Sunday, March 31, 2013

Growing Up

In honour of BIg Boy turning 6 we have measured the 2 bigger boys.  These are their current stats, they are sure growing up!

Big Boy:  48 lbs; 46 inches
Little Boy:  33 lbs; 35 inches

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Duthie Park

Today I took the boys to the newly-renovated playground at Duthie Park.  The rest of the park is not finished but the playground is ready for kids and it was covered.  The parking lot was full and the equipment was swarming.  I wonder how busy the park will be once the other construction is finished?

The playground has different areas that cover off all ages and abilities and all of the areas are tied together with a woodland theme.  In a field behind the playground there is equipment for bigger kids - a flying fox and this log "battering ram" that you can ride on.

It was sunny and warm and we had a lovely time.  We took "make your own" trail mix for our snack so that kids showed down on bits of their choice.

The ride on battering ram.

One side of the playground - for middle sized kids.

Bigger kids would enjoy this bit of the equipment.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Toys Everywhere!

I've been trying different strategies to get the kids to pick up their toys.  This one was initially unsuccessful:

Me:  [Little Boy] get your toys off of my bedroom floor.  Mummy doesn't like stepping on the hard plastic cars.

Little Boy:  no response

Me:  Come on, pick them up or I will take them away.

Little Boy:  no response

Me:  Don't you like your toys?  Or do you have so many toys that you don't care anymore?  Look, this is Batman, don't you want to play with him?

Little Boy:  Yes, I want to play Batman.

Me:  OK, then pick up your toys so that you can play with them.

Little Boy still does nothing.

I start gathering toys to take them away, all the while muttering about how little he must like his toys.

Little Boy:  Mum?  Mum, those not my toys.  Those [Big Boy's] toys.  I take from [Big Boy's] room.  I clean up my toys.

And he toddled off to pick up his own toys (which he did!).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Big Boy!

So I'm finally out from under this terrible flu bug and I wanted to tell you all about Big Boy's birthday party.  It's a fitting day to do it because today he turns 6!

We had the party at our house on Sunday over lunch time. Originally the guest list was supposed to be 6 friends (because it was his 6th birthday party) but I opened up the guest list a bit.  With siblings and extra guests we ended up with about 14 kids.   I have to say in retrospect this was a bit of a mistake. If we had stuck to the original list plus siblings, we may have had a better party - a note for next year.

The idea was that we were going to play some party games and then eat cake and pizza. Here in Scotland, kids do not open gifts at their party.  I love this - nothing is tackier than anyone, child or adult, opening presents in front of a crowd, particular if the crowd consists of the gift givers.

I had hung a schedule outlining the activities on the fridge in case my husband or one of the other adults needed to know what was going on.  Some of the kids noticed the schedule early on and this had an interesting effect on the kids.  They were constantly checking what activity was next and got excited about a game before we played it. We had to cut out one activity because we ran out of time (I had put in one easily dropped activity) and some of the kids were actually disappointed.

The first game we played was pin the tail on the donkey. I bought the typical game board (they now come with numbered stickers) and the kids played. I think there was a problem with the blindfold though because the tails were incredibly close to the target. I decided to give the 2 furthest kids (who I deemed "not cheaters") first pick from the prize bucket.


Don't the majority of these tails strike you as "too close"?  (Sorry about the odd camera angle.)

The game went well but we almost had too many kids.  The first kids didn't wait around while the later kids took their turns.

Our next game was a double round of pass the parcel.  As you can imagine the kids loved this game. The game took almost twice as long as the 15 minutes that I had scheduled.

Next we ate pizza and sung happy birthday.  The kids loved the cake - I was shocked because it was one of those grocery store cakes that appear to have no need for refrigeration.

Big Boy looked really pleased as everyone sang to him.  I think the birthday song is a tough moment for the birthday boy or girl.  They don't get to sing and it's pretty hard to just sit and stare at a cake through the whole tune.  Big Boy handled it like a champ.

We wrapped up the party with the piƱata. The kids got it open with a little help from the dads!

Over all the party went well. The kids had fun and didn't rip the house apart.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Party Day

It's the morning of the big birthday party and here is an assessment of our household:  2 parents with the flu; 1 baby with a sore throat and teeth coming in; 1 very excited toddler; and Big Boy - trying to help out where he can so that the party is not a disaster!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Crazy Packaging!

Today I was out for the morning and when I came home, I had a note that I had missed a delivery of a parcel from Amazon.  I hadn't purchased anything large from Amazon lately so I was curious...but we have a birthday coming up in our house, so I thought that perhaps the delivery was related to the birthday.

When I picked up the parcel from our neighbour, I was even more curious.  It was huge and flat.  Here is a picture, with an ink pen on it for scale:


Imagine my surprise when I opened this monstrous package to find that it only held the bread bag that I had ordered a few days ago....did they run out of envelopes at Amazon?


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bed Time

Little Boy is very good about bed time.  He is intense in everything he does, and when he is done his day he intensely needs sleep.  He goes to bed with little fuss.

Tonight he was actually eager to go to bed. This is because I dug out an old pillow case with a picture of some of the Muppets on it.  He wanted to go to bed to look at the pillow case....who knew that's all it would take!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sick...

