It’s the little things…..

Being a parent brings many big moments of happiness and joy. Seeing your child smile for the first time, their first step, first words, the first time they sleep through the night. But it is often the little things that fill me with the deepest feeling of happiness.

This afternoon my husband was cooking dinner and I was in the conservatory sitting on the sofa with Elisabeth. I was (re)reading the fourth Harry Potter book and Elisabeth was watching ‘Everything’s Rosie‘, when all of a sudden she put her little hand on my leg. Nothing more, just that little touch to make sure I was still there. I kissed her on her head and she ignored me, she was watching t.v. after all.

A couple of minutes later I felt her little body moving towards me so I lifted my arm and put it around her little shoulders. She moved closer and snuggled up against me, I kissed her head again, she looked up at me, smiled, snuggled back and watched Rosie.

It doesn’t get much better than those little moments where everything is pretty much perfect.

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If you don’t want my opinion, then don’t ask for it!

The world has gone review crazy. Writings reviews is no longer the business of those who “know what they are talking about”, anyone with access to the internet can tell the world what they think of a product and whether you should buy it. Nowhere are reviews deemed more important than in the world of self publishing. If you’re like me and you follow a lot of authors on twitter, you are likely to come across a few of them who will not stop shouting at you about their book. ‘You must buy it, it’s great!’ which often it is not, ‘It has received five star reviews!’, most likely from their mother. I normally ignore these shouters for the simple reason that they annoy me and I don’t like buying things from people who annoy me.

But sometimes I give in, the one time I did buy the book of a shouter it was because I was actually quite interested in reading it, so I bought it. As this person rather amused me with his non-book related tweets, I made the grave error of letting him know I bought it. Then he started nagging me to review it. So I checked whether he wanted an honest review with useful feedback of whether he wanted something that would look good on Amazon. He wanted my honest opinion because he was confident that his book was great. I liked the sound of that because I am full of honest opinions and always happy to make others aware of them (it’s because of my Dutch genes I think, we have a true desire for honesty).

So I read the book, and even though the first few chapters were showing the beginnings of a really original story, this didn’t last long. Some of his characters were superfluous (isn’t that a great word!) at best, he book was full of grammatical errors, missing words, inconsistencies and the plot was very weak. Overall it was pretty shocking.

As I am an aspiring novelist myself I understand how difficult it is to write a good book, and because I was quite impressed with the beginning of the story, I decided to send him a message rather than publish my opinion on Amazon. I told him that I thought the story was original and I enjoyed reading it but that there were some issues with missing words and inconsistencies in the story and for him to get in touch if he wanted more details.

I never heard from him again. Silly man. I know I am no editor, but I have read more books than most and I am convinced that he could have really improved his book if he would have taken my feedback seriously. I guess he wasn’t interest in improving his product at all, he just wanted a five star review to help sell more of his badly written book. Silly, silly man.

I haven’t written any reviews since, but if anyone asks for an honest review again, that is what they’ll get.

So, here is your warning:

If you don’t want my opinion, then don’t ask for it!

Fess up no.2

It’s been great having access to my bike again, Elisabeth loves to go for bike rides and I really enjoy it too. Unfortunately, the seat at the front of the bike is too small for her now so soon she will have to go in a seat on the back. She is really excited about this, but I will miss the moments where I kiss her head and feel her hair all over my face.

Next week is going to be a bit of a disaster with regards to the counting of calories, because on Friday it is Elisabeth’s second birthday – woohoo! We’re not having a big party this year, but we do have cake baking plans, and cake needs to be eaten, especially birthday cake! It already started today because my inlaws had invited us over for a tea party for Elisabeth’s birthday. We all had fun and I was glad I decided not to worry about calories today.

Luckily the weigh in this morning was much better than expected so I have a bit of room for error this coming week.

