Monday, November 30, 2020

NaBloPoMo 30: a small month

Lydia was up a lot in the night, I think she must have had indigestion as she greeted me with a potty full of poo in the morning... 

She was fairly cheerful when she got dressed this morning, and let me cut her nails and tie her hair up in bunches. Once I was dressed, it was off to nursery through the mist and fog with a breadstick to munch on the way. She was very intrigued by the mist and wanted to know what is was. We even spotted a squirrel on the way.

A gentle walk back for me, then breakfast before a day of work. I managed to get away from my desk for a walk at lunch time to deliver some more flyers to Dee as Radio Solent have decided to only broadcast the Carols on the Doorstep on DAB and online, so the ones we'd added FM details to were useless. *head desk* I delivered a few flyers on the way home too.

Worked for the rest of the afternoon, until Lydia came back with Tom. He'd been out to get the groceries before picking her up, so I helped her get changed into her PJs and wash after nursery whilst he put the shopping away. We all had some snacks together in the living room whilst Lydia unwrapped a parcel my parents, well my mum, had sent her. It contained the very Glitter Granny selection of stars, tiny bears, felt animals, stickers and a grow your own elf from an egg you leave in water toy. We also had a video call with Dee and Sam as Lydia had been sad to miss them on our walk on Sunday.

Then off to bed for her whilst I caught up with some work. Mushroom and token beef scraps stroganoff for dinner, then more work and watching Star Trek Discovery. Tapping away on my laptop sat next to Tom gave me flashbacks to the early days of our relationship - pre smartphones - where we'd all be sat with our laptops watching TV of an evening in the Curry House.

So this is the end of NaBloPoMo for this month, a year like no other as all cliched media outlets have written. It has felt a small month, our world has shrunk enormously as we all stay home and try and do our bit to help reduce the risk of Coronavirus. I miss seeing my family and friends, and the prospect of winter outside socialising fills me with part fear, part excitement of yet another new challenge. I hope, friends, that you stay well.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

NaBloPoMo 29: sunday

Tom got up with Lydia today and read her stories and then we swapped about 7.30am and I took her downstairs for breakfast. She asked for pancakes again, and carefully helped me mix together all the ingredients. Then asked me to make a bunny, a rectangle a circle one. Which I duly did and she was very pleased indeed. I also had to make a L for Lydia, M for mummy and D for daddy ones too.

Once breakfasted, we went upstairs again, having coaxed her with the promise of a shower together. Normally she hates the idea of a shower but was in to it today. Much too-ing and  fro-ing choosing her outfit for the day, she surprised me and chose a dress that had been my sister's, made by my mum. A traditional affair in tiny brown and peach sprig print on a white ground, smocked at the chest and with a ruffle collar. Worn over a t-shirt and with navy shorts and black tights with a heart motif for that 21st century toddler look.

She cowered in the corner of the shower, shrieking if the water hit her directly, but did wash her hair and the rest of herself in the drips from the run off from my hair. Then insisted on getting out before I'd finished, watching me forlornly through the cubicle in her too big towelling dressing gown whilst I washed my hair. Whilst I dressed, Lydia was pretending to be a tiger and I was phoning the zoo saying they'd lost a tiger and please could they come and pick it up whilst Tom 'hid' under the covers.

Once dressed, downstairs to watch Strictly and do jigsaw puzzles until to got to about 10am, and I took Tom's pancakes up to him. Then all off out for a walk to successfully drop off flyers for Carols on the Doorstep for Dee and unsuccessfully to pick up a poster for the Nativity trail. Lydia was very sad that Dee and Sam didn't answer their door as she 'wanted to see their faces!'

Home for lunch, vegetable sausage sandwiches today. Called my parents and had a long chat over lunch and into playtime. I went back out to successfully collect my poster again after that, and enjoyed seeing people putting together their Nativity trail displays. Tom and Lydia had been to the park and had brought me back some holly to make our advent wreath. So Lydia passed leaves to me between making smoothies in her toy kitchen whilst I put the wreath together.

Next up was putting away some clothes and some more puzzles before dinner, which we ate by candle light and fairy lights up to the dining room table today. Advent hymns on and looking at the first picture in my Art of Advent book. Felt very festive and calm which was lovely. No substitute for the usual candle lit advent service we'd normally go to, but restful. I loved watching Lydia watch the lights in the mirror.

Stories for Lydia before bed, and I did some church website admin, before joining Tom downstairs to write radio station info on my Carols on the Doorstep flyers. Bed time now!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

NaBloPoMo 28: so so tired

Lydia woke up at 5.30am today and so took her to bed with me in the spare bed until 7.30am. Think she was chilly, and then the boiler woke her.

Handed her over to Tom and then went back to bed till 9am. Got up and went to a docs appointment.

Home at 11.30am, and read stories with Lydia until lunch time. Leftover Afghan takeaway for lunch then off for a walk in the New Forest.

Lydia enjoyed splashing in all the puddles and picking up leaves as we went around. It was nice to be in the fresh air and quiet. 

Home to some Sarah and Duck and baby ballet on YouTube for Lydia and a rest for me whilst Tom did dinner. Then playing with masking tape making rails for toy trains on the floor before bedtime. Whilst Tom did bedtime I sorted out some volunteering for the local nativity trail.

Now on a Zoom call with our friends.

Friday, November 27, 2020

NaBloPoMo 26 + 27: week werk

Yesterday was walk Lydia to nursery, sit at my desk all day on my bouncy ball and then play with Lydia before bed, and cut out Christmas masks whilst watching TV kind of day.

Today was much of the same. Lots and lots of video calls, then Friday night family disco night which was lovely. Who knew a colour change bath light would make a great disco light. Then I did bedtime to spend a bit of time with Lydia. Afghan takeaway for tea, a bit of mask making and our usual Friday Night Fun call.

Feeling weary, so early night.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

NaBloPoMo 23 - 25: fail

 First fail of the year, not bad!

