Monday, 27 December 2010

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Proper snow

The rest of the country seems to have had snow for weeks, but it only reached bedford yesterday. So today we took Marisca for her first walk in the snow:

The Mountain Buggy performed beautifully, both on the paths and through the trees:

Marisca thought snow looked odd, but couldn't play with it as much as she would have liked as we'd trapped her hands in mittens:

But she enjoyed watching it fall off the trees when Daddy swung on the branches!

My new nappies arrived

My new nappies arrived yesterday, and with them came this new toy! I like it very much. I hope I get some more of these for Christmas!

I'm not always smiling...

The joys of digital photography means that we can take hundreds of photos of our beautiful girl, then delete all the ones where she isn't smiling or is looking less intelligent than usual. This can give a slightly skewed idea of life - Marisca has her moments:

Tim's parenting style involves sympathy at all times:

And don't worry - a quick cuddle with Daddy and Risky was back to her usual smiling self!


Marisca graduated from the baby bath to the big bath a couple of months ago - much more room for splashing around. We did buy a bath seat for her, but have never used it as she is perfectly happy (and stable!) just sitting in the water. Her current fascination is with the bath plug, so we spend a lot of time preventing her from pulling it out.

And while we think out girl is getting bigger by the day, here's a reminder that she's still quite small really:

(yes, this does show up the grim state of the tiles in our bathroom. If anyone would like to come round and clean them for us they are very welcome! I'd rather play with my girl than scrub grouting...)

A little photoshoot

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Seven months

I'm late with this post - sorry. Marisca had a cold last week, and I got some yukky virus which meant I had no energy so blogging was not top of my list of priorities. Still, we're all better now:

It's been a fun month. Sitting is old hat now, no pillows needed for support any more! Marisca now gets up on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth, but is showing no signs of wanting to crawl just yet. This is good, as it means I can still pop out to the kitchen to get a cup of tea knowing she won't have got into mischief while I'm away. Favourite toys at the moment are ribbons, an old necklace, juggling cubes and anything Mummy or Daddy are holding and trying to use. You will note there are no *actual* baby toys in that list...

And - whisper it - sleeping is getting better, with much less protesting. Or maybe I've finally got to the stage of coping with the crying! Marisca is pretty predictable with nap times, which means we have a routine of sorts to our days. It's not Gina Ford, but it works for us. The best bit of my day? Walking into Marisca's room after a nap and seeing the huge smile she gives me every time. Melts my heart :-)

Sunday, 5 December 2010


We thought for a while that Marisca's animal would turn out to be lions, what with the MGM connection and all, but it seems that giraffes are the way forward. Never more so than in these photos, wearing a giraffe vest and a giraffe jumper, and doing one of her favourite things, playing with Raff's tail.

The photos are a month or so old but I just found them again and wanted to share!


Marisca's first snow, while dressed as little red riding hood. I think we were more excited than she was!

Thursday, 25 November 2010


I've been away with work for the last couple of weeks. 2 nights away last week and 3 this week, and it'll probbaly be the same for the next two weeks. Although I'm in another country, it feels the same during the day - thinking about Marisca invades my thoughts with a similar regularity. After work though, I miss her. On a normal day in London, I'll get home just as she's going to bed or more usually once she's asleep, and she's waking up the next morning just after I've left, so all I'm really missing is looking in on her a couple of times and a quick stroke or kiss of her head, and settling a crying baby back to sleep. Those moments are so fleeting or supposedly unpleasant, but I really want to be there for them. I'll get home tonight tired after travelling and intense 12+ hour work days all week, but if Marisca wakes up at 1 in the morning, I'll be there first.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Because I don't want to do the washing up

It's been quiet around here for a few days. Have a couple of pictures of our gorgeous girl:

Learning to untie Mummy's laces!

Sleeping like a baby. Isn't she lovely?

Sunday, 7 November 2010

six months

What a beautiful, happy, smiling daughter we have! The last month really has been fun: Marisca is generally a happy person who loves to smile at anyone. Rolling over is well established now, and she's much happier to play on her own for a while - the whole of the sitting room floor is now her playground, as she rolls so much there's no way she'll stay on the playmat.

