Thursday, 31 May 2012

Up High.

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Vital statistics I learned today:

Roman is 2ft 10 (and a half.)

His arm length is 11inches.

He loves Bryan - but I knew that already. 

They spent the day together while I died (had the threat of a migraine hanging over me all day long) in bed. A few paracetamols later and I was able to snap this moment just before Roman's bedtime. Thank goodness for little boys, husbands and modern medicine. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

More.

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A little story before the main story: we've been re-introducing Roman to the potty lately. He's adjusting to it very well - he's always been aware of when his nappy needs changed and has lately become aware of when he might need to use it and sometimes not quite making it there. Well today I put him to bed like I always do; in a nappy. 

When Bryan went to get him after Roman's nap he shouted through to me; "Is he naked?" I didn't really understand why he was asking me that so I was thinking; 1. um, no?, 2. well if you have eyes, use them (yes I'm cheeky like that) and 3. the heck? Instead I replied back with, "no. Why would he be naked?" Well, my friends, Bryan replied with; "well, he is now." He peed into his nappy, ripped it off and slept naked. Then he peed all over his sheets (sorry 18 year old Roman if this story embarrasses you.) I couldn't stop laughing when I saw my little nudist sleeping on top of his sheets - he looked so comfortable. 

After the nap and getting him up - and recovering from a fit of laughter - I decided it would be nice for us to do a little activity together. When I say 'together' I mean I do all the hard slog and he reaps the rewards by getting to enjoy eating the mix from the whisk ;). When he'd licked the whisk dry he kept looking at me with his puppy eyes and asking for 'more sweeties.' 

He is so like me that sometimes all I can do is laugh my head off.

Don't Go IBM/Lenovo.

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In December I decided it was time for a new laptop - my previous one was overheating, touch pad not working and generally reaching the end of it's sorry life. It was long overdue to be replaced, let's be honest here. It had been good to me - it had survived water damage, for goodness sake! - and now it was time for a decent burial. 


Being the money saver that I am I decided to do what all smart money saver's do; wait for the Boxing Day sales. For my readers who aren't familiar with this Boxing Day it is the day after Christmas and many, if not all, retailers have crazy sales. Being a money saver and someone who likes to have convenience on their side I decided Amazon.co.uk was the best place I could find something new. So Bryan went on a search because quite frankly when it comes to computers I think to myself 'whatever is cheapest!' and go with that. He then spotted a bargain laptop; the Lenovo G570. It seemed too good to be true for me, even on a Boxing Day sale. I wanted to wait because something didn't seem right with this low price - but the fact that it was being sold through a credible and trusted on-line store swayed my decision the other way. In fact Bryan said, "it will be fine. It's Amazon." He had a point and Amazon had successfully delivered our previous purchases without event so we went for it.


Well it arrived just fine, everything worked and seemed 'good.' Two weeks later my 'z' key snapped off after Roman threw a book at the keyboard. And I mean it snapped off - clean off. I was angry about this but thought it was a fair cop seeing as it was my/Roman's doing. There wasn't really an awful lot I could do other than suck it up and search for a key. This is impossible to do. Lenovo don't offer spare keys on their site and my model seems to be impossible to buy spare parts for let alone keys.


Damage #1: Missing 'z' key.


Feeling frustrated with this situation I got in touch with Lenovo. The American customer service representative who dealt with me was really, really good. And I mean really, really good. They were polite, helpful and wanted to really get to the bottom of the matter. When I explained that their American customer services number was no good for me as I lived in the UK I was then passed onto someone in the European division of customer services. This is where it all went downhill.


First of all I managed to get a key that matched my model - except that it didn't. I bought this from a person who owned a computer shop in Edinburgh and was able to post it out to me. When Bryan went to fit it onto my machine it didn't fit at all and obviously wasn't a fit. Annoying but that was the least of my worries. One night while Bryan was looking at the computer he closed it over gently and the side broke away (pictured.) 


Damage #2: Casing came away.


I was really annoyed, as you can imagine. Still, I decided to hear Lenovo out and to see what they'd do for me and my not-even-a-month-old laptop. I learned that once Amazon sell a product then it falls on the company who you bought it from to repair any damage. I learned that my model didn't 'qualify' for an on the spot (home) repair and that it would need to be taken into their depot to be fixed. This would take anywhere between 7-14 days. Now when a company says 7-14 days and they're making a repair I always add on a few extra days to allow for any unexpected problems, so that could mean I wouldn't have a laptop for two weeks or more. Not gonna happen.