23 November, I was working from home whilst Tom looked after Lydia, bar a swap for a phone call in the afternoon. 

24 November, another working day for me whilst Lydia went back to nursery for the first time after her isolation. I love our little walks to nursery in the mornings. She and I talk about what we can see, and she sings pretty much all the songs she knows. Managed to break up work with a walk round the park with Dee, which was lovely. Stories and cuddles with me before bedtime. Dinner provided by church homegroup and a zoom call which was more chat that bible study and prayer but I'm ok with that.

25 November was my day at home with Lydia. Breakfast followed by a long bath for Lydia after which she said her fingers were all "ankly" - meaning wrinkly! Then bundled up and off to the park for a walk and a play as she's not been out anywhere for a while. We did the first playpark as it wasn't too busy, stopped for a banana and drink, then off to the second one before going to the bakers on the way home. Lovely to be out in the fresh air. Home for a baked potato lunch, happily provided by putting them in before we left and the oven timer. Then playing until it was time for a sneaky work call that I didn't want to miss, so Lydia had TV time, then crispy tofu stirfry for dinner with Lydia 'helping' us get it ready. Went on a quick walk round the block after dinner to try and tire Lydia out as she's been waking in the night a few nights. I love a walk in the dark, seeing in people's houses with the lights on. I know I'm nosy, but it feels all festive and pretty. Only one Christmas tree in the windows so far. Once home, Tom did bedtime, and I tidied up as the cleaner is coming today. Then knitting and Strictly catch up before bed.

Monday, November 23, 2020

NaBloPoMo 22: tired

Up again with Lydia as Tom out to work again. Decided to have a chilled out day, so breakfast in pijamas, then watched Strictly together and Lydia played with her teddies. Still loving Bill Bailey.

Back upstairs with clean washing to put away, got dressed, and tried watching a bit of Zoom Sunday School with Lydia whilst I put the clothes away, but she wasn't as interested this week. She kept wanting to show them Grandpa Bear and tell them it was his birthday today. Oh well.. Try again next time! 

Washing put away and fully dressed, back downstairs for a snack and some more playing whilst I pottered tidying up a bit. Rang Tom's mum whilst Lydia ate her pomegranate, and then made pizza dough for tea time all on the video call - like being our very own cookery show!

Left over cauliflower cheese for lunch, followed by some baby ballet on Youtube for Lydia until Tom came home.

I went upstairs for a nap at this point, as Lydia had woken us up in the night and woke really early. Fully intending to only sleep for 30 mins, Tom woke me an hour and half later. When I came down, they had made a huge train track around the living room with her Brio.

Got Tom and Lydia to help me clear up the kitchen and made pizza for tea. Dough was a no knead recipe new to me and came out really well. Needed to flour more and roll out thinner to get a better crispy base next time. We had chicken, olives, pepper and onions, and the grownups had nduja too. Very nice!

Rang Jo and Sarah over tea, and Lydia played with them over the phone for a bit until she decided she wanted to go hunt for something in the dark with her torch, so I went out to do that with her for a bit. She was all wrapped up in an old Clothkits coat from when I was little and the elf hat and little neckerchief scarf I've made for her, and looked adorable. 

She only wanted to play outside for 30 mins mercifully, so we were back inside for bedtime. Tom got her to bed whilst I did a little tidy up of the toy crap around the trains. Need to have a think about Toy storage. I hate mess, but I am really bad about tidying up. Really need to work on that. We have too much stuff and not enough homes for it. I need to Marie Kondo a bit at a time really. But I struggle to do it on my own and Tom hates it too, and you can't do it with a kid around. Guess I'll be using some of my leave to do it then...

It's a bit like gardening, I love a pretty garden but I hate weeding.

Once Lydia was in bed, watched a couple of episodes of the Crown with Tom and knitted some more of Dee's shawl. He went up to bed early to have a bath, and I watched the Strictly results show. Lydia up a few times throughout the evening and night, think she was having a bad dreams. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

NaBloPoMo 21: solo

 Tom off out extremely early for work, so I was flying solo for most of the day.

Planted bulbs with Lydia and ran around the garden for a bit, then yoga and ballet classes on YouTube for her whilst I got lunch together.

Lots of Duplo in the afternoon, and a long phone call with my mum at Lydia's request, showing her all her toys. 

Watched the rest of Wall-E together whilst I did some knitting.

Tom back in time to watch Lydia whilst I made cauliflower cheese for tea. Phone call with Ellie during tea that became an all family call. Sorted the returns of the autumn socks for Tom that didn't fit, then went for a walk to post them and some letters whilst Tom did bedtime.

Back for a video call with Jess and Andy before bed.

Friday, November 20, 2020

NaBloPoMo 20: belated

Lay in for a little bit whilst Tom got Lydia dressed, until she came in to jump on me saying "I love you so much mummy". Sometimes she melts your heart. Insisted I wear a matching hairclip like hers today, so that will have looked fun on the video calls.

Fixed her breakfast of a tiny amount of all the cereal, a crumpet and a slice on peanut butter toast, and made my own whilst Tom did a work call, then a swap as it was my day to work today. Lots of phone calls as I've not been working day times this week 

Listened in to the Culture Geek conference between calls, will need to listen again to catch up what I missed. A few interesting headlines for sure. Digital interpretation is something I find really fascinating so hoping I can still lead for that in my new role.

Lunch of bread and soup, the Morrisons Broccoli and Stilton was a bust, way too stiltony. Then a quick walk to the chemist and bakers to get some air.

More work in the afternoon, knocked off at 430pm as I could hear Tom and Lydia gradually losing more of their cool. Freezer sausage and mash for her for tea, and I played a bit and danced a bit with her as Tom needed some time on his own, which I completely understand. We swapped our autumn socks a day late and Lydia was very pleased with hers!

I did bedtime too, and Tom had to go in later as she'd climbed on some furniture and got hold of her baby monitor phone. 

Tom is worried about the amount of cake and lack of exercise in our lock down diet, so we did a Joe Wickes video which was infinitely less annoying than the American videos we've done in the past. That little bit of exercise perked us both up, and we ordered a sensible amount of sushi for our Friday night takeaway rather than all the takeaway. So I feel virtuous.