The new skill this month is sitting:

Marisca can't sit up by herself yet, but if you put her in a sitting position she'll sit unaided - until she gets bored and flops down. She's usually surrounded by cushions just in case... all of this movement and new positions has given Marisca a new view on the world, and she's loving it.

We still have crying at nap times, which still breaks my heart, but I know we can cope with it as I know it is just her way of settling. I look forward to the month where the update says she's grown out of crying to sleep though! Meanwhile weaning continues, which is great fun for all of us. I'll post a separate entry on how that's going as the pictures are classic.

It seems a very long time ago that we brought home our little scrap of a newborn girl. That baby has vanished, to be replaced by our little girl with her own personality, likes and dislikes. It's been a hard six months with so many new things to learn and worry about, but I wouldn't change a thing. I'm looking forward to all the new things Marisca will learn over the next six months, and all the joy she will bring to our family!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Happy half year!

Happy half birthday Marisca. The past 6 months have been amazing and we love having you around.


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Autumn colour

We took advantage of the lovely weather this weekend to get out on a Walk. We headed to the Ashridge Estate near Berkhamstead, a beautiful area of beech forest on the edge of the Chilterns. The autumn colours were stunning:

This also provided Tim and Marisca with an opportunity to try out their new mode of transport, a proper hiking backpack:

Tim has wanted one of these since the day we found out I was pregnant, so he was really pleased that Marisca is now big enough to make use of it. She enjoyed the views from her new vantage point and had a quick power nap when she wanted one.

After afternoon tea and a quick outfit change, Marisca enjoyed playing with the autumn leaves:

Visiting my cousins

I had a lovely time last weekend visiting my cousins. Mostly I hung out with Elliot as he is my own age and doesn't play funny games that I don't understand. I did have lots of cuddles with Izzy too though.

There was plenty of space on the floor for both of us to roll around on, and we were so mobile that I'm surprised that Daddy managed to get a photo of us in the same place facing in the same direction!

We went swimming on Saturday which was fun, and went for a walk to the park on Sunday. Of course Elliot and I didn't walk - we're too important to have to walk to places, we have people to push us around instead.

Maybe next time I'll be big enough for the swings too!


Marisca's got consonants. I'm sure during the week she's going mamamamamamama all the time and it's just at the weekend when I'm home that she switches to dadadadadadadadada, and I'm equally sure that she has no idea why it makes me grin so much, but it's lovely all the same.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


I love this photo of Marisca - Tim is less keen. What do you think? Gorgeous as always?

not really weaning

We have been quiet for a while, mainly because we haven't been taking many photos. Sorry. Marisca now notices the camera and tries to grab it, so photo sessions have to be very short!

Anyway, over the last couple of weeks we have been starting to introduce Marisca to food. Current guidelines are to feed only milk until 6 months so we have been in no hurry to start weaning. But Marisca is now fascinated by everything we are holding and frequently tries to grab it and get it to her mouth. I had to wrestle my flapjack away from her the other day and she cried - time to introduce her to other foods!

We're planning on following 'baby led weaning' - rather than puree-ing food and spooning it into her we'll let Marisca feed herself. She has the co-ordination to pick up food and will gradually learn how to handle different foods, and eventually swallow them. Even though we're not officially weaning yet, we've started letting Marisca try some fruit and vegetables. So far we've had banana:

And carrot:

And some pre-loaded spoons of yoghurt (I fill it and hand it to her, she smears it everywhere and eventually puts it in her mouth):

It's messy, and I have to resist my urge to 'help' her by guiding the spoon or food to her mouth: she'll learn soon enough on her own. We also have no idea how much she is eating - not much so far, as most is spat out. I'll spare you the description of her nappies, as that's where we look for evidence that food is passing through! But so far it's been great fun, watching Marisca as she learns about all the new textures and flavours that food can offer. We're really looking forward to our official start of weaning when she can try anything we're eating!

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Marisca likes sleeping on her front. Ever since she learned to roll that's how we've found her. Sometimes even with her little arm dangling out of the cot. How cute is that?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Five months

(our version of spots v stripes. I apologise for my bed hair, but it's such a lovely picture of Marisca I couldn't resist posting it).

Another month, and suddenly Marisca is a completely different person! There has been lots of development in the last couple of weeks: she's so much more aware of the world around her and is obviously fascinated by everything she sees. Not only does she now reach out for whatever you are holding, but she'll reach out for anything that takes her fancy. On holiday this week she managed to pick up a sugar packet from the pot on the table and pop it in her mouth! Meanwhile she is fascinated by anything we do: particularly watching us eat and drink while she's sitting on our laps.

