Friday, August 31, 2007

Credit card scariness

Early this morning, Jase got a call from one of our credit card companies telling us that last night someone tried to use my credit card to buy £1200 worth of computer equipment.

Unfortunately, it wasn't us!

Fortunately, they blocked the transaction until they could verify it with us. I am pretty upset as it means that somewhere along the way, someone has "skimmed" my card details. Now I am always really careful about cash machines (and very rarely use that card in a cash machine anyway) so it must have been at a restaurant or petrol station.

I suspect it was when we were abroad in Barcelona because I don't think I've used that card at all since we got back from our holiday in June.

I suppose I'm lucky because it's the first time it's actually happened to me and because my credit card company were on the ball and didn't let the transaction go through. I will be keeping an even closer eye on my credit card transactions in the future though!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bad Bank holiday weekend

We've had a hot August Bank holiday weekend. I found it pretty tiring so was glad that it hasn't been quite so hot all summer (unlike the summer I was carrying Lauren).

We managed to have several trips to the park with Lauren. Here's a picture of Lauren on her favourite bouncing bike thingy.

Ravenscourt Park 025

This one is of Mama and Lauren. The bump (at over 37 weeks) is now very big and uncomfortable!

Ravenscourt Park 020

Although she did have fun I was reminded of the all the reasons why I do not want my children growing up in London.

Our first trip to the park was marred by a gang of about children (all under 14 by my estimates) throwing green apples at each other across the park, a few of which narrowly missed us as we sat on one of the park benches.

Not a single parent in sight, of course.

On our second trip to the park I had to intervene when a group of about 6 girls (all between the ages of about 8 and 12 by my estimates) were rampaging around the toddlers playground where Lauren and several other pre-school kids were playing. This gang of girls was running riot over all the play equipment meant for the younger children and pushing them aside and barging past them.

Again, not a single parent responsible for these kids anywhere in sight.

I am sick of seeing these gangs of pre-teen kids running riot; their behaviour is out of control. The sad thing is that it's also difficult to repremand them when you consider that we have this same age group now carrying guns and knives and shooting and stabbing each other and any adult who dares to stand in their way.

For my sanity, we have to move out of central London in the next few years.

We also had a bit of a disaster at home. The fireplace in Lauren's bedroom has always caused me some concern as intermittently soot would fall down it and land on the carpet in Lauren's room. When my brother Hube slept in the bedroom, his asthma got worse and I suppose it did vaguely cross my mind that maybe there was something causing this.

On Sunday night, a large amount of soot fell down the chimney and when I went to investigate further I realised that there was probably about 100 years of unswept chimney soot up there which was gradually working loose. It wasn't until we cleaned out the chimney above the fireplace that we realised that the plate which normally seals the fireplace from the chimney flue had been shoved (and buried) in the soot in the flue.

This explained why the soot was coming down in the first place. We filled a large bin bag full of soot; I couldn't believe the amount that was up there (and that we hadn't noticed it before when we were decorating the room).

I am so glad that it happened at a time when Lauren wasn't in the room and before the arrival of the new baby. The air was black with soot and coal dust, and I now wonder with hindsight if this soot was responsible for my brother's asthma worsening when he stayed in the bedroom. I am also concerned that some of Lauren's persistent coughing following her colds might have been to do with this.

I will be very reluctant to allow a fireplace in my children's bedroom in the future.

On top of this, the carpet is now blackened with the soot that fell down, and we have had to spend 3 days cleaning the room to rid it of soot from every surface. Jase is hiring a carpet cleaner tomorrow to try to get the last bit of soot out that the vacuum cleaner could not handle.

All this in the week before my C-section; I was really upset by the whole experience. Hopefully after tomorrow Lauren's bedroom will be straight again and we can settle down and get some normality before the new arrival next Thursday. I am booked in to have a C-section as I cannot the deliver the baby naturally with it lying transversely across my womb.

Thankfully, despite all these hiccups, the pregnancy seems to be progressing well otherwise and my final check-up at the antenatal clinic went well today. Full steam ahead for next week!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Feet up

I had my last day at work yesterday and am glad that I can have a rest before the baby comes. I'm at 37 weeks now and am really surprised that I managed to stay at work as long as I did because things were getting really difficult and uncomfortable. However, I will miss work and all the people I work with as they are a really good crowd.

The weather is lovely today but we are enjoying the shade and long drinks at the moment as it's getting a little too hot for my liking in full sun (with my internal central heating at the moment). Lauren is having her afternoon nap at the moment but later we plan to go to the park for a short while to feed the ducks and let her run around.

As the baby is big and is lying sideways across me instead of going down into the pelvis, I am getting really out of breath walking any distance so I think I will probably need to take things a lot easier. Time for plenty of sleep and getting my feet up!

Thank goodness I only have 12 days to go before they deliver the baby!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sprawl...

Had my scan yesterday at the hospital and the baby is now lying sideways across my womb. Typical!

