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07/01 Direct Link
Another month of writing madness has begun. It’s the start of the second month of this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo (after a month of camp back in April) and so once again I have decided to take up the challenge. The option of a flexible word count target which was introduced this year has made the challenge achievable once again and my target has been set for 25,000 words. With Pod due to make his or her arrival shortly before the start of NaNoWriMo later this year, I suspect this will probably be my last writing challenge for a little while.
07/02 Direct Link
Last rehearsal at my house tonight before we start rehearsing at church and with less than two weeks to go until the concert, it is starting to feel a bit more nerve-wracking. It seems to be coming together though – we just need everyone to be more confident with the words on solos and duets now so that they can start losing their sheet music security blankets. Although I have been happy with my decision to give up am-dram, I am enjoying the opportunity to perform again and thankfully Jessica sleeps through all the noise of people rehearsing which helps too!
07/03 Direct Link
It’s been a busy day with most of my ‘free’ time spent focusing on church tasks as I needed to finish editing our monthly church magazine and email it to the office for printing tomorrow. It feels as though I have done a lot of writing today although most of it has been typing up other people’s articles and so keeping up with my word count target for Camp NaNoWriMo has been a bit more of a struggle. Somehow I have managed to keep on track although I am very thankful I am not aiming for 50,000 words this time!
07/04 Direct Link
Jessica woke at 5am this morning. Normally I just tuck her back in and she goes back to sleep for an hour or so but unfortunately hubby was doing an event today and so had to be up at that time. Hearing that Daddy was up and about meant it was futile trying to convince her that it was too early still and so the day started somewhat earlier than I’d hoped. Today has felt very long as a result with one very tired mummy and an overtired Jessica. Hopefully we’ll both manage to get a good night’s sleep tonight!
07/05 Direct Link
My mother-in-law was visiting the French market in town today and knowing that rillettes are one of my favourite foods, had bought me a tub, which was very lovely of her. Unfortunately, what she didn’t realise was that rillettes are one of things that it is deemed inadvisable for a pregnant woman to eat (due to the risk of listeria) and so are off-limits for me. The tub is now sitting in my fridge, taunting me every time I open the door. It’s like being on a diet and having a cupboard full of chocolate. Hubby will enjoy them though!
07/06 Direct Link
We took Jessica to see In The Night Garden Live today along with her cousin Scarlett-Rose. It has been such a wonderful day – seeing the look of delight on Jessica’s face when we first arrived was such a magical moment and both little girls thoroughly enjoyed the show and had a fabulous time. We got to meet Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy after the show and as soon as Jessica saw them she went running up to them and gave them big cuddles and kisses. Scarlett-Rose, bless her, was a bit frightened by them though as they were so big.
07/07 Direct Link
I followed most of the Wimbledon final over Twitter as I couldn’t bear to watch but did tune in for the third set and to see Andy Murray win Wimbledon. So nice to finally have a British Wimbledon champion! Jessica’s dinner was a little late as a result which she wasn’t too happy about – bad Mummy! Watching Wimbledon always reminds me of her very first surgery when I was 28 weeks’ pregnant as one of my most vivid memories is of sitting in hospital watching Wimbledon trying to distract myself from the thought of the surgery happening later that day.
07/08 Direct Link
Why are some people so negative about small children reaching developmental milestones? My daughter started walking on her own recently (later than average at nearly 22 months but not surprising with her medical history) and comments included ‘you wish they’d walk and then once they do, you wish they hadn’t’ and ‘now you’ll need eyes in the back of your head’. Well firstly, not for one minute do I wish my daughter wasn’t walking – actually in some ways life is slightly easier as a result and secondly, I needed eyes in the back of my head once she started crawling!
07/09 Direct Link
One of the nicest things about having antenatal care from my friends (and former colleagues) is being able to combine an antenatal appointment with a playdate. Tracy and I had a lovely catch-up and Jessica thoroughly enjoyed having a friend over to play. She kept giving little Amélie lots of cuddles although this didn’t always go down too well as Amélie is not yet as stable on her feet as Jessica (being almost a year younger) and so the cuddle occasionally resulted in Amélie being practically wrestled to the floor. Other than that, we all had a lovely morning though!
07/10 Direct Link
Last night’s concert rehearsal went well – just one rehearsal left on the morning of the concert and then we will be performing for real! Had a funny moment during rehearsal when I was helping two of the men practice their duet in one of the side rooms at church. I was playing the piano for them and as I did a glissando across the keyboard, two of the black keys went flying across the piano! I didn’t think I’d been playing particularly forcefully although it is an old piano in need of a little TLC. Thankfully the damage is repairable.