Uuuugh...today I'm sick.  The weather is also terrible today so I'm tucked up inside.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Little Boy has been potty training for a while now.  To encourage him along, I created a system of rewards (bribes).  I started small - a candy (M & M) each time he used the toilet successfully.  After a while we moved on to a toy car for every day that he did not wet or soil his underpants.  Once he had been dry for about a week, we moved to the final step - seven clean and dry days would get him a cake or cupcakes (to be decided by me).

Last week he earned a cake easily and I made devils food cupcakes from a mix....not the greatest but they turned out well.  Today it's cake time again.  I had planned to make another mix and then something came up.  I need to take cupcakes into Big Boy's class next week, and the teacher informed me that one of the boys in the class is allergic to eggs.  I decided that I would try to find a recipe to accommodate this egg allergy and test drive the recipe for Little Boy's cake reward this week.

I found this recipe online:   http://www.tasteandtellblog.com/eggless-chocolate-cupcakes/#comment-56965.  Not only is it egg free, it is dairy free as well (making it vegan, unless you decide to use icing with dairy).

I make the cupcakes today.  They were simple to make and they are absolutely wonderful.  They are moist and very chocolaty and they look great!  I will definitely be making them for Big Boy's class.  This will be my new go-to cupcake (no more expensive cake mixes!).  The recipe made 16 cupcakes, but somehow there are only 15 left now....hmmm....wonder how that happened.

Here are some pictures of my cakes:





I decided to dust the cupcakes with powdered sugar - very common over here and I thought "when in Rome".
I had no idea how difficult dusting nicely is!  I will ice them with buttercream for Big Boy's class.

Now that Little Boy has been clean and dry for a bit more than a month, I'm not sure what to do....should I stop with the reward system...he is, by any conventional definition, trained...?  But I really like cake!  Can I continue the  cake rewards indefinitely????

Sunday, March 17, 2013

First Cereal

Baby Boy has been having some tummy trouble and I decided to try to give him rice cereal to see if it helped matters.  He had his first feed of it yesterday and he loved it!  He has been watching us all eat and licking his lips while trying to grab for our utensils, so I knew he would be interested in his own food.

He ate a tiny bit of rice cereal (about 1/4 teaspoon dry) for his first meal and had no tummy issues.  Tonight I will try to give him some before bed.

Mmmmm....what a meal....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rustico in Aberdeen


On Thursday night, I had the great pleasure of dining at Rustico, an Italian restaurant here in Aberdeen.  I had a wonderful night.  It was a supper with 2 of my girlfriends and we had a lovely meal.

I started with a Carpaccio salad – Parma ham with rocket and Parmesan.  It was flavourful - the salt of the ham and the peppery rocket taste went well together.  The ham was sliced impossibly thin.  I had a few bites of my friend’s calamari and it was good.  It was served with a bit of sauce that was very tasty.

For my main I had a spicy pasta with tomato sauce and King prawns.  It was so nice to have a spicy sauce and eat it piping hot (ah….the losses of parenthood).  There were loads of King prawns and they were huge and cooked to perfection.

My dessert was the best part of the meal.  It was a cup of coffee with a ball of vanilla ice cream with a frozen amaretto centre floating in it.  The ice cream was coated with a textured sugar.  The coffee slowly melted the ice cream, which in turn flavoured the coffee – divine!

A wonderful meal at a good price – most pasta mains are around £10 and other mains between £15 and £20.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Is my 2-year old racist? And...should I do something about it?


 So we live in an international community, and we have friends from different countries all over the world.  The people we know have diverse skin colour, hair, accents, belief systems, etc., etc. 

Lately Little Boy has developed an incredibly embarrassing habit.  He seems to think that (for instance) all little boys of a certain race are the little boy that he knows that is that race.

For instance, if he knows a Chinese boy named “Joe”, when he sees a little Chinese boy that is roughly the right age, he says, “Look!  Joe!” 

This is probably a bit clever.  He is noting the differences in how people look and he understands that some people look similar to one another and some do not.  Unfortunately, this does not always sound so good in public.  I think sometimes in the wrong circumstances he seems a bit racist to the people we are with.  I’m not sure if this is a problem I should try to tackle, or if it will go away in time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And another round of vaccinations....

Today Baby Boy was booked in for another round of needles.  Our clinic only does vaccinations on Wednesdays so we had to go to the clinic two days in a row.  Love those trips to the clinic.

Anyways....last night we got a really big dump of snow here in Aberdeenshire.  The roads were covered and icy.  The bus picked up Big Boy and I had a quick chat with the bus driver who warned me against the "normal road" to the clinic because of an icy hill.  So about half an hour before our appointment we got in the car and started driving to the clinic.  

The drive usually takes about 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes we were stuck in traffic on the highway behind our house.  We had barely moved.  I decided that the next chance I had I would grab a short cut onto the road to the clinic instead of sticking to the larger main roads.

I drove onto a residential road toward Deeside and the clinic.  All I could see was a line of cars that were not moving.  So I drove to the adjoining main road and it was also blocked with stopped traffic.

