Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sewing Projects

I've been sewing again. I've got loads of other things to do (housework, my business, my child), but I've caught the bug, and I can't stop sewing.

Meet Zordof (or Zorbix, I can't decide):

He was destined for sock monkeydom but was abducted by aliens.

I've bought enough pairs of socks to make twenty Zordofs/Zorbixes. I'm going to try to sell them in a local shop or online or through friends. I'm trying to figure out how much to ask for them. Sock monkeys aren't a common sight here, so my alien has gotten a lot of enthusiastic response.

My latest project, which I started and finished today, are these gorgeous 'bitty booties' from Heather Bailey's site:

I can't wait to put her in them tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Round of Applause

Well, Fifi hasn't signed 'milk' again, but yesterday, she started clapping!

However, getting her to clap on camera was difficult.

Trying to Make Her Clap from superlori and Vimeo. But we managed a few seconds. Clap Clap Clap from superlori and Vimeo.

She is also waving goodbye, though she hasn't quite figured it out completely. She more waves her arm frantically, rather than just her hand, but she's trying.

My daughter is so clever!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Daily Headlines

"Fifi Does Her First Sign!"
Abstract: I've been suspecting that her open-close fists might be Fifi signing 'milk' but today I became sure of it, when three times in a row I signed milk to her and she eagerly signed it back to me each time.


"Sewing Night A Success!"
Abstract: Our first ever Stitch-Along night was great, and so was my custard chiffon cake.


"Babies Enjoy Dinner Party As Much As Adults"
Abstract: Carol's dinner party on Saturday included great food, a ball pool, a Bop & Go Alien, and Karoake Klassics on TV.

Bop & Go Alien

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Femininist or Feminine or Just Crazy....?

On Sunday nights, The Boys (aka Scott and about five other losers from church) gather online (in their own homes, of course, because heaven forbid they actually make human contact) and play each other at computer games. Meanwhile, all the wives spend the evenings alone, usually mocking our husbands, and often texting each other about what losers our men are.

Well, tonight, some of the ladies are getting together (in person), and we're going to have our own little gathering. We're meeting at Cheryl's with all our equiptment, and we're going to spend the evening stitching and sewing! Lorna, who does not sew, has happily agreed to be the babysitter. I am so excited! A night in with the girls and a box of pretty material and thread and an entertained baby!

Oh, and did I mention, that Cheryl, her mum and I are all taking a quilting class? Oh, how I love sewing!

I've also been spending the past few days perusing this site and drooling over all the gorgeous vintage patterns.

And now, it's into the kitchen to make a cake for us to eat while we sew! Feminist movement be damned!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Little Miss Muffet Strikes Again

I've got a house full of sleepers so I'll take a moment to tell you a little story.

Originally it was to be a story of triumph. It ends in defeat.

It is a story about a spider. Or three.

As frequenters of this site may already know, I am deathly afraid of spiders. It would be nearly impossible for me to fully describe to you just how afraid of spiders I am. I am willing to bet I am more afraid of spiders than almost all of you.

There is a spider living in my drivers' side wing mirror on my car. It usually minds its own business, and I have bravely continued driving my car. I believe I have taken extraordinary steps forward for this to be the case. In fact, I was living so amicably with this awful creature than I began to believe my phobia was diminishing.

Yesterday, as I reached for the handle of the passenger side door (to put Fifi in the car), I spotted a different spider dangling (augghhghh, I hate how they do that!) off the handle. My first impulse was to call my friends and tell them I couldn't make it to our weekly walk. But then I remembered I am brave now and not afraid of spiders anymore.

So I kicked it.

Folks, you cannot possibly know what a break-through this is for me. It might be the first time I have ever made contact with a spider willingly in my life. Yes, once* I had to brush one off my person, after it had most evilly crawled out of my handbag onto my lap, but you can see how that was utter necessity. I can't remember any other time in my life when part of my body willingly made contact with a spider.

The spider dropped a few centimetres but then scampered (gleehahhha) back up it's despicable web. I, of course, screamed and did a little boogy dance, but I wasn't defeated. I kicked it again, harder, and with a cry of 'GET OFF!' and it fell the ground. I think. I couldn't see it anyway. Which, of course, freaked me out and I did another dance and checked the bottom of my shoe and the leg of my jeans and the ground. I did not see it. But I rose above this predicament and opened the car door.