Then a bit of the Crown with our dinner, and our usual Friday night video call and knitting. Tom working this weekend and needs to leave early so I'll be on Lydia duty the next couple of days. We've got bulbs to plant, fairy doors to paint and some new sticker books to do.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

NaBloPoMo 19: Not today

Feeling really low today. My world feels very small, and every day feels the same. I can't wait till we can go outside with Lydia again. I am so bored of our house and garden.

I got up with Lydia today, crumpets and potato farls and melon for breakfast. Playing whilst I did some housework, then TV for her whilst I did my work call. Work call the highlight of my day, so nice to talk to adults. Had to string up her mobile whilst on the call as she was desperate to see it hanging up.

Lunch of left over tofu and picky bits, then video call with Martin. Lots of playing with dolls for Lydia then a cuddle and some of Wall E watched on my phone in our bed as I am knackered and couldn't be doing with anything else.

Snack of the rest of the melon and a biscuit for her after, then painting whilst I tried to do some washing up and rewaterproof my waterproof coats. Inevitably meant lots of paint everywhere, but thanks to Verity, had new washable paints that were easy to clean up.

Feeling very touched out today, so made Lydia's tea of fishfingers and chips and peas and left Tom to it when he got back. Did an hours work, half my pilates class and now back to work whilst Tom does bedtime. Want to be in a good place before my day of calls tomorrow. Might try and go for a walk around the block too.

4 more days until family walks!

NaBloPoMo 18: home again

My non working day with Lydia today. Made brownies in the morning, some for us and some for the friends with the new baby. Then went for a run around in the garden until it rained and got too cold for me to bear. Lots of pushing Lydia in her cosy coupe and hide and seek.

Soup for lunch, then painting the mobile that Jess and Andy sent us. 

Tom came home at 2.30pm and I caught up with work email until 4.30pm. Caname downstairs to them making crispy fried smoked tofu for tea with stirfried veg and noodles, Lydia's favourite. 

Quick bath for Lydia after tea with disco lights in the bath, submersible ones bought for a Christmas Nativity display I'm doing. More work for me, and a video call with my sisters to sing Happy Birthday to my dad.

Out to Sainsbury's to buy goodies for the family with the new baby after Lydia had gone to bed. First time I've left the house in a while. Wine, cheese, pate, bread and grapes for the grownups, a toddler ready meal, fruit pouch and snacks and a comic for the big sister, and my knitted cardigan for the baby. Bought some cakes to drop to my sister's house as she wanted cakes on our video call, and on to hers to pick up a book I'd had delivered there by accident.

Home to knit and watch the Crown for an hour before bed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

NaBloPoMo 17: challenge

Got to sleep in a bit this morning as Tom didn't need to leave bright and early. He got Lydia her breakfast whilst I caught up with work emails.

Drawing, writing letters to grannies, stickers and toy picnics this morning. Soup for lunch, then lots of TV for Lydia whilst I had some work calls. Internet is down today, so was running my mobile phone as a hotspot, but it packed up mid call this afternoon which was helpful. Lydia ended up watching her videos on one phone whilst I rang in to calls rather than using video conferencing. I don't think companies realise quite how much staff are multitasking whilst people are working from home around children. I hope they're making allowances for us all being so distracted.

Had an email today that Lydia's nursery is closing completely until next week due to Covid related staff shortages, so we'll be getting a refund for those days which is helpful for us, but hard for them.

Once Tom came home, he heated up the food kindly provided by our homegroup, and I spent some time trying to get hold of our ISP/mobile phone provider. Looks like the work on the mobile phone mast is complete, which is good, as they've given us unlimited data whilst we have broadband issues. Now trying to catch up with work again whilst Tom does bedtime. He's working all weekend so trying not to feel guilty about not helping as I'll be flying solo all weekend.

Thanks to Jess for sending us a lovely care package with nice biscuits and toys for Lydia. So greatly appreciated as gives us something new to look at.

NaBloPoMo 16: weary

Lydia woke up at midnight and needed a cuddle, then at 2am, our friend rang asking me to come and watch their daughter as they needed to go to hospital as the home birth hadn't gone as planned. I'd said ages ago that I was happy to do this, so it wasn't a total bolt from the blue.

I arrived at 2.15am with a make shift mask made from my woolly scarf as I'd  forgotten to bring one from home in my sleep addled haze, just as they were getting mum in the ambulance. I knitted a bit and tidied up some of the blankets, whilst midwives did paperwork, until granny arrived to take over, only 45 mins later. The baby had arrived in the ambulance outside before they'd been able to set off and all was well!

I was home by 3:30am and then couldn't settle again until Tom got up for work at 5:30am, due to the adrenaline. Lydia slept in for a bit which was a mercy. 

Made pancakes for breakfast to fill the time, Lydia more of a hindrance than a help with the mixing but think she enjoyed, then had a go at potato printing cards. That lasted about 10mins until she was bored and covered in paint. Did some yoga on YouTube,  and then playing until time for my work calls, when she watched Mr Tumble.

Sandwiches for lunch and lots of stickers and dancing in the afternoon. Made butternut squash, beetroot and nduja pasta for tea, using up what we had as Tom was doing the shopping on his way home from work. Long phone call with my mum before Lydia bedtime. She went to bed easily today,  and I then cracked on with work until Tom got back about 930pm. Filled the dishwasher whilst he unpacked the shopping then off to bed,  absolutely shattered.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

NaBloPoMo 15: rain

My turn to get up with Lydia whilst Tom had a lie in. She requested cold porridge with blueberries and pomegranate for breakfast, then Marmite toast, and jam toast for me.

I'm feeling pretty miserable today, so I let myself watch the rest of Strictly on catch up and knitted whilst Lydia played around me. Then when I thought I better look like I'd done something useful, I put washing on, hung washing up and did some washing up and tidying in the kitchen whilst Lydia played with playdough and her toy kitchen. Lots of picnics for cuddlies today.

