Monday Meals...give or take a day

>> April 28, 2009

Okay. So much for blogging with discipline. I totally forgot I had decided to do the whole checking out what Asher's eating on Monday. Okay maybe totally is a bit of an exaggeration. I remembered while I was in the grocery store yesterday that I was supposed to try Asher out on Cottage Cheese. They don't seem to have any in this country. So by the time I got home I had forgotten again.

Then I'm reading this blog today, and lo and behold it's a recipe for homemade cottage cheese. I have to say, I found the idea of cottage cheese before rather revolting. Now I really don't know if I'll be able to feed this to my child. I am truly sorry to those of you who make this a part of your daily diet. My good friends Emily and Sam would eat it for lunch if they wanted something light. And I didn't hold it against them. Much. but now that I have such a concrete way of making it myself I don't know if I can go through with it. But I will try. Maybe.

To be fair, we've had kind of a major deal happen. We bought a car. Don't get too excited. It's actually 6 years older than our last car. Which was a '99. Jeff is more distressed by this than I am, it actually reminds me of my first car, which I loved. I don't have a picture for you today, but I will take a before and after (it wasn't cleaned before we got it, but for 150 quid we're not complaining).

Also my Mom is coming into town tomorrow. Yay!!! Well, I should say into the country, or maybe onto the continent, but you get the picture. So there may be more blogging without obligation in the next couple weeks rather than blogging with discipline. But I will more than make up for it with a barrage of pictures of her visit.

Off to get my beautiful son out of the bath.

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8 Things...better late than never, right?

>> April 24, 2009


Liz tagged me.


8 Things I'm looking forward to:

  • My mom's visit
  • Being pregnant again
  • Adopting
  • Our trip to Chicago
  • Asher's first word
  • Playing in the back garden with Asher (he's currently afraid of grass so not a lot of playing going on)
  • Building forts with Asher
  • Seeing more of the UK and Europe

8 Things I did yesterday:
  • Bought a slow cooker (crockpot)
  • Sorted and cleaned out the kitchen thoroughly
  • Did some grocery shopping
  • Took Asher for a booster shot
  • Had blood taken for fertility tests
  • Did laundry
  • Met Jeff for lunch in city centre
  • Watched TV

8 Things I wish I could do:
  • Fly a plane
  • Play the drums
  • Roller blade
  • Speak Japanese
  • Make really good bread
  • Write Screenplays for a living
  • Play the bass guitar
  • Play peek-a-boo or swings with Asher for as long as he wants me to without getting bored

8 Shows I watch:
  • IT Crowd
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Supernatural
  • Lost
  • Doctor Who
  • Torchwood
  • Pushing Daisies
  • The Mentalist (whenever it makes its way over to this side of the pond)

8 Songs on my music player:
  • Accidentally in Love
  • Battu
  • City of Blinding Lights
  • Dwell
  • Emotionless
  • Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
  • Going Under
  • Here I am to Worship

8 Favourite warm weather activities:
  • Going to the beach
  • Swimming
  • Exploring
  • Eating at an outdoor cafe
  • Going to the zoo
  • Sitting in the sun, reading
  • Opening all the windows
  • Wearing skirts and tank tops and flip flops

8 Favourite Happy Things:
  • Jeff
  • Asher
  • A Clean House
  • Playing Video Games
  • New Toys (usually in the form of electronics/small kitchen appliances)
  • Driving
  • Reading
  • Sleeping in

8 People I tag:
  • Tink's Mom (someone new I'm following)
  • The Blogess (I know she's got way funnier things to blog about, but really who wouldn't want to hear her answers to Things I wish I could do)
  • Road Blocks and Rollercoasters (one I've been following for a while)
  • SciFi Mama (tried to pick some I haven't tagged lately)
  • Rachel (have been following for a while but never tagged, I don't think)
  • Maya (would love to know what's on Maya's playlist)
  • April's Mom (just started following the other day)
  • Brit' Gal (another new one for me)
I have to say, I don't normally do these things, but in the interest of blogging with discipline, I thought it might be a good way to fill a day. Especially today. Was feeling very blah today. Sad to say I did not have the patience today with the little man that I have been enjoying as of late. Hopefully tonight everyone will get more sleep.