I explained that I need this laptop because I work from home and asked, because I am upfront like that, if they would be able to provide me with something while my own laptop was being repaired - a big long shot, I know and their answer is going to be obvious but they couldn't do that. This is where it pays to have your own contents insurance - especially if you're me. 


Their policy sucks and it also inconveniences me. Lenovo/IBM will no doubt argue by saying they've tried to make repairs but when those repairs will lose me business and time from doing my job I can't risk that, especially right now while we're at a busy period and I have authors and others relying on me. Next time I will buy a Dell - which will probably be soon because today the other side of the casing on this Lenovo G570 came loose. Won't be long before the whole thing falls apart, no doubt.


My brother has a Dell laptop and he had a few issues with the touch pad. Dell customer services called him up after he sent them an email about this problem and arranged for an engineer to visit to make an on the spot repair. My brother was in Utah at the time so he left the laptop - and our home address - with the engineer. The first time the engineer called round we were out, so he left us a card with another date and time on it. He arrived a few days later, was very pleasant and didn't spend too long repairing it. "This happens to a lot of them," he told me. "It's a very common problem with these touch pads." After he'd finished his sentence the thing was repaired. He left his card with us should there be any other issues and went on his merry way. Simple. 


Life needn't be hell with a Dell - or is that Nicotinell? Either way, that sentence is true. Life with this Lenovo? An utter pain. I'm about to email them back and grudgingly inform them of the latest shenanigans from this laptop. I'll then have to, again grudgingly, surrender my laptop for repairs. I'm not looking forward to it. But I'm not forking out to repair it out of my own pocket when this is still under warranty. And who knows, maybe they'll take it away for analysis (their words, not mine) and decide it needs a decent burial and that I need a new laptop. Then again I know that won't happen ;). 


I need something that works and is reliable. I'm about to start a new business venture soon (more on that later) and I need something that, you know, works and doesn't look like it fell off the back of a truck. Until then here is my advice: don't buy IBM/Lenovo products. Their customer service is awful, their products are dire and my experience as a whole has been disappointing to say the least.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Consider It Tested.

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My patience was really tried today. And that's how it goes. There are days like those, it comes part and parcel with having a child. 

I snapped this photo after a really frustrating moment where Roman kept insisting I help him. "And how can I help?" I asked my confused two year old.

 "HEELLLLLLLPPPPPPPP!" he screamed back in response, giving no clue as to what I could 'help' with. When I didn't understand - and tried to do everything I could to 'help', reaching for the toy he was playing with to put it back together, which only seemed to push him over the edge of the frustrated precipice he was  already sitting on. An outburst of the loudest screams ensued. Worse than the screams was the porcelain mug he was brandishing about, with the threat that he'd either smash it or hurt himself with it in some way.

The screaming stopped quickly when I thought fast and began to play peekaboo with him - he wasn't happy I hadn't 'helped' him but he'd forgotten enough about it to calm down and stop being so...angry about it. And yes, he was angry. He was frustrated. And I still don't have a clue what he wanted from me! 

He's normally able to communicate his needs very well but I think today was one of those days where he didn't feel he was able to communicate the finer details of his needs or wants. He was tired, I was tired and we were both frustrated with the situation. 

Tomorrow will be a better day. 

RAR!

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He was getting a little fed up today so we took some time out to go on a tiny tour of our tiny home. Of course 'Dinosaur Rar' (his given name by Roman) had to take the tour with us. In the hall Dinosaur Rar decided to give Roman a roundhouse to the cheek. 


Look at Dinosaur Rar's little paws, ready for action. Roman was quite prepared for this attack as he let out a huge RAR in response ;).

My two bad-asses, just hanging out together.

Making Iced Biscuits - Things To Do With Your Toddler.

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 If you read my post about 'iced biscuits' you may be wondering what in the heck 'iced biscuits' actually are. Or maybe you've just stumbled across this post in which case; a BIG hello to you!

If you have a toddler/s then if you're anything like me then you're always on the look out for things to do with them. My favourite thing to do with Roman (my 2 year old) is to cook. I always include him in the process in some way because it keeps him occupied and allows me the freedom of working with my ingredients. I like to cook things that are easy and quick to prepare because goodness knows what's going to happen next with a toddler ;).

With the Jubilee coming up (you know the Queen being the Queen for 60 years) I thought these might make a nice addition to any Jubilee parties going on - yes, some people are having those. How British of them.


Things you'll need:

1. Jelly diamonds - or anything to decorate the top of your biscuits. I bought these because they are a vegan brand but you can use chocolate drops or any other kind of candy/sweet that will sit on top of your 'biscuit' (cookie.)