Once Tom was up, suggested he took Lydia out in the garden whilst I made lunch, cauliflower cheese, carrots and cabbage today. Had a hard time convincing Lydia to eat but we got there in the end.

After lunch, I went on a long walk in a big loop, through Portswood, Bevois Valley, Newtown and back down through Northam and Bitterne Manor and home. I stopped in the Polish supermarket to buy potatoes for tomorrow's Christmas Card printing. They had the most gorgeous retro style glass Christmas tree baubles, the kind with the indentations, so I might have to go back.

Found Tom and Lydia drawing and playing with puzzles in front of the family room fire, having got soaked on my walk. Hung my trousers up to dry on the fireguard like something out a Shirley Hughes illustration and changed into my pijama bottoms. I struggle to keep a tidy house, so Shirley Hughes illustrations always make me feel better about our unruly messy family home 

I curled up and alternated between knitting and Lydia demanding cuddles whilst she chatted on a video call with Tom's mum. She had picky bits for tea and a quick bath before bed. She was a bit unsettled going to bed today, but I had no patience for it. Tom ended up settling her in the end 

I had a little fight with our old laptop as the screen has stopped working. Got it to boot once, but think it's a goner. Will need to try and extract the data somehow and think about a new one.

Left over Korean food for dinner and more knitting whilst we watched the Strictly results and the first two episodes of the Crown season 4. Bedtime now!

NaBloPoMo 14: escape

My day for a lie in today, then escaped down the road to buy bread and post my autumn socks parcels to the godchildren. Quite the queue at the bakers, pleased people are using them as I want them to stay open as their bread is lovely. Feel like I should spend more than £2.00 when I'm there, so always end up buying cakes. Their cakes are of the traditional bread with some sweet stuff on top rather than fancy patisserie but I love them for it. My usual order is a sprinkles donut for Tom, a Belgian bun for me and a Chelsea bun for Lydia.

Once home, I heated up soup for lunch and buttered bread, and after lunch, I read stories to Lydia and played with dolls, before calling Ellie and Andy. Ellie did jungle Cosmic Kids yoga with Lydia down the phone and Andy read her a story. Tom got to go out for his daily exercise whilst all this was going on, a very rainy bike ride.

Tom cooked mushroom risotto for tea whilst Lydia and I played 'find the hidden snail toy in the dark garden in the rain' until I was too cold and wet.

Once Lydia in bed, family Taskmaster over Zoom for my dad's birthday, very well put together by Ellie and Andy and very funny. Lots more knitting bobbles on Dee's shawl.

Friday, November 13, 2020

NaBloPoMo 13: dance party

Working this morning, then on childcare this afternoon.

Played picnics outside with Lydia and with her dollies inside, had some stories and watched some TV together. Picky bits for lunch, and made her sausage pasta for tea, which she ate whilst chatting to my mum on a video call. Managed to do some knitting outside with a cup of tea whilst Lydia played

After bedtime it was time for the Friday night family disco. Best disco playlist on Spotify on, lights down low, much terrible dancing from the grownups, cocktail in hand, whilst Lydia jumped around. My absolute highlight of every week.

Fairly easy bedtime from Lydia done by Tom whilst I caught up with some work. Then Korean takeaway for tea, and sorting out some social media for the local community group's nativity trail and Santa postboxes.

Played a Cards Against Humanity rip off app game, Evil Apples with our friends on our Friday Night Fun call. Think I needed to have drunk a bit more plum wine...

My day for a lie in tomorrow!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

NaBloPoMo 12: werk

Mainly working today with short breakfast and lunch breaks with Tom and Lydia to say hello. 

Short Pilates class after dinner and helped settle Lydia to sleep. Today's bedtime tantrum was over wanting to wear jeans as pjs. She fell asleep on the floor whilst shouting about it, and woke up when I tried to transfer her to her bed. She's just woken asking for some water, hoping she goes back to sleep.

Wrapped the autumn socks to send to my godchildren and siblings song with some Christmas presents, and tidied the kitchen this evening. Watched some Star Trek with Tom whilst catching up with work ahead of a half day for childcare tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who's sent goodies for Lydia in the post, will definitely help with when I need to work and keep her occupied and she loves getting post.

Got assigned my topic for the local nativity trail today too. I'm going to be doing Frankincense, which is a bit of a challenge. I'm thinking of making a light up treasure chest with fake Frankincense inside along with the word in big letters wrapped in fairy lights and propping it in our hedge some how. Needs to go up on 18 Dec.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

NaBloPoMo 11: inside

First day of isolation at home with Lydia. Got up with her at 7.30 for breakfast, went down in our PJs to avoid too much stress. She had cereal, blueberries and pomegranate, I had porridge. She had great fun describing all the different aspects of the pomegranate arils to me, crunchy, juicy, shiny etc...

Then upstairs to get dressed, and she then played with her stacking blocks on our bed whilst I put washing away. When her patience waned we went back downstairs to do some toddler yoga and  bake biscuits. Really getting the hang of the yoga now. She's a fiend for eating all the ingredients as we go along, but we got there, despite her chucking herself off the stepstool a couple of times in the process reaching for things she shouldn't have been touching. 

We called my granny to say hello. Lydia amusingly confused by the concept of an audio only call. Then lunch of picky bits out the fridge then playing whilst I messaged colleagues. Had the bittersweet news today that I was successful in the assessment for the remaining roles at my level, and so won't be made redundant. I feel relieved, but dreadful for the talented and passionate colleagues who's roles are being made redundant. I hope the redeployment register comes up trumps for them as they bring so much.

Will need to try to not be on my phone as much on Friday afternoon when I'm next in childcare. 

After that, made some cornflour oobleck with different colour food colouring in for Lydia to play with, and took that outside with utensils, a big bowl of soapy water and some Playmobil animals and a tray, thinking she could pretend it was mud them then wash them clean. She liked dribbling the different colours in each other and pouring the mixture around. 