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And then it was Thursday

>> April 23, 2009

So all week I've had this and that on my mind but didn't want to post it because it would have been a sentence or two.  Maybe a paragraph.  I've got to get it out of my head that posts have to be a certain length.  I got all inspired by C. Beth's blog the other day and actually put both buttons on my sidebar.  And then proceeded to not blog for 3 days.  So now I've got a mosh of stuff....


Okay, I've actually forgotten most of what was in my head now because I'm so frustrated with the UK run around health system.  It's ridiculously long and convoluted and I honestly don't want to spell it all out again.  Although I could, and it would be very witty in a sarcastic way, but I don't want to have it ruin my day and if I continue to dwell on the thoughtless inconsiderate manner in which this was handled I'll just ramp myself up for the entire day.  Because this, like everything else is in my Father's hands and He knows the timetable better than those policy-loving pencil-pushing non-communicative presumptive I do.  Have you guessed this is about my appointments with the fertility specialist?  Yeah.  The appointment I was supposed to have on March 30th, can't even be properly re-booked until sometime after May 18th.  It took me a month to get the first one.  AND getting the appointment isn't even the hard part.  The procedure that was performed in my doctor's office back in Chicago has a waiting list here.  And no one can tell me how long that waiting list is.  I don't see that as a good sign.  But what do I know, right?  Nothing.  Father's timetable.  Not mine.  Got it.  Sort of.  Moving on.

I remember some of what I was going to say now.  Originally I was going to start off with a lovely little sentence like:  The joy has lasted.  And it has.  Even with this morning's setback.  I do feel like crying.  But I don't think I'm going to.  There are far worse things going on that have brought tears lately.  Yesterday we learned that a dear friend's 5-month old grandbaby had just died.  Still waiting to hear how it happened and very sick at heart that it was possibly not medical.  I couldn't think of it yesterday without being nauseated.  My heart aches for this family.  So while there is petty disappointment for me, there is tragedy for others and miracles for still others.  And yet, the joy has lasted.  My only conclusion is that it comes from that peace that defies understanding and I am oh, so grateful.

The other thing that I wanted to do was clear up a little bit of misunderstanding over my introduction to Monday Meals.  This is what happens when you edit your blog too much.  You don't realize that in the taking out of certain things, if you don't put them back in another form people don't actually know that you've said them.  Or thought them.  Whatever, they don't know it if you don't post it.  First of all, I want to thank you all for the comments left.  (And Liz, I just remembered looking over those comments that you tagged me.  I'm totally on that tomorrow!)  I just want to explain a little further where we're at.

We did a lot of baby-led weaning while we were still back in Chicago.  I made most of his food then.  When we were moving around so much during December and January it wasn't really feasible to be making our own puree so we did more jars of food at that time.  Once we settled in here in Oxford, he had enough teeth that he was mostly just eating what we ate only chopped up into smaller pieces.  (Our boxes arriving put a damper on that and I took a couple weeks off and used pre-made toddler food but now we're back to real food) So that's where we are now.  He essentially eats what we eat and with the imminence of his molars I imagine there's not much he won't be able to handle within the next couple months. 

My issue is this.  I don't eat a lot of variety.  This is surprising to me more than any of you, because I really like food.  However, for the most part, I would prefer other people make that food for me.  If I didn't have Jeff to cook for I would eat the same thing all. the. time.  I do like cooking.  I would love to have a huge kitchen and spend hours creating something fabulous.  I just couldn't be bothered half the time.  (And I currently have a kitchen the size of a broom closet.) However, I understand that that's not always healthy, especially for growing toddlers.  And, I want to give Asher the opportunity to develop a wider range of tastes than mine.  For instance, I will probably get him some cottage cheese to see if he likes it.  I will try very hard not to throw up while I'm feeding it to him.  

I have quite a few cookbooks and I know there's nutrition information and even some recipes I think in Dr. Sears Babybook (which I have just found again in my unpacking!) but I thought it might be fun to try some of your ideas and I thought it might be fun for you to see how someone else's child gets it all in their hair enjoys it.  So Monday's Meal, or snack, will be cottage cheese.  I really will try to be okay with that.  