By this time we were nearly late for our appointment so I pulled over and called the clinic.  They informed me that a bunch of different traffic signals had lost power.  This, coupled with the snow, had caused the roads to be complete gridlock and there was no way into the clinic besides walking.  I couldn't walk because our large 3-wheeled stroller was in my husband's car at his office.

The clinic rescheduled my appointment for later in the morning and I went home, using roads that were busy but not blocked with traffic.  Once I got home the weather cleared up.

I did chores with Little Boy for the next couple of hours and then we packed up into the car again.  On the way to the clinic, the snow picked up and it was a whiteout - I could barely see across the road!  The wind was blowing hard.

We made it safely to the clinic and I had Baby Boy vaccinated.  When I got out to drive home, the sky looked like a mid-summers day and the snow was already starting to melt.  Now, a couple hours later, it is snowing and windy again.

Ahh....Scottish weather!

Baby Boy was really brave with his 3 needles today and now he is sleeping peacefully.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Skin Rash

Baby Boy has been miserable with a skin rash for the last few weeks.  I've been back and forth with the midwife and had a couple of prescriptions but nothing has helped the rash at all.

Today we saw the GP and she diagnosed eczema, which is not a surprise given that others in our house suffer from the same condition.  The doctor prescribed some new creams, but what is significant for me is that I now have to start washing all of Baby Boy's laundry separate and twice!  Oh joy....at least I know the EcoEgg will solve some of the issues!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Hair

So...when you are pregnant and breastfeeding, your hormones do all sorts of wacky things.  Some of those wacky things will affect your hair (possibly).  Most of the pregnancy guides include a statement outlining these basic facts and not a lot of detail because not everyone will have the same experience.

I have been very annoyed with my hair during all 3 of my pregnancies and when nursing thereafter.  I have super thick hair, and I tend to lose a pile of hair when I am pregnant or nursing.  Every time I brush my hair or wash it about a handful of loose hair falls out.  

You might think that this means that my hair is thinner, but that's not the case.  My hair seems to grow back almost faster than I lose it, meaning I have two "levels" of hair - one level the length that it was before pregnancy/nursing and another level that is a shorter length and consists of new hairs (lots of which are grey or white!).  This is a hideous look, so I have to keep having my hair trimmed up so that the two levels are a bit closer together.   Also, the new hair is a bit curlier than the old hair, meaning the top of my hair is curlier than the bottom.

A lot of people think that new mums get their hair cut short so that it is easier to manage when they are taking care of a new baby.  My theory is that they are just trying to deal with the hair loss/new growth cycle.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekend

We've had another busy weekend! On Saturday we had another family over for dinner. On Sunday morning we woke up to a blanket of snow and this meant that we had to spend at least part of the day outside! Big Boy and Little Boy made an impressive snow fort with their daddy. We finished up our Mother's Day by going to (yet another) birthday party at Wynford Farm.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Holding Head Up

I've been having trouble with blogging this week - Baby Boy has a bit of an icky tummy and "needs" to be held more than usual - hence not much time for typing.

But just a quick development update - Baby Boy is holding up his head really well.  I have turned him around to face outwards in the Baby Bjorn a few times and he handles it wonderfully.  We are going to get out the Bumbo seat soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Glasgow


Last weekend we drove down to Glasgow.  Our trip had a purpose beyond sightseeing – we were there to apply for a Visa for Baby Boy. 

The drive down on Thursday afternoon was smooth – we listened to a “book on CD” for most of the 3-hour trip and easily found our hotel (the Glasgow Hilton).  Once we were checked in to our hotel we spent our first evening wandering through the tourist areas of Glasgow.  Then off to bed early because we had a very early start planned the next day.

Friday morning was an early one – we had everyone up and dressed and eating breakfast before 7:00 am.  We were early for our appointment with the UK Visa agency.

The appointment went fairly smoothly and it was pretty quick – it helped that we were the first of the day.  I was surprised that there was great free parking all around the office.

After we finished up with the business part of the trip we headed over to the Kelvingrove Museum.  This was a favorite of the kids when we were in Glasgow last year – it is a mixture of art, natural science, history and dinosaurs!  After a wander in the museum we ate lunch and headed back to the hotel for a nap and then a swim.

We had a lovely dinner at Paperino’s on Friday night (to be discussed in a later post) and then had a wander before calling it a night.

On Saturday we let the kids have a long breakfast (Big Boy loves a full breakfast) and then another swim at the hotel.  After lunch we walked around Glasgow for a bit before driving home.

This is the second weekend in a row that we have been away Thursday to Saturday.  It is really nice to have Sunday at home to get everything in order before we go back to our weekly routine.

It was a treat to spend time in Glasgow to just wander with no pressure to do all of the tourist things and fit in everything.  Because we’d been there so recently we could pick and choose where we really wanted to spend time and enjoy our time there as a family.

I like Glasgow and I definitely prefer it’s “vibe” or “feel” to that of Edinburgh.  The thing is, it is a filthy city.  There is trash everywhere and it is generally unclean.  It’s a real shame…


Monday, March 4, 2013

Clouds

Clouds can be incredibly beautiful in Aberdeen.  Here are some pictures: