Thursday, August 31, 2006

All singing, all dancing!!

Those of you logging onto the site today will possibly notice a few changes to Frazzled Working Mum.

There were several reasons for this; I was getting frustrated with my blog not showing up properly on Firefox (my current favourite web browser and blog editor). Thank you Gareth for alerting me to this problem initially. Also, I wanted it to be more accessible to those of you reading it and allow people to get email updates, search the website for specific items etc. but was never certain how to achieve this.

Well, a few hours surfing on the Technorati and Feedburner sites and well, this is the finished result!

I must admit to being chuffed for someone who knows nothing about programming to have achieved such a considerable revamp.

Let me know what you think!

(By the way, I have yet to sort the colours of Jase's posts; I will do this later on. I am aware that the present colour is very hard to read!).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Frazzled Mama

Lauren isn't sleeping too well because of her cold at the moment.

The little girl woke us up 6 or 7 times in the night. Either the runny nose or the coughing wakes her, then she cries. Poor Mama and poor Dada!

Despite all this, she looks as fresh as a daisy and has been playing (although has been clingy again). She didn't sleep much this afternon, so no studying for Mama!

This is never a total loss though, as it means plenty of hugs and kisses for Mama.

It's so lovely to be able to splend the day with Lauren, snuggle on the sofa with her and give her hugs and kisses. I never tire of our time together and am very lucky to be able to work flexibly.

I know that poor Jase gets a bit jealous of the time we girls get to spend together.

We get to play games together when we're at home. She enjoys riding on our shoulders and playing horses most at the moment. She likes to climb on or around furniture, even though this has led to the occasional bump as unfortunately all our floors are hard (wood or tiled) downstairs.

However, being ever vigilant, these have luckily only been minor incidents. I feel it's important to let her explore and understand her limits.

She's also started enjoying TV more. She especially likes the Teletubbies and other CBeebies stuff. She also seems to like cartoons; she was laughing whilst watching Peppa Pig the other day. I've included the links for the uninitiated!

Of course, I'm sure that this has happened because Jase introduced her to TV early. She was only a few days old when he introduced her to the joys of Test cricket (Lauren was born during the Ashes Test Matches, 2005). She still stops what she's doing to watch cricket when it comes on the TV. Bizarre!

Daddy's now home; this means he's now on baby sitting duties and I can start on dinner for us and for the little girl. Fingers crossed for a better night's sleep tonight.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Slow Saturday

It's Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend and we are all having a slow day. Daddy and Lauren are relaxing on the sofa and I'm having to hit the textbooks.

Lauren did not sleep well last night and so niether Jase nor I got a good night's sleep. She woke up several times in the night and was quite restless.

We figured out half way through the night that poor Lauren was developing a bit of a cold and that this was interfering with her sleep.

We had suspected that something wasn't quite right because she hasn't been eating properly for a few days. Last night, she was sick after her evening meal but seemed to be OK after that. No fever or anything, though.

As you can see, she isn't unwell with it. In the picture, she is playing on the sofa with Daddy, chewing the ties of his shorts and watching the Edinburgh Military Tattoo on TV. She seemed to enjoy the brass bands and the brightly coloured marching men!

I'm studying hard for the exam (still don't know enough though). It will all be over in 11 weeks - both horrifying and comforting at the same time! I'll just be glad when this disruption to our family life is over and we can get back to normal. I feel awful that I can't spend more time with the little girl.

Back to the books, I guess. Well, maybe one more hug with Lauren first...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mardy Lauren

It's official.

Since Lauren reached her first birthday, she has become "mardy".

I refer you to Wikipedia, the excellent online encyclopedia. It's entry for the word "mardy" here (and the entry here in its sister site Wiktionary, an online dictionary) confirms that this is a slang word used in the north of England meaning "moody" or "sulky".

I think she's reached a stage where she's more aware of herself and what she wants. She seems to be feeling slightly insecure recently and has been really clingy. She gets easily alarmed by strangers and wants lots of hugs from her Mama.

In this photo, she has abandoned her piano and is trying to investigate what I'm doing with the camera.

Since the birthday, she hasn't wanted to let me out of her sight. This last weekend and the last two days at home, I've noticed that she can be playing away quite happily, but if I walk out of the room Lauren starts to wail. She'll often crawl after me as well, as if to say "Hey, where do you think you're going?"

Revision is completely non-existant in this present climate!

Today has been better than yesterday; for most of yesterday she was quite grumpy and wanted to be picked up and hugged, but then would get bored and want to climb off me. Today, she has been happy playing with me without much grumpiness, but still hasn't allowed me to go into other rooms without her.

I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that I have finally weaned her from breast feeding. I'm really proud of the fact that I have managed to breast feed her for a whole year since her birth. I'm sure that this has given her the best start in life possible, and hopefully has made up for the fact that she was born premature. I'm not sure I could have stopped before now anyway, as I had lots of milk until about a month ago, when things began to gradually tail off.

I miss it, though. It gave me a really close bond with Lauren which I couldn't have had with just bottle feeding, in my opinion. In return, I am blessed with many kisses from her on a daily basis.

I remember getting an email from my friend Liz who said that whilst she was writing the email, she was trying to feed the baby with the toddler hanging onto her leg. I remember smiling at the time, picturing the situation.

It seems I may have my own version of this scenario now!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rainy Day

It's been a really rainy day here in London today. I think the summer is truly over; despite the weathermen threatening more hot weather for August back in July, it just hasn't materialised. To be honest, we actually quite thankful because the extremely hot temperatures were not pleasant.

So today Lauren and I have stayed indoors to play.

She certainly has no shortage of toys following her birthday and all the wonderful presents she received from friends and family. Today, she's been playing with her animal skittles and her piano.

