Operation shift the baby weight – two month update

This is just a quick update on my weight loss progress. What with Christmas and visiting family (and my mother-in-law-who-makes-all-the-cakes) I was expecting a bit of a disaster this month. Despite my best intentions not to go crazy over the festive period I managed to consume quite a lot of chocolate (and wine!) but actually it’s not looking too bad as far as the numbers go. Since last months update I managed to lose 2lbs, put 3lbs on over Christmas, and then lose 2lbs again in the last week – so if you’re following the maths that leaves me 1lb down overall. And I’m calling that a win!

So time for the stats: (Figures in brackets are my original starting weights and measurements):

Weight: 13st 2lb (13st 8lb) – lost 6lb

Waist: 34.5 inches (37 inches) – lost 2.5 inches

Hips: 43 inches (45.5 inches) – lost 2.5 inches

Bust: 40 inches (42 inches) – lost 2 inch

So far so good. Now although my long term goal is to improve my general eating habits without being on a diet I’ve been given the chance to try a meal replacement diet (Extante Diet) for a week which I’ll be doing next week and blogging about when I’m done. Hopefully it will just give me a bit of a post Christmas boost so I can then carry on with my sensible and balanced eating.

Toby is six months old!

weaning at six months old

Wow! Six months old already. It only seems like five minutes since I was writing his five month update. It’s been a busy month though. We’ve had Toby’s first Christmas and a visit to see both sets of grandparents (which included an epic seven hour trip home during which Toby didn’t cry once!). The other big development this month is that we’ve started weaning! More on that later though.

So Toby is continuing to grow steadily – he weighed in today at 17lb 7oz so slowly creeping up the centiles but still very long and skinny. He’s in all his 6-9 month clothes now (and has been for a couple of weeks). There is no way most of those clothes are going to last until he’s nine months though! I’ve just had to order new 6-18 month sleeping bags too as his feet are right in the bottom of the ones he’s got at the moment. If this carries on he’s definitely going to be the tallest kid in the infants!

Sleep has been going fairly well lately, although I have a feeling that might be about to change temporarily. Toby has been continuing with his sometimes sleeping through, sometimes waking up for one feed and his naps have been great lately. However, in the last couple of days he has really got the hang of rolling over. Which means he rolls on to his tummy and then wakes up and realises he doesn’t want to be on his tummy and cries until someone comes to rescue him. I really hope he learns to roll back over himself soon so he can just be whichever way round he fancies. Sitting up is going well too. For some reason though Toby is fantastic at sitting up on his own at Baby Sensory, but then we get home he just starts toppling over again. It’s so weird! He’s still trying really hard to crawl as well. As soon as he is on his tummy his legs start kicking away but they still aren’t really getting him anywhere yet!

Despite all the teething symptoms last month we still don’t have any visible teeth. That hasn’t stopped us starting to offer Toby some food to try though. We’re mostly going with baby-led weaning; offering Toby the same things we’re eating. He’s very happy playing with his finger foods but doesn’t seem to quite have the dexterity (or the inclination) to put them in his mouth yet. He has eaten a little bit of a few things when we’ve held them for him, toast seems to be the favourite so far! I’m sure if we just keep offering him different things he’ll figure it out sooner or later. As far as his reflux goes, I’ve heard it can improve when they start solids but for now we’re still on the Gaviscon and ranitidine. Whenever we try and reduce the does his symptoms come back so we’ll just stick with it for now.

So that’s it. I can’t believe my tiny 6lb 10oz baby is a strapping six month old. Half way to one. It’s just crazy. Bananas!

Knitting Friday #5

After a little break for the Christmas holidays, I’m back with Knitting Friday. I’m afraid though I’m going for a massive cheat this week. Because all the knitted pieces you can see here….weren’t knitted by me! My mum is the one responsible for the knitting here. It’s a cuddly bear all-in-one for Toby which I bought the pattern and wool for ages ago but then I couldn’t be bothered to make it so I gave it to my mum. She very kindly obliged but she hates sewing things together so gave the pieces back to me!

Knitted baby bear suit

Come back next week to see the finished article – hopefully being modelled by Toby. Don’t forget to pop of to The Laughing Owls too. Becky managed to finish Little Owl’s jumper last week so I’m waiting to see if she’s started something new this week.

