her official job – year after year.  She would always sit with us on Christmas morning and enjoy every laugh and smile as each present was opened.

She enjoyed keeping up with current events and could often be found sitting at our kitchen table, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. She really enjoyed reading the paper but compared to the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune, she claimed nothing ever happened in Painesville.  Of course, that didn’t stop her from reading it.

She loved kids - especially babies - and they loved her.  She was convinced that Baby James’ first words should and would be “Rosie”.  That led her to look at him or hold him and say “Rosie Rosie Rosie” over and over again, day in and day out, even last week.  We are still waiting on James to catch on.
Rosie loved the beautiful things about life.  She always had her nails done in exotic red and we would often laugh at her refusal to help with washing or cleaning as her nails were drying.  As a tribute to her spirit, many of the ladies here today have had their nails done so the gentlemen here better be prepared to pitch in.  One of her dreams was to see Andrea Bocelli in concert, and this “bucket list” item came true last December when my sister Erin went with her.  Rosie sang and cried along with the beautiful music.

She found beauty in many things. For many years, every Saturday was spent visiting garage sales, always hunting for treasures and then trying to get these items into her brothers’ or sister’s house.  She collected turtles of every shape and size and loved flowers in hanging baskets.  Our family will continue to honour her memory every spring and summer when we place flowers at the entrance to our homes.
It’s very fitting, as the name “Rose” means beautiful flower.  But we, Rosanna's family and friends know that she was more than just a beautiful person.  A rose is, after all, more than a flower which brightens up a room.  It is a beautiful and powerful symbol.  It stands for love and forgiveness. It represents romance and strength. The rose is powerful because it still grows, year after year, bright, beautiful and resilient.

That’s what our Rosie was like - powerful and strong.  Even in the face of cancer, she fought and endured.  She still kept her head held high and had faith.  Her faith and her church kept her strong throughout so much heartache and suffering.  The recent passing of both Emma and Carmelo has left us all feeling a sense of sadness and emptiness.  But I think for Rosie, she felt their loss deeper, probably because she too was suffering.

Last Monday we learned that my family here in England will be moving back home to America, we think that she was waiting for that news.  Being home with family is so important.  No matter how long you are away, when you are with family, you are home.  There’s a reason my daughter is named Emma Rose.  I hope and pray that she will grow up to be as kind and thoughtful and as powerful and strong as the two women she is named after.
I recently heard a story which leaves me confident that even in our darkest hours, when faced with trials and struggles, those who we love who have gone before us are with us, watching and protecting us.

Rosie believed that cardinals are messengers and they are the spirit of those who have passed coming to tell us something.  Last December, Rosie was outside her house trying to remove a hose from the spigot and was struggling to disconnect it.  She either wasn’t strong enough or not using the right tool, but for whatever reason, she couldn’t do it. She became frustrated and upset until she turned around and saw two cardinals - a male and a female - watching her.  She tried one last time to remove the hose - and it came undone.  It wasn’t chance or coincidence.  Her faith told her that her parents were there, watching and protecting her.
I have no doubt that she is now watching over all of us. That is the kind of person she was.  We never knew how many people her life touched until she returned to us a few weeks ago.  Friends from so many times and places in her life came together to let her know that she mattered so much to them and they truly loved her.  We all had the chance to let her know how important she was and she deserved to know.  We will always see signs that will remind us of her.  Whether it is a sign for a garage sale, a newspaper and a cup of coffee, a genuine smile, a turtle, or a simple rose, we will always remember our Rosie.

I found writing this incredibly difficult.  I know we are supposed to remember the good things about Rosie and celebrate her life, but I can't help but feel an incredible sense of sadness at her loss.  A family friend sent us this quote and it has become the informal theme for our remembrance of Rosie:

"When you die, it doesn't mean that you lose to cancer.
You beat cancer by how you live, why you live,
and in the manner in which you live."

How very true those words are for my beautiful, kind hearted Aunt.  Cancer has an awful lot to answer for, and I pray every day that a cure is soon found and my daughter never has to know the pain of losing someone she loves to this horrible disease.

