24 Dec 2012

An amazing Christmas present for Mummy and Daddy!

So Pippa has been sleeping through from about 10.15pm after her late sleepy feed until 7am, when I wake her, for the last 6 and half weeks.  Her 10pm feed has slowly been getting shorter and shorter as she falls asleep more and more quickly, yet she still lasts until 7am.  I think part of the reason behind this is because after her full feed at 6pm she has then been taking about another 6oz of milk from a bottle!!  Happy little piglet!!  So with this extra-full tummy we decided to try and drop her 10pm feed last night and see what happens.  

Well........after a nice bubble bath and 1 page of Beatrix Potter's Squirrel Nutkin (after which I was told in no uncertain terms that it was time to sleep and she'd had enough story-time thankyou Mummy!) she fell fast asleep half an hour early at 6.30pm.  Husband and I went to bed around 11pm and apart from lots of snuffling and finger-sucking noises (we're sharing a room with her at Grandma and Grumps') we weren't disturbed until 6.45am! 

We're all so excited and proud!!  I am, however, also feeling guilty that she might have been hungry in the night and also guilty about her routine being a little out of kilter today as a result.  But I suppose if she was hungry overnight she would have let us know, and she still seems happy enough today, if just a little bit hungrier than usual.  They tell you that as a parent you always feel guilty, in some capacity or other, from your child's birth, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised!

Wahoo for a full nights' sleep Pip!! Let's hope it wasn't a one-off, else I'll be back on here soon eating all my words!!

UPDATE! 4th Feb 2013 - We resumed the 10pm feeds a couple of days later!  But to Pip's credit she had continued to sleep through, only waking 10 or 15 minutes earlier than normal.  But I decided that she was just too small and probably needed the extra feed until she's weaned.  I'm still proud all the same!

18 Dec 2012

Latest developments

It has now been nearly a whole month since I last posted (shocking I know, but I had a good reason) and so Pippa has been coming on leaps and bounds!

She is growing so fast that during this last month she has whizzed from Newborn sized clothes to now being in 3-6 months, with only a 2 week stay in the 0-3month range!

Other developments we've noticed are the development of a little bald spot on the back of her head from where she lies. I know nearly all babies get it these days, mainly due to the advice of keeping them on their backs at night / nap times, but it still makes me sad. Poor little baldy!! But her hair is now growing back pretty quickly on the front of her head so she no longer looks as if she has a receding hairline, bonus! I'm trying to get her to sleep on her side occassionally to see if that'll help.  It works for about 5 minutes, then she's back on her back, all frog-legged!

After weeks and weeks of fist and hand-sucking (which she used to do out of hunger but it quickly progressed to just a normal state of affairs) Pippa has now well and truly mastered finger sucking! The middle and ring fingers on her right hand seem to be the fingers of choice and sometimes she is so enthusiastic that they come out pretty red and swollen...I hope they don't fall off or explode! Haha!

The odd little squeal Pippa used to make amongst the wider cacophony of gurgles have now been replaced with full-blown cooing.  I remember reading the relevant chapter in my baby book a few weeks ago which told me that "your baby will probably now be exhibiting the very early signs of language, with a wide repertoire of coo's, oo's and ow's".....well, on looking down at my darling Pippa I saw no sign of any cooing, only a slightly dribbly bubble blowing game in progress and a much perfected grin.  However I am now very proud to be able to say that we can hear her coo'ing and oww'ing from downstairs and you can actually have some sort of conversation with her, she really seems to wait until you've finished talking before making her next ooo or ahhh.  Hours and hours are now wasted 'talking' to her.  It's bliss!  All nonsense from both parties, naturally, but bliss all the same!

Similarly we think she is making her first attempts at laughing. Occasionally her little smiles are accompanied by a squawk or a wheeze....only when she's very, very happy though......normally when looking at her mobile or having raspberries blown on her feet or tummy.  Oh.....and she has discovered her tongue......it is out alllll the time!!!

Finally I am so flattered and proud to be able to say that I think Pippa has started to notice when I'm not there. I know it sounds strange but until last week whilst she'd always have a big smile for us when we walked into the room etc, but she didn't seem overly concerned when we weren't within eyesight. However now she sometimes complains when we walk out. It's not loud or happening every time but it certainly shows she's getting more and more aware. Thankfully it isn't affecting her sleep, we are still incredibly lucky in that she hardly makes a peep when we leave her in her cot for naps or at bedtime! I'm not bragging and we do remind ourselves regularly just how lucky we are!!