Inherited conditions


I’ve got all sorts of things wrong with me. I’ve got eczema and asthma, I’m allergic to any animal with hair, fur or feathers, pretty much all kinds of pollen, and dust too. I am in a permanent state of snotiness. I’m very short-sighted (-7.0 prescription at the last check, which means I can’t see past the end of my nose without glasses) and I’ve got a weird double crown so my hair sticks up like Billy Whizz (which I know is not really a medical complaint but it has blighted my life!). None of these things have been inherited from my parents and none of them affect my brother. Well actually, that’s not quite true – both he and my mum have the weird hair thing too. I guess I was just the unlucky one. Apparently breastfeeding can help to stop allergies developing but I was exclusively breastfed until I was about eight months, as was my brother, but I still developed allergies and he didn’t. I don’t officially have any food allergies but the one time I ate strawberries I came out in a rash and I’ve also fairly recently been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is often linked to food intolerance.

I suppose I am fortunate really that none of my conditions are especially serious or life-threatening. I only get eczema on three fingers of my right hand, although I also have dry, itchy skin all over my body. Co-incidentally my husband gets the same sort of eczema on his hands – it’s tiny, intensely itchy blisters, which is now known as ‘shitty finger’ in our house! My asthma only really bothers me if I’ve got a cold or I exert myself in cold weather – it must be a couple of months since I last used my inhaler. My animal allergies do cause quite severe symptoms but animals are something that are pretty easy to avoid if you need to. My hay fever is on the severe end of the scale. I usually take prescription anti-histamines from about March to October. Last year I was really worried that I was going to suffer horrendously because I couldn’t take my usual tablets while pregnant but somehow it seemed pregnancy miraculously cured my hay fever and without any medication at all I hardly had any symptoms! I almost can’t wait until the first pollen of spring to see if the magic has stayed with me! Having to wear glasses all the time is annoying (and expensive) but it’s not going to kill me, and one day I might have enough money to have corrective laser surgery. I would love to wake up in the night and be able to see. I actually tried those contact lenses that you can leave in for a month once (although I only managed three days before my eyes were so dry and irritated I had to take them out) and it totally freaked me out opening my eyes in the night and being able to see the alarm clock clearly instead of the vague red glow I’m used to.

Anyway, apologies, I digress. What I actually came here to talk about was not really how all these things have affected me. Yes, they are annoying but I’ve lived with most of them since I was little and I’m really quite used to them by now. But then when I found out I was pregnant I began to think about these problems a little more. I’m sure everyone wonders which bits of you and your partner that little pip growing inside you is going to inherit. Will he have my big eyes (or my big bum!)? Will he have the hubby’s massive nose? Will he have the metabolism of a whippet like my dad and my brother or will be like me and my mum and put on a pound just by looking at a cake? But for me there were a few other nagging thoughts in the back of my mind – will he have eczema and asthma? Will he have allergies? Will he need glasses? And if he does…..will it be my fault?

As if we as parents didn’t find enough things to feel guilty about. I know of course, with my rational mind, that Toby’s eczema (yes, the first of my conditions has shown itself on my little boy, along with a constant snotty nose since he was born) could just be your bog-standard infant eczema that he’ll grow out of. But my irrational mind, the one that whispers to me when I’m lying in bed in the dark, tells me he has that eczema because of me, and like me he will be stuck with it for the rest of his life. My husband is awesome and always reassures me that it’s not my fault (my mum, not so much… ‘oh no, he’s got your eczema’) but I always wonder somewhere in the back of my mind. Maybe if I had managed to breastfeed for longer then he wouldn’t have it. But then again, maybe he would. I know there’s no point beating myself up about it. There’s nothing we can do except to live with it, treat it, and try to make sure that Toby is as comfortable as he can be. As far as all the other things go, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I know in the grand scheme of things, even if Toby ends up with all the same problems as me, he’ll still be fine. I am after all. But thinking about this has made me wonder how parents cope when they do pass something on to their kids – perhaps the chance combination of a faulty gene from each parent leads to something much more serious than a mild case of eczema or asthma. My sympathy goes out to those parents. We just have to remember that what is going to be, will be and we wouldn’t change our children for the world.

**Image Credit: Image by Duncan Hull (http://flic.kr/p/7JQMHY)

Living Arrows 1/52

I Heart Snapping is a collaboration between several photographer-blogger-mums. It’a all about using photography to capture those special moments in your children’s lives. I mentioned in my 2014 plans post that I wanted to take some better photos for the blog and learn how to use my husband’s DSLR. To that end I have decided to join in with I Heart Snapping’s Living Arrows project; one photo a week but it has to be a good ‘un, taken on the proper camera. No iPhone snaps allowed for this one! Hopefully over the year this will be a record not only of Toby’s growth and development but also a record of my improving photography skills.