After a quick swing and go in the cosy coupe car, we went back inside for some TV time until I had to start dinner. Lydia's favourite crispy smoked tofu bites with stir-fry veg and noodles. A few stories after dinner, Tom did bed time, and I washed up. He then went out for a walk and I tidied the toys away. When we got back, cut his hair and went to knit more bloody bobbles and watch Strictly. Was supposed to go out on a walk myself, or so some kind of exercise but didn't feel like it. Will try tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

NaBloPoMo 10: oh dear

I had another day off today - woke up early, took Lydia to nursery, came back and breakfasted and enjoyed a few hours of bobble knitting and watching TV. I took a stroll to the bakers and bought bread and cakes, and did some tidying. Then we got the phone call from nursery saying there's been a Covid case, and we need to come and pick up Lydia.

So roll on two weeks at home with a toddler. 

Once home, she and I shared a cake and she watched Mr. Tumble whilst I compared work diaries with Tom to work out how we're going to share the childcare. Then a bath and playing with the toy vehicles on the mat whilst I made dinner of Cuban beef with olives.

After dinner, more playing before bedtime. I got her sorted for bed today and she went pretty happily today, reading stories to herself. I changed the sheets and am now watching a bit more TV.

Need to think about what activities I'm going to do with Lydia whilst she isolates. We've stocked up on sticker comics for her for when we need to make work phone calls. So far I'm thinking, more for my reference than yours:

  1. Cornflour, food colouring and toys
  2. Christmas baking last weekend in Dec
  3. Make Christmas cards
  4. Masking tape games
  5. Pin the tail on the....
  6. Will it float or sink?
  7. Bike ride in the garden
  8. Find it in the dark....
  9. Finger paints in empty bath
  10. Family disco on Friday nights
  11. Real food in the toy kitchen 
  12. Bike ride in garden
  13. Tea party for teddies
  14. Magnetic letters
  15. Throwing and catching the ball
  16. Doctors and nurses with the teddies
  17. Messy art
  18. Baking biscuits
  19. Making pikelets
  20. Dinosaur Water painting
  21. Brio train in the garden
  22. Watering the plants
  23. Planting bulbs
  24. Play dough with cookie cutters and little rolling pin from toy kitchen
  25. Big bubble bath with/out you kitchen stuff
  26. Naked finger paints in the bath
  27. Bake bread
  28. Make chocolate crispy cakes
  29. Make a den out of chairs and blankets
  30. Make a boat on the floor out of blankets
  31. Chalks on the patio
  32. Collect leaves in garden and make picture
  33. Collect stones in garden and make picture
  34. Dress up in dressing up clothes and make believe play
  35. Pretend to be on an aeroplane, bus, train, car
  36. Put lots of rice or pasta in a roasting dish and dig it up with the toy diggers
  37. Put lots of rice or pasta in a roasting dish and use the toy kitchen equipment to scoop it up
  38. Pretend to be animals/dinosaurs
  39. Play bedtimes with the toys
  40. Sort the toys by colour or size
  41. Play with the brio trains
  42. Play with the bricks
  43. go and look at the pictures at our house and talk about whats in the pictures
  44. Make silly faces in the mirror
  45. Read a different book
  46. Look and talk about the pictures in a magazine or newspaper or catalogue
  47. Blow bubbles
  48. Get all the coloured scarves out
  49. Play hide and seek
  50. Put real water/food in the toy kitchen
  51. Play run away run together
  52. Play flying
  53. Play copy me

Any other suggestions welcome!

Monday, November 09, 2020

NaBloPoMo 9: walk

Tom took Lydia to nursery today. She had to wear something spotty for Children in Need. Stripes tomorrow, off socks on Thursday, pjs on Friday. Must remember to send money in! We'd picked out her outfit last night so she put it in without much fuss. Trying the same tomorrow.

Whilst Tom got her ready, I started packing lunch for our walk today. We both had the day off, and we'd decided to go for a long walk. I packed left over carrot soup, cheese, bread and butter and apples. Had my breakfast whilst he was out, and got my waterproofs together.

Once he got back, we set off down to Riverside Park to walk the Itchen Navigation a way. Tom had walked it before, but I had not.

The first part of the walk takes you through the park and out under the motorway. You have to zigzag around a bit as there's only one crossing under the M27, and the first section isn't so pretty, going past the Eastleigh sewage works and so on.

But soon we were on quaint little riverside paths or old towpath, breathing mists and watching raindrops splash in the river. The gold and orange leaves reflecting missing sunshine in the water.

As we walked we talked. About everything near enough. It was delightful to spend a good solid chunk of time with Tom.

We ate our lunch sat on the riverbank on the company of a greedy robin, and decided to press on further. We made it to Shawford by 1.30pm, but then my hip was giving way, so we caught the train home. The trains were busier than I thought they'd be, mainly sixth form students I think.

Once home again, it was time for a cup of tea or two, and Tom went out to get the groceries and I to pick up Lydia. We had a good walk home in the dark, counting the houses that had lights on. I love walking Lydia home when she's in a chatty mood like today, hearing all about her nursery adventures 

When we got in, we played with her toy rabbits and hares, wrapping them in muslin swaddles and reading them stories and it felt good to be focused on playing together like that. She was very tired, and after a few stories from Tom and I, rolled over and went to sleep without much protest at all.

Bream, grains and romanesco for dinner, then we watched Red Joan on Netflix, and I knitted a few more rows on Dee's shawl. I think I'm supposed to be knitting mindfully and purposefully, but mainly I'm just cursing the bobbles! 🤣

Sunday, November 08, 2020

NaBloPoMo 8: a Sunday

Got up with Lydia this morning so Tom could have his lie in. She was happy playing in her room till 8 ish so it wasn't too early. Got dressed again without too many issues and put away a tidy breakfast of cereal, toast and a jam pikelet for Lydia and Marmite toast for me. Think she must be having a growth spurt given the amount she eats at the moment! Took breakfast up to Tom about 9ish.