As well as this the other new skill is rolling over. Marisca can now flip from her back to her front. I'm not sure she knows she's doing this just yet, but I'm sure that will come! Thankfully, she's always loved tummy time so ending up on her front doesn't usually bother her.

Of course, the problem withthis new-found mobility is that she gets stuck. I've just had to go and rescue her from the corner of the cot where she'd got wedged while trying to get to sleep. She's fighting sleep a lot more now in the evenings: I think she wants to stay awake and try out her new-found skills. As with everything, I'm sure this is a phase and it will pass.

She is still our beautiful little girl, and getting bigger by the day. We're looking forward to all the development this month, at the end of which we've got the excitement of weaning to look forward to :-)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

In praise of the mountain buggy

When I was pregnant we spent a very long time debating which pushchair to buy - I mean months. We wanted one which was sturdy enough to go off road, but small enough to be easy to maneuver round town (and in and out of our front door!) Then there was the question of whether to have a separate carry cot or just one bit which could lie flat, whether we wanted the option of having the baby facing towards us, and how the thing folded up. You would be amazed how complicated some 'travel systems' are - we soon invented the rule that we would only buy a pushchair which we could work out how to use without instructions. Trish was quick to recommend the Mountain Buggy, and after much deliberation we agreed with her. And we have never regretted it - we love our buggy!

It's small enough to nip round the streets and shops of Bedford, but very robust and stable over gravel, grass, tree roots etc so fits in with our weekends and holidays as well. Tim likes it because it's red, and the handle adjusts to a comfortable height for him as well as me.

Marisca likes it because it's comfortable for her. She has spent the last few months in the separate carry cot, but has just become too long for it, so has now graduated to the buggy seat:

She can still lie flat for naps, but can now sit up and see a lot more of the world. It should take her a while to grow out of it (you can see the footrest in the above shot!) So far she seems to be liking the change of view.

We fitted a cycle computer to the buggy to encourage me to get out and walk with it, but I really haven't needed much encouragement. It's so easy to use and so right for us that it was worth the expense! Thank you to my parents for generously buying it for us.

Getting creative

I've got the sewing machine out:

I'm feeling quite pleased with myself for doing something creative: the good thing about making clothes for Marisca is that they're quick to do, so can be fitted in to evenings or nap times. The trousers are made from a remnant from my local fabric shop - they stock all sorts of wonderful fabrics for making salwar kameez, so always have a huge choice. And the dress is made from two tea towels picked up in TK Maxx!

I still have a knitted patchwork blanket on the go, but am tempted to get on with some more creative projects. Any suggestions?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Look what I've found part 2

I've got feet!


I got stressed this weekend. I made the mistake of reading a book, lent to me by a friend, which had suggested routines for a baby in it. It started out well, discussing the different cries a baby makes (emotional, which means they need your help and a cuddle, hungry, which means they need feeding, and complaining, which means they are bored or tired etc.) It also chimed with the way Tim and I had been getting Marisca to sleep when she was tired: letting her cry a bit if it was just a protest cry, but going and sitting with her if she cried too long. We never let her cry if she's unhappy, but she does tend to cry as she is going to sleep, and picking her up just makes her cry more! Anyway, as all the advice seemed to fit with what we are doing anyway I started thinking this could be a good book, and made the mistake of reading the section on routines.

This suggested that a breastfed baby should have a two hour nap in the morning, another two hour nap in the afternoon, and feed every four hours. What?? Marisca sleeps for 40 minutes several times a day, and feeds every 2 to 2.5 hours (but sleeps through the night). I started stressing - should I try to make her sleep for longer, should I try to stretch her feeds, would she be happier in more of a routine etc. As with all baby books, this one of course said that all babies can follow this pattern with no problems. Then I made he mistake of looking on the internet. Lots of people saying two hour naps are the way forward, others saying they had no routine, others with different schedules. Not to mention the discussions about best times for bed/waking up!! I hit a low point and worried I was doing everything wrong.