To reconfirm my theory of her increasing awareness: I am currently trying to breastfeed her in a cafe in town (for some reason I've stupidly chosen to sit next to a full glass window running the entire length of one wall, which overlooks the main shopping street!  Hello boob!).  It turns out she is rather distracted by my brightly coloured nursing scarf, which is supposed to be preserving my modesty, and instead of feeding she is just lying there wide eyed and smiling, dribbling milk.  Worst of all, apparently the bright colours are so enthralling that they need to be vigorously swatted and yanked about, so my modesty keeps failing, much to an old man's disgust at the next door table. Whoops!!

17 Dec 2012

My first EVER exhibition!

So this is the reason I started to get behind on my blogging!

A fellow military-wife friend had organised a fair for other military wives to attend and also to exhibit / have a stall at (she is also heavily pregnant...wonderwoman!).  She asked me to exhibit, which I was thrilled about,  and because I had been wanting to do something like this for ages and because it generally sounded like an awesome way to raise some money for charity, I said yes.........only to swiftly realise that I had absolutely nothing to exhibit, let alone sell!

And so began 2 weeks of rather panicked and pressured rushing about trying to get something together.  I luckily had 3 or 4 pieces I had done in the last couple of years,  so I decided to find a good printing company I could use to get some cards and prints made up.

Eton Graphics well and truly delivered!  I managed to get 4 different card designs made up (2 of which I already had and 2 which I drew in the odd snatched 10 minutes here and there amongst Pippa's routine).  I decided to try and keep these on a countryside / wintry theme which I can easily add to and which seem to prove pretty popular.  Conversely the two large pieces I had drawn were on an African wildlife theme, but as these were all I had to offer and I had no time to do anything new,  I had to accept that my stall might be rather diverse in its subject content!

Anyway, the fair went really well and it was a very good introduction into the world of exhibiting and selling.  It really got my butt into gear and forced me to sit down and order a frightening amount of envelopes, cellophane sleeves, mount cards and backing boards.  Rather to Husband's dismay (although I know he is very pleased I have eventually done something about my dream to sell my art) our dining room is now very much my studio instead!  Pip likes to help too!

The manic Christmas rush on cards is now over (not that I'm complaining!), including having to find the time to write about 80 of our own, so I can go back to concentrating on getting some more commissions and originals done.  But first,  I shall reeeeeelax and enjoy our first Christmas as a family! Whoop whoop!!

21 Nov 2012

Two months old and more milestones!

I can't believe it.....Philippa was 2 months old yesterday!!

Here are some pictures I've taken on the 20th of each month and will continue to take...look how much she's grown!!


Other milestones she has reached......

She has started sucking her hands a lot and I think is just starting to notice them too.  She looks rather startled and then very pleased with herself when one waves in front of her face!  She hasn't yet quite worked out that they belong to her and that she is in fact in control of them.

She has been smiling for a while now and getting very good at it too!  She is especially smiley when she has just woken up....I have to get her to really concentrate to feed sometimes, she's just too busy grinning!! But beyond this she has now started to experiment with laughing.  We haven't had the first proper laugh yet but some smiles are accompanied with breathy hyperventilation and the odd squeak.....whatever they are they're very sweet!

She is now properly following faces and sounds.  If I come into the room and speak to her she turns her head to look for me......very flattering!

One bad milestone (for me, anyway)....she is out of newborn sized clothes.  Booooo....my little Pipsqueak is getting big!  Here's the most gorgeous cardigan my aunt knitted for her (one of many the lucky little girl has been knitted by family!)....I think she will pop out of it before very long at all.

She had her first church outing the weekend before last for Remembrance Sunday.  I have to admit I was rather nervous that she would scream her way through it,  but apart from a huge watery burp during the two minute silence the first two thirds of the service went very well!  She did start getting grumbly after that but thankfully I was able to take her into an ante-room where she then fell asleep!

One milestone which is imminent but not yet actually reached.....Pippa has her first injections tomorrow morning.  Wahhhh, I'm not sure who will cry more.  I shall let you know! And another imminent milestone is her Christening on Sunday.  We are lucky enough to have a very old family Christening gown which, thankfully, she is going to fit into after a rather tense moment trying it on.  Of course, back then Christenings were carried out pretty quickly after a baby was born so the gowns were invariably very small.  They also had bonnets...I couldn't resist trying one on her although I doubt she shall be wearing it on the day.

Finally the big two...........She has been sleeping through the night for a whole week!!!  After the late night feed, split between 10pm / 11pm, she then sleeps all the way through until I wake her at 7am.  Just amazing, I am so proud and thankful all at the same time!

........AND she is now in her big cot.  Without the moses basket.  Just little Pip looking very small and lost floating in the middle of the mattress!  Blissfully, she seems remarkably unaware of any change.  If anything she sleeps better as she's now unable to wiggle her way to the left-hand wall of her basket and snuffle up against it.  She did this within minutes of being put in her basket,  so funny!