2. One pack of biscuits. Typical in Britain for this activity we will use 'Digestives.' They are a semi-sweet wheat and malt biscuit with a smoothe surface - ideal for icing. I know that in the US/Canada you'd usually have to import these biscuits or find them in the International section of select supermarkets but you can use any smoothe surface cookies/biscuits of your choice, they'll work just as well.

3. Icing sugar/confectioners sugar/powdered sugar. You'll need enough that you can get 3 heaped table spoons out of it.

Things you'll need (not pictured):

1. Two table spoons (one for heaping icing sugar and the other for mixing. It's important not to mix the wet spoon with the dry icing sugar.)

2. Two containers to put your icing sugar mixture into - one for your toddler and one for you. 

3. If I have missed anything here I can only apologise, if you notice that do leave me a comment to let me know - I need all the help I can get.

* STEP ONE *

This is fairly straight forward: dump three heaped table (big) spoons of icing sugar into your mixing bowl. Fill a mug of water and gradually add drops of water, mixing as you go, until your icing looks like this:


Yeah, it looks like glue.


This is also the point where you'll want to give a little mixing bowl to your toddler to keep them from going crazy in their chair ;). And be prepared that whatever you give them to 'mix' will actually just be consumed by them.

Get your glue...sorry, I mean your icing and put a good dollop (one tablespoon) in the centre of your biscuit. Let it naturally spread rather than spreading it yourself - because this is messy, yo!

Okay once your biscuits and icing have done their thing and decorate with jelly diamonds (diamond jubilee, get it?), Jelly Tots (are they exclusively British?), any kinds of sweet/candies of your choice.


And you're done. 
Make as many as you can cram down your neck.
I had a half of one of the biscuits because my dentist told me to cut down on my sugar. Since then I've not really stuck to that (oops.)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Heat Wave.

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Lately I've been feeling like I've stumbled into some parallel universe and we actually live in Tuscany instead of Scotland with this crazy heatwave we've been having - it just won't quit! Your first unbearable heat of summer, living in Scotland, after you've lived through two relatively mild summers.

You don't make any complaints, you wear your hat with no upset and *gulp* you even say things like; 'grease on, no cancer and die.' 'Grease' is the name given to the sun cream we apply to his pale skin every time we go out (and top him up with, as well as ourselves) and Bryan, being the blunt speaker that he is, informed Roman of the risks of not wearing his 'grease.' Now he won't stop saying it. 

Roman is even at the point of lecturing and reminding me to wear my 'grease' so I don't get cancer and die. Weird thing is that when I have these little reminders I actually put my grease on, remembering that my skin isn't superhero skin that can somehow bounce the sun's rays ;). 

I took this picture just before 6pm. At night. It looks like the middle of the day. That sun does not want to sleep and I'm beginning to feel personally tormented by its heat. Also, because of the heat it's messing around with Ro's sleeping pattern, so we take little walks like this to tire him out - and it works. Bless those little legs that carry him.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Goodnight Moon.

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Saying hello to the moon (and, as we were leaving the garden saying goodnight to the moon, too) and goodnight to the sun in our back garden at sunset.

I have a lot of romantic ideas when it comes to parenting. Most of which usually involve this little man being my dressing doll, allowing me to try on different outfits for hours on end - yeah, never gonna happen. 

But then some of those ideas actually come together. Like watching a sunset together on a hot May night - I didn't actually think out what the weather would be like in my fantasy, but because it's so hot this disrupted Roman's sleeping pattern and so this lead to us both being in the garden at 9.40pm, watching the sun dip behind the clouds and the half moon pop up to greet us. 

I also wondered what our neighbours would think of me as a mother if they dared peek out the window at our little garden scene; probably that I am awful for not having my rebel child into a routine and up at such a late hour. Funny thing is that I am most anal about my little routines and sometimes it's hard for me just to let go like this...to not care about my time being disrupted and just soak in our time. Time I will never recover or get back - so who cares about my time and my routines? I don't throw them out the window every night but every once and a while is fine, a little flexibility here and there didn't hurt anyone.

P.S: I have another romantic idea: watching a sunrise and out of interest I checked when the sunrise is and balked when I saw it comes up before 4am. Maybe I'll save that for when I can't sleep ;).

Friday, 25 May 2012

Being Two Is Tough.

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Ro went to bed late (after 9pm, due to the heat) and woke up later than expected.  So late that he slept through breakfast.