07/11 Direct Link
Four years ago today my lovely hubby and I got married. Such a wonderful day full of so many happy memories. I still hold the record for latest bride amongst my friends (32 minutes late – fortunately there aren’t many weddings at our church so it didn’t cause too much trouble other than perhaps to Michael’s nerves!) The last four years have been amazing in so many ways and very hard at times but I do feel we are stronger for facing all that we have faced together and I hope we’ll have many more happy years of married life together.
07/12 Direct Link
When you’re pregnant, it seems you become public property – complete strangers feel they can touch your bump and comment on its size. My song in tomorrow’s concert is all about this – it’s called ‘The Ladies Singing Their Song’ from the musical ‘Baby’. With this pregnancy, I have been told several times that I look big. It’s a good job I used to be a midwife otherwise I might be panicking that I really am too big. Thankfully I know I’m not an unusual size for this stage – it’s just that my abdominal muscles aren’t as taut as they once were.
07/13 Direct Link
Our summer concert at church seemed to go quite well in the end although it was a shame that the audience was so small – the lovely sunny weather obviously worked against us in some ways! It was all a bit of a mad rush this morning with rehearsing through all the numbers and trying to get all the lighting and sound kit ready and everyone fitted with mics but we just about managed to be ready on time and everyone did very well. Jessica enjoyed her second stage appearance in the final number ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’
07/14 Direct Link
It has been so hot over the last couple of days! On the one hand, it is so lovely to have such a nice prolonged period of sunshine and blue skies but with temperatures of over thirty degrees, I am definitely finding it a struggle to cope with the heat which has been making me ever so slightly grumpy at times! Thank goodness for cool spray and fans and air-conditioning in the car which helps a bit but if we could have the sunshine with the temperature being just a couple of degrees lower, it would be so much nicer!
07/15 Direct Link
My daughter is quite chatty, particularly when she’s got a phone in her hand (whether a toy one or a real one). I would love to know what she is chatting about but most of the conversation is in Jessica-speak which sadly I’m not fluent in. She can say a handful of recognisable words but most of her communication is through gestures and sign language. Her signing vocabulary gets bigger each day and definitely exceeds her oral vocabulary. It is lovely to see how quickly she picks up new words to sign – just need to encourage the spoken ones too!
07/16 Direct Link
I love Tuesday mornings. On Tuesdays, there is a café session at the church down the road from where I live which is aimed at mums with small children. They always have fabulous tea and cakes and just ask for a donation. The children have a great time as there are lots of toys, a little slide and climbing frame and a sandpit. In the two months I have been going, I have managed to become more friendly with the other mums in the area than I have managed in nearly two years of going to the local children’s centre.
07/17 Direct Link
Every so often, we make plans that end up causing quite a disruption to Jessica’s usual routine and each time it happens I kid myself that there will be no consequences. That it will be okay for her to go to bed much later than usual and of course she’ll sleep in a bit longer and we’ll get back on track the next day. And every time I realise how wrong I am. That in reality, she won’t sleep in and will be grouchy and out of sorts and we’ll both have a miserable day as a result. Silly Mummy.
07/18 Direct Link
My little girl painted her first ever picture today which I was very excited about. We go to a stay and play group every now and then on a Thursday morning and they have various toys out and there’s always a sand pit and a painting table. Up until this morning, Jessica has shown absolutely no interest in the paint at all but today she headed straight for it and I only just managed to get a paint apron on her before she started getting her clothes covered! It was lovely to see her exploring how to use a paintbrush.
07/19 Direct Link
Jessica has been going to baby signing for over a year now and loves the classes. She can sign quite a few words now which has really helped with her communication. Until a couple of weeks ago, she was quite content to sit on my knee and join in with the songs but since she’s become more confident with her walking, she wants to get down and wander about. It’s clear she’s ready to move on and so today was our last session in the baby group before we move up to the toddler group. My baby is growing up!
07/20 Direct Link
We’ve been having a day of golden postbox hunting around London and have managed to visit a record number of twelve postboxes in one day (eight Olympic ones and four Paralympic ones). Technically one wasn’t a golden postbox anymore as it had been repainted back to red but it was on our list so we have counted it and taken a photo. Just ten more Olympic ones left on the list to visit - we are doing well with our gold postbox challenge. There are still 29 Paralympic ones left to go but we’re counting those ones as bonus extras.