Later that evening, and a hot evening it was, I had changed into flip-flops and a dress and eaten my dinner at Scott's parents' house. His mum helped me with Fifi's things to the car. I reached for the door handle and... the spider was back! It had made a new web on the passenger side wing mirror and was crawling about on it. I rememebered my earlier bravery and considered kicking it again until I realised I was wearing flip-flops. Bare feet. Bare legs. Hell to the No.

'I can't!' I exclaimed. I began to panic. How was I going to get Fifi in the car? Just as I said, 'What are they doing, creating an army in there?', ANOTHER, LARGER spider crawled out! AUGHHHGHAHLDJ:LGKA:SKGJ:LSJDLSA¬!

And that's pretty much the sound of my scream.

Scott's mum, also afraid of spiders, said she would deal with it. She reached towards it, but before making contact, spotted two boys, in their early twenties walking by.

'Excuse me, guys, are you afraid of spiders?' she asked.

The boys squirmed. 'Uh, in what way?'

'Could you get rid of a couple of spiders for us?' she asked.

One boy courageously threw back his shoulders and approached the vehicle. The other held back. He reached for the spiders. I AUIGHLGHUUGHGHGHHed and danced again and Fifi started crying. He somehow disposed of them (or more likely, they crawled back in behind the mirror) and proudly proclaimed the task complete. Marion thanked them for saving three girls in distress.

That, my friends, is a sad, sad story. The sad, sad story of a woman who thought she could face her greatest fear, only to have to be rescued by a man.

Pity. Pity. It is such a pity.

*I have searched and searched my archives and cannot find this story. How did I not tell you about the time a spider crawled out of my handbag on the busy 5.00 train and I actually, literally, jumped into some guy's lap, crying??

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some Updates and Also A Couple of Bad Seques

I've got a new hobby: sewing.

I am addicted. I'm a sewing addict.

I've been wanting to get into sewing for a while but never got around to it while I was pregnant (too busy planning for a baby) and then never got around to it after I was done being pregnant (too busy having a baby). Finally last week I got started on a few projects I'd been wanting to start for a very long time.

I've had this and this saved on my computer for ages now, just waiting to be created. I finally got around to it last week. Here are my first very sad and pathetic attempts:

Lambkin Scotty Dog

I made them miniature-sized Christmas tree ornaments to save fabric while I practiced. And while they came out looking like they belong in an animal shelter, I was not down-hearted. Nay, I was very proud of myself. Considering I don't know the first thing about sewing, I think they turned out great.

My second attempt was much more pleasing. There are still some stitching issues, but I was really proud of myself for stumbling upon the blanket stitch purely by accident.

Scotty McFarlane Dog

(That is the McFarlane tartan, by the by.)

I also made a small pincushion, which isn't 100% finished yet. First, it was meant to be a hedgehog, but it looked more like a mouse when I finished so I sewed a wee tail on it to make it look intentional. But I didn't stuff it full enough so I'm going to need to rip out a seam and try again. Once it's complete, I'll post a picture in Flickr.

I'm loving it. Totally loving it. Sewing is my new passion. Along with, like, so many other things these days, such as card-making and breastfeeding. Oh and, of course, feeding Fifi solids.

Hehe, yes, that is the lamest segue ever, but I'm keeping it. So yes, Fifi is getting much more adept at eating solids now. She ate half a nectarine all by herself today. I took a bite to sort of open it up for her, and she took it into her hands and ate it all by herself. And I know she ate lots because about half an hour later, she threw up on me and produced loads of tiny nectarine bits in the process. Lovely child.

For dinner, I gave her toasted pitta bread with melted (cooled) cheese inside. She tucked right in.

Pitta bread!

She loves the pitta bread. And so does Scott, who just yesterday began to wonder if he'd be allowed to eat pitta bread anymore...

Yes, that's an even lamer, less effective segue. I'm full of them today. Yesterday, Scott went to the doctor, as I mentioned below, and was diagnosed with tonsillitis and an ear infection. What I didn't mention below is that the doctor also wanted to test him for diabetes. Naturally, Scott was pretty concerned. We all were, of course, though we weren't as worried as he was, knowing his symptoms (extreme weight loss, etc) were unlikely to be diabetes-related. However, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when the test results came back negative this morning. Thank you, God!

