Planning Ahead

I have never been much of a planner. But somehow, every year when the yearly planners come out, I always get excited. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and textures. And without fail, every year I am duped into buying one. It doesn't matter that the year before I only used it until June, I convince myself that this is the year I will be organized and walk out of the store with a shiny little yearly planner. And its funny that I always dupe myself into buying a planner. I can barely plan for something next week, let alone a month out! Since I never write things down in my shiny little planners, things can only be planned as far out as I can remember!

However, the older I get, the more I realize I need to plan. Sure, I don’t need to schedule play dates weeks in advance (HELLO, nothing about my life is certain, so a play date too far out definitely is not!) but I do need to plan my life out. Now, at this point in my spiel, I could go off on one of my favorite scripture verses – Proverbs 16:9 – In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps – but that is not what this post is about. It is about planning ahead. God doesn’t want us to not plan; He just wants us to give those plans to Him.
Sure, I have things like a retirement account…admittedly only because a past employer set it up for me, for which I am thankful. And I have thought about the future…

But trying to put that thought into practice is the hard part.

Trying to plan ahead. Figure out how many kids we want (which I will take one at a time and decide). Trying to figure out where we want those kids to grow up, where we want those kids to go to school. Trying to figure out our careers. Higher education? Career aspirations?

It makes me realize that life takes thought. Sure, things happen one day at a time, but if you just look at life day by day rather than looking at the big picture, you will never go to school, never save up for your dream home, never achieve more that you can in a day. And because of that, I want to be a planner.

Eating Off the Floor

I have a very unsophisticated eater on my hands. He loves to pull food out of his mouth, look at it, play with it and then return it to his mouth. He doesn’t use bowls. Whenever we put one in front of him, he almost instantly pours it and its contents upside down.

Because of this, the concept of a suction cupped bowl seemed genius. I suction cupped it to the coffee table and put some cheerios in it. I tested it and it seemed stuck. Connor came over and almost instantly pulled it off. I tried two other times and both times he was easily able to pull it off. FAIL!


So, I conceded and let Connor hold the bowl. He started picking up cheerios and throwing them over his shoulder. After doing this about five times, he turned the bowl upside down.


He was finally back to his element, eating cheerios off the floor! Maybe someday I will make this kid a little more sophisticated.

Weekend Update

We had a wonderful, relaxing and productive weekend over here in the Grimbleby household. We went on a little adventure and ended up on the world's narrowest road. Seriously. Only in Scotland! I am so glad that no one was coming toward us because I don't know how we would have been able to pass. There were fences on both sides of the road, so there would have been nowhere to go.


We went to Costco and only bought things that we needed. Go us! And Connor had some fun with the box at home. We don't know how he ended up with the box on top of him, but he was crawling around the kitchen crying...not serious crying, just whining. It was funny.



We had a move night after Connor went to bed...complete with popcorn. I actually don't remember the last time I had popcorn. It was good. I just don't like how oily my hands felt afterward. Oh, we watched Date Night and thought it was cute.


We put the door back on Connor's room...it was taken off because it opens at a 90 degree angle right into his room and given that our property management company wouldn't take the full size bed out of his room as they said they would, we needed all the space we could get. But, we are now sacrificing space for privacy. Connor wakes up whenever we walk from the living room to the bathroom or our bedroom. It was becoming torture. So, yea for the door! Oh, and how freaking cute are Connor and Ian putting the door on together?!?



We capped off our weekend by barbecuing tri-tip. Apparently tri-tip doesn't exist over here in Scotland. The cow just doesn't produce it! Ian actually printed off a picture of what cut of meat he was looking for and took it in to a butcher. We found out, they use that meat here for steaks and roast, thus no tri-tip. But we got our hands on it and it was good.

Lists are Lame

When I have so much going on in my life (or really, in my head) I become at a loss of what to blog about. So here are some interesting things to keep you intrigued:

I took Connor swimming yesterday. He loved it.
I am not going back to work...long story.
After cooking for what seems 1000 days straight, I didn't cook last night.
Its actually sunny outside today and I am excited about it
(even if I can already see the clouds rolling in)
I am so over Connor having diarrhea
Why do I have so much trouble getting to sleep at night?
I am already planning Connor's first birthday party
I can't figure out if that is super organized or crazy parenting
I am seriously considering buying some fitflops

There is a lot going on behind the scenes in my life right now. Eventually it will be revealed, just not today. And can I just say, that thinking really does kill. I mean, honestly I can't believe how worn out I can get just by thinking about things! If only my brain had and on/off switch, that would be sublime. And I know what some of you are thinking...at times I act as if my brain is off...but just think, if that is me with my brain on, imagine how I would be with it off! Okay, so that was a pointless tangent. And don't you worry, I will be back to my blogging self before you know it!