And a picture I just couldn't resist including.  It was on the evening of our local fireworks display,  getting rugged up ready to head out.  She obviously reaaaally wanted to take that muslin out with her!

Tick, tock, tick, tock!

Where does time go?!

It has been so long since I last posted....the last ten days have just flown by!  It still amazes me how simply going through the daily routine with Philippa seems to take up 90% of my time.  Every morning I wake with renewed determination to be more productive and to achieve more than just feeding, nappy changing and the odd bit of housework squeezed in.  But alas, every evening I crawl into bed with realisation that, yet again, my efforts have been fruitless.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love every second of my days with Pip and Rufus,  I wouldn't change one bit of that,  it's just that I have this stupid "to-do list" in my notebook I carry about with me.  Any jobs not achieved the day before get carried over to the next day....needless to say the list is now horrendous and of course it's the larger and often more important tasks which get shunted back and back,  looming over me. 

9 Nov 2012

Three discoveries today...

Just a quickie.....here are three things I've stumbled across today which have made me giggle (and unfortunately snort into my tea), become inspired and finally made me very hungry.  All found via the wondrous world of Facebook. 

1 Nov 2012

Getting the pencils back into action

So I am starting to consider getting back into some work.  I am very lucky in that I can do my work as and when I have time and can accept commissions at a pace that suits me.  I shan't pretend I was ever chained to a desk 8 hours a day and churning out stacks of drawings a week,  but things had certainly started to get nicely busy whilst I was pregnant.  I want to keep that up!

Luckily,  I have a few commissions in the pipeline already and most of these are for friends who understand that there may be a slightly longer waiting time than usual. 

I also finished updating my website today....here it is....!


So if anyone out there is keen for a portrait or commission of some sort, especially if you'd like something in time for Christmas, then please get in touch! 

Rufus' turn!

I thought it about time that Rufus had a little limelight again...he's been somewhat sidelined since the arrival of the small burpy, pooey one!

Here's his week in pictures....... 

Worryingly little difference considering Pippa's only
6 weeks....she'll grow into them!  We have a tennis
player / model in the making!

I've got the all clear......

.....to get back into running (read slowly jogging/wheezing)!!

I had my 6 week check-up with the GP following Pippa's birth.  It was mainly just questions to work out whether I am at risk of post-natal depression, how breast feeding is going and what contraception I'm using at the moment (ha! Yeah, right!!).  But also to give me the green light to get back to exercising.

6 weeks old today!

Happy 6 week birthday Pip! 

The last week or so in pictures...... (yes, this is the truly lazy way to update a week's worth of news.  I'm officially lazy).

The hideously bright and colourful (and oh-so-not-part-of-the-colour-scheme) mobile we were kindly given has more than earned it's place in the nursery in the last couple of weeks. Pippa has well and truly discovered it and initially just stared at it and it would stop her grizzling when on the changing table (it's  attached to the table at the moment, rather than over her cot, as she either goes straight to sleep or screams her head off once in her cot....there's not much of an inbetween mood suitable for    mobile-staring).  But now she grins at it and smiles non-stop.  So sweet!! 

Embrace the camera!!! Wow.... I've actually got one in
on time!

Happy Halloween...!

...a bit late but you'd expect nothing less, right?!

27 Oct 2012

Clockwork baby?

I have started to attempt getting Pippa into some sort of proper routine.  For those of you in the know I realise that these next two words will prompt a strong reaction, one way or another,  we have been following.....Gina Ford! Now,  I do not wish to start any sort of debate, discussion or slanging match (as I have so often seen on forums and at coffee mornings when "She who must not be named" is mentioned),  I am purely writing from our personal experience to date and from my own perspective.

For those who don't know, Gina Ford is the author of 'The Contented Little Baby" series of books and has been associated with a relatively hard line approach to getting your baby into a routine. 

21 Oct 2012

The worlds' worst blogger?!

Ohhhhh dear...I seem to have massively, massively lapsed on the old blogging this last week and a half.  I can only apologise - my multi-tasking, comically inspired and creative juices have obviously dried up!  I appear to not be as great at blogging whilst mummying as I thought I was.  Must try harder.  (We've been starting to get Pippa into a routine over the last 2 weeks - she doesn't always bide by the book and sleeping/waking/feeding times are a tad haywire as a result....I shall blame that!)

9 Oct 2012

"Breast is best"....but far from easy!