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Monday Meals

>> April 20, 2009

I've been interested for a while by blogs who have themed days (like Monday Micro and Skywatch Friday) so I'm going to start my own.  Monday, just because the first one is today, and Meals because that's what was going on in my brain today.  Lucky they go together, right?


Monday Meals will be about my pre-occupation with what Asher's eating.  You see, lately we've been moving away from pre-made baby food and I have this idea that I should probably try to introduce him to a properly varied diet so that when he's older he doesn't become a picky eater (I know, there are no guarantees, but I have to try).  I'm hoping to enlist your help.  I'm looking for ideas for easy snacks, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I'm also looking for new ways to try and introduce milk to my little man who turns his nose up at it so far. Spread the word to any other mother's out there, too.  I don't have a give-away (yet) but I will definitely give your blog a plug and if another mother submits an idea and tells me they did so because of you, I'll give you both a plug.  You can email any ideas/recipes to lillymercu (at) gmail (dot) com or leave them in the comments section.  

So today, we had chicken, potatoes, and baby carrots.  I know, not terribly ground-breaking, but we have to start somewhere.  For the most part it went well, the only new item here was the baby carrots.  He ate the first one I gave him quite well and then I left him to the rest on his own.  For the most part, right now he's eating quite well with his hands (until he's more mischievous than hungry and then things start getting tossed around or spread on his shirt/face/hair/whatever).  We're even starting to use a spork thingy.  I scoop food onto it and help him guide it into his mouth.  He's very pleased with himself about this. 

 I give you the aftermath:

What is that you say?  There's something on the floor?


Well, let's take a closer look shall we?


Seems the carrots were not such a great hit.  He ate them if they were on his spork, but if he put them in his mouth with his hands, he would just let them slide out again.  That was at first, after a couple like that he proceeded to pick the rest out of his dish and drop them over the side.


 Potatoes and chicken are always a big hit, but they will invariably find their way into his hair at some point.


And the spork got tossed overboard towards the end as well.


See, Mommy?  All done.


Oh, look!  It turns over.  

Great, now he knows.  All in all, a good lunch.  What will be featured next week?

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Shadow and Light

>> April 19, 2009

For one glorious day I was pregnant.  Or at least I could have been.  There was a shadow of a line, a hint of pink, in the right light.  I felt...well, it was surprising.  I wasn't surprised, I'd been tired, feeling yucky, we'd had well-timed relations.  What was surprising is that mostly, I just felt free.  Free of all the stress/disappointment/anticipation.  Free isn't even a good enough word.  I felt...light.  Dare I say, like my old self, although up until that moment I didn't realize my old self was missing.  When I looked at things (things being little pink lines and shadows) objectively, I knew it wasn't really a positive, I knew I was fooling myself, but it was so easy to do, so simple to believe that I really was pregnant.  Because then I didn't have to worry about it anymore, I could just get on with my day.


Now if you've been following me for a couple months, you know I've been here before.  Recently.  But this time it turned out differently.  I'm not pregnant.  It was just a shadow.  Next time I will buy a digital test and never mind all this silly interpretive guess-work.  But this time, for a moment I felt hope, I felt joy, I felt light.  And I don't want to lose that.  I don't have to be pregnant for that, I just have to get back to my old self, not worry about it and get on with my day.  Get on with my life.  Get on with being Asher's mom and Jeff's wife, not someone who can't get pregnant.  Why do I need to be pregnant right now?  I know we're going to have more kids.  If not from 'well-timed relations' then from well-timed medical interventions.  They worked so well the last time that there's no real reason to think they won't work this time.  And even if they don't, then we just move on to adoption earlier than we thought.  This will happen.  I have to stop spending so much of my time waiting for it.  It's not going to get happen any faster.  Watched pot and all that.  And I'm missing so much while I stare at that stupid pot.

I feel like I'm not doing this revelation justice.  Like I'm not able to put into words how different yesterday was.  And, really how different today continued to be even after taking the second test today to confirm that it was indeed just a shadow.  I had more patience with Asher.  And I hope with Jeff, too, you'll have to ask him.  I played more, smiled more, laughed more, cried less.  I was still tired, food still made me feel yucky, but that is kind of my life.  I just don't notice it unless I'm late.  

