Monday, May 28, 2012

Where in the heck have I been?

Who taught my son how to share?

I've been sick and still sorta sick.  I got a touch of that stomach virus that my son had, that he also shared with his grandmother.  It was like morning sickness all over again, complete with broken blood vessels in my face.  Then it turned towards my throat and now chest.  It has also been alternating days when it strikes.  For example, last Monday I felt sick.  Tuesday, I was fine and did catch up.  Wednesday, I was sick as a dog again and so on.  Today and tomorrow, I have Arthur in nursery for some much needed rest and couch camping.

I kept things pretty busy last week though.

I cooked a couple of outstanding meals and sent food off to the grandparents' house.  I did a simple beef stew with some of the vegetables I had left over from the homemade chicken soup that I made for grandma when she was sick the week before.  Then I did a crock pot lasagna over the weekend.  It turned out exceptionally good.  That recipe is a keeper!

Over the weekend, I did some household DIY... I did some research on indoor house plants provided by my friend Jared Bentley a few months ago when he posted this website on his Facebook:  Types of Houseplants That Clean Indoor Air.

Tuesday turned into a day full of organizing myself.  I wanted to get house chores set up on Google Calendar, inspired by Flylady and one other stay at home mom who's name escapes me.  That way, I can keep on top of things without resorting to triage and if I want to know what I'm doing chore-wise for the day, I can just ask my phone.

I also started looking into the Sure Start programs that they have around England.  Sure Start is a government program that gives parenting resources to care takers of small children.  Their services range from baby wellness examinations (sort of the replacement for US pediatrician visits), counseling, breastfeeding support groups, play groups and community service opportunities.  This is in addition to things to do at the Wigan Life Centre (i.e.-- the pool).

So I've got a pretty full schedule.

Monday mornings, Arthur and I will be attending a toddler arts & crafts class; afternoons, he goes over to Grandma's and in June there will be a play group session opening up that his grandparents could take him to if they wanted.

Tuesdays, Arthur goes to nursery.  However, when this next little one comes along, there is a mommy and infant exercise class in the morning and a breastfeeding support group in the afternoon... complete with lactation consultants to help with latching issues and the like.  There is also an afternoon story time.

Wednesdays, Arthur and I can go to the swimming pool.  In the afternoons, he goes to Grandma's and once again, there's a play group session available for them to attend if they choose.

On Thursday, there are two play group sessions... one in the morning and another in the afternoon.  There is also an evening class for me called 'Aquanatal', meant to be an ante-natal exercise class. After the next little one comes along, there is a baby massage class in the mornings.  Infant wellness check ups are done in the afternoons.

On Fridays, there is an art class that I plan to attend until the next little one comes along.  After the next little one arrives, there is another mommy and infant exercise class.  Arthur is usually in nursery on Fridays.

Then Saturday mornings after Arthur turns two, he'll be enrolled in a soccer class.

The play groups are really good.  I took Arthur to one last Thursday and was very impressed with all of the toys they had for infants and toddlers to explore.  They had crafts set up for older children.  Then after play time, there was clean up and fruit snacks for all of the kids.  When Arthur and I arrived, there were about fifteen other moms there and that number easily doubled by the time that we left.

I've got some additional classes coming in June that teaches about how the local school systems work and how to best prepare your children for those and then I also enrolled in a class for infant weaning.  I know I've pretty well done weaning already with Arthur, but I want to get some new ideas on how to do it better with this next child (not being scared to death of gagging would be a good start!).  Plus, its another opportunity for me to network and get to know other moms who have children around my children's ages.

In September there is a parenting class... more like a 'what to expect at labor and delivery' class and a breastfeeding workshop for expecting moms.

Then after both of my children are old enough to go to nursery, I will be taking another class to get a certification to become a teacher's aid and/or school volunteer.  Trying to get your kids into the right school takes a little bit of 'who you know'... so... using that as another networking opportunity to help my kids get into Woodfield Primary School.  Woodfield was the school that their dad went to when he was growing up and its considered among the best schools locally.

I'm actually also considering teaching... period... as a change of career once the kids are in school themselves.  I have a lot of time to figure out that part though.

Besides all of that is the question of how to get around to get all of that done?  Things where we live are pretty convenient, still within a mile of home, but England's not known for its great weather.  Then there's the fact that I'll have two babies to tote around to consider.  So I am also looking into driving classes and buying a car.

We started car shopping this past weekend.  I went to look at a Fiat 500 first because it was the car that we hired when Chris and I were in Italy and its a very fun car to drive.  But it only comes in two door and getting a rear facing infant in and out of it would be very tricky.  Mostly what I'm looking for in a car is a small foot print for getting around town and finding parking easily for; something with four doors so that small children are easily accessible; something that makes ingenious use of the interior for such of a small space, including the boot (trunk); and just about all cars of that class have an insane 50-70 MPG rating.  Right now, I'm looking at perhaps a Toyota Aygo or Yaris; a Citreon C-series; a Peugeot 107; a Fiat Panda; or a Nissan Pixo or perhaps even a Micra.

Then in the shorter term, as in this week, the Olympic Torch will be passing within one mile of our home.  I've been working up plans with Chris to walk out there as a family to watch it go by.  This weekend is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and she's touring the nation.  Its not been released when exactly she'll be making her way through Wigan, but Chris and I will be seeing about going out to see her.  Then we also have the long awaited gender scan for our next little one.

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