Our schedule was off and because he slept so late it was decided a nap wouldn't be on the agenda. In spite of this he kept looking at me with puppy eyes and saying, "bed?" every so often. When this didn't work he'd throw himself down on the floor and scream - the scream to end all screams. It was so close to bedtime that I didn't want to let the two sleeps overlap so close but I was very tempted to just let him sleep.

Instead I handed him an ice lolly and he put on his reading glasses. All was well. Until I had to take the lolly off him so I could melt it down into a drink as Roman was rather enjoying painting his clothes with it.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Summer Wardrobe.

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We finally committed to buying a pair of shorts - his first for this summer - yesterday. Living in Scotland the weather isn't always warm, sunny and predictable however we've been having a very welcome but unexpected heat wave over the past few days. It's been so hot that I feel like I'm living inside of a hair dryer. 

Roman had a shower and a bath today - it's that kind of weather. Shorts weather. I don't even own a pair of shorts because I've had no reason to own a pair for years. We don't know what sun looks like in Scotland because by the time it comes around again we get it for a week and then summer is over, the warm jumpers and rain coats are on again. So Roman is set to enjoy his shorts for however long the sun and summer want to stay - I hope it's a while yet.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Into The Wild.

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If you count the 'wild' as being our back garden, which I do with these weeds growing!

With the weather being so lovely and warm we've been trying to get outdoors more just to enjoy it. I'm so happy that we have a garden this year - we've always had to share with two or more neighbours and even then it's been a postage stamped size of a garden or a furniture grave yard. Right now we share the space with our neighbour but in reality it's two gardens side by side without a fence to separate the two spaces and our sweet neighbour always mows our grass ;).


Having this space makes such a difference to Roman - he can freely run around, I can have the back door open and step right into our garden. Never before have I typed such a sweeter sentence!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Money Saving Expert.

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He takes his saving very seriously - pennies must go into their slots one by one, the job never rushed and of course all of this saving business must be conducted with the bottom lip sticking out. It's very serious business, don't you know?

I should also note that I 'helped' to put coins in the slot. I was so rushed in my manner of coin slotting that a 20p piece missed the slot. Roman spotted this, looked at me in complete horror and said 'Muuuh-meee!' in a tone that suggested I should take a step back and learn from a pro coin slotter.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Num Num.

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I hope my crisps and can of juice were tasty, Roman.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Stumped.

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On our family walk this evening I discovered this lovely tree stump. I've always had a fascination for these things; I grew up near a huge country park that housed the biggest tree stump I've ever seen. It was so big infact that us four children could sit on it! I used to love tracing the rings on 'my' tree stump and counting them with my dad. He taught me that you could count a tree's age based on the number of rings on the stump* - I don't know if that's true but it certainly seems remarkable if it is true.

Today when I came across this stump I wasn't sure that Roman would even care about it - to him it's surely just a lump of wood, right? Well I think he was quite taken with it. He kept running up to it and saying 'Tweeeee (tree)! My tweee!' I should have guessed he'd be fascinated by this 'twee' as he has quite the thing for trees right now.

*Blessed with the aid of the internet I have discovered that yep, you can find out a tree's 'age' by its ring stumps! Yay!

A Week In Review.

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Awkward things I've read this week:


 A blogger talking about how they 'got to have sex.' Um yeah you got married and the obvious conclusion is that you did the deed. I seriously did not need confirmation on that matter!


Things I've been thinking this week:


I feel the weight of bringing another life into this world heavy on my heart - and if I'm honest, on my soul. It's not got so heavy that I can't bear it, but it's there. And with each and every announcement of pregnancy there is a fresh sting of 'this will never happen to you again' and it makes me sad that my pregnancy with Roman was challenging. It also makes me wonder 'do I want this so much because I want to rectify the past?' and sometimes I wonder if a second child birth will be harder on me; longer, more trying, more pain. My body doesn't feel 
right; like the broken element of a light-bulb clattering inside the bulb when it is dropped. 


I really feel my 20s slipping away from me this year, too. In December I will be 27 which is strange to me because at 17 I imagined at 27 I would have my life in order and that everything would be effortless. Nearly 10 years later not much has changed apart from the fact I've decided to stick with one hair colour, one man who I married, lost a few friends and I have a child. Not much then ;). I sometimes think my 'challenge' in life is to lather, rinse and repeat. To always be stuck in the same cycle, with different circumstances.