My Child, The Genius

Did you ever notice that you pop out a child then your whole world becomes about them? Now I am certainly not complaining...I am more afraid that I am becoming a bore-fest for everyone around me. I mean, seriously, how many stories do people really want to hear about Connor? I try to talk about other things, but there is one little reality...he is my world. Oh well. No fighting it. Just another blog about Connor.

Connor is a genius. Sure he can't wave or make animal sounds, but my kid has skill. True skill. The other day, he picked up the phone and held it to his ear! Sure, most of the phone ended up behind his head. I am just so proud of him for getting the concept. Yesterday he picked up the remote control and held it up to his ear like a phone, so he doesn't fully understand. But still. I am one proud mama. My boy is a genius!


Mama's Little Helper

These days I have a little man around the house to help me with my domestic duties. Sure he makes things take about 10 times longer to do...and he seems to always go for the steak knives when I open the dishwasher...but he is so stinking cute that I don't mind one bit!




I am pretty sure that Connor is going to follow in the footsteps of some of the men in my family and be a clean fellow. The little man is obsessed with the washer. Never mind that he pulls things out while I am trying to put them in. When I am trying to get ready for the day, it buys me time to plop him down in front of the washer to let him watch it do its magic. Only problem is, he is now big enough to reach the on/off button!

And the dishwasher seems to be his new favorite. I just have to unload it faster than he can unload the stuff on to the floor! I still don't get why he always goes for the steak knives first. He just about gave me a heart attack the first and only time he got his hands on one...grabbed it and threw it over his shoulder as he does with everything!

The Hair Situation

My hair has been getting longer and longer...it has a tendency of doing that for some reason. I hadn't had it cut since February when I was home. But I greatly dislike getting my hair cut. Honestly. The uncomfortable conversation, the close contact with a stranger. It is all very awkward to me. But, I knew I had to do something. Ian's barber is really nice so I asked if she does womens hair. Turns out she does. So that is where I went. The conversation was easy and my hair looks great. Oh, and it was so much freaking cheaper than getting it cut at a normal salon. So stellar!

So hear it is, styled both straight and curly. I think I look more grown up with straight hair. Curly hair suits my personality and takes way less time to do.


I think my smile looks forced in the picture with curly hair. Not sure why. Oh well...still love my shorter hair.

Good Home Cooking

I cook dinner every night...well, almost every night. We go out to eat maybe once a month and pick up food about once a month as well. Its just the way our life is over here. And to be honest, I have enjoyed cooking. I take pride in us eating good, healthy, home cooked meals. But, I will also admit that all of my meals are not culinary masterpieces. However, I think last night was and I wanted to share it with you.


What you are feasting your eyes on is a tuna steak on a bean salad with salsa on top. All home made by me! And it looks pretty too! Except for the fact that chilli remained on my hands long after cutting it, everything went well. And it tasted good too. Aww, just thinking about it makes my heart and mouth happy!

Maternity Leave

My maternity leave is coming to an end. Next week I am technically supposed to be going back to work. There is so much unknown surrounding me going back and it makes my stomach in knots.

Lets start with my feelings. I have left Connor with a babysitter less than a handful of times. I know it isn't necessarily a healthy thing to do. I need to let go a bit. On Sunday he went to the nursery. The whole service my stomach was in knots. I couldn't wait for service to end so I could run down and grab my boy. Pathetic, I know. But because of these feelings, the thought of going back to work and leaving Connor with someone other than myself or Ian overwhelms me. I'm his mother. I am meant to be with him. On a little side note, I never knew I would have these kinds of feelings. But then there is a flip side...it may be healthy for me to do some stuff away from Connor a few hours a week. Plus we could have some extra cash.

But then there is the unknown with work. I still don't know what store I am going to (I work at Starbucks). And I don't know what my schedule will be. Because of not knowing my schedule, I don't know what I will do with Connor when I do go to work. And having to deal with all of this at a new store where I know no one makes me even more stressed. What if I go back to work and hate it? If I quit, I feel like I am letting people down. If I don't even go back, I feel like I was a poser even taking maternity leave.

