• We took Babymouse to Mr C’s workplaces to meet his colleagues. It was a really wet day – we got soaked several times – but we had fun meeting everyone.
  • I did quite a bit in the garden. I bought some new lavender plants, plus some Platycodon (AKA Balloon Flower) and a daisy-type plant and planted them in the garden. I hope they all survive, but the daisy plant has already been mauled by slugs. We’re also growing a few edible things.
  • Babymouse and I have been going to the Salvation Army and library groups on a regular basis. The Salvation Army group has now finished for the summer and for the last session we went to one of the local parks, which was nice.
  • A few friends came to visit on various occasions, which was lovely.
  • I did some knitting! The Shawl of Doom is progressing, and is slightly less doomy now I’ve found a method of knitting it that doesn’t involve counting.
  • My dad came to visit on Monday. It’s unusual for him to visit on his own. It was nice to see him, and I think he enjoyed playing with Babymouse.
  • Babymouse has been a bit weird this month. I’m not sure whether she’s going through a ‘Wonder Week’ (a theory that suggests babies go through periods of time when they make big developmental leaps and it makes them go a bit stranger than ‘normal’ – thanks to @evil_jen for telling me about this) or whether it’s just the heat, but she has been very grumpy and clingy (for her) recently. She has been doing some new things, such as pushing herself up when she’s on her front, and grabbing and holding onto things (including my hair!) much more often and much more successfully. She also likes ‘standing up’ with someone holding her (obviously) and ‘walking’ around the living room. She is a very active baby – even in her sleep she moves around – we hear her in the night, and she ends up at a very different angle in her cot to where she starts from!
  • I finally finished re-reading the Lord of the Rings triology of books, which I started reading in January!
  • I also read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I enjoyed.
  • I invented a new curry: courgette, quorn pieces, beetroot and leek in a tomato-based curry sauce (also including a spoonful of Tesco Value soft cheese).

Despite the somewhat grandiose title of this post, I just wanted to make a note of these two songs that were playing a lot on the radio around the time of Babymouse’s birth, and which struck a chord (excuse the pun) with me then, and still do now in my ongoing journey through the delights and stuggles of parenthood.

I put ‘motherhood’ in the title because the first song is specifically special to me, not to Mr C as well – mainly because he wasn’t listening to as much radio as me (the Tune In Radio app on my mobile was a godsend when I was in hospital, especially at night and when I was spending lots of hours expressing milk, which would have been even more of a lonely and boring time otherwise). Also, I didn’t really share this song with him at the time because, well, it is a bit soppy. I did tell him about it but I’m not sure I ever made him listen to it. Anyway, the song is ‘How Long Will I Love You’, the Ellie Goulding version (the original was by The Waterboys, in case you’re interested). When I listen to it I think of Babymouse.

 

The next song is one Mr C and I have both adopted as Babymouse’s anthem. It suits her, we think.

Also, tiger mothers and all that. Not that I am one, but I think being a mother has given me a bit more confidence, mainly because I don’t have much choice if I want to look after Babymouse as well as I possibly can. I can’t be a mouse anymore. We’ll see how that goes… :)

Shawl of doom in progress

Shawl of doom in progress

I bought this yarn (Rowan Summerspun: shade: Victoria) with some of our wedding vouchers we had left over from 8 years ago. I think the guilt I feel about this has subconciously affected my ability to knit, because everything I’ve tried to knit with it so far has been a disaster (not really, this is hyperbole) and I’ve actually lost count of the number of attempted scarves and shawls I’ve frogged. I think part of the problem is actually the shade of the yarn (although the photo makes it look worse than it is) – it’s quite easy to make it into something that closely resembles a dishcloth, and then if you go trying to put lace into it as well it just looks like a holey discloth! But mainly I think I’ve just lost my knitting mojo a bit.

I started trying to knit with this yarn in January (or maybe even December?), and then Babymouse arrived in February, so I haven’t had a lot of time for knitting recently. However, I’ve recently been able to attend the knitting group again, so I decided to try knitting a shawl. The pattern is Skipping Stones Simple Shawlette, which, you’ll note, has the word ‘simple’ in the title, so I thought it would be OK…but I didn’t reckon on the joys of a garter tab cast on. Here is a video about how to do it, which I found very useful:

The cast on is actually not as bad as it sounds or looks, but of course I got into a pickle even after looking at the video (several times) and decided to seek advice from the lovely G, an expert knitter in our church. She was very helpful so I started off with the shawl. Then I managed to get into even more mess because the pattern involves yarn overs and counting! I’ve done more complicated things before (e.g. the leafy blanket), but somehow I just couldn’t get my head round this one. So, again, I sought help from friendly fellow knitters, and the very patient A finally got me on the right track – see above picture for progress. It still looks like a mess, but I’m hoping it will look better when it’s finished…

I also found out that I’ve been knitting ‘back to front’ all this time, and wondering why my stitches are always so tight!

There are several reasons:

  • I get bored looking at the same theme after a while
  • (I find my own blog boring. This is obviously not a good sign)
  • I can’t think of anything interesting to write, but I think I should do something with the blog, so I change the theme instead of writing a post
  • It makes me like my blog a bit more for a while
  • (I keep thinking about stopping blogging but then I can’t quite bring myself to do this)
  • I like re/designing things
  • Sometimes I feel the current theme doesn’t reflect my currrent mood, so I change it to reflect how I’m feeling at the time, or sometimes how I want to feel

I’ve found the time to do some stuff in the garden over the last few weeks, mainly thanks to Mr C and my mum who’ve either looked after Babymouse or helped me do the garden or both. Also, our friend K, who is a professional gardener, came over and got all the stubborn weeds out for me, which has made a big difference to the back garden.