I am done being car free. I don't really have a choice on this because that's not likely to change in the next few years. Our car free status is actually better since we moved in July because everything we need here is within a comfortable walking distance. But I'm still going to be a brat and say I want a car because when you don't have a car people make assumptions about you - like I care, I know - and worst of all a lot of the things I want to do with Roman are off the list. Safari park? Forget about it. Zoo? Not happening. Everyone who owns a car tells me that not having one is great, that you can travel on trains and it's this big adventure. Well when you're doing that as a means to get around it's no adventure, let me tell you. But then I think of the money we have that car owners have to sink into repairs, petrol, general 'car stuff' and the fact that I use my legs and feet to get around - it's good for me, right? ;). Oh but then I get angry because I look at all the pretty Ikea things and can't get to Ikea because of the car-free thing...oh well, again, we're saving money and I shouldn't be so greedy/materialistic. 


I can't wait to watch the Walking Dead on Monday. Second series has started up on channel 5 over here and being as we just got a TV last year - after two and a bit years of not having one and swearing never to get one - we don't have 'cable' or 'Sky' as it's known here. Some people have 'Virgin' (yes, as in Richard Branson and not the aforementioned LDS bride before her wedding night) and also on top of paying for your TV service through these companies everyone who has the pleasure of owning a TV set in the UK also has to have a TV licence. We paid ours up as a one-off fee...but more happy news, readers: it needs to be paid every year. It is a government 'tax.' And it is the biggest joke of the UK. Anyway, we have a TV and we have our licence. That expense alone doesn't allow much room for cabled or non-cable pay-for-TV services for us - we like to pay our rent upfront instead because we're 20-something OAPs who are sensible. So channel 5 really came through when they bought the second series because I really, really didn't think they would do that and I was so ready to buy the second series from Amazon. Well I am happy. It fills the hole in my soul and it's our Family Home Evening activity on a Monday - who can top that? 


If Bryan ever became the bishop - in 20 years time, lets say, since we're being hypothetical, then that would make him 'my bishop.' Weird. My dad has been a branch president and bishop but you know, that wasn't weird at all. It seemed like the obvious thing for him because he is a leader in life. This is no slight on Bryan's character at all because he is also the head of our household, he has a quiet authority whereas I'm...more...loud with my authority. He holds a responsible calling in a presidency at church right now and I have to say I don't know how he's such a natural to his callings. I have never been very good at church callings, apart from nursery, because the children love you automatically and barely talk back. I'm sure that if I got a calling I would be brilliant but I don't know if I'd be naturally brilliant at it, you know? It would take a lot of learning and persevering on my part - going on past experiences. I also think I'd be dumped with the 'problem' children because I was a hell raiser in my primary days and karma likes to bite back.


I have ordered some nail polish from Avon. Then I realise; 'Avon test their cosmetics on animals.' And...I've been trying to get my make-up bag from not so vegan friendly to completely vegan friendly. I am so smart ;).

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A Space To Read.

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I wanted to create an extra special and comfy space for Roman to read books, play and create. I followed examples of Waldorf and Montessori classrooms and how other parents had set things up for their children using these approaches. 

In Roman's room I have put everything at his level, created a 'sofa' by putting a soft blanket over a box, padding the back with a cushion for back support and comfort and I have moved his child size chair into his room. Just yesterday as I was setting everything up he spent an hour with me - an hour just sitting on his 'comfy' couch, colouring in his books and reading. The boy who struggles to sit for 5 minutes interrupted sat for an hour while I set this all up ;).

Well, I finished the mini living space today and while it's not perfect I'm pretty sure Roman has given it his seal of approval and still enjoys his reading area - he chose the 'comfy' over his shrunk down seat. 

If you'd like to see more then please click 'Read More.'

The whole view of the 'home corner' in his room.
'The comfy,' a little phone and phone table, some of his artwork and the 'window.'
Every living room needs a rug and a magazine rack (box.)
If you're wondering what this is: it's a 'window.' I tried to make it look like the view outside of Roman's room - with a flower and cake 'cooling' on the window ledge ;). That bit of material is the 'curtain.' 
The view from his window.

I hope you enjoyed our little room tour :).

Pepsi Max: My First Taste Two Weeks Ago.

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Stuck in bed all day. Had my first Pepsi Max, ever. It tasted unlike I expected - this is what happens when you grow up with parents who don't allow you to drink Coke/Pepsi/Dr Pepper et al (don't worry, I snuck drinks of most of these anyway.) While I hated them for it at the time, I am grateful for it now. I went 26 years without a filling and like to think this contributed to it. 


Unfortunately...I got my first four fillings in April of this year.  Hence the need for a Pepsi Max. Okay, maybe I could have just skipped the Pepsi Max altogether - but what's a girl to do when her husband comes home with something so foreign as this? It's like the time I discovered cartons of mango juice (with 50% of your RDA of sugar in each carton!) at the Chinese supermarket in Glasgow.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Role Reversal.