So without further ado, here’s the first one…

Baby at Christmas

living arrows

Daddy’s beard (The Ordinary Moments #8)

After a wee break for Christmas I’m linking up with Katie at Mummy Daddy Me again this week for some more ‘Ordinary Moments’.

I know a lot of my ordinary moments have featured Toby and his dad, but I guess that’s because I see them every day and that what is my ‘ordinary’. And I just think they are so adorable together!

Daddy's beard

This is them watching TV – Toby loves watching telly. It doesn’t matter what’s on he’s just fascinated by it, always craning his head to try and get a look if he’s facing the other way. And he just loves getting his fingers stuck in Daddy’s beard! Normally we buzz the hubby’s hair and beard every fortnight but until today he hadn’t cut his beard for a month. It was pretty long and Toby was starting to really grab and pull at it. So today it got a trim but he didn’t seem to mind – as soon as he sat on his daddy’s knee up went the hand, straight into the beard. He doesn’t even seem to be aware he’s doing it half the time! Bloody adorable.

mummy daddy me

Plans for 2014

2014 plans

I know we’re a few days into the new year already so I thought it was about time I wrote about some of my plans for 2014. These are not resolutions as such, just some things I hope to achieve in the coming year.

1. Continue to lose weight.

I’ve not been back on the scales yet but I’m pretty sure I’ll be back to square one after my Christmas eating! I’m not going to do my usual trick of just giving up though. My Fitness Pal was working well for me before Christmas so I’m going to carry on the calorie counting and hopefully try and fit in some exercise too – even if it’s just making sure I get out for a walk with Toby in the buggy a couple of times a week. After years of faddy diets and crazy exercise regimes I know exactly what I need to do. I’ve found a really simple way to lose weight. Shall I let you in on my secret? Here it is: Eat less, eat better, move more. That’s it. You can have that one for free!

2. Watch our spending.

I’m to used to having two pretty decent salaries to go at so although we’ve never been well off, before Toby came along we didn’t have to worry too much about our spending. I’ve always been quite money savvy and make sure I find the best deals for things like the mortgage and car insurance. Where I’ve been getting a bit slack though  is with the supermarket shopping. Now we only have one salary and maternity pay though I need to be a bit more careful. I always used to plan our meals for the week before doing the weekly shop, and I still have been, in my head. But without a proper list I always seem to forget something, and when I go back to Tesco for one thing I always end up spending twenty quid and a lot of baby clothes manage to find their way into my basket! So from now on it’s back to meal planning and proper lists and hopefully, therefore, a reduction in our day to day spending.

3. Continue blogging.

I’d like to try and post more regularly and I’ve got lots of ideas for new posts. I want to write some more about cloth nappies; I know I found reading other peoples’ experiences helpful when we started out using them. We’re also just starting weaning with Toby so there’ll be plenty about that too. I still want to join in with Silent Sunday and The Ordinary Moments and maybe find some other linkys to join to. I really want to work on the design of my blog too – I’d love to get a custom illustration done. If anyone knows someone who could help with this without it costing the earth please do let me know! To this end I’m also going to look at going self-hosted this year. I’ve got my own domain name already but I think moving to wordpress.org will give me more options design-wise.

4. Go back to work.

My employment situation is quite complicated and as I’m a teacher working for the local council I can’t really go into much detail here. Basically I was on a temporary contract before maternity leave so I still don’t know if I will have a job to go back to, or if I do then I don’t know where it will be. If everything works out though I should be going back to work in August and hopefully back to the school I was at last year. I initially thought I would want to go back to work part time (and that would still be my plan in the long run) but I’ve started to think that, due to new year’s intention number 5, I might be better going back full time for a year. Which brings us to…

5. Baby number two!

I know Toby is only six months old but we’ve always said we want two kids and I’d like them two years apart. The main reason for this is that my brother is exactly (to within one day!) two years older than me and we got on really well growing up. So, if we want our kids two years apart then I need to be pregnant again towards the end of the year. And if I go back to work full time then I’ll get full maternity pay instead of it being reduced to part time pay. I know I might change my mind when it gets a bit nearer, and we might choose to delay things a bit, but at the moment this is the plan.

And that’s it. I think I’m going to leave it at five. Of course I want to have lots of family time with Toby and the hubby – hopefully that will include our first family holiday abroad too! I know this year is just going to be amazing watching Toby grow and develop. The first six months of his life has been the most awesome, overwhelming and brilliant six months of my life. I can barely imagine how exciting the next year is going to be!