Start
Weight: 183lbs
BMI: 24.8

Week 1
Weight: 180.4lbs
BMI: 24.5

Today
Weight: 177.2lbs
BMI: 24

Not bad, I don’t think. Anyway, must go, I have a passport to renew!

Fess up
Fess up no.1

Valentine’s day date

If you’re a big fan of Valentine’s day and the cards roses and candlelit dinners that come with it……this is not the post for you.

I personally don’t like the day, not because I don’t like to be treated by my husband, of course I do, but because I have a problem with the forced nature of it.

After a couple of years with my other half it was clear to me that the only reason he bought me a valentine’s day card was because he thought that was expected of him. Not my idea of romance. Saying ‘I love you’ because it is 14th February doesn’t mean a thing to me.

So about five years ago I told my husband that valentine’s day was cancelled for life. He was more than happy to accept this, although the next year he did check with me whether it was still cancelled, which I thought was rather sweet. I have to admit, I haven’t missed it and I rather like watching it all from the sideline.

Earlier this year I saw that there was a new Die Hard film coming. In february. And it was going to come out on Valentine’s day. Now I am a die hard (pun intented) Bruce Willis fan and I love going to the cinema. My husband doesn’t like Die Hard and hates going to the cinema. Luckily one of my best friends shares my attitude towards valentine’s day and Bruce Willis so we decided to go on a very un-valentine like date. Dinner at McDonalds and then to the cinema to see Bruce Willis kill scumbags.

We had a great evening, safe in the knowledge that our other halves were happy to not be part of valentine’s day and having the t.v. to themselves. Happy days.

There’s only one thing left to say:

Yippee-ki-yay-valentine’s day!

Fess up no.1

Morning! As promised an update on how I am getting on with the eating less – moving more plan, and I’m pleased to say it has been quite good actually.

Last Monday and Tuesday weren’t that great, I was in a grouchy old mood when I came home. This wasn’t completely unexpected as food and my mood are generally very closely connected. When I was 9 or 10 I was diagnosed with hypoglycaemia, which basically means my blood sugar was too low. If I didn’t eat something every two hours, I would become really grouchy and I’d start snapping at everyone. In recent years my blood sugar has been fine, but when I diet, this childhood enemy always raises his ugly head, which is why I don’t tend to diet. Looking back on my food log for those two days, I should have divided my food better over the course of the day, I can’t get through the afternoon on a banana if I’ve had my lunch at 11.30.

From Wednesday onwards things were much better, I made sure I had a filling snack in the afternoon to keep the moods at bay and that really made all the difference.

All week I have logged everything I have eaten and it has been quite interesting, I always knew I ate a lot (obviously, otherwise we wouldn’t be here in the first place), but when you keep a log of everything it gives a real clear picture of our eating habits and it makes it quite easy to pinpoint where you can make a big difference.

Because I do not believe in short term diets, I wanted to make some solid changes to what I eat. One of the changes I have made so far is my breakfast. I’m a real breakfast person, I happily get up half an hour earlier to make sure I can have breakfast and a cup of tea (or two, or three). The only times I leave the house without breakfast is when I have had such a bad night with Elisabeth that only a McDonalds breakfast and a strong coffee will give me enough energy to get through the morning, and I haven’t had one of those in a very long time. Anyway, on normal days I tend to have toast……with cheese……or a sandwich …….with cheese. Not great, tasty, but not great when you are trying to lose a few pounds. So I have replaced that with oatbran with apple, cinnamon and a little sugar. Tasty and a lot healthier than cheese sandwiches.

The exercise has been good as well, I haven’t been out for a run yet and I haven’t been to the gym (mainly because I am not a member and they frown upon people using their facilities without paying) but I’ve done a lot of walking, some cycling with Elisabeth (Thanks Lau, goed idee!) and I feel much better for it!

Anyway, part of this plan was for me to share my weight with you each week so here goes.