Hold your loved ones a little bit longer tonight. You never know how much time you have left together.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Happy Seven months, Emma!

How Old:   Seven months!  Where has the time gone?!
Weight:   No idea....How bad is that? I wouldn't even like to guess.
Likes:   Bouncing, chewing on anything and everything, melon, going for walks
Dislikes:  The fact that we move everything she *shouldn't* have out of the way
Eating:  We are still on formula five times a day.  She likes eating, it is just that food doesn't agree with her.  We tried baby porridge and had a severe vomiting incident a few hours later.  It's so weird as she likes eating and is fine for a few hours.  Then she vomits until she is limp.  It freaks me out when it happens
Sleeping:  We officially have our nights back.  This kid sleeps - and sleeps well. We put her down by 7:30 and she is up by 6:00.  She naps OK during the day - not great - but OK!  I'll take it!
Routine:  Feeds every three-four hours.  She's clockwork.  
Sizes:  Oh boy.  US - 9 month clothes - perhaps creeping into 12 month trousers.  UK sizes I think she is just now hitting 6 month clothes.  To be honest, we are decked out in Carters.  She's an American girl at heart!
Milestones:  She's hilarious.  She can sit up - even stand with help.  Will she roll over?  Nope.  Crawl?  Nope.  I think I'm ok with that though.  Her teeth are growing, she's so inquisitive and her babbling is coming along just perfectly!
Mum's favourite moment:   Every time I pick Emma up at nursery she starts kicking until they pass her over to me. She then holds my face in her hands and squeezes it, making one of her adorable little babbles to let me know she is happy to see me.  
Dad's favourite moment:   We moved the TV remote out of her reach so she decided to stand up next to the sofa and try and get at it.  Granted, I was holding her quite firmly, but that leg control was all her!  She looked at us as if to say - Go on. Move stuff.  I'll find a way to get it.

We had an adorable Valentines Day - complete with a sweet little love note exchange from our 
awesome BFF Big M!


It's been an interesting six weeks.  I have survived my first half term back to work - but this week off is the most needed thing ever.  I have desperately wanted to spend time with Emma again, plus I've needed a little break from all of the busy day to day nonsense.  With B on nights and away for two weeks, the past month left us with very little family time since the new year - that is something I am desperate to get more of.

The past few weeks have been hard for the following reasons:

1.  I don't want to leave this face every day.

2.  I don't want to spend my evenings working - I want to spend the evening with these two.

3.   I want to be there to figure out and perfect THIS:


4.  And THIS:

So a massive hats off to all working moms.  I think deep down everyone feels like they are going to miss out on the good stuff - that's what makes it so difficult.  

Being a working mom has proved to be hard work. I have serious respect for all of those working mamas out there because there is such a skill to balancing everything and feeling as though you haven't failed in one category of your life.  I genuinely believe that by leaving Emma at Nursery she is gaining valuable social and interpersonal skills.  She loves going and I love it when she is happy.

The difficulty comes in the evening when I realise that I get to spend about an hour with her.  Babies get grumpy in the evening - I get it - but it is just so unfortunate that when I am able to spend time with her, she is unhappy or sleeping.  

I refuse to work when she is awake.  I have gotten very good at time management and I find I am working more efficiently.  I use my time wisely when I'm at work and after Emma goes to sleep.  Of course, that time is also needed to clean, cook and prepare bottles!  I don't think I manage this very well.

There always seem to be 1001 things to do and I think I was trying to do them all perfectly.  I've decided perfection is doing the best you can.  Some days I feel that I've let work down.  Some days I feel I have let my family down. I need to work on snapping out of that because I know I'm not letting anyone down.
Mother's Guilt.  It's a real thing.  Seven months in and I am confident that THAT is true!

SO you can see why this week has been so important for me!  Unfortunately, Emma has been quite poorly so far this week; I've not had much rest or quality time with her yet.  Bless her, she still gives us a smile and plays her little heart out.

(Happy Pancake day!)