The Obstetricians were a bit puzzled because they said there's enough fluid and the placenta is in the right place, so they can't understand why the baby hasn't turned properly and gone into the pelvis.

I know why; the baby is just like Jase - sprawling across all the available space...

Anyway, this rather unfortunate development means that I will be heading for another Caesarean section two weeks today. This and multiple checkups in between.

Glad I am finishing work tomorrow at any rate; I am so tired!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lauren and her friends enjoying birthday cake

Here's a short video of Lauren's birthday party at her nursery; Lauren and her friends enjoy Mama's birthday cake!

Lauren's birthday party at nursery

Lauren also had a birthday party at nursery today. I baked a sponge cake for her and her little friends and at tea time, they all tucked into the birthday cake.

We went down to the nursery to celebrate with Lauren. Mama enjoyed sitting with her little girl!

Birthday 042

All the little children were very excited at the sight of the cake; there was a lot of pointing and lots of shouts of "Cake, cake!".

Birthday 039

They clearly know what they like! Lauren tucked into her cake with gusto.

Birthday 052

Mama and Daddy were allowed some of Lauren's cake as well.

Birthday 048

Afterwards, Lauren showed Mama the card that her friends at nursery had made her.

Birthday 053

Another exciting day for the little girl; she and her friends had a great time and we enjoyed seeing them all so happy.

Lauren cooks for the family!

Lauren is two!

We have had a wonderful weekend celebrating the little girl's second birthday. I can't believe she's two - the time has flown and it seems like only yesterday that I first held her in my arms at the hospital.

How tiny she was then...

Lauren and Mama

Look at her now!

Birthday 005

We were blessed with gorgeous weather at the weekend, and although it was hot in the sun, our back garden is shaded because it is north facing. So we had the back doors from the kitchen wide open and sat out most of the day. It was the perfect weather for a barbeque!

Jase relaxing in between barbeque duties.

Birthday 001

Suzanne, Peter and my Dad enjoying the sun and some drinks!

Birthday 004

My Mum and Lauren relaxing in the sun.

Birthday 003

Lauren with my Dad.

Birthday 006

She had loads to eat, and especially liked the barbequed sausages, Mama's home-made potato salad and the pork chops (which were cooked to perfection by Daddy).

Birthday 011

Later on in the evening, she decided to rustle up some sausages herself on the new toy cooker given to her as a birthday present by Uncle Jason and Auntie Charlotte.

Birthday 016

Mama thought Lauren's food was also delicious!

Birthday 028

Later on, we all tucked into birthday cake. I think Lauren really did have a wonderful time, surrounded by her family.

Birthday 036

Birthday 031

Birthday 035

We love the ducks!

Lauren and I have had a few opportunities to go to the park as it has been better weather over the last two weeks. We have had almost no summer due to the torrential rain and flooding so the recent sunshine has been a welcome respite. The forecast is very poor for this weekend, so I am glad we made the most of it whilst we could.

Lauren loves going to Ravenscourt Park to feed the ducks and geese. Here are a few pictures of one of our recent visits to the park.

Ravenscourt Park 004

It's almost a ritual now that we go to the park, feed the ducks first and then move on to the playground area to play on the climbing frame and slides.

Ravenscourt Park 011

Ravenscourt Park 005

As you can see from the photos, she especially loves the slide.

Ravenscourt Park 007

Here's a picture of Lauren and Mama, and Mama's huge bump at 35 weeks.

Ravenscourt Park 013

I'm not sure why it is, but I cannot get her to go on the swings! She loved them as a baby but now wails if I put her in the swing and demands to be lifted off. Maybe it's just a phase she's going through.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Really tired...

I know we've been quiet but life (for me anyway) has been a bit mad over the last two weeks. I've had to go in on days off and worked some pretty long hours because work has been a bit hectic and because we've been settling in new staff. I even survived my last week on call before going off on maternity leave.

I've finally finished that monster manual for work which has ended up 170 pages and 41,000 words long. Not bad, eh? Almost as good as JK Rowling's early works!!!

I must admit that I am very tired. I'm still working full time and am not really sure how much longer I can keep going at work, especially now I am in my 36th week.

We have had a good weekend though, with a lovely day on Saturday celebrating the little girl's 2nd birthday. How quickly the time has gone by! I can't believe she's two!! She had a wonderful time surrounded by her family, and really enjoyed the barbeque we had. More about that soon when I muster up the energy!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sniffles

Poor Lauren has developed a bad cold. She has been sneezing, has had a runny nose and has been running a fever on and off for the last few days. Poor Lauren!

It has meant some disturbed nights for poor Mummy and Daddy as well but fortunately she seems a little bit better today. She still hasn't got her appetite back but at least she has had little in the way of fever over the course of today.

Meanwhile, I have been really busy at work so am exhausted, especially since I've been coming home and working on a huge 180 page document for work until the small hours as well. I'm at 34 weeks this week; that's when Lauren was born in my first pregnancy. Scary thought.

We have 23 new staff to settle in tomorrow - that should be fun as well!