The skittles were initially the subject of a fair amount of debate regarding the identity of the animals on the skittles. However, I feel that we did eventually reach the consensus view that they were an elephant, a zebra, a giraffe, a monkey and a tiger. They each squeak and the ball tinkles when you shake it.

Admittedly, she hasn't worked out that you throw the ball at it yet; she prefers to knock them down manually!

She really enjoys her piano. The keys light up and the piano speaks and sings to her, depending on the setting you choose. It can teach her numbers, colours and notes. She often babbles or waves in time to the music.

You can see her bashing the ivories in this picture.

Thank goodness no-one bought her a set of drums!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

When Daddy's away, Lauren will play...

Daddy has gone to troubleshoot his friend Natalie's PC woes today. She phoned us this morning to say that since she moved house, her PC won't connect to the internet. After a good while trying to solve the problem over the phone, Jase realised he would need to see the problem in the flesh.

So after lunch, Jase went to Nat's in Surrey leaving Lauren and me to our own devices.

The little girl slept initially but is most definitely awake now. She's decided our wastepaper bins need a sort and has retrieved some paper from it to shred.

You can see from the photos that she's clearly enjoying this game (which daddy doesn't let her play). There's nothing dirty in these bins (just paper and card waste) so I decided to let her be. I feel that it's important to let her have freedom to explore things and as long as it's not dangerous or harmful (only inconvenient really) then why not. I can always tidy up after her.

I guess that at this point I want to avoid saying "no" too often. I'm saving the "no" for the really bad things so that the message is not diluted. If you say "no" all the time, children just learn to ignore you.

Besides, it's definitely better than her ripping up my textbooks which would cost about £2000 to replace (although one of my colleagues says he can recommend a really cheap publisher in India to buy from if Lauren does decide that my textbooks are a valid target!)...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Finally asleep

I think all the excitement from this last week has finally died down. I've had quite a lot of trouble trying to get Lauren to sleep since last Friday. I've found that when we have a house full of people, she won't go to sleep - after all, too much to see and do!

Of course, with her birthday being mid week this week and having gone out for dinner, Lauren's exuberance remained an obstacle to sleep until yesterday. After I wrote the last post, it took the little girl until 12:30am to get off to sleep!

She's slept like a log the last two days - she's obviously catching up now.

However, we did discover on Wednesday night that she likes classical music. The Proms were on TV and there was a violin / viola concerto (Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart) which Lauren enjoyed. She was bouncing up and down on the sofa, cooing, laughing and waving her arms excitedly. Of course, I was very proud having been both a violin and viola player in my time. I must admit though that I hadn't quite expected that reaction. Maybe that's the Mozart effect for you.

Sorry to disappoint Gareth (see his post - looks like she's a Classics babe!)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lauren's First Birthday!!

The little girl had her first birthday today! I can't believe she's one today; the last year has flown by. It does seem like yesterday that I held her for the first time at her birth.

We've had wonderful celebrations this weekend in her honour.

Like the Queen, Lauren two birthdays. We celebrated her birthday with the whole family at the weekend as well as having a meal out today.

Despite the chaos at the airports Mum, Dad and Hubert managed to make it down to London from Scotland and Jase's parents drove down from York. So together with brother Jase and Charlotte, we had a big celebration at our house for the little girl.

As you can see, I baked a little cake for her; she was really excited as she loves strawberries!

She also had no shortage of presents. After the photos were taken, she had fun helping rip open her little gifts from friends and family. Now she has more toys than I have storage space! My in-laws said jokingly that I may need an extension to house all her stuff - I am worried that that may not be so far from the truth...

As you can see, the little girl loved cake and tucked in merrily. Both grandmas also made short work of their cake!

Today, she went to nursery whilst we were at work. The carers made a big fuss of her and gave her plenty of hugs today. When we went to pick her up, she was happy and smiling.

We went to a restaurant called Coyote in Chiswick for dinner. It does Cajun food; Lauren had a bowl of fresh fruit (which she demolished) and some of my halibut with pesto sauce.

She had a great time as you can see from the photos. When we went home, she was tired but did not want to sleep. Too much excitement, I think!

It's 22:30 now and she is still romping on the sofa (much to daddy's despair!). I'm hoping that she'll eventually tire out and want to go to bed...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

GBK, Tidying (and Untidying)

To celebrate the fact that Serena was going to be working all weekend, we decided to detour to "Gourmet Burger Kitchen" on Friday for dinner.

The burgers there are excellent and extremely large. Sympathetic to Daddy's needs, Lauren had the Gaviscon ready.

Beyond that we have spent the last few weeks getting our house as tidy as we can.... no boxes stacked up and no empty bookshelves.

As of today we are almost there and will be done by Friday (drop dead date - Lauren's birthday party).

Lauren hasn't quite got the hang of tidying up. She is really good at "Untidying" though!

Even with Mama's help!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Long weekend photos ready

OK, I have editted and uploaded all the photos from my Parents' visit onto flickr here for viewing.

If you want to buy some they are on PhotoBox here

Busy Times = No Updates!

Apologies for the lack of blog updates but I am up to my eyeballs with training new staff at work at the moment so no time for blogging.

Normal service will resume soon, I promise!

Jase will be able to fill you all in meantime.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Long Weekends, New Cameras and Grandparents

Well my Mum and Dad came to stay for a long weekend, which gave us a good excuse to eat out and test our new camera (since it arrived from Hong Kong in under 48 hours from the time of ordering).

First photos are of our little girl enjoying herself at Sam's Brasserie in Chiswick.

Then on Sunday it was Brunch at Balan's on Chiswick High Street

And finally it was Sunday dinner at the Anglesea Arms in Brackenbury Village

Here are the proud Grandparents