UGH...I just need to let this stress go. I don't like that feeling I get in my stomach when I think about all of this. It is just a job. And it is just for some extra money. Is it all worth it?

For now, I get to look at this little face as much as I want and he calms me down.

Wuss, I am not

So I yelled for Ian today to show him this crazy thing I found in our front doorway. On his way over he said something to the effect of, I hope you aren't calling me over for another tiny spider. And he really didn't even respond when he saw what I called him over for. I mean, come on, he was greeted with THIS:


Now I will admit, I can be a little anal about spiders. Its not that I can't handle killing the smaller ones on my own. During the day, I even kill the big, nasty ones on my own. But I do get tired of them coming in my house. It gives me a bit of the creeps. And, given the size of that web, I think I had reason to be a little dramatic about it. That web was huge! And it wasn't in our doorway when we went in the house a couple of hours before. That must have been one huge and determined spider that created it...and since we never found it, it will probably attack me tonight while I am sleeping.

Storybook Glen

Connor and I went with a friend to this place called Storybook Glen the other day. It is a ginormous park where you walk through various nursery rimes and children's stories and get to play with the various things...think castles, little houses, animals, Shrek, Humpty Dumpty, etc.

Anyway, they had this train for kids to play on. I put Connor in it and he loved it. In fact, he refused to sit on the seat. I was afraid he would fall while standing on the seat, but he didn't. Also, as soon as I showed him how to ring the bell, he did it. It was WAY cute! I love watching my little man grow up.

video




Dummy

Over in the UK, they refer to pacifiers as dummys...when I think about it, both names make sense...those little silicone wonders pacify a crying baby and really are a fake (aka: dummy) version of a nipple.

That being said, I have always been a fan of the pacifier. I know parents who refuse to give them to their children because it was a bad habit. I decided before Connor was born, I would much prefer him to suck on a pacifier than on his thumb. My logic was, I can eventually take the pacifier away, but I can't take his thumb away! From the day Connor got home from the hospital (I forgot to bring a pacifier with me to the hospital and they don't give out baby supplies at the hospital over here) he took a pacifier. He seemed to love it. I never had to force it on him and would just put it in his mouth when he was crying. Oddly enough, we never dealt with the issues of Connor waking up at night crying for his pacifier.

A couple weeks ago, Connor started throwing his pacifier for us to fetch. I decided I was not down with that game, so stopped fetching it and he stopped using a pacifier. Just like that. Apparently the kid wasn't emotionally attached to the thing...even though I would have to pry it out of his mouth to get him to smile at people. It was weird.

Now, I am sort of wishing Connor would take a pacifier once again. Ever since we went camping, Connor is no longer sleeping thru the night. And the only way we can get him back to sleep is by me nursing him...mind you, this isn't how he goes to sleep at night. We just put him in his crib and he goes to sleep. Why he needs my boob in the middle of the night, I will never know. Last night, I pulled out a pacifier and tried to give it to him, he went crazy on me. The kid isn't stupid and he knows what he wants. He wants his mom's boob and will settle for nothing less...and this mom is sitting here wishing her son, like so many babies before him, would become addicted to a pacifier!

And for those of you who wish your children weren't addicted to the wonder referred to as a pacifier, the grass is always greener, right?

Camping, The WHOLE Story

When going camping, its hard to know how the trip will go. There are so many things completely out of your control...how the campground will be, the weather, how your child will sleep, food, etc. Well I have to say, things went so well.

We showed up to a beautiful campground. There weren't campsites per-say, it was just pitch your tent wherever. We were able to get a spot between a river and a creek and we were right on the river. It was perfect....drowned out the noise of our child to other people and drowned out the noise of other people from us.




And there is nothing like a camp-cooked meal! Seriously...something about all of it, the steak, the eggs, the coffee...it just all tastes better from a campsite. And from a cool cooker like ours!



Since we were spending a week in the great outdoors, we did some outdoor activities. Some of them were a success with Connor, others not so much. For instance...

Playing with Connor on the sandy beach of a lake...success.



Taking Connor on a bike ride...not so much. Apparently the kid doesn't like bumps and we took him on a 14 mile trail ride. There were so many bumps and so many screams. Finally, in the last few miles, he went to sleep, making it easier on all of us.