Then I sat back and took stock. Marisca consistently sleeps through the night, from approx 7 pm to 6 or 7 am. She sometimes wakes once in that time for a feed, but then goes straight back to sleep. She consistently gets tired two hours after she's woken in the morning and goes down for a 40 minute nap - sometimes longer, never shorter. She generally gets hungry every two hours, sometimes a bit longer if she's slept a lot. When she's getting tired (generally two hours after she wakes up from a nap), she gets bags under her eyes and we know to put her down - if we don't, she will cry with tiredness but eventually settle to sleep. If we put her in her cot she knows it's time to sleep and will settle down. It's not a set 'routine', but it's working for us, and fits with our varied days.

So I'm ignoring baby books and 'experts' and the internet and going with what feels right and works for us. That way we should all stay happy and well rested! I'll kepp you updated on whether this works, or whether I resort to expert opinion again...

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Camping. Again!

I had another couple of days of holiday to use before the end of the month, and after camping in Wales a few weeks ago we decided on a whim (or as close to a whim as you can get with a 4 month old) to have a weekend camping by ourselves, in our new big family tent.

We chose to go to the North York Moors again having enjoyed our weekend there at the end of last year's camping holiday. We found a nice campsite just outside Robin Hood's Bay with really stunning views.

The stunningness of the views had a corollary: sea breezes. Putting up a big tent that we've never pitched before in a stiff breeze with a baby who demanded attention was interesting! We managed it though, and sat back, amazed at the size of the tent. I said at the time that by the end of the weekend we would be absolutely used to it and not be able to go back to the little tent - I'm not sure that's quite true, but we certainly enjoyed having so much space. Unfortunately strong sea breezes and big family tents don't mix too well... The tent survived fine for the first two nights, until Monday morning when we were preparing to go out to Whitby for the day, listening to the weather forecast of storms coming in, and as the winds picked up our clifftop position seemed a touch precarious. Sure enough, the wind shifted direction onto the front of the tent, got up a good blow, and started pushing the poor little poles over. When it dropped again the poles sprang back to shape, but we didn't fancy leaving it for the day and coming back to see whether we still had a tent! So we cut our stay a night short, and decided that sheltered campsites are probably more feasible for the next little while.

Aside from the fun of the tent, we had a really nice time. We had our first proper walk (over a hill, with an OS map, and lunch halfway round, although only 5 and a half miles it's a good start) up over the moor of Ainthorpe Rigg and down Little Fryup Dale. Mmmm. Marisca enjoyed the walk in the sling more than the scratchy heather when she needed changing on the top.

Later on we drove up Beacon Hill to introduce Risky to trig points. I know it doesn't really count because we didn't walk there, but it's good enough for us.

On the day we packed everything up, we did go into Whitby and enjoyed the traditional sights, in traditional weather. Yes, Marisca was nicely wrapped up in a sling with mummy. Yes, that means mummy had to wear daddy's waterproof. Yes, that means daddy didn't have a raincoat. Note to self: take two daddy sized raincoats on our next camping holiday.

Marisca enjoyed the fish and chips...

Finally, I don't think I'm capable of writing a blog entry about "things we have done" that doesn't include a gratuitous photo of my little girl that makes me feel soppy when I see it. So here she is, napping in her new tent.

The Baptism of Marisca Grace

On the 5th of September Marisca was baptised at our church, the same place we were married, and afterwards we had lunch for family and friends at the same place where we had our wedding reception. How's that for continuity? It was striking to me how much our lives have changed over the five-and-a-bit years, based on the relative proportion of little people at each event!

First: the fashion. Marisca wore a dazzling number in white lace (I think). An heirloom christening gown which her mum, aunt, and in different part her gran and grandad were all christened in (I think). It's a Crocker special, in any case, and received lots of admiring comments.

For the ceremony itself, our girl was impeccably behaved. Hanging on Martin's every word, almost enjoying the baptism of water, and charming the congregation as she went round during the singing of Be Thou My Vision (another common thread from our wedding).

If anyone has any photos from the day, please do send them to Elspeth or myself. We hardly took any ourselves, presumably we had too much to do in making sure everything went smoothly. Thanks to my dad for the ones of the service including the one above.
I did manage to take a couple of photos of the cake, for which much kudos to Elspeth for the sweeties and Sian for the writing. Corecktly speeled and everything!

Thank you to everyone who came to share Marisca's special day, we had a really great time.