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I know the focus (literally with my lens working the way it does) here is on Bryan but you'll also spot a little boy in his coat trying to push his daddy - in Roman's buggy, no less. 

A little role reversal quite amused Ro and his parents ;).

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Big Prize.

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Cashew nuts are consumed every time we ask Roman to use the potty - or rather, remind him to use it. We're getting to the stage where he's very eager to use it by himself and today he went outside and on a trip to the shops and remained dry throughout his trip - and for a good hour after.

We're both starting to notice when he might be needing a wee - he crosses his legs, stands still and sometimes will be very quiet. When he is showing these behaviours we strongly guide him towards the potty, don't take our eyes off him (I don't anyway) and I encourage him to drink. Once he's on the potty I make a low hissing noise, imitating the noise of a pee :P. In the past this cue has made him go, these days it's a mixture of being reminded to go, getting to the potty on time and then to sit on the potty for a while. 

Every book I read tells me I should be prepared to keep him on the potty for 10-20 minutes. He won't even sit for 10-20 seconds. When he gets up either Bryan or I have to show him there's 'no pee pee' in the potty or remind him that he's not quite done yet. He'll happily sit back down - if he's loaded with his 'Gerald' book and cashew nuts. Well, today, he did the biggest pee ever in the potty. Bryan made me take pictures - I won't share them here ;).

We rewarded his potty usage with a lollipop - and he seemed pretty pleased with his 'prize.' I've always been against rewarding children for doing something that is, you know, a basic human bodily function outside of a nappy but my goodness me I was just so happy he'd peed somewhere other than our carpet that I would have bought him a pony or a yacht at this point. I felt like he understood what this whole thing has been about and I feel as though we've done it without coercing him into it or scarring the poor boy for life - I've met many children who are afraid of toilets and potties because of traumatizing potty training experiences and didn't want the same for my child/ren.

I can't really remember my own potty training experiences but from the fragments I do remember it was mostly a fairly relaxed and happy affair. It was a gradual process for me and it's the same for Roman. Slowly we're getting to where we'd like to be as a family and for our toddler. I am happy.

Gratitude and The Art of Being Grateful: A Husband and a Father.

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When I was much, much younger than I am now my parents always encouraged me to be 'grateful' for things and at the time I didn't really understand what they were getting at. Mostly they'd remind me to be grateful for the things I had or the things I was given; I always, always thanked people if they gave me something (and yes even when I didn't really like something) as a child because my parents taught me to say 'please' and 'thank you.' 


As an adult I found myself saying please and thank you too much, far too much. To the point where I was thanking people for things I'd done for them. That's okay, I suppose, as in those instances I saw that they provided me with a chance to either be a better person or to serve them and to take something from it. But a lot of the time I was overly thankful, so full of thanks that I wasn't sure it was entirely genuine. More like a conditioned response with no meaning behind it. I also didn't want to offend or upset anyone and really show I was so grateful for them. 


Then I spent time with Bryan. Who never used to say thank you or please...unless you count saying 'thank you' (danke schoen) in German. At first this really bothered me. Why? Because he wasn't being 'proper.' And I was pretty sure that when he met my family and started saying 'danke' to them as a thanks that they'd think he was rude. I'm not a snob in the least. I don't care about people speaking in really fast, heavy Scottish accents. I don't care about where someone went to school or uni - or if they didn't/don't plan on uni. I don't care about the job someone does - if they're working, they're working. I don't care if someone is on state benefits or if they are receiving other assistance in order to, you know, live. I don't even care if someone is an heir/heiress and living off the fruits of their parents labour - okay this one does bother me a little but after watching 2 Broke Girl$ I'm a little less bothered ;).


So, to cap off what I'm saying: I'm not a snob, I don't care about your bank account, schooling, job or what neighbourhood you grew up in as long as you treat others with courtesy and kindness we'll have no real problems. Some of us know what basic manners are, some of us do not. And others have different standards to mine - it's okay. It's just that I had never met anyone who was so uncomfortable with saying 'please' and 'thank you.' And of course now I have met a lot of people who think that 'please' and 'thank you' is no big deal. More than I've met in my entire life.


My previous relationships to my marriage were filled with gratitude - or you know, I like to think so ;). My ex boyfriend really messed up Valentines Day one year; declared it no big deal and bought me nothing, so the next year we celebrated it for a month. I got a present every single week. All his own idea. And once you start a tradition, it becomes just that, so for the next 2-3 years of our relationship that was how we celebrated. I'll say one thing for my ex; he messed up. A lot. And I mean a lot. But when he made it up to me he did it in style. And he was like me; bumbling at times and full of 'pleases' and 'thank you's' for everyone. 