(I don't even know if pitta bread has anything to do with diabetes, but surely bread has sugar in it or something, which is surely has something to do with diabetics ability to eat it... I have no idea.)

So that's about all there is to say for now. That's you pretty caught up on the McFamily. I'm now off to bed. Fifi is already there, having graced me with the quickest falling-asleep procedure ever - I laid her down on her tummy and she was out like a light. And you can thank her for giving me the freedom to write this post. Cheers, Fifers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Man Flu

If only there were an interesting way to start out a non-interesting update, but there isn't.

Basically, it's same-old same-old around here, with the exception of my very ill husband who is still very ill and doesn't show any signs of improving before this weekend in which he will probably miss the second of two dinner parties thrown by some of my new mummy friends. Hmm, wait a second, that sounds a bit too convenient...

But really, Scott's pretty icky. I feel so bad for him. I've seen him sick before but never like this. I just wanna give him a big cuddle, but I also don't want none of them yicky germs. The poor guy.

Saturday, my new friend Maria and her husband threw a little dinner party. I went without Scott, and though I missed him the whole time (feeling like the single mum next to all the married couples), I had a really good time. It was the first sort of get-together that I've really been to since having Fifi. And all of us have a baby similar in age, and we all brought them along, so it was nice not having to feel guilty for excusing yourself from the table during the second course, or third, or fourth for that matter. It was also nice to drink a few glasses of wine with other girls while chatting about, well, babies, but that's kind of inevitable nowadays.

Carol's having the next one this weekend, and I was really hoping Scott would be better by then, but I really doubt it now. Nuts. I really like the girls in the group, and I hope Scott will like the boys.

I'm off now to change a wriggly baby's nappy before she screams the house down and wakes her sleeping daddy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Someone tell me why I'm still up at almost 1am doing literally nothing, while desperately needing to pee but not getting up to do so?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


What has four legs and will be in Arkansas for Thanksgiving?

Me with Fifi on my hip!


It is all thanks to Scott, my most wonderful, caring, understanding, sweet husband who suggested that my mom must be really missing Fifi and that she and I should go out for Thanksgiving. And it's also thanks to my wonderful parents for helping us with tickets.

Scott won't be able to join us. He doesn't have any more holiday time off work. So it will just be me and my then 9.5 month old. Yikes. Four different planes each way too. It will be challenging. But I am so excited! It's going to be so worth it!

If you wanna meet up while I'm there (two weeks!) book your slot soon, as I'm a very popular lady, you know. :D


Thursday, August 09, 2007


Well, here's a little moan for you.

I found this amazing antique furniture set in a charity shop. It was really beautiful - old, sturdy, a honey sort of colour with beautiful carving and moulding. It was three pieces - a dressing table and two wardrobes. I was instantly in love with it. I saw it yesterday, first, so when Scott got home, I talked to him about it and we decided if there was room to store it, I could get it. So today, I measured out some space and then took the tape measure into the shop. I was so afraid it would be gone; when I went upstairs, it at first appeared to be gone, as there was an open space where it had been yesterday. But then I noticed it had simply been moved, but there were two women looking at it very intently. I heard one say, 'I could have the big one [wardrobe] and you could have the small one.'

I didn't want them to know I was interested too, in case they snatched it up, so I waited until they'd moved on and measured it. It would just about fit. However, I didn't want to make the call without talking to Scott first, yet unfortunately, Scott left his mobile at home so I couldn't call. Then, as I was thinking the situation through, the women came downstairs and bought it.

I was gutted. I suppose it just wasn't meant to be, but it really was a beautiful set, and for such a bargain. My disappointment drove me to buy some ice cream at Tesco.

Then, to add to my disappointing experience, Scott called from work to say he couldn't get the day off he'd requested for Jeff and Katie's wedding. So now I have to decide whether to go alone or not at all. Big Stupid Crapiness.

Ick, and Fifi just totally filled her nappy. And it sounds unpleasant. Moan moan moan.

Sick Baby

I'm sure you are used to my irregular posting by now, but for this once, I have a justifiable reason for the break. Fifi has been unwell all weekend.