I am so happy that today didn't change.  Too much.  I will admit that I am disappointed.  I would love to be pregnant right now.  But I also want to get back to really loving being a mom.  And not just any mom, but Asher's mom.  And today I was.  My patience lasted, my playfulness lasted, my smile lasted, my laughter lasted.  Changes in plan weren't so bad, feeling a little claustrophobic in the church nursery didn't make me want to just pack up and go home early (which we actually did do, just last Sunday).  There were a few tears, but mostly out of awe.  Awe for how faithful God is.  Awe for how faithful and long-suffering my husband is.  Awe for my beautiful, amazing, not-enough-adjectives-in-the-book-wonderful son.  Awe for another beautiful boy we saw on TV tonight.  Yes, I cried.  I could feel that mom's heart in her throat and the pride she had for her son no matter what the outcome.  

I will do my best in the coming days and weeks to remember this lightness and to keep it and not take on such heavy burdens again.  And then, hopefully, it will become habit again, being my old self.  Even yesterday, as I was realizing the difference, I was glad that we thought maybe this time even as I knew it wasn't really.  I was glad because I was able to see what I was missing.  I was able to see how things could be if I just stepped away from the shadows and lightened up.

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Asher's First Birthday

>> April 15, 2009

Okay, so I realized why it's so hard for me to post sometimes. It's because I set myself up by telling you what I'm going to post about next and then I don't want to post about that the next day so that means I can't post about anything and when I want to sit down and write about something I feel guilty because I haven't posted what I said I was going to post about yet. Ugh. In case you didn't know, I'm a little OCD (self-diagnosed, not meaning to offend, I'm no Monk but I do have my moments, just ask Jeff). Anyway, so I'm going to endeavor to not let that be my blogging rule anymore. Well, more that I'm going to try not to actually tell you that I'm going to post about a specific thing next because there's no real chance of me un-making that rule. I'll try to just say I'll post about something soon so if something else comes up in the meantime I'll be perfectly justified in writing about that instead.


Right. So. Now that I have that out of the way, Asher's First Birthday:

We knew that we were having a party for him on Saturday, but we couldn't let Thursday go by unnoticed. Grandma didn't want to either and had actually arranged to go into work late so that she could be on Skype with us in the afternoon while he opened his presents. Yay! It was quite fun and she got to see him get the tricycle she bought him. She also got to see how much he did not dive into his Birthday Cake.Italic Oh well, it was really good cake, Jeff and I enjoyed it very much.


He loved opening up all his presents


I think he's more excited about the paper ripping than the toys.


Except this one, he was pretty excited about this one. (That's his new tricycle that Grandma got him, check out the video at the further down.)


Okay, so this is the cake that I made, I know the decorating job sucks, my icing recipes all turned out like crap and it's impossible to add color to chocolate icing so I ended up just swooping the icing around using a knife.  I also know that his name is crooked and you can't really tell that's supposed to be a ship at all but whatever, it tasted way better than the professionally decorated one we got for his birthday.  I tried, okay?


He, however, wasn't so sure about that.


This pretty much sums it up.


But then of course he realizes there's a camera there and he's all smiles.  The chocolate around his face btw, is not so much from him thinking it was so yummy that he couldn't shove it in his mouth fast enough, but more that he touched it and then kind of freaked out that it was sticking to him and flailed his hands around and got it everywhere.  He took one bite for me that was okay, then the next bite had icing on it and he just kind of stuck his tongue back out and tried to get it off with not a lot of success.  So we got the mess, without the awesome video of him diving into a sugar rush like a...well, like a kid in a candy store.  Instead we have 6 minutes of him pretty much thinking this is the yuckiest thing we've ever tried to make him eat.  Don't worry, I'll post that for you, too.

But first, here's the video of his tricycle coming out:


video



There's Grandma on the computer behind him, watching him check out his new wheels.  What an awesome invention that is.  But only two more weeks and Grandma can take him out to the park with those new wheels. Airplanes are pretty cool inventions, too.

Okay, that's it for this post, I'll put the cake fiasco on another one because it's really long and you'll probably want to skip it.  I would love to tell you what's coming up next, but I just don't know.  I do know that soon there will be a much delayed report on our trip to Cambridge and Janet's visit with us.  Although I'll be tempted just to point you to her daily posts about it because she wrote a lot more than I'll be able to remember.