But it's funny that I have those experiences of gratefulness and yet I still believe that the only person who has ever done the best by me is Bryan. Respect is a bigger gift than a month long Valentines. Really knowing someone, asking them sneaky questions to uncover the best gift for them and keeping it secret from them...that's beyond anything anyone has ever done for me. There are other things that Bryan has gone above and beyond on - and yes he still has a way to go believe it or not - but I realised very quickly that saying 'danke' is his way of saying thanks. I let it go. I figured if it bothered my family so much that they'd either mention it to me or they could take it up with him - for goodness sake, they're all adults and it's their business if they care so much! (I'm pretty sure they couldn't give a flying fig.) 


This marriage is filled with gratefulness, a lot of it unspoken thank yous and just knowing we're grateful to spend all this time with each other. It's also taught me that having manners isn't everything - some of the most horrible people, or the people who I've let hurt me the most have been filled to the brim with manners but then filled to the brim with lack of respect for me and only cared about their own wants. Manners aren't everything in a person and they can be taught. Being an inherently good and nice person isn't really something you can teach someone. Being an attentive father and husband is something men choose to be, it is not something I can force on anyone.


So today I am so grateful for Bryan - the first photo you're seeing below? Us on a horribly busy train in the morning. I'd decided the night before, on a total whim, that I wanted to see my gran on a public holiday right after Christmas (one of the worst times to travel) and Bryan said okay. That was a two hour trip with a nearly two year old mostly getting squashed by travelers - or better, tutted at for daring to bring a (quiet) child onto public transport. Bryan just lifted our son from his buggy and sat him on his lap, no prompting or asking from me. 



In the supermarket. Roman was having one of his 'I don't want to be in this buggy' moments - which are rare - and people were staring at me as though I was this horrible child abuser and could control my child's rages at the drop of a hat. I was worked up and stressed. Bryan lifted Roman out and onto his shoulders. All was well in the world and a few passersby may have melted at the scene.

I started out this blog post not really struggling with the things I could say - in fact my problem has been to curb my word count - and yeah that's sickening blah blah blah I know but it doesn't make any of this less true. Yes he annoys me at times and we do have our disagreements and 'discussions' but that still doesn't make any of it less true, either...he's present as a father and as a husband. Does it mean he's perfect? Heck no. He still has things he needs to learn, as we all do, and he still needs to constantly improve but what I will say is that he learns quicker than anyone I know and I'll say it again: it still doesn't make what I've said any less true.

I'm grateful and my gratitude cup runneth over when it comes to Bryan.

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Next time: A Home.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Mothering.

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This is the subject that I could write and write about forever.

Mothering. Being a mother.

It's about many things for me; a messy kitchen (not through choice), struggling and struggling to say 'help', sometimes feeling isolated in my little community of 3, a day stretching ahead and wondering at the end of it 'where did all that time go?' and mostly trying to fit everything into those days. 

Life before Roman; I think about it often but not often fondly. My life before him wasn't horrible, it was filled with purpose and with promise - a promise of all the things in front of me. I'm 26 and still so young with that age. Life was also easier in a sense that I didn't have to think ahead or worry that I'd spend 9 hours of a journey entertaining one person. In some aspects being a mother is far easier, but also far harder, than I ever dreamed it would be.

He is my life now but he doesn't consume my life - if that makes sense. We haven't spent a night apart but nor do I feel anxiety or pressure to make that happen. When it happens, it will happen just like everything else. Since the day he was born I've been sure of a few things; he has his own set of rules, his own personality and that he was and is loved by many. 

Love grows as your children grow, that's what I know. Even if they are two and a bit years old, squirming on your lap shouting 'CAARRRR!' while you're trying to document motherhood through photography with them. 

Another thing I know? Roman really likes his ride-on car toy ;).

* my hair is wet in this photo, not greasy. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Potty Training Our Dinosaur.

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We got things off to a start a little today with potty training. 

I'd like to go at it with a no looking back on using nappies attitude but Bryan would not. I know Roman isn't bothered either way - he likes wearing pants and nappies. The truth is that with me being ill (not that you'd notice as I normally run myself ragged on a daily basis) we mend and make do. What works for us might seem backwards or obscure to others but we have to do what works for our family. 