Last week:
weight – 183lbs
BMI – 24.8

Today:
weight – 180lbs 4oz
BMI – 24.5

Needless to say I am delighted with the result, I was only aiming to lose about 1 lbs a week so 2 lbs and a bit in the first week is nice. So the aim for next week is to go under 180 lbs.

Happy days!

Fess up

Tingle tingle ittle sar

Elisabeth has started singing, well, not really singing, she has started saying the words to songs. For a few months now she has been saying the last word of a sentence of song if we pause at the end, but the other day she was sitting in her highchair, she had just finished her dinner, and for no apparent reason she started saying:

Tingle tingle ittle sar
How wonder what you are
Up above world so high
Like diamond in the sy
Tingle tingle ittle sar
How wonder what you are

It was so adorable, my husband and I just sat there staring at her, which she took as a good enough reason to do it again. We were quite surprised that she quite clearly memorised the song perfectly even though some of the words were a bit of a struggle.

Every Friday afternoon I take her on the bus to go to her music lesson, and this has really encouraged her to interact with songs. When I (or anyone else) sings ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, she immediately starts marching. When we sing either incy wincy spider or hansje pansje kevertje, she does all the actions with great enthusiasm. She loves the music bag and shakers that I made for her and she often plays her ‘trumpet’ it’s not really a trumpet, it’s a recorder, but we will let her off for calling it a trumpet a bit longer.

Elisabeth’s talking is improving rather rapidly, although some letters are still a bit difficult. She often talks about ‘chotate bistuits’ although I have no idea why, it’s not like she is eating them. Caterpillar is also a word she likes to say, only without the k sound and the understanding that the l isn’t always the last letter of the word, this become ‘taterpill’, pillow also becomes ‘pill’ which sounds so cute that I never want her to learn the proper word – yes, I know this is wrong, but you should hear it, it’s too adorable!

Another thing that she is getting better at is stropping! If she doesn’t get something she wants she tries to get it by screaming and stamping her little feet, this doesn’t last long though as we obviously don’t give in to it. Sometimes I even have to laugh at her a little when she takes it to a new extreme.

All in all, lots of stuff is happening and there is no longer any possible way that we can still call her a baby. She is just too grown up!

Conversations with Elisabeth (at 23 months and 2 weeks)

Me: Mummy loves you Elisabeth.
Elisabeth: What’s that mummy?
Me: That’s a car. Do you love your mummy?
Elisabeth: me love my daddy.

*********

Me: Good morning Elisabeth.
Elisabeth: Mummy!
Me: Hello sweetheart.
Elisabeth: Mummy wear pretty dress.

*********

Me: Let’s get you nice and dry.
Elisabeth: Me need wash my hands.
Me: That’s ok, you’ve just had a bath.
Elisabeth: Me need wash my hands!
Me: You’ve just had a bath, so you don’t have to wash your hands.
Elisabeth: Me need wash my hands!! In the sink! …. Oooooo, what’s that mummy?

**********

Daddy: Hi Elisabeth, are you ok?
Elisabeth: Yeah, daddy had nice day at work?

***********

Elisabeth: That’s my dolly!
Me: Yes, it is.
Elisabeth: she has pretty hair.
Me: You have pretty hair.
Elisabeth: Mummy has pretty hair too.

***********

Me: Do you love your mummy Elisabeth?
Elisabeth: Yeah, me love my daddy.

***********

Fess up!

Time to fess up.

I weigh 183lbs. There, I’ve said it.

Before you judge me, please consider that I am 6ft tall so it is now as bad as it sounds. However, I just looked in my diary and the last time I weighed 183lbs I was 7 months pregnant!……that’s not good!……that’s bad! Although in my defense, 183lbs at 6ft puts my BMI at 24.8 which is still considered normal, but only just, and I’m not happy about it. The only slightly amusing thing about weighing 183lbs is (well, I find this amusing, I doubt anyone else will) is that I am 183cm tall and weigh 183lbs, but that’s not all, 183lbs also just happens to be 83kg, that is a lot of 83’s.