It's the first time she's been really ill. She had the sniffles when she was newborn, but that's the only thing I've had to deal with. However, I suppose around Friday she started acting funny. She cried whenever she went to anyone but me - very very unusual for our contented, social baby. She also began offering us a series of really disgusting nappies. She then began refusing to nurse or eat any food. Then, Saturday night, she stayed up the entire night nursing nearly non-stop. And of course, the all-night nursing session meant vomiting and refusing to nurse the whole next day. She had a slight fever for two days and was very pale and irritable. By Tuesday, she was feverless, but still very unhappy, clingy and uninterested in food.

This, of course, made me feel miserable as well. What with the sleep deprivation and the engorgement (and the resulting plugged ducts which threatened to get worse) and the inability to pass her off to anyone, I've had a rough weekend.

This morning, she awoke the way she used to, giggly and smiley. I'm hoping she's now over the worst. Though at this very moment she is whining and being rather unreasonable. I'm gonna go make yet another cup of tea.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ban the Bags

I just read about the Ban the Bags campaign, which I think is fantastic, but then I also just found out about all the misconceptions. Here's a good article explaining what the campaign is really about.

Friday, August 03, 2007


(Hmm, that's a catchy name. I think I'll pitch that for Breastfeeding Awareness Week next May...)

Anyway, a Nurse-In was organised for today in the town centre as a part of World Breastfeeding Week. I think there was some Guiness World Record breaking attempt of getting as many people together at the same time to breastfeed or something. Anyway, we did our part in Inverclyde by arranging a Nurse-In. We were rather unprepared really, not realising it was about to be World Breastfeeding Week until right before it began, but we got an article in the local paper advertising it and encouraging nursing mums to show up, in an effort to change the stigma of nursing in public.

I didn't know how many to expect. I just expected the unexpected. Yet would the unexpected be tons? Very few? I prepared myself for a range of 10 to - dare I say it? - one hundred.

You know how many showed up?


Four nursing mums in the whole of Inverclyde showed up for the Nurse-In.

The paper was there again to cover the very disappointing story. The four of us were photographed nursing our babies together. They took a few quotes, and then, would you believe the timing? A huge group of matching-T-shirt-and-cowboy-hat-wearing Cystic Fibrosis fundraising volunteers marched past, collecting donations in shiny buckets, and the Telegraph finally had a story worth telling.

It was very disappointing, but Mhairu, one of the nursing mums who we all decided had the perfect gift of gab when it comes to publicity, gave our poor turn-out a good angle. She felt that the lack of nursing mums participating in the Nurse-In just goes to show how poor the breastfeeding rates in our area are, thus highlighting the need for more breastfeeding support. Inverclyde has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in all of Europe, and we also have some of the highest rates for multiple health issues.

I tried to get a picture of the four of us, but for some reason my camera wasn't working for the health visitor who was there supporting us. However, when the article comes out tomorrow, I'll post it for you.

(I suppose it would be remiss of me not to mention that while only four breastfeeding mums showed up, two mums with weaned children came, along with the two health visitors who are the local Infant Feeding Coordinators. So in total, there were really eight breastfeeding supporters present.)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Embrace the Mess

As it is World Breastfeeding Week and also the week that we have started offering Fifi solids, I will leave you with a little bit of information about Solids and the Breastfed Baby. Unless you are actively trying to wean your baby off the breast, this link gives you some really good info on how to start your baby on solids, when to start, how much milk they should still be taking, etc. Very briefly, the two things I find most important are (1) always offer the breast first when introducing solids so that (2) the majority of their diet is breastmilk, as it should be for the first 12 months (I think it's something like breastmilk should still be 75% of their diet at a year old).

So, yes, we have started. It's great fun, actually, watching her try to eat food. It's kinda hard not to go crazy, especially since I really don't want to face early weaning with her. We are *attempting* baby led weaning, which is basically allowing your baby to decide what and how much they want to eat. This means forgoing the purees and just handing them finger foods. Once a baby is around 6 months and is showing signs of readiness (sitting up, putting things in mouth, all the things the link above describes) there is very little concern over choking, so puree purists, don't worry! She's also old enough for us not to have to worry too much about allergenic foods either, so we've just dived right in with offering her stuff.

The first night, yesterday, I was a bit nervous. I'd decided on starting out with pear for a couple of reasons - pears are sweet like breastmilk so not too drastic a difference and they are supposedly good for digestion. However, even though I'm totally sold on the baby led weaning thing, I was still nervous about giving her anything too hard so I poached the pear first and skinned it. Mistake number one. Then I sliced it into what I thought were 'chip-shaped' slices. Mistake number two. I then put them on a plate and gave them over.