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Asher's First Birthday Party!!

>> April 9, 2009

Asher turned a year on April 2nd.  We did a couple birthday things then (of which I will post next) but we had an actual birthday Party on Saturday with some cousins (several times removed, but who's counting. Family is family!).  I thought pictures would tell the story best:

He got quite the haul.  Far more than I expected, Jeff and I only got him a couple things.  Good thing, too, he was pretty bored with unwrapping stuff by the time we got to some of the clothes and the video. (It's okay, that stuff is more for Mommy anyway)  So, Thank You everyone!


This was my favourite part.  Not because it was cake, because honestly I made a better one, but because it was an awesome Pirate Cake. 
 

And here's Daddy in his paper pirate hat!


I picked up a little frog pool and put some balls in it for the kids.  Asher was especially grateful as he is still not really diggin' the grass.


He and his cousin had great fun throwing the balls out onto the grass.


Here's his other cousin all decked out for the wonderfully sunny day.



The boys had fun taking turns on Asher's new tricycle.  That bar on the back for Mom to push is absolutely brilliant.


Finished off afternoon with bubbles!!


Then inside for more cake.  We learned our lesson earlier and just gave him little bits of cake to eat with no icing.  He enjoyed it much more this time.


A little dazed after all that sugar.


It was nice to see Asher's toys being enjoyed by all the boys.


Getting to know the uncle-type cousins (technically everyone's cousins just removed to different degrees, I think we'll just avoid the confusion and call them aunts and uncles).



The aftermath.  I figure the bigger the mess, the better the time was had by all.  By the looks of things we all had a very good time.

So now my little man is a whole year old.  On the one hand I can't believe how time has flown and it must have been just yesterday that I was checking into the hospital not a mom, only to check out again a few days later, A Mom...and on the other hand, I can't quite remember what life was like before Asher was in it, he must have been here forever (I know it sure feels like I haven't slept through an entire night forever).  It seems like he has very suddenly grown up over the last couple of weeks.  Taking the stairs like a pro, eating more by himself, figuring things out very intently, throwing tantrums when he doesn't get his way, all kinds of fun stuff.  I look at his cousins, one two months older and one a year older and I can't grasp how much he's going to grow up in the next few months.  It's not that I want him to slow down, because I'm excited about seeing him discover so much more of the world, but I'm just worried that I won't be able to keep up, that I'm going to keep treating him like my baby boy and forget that he's very quickly leaving babyhood behind.  I have so appreciated the various mom blogs I've been following lately (C. Beth, Lisa, Liz, Christy, Maya's Mom, Anna, RR and Sci-fi Mama to name a few) and I'm always looking for more.  I love the little peeks at what's coming and also some of the insights into where I'm at as some of these mom's have little one's within a few weeks of Asher.  

I have more rambling around in my brain but it will have to come out later.  DH is waiting on the couch with some popcorn and Supernatural.  Aaaah, relaxation.

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What do you do?

>> April 7, 2009

A blog I follow had this post today.  As I was reading through the comments I was struck by something. We keep referring to motherhood as a job. I agree with what Rachel said in her comment, a job is something you get paid for, get time off from, go to and go home from, can change if you want. 

I think it's part of the Western culture to find our definition in what we 'do'. "What do you do?" "I'm a doctor/lawyer/secretary/janitor." "Oooh." We hear what someone 'does' and make decisions about who they are as people.  We feel defined by our jobs and so as mothers, especially stay-at-home-mothers, there is this desire to make sure people understand that we still 'do' something, that we have value, that we are still contributing to society. 

A friend was speaking at church last mother's day and she brought up some website that calculates what you're 'worth' on the job market.  There was an entry for Mother and several aspects that that entailed, cook, laundress, chauffeur, etc.  Of course it comes up with something in the $250,000 per annum range.  At first she was, like Beth, nodding her agreement, thinking "That's right, I am worth all that."  Then it struck her, that this was putting a price tag on what it was to be a mother.  That the only way we know how to value something is to put a monetary value on it.  To call it 'The hardest job in the world'.  After realizing that, it kind of offended her.  