07/21 Direct Link
We have had a lovely day out at Paulton’s Park thanks to Families of Ocean Ward who organised a day out for the heart families whose children have been treated on the ward. Jessica thoroughly enjoyed the rides at Peppa Pig World but her favourite part of the day was when we went to ‘Muddy Puddles’ – the water area for toddlers. She loved splashing about in the water and playing with the water jets and it was wonderful to see the delight on her face throughout. It was also great for us to catch up with some other heart families.
07/22 Direct Link
So the royal baby has arrived safe and well and is a bouncing baby boy weighing in at 8lb 6oz (a nice weight for such a neat bump!) I’m glad that all has gone well and baby has arrived safely although I have to confess I have become very bored of the constant news reports when there have been no updates throughout most of the day! Some of the people talking in the media seemed to be wondering if the baby would arrive by lunchtime – have they been watching too many soaps? First time labours are not usually that fast!
07/23 Direct Link
I’m a member of a few online heart groups and forums, which share stories, questions and advice between heart families. Michael sometimes questions whether it is really wise for me to do so as I often get quite emotional following some of the stories but there are inspiring stories as well as heartbreaking ones and it does help being able to talk to other parents who understand the ups and downs of life as a heart parent . Our heart children are such little fighters and I am so often blown away by the strength and courage that they show.
07/24 Direct Link
I’m quite glad the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have decided to name the new baby Prince George. I like the name but it would never have been on our shortlist of baby names – George George just sounds a bit silly really – we’d have had to nickname him George Squared. When we were expecting Jessica, the names Catherine, William and Philippa were all ones we liked but removed from the shortlist as we thought they’d be too popular due to the royal wedding taking place that year. Funnily enough we still went with a name in the top ten though!
07/25 Direct Link
Jessica had her first toddler signing session this week and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very different to the baby signing group – much more active and with different toys and musical instruments. She was definitely the tiniest of the toddlers (although there were some little babies too) and I thought she might be a bit overwhelmed by all the noise and activity but she loved it all and was trying to copy what the others were doing. It felt quite strange being the new person in the group though after having been in the baby group for over a year.
07/26 Direct Link
Every so often, Jessica goes through a picky eating stage and it seems like a huge effort to try and get her to eat (although if I gave in and let her have chocolate and crisps I'm sure I would have no problem!) Knowing that her calorie requirements are higher than for other children her age makes this even more stressful. I keep having to remind myself that we have been here before and it is just a temporary phase and try not to get stressed out about it as this doesn't help. It's easier said than done sometimes though!
07/27 Direct Link
So lovely to spend the day with my family helping to celebrate my nephew Wayne's wedding to his lovely fiancée Terri-Anne. It was such a beautiful day and they were both so happy - we have been waiting a long time for this day! There was a lovely moment at the reception when their eight year old daughter made a speech saying how much she loved her mummy and daddy and she got quite tearful, bless her - made us all cry. Jessica thoroughly enjoyed being able to play with all her cousins and getting lots of cuddles from everyone!
07/28 Direct Link
Had a church open house yesterday and Jessica enjoyed having a swim in the outdoor pool. We always have to be careful when taking Jessica swimming and keep a close eye on her colour as she can go blue quite quickly when she gets cold. Sometimes the transition from being a slightly concerning colour to being alarmingly blue can be quite rapid and whilst we've experienced this before and know we need to be ready to warm her up quickly, it can be quite worrying for those watching. Once Jessica was warm and dry she pinked up quite quickly though.
07/29 Direct Link
July will soon be coming to an end and with it another month of Camp NaNoWriMo. I set myself a target of writing 25,000 words for this month which I managed to complete today. I'm quite pleased with myself for managing to complete both months of camp this year although would never have managed it without being able to set my own word count target - writing 50,000 words in a month is just too much these days. I think it will be a while though before I will be able find the time to embark on another writing challenge!
07/30 Direct Link
Although the big writing challenge for this month is over, I will be trying to keep going with a much smaller writing challenge in the weeks ahead – continuing to try and write 100 words on a daily basis. Some days are so much easier than others – particularly if it has been an eventful day and the 100 words come easily. Other days are quiet and mundane and I’m lacking any creative inspiration and so 100 words are much harder particularly if I feel like I have to try to write something interesting. The main thing though is just to write.
07/31 Direct Link
Had my antenatal clinic appointment with the consultant this morning and am so relieved that all seems to be going well and they have now transferred me back to midwife-led care! This means I can have my appointments at the GP surgery next door to my house rather than having to drive to the hospital each time which will be much easier. It’s also nice to be classified as ‘normal’ and ‘low-risk’ once again – I really hope that this will continue to be the case for the rest of my pregnancy this time around and that all will be well.