We did some drawing with Lydia to my Advent playlist. Too early but I love it. Then signed in to Zoom Sunday School for the first time. Lydia was quite into it. They did a missing item on a tray game, watched a couple of videos and did a craft together. We signed out early when her attention waned after about an hour. The craft was make tissue paper mosaic leaves for a Thanksgiving Tree. Lydia said she was thankful for ducks because they made hey happy. 😊

Once Tom was up, they played together for a long time, making new masking tape roads and shapes for the dollies to walk on. Tom made carrot soup for lunch. And I embarrassed him by emailing in a request on his honour on Scala Radio. He was amusingly freaked out by it. Not one for public displays of affection Tom.

After lunch we went for a walk to our local woods and Lydia spent a good long time playing on the climbing frame and slide. It was a perfect misty autumn day, like a painting of autumn.

When we got back, Lydia helped me stick the numbers on our new advent calendar. I settled down to knit and watch Strictly whilst she played with various toys and helped Tom make pie for today's dinner and jelly for tomorrow.

Chicken, leek and ham pie for tea, and lots of stories for Lydia before bed.

Housework for Tom and I after her bedtime, and now knitting and Red Dwarf before bed. Finished a baby cardigan and started a shawl...

Saturday, November 07, 2020

NaBloPoMo 7: sea air

Woke up early with Lydia and got her dressed for the day without too many arguments. Then swapped with Tom and went back to bed till 9am. He kindly bought me to some tea and toast which was nice 

I then played with Lydia whilst making a hot picnic to take on our walk today. We had jacket potatoes and cheese wrapped in foil tea towels in the cool bag, and stew in the Thermos flask. And left over sushi as you do 

Then once Tom got up from his nap, we went to Weston Shore and walked along the muddy beach whilst Lydia paddled. Everything was going in her mouth today, including the cockles and mussels in the sand. Had to explain they needed cooking first! She seemed to really enjoy being by the water and we ate our  lunch far on a fallen tree on the shore. 

After a quick walk in the woods to look for fairy doors, we came home and had a quick video call with my dad, read stories and attempted to cook dinner together. We sorted out a load of Lydia's clothes she's outgrown for passing on leading to hear wearing seven layers of all the tops and dresses she likes!

We also had a quick video call with Julian and Olivia as Lydia had been talking about Julian and wanting to speak to him all day. It's fun seeing her learn about friendships! Lydia and Tom did a round of 'Will it float or sink?' with toys in the washing up bowl which was messy but popular with Lydia too.

After dinner I washed up whilst Lydia and Tom read some more stories, and once Lydia was asleep, Tom and I waxed the new desk and advent calendar ahead of decorating it tomorrow. Rounded the day off with a glass of wine to celebrate Biden's victory and our usual delightful Saturday night Zoom call with Jess and Andy 

Friday, November 06, 2020

NaBloPoMo 6: Rest

 A day of off today, using up leave whilst I wait to hear about the future of my job.

Lydia was in a grumpy mood this morning, not sure why, might just be the hardship of being two. Took a long time to get her dressed as everything was wrong. Ended up taking her to nursery in the car as we were very late.

Came home and breakfasted in a leisurely fashion, watched a couple of episodes of Harlots and knitted for a bit which was a restful treat. Tom always used to rib me about not being very good at resting, about having to do something all the time, bit since having Lydia I've relished the chance to sit and do very little. Or nap!

Then I togged up and painted the two front gates the shade of Tarling green we've painted the other gates. Need to do one side gate and we're done. Probably a little cold for it, but I wanted a task I could complete. Expect they'll need another coat, but it's a step in the right direction.

 Made sandwiches with Tom to treat whilst we went to collect Lydia from nursery. She'd been painting poppies for Remembrance Sunday. Gentle meander home stopping to pick up leaves, and then she played for a bit whilst I set up firework painting. Lasted all of 5 mins before she covered herself in paint, but think she had fun. I try not to interrupt when we're painting, let her get as messy as she likes whilst she explores the paints.

 After that we tried making roads with making tape on the carpet and she played with Baby, the doll and little bedroom and shopping set my Mum and Dad gave her as a birthday present. Baby had a go at riding the tractor along the tape roads for a bit but I gave in to a bit of telly time as we were all knackered and it was a blessed relief to all sit down.

A few aborted attempts to call family and some more grumps whilst we waited for teatime led to me discovering Lydia had a tummy ache, so we had a snack and a cuddle which seemed to help, and a long swing outside whilst singing loudly at the top of our voices.

Takeaway sushi for tea, more cuddles and a little pre bedtime family dance party  before a slightly protected bedtime for Lydia. She did go to sleep on her own by 8pm, so that's a win.

Chatted to our usual Friday Night Fun friends over video call and knitted until bedtime.

NaBloPoMo 5 : fire

Another busy day at work, broken up by a lovely phone call with a friend at lunchtime.

Once work was done for the day, we loaded up the firepit, put the hotdogs on to boil and covered the gardens in candles for a small bonfire party.

When Lydia got home, we snuggled up in our chairs and warmed the hotdogs over the fire. Tom and I pranced about with sparklers taking instructions on which shapes to draw from Lydia. And then we toasted giant marshmallows. 

Lydia absolutely loved it, called it our campfire and started reminiscing about going camping in the summer. She wanted to know where our friends were, which was a little bit sad. We watched other people's fireworks and oohed and ahhed.

After Lydia's bedtime we went back to the fire and sat chatting on a fun Zoom call with Mel and Ian until our phone batteries died and we had to move indoors. 

All in all a very happy evening to start off our lock down.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

NaBloPoMo 4: Air

Woke up about 7am this morning, checked my phone to look at the US election results. Have been looking in throughout the day, hoping for a resolution

Lydia was still asleep when we got up at 8.00am. Amazing to have a lie in like that on a school day. Today was a mummy and Lydia day, as Wednesdays are my non-working day.

We went downstairs to breakfast right away, and I used up a half pack of bacon on bacon sandwiches for Tom and Lydia. Which she enjoyed alongside a bowl of cereal. Think she's having a growth spurt. I had a piece of bacon and some peanut butter toast with my tea. Like to feed get right away when she wakes up late to avoid her being too grumpy.

