The End

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Thank you for reading.

Missing Autumn (Ten Months On)

I think I can finally say the summer heat is over. We've had a "cooler" week. I am at last able to do the school run without being reduced to a puddle. It's a cool 24 degrees.

Needless to say to be saying this sounds and feels ridiculous knowing I celebrated a warm 15 degrees after a cold British winter. Perspective: It's bonkers!

I am missing Autumn and it's beauty quite badly. Many of you already know of my love affair with the season. It just doesn't exist in Malta. And yet from what I gather Autumn is long gone in the UK already and there's talk of snow next month.

I do not miss the snow. Snow was always pretty in the UK for the first hour. Then, by the time the train delays and cancellations, and the deliveries that never make it, and the panic buying and empty milk, bread and everything shelves... once all that hits (within a day of the first snowflake settling on the ground), the love is long gone.

So there's one positive. I am now - almost ten months after we moved away - more able to balance things out. My brain also stopped tricking me somewhere along the way. I no longer think to myself randomly that I should pop into the Deaf Cat later on today for one of their orange and cranberry muffins.... only to then be disappointed when I remember the Deaf Cat is no longer a quick walk down my road. I no longer wake up fancying a stroll into Chatham (yes that's the extent to which I miss it all) or a drive to Bluewater (although, ask anyone, I don't think I'll ever stop missing Bluewater... and I can't bear to hear another person tell me, filled with awe, that The Point is huge...)

I do find myself missing Dobbies this time of year. I really fancy having a leisurely walk around our local store picking out some new Christmas decorations and letting Emily, and by now Adam too, drop by to say hello to the fish and the rabbits and chickens, all huddled up in coats and hats and mittens.

I'm not sure why I actually own hats and gloves any longer.We might need them one day in the middle of January when it's a cruel, humid 10 degrees.

I miss many things, still. I'm sure I always will. But ten months on, it's becoming easier to accept, easier to deal with. Although I have to admit, looking up the UK links for this post and dropping by the websites pulled at my heartstrings a little... perhaps still some way to go.

Our Early Halloween

We had an early Halloween party this year. A whole eleven days early. It made no difference to the kids. It only meant decorations were up longer: Adam oohed and aahed at the hanging ones and Emily was convinced it was a party every day. Who was I to argue?

On the 20th October, we opened up our house to thirteen small children and their parents. It was our first event hosted in this house and we loved every bit of it - as did the kids. 

I can't take credit for any of these ideas: Pinterest had a lot to do with the planning behind this party. (1, 2, 3)

I was very annoyed to be missing an old, tatty pair of boots!

Food was split between everyone so these beauties were brought by two other mums:

It all looked fantastic. 

The kids meanwhile, were really great. We'd opened up the kitchen-living, pushed the table up against a wall, and the sofa out of the way to create an open space and access to the toy area. Emily's kitchen went down an absolute treat, and what I'd done earlier that day turned out to have been worth its' weight in gold: I put away all Emily's favourite toys and brought out stuff we had in storage. 

My reasoning was that she wouldn't be too keen to have lots of other kids playing with her beloved stuff (I'm all for her sharing but I think that could be too much for anyone), and I didn't want her screaming the party down in floods of tears. It ended up being handy because it kept her entertained all day, as they were toys she hadn't seen in a few months. And there wasn't a single show-down over a toy during the party. They all played together perfectly. 

I was also surprised (and impressed) that not a single child made any attempt to open a cupboard door. I'd planned to tie handles together temporarily with rubber bands but completely forgot to. All doors remained shut anyway. Good kids.

The orange jelly was a huge success.

(Now have a look at the Halloween pictures from 2011 and check out that first picture again - the one with Emily and her friend James dressed as a spider. It's the same James - he and his parents were visiting us from the UK, which is why we threw the party early!)

Weaning Adam

Adam is now seven months old. He has been eating solids for just over a month. The boy LOVES his grub. And I love how much more relaxed I am this time round.

I knew I'd be doing pretty much exclusively BLW from when I got pregnant this time round. I think some innate part of me knew this boy would be open to it.

He won't have it any other way. If he realises that the food he's eating isn't what's on my plate, he will very specifically tear his food to shreds (never once touching it to his lips) and then throw it on the floor. He will then look at me with a look that's very hard to misinterpret: "Give me your food."

So I give him some of my food and I get squeals of excitement.

He's even gotten better at handling and eating it recently. There's by far less food on the floor than there was two weeks ago. He is even handling gagging much better. I still need to fish things out of his mouth sometimes, but very often, he will sort it out himself.

I only wish I had the time to make better meals the way I used to with Emily. We were so very conscious of everything we ate when we started baby-led weaning with her... but now it seems like quick meals are all I can manage. Because of this, he really loves pasta, pizza* and toast!

He does also love tomatoes, and as he is so fond of toast I take the opportunity to spread anything on that toast. Avocado, bigilla, coconut oil, mashed banana (my nerves just can't take handing him a chunk of banana any longer - far too much mess), anything remotely spreadable that is on my plate.

Whatever I cook, he is happy (read: will demand) to try. So whenever I get my act together and find some more time in the day to cook something different, he won't be fussy about it and refuse to eat it.

There are days when he won't feel like eating, and that's absolutely fine. He's still seven months old and I am fully aware that milk should be his main nutrient until he is around twelve months old. Gone are the Emily days when I tore my hair out because she didn't eat dinner one day here or there.