These days all the books, advice and healthcare professionals hammer home the outstanding benefits of breastfeeding.  I know people have always been aware of the benefits, but there was a period when many women were heading to the formula in preference of the boob and for whatever reason there really does now seem to be a huge drive to persuade women to breastfeed instead.  In most situations I've encountered so far  lots of provisions and support have been put in place to help achieve this.  Luckily,  I have always wanted to breastfeed and have needed no persuasion.

After a morning feed in bed 

8 Oct 2012

An emotional 24 hours...

In my hopes of turning Pippa into a true 'Gina Ford' baby one day I thought I'd attempt to get her used to a bottle so that Husband (or any other willing devotee) can theoretically do the evening feed,  thus allowing me an extra few hours in bed.  Getting little Pip 'onto the bottle' would also make extravagant (and presently unimaginable) excursions to places such as the hair dressers or going out for a run / wheeze around the park possible.  Now, I would like to emphasise the one day part of my first sentence.  I am not in any particular rush to achieve the heavenly state of Gina-dom and am very aware that Pippa is still very small.  But I didn't think that giving it a go this once could hurt and I know many girls who have got their babies onto the bottle very early on and had no problems doing bottle and boob side-by-side.

Pippa's first bottle....and probably her last for a few weeks yet!

7 Oct 2012

Vets and Midwives

Again, I am very sorry that I have been AWOL for the last week or so;  things in our household have been a bit haywire recently and the three of us (and Rufus) have been rather occupied with settling into our groove ( I shall post separately about an especially 'interesting' 36 hours in particular). 

Pippa in her snowsuit, ready for her first Babybjorn outing
(taken about 10 days ago - pre 16oz weight gain)

5 Oct 2012

An apology

Just to say sorry for being rubbish at updating my blog this last week ..... I'm getting back up to speed now so I will post ASAP!!

27 Sep 2012

Happy 1 week birthday Pippa! A week in photos....

So, our darling Pippa is now 1 week old!  I cannot believe it!  I guess this is the first of many mini-milestones to come. Don't fear though,  I shan't be publicly celebrating every single weekly milestone.... just this first one!

I thought the best way to show you all how we have been spending this first week is to share some photos  (and surprise, surprise....we have taken just one or two!).

Her first screaming fit....

I'm back and.... with an announcement!

Firstly, let me apologise about for going AWOL for a week.  

In the true spirit of motherhood I thought there'd be no time more appropriate to update my poor neglected blog than at 5am, whilst up and feeding my baby.........


Seeing or using these words together in a sentence is still so amazing and unbelievable to me. I simply cannot yet grasp the enormity of what that means. It is the most wonderful and awe-inspiring thing to have ever happened to me and I think it'll be some time before I can utter the words "my baby" or "my daughter" without a) grinning like a mad thing and b) pinching myself to check I'm really awake.

Because yes, if you didn't already know through other forms of the social media grapevine, Husband and I welcomed our daughter Philippa Beatrice into the world last Thursday (20th) at 2.28pm, weighing 6lbs 14oz.

Everyone, meet Pippa!!

19 Sep 2012

A case of tmi....

Today has been another gloriously sunny day here,  really beautiful weather, so Rufus has had two nice walks today.  One with a lovely neighbour and her dogs (one of which is Rufus' favourite girlfriend) and the second in the afternoon with Husband, as he managed to get home from work early.

Now, the beautiful sunny weather wasn't the only reason for extra walking today.  I had a home visit from my midwife.  In the majority of cases,  once you're officially overdue,  you are offered three visits (or appointments in the hospital if you'd rather) leading up to D-Day:  it's the first stage of 'getting things moving'.  As most of you know,  I am due to go into hospital on Saturday evening to get the baby evicted (commonly referred to as an induction),  so my three visits were scheduled for today, tomorrow and Friday. 

17 Sep 2012

A day in photos....

I've seen a few other people doing this,  so I thought I'd be oh-so-original and jump on the band-wagon!  Here are some photos of my day.....

After our midwife appointment this morning I took Rufus out for a nice, sunny walk......

41 weeks and....

.......no show!!

This morning we went for my 41 week appointment.  All is well and the baby seems very happy - engaged and all set to go,  but obviously too happy just where he or she is right now!  

The midwife said she had no trouble whatsoever telling which way the baby was lying without even laying a finger on me.  I can see why!  I just took a photo which I think emphasises the point....it is ridiculous!!  Sometimes when I look down it looks so lopsided that I am surprised I'm not leaning to the right permanently.  Maybe I am.  It would certainly explain a lot of the looks I attract in public....... less "wow, she looks like she's ready to pop" and more "wow, she is seriously wonky, how is she not falling over?".

I tried to convince the midwife to make a guess at how big she thinks the baby will be, but no joy.  What do you think?!