Then back to upstairs to try and have a bath again. Ended up having a bath with Lydia as the only way to get her to stay in. Asked me to wash her hair with 'champagne' again which always makes me giggle.

After bath time and clothes time, we came downstairs to play Brio trains, then went off to the park to enjoy some fresh air. It was the most perfect crisp and bright autumn day today.

Lydia is in the asking lots of questions phase, which I love, and we discussed the leaves, the traffic, dogs and shops, and people wearing lipstick. "That lady's got a red mouth mummy'

We tried all the equipment in two different playgrounds, had a snack on a fallen tree, then walked back via the bakers. Fresh bread and cakes all round. Lydia is good at making friends with random people we pass on the park which is good for stopping for a chat at a safe distance for a while.

Once home, we had soup, bread, cheese, and crudités for lunch, and Lydia added chickpeas and olives from the fridge to hers. Tom came down to join us and we discussed the day so far.

After lunch I hung the washing up whilst Lydia badgered me about going into the garden to play, and made me pretend cups of tea. When I'd finished my chores, we went into the garden and stuck leaves we collected from the park into jam jars to make autumn candle holders. Surprisingly effective.

A potty training accident later, we were back in the garden playing on the swings for a bit before coming in when it started to get too cold. Lydia them played with her toy kitchen for at least an hour independently which gave me a chance to have a cup of tea.

We watched a few episodes of Sarah and Duck together until it was tea time. Dinner was a family effort, with Lydia 'helping' us chop ingredients for crispy tofu stir-fry.

Since then, I've been hanging out on the sofa whilst Lydia and Tom play with Brio before bed. Got to get that stuff in the attic today!

NaBloPoMo 3 - Very little

Spent most of today stressed and making lots of little web updates. Hopefully we've done the right thing and everyone was happy with the results. Great team effort.

Didn't do much after getting Lydia to bed. Tried to give her the usual Tuesday night bath after nursery but she was too tired, so compromised with flanneling her down instead. Read lots of lovely Judith Kerr stories at bedtime

Dinner was home made fish and chips, and we rested watching the rest of the Queen's Gambit instead of putting the stuff in the attic.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

NaBloPoMo 2 : Sort

Spent the rest of the working day yesterday working on auditing. Thrilling.

When Tom got home with Lydia from nursery, I packed up for the day, and went to play for a bit before bedtime. Inevitably she was intrigued by the bag of toys I had packed away. She went through it all and had a good play with it all. Note to self for lockdown: put some different toys in a bag each day!

When it was bedtime, she was insistent I did it, so I took her up and went through the usual delaying tactics around wanting different pjs, different books and so on. She did eventually settle. Tom went up to check on her after she'd called for us a couple of times, but she was asleep by then.

Tom had made roasted cauliflower and veggies, halloumi and baharat cous cous for dinner. 

Next up was packing up the rest of the baby things for the attic and sorting some church marketing admin. After that we did our 15 minutes of exercise hell. Tabata today. Very tiring! My quads hurt today. A quick shower later it was bedtime,

Today I have been to a chiropractor's appointment and to an ovulation scan. My pelvis and sacrum are suffering from having to sit still working from home I think. Glad to get them in before lockdown started.

This afternoon has been more auditing and updates for work ahead of lockdown.

Hoping to get the baby things actually in the attic tonight. I want to make a couple more facemasks as well, as we never seem to quite have enough and I've refined my pattern now.

Monday, November 02, 2020

NaBloPoMo 1: Quick

 Here we are again, Day 1 and already late.

We've just had a night away in a hotel on the 30th Oct to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary, and Lydia went to stay with my parents for a night. She was so excited about going to stay at Glitter Granny's house, and mum didn't disappoint. They made biscuits, played with all the toys, watched Grandpa play with sparklers, read all the stories and stayed up late, then went to the park and got to choose a comic. We prepped her by talking about how exciting it would be to stay at Granny's house. She's been desperate to stay there again since we stayed once a few weeks ago. And since then, I've been asked to tell her a 'Granny and Lydia story' over and over.

In the week running up to her staying away, I stopped offering her a breastfeed at bedtime. I'd been cutting it down to mere minutes for weeks and weeks as I'm hoping we might be able to have another baby and I didn't want any of the breastfeeding hormones affecting any fertility treatment. She still asks everynight I'm there, but I say "We don't do that anymore, shall we have a cuddle" and there have been a few nights where I have to lie in bed with her till she falls a sleep. But fairly quickly, she's now happy to be left and plays with her toys and reads her books until she goes to sleep on her own. Tom does most of bedtime, and I only go in if she's not settled in a reasonable amount of time after he's left her the last time. She's probably not quite getting enough sleep as it's taking a while for her to go to sleep and she's dropped a day time nap, but we've brought bedtime forward a bit and cut out TV before bed, so I'm hoping that will speed up.

I'm sad we didn't get to have the "Last Feed". I've been so lucky with my breastfeeding, and I miss it's magical soothing properties to make almost everything better. She still wants lots of cuddles and sometimes asks to be held or fed like a baby, so we try and give those as much as possible for that physical reassurance.

We were at my parents' to pick up Lydia when the lock down announcement came, so where we had everything in bags for an over night stay, we stayed till bedtime, and then drove the short distance to Tom's mum and step dad's farm to see them one last time before lockdown. Tom's mum fell down the stairs a few weeks a go and badly cut her face and leg, so she'd not been coming to look after Lydia. I'm grateful Tom's trained me to always put in one spare pair of pants and socks more than you need when we go away as we were good to go completely spontaneously. And we always take extra of everything for Lydia. Never travel light!

So yesterday was spent with me having a bit of a lie in whilst Tom spent time with Lydia and his mum, then playing with Lydia and going to look at the sheep, the chickens, the cows and the pigs. Lydia had a go at feeding the cows some hay, and got quite brave about getting closer to them which was nice. She's terrified of mum's younger labrador who always tries to get close to her face to lick and sniff her, so we're trying to make sure other animals aren't scary. It's a privilege to be able to go to the farm and show her all these things close up and personal.