Anyway, I am not going to try and make excuses for the weight gain, I had a baby and replaced sleep with food, what can I say.

Over the last 12 months I have made a few attempts to lose some weight, but I haven’t been very successful, the one thing that I have achieved though is to stop the steady gaining of weight that had been going on ever since I stopped breastfeeding Elisabeth in November 2011. But now is the time to make a proper effort, and thanks to the encouragement from Meghan who blogs at Ratnam Residence, I thought I would start something I have never done in my life…….calorie counting…….and I will write about it every week to let you know how I am getting on. Hopefully telling you all about my weight each week will embarrass motivate me enough to keep going. I will also make a real effort to do more some exercise.

I would love to jump on the fitbit train, but I just don’t want to spend the money so I will attempt to do it without. I do have an ‘old’ Nike+ ipod sensor laying about, which should give me some idea of how many calories I am burning when I exercise, which will probably mainly consist of walking and hopefully the occasional jog. And as far as the calorie counting, I guess pen and paper will do just fine.

My ideal weight is about 160lbs, but let’s be honest, that is never going to happen, so instead I have come up with 2 challenges. The first one will be to get to 175lbs and stay on it for a few weeks, just to get going and to make sure that once the weight comes off, it will stay off. The second one will be to get to 170lbs. This would make my BMI 23.1 which I think is perfectly acceptable and should also leave some room for a little weight gain during holidays and xmas without going into the overweight category.

I don’t plan to massively restrict what I eat, as I eat quite healthy already, but I do need some adjustments in the portion size department! Also getting into an exercise routine will hopefully not only help me shed some weight but will also make me feel better and more energetic in general. Fingers crossed!

The End of The Knight

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a guest post from Larry, yesterday my guest post appeared on his blog, so today it is his turn to appear on mine. I have been following his blog for a while now and I’m a big fan. Check out his blog on Me, Myself and Kids.

Larry, or Me Myself and Kids as he is known in the blogging world, has been blogging for a year and a half. He bills his blog as an ongoing record of his life as a public high school English teacher and freelance writer raising two boys with his wife in suburban New Jersey. However, he’ll write about anything and tries to be funny doing it. He is only occasionally successful. He recently created a website, larrybernstein.com, that he is hard at work on.

I am sitting here in my favorite thermal shirt. I remember when it used to be white. Now it’s bathwater grey. I remember when the stitching was firm and taught. Now, it’s stretched and loose. I remember when it was perfectly new. Now, it has a gaping hole.

Why do I keep, let alone wear this garment you may be wondering? I love it! It is the softest shirt I have ever worn. Imagine owning a shirt that seems to be made of cotton balls. Think about how awesome that would feel against your body. I admit that sometimes I actually rub the sleeves to bask in the softness.
I know that’s weird. But I don’t care!

And I bet you know just what I mean. Don’t tell me it’s a guy thing. Be honest. Somewhere in your closet, there is a favored article of clothing. Maybe, you love the article of clothing because of the way it feels, or the way it fits, or the memories you associate with it. You have kept this article of clothing way past its prime and decided you don’t care if it’s no longer in style. You pass over it out of nostalgia when you are weeding out clothes from your closet.
I have mentioned on a number of occasions that I am the retiring to Florida type. So, my dislike of the cold is well known at this point. I know many of you are similarly disenchanted with winter. Well, my once white thermal shirt with its soft fabric blanketing me allows me to walk on in my battle against the Winter lows. It’s as if we are a team, and I am better when I am wearing my shirt.

I’d like to think of my once white thermal as the White Knight. Hey, if Seinfeld could have Golden Boy – then I can have White Knight.

Okay, I may have gone a bit overboard there, but I love that darn shirt. Sigh.
They say that the clothes make the man. I am not 100% sure what that means. However, I do know that my once white thermal shirt made me feel warm and comfortable. Once the winter ends, and the White Knight rides off forever, I am going to miss it.

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