She wasn't the slightest bit interested.

Every daggum thing in the universe has gone straight into her mouth, until that pear. She looked everywhere but at her plate. According to BLW, you shouldn't really help them along, since solids are to begin with mostly for fun and play and learning. They will supposedly eat when they are ready. So we impatiently waited, video camera rolling, while Fifi tried to reach for her toy monkey (to put in her mouth, I'm sure). Finally I gave in an held the pear slice to her mouth. She chomped down on it and ate off a big piece. She made faces but opened her mouth for more. I tried to give the pear to her, but due to being poached and sliced, it was far too slimy and kept slipping out of her mouth. She played around with the plate and the swished the slices around it but couldn't grasp any to put to her mouth.

She did lick the plate though. Pear slices all over the floor, of course.

So I decided to try banana instead, my back up plan. I'd been told by another BLW mum that the trick with banana is to half-peel it, cut off the peels and give it to them that way, so that there is a handle for them to grasp hold of. Well, I handed it to Fifi that way, and naturally she tried to eat the wrong end. Then once I'd righted it for her, she broke the edible part off. I then handed the broken banana piece to her, and she of course mashed it into her bib.

That was last night.

Today, I bought some baby rice cakes. I wouldn't have bothered with the baby ones except I'm really paranoid about salt and I know baby foods aren't allowed to add salt. I gave her a rice cake at lunch so she'd have something to eat with me and she devoured it. Finally. I figured out the right consistency of Fifi food! I should've known. It only makes sense that if I'm going to give it to her to eat herself she needs to be able to hold it...

Then tonight I made mango smoothies for me and Scott, and I put a little bit into a cup for Fifi, with a few chunks. I'm trying (trying is the key word as I'm not very creative yet) to let her experiment with different textures. Though so far my textures have been predominantly slime. She of course had no idea how to get the smoothie into her mouth so I broke one of the rules (can you tell I have no idea what I'm doing? Can you tell this solid thing is throwing me for a bit of a loop and I'm getting a bit stressed? I mean, me? Caring about rules? There should be no rules!) and spoonfed some to her. She was mortified. Don't think mango is her thing. However, mango smoothie all over her tray is DEFINITELY her thing.

So, it's been fun. One thing I'm having a bit of trouble with, however, is dealing with the mess. I know they say 'embrace the mess' or otherwise you'll go through the roof (and baby will get the impression that mealtimes are stressful) but I'm having a hard time with it nonetheless. The first night I made the mistake of not putting anything underneath her. (Does this sound like me? Maybe I just know myself, but seriously, this 6 month mark really sneaked up on me and I am not at all prepared for this. I mean, I can't believe I wasn't so well-read-up-on the solid food thing that I didn't even have anything underneath her!) Then tonight I did put her in her walker which has a food tray, but that was still an enormous mess, and even with a blanket under her (I'm going to have to start buying newspapers so I can use that), I couldn't believe how far she could throw a mango chunk. But once it was all over, I did enjoy plunking her into the bath with me while Scott cleaned up the living room. We do have a highchair, which we'll use next time, but since we don't have a dining table, it's going to be very not fun standing up while she eats to keep an eye on her. Oh how I long for a bigger house. Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

One last thing I noted about tonight's mango experience. As of late, Fifi has worked out a nice little bedtime routine. After playtime, I give her a bath, brush her teeth and nurse her and she goes straight to sleep. It's been working great for the past few weeks. So I was a bit surprised when she refused to settle down for her milk, even though she was clearly tired and hungry. Then it dawned on me. A giant 'Duh' cloud hung over my head as I realised I'd fed her MANGO half an hour before bedtime. Sure, I, an adult, can have a mango smoothie before bed, but a few spoonfuls of mango for her would be the equivalent of something like ten chocolate bars for me. So another one of my many lessons I've learned over the past two days - keep the sugars, even if they are natural, to a minimum and only around non sleeping times.

Later this week? Hummous. (Gotta start getting to the veggies eventually. And hummous is, you know, like chickpea or something.)

Fifi's First Foods from superlori and Vimeo.
(The sound is a bit skewed on the clip, Scott might've had his finger over the mic or something.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007