She wasn't that keen on lunch, and it was a bit late for her, so I ended up taking her inside to eat on her own as a bit of a punishment/take her away from all the stimulation, and after I mashed it up a bit and fed her some, she did eat some, which stopped her being too grumpy!

We left not too long after lunch. I had to make some work phone calls first based on the lockdown announcements. Once home, we unpacked whilst Lydia ate tea, and she helped me clean up her buggy. After her bedtime, I started sorting through her toys that are too little for her to make space for any possible Christmas gifts. Tonight will be putting the buggy and the toys and the nappies in the loft.

Once I'd got through all that, Tom had made some cheese on toast and we ate that whilst watching The Queen's Gambit on Netflix, which is really good. Didn't need much to eat as we'd eaten very well whilst away. I'd had a cracking beetroot dill and goats cheese risotto at the hotel, and for lunch the following day, my parents had paid for us to eat at the Pythouse Kitchen as Tom's birthday present in April. They had the best spaced dining facilities in their marquee of those I've seen, and the food was immense. All their mains are cooked over charcoal. I had venison with a hedgerow Pontiac sauce and hazelnuts, and we had potato, parsnips, feta and rosemary, and kale, broccoli, and sunflower seed butter as our sides. Absolutely delicious. The garden had gone over for winter, but I bet it's stunning earlier in the season.

Lockdown 2 is filling me with dread re:work, but for home, as nurseries are open, there's a little pressure off us, so we've written a plan of crafty type activities to do with Lydia for the days when we're looking after her.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Further things to remember about parenting

17 months
  • Granny and mummy taking about the snacks in the boot of the car, you start looking in your Welly boots for them.
  • Getting the step stool and dragging it up to the kitchen counter so you can teach the butter dish and help your self to chunks of butter with your finger

18 months saying: 
  • bye bye bye nstead of bye-bye.
  • Grandad Sleep. Every time grandad was napping.

20 months
  • caring for your baby doll making beds for her and patting her, carefully spreading out the blankets so they are perfectly flat. 
  • ep-pant for elephant. 
  • Saying "O-kay" all the time instead of yes
21 months
  • Stopping breastfeeding to say hey during jingle bells 
  • Farmer Christmas for father Christmas
  • Fairy Liiigghts. And saying 'more' when you see them. And wow and pretty

22 Months
  • saying Hello Moon, Hello Venus Hello stars when looking in the sky.

23 months 
  • favourite foods of pomegranate and olives. 
  • Saying "Little person" when playing with toy children. 
  • "Dank oo"

24 months
  • The phone is singing
  • Wanting to do things 'togebba' 
  • Having an afternoon bath. Asked for 'champagne on mummy' she meant shampoo... 😂
25 months
  • Calling cockle shells clapping shells
  • 'Oh my goodness' when something is new or exciting
  • 'How exciting'
  • Playing 'run away, run together' and 'walking backward to go beep'
  • First story "there's red dinosaur, it's playing hide and seek, it's in on my fingers, it's eating them hungry dinosaur eating strawberries"
  • Putting all my hairpins in your piece of bread and declaring them candles in a birthday cake
26 months
  • spontaneously saying "Lovely see you granny" when visiting them in person for the first time since lock down

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Coronavirus lockdown and me: day 11 I think

I thought I better come here to my external memory to record my thoughts and feelings about the terrible situation we're in to refer back to later.

Early on in later Feb and early March, before the UK lock down was even announced, as the news brought more and more sad stories and concerns, I had begun following the advice to wash my hands more regularly, particularly when changing location, working from home as much as I could, and not going to places with lots of people. With friends and family in vulnerable groups, I wanted to make sure I wasn't spreading something inadvertently. I felt very nervous taking public transport to London for work meetings in early March and used lots of hand santiser, wiped my phone down and hid in my big scarf.

Those early days felt strange as people began to take the threat more seriously. I began prepping remote access tools for my team to be ahead of the game, and various events and get togethers with family began to be cancelled.

The weekend before lock down started, the 21/22nd March sparked a huge wave of anxiety in me, having tried to go for a walk in the New Forest to stay away from other people, lots of people had had the same idea, and whilst we were still fairly remote, I was panicking inside every time we spotted another person. We stopped to buy some gardening supplies on the way home, and I remember standing in the DIY shop with Lydia in my arms thinking "Why am I doing this? This was such a stupid idea"

When actual lockdown came, I felt oddly relieved, even though it meant trying to juggling the childcare. Our amazing nursery is offering reduced fees, but we've offered to pay more to help keep them afloat. So Lydia spends working days being passed between the two of us. I think she quite likes having us around, though she is much more cuddly and sleeping a little worse. Probably should try and take her out for longer walks to tire her out, but we're also using lockdown as a chance to potty train, and I don't want to be caught short without the potty!

I am sleeping very badly at the moment, my mind racing at all the possibilities. I'm currently waiting to hear about furlough at my work, which would make childcare easier for us. Tom is a key worker, and needs to be out on call keeping the lights on.

We're spending our days doing walks around the block, gardening, and playing with Lydia. She was given a swing and slide as birthday presents and we already had a sandpit, so she's happy with the park that's appeared in the garden.

Tom's still out and about for work, so he's been going to get the shopping when it's quiet. I wipe down the food when we get it home and put the bags aside for three days to avoid any contamination. Now we're actually in lockdown, the panic buying around us seems to have settled down.

What's been keeping me going is the amazing outpouring of mutual aid in Southampton. A group set up a community help line and is linking up volunteers with those who need shopping or prescriptions collecting or a chat. They flyered our ward in only two days. And I've joined a Facebook group of sewists making scrubs, surgical caps and washing bags for NHS staff, just waiting for my fabric order to arrive. I hope that when things go back to normal, people remember how much goodwill there was at this time and still offer to help their neighbours like this.