Everyone did tell me I'd be more relaxed with the second, and I knew it made sense - but I am loving the feeling of being so laid back and just enjoying the weaning experience this time round.

(* home-cooked, and without salt of course)

For more BLW posts, see here.

Beth and Julian

I imagine every now and then, what it'd have been like to have given the kids the names we'd originally planned for them. Things would have been so different! They are, now, SO Emily and SO Adam it's hard to imagine that once upon a time when they were busy kicking away in my belly they were going to be called anything different!

Beth and Julian?

Faye and Aiden?

Chloe and Jacob?

Hannah and Michael?

Emily and Adam.

Leaf Art

We've all caught colds over the weekend. It started with Emily and then spread to the rest of us. This meant she was home from school for a couple days and the boredom was something else entirely. Her teacher has obviously set the bar extremely high when it comes to entertaining our little smartie pants now, and Emily had no patience for my usual (lazy) methods of entertainment. Well, we tried - none of us had much energy for anything else - and the result was several tantrums, way too much shouting on our part, and in one quick description, Hell.

So on Sunday morning I woke up with a minuscule amount of energy and decided it was time for some craft. I mentioned that it would involve paint and Emily was extremely excited. I took her out into the backyard which has someone else's vine growing into it and we picked some (sick-looking?) leaves to use in our project.

We first stuck them to some thick paper, and then we painted them. 


What was I thinking?

David went in to work with pink glitter on his face yesterday.

Once they had dried I cut them out.

We had one very pleased little girl.
(For all of 20 minutes, until boredom hit again.)

The leaves are now stuck on the back door,
and she very proudly announces to everyone that "Me and Mummy made them!"

Thanks goes to RuralMummy for the inspiration.
Quick and easy ideas, just the way we like them!

The Rainbow Room (Emily's Room)

I think it's about time I let you into this room....

Welcome to Emily's (huge) Rainbow Room!

She adores her "hiding place"

There was a very different plan originally meant for this room that involved completely different furniture.
Then we realised that the room this big wardrobe was meant to go into wasn't high enough to home it,
but we didn't want to get rid of it (it's huge and too good by way of storage to lose out on!) so Emily's room
adopted it, and before it was even all in place, we already knew it looked way better than the furniture that
was originally intended for her room. As Emily would say, "We got lucky there!"

She loves her room and will show it off to anyone she can convince to come upstairs with her.

Her Bedtime Brigade

Dolly sleeps in her own cot at the foot of Emily's bed

And then, a while after I took these photos, we finally had THE chandelier installed.
Not everyone was convinced it would work. My mother thought it might be too much for the room.
I think it completes it. The pictures don't even begin to do it justice.
...And my mother has since eaten her words ;)

I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this room, as well as with the fact that I was able to bring in elements of Emily's old bird theme room as I didn't want to leave that behind completely - we barely had eight months to enjoy that one... Here's hoping the Rainbow Room's reign is at least slightly longer!

Princess Canopy from IKEA
Alphabet stickers from JojoMamanBebe
Rainbow & clouds stickers from The Graphix Studio
Images in small frames from IKEA
Flower Nightlight from IKEA
Bookends from Sass and Belle
Blue wall colour is First Dawn by Dulux

At the Petting Farm

On Monday, the day before Emily started school, we had a special little outing. We went to the petting farm in Ta' Qali. We'd been in May and she loved it. We especially went to see the rabbits, which we then discovered had been moved for the summer months due to the intense heat, but will be back later on this month (an excuse to go again soon).

So this time, we instead focused on feeding the goats. We picked some weeds from the soil and I explained to Emily what to do. I wasn't quite sure how she'd react as she's not always very confident around animals (especially lately since a family member's dog tried to steal an apple she was eating and scared the hell out of her!!) but she quite liked the idea and enjoyed it.

It's a sweet little place - the huge pity in my opinion being that there is no kiosk or anyplace to buy snacks. But it's free to go in and enjoy and you're welcome to take your own snacks. There's a horse, a donkey, a pony, swans, peacocks, ostriches, turkeys, a colourful aviary, goats and usually, rabbits. Plenty of rabbits!

She wouldn't go closer or "the pony will eat my banana!"

And these are the pictures from May (ironically, she was wearing the same t-shirt!!)

She loved these rabbits. There were more in hutches that you could pet properly but this was where she wanted to be.

Small play areas within the farm.

It's a sweet place, and easily a quick entertainment option (we weren't there that long this week). I still wish there were food options as I'm sure we'd have stayed longer each time... and the play areas don't really cater for children under 3 or 4 (Emily is really good at climbing but here she always needs help getting up to the slides which isn't easy when I'm holding Adam too!), which is a pity and could easily have been rectified with better planning, but hey ho we have a petting farm and anyone can pet the animals and I guess that's what counts! :)

Off to School

Today is THE day. We spent a few hours in Emily's classroom last week, but today she flies solo. I'm not sure who's going to deal with it worse - me or her. I keep thinking back to that tiny baby I held in my arms split seconds after she was born. How did we get here already? 

We treated her over the weekend, especially for the occasion. We gifted her the Happyland Sunflower PreSchool. She was absolutely thrilled and hasn't stopped playing with it, or thanking us. 

I love watching her play with her "people."

Apologies for the disjointed post. There are just so many emotions flying around at the moment, I can't quite seem to put anything decent together on this topic. 

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture

And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers
Slipping through my fingers all the time