Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Celebrating Daddy's 35th birthday

Two weeks ago, we celebrated Jase's 35th birthday. I suggested a trip out to a restaurant to celebrate as poor Jase has been pretty down about the job situation. It's been really hard for him being out of work for over half of this year. Thank goodness my job situation has given us some stability.

He decided to book a table at Benares (he didn't tell me this though), the Indian restaurant run by Atul Kochher. We were impressed by his dishes on the Great British Menu and had talked about going someday. However, I hadn't thought that it would be any time soon as his restaurant is in Mayfair and I haven't even tried venturing into central London with Lauren yet.

I'm not sure why this is, except that perhaps I dreaded the thought of being jostled by hundreds of hostile commuters on the Underground whilst trying to manage a pushchair on my own. Very few of the Tube stations in London have lifts and although some do have escalators, there are many with multiple flights of stairs. Definitely not pushchair or child friendly. So Lauren has never been on the Tube, although we have been on the bus together.

However, on our recent holiday to Barcelona, we went on their excellent Underground system with Lauren without too many hitches. Having said that though, their Underground is much more modern and user friendly! I suppose this gave me more confidence to venture into central London.

Jase booked a lunchtime table as he felt it would be easier for the two of us to manage Jocelyn on a day when Lauren was at nursery. Although it meant Lauren missed out on the meal, I doubt she would have enjoyed it; it would have been too boring for her to sit still for that length of time!

On the day, we dressed up Jocey for her first Michelin Starred restaurant.

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I thought she looked gorgeous! This picture also shows how big she's grown. Lauren first wore this outfit when she was 4 months old (Christmas 2005) and it was big on her at that stage. Jocey was 6 weeks old on Daddy's birthday.

We actually got to Mayfair without too much trouble (being lunchtime), passing Claridges on the way. For a moment, I thought we were actually going to eat there! Benares wasn't muich further away; it was tucked between a Rolls Royce and a Bentley garage on Berkeley Square.

This is us at the restaurant.

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We had an absolutely fabulous time. The staff were friendly and attentive, and we were well looked after. We were surprised and pleased to see Atul in the restaurant, supervising service.

The food was excellent. I had a soft shelled crab strter and Jase had the mixed kebab, both of which were excellent. Following this, I had venison and Jase had king prawns. The dishes were a fantastic mixture of complex yet subtle flavours. We both enjoyed the food immensely.

We agonised over the dessert menu...


When the desserts finally came, they were as beautiful as the rest of the meal had been. The staff even added an additional birthday flourish when they found out it was Jase's birthday.

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It was a wonderful and memorable meal, which really lifted our spirits. Happy birthday to Daddy! That evening we had a little family celebration at home with Lauren. She wanted to wish Daddy a happy birthday in her own way.

A perfect end to a perfect day!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mouth ouch and other tales

Poor Lauren is teething again and this time her big molars are emerging. Because of this she has been a bit precious at night and hasn't really wanted to eat much. We've tried to cheer her up by keeping her entertained and taking her to the park to see the ducks and play on the climbing frames.

As usual, she made a bee-line for the bouncy elephant.

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She also wanted to go on the low climbing frame with Mummy.

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Smiles for Daddy and Jocelyn.

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Jocelyn enjoys a snooze in the park.

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We've had a pretty good week otherwise; the girls are settling into a routine with each other and Lauren clearly adores Jocey as much as we do. Jocey and I are getting to grips with breastfeeding again and have been doing well, so I'm not having to express breast milk for her any more (which saves me a huge amount of time as no more sterilising bottles!). She's still needing to feed quite a lot at night so I am still pretty tired, but at least I do get to lie in in the morning.

We've been introducing Lauren to the potty, as she has begun to show interest in the toilet and an understanding of needing to go. We got her a potty and have encouraged her to sit on it in a playful way. We've also tried to explain to her that the potty is where the wee and the poo-poo "live". Initially she would sit on it but end up doing a wee on the floor!

However, this morning she rewarded us by successfully doing a wee in the potty. We were both really pleased with her.

Lauren is also developing a huge vocabulary. Earlier this week, she slipped a little going down stairs and did not want to go any further. When I picked her up to take her downstairs, she said "Mummy, Lauren scared"! I'd never heard her use the word before, never mind using it in the correct context! Later on she told Daddy she was scared of the dark.

We've bought some night lights for her room and some for the upstairs hall landing. We are hoping that this will help; maybe this is why recently she has been so reluctant to go to sleep at night but was fine going for naps during the day. My poor little girl!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just coincidence?

We were talking about birthdays the other night, in a quiet moment after Lauren had gone to bed and whilst feeding Jocey. It's coming up to Jase's birthday soon and we were discussing what he wanted to do etc. I then commented on how his birthday was on a Thursday this year.

We then realised something rather strange. Jocey was born on a Thursday this year, so her birthday will always be the same day of the week as Jase. Then we realised that although Lauren was born on a Tuesday, she was born two years ago so her birthday this year was also on a Thursday.

Lauren's birthday comes first, then Jocey's birthday is exactly 3 weeks after Lauren's and Jase's birthday is exactly 6 weeks after that. What a coincidence!

Of course, I have to be difficult and the odd one out. My birthday was on a Monday this year!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The first month

I can't believe that almost a month has passed since Jocelyn was born. Tomorrow she will be one month old! The time has gone very quickly.

I'm still struggling to get into a routine at the moment; there are days when I feel it has been a real achievement to get out of my pyjamas due to the endless cycle of feeding, expressing milk, washing and sterilising bottles, changing dirty nappies and doing laundry. Jocelyn is waking up twice in the night to feed, which is not too bad, but it takes her a full hour to get through a feed and burp and settle so it still disrupts our sleep.

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However, she is a really good baby and rarely fusses at all. She smiles quite often and has begun to really look at us and spend more time awake. She can now fix and follow moving objects with her eyes. Jocelyn seems to like cuddles, and of course we like giving them out!

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I must admit that I've been a bit down as I have had loads of problems with breast feeding. I breastfed Lauren for a year and thought that it would be straight forward with the new baby but have encountered all sorts of problems. I think Jocelyn is finally latching on properly, but I am still expressing breast milk to allow everything to heal properly. Just shows you that you can never take anything for granted. However, none of this has affected the little girl; we had her weighed this week and her weight has gone up to 9lbs 2oz (4.1kgs)! Clearly she is getting plenty of food.

Thankfully, the Caesarean section scar is no longer hurting, so that is one less problem to deal with.

We've had a lot of help from both sets of grandparents in this first month, which has been fantastic. My mum and dad were staying with us in the first two weeks after Jocelyn was born and Jase's parents were here the week following.

I think they really enjoyed getting to know their new grandchild and Lauren and Jocey definitely loved all hugs and attention.

We took some great photos of the grandparents with Jocelyn. Here's my mum and dad with Jocey and Lauren.

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Lauren had some lovely smiles for the camera.

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Jase's parents with Jocey.

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Jocelyn enjoying cuddles with the grandparents.

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From next week, Lauren will only be going to nursery three days a week instead of her current four. I'm hoping she won't get too bored at home and that I can keep her entertained!

I'm really lucky to have Jase at home to help me out at the moment, although both of us were gutted at the news that the job he's been chasing for the last 8 weeks did not come to anything. Jase is looking again for jobs now and I'm hoping that something comes up soon for him. It's been a really hard year, and financially things have been pretty grim. We're looking for the light at the end of the tunnel!