Things we’re growing:

  • lettuces (various varieties)
  • peppers
  • sweetcorn
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes

I’ve also planted some more lavenders as we took out all the Love-in-a-Mist and the front garden was looking a bit bare. A couple of the lavenders I put in a few years ago seem to have died, so I hope these fare better. I also have some fuschias (sent by my mum as plug plants through the post – very clever) to plant out but I think I might leave those until next weekend, when I will also try and take some pictures of the garden to post here. I’m feeling too hot and lazy to do that today.

035.1

I have bought a few frivolous things on my wanderings around town with BabyMouse. For example:

Exhibit A: One cushion:

Cushion

I have no justification for this other than that I like the colours…and it was in the sale! I have a bit of a thing about cushions. We have too many in the house, but never mind. As you may be able to tell, this particular cushion inspired the current colour scheme of this blog!

Exhibit B: One line-a-day diary:

2014-07-05 16.01.32

There is more justification for this in that I use it to keep a record of BabyMouse’s progress, among other things. I’ve been wanting to get back into diary-keeping for a while, and having only one line a day to write makes it a lot more doable with a small baby. Also, I bought it with a voucher, so that makes it all ok…

  • We went to visit my parents again, and met up with some ex-library trainees at the same time.
  • I think BabyMouse has started teething – she is crotchety, dribbling a lot and constantly chewing her fingers and anything else she can hold and/or get into her mouth.
  • I went to Library Camp South East. It was an interesting day, and lovely to see library friends/colleagues again.
  • I tried to knit again, again without much success. I’m trying to do a garter tab cast on, which I’ve never done before, which isn’t helping. I’ve looked at YouTube videos, which are very helpful, but I must still be doing something wrong.
  • I finished Life After Life and started and finished A Delicate Truth.
  • I’ve been a bit miserable again this month – feeling a bit sad and lonely and not always coping very well with BabyMouse. It was good to go back to my home town for the weekend (see first item) but it was a bit bittersweet as being there just makes me want to be there all the time. I like where we live, and we do have lovely neighbours and friends here, but most of them are a lot older than us, and/or busy, and work-related friends live quite far away. Mainly, I think I miss my mum, and I’ve been spending too much time on my own with BabyMouse who, lovely though she may be, hasn’t really mastered conversation yet. Anyway…
  • …I’ve been trying to go to more mother and baby groups. I think we made it to the library’s Baby Bounce and Rhyme sessions every week and we managed to get to the Salvation Army group twice last week, all of which helped. I think I need to get to know some other mums a bit better so I feel a bit less isolated. It’s just easier said than done when (a) I’m rubbish at talking to people I don’t know and (b) all the mums seem to know one another and have their cliques which are quite hard to break into. But I will persevere.
  • I bought a new dress for Mr C’s cousin’s wedding (August).
  • Sorry this month’s upate has been a bit moany!
  • BabyMouse learned to smile. She smiles a lot. :)
  • We went on our first train journey with baby in tow, to visit some friends in Faversham. We had a lovely time.
  • We went on a longer train journey to see my parents for the late May Bank Holiday weekend. Travel went well, although I don’t think I could get the pushchair on and off trains on my own, and we had a nice weekend of visitations from lots of relatives. BM coped very well with all the attention.
  • I went to a ‘Singing for Breathing’ taster session at the Brompton Hospital, run in conjunction with The Somerville Foundation. It was really enjoyable, and took me a bit out of my comfort zone, which was a good thing.
  • I actually managed to read some fiction. I’m reading The Stranger’s Child, by Alan Hollingsworth, at the moment. It’s OK.
  • I tried to knit again, without much success. I fear I have (hopefully only temporarily) lost my knitting mojo.

Sorry again for the lack of posts here. I think posts are going to be few and far between from now on, as BabyMouse (BM) is, unsurprisingly, taking up most of my time. I’m writing this now as Mr C is looking after a sleeping BM – she has slept most of today, which is good in a way, because we can (in theory) get on with things, but, on the other hand, I’m quite worried that she’ll be awake all night! She met her great-grandparents for the first time today. We had a nice but tiring day, including lots of chat and a Chinese meal for lunch. She’s growing well – eating a lot – and has learned to do exciting things like holding her head up, pushing with her legs and smiling! She has also learned to do a sad face when she’s upset, which is very, very effective in terms of getting the nearest adult to rush to her aid!

I’m doing a bit better now. Mentally, I’m usually OK unless BM isn’t OK, and then I get into a bit of an anxiety spiral. On Tuesday, the GP said I looked better than when she last saw her and that I’d given her a proper smile for the first time! Also on Tuesday, I had another glucose tolerance test, to see whether or not the pregnancy-induced diabetes has gone. I should get the results in about a week. On Monday, I went to the cardiac outpatients, to the pregnancy clinic actually, which was a bit odd, as I’m not pregnant! I saw the friendly doctor I’d seen back in March when I went for my postnatal check-up. I had another ultrasound (echo) on my heart a couple of weeks ago, which he said showed some improvement from the one I’d had in March (which had showed that the left side of  my heart had got weaker during pregnancy). So no medication for me yet. They’re going to wait six months (ish) after the birth to see whether my heart recovers completely (well, at least back to the state it was in before pregnancy). This means a lovely exercise test for me and another echo. Apparently after six months they will know whether or not the heart will recover properly. If it’s still weaker than it was before pregnancy they will give me some kind of medication. So we shall see. People often ask me if I’m on any medication for my heart (if they don’t assume I am, which lots of people do) and I’m  quite pleased to be able to say ‘no’, but if it’s necessary I don’t have any problems with taking it – I know I’ve been fortunate not to have had to take any for so long.

Anyway, I must go and water the plants and sort out BM’s things before bed-time. Yes, we go to bed early in this house now!

 

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