Taking Connor swimming (in an indoor pool)...success. After the bubble bath incident of 2010, I was afraid to try something like swimming. What if Connor went completely crazy on us? Well we tried and it went great. In fact, the indoor pool had a rather serious water slide (think more water park, less backyard pool) that we were allowed to take Connor down. Ian and I took turns taking him on it and we went down at least 6 times. The first time, he was serious the whole way down, but laughed after it was over. By the last time down, he actually laughed during the turns. Such a little dare devil! Sorry for no pictures. They weren't allowed at the pool. I got yelled at when I pulled my camera out. Made me feel like I was a kid again...getting in trouble.

Getting Connor to sleep thru the night in a tent...not so much. He went to bed ever evening in his travel cot and slept until at least 1am, giving Ian and I nice evenings together. Then it was a party in mom's sleeping bag, making for less than stellar nights sleep for mom!




Oh, and we went to a wildlife park where we got to take a little guided tour. It was really fun having someone explain to us different things about all the animals...who weren't behind fences and were at times inches from our car. We opened the window and Connor would just stare. It was cute.



So there you have it, a very successful camping trip with Mr. Connor. Lots of memories to be had. And as with every vacation, its now back to reality...back to work for Ian and 23 million loads of laundry facing me!

Camping

In case you are wondering why I have been unusually absent from my blog, we are camping...and camping kind of in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, the second closest town to where we are camping has 1 gas station, 1 grocery store and maybe 5 restaurants. But, we found one with internet today...hence the 2 posts!

Just to give you a preview of our camping...and to make you totally jealous...I thought I would share some pictures from my phone. We are camping right on a river. It sounds and looks amazing and drowns out the sounds of a crying baby! Yesterday we went on a 3 mile hike around a local lake. The temps have been dipping down to freezing at night, but yesterday it hit the 60's and with the sun shining, it was beautiful.

Well, that's it for now!

The view of our campsite


There is nothing like drinking coffee when you are camping!


The view from our tent


Ian's beer cooling in the stream


And a picture of the cutest boy ever!

3 Years

It’s almost hard to believe that Ian and I have lived in Scotland for 3 years. On the one hand, it feels like it has been forever; yet on the other hand, it feels like we have just gotten settled.

From what I hear, we are starting to talk different. I personally blame it on Aberdeen. It has only been in the past couple months that we have been accused of this, so Aberdeen is definitely to blame. Now, don’t get me wrong, we definitely are not sporting Scottish accents…I think our American accents (well, west coast accents) are too ingrained in us for that. But apparently, it has something to do with our voice inferences when we talk. I was accused by someone (you know who you are) of ending my sentences weird. And people we meet over here keep thinking we are from Canada. Apparently you mix American and Scottish together and get Canadian! I’m sure Canadians would appreciate me saying that! Now, voice inferences aside, I do find myself using words from over here more and more. Sometimes when I say some things, I just want to kick myself. For instance, the other day, I referred to dinnertime as teatime. I can’t even believe I said that. Oh well, I guess after 3 years a little bit of Scotland was bound to rub off on me.

Last year, Ian and I made the decision to move to Aberdeen rather than coming back to California. Our time in Edinburgh was done and those were our choices. I think it is safe for me to say that we made the right decision by moving to Aberdeen. Even though Edinburgh is far superior to Aberdeen, Aberdeen really has felt like home more than Edinburgh ever did. We got involved in a church like we never have before and we have made a good group of friends. Sure, they aren’t great friends yet, but I realize that takes time. Also, because of us staying Ian and Connor have had the privilege of becoming dual citizens…a privilege I find rather cool and like to refer to as our back up plan. Hey, you never know what the future holds! And with those passports, you can live anywhere in Europe without a visa!

One of the stipulations of us staying was to get some more traveling in…we definitely have done that! In the past year, we have seen more of Scotland than we saw in the previous 2 years combined...it probably helps that we now have a car. There is just so much to see in this country. Sometimes I feel like we haven’t even seen anything yet! Also, we took a road trip thru the UK, France and part of Italy. I really feel that was a once in a lifetime trip. We got to see so much we wouldn’t have seen if we weren’t driving and got to experience a lot of amazing stuff (yummy Italian pastries come to mind).

I remember when we were talking about coming over to Scotland. Originally it was going to be for a year, then we found out the commitment was for 2 years, but still we decided that was fine. At the end of 2 years, we really wanted to stay one more year…largely so Connor could be born here (I mean honestly, how cool is it to say you were born in another country?!?). And, at the end of year 3, we were definitely coming home. Look where that got us…trying to stay longer! Now I say with certainty, we are only planning on staying 1 more year…but really, how do I know what the future holds?!?
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