Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Long Trip

Before we ever flew anywhere with Isabella I was nervous about how she would travel in a confined space surrounded by many people. I have heard about and have been witness to many children having prolonged temper tantrums or wild runs on airplanes. Prior to my trip to the US, we flew twice within Europe with Isabella and she did great. The trip to the US was no exception, even though the day we left she officially started teething, and the day we left for our return journey she was suffering from the tremendous cold that I now have (which, incidentally, is the first illness she's had at all). We had a bulkhead seat and I was able to use the aircraft's bassinet so she could lay down for short spells, which was really nice. The flight attendants were attentive to us, but it still didn't quite make up for the ticketing issue we found out about two days before our departure. (American Airlines made me pay an additional and extortionate $500 just to have her in my lap. Flying domestically, it's $0. They also damaged my stroller and the cup holders were torn off. But enough about that unpleasantness, nobody has a good time with airlines these days anyway.) During the flights, I amazed myself with my one-handed abilities - not only was I able to quickly change her in the tiny airplane bathroom, but I could use it myself while holding her in one arm, prevent her from touching any of the nasty walls that were all within her reach AND wash both hands. Dealing with all my luggage and a baby stroller were quite another matter and I had to ask for help wherever I could get it. To all of the kind strangers who went out of their way to help me - THANK YOU.

In other Isabella news - She's teething but still hasn't cut a tooth. She's been sitting up by herself for a month and a half. She doesn't crawl but instead eyeballs her target, then scoots, rolls, and creeps in for the kill. To my horror, she has an affinity for electrical cords and goes for those first. Her intelligence often catches me off guard because she can predict what will happen in certain games we play. And right now, even though her poor little voice sounds like a smoker's, she is happily chatting away with her new surplus of toys.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Agate Hunting on Lake Superior

On this particular day, my mom, brother Aaron, Isabella, Kaitlyn and I all went down to Lake Superior (Duluth's claim to fame is that it is the largest freshwater port in the world - last I heard anyway).

My family are all avid agate hunters (myself the only exception as I have found maybe three agates in my whole life).

Lake Superior agates are prized for their color and marbling and are found all over the Duluth area.

While they all hunted for agates, Isabella and I enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather on the beach and walked the boardwalk ("lakewalk") down to Leif Erikson Park and rose garden.

I'm working on embedding a photo slideshow soon to show more photos from the trip. Stay tuned.

P.S. This is what an agate looks like.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

We're home!

Isabella and I are finally home from our trip to Minnesota. Although we didn't get to see everybody we were hoping to see, we stayed very busy seeing quite a few other family members and friends. I really wanted to go out to see my sister-in-law Lucy who gave birth to baby Victoria earlier this week! Congratulations to Jerry and Lucy!

Both Isabella and I arrived home in England with terrible colds and we've been trying to recuperate all day, but it's miserable for a nursing mother and a 7-month old - neither of us can take much to relieve the cold symptoms. Other than that, our return journey went really well because we stayed at a hotel in the Minneapolis airport to get some rest before our 6a.m. flight yesterday. Posts about our trip will be forthcoming, including more photos, but I just wanted to post one quick pic before I turn in for the night.

Isabella & her cousin Kaitlyn in my mom's yard

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Early September Fruit

Fall seems to have arrived slightly early in England. The sun in shining, but the air is distinctly crisp and Isabella is back to being bundled up every time we go outside. This afternoon Isabella and I headed out to the hedgerows behind our house to forage for wild, organic blackberries. If I were to buy these in the supermarket, I would easily pay $4 for a punnet half the size of the one in the photo - which I think is a lot of money for that amount. When I did this last year, my pregnant belly kept getting stung by the nettles that are woven amongst the blackberries.

We go to Minnesota on Sunday. I'm so excited finally to be taking her to meet the rest of my family and friends from back home. I haven't been to the US since I moved to the UK over two years ago! I can't wait to go walking through the dense evergreen forests by my grandma's and take her to some of my favorite State Parks. We need to spend as much time outside as we can; I have a feeling we may be in for another dreary winter.

it's harvest time

In other news, I took Isabella to the weekly baby clinic this morning to have her measured and weighed. Though her weight remains in the 50th percentile, as always, she's actually in the 98th percentile for length (weight: 16.5lbs, length: ~28"). I think there's some conditioned thought process connected to those percentiles that makes a parent's ego inflate the higher those numbers are. Never mind that's she's a healthy, happy little baby - 50th percentile just doesn't sound as impressive as 98th! Whoo-hoo! We're doing somethin' right! Actually, it just shows that she's going to be a string-bean like her mother.

Parece que el otoño llegó temprano en Inglaterra. El sol esta brillante, pero el aire esta fresco y necesito aropar bien a Isabella cada vez que salimos. Esta tarde Isabella y yo salimos a los arbustos para buscar zarzamoras detrás de la casa – las zarzamoras son naturales y orgánicas. Si hubiese comprarlas en el supermercado, hubiese pagado, fácilmente, $4 dólares o mas para un cartón pequeño. Cuando las busque el año pasado, me inqué la barriga con las muchas ortigas que estaban tejidas por las zarzamoras. Vamos a Minnesota el domingo que viene. Estoy muy exitada con la anticipación de la visita con mi familia y amigos. Hace dos años que no voy a los EEUU. Vamos a caminar por el bosque al lado de la casa de mi abuela.. Debemos pasar mucho tiempo afuera para disfrutar del otoño allá, porque creo que tendremos un invierno feo este año. En otras noticias, yo llevé Isabella a la clínica a pesarse y medirse. Ahora pesa 16.5 libras, y mide 70cm (casi 28”).