Toby’s first Christmas

Baby's First Christmas bauble

Throughout the run up to Christmas I read lots of blog posts about ‘Baby’s first Christmas’ and to be honest I was slightly baffled by the efforts some people seemed to be going to when their babies weren’t old enough to even be aware of Christmas let alone remember it. Toby was just over five and a half months old on Christmas day and I knew for him it would just be another day. He quite liked playing with our fibre optic Christmas tree but apart from that Toby had no idea anything was going on. And so I didn’t really see the point of doing anything to make his first Christmas ‘special’. Some people may think that’s a bit mean-spirited of me but I think it’s just that I’d rather save the fun stuff for when Toby is old enough to get excited about it.

We did make one concession to it being Toby’s first Christmas and that was to stay at home on Christmas day rather than go to my parents’ house like we usually do. That was a bit of a political decision too really – my in-laws usually go on holiday for Christmas so for the three years we have been together the hubby and I have always gone to my parents and there hasn’t been any worry about offending anyone. However, this year my mother-in-law is recovering from an operation on her neck and can’t travel so they were staying at home. My parents live in Blackpool and my in-laws in Manchester while we’re up here in Scotland so visiting everyone in one day just isn’t possible. By choosing to stay at home we didn’t have to decide which set of grandparents Toby would be with on his first Christmas morning. Instead we stayed with my parents on Boxing Day so we could see them and my brother and sister-in-law too and then we went to visit hubby’s parents for a few days after that which worked out well for everyone in the end.

I did buy a ‘My First Christmas’ bauble from Mamas and Papas but it does have the year on too so it’s a nice keepsake and something we can put on the tree year after year. We didn’t get Toby too many presents either. A couple of toys and books and some clothes. Seeing as Toby wouldn’t know what he was unwrapping (he did manage to help a bit with pulling the paper off though!) I didn’t tell the hubby any of the presents I’d bought and he got Toby something that I didn’t know about. That way at least someone got a nice surprise when the presents were opened. I don’t think I would have even bothered wrapping them this year if we had both known what was inside!

Playing the keyboard
Toby playing with his present from daddy

We still had a lovely Christmas day together and I got the chance to practice cooking my first Christmas dinner. But for Toby it was still a normal day. I did get him some new pyjamas for Christmas Eve but I didn’t bother with a Christmas Day outfit – he’s just moved into his 6-9 month clothes so there are lots of things he hasn’t worn yet. We managed to fit most of the day in around Toby’s usual routine pretty well though. And after weeks of waking up at least once during the night Toby gave us the best Christmas present he could – he slept from 6:30 pm on Christmas Eve until 8:30 am on Christmas Day without waking up at all! So then after we all got up and had our breakfasts we opened a few presents. Toby then went back to bed for his morning nap, we opened some more presents and I got started on the prep for dinner. After nap time we opened the rest of Toby’s presents, had lunch and a bit of a play then it was back to bed for Toby. The plan was to have our starter while he was still asleep but he woke up slightly earlier than planned. He was quite happy having a play on his baby gym while we ate though. Then we put in him in his new highchair while we had our main course and we gave Toby his first solid food to play with. We are planning on going down the baby led weaning route (more blog posts on that to come!) and although Toby isn’t quite six months yet we thought Christmas dinner might be a nice time to give him something to have a look at. So he played with a few carrot and parsnip sticks (although none made it into his mouth) while we ate our dinner. After that it was bed time for Toby and we eventually had our dessert (sticky toffee pudding – yummy!) at about half past eight.

Christmas dinner with baby
Christmas dinner!

So for us there was no disappointment, no anti-climax. Toby’s first Christmas was exactly as I expected it to be. It was a bit strange for me not to be with the rest of my family for only the second Christmas in my life, and I actually had a little bit of a cry in the evening because I realised I’d missed them, but overall we had a lovely time just the three of us. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing next year. The idea of going to my parents’ is actually quite tempting – at least then I might get a bit of a break. Although our Christmas day was great we still had to do all the things we do every day; nappy changes don’t stop for Christmas! I even had to do a nappy wash because we were going away the next day. And I had to cook Christmas dinner! At least at my mum and dad’s someone else would do the cooking and there would be other people to entertain Toby for a bit. I might even get my traditional Christmas afternoon nap myself! I know next year will be totally different anyway. Toby will be 18 months old and I’m sure he still won’t understand what Christmas is about but he might be able to open his own presents and maybe enjoy playing with some new toys – or the wrapping paper and boxes anyway!

If you had your first Christmas with your baby I really hope you managed to have a good one. If you want to read more about how babies’ first Christmases don’t always turn out how you planned then Donna has written a great post over at Redhead Babyled. And if your baby’s first Christmas wasn’t quite how you’d hoped then remember there are lots more Christmases still to come.