16 Sep 2012

Operation pram clean-up!

We have had this beautiful pram in the family at least since the late 1940's and has been much used and loved by the last two generations.  However, it has more recently been residing in rather unstately surroundings in either my father's or our own garage.

So I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and drag it out for a good old 'Spring Clean'.  It's still in really good condition considering its age but could probably do with a re-paint at some point. 

And.......a not-so-healthy ritual...

On Friday Husband, Rufus and I went Sloe picking.  It's Sloe Gin time!  Now, I know this shouldn't technically appear under the heading of 'Health and Fitness',  but as it includes a recipe I thought it was the best place for it!

A new morning regime

Last night I decided to have a good rummage in the cupboard and dust off my old smoothie maker.

(Admittedly, I have to confess that I don't think said smoothie maker has ever made an actual smoothie before in its life; I used to use it to make up the delightful meal-replacement shakes I drank as part of numerous weight-loss attempts in the past.  Ugh).

12 Sep 2012

Time to test those theories....

So I am now 40+2... that's 40 weeks (plus 2 days) pregnant for those not down with the preggers lingo.  

I am officially OVERDUE!!!

Until Monday (my due date) I was ridiculously relaxed and laid back about the arrival time of this little one.  However, now I find myself suddenly rather impatient...I just want to meet him / her!  So I have been doing my research and have begun my efforts to naturally induce labour in earnest.  

A few days ago I had a mouth-burningly hot curry and I also ate a whole pineapple......

I bought some raspberry leaf tea and have been drinking it religiously and with vigour.......


Yeyyy, the day has come!!  (Well, come and gone actually....on Monday....I've been a little lax!) 

I had my 40 week midwife's appointment at the Birth Centre where I shall be having the baby (hopefully, unless I end up being induced, in which case I'll be in the labour ward) and it's all good news - the baby's head is engaged. Whoop!  But, otherwise, no progress so far.

Husband and I thought we had to mark the day somehow so we went out for a lovely meal at a local gastro-pub.  A white wine spritzer went down very nicely too thankyou!  I figured the baby is well and truly cooked now so it can't do too much harm?!

(Uploading these photos makes me realise how my hamster-cheeks have grown in the last few weeks.  I shall blame it on the water retention....nothing whatsoever to do with my burgeoning appetite for chocolate of late). 

9 Sep 2012

A lovely last weekend before the big day

So Saturday started with Husband getting home from a boys' night away and whisking me off for a sunny dog-walk around a local lake.  He was very keen to get there as soon as possible, which I thought odd, but was probably best as this place gets packed with the buggy brigade and dog-walkers.  

7 Sep 2012

Should I be worried?!

.......that my first ever Embrace the Camera upload is a day late?  I like to think of myself as relatively organised and that such a trait is going to be invaluable once the 'little one' is here.  But.... as it turns out I don't have that trait.  It is very clearly Friday today and I was supposed to do this yesterday, it's all going wrong....I shall surely drown in a pile of dirty nappies and missed appointments?

If you read my earlier post, here, you will know I spent the vast majority of the day yesterday in the kitchen, slowly getting frazzled and swelling up like a balloon. Soooo I didn't really get the opportunity to take a picture of any interest, and if I'm honest - I did also forget!  

Cooking up a storm!

So, a while ago a lovely neighbour of mine gave me some wonderful advice - to cook up some freezable meals in advance, so that the stress of deciding what to cook (and actually cooking!) in the first few weeks is taken care of.  

Yesterday I decided that I would do just that - be wonderfully prepared and organisation personified by cooking lasagne, bolognese, sausage casserole and chicken curry. However, I think the smarter plan would've been to do one or maybe two of these and then the others on another day....as it was, I spent about 5 hours in the kitchen.  The result? Cankles the size of tree trunks, aching legs and a foul mood!

4 Sep 2012

Embrace the camera!

Today I stumbled across a really brilliant post on Emily Anderson's blog The Anderson Crew - she started something called 'Embrace the camera', where she endeavours to get in front of the camera herself - whether it be with one or more of her children, her husband or a friend - and post it on her blog every Thursday.  

3 Sep 2012

One week to go....think we're ready?!

So I think the nursery is finally ready for the arrival of 'bump'!

We didn't have a 'theme' in mind as such, partly due to the fact that if we were to permanently decorate the nursery in any way (ie. paint it) the army would make us revert it back to beautiful magnolia again before we leave.  So we've been limited to accessorising like mad instead.  This actually suits us better as neither of us are too keen on any big areas of bright, lurid colours and of course, it needs to be 'gender neutral' too (ugh, hate that phrase!).