I was about to go off on a diatribe about putting a price on a child's laugh, etc. and I realized that that's not even the point I want to make.  It's that we feel we need to that I find a bit sad.  How does the saying go?  The best things in life are free.  That statement means something completely new to me today.  It's not that they're 'free', it's that their worth, their value, has no monetary equivalent.  I have to admit, I'm having trouble saying all that's going on in my head because it's like I don't have the vocabulary to express it without referring to what we automatically associate with money.  It's not like these free things don't cost us.  Being a mother is very costly, but you could never pay someone else to do the job for you.  Take heart in that all you mom's who also have jobs, no matter how great a nanny or caretaker you have, even if it's a relative, even if it's Grandma, even if it's Daddy, they can never be Mom.  Being a nanny, that's a tough job, I've done it, I would think long and hard about doing it again.  But it's just a job.  It is so far from being a Mom.  

I have to admit, I'm finding this a little paradigm-shifting and somewhat freeing.  I always feel a little awkward when someone asks me what I do.  I've said 'stay-at-home-mom', 'domestic-engineer', I've even pointed at my son and said, 'Him, full time'.  It was very witty to me at the time.  Now I think I will have to say "Nothing" and let them be as puzzled as they want to be.  If they clarify that I'm a SAHM or whatever, I think I may have to share a little about how I don't see that as my job or what I 'do' but simply it is my life.  In my life, I have a husband, I have a son, I feel that I am blessed to not have a job.  I am looking forward to settling into our new life here in Oxford, to getting some projects done and taking on new volunteer work, but I think I will no longer feel the need to put "Housewife" or "SAHM" in the occupation sections of forms.  I can be confident that I am a contributing member of society, I am not a lay-about, I have value that is not limited to being defined by what I do.  I have no job.  It frees me up to spend a lot more time with my son and my husband.  

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Happy Birthday my Son

>> April 2, 2009

I cannot even wrap my mind around the fact that I. have. a. son.  Let alone that he is now passing out of babyhood and into toddlerhood with the advent of his birthday.  I will no longer be restrained by months when answering that ever-present question, And how old is he?  I'm sure I'll fall back on it at times as I still hear so many other moms referring to 16 months or 21 months, but I can if I choose, say, He's 1 now.  Wow.  


These last few days I have found myself reflecting on his birth day, remembering the order of events, who was there, what was happening, but all through a bit of a haze.  They say that's there so you will actually want to have more kids, but I don't remember thinking at the time This is horrible, I'm never doing this again.  In fact I'm pretty sure I was already looking forward to the next one long before the pain subsided (which, in my case, due to unforseen complications was about 12 weeks later).  

Even in the midst of my most sleepless nights and days of feeling like I was going to lose my mind from the weariness, I wouldn't have given it up for anything.  Not only would I have not given it up, but I couldn't wait to do it again.  I have to admit, with a bit of regret and even shame, that I was so focussed on having another that there were times when I forgot to just stop and enjoy my son.  Thanks to a conversation with my mom a few weeks ago, my time with Asher lately has been so much richer as I just remembered to revel in the blessing that he is.

So now he is a whole year old!  We had a kind of all day Birthday Celebration.  We skyped with the Godparents, Titi Mary and Tio Eddie, and Grandma and Oma and even Titi Myrna!  We opened Grandma's presents with her and went for a ride on his new tricycle and skipped his afternoon nap (I think he figured since he was One now, he didn't have to have a nap) and tried to eat the cake that I baked (we all succeeded but he wasn't such a big fan).  All in all we had really wonderful day of being thankful for Asher.  I started this blog this morning while he was sleeping and have added to it little by little all day but kept getting pulled away to take part in the joy of this day and now it is late, I am exhausted, I even had half a beer to celebrate.  So I am going to go to bed, a little in awe that tomorrow I will still have. a. son.  He will have been mine for a whole year and he's apparently not going anywhere.  How cool is that!?  I know I've said this before, but really, truly, pictures are coming.  


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About This Blog

I love this adventure I'm on with my Rocket Scientist. The most recent addition to our expedition has me in awe daily. I can't wait to see My Little Man as a big brother. We started off by moving from Western Canada to Chicago and now we're in the UK. Will this Strange Mamma ever not feel like a stranger in the land?

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