Luckily everything else has happily fallen into this wonderful pattern where everything has worked out for us and I keep reminding myself that learning to use the toilet full time will come, just like everything else. Roman just needs us there to cheer him on, to guide him with gentleness, to wipe up pee and to wash his wet pants ;). Any parent or carer of small children who have been here before know what I'm talking about, I'm sure.

There was a little hiccup with using the potty in the morning. Roman didn't want to try the potty and pleaded for a nappy...that was until we got a pair of pants out of his drawer. He loves pants and that makes me happy - it's the little things ;). I wouldn't say we're militant on this regime we have going but once we've used up our disposable nappies they're gone, all gone. We do have a stash of cloth nappies that we'll use for night times and naps - it keeps our home happy to do this so I'm going with that. 

After Roman went to the potty (a story I'll keep off the blog to protect his dignity) we fitted him with a nappy. Shortly after he had it on, he wet it. He pointed to it and said 'oh dear!' I checked him and sure enough it was wet. He's aware - he's always been aware - and right now is a great time to start guiding him through this process.

Pray, cross your fingers, do a rain dance or send wishes to the moon that this goes well for us when we go for it full time. I'm scared it will end horribly and he'll regress back to nappies...but I'm also reminding myself that every parent must feel this at some point.


Monday, 14 May 2012

Bad Cop

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Today I had to be the 'bad cop' and tell Roman he couldn't take his car out in the rain. When the door was open he took the opportunity to throw on a shoe and make a run for it to the door with his car - when I got to him I managed to take the car off him and put it into his room. Undeterred by this he bolted out the door with his one shoe on. 

This is the look I got when I tried to get his attention in the living room - after a massive tantrum was had.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

In Our Bedroom

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Our bedroom is an extension of Roman's room - and incidentally so is our living room. It's his dumping ground for toys, the bed is his bouncy castle and if I happen to be in there at the same time as him I'm the children's entertainer.

Please also note the Mr Potato Head sitting on our bedside drawer. I rest my case.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Chookit/Chocolate.

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Cameras are so common place around here that I rarely get him to look at me but today was all about awareness, about pulling silly faces and even a picture of Mr. Potato Head facing the camera for some 'cheese' (I've no idea where Roman has picked up the cheese thing, I certainly did not teach him it.)

Getting Mr Potato Head to say 'cheese.'


Today was 'chookit' rolls with a side order of spicy soya sausage, pineapples, Cheezly and chewed up olives. Today was this 'yes I'm beautiful, what of it?' look. All. Day. Long. I love it. I love him. He makes me want to have a thousand more toddlers and a thousand more babies. 

I remember a time when he was a newborn and I thought to myself; 'will Bryan and I ever have another conversation?'. Today we sat on our bed; letting our thoughts get away with us, going on tangent after tangent getting so caught up in conversation. About half way through our discussion I realised we were back to that moment - a moment where we had a spare few hours together with no distractions. It was daytime. No one had work, a baby to change, feed or otherwise satisfy...but yet here we are three years and more into our marriage talking like we're dating, excited to feed off one another, accepting and open to the other's thoughts. 

And it's because of who Roman is that we were able to be in that moment. Because he is content, relaxed and so much fun - and falls asleep at night - we're also content, relaxed and so much fun. Happy child + happy parents = happy family. People are always asking us what we 'do' with Roman but the answer is that, quite frankly, we're just us. I get annoyed, I get frustrated and sometimes I even shout (working so hard on not shouting, though) but mostly these are good times. Mostly it's like the picture - messy, fun, relaxed. And a good dose of chookit/chocolate to get us through it if it's not going quite to plan* ;).


*Although it's worth mentioning I 'gave up' chocolate in March 2011 and I have restricted amounts otherwise I'd drown myself in a pool of chocolate.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Squishy.

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I was excited to learn that my parents were planning a trip from their far north of Scotland location to visit us. Okay, my dad had other stuff to attend to all day but my mum was able to spend a good chunk of the day with us. 


There was nothing eventful about the things we did today; caught a train in the rain, headed into Stirling, shopped and headed home. But it's in those non-eventful moments that memories and good times are formed - that my empty cup is filled with love from my parents, who I miss so much, and I like to think that Roman's memory and cup gets filled, too. With them living so far away from us it's hard. We don't get time to be the two of us - I know that's nothing to complain about, but still. I love Roman but sometimes I think it would be nice to catch a film or eat a dinner together and know that my mum would have no problem in helping us out with that every so often if she lived nearer.


But, they don't live nearer and this is how it is. So every time they visit and Roman gets 'squishies' like he's getting in the picture above it's a special memory I cherish, it's a moment I am excited about and it makes the time spent together all the more precious.