6 months later…

Is it just me, or has this year absolutely FLOWN by? I swear I blinked and we were closing in on the last quarter of 2015. I think this year has been the fastest of my entire life.

I have absolutely LOVED this year. Not every minute of it, per se… but it has been pretty amazing.  So go get you a cup of tea and let’s have a bit of a catch up…

I went back to work in March. Returning to work was a lot harder than I anticipated. A. LOT. I could write a book about how hard I have found it. I honestly was not expecting it to be a difficult transition, but it has been for various reasons.

And then I found out I was pregnant… again.

Suffice to say, that was a big ole’ shock to everyone for various reasons. I am due in November and having a MUCH different pregnancy than the first… last year. (I still can’t believe I am pregnant. I mean. I AM PREGNANT AGAIN? WHAT?) We will have two under two. Two under 1.5. This makes me break out into a nervous sweat when I think about it… I’m sure it will be fine… Maybe? Hopefully? More on this another time.

And then my baby turned ONE. I swear just yesterday I was excited because he was sitting up and now he is toodling around the house with his little walker and chasing the cats. I never have fancied myself very motherly… but it turns out I am absolutely in LOVE with my child and wish I could afford to have 15 more. In fact, I often wish we had opted to have babies earlier so I would have more time with them! (Crazy lady, party of one.) Along with learning how to keep a human alive, I have really taken a stark look at myself and various aspects of my life. It’s amazing how such a life changing event can really make you take stock of everything and re-evaluate priorities.

Anyway… Enough of this mommy drivel. Basically, my life currently revolves around my kid, work, cleaning, laundry, rinse and repeat. So boring, so basic, so perfect.

I need to get back to blogging… It is such a great way to update my friends and family and to keep an amazing record of our little life here in England.

I will leave you with a picture of my best boy! And next time maybe I’ll get a recap of his very FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY up! (Spoiler: It was NOT Pinterest worthy and American moms will totally be unimpressed with my homemade decor and baking. STAY TUNED!)

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If a blogger doesn’t blog, are they even really a blogger?

Each day on the train I think of several things I want to blog about… My month of being a working mom, a new recipe I have tried, the fact that I can’t seem to get back on the healthy eating/workout wagon, some cute shoes I saw on a co-worker that I would totally want to buy if I had any disposable income… And each day I get to work, work like a manic until I have to leave and pick up Archer, go to the train to pick up Archer, get Archer home and have playtime/bathtime/bedtime, cook dinner and nudge some cat hair tumbleweeds into a corner so I can pretend they aren’t there, watch one TV show, and pass out at somewhere around 8PM.

To be frank… I can’t seem to get my shit together enough to actually pay attention to anything other than my baby and occasionally my cats and husband. It has to get better, right? I have to find a routine that doesn’t exhaust me, right? My house is not going to be an absolute tip forever, right?

Today was going to be the day. SUNDAY FUNDAY. I was going to blog all 5 posts for the week (I planned them out in bed last night) and then I was going to go to the gym, take a long luxurious shower, straighten my crazy hair and have egg whites and be virtuous and amazing and a super healthy supermom.

In reality? I did 5 loads of laundry, experienced 2 rounds of projectile vomiting courtesy of the tiny one, mopped the floors twice (he forced me to address the kitty tumbleweeds), did dishes, had toast for breakfast because it was all I could eat one-handed while mopping up vomit, played with the baby, made lunch for everyone, did not shower or straighten my frizz-bomb of a head of hair, chipped my manicure, and washed approximately 400 dishes.

Obviously today did not go according to plan. I have no other blog posts ready to be scheduled for the week. The only exercise I had was of the cleaning variety. And I ate my emotions in the form of a salted caramel cookie at Starbucks when we left the house to get us all from going crazy.

I promise that I do have fun stories to tell and cute pictures (of babies/cats/self) to show you.

I promise I’ll get to it…

My goal for the week? Go to the gym ONCE, eat my meal plan, and stay up past 8PM at LEAST one night. If I can manage that last one, I GUARANTEE a new blogpost.

In conclusion, I’m still here. I’m a hot mess. But I’m still here!

Croissants are my love language…

I thought to wind up my Paris posts, I would share the details of the best boulangerie that the gorgeous Amber pointed us to – Du Pain et Des Idees.

I seriously love croissants. They are one of my very favourite breakfasts. But here is the thing… I am not generally a discerning croissant eater. If they are relatively fresh and are not from Starbucks (the WORST in the UK), I will like them. So, I knew before we went that I would like these… I didn’t appreciate how much I would LOVE them.

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The minute we turned the corner I knew we were in for a treat.

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Pain au Chocolates (aka chocolate croissants) are my absolute favourite. Which led to the purchase of an, ahem, extra. I also got PB an Escargot Rum Raisin. I figured we needed two pastries each to power through all of the walking and keep us warm. Oui? The bambino was napping so we decided to perch outside and eat  inhale our pastries before taking a long walk down to the Seine.

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I am still dreaming about these croissants. They were fresh and flaky and delicious. The pain au chocolate was not bad either. IMG_1708

And here is a blurry picture of me. These days it’s always a gamble asking PB to take a picture without his glasses on. Old age, man. It’ll get you every time. {har, har, har}20150211_093514

After breakfast we took a long walk to burn off our pastries. (As an aside, I think I am getting better at using my camera. I am trying, so that counts for something, right??)

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These treats and sights were a great end to our trip. If you find yourself in Paris and want an amazing pastry (and a chance to attempt your French) head over here. Depending on where you are staying it might be a little bit of a trek, but it is totally worth it. I was the only non-Parisian in the queue which is always a sign of a great place. Thanks again, Amber, for pointing us here!

Weekend in Numbers!

10: Number of times I sniffed my baby’s butt in public. {I have become one of THOSE people.}

9: Number of times I tried to convince myself that I don’t have as many wrinkles as I actually do. {Botox, anyone?}

8: Number of times I tried to convince PB that we need to move to Hawaii. {TOO COLD. TOO. COLD.}

7: Number of times I tried to wash the same stupid non-stick baking sheet that WILL. NOT. COME. CLEAN. {See also: Number of times I ranted about how tough life is when you can’t get your baking trays as clean as Ina gets her. WHY CAN’T I HAVE TWO DISHWASHERS LIKE INA GARTEN!?}

6: Number of times Archer got the giggles over Daddy saying his favourite British phrase “Oh Dear!” {Slays him every time!}

5: Number of house re-decorating/renovation projects that I jotted down for the entry/hallway/landing alone. {Where do I get a money tree? Birthday present, maybe?}

4: Number of time I listened to “Lips are Moving” on repeat while I was folding laundry. {Can’t stop, Won’t stop.}

3: Number of work outfits I tried on. {Number that zip over my bottom? Let us not even discuss.} {Carrying weight in your hips and thighs is better than the tummy and means you would live longer in an apocalypse, yes? YES?! Make me feel better about this.} {Is that even how you spell apocalypse?}

2: Number of projectile vomits that the wall, floor, and I were covered in. {I wish this were a lie.} {Insert screaming man emoji here.}

1: Number of times Archer nursed for the last time this weekend. {Bottle only now.} {I may or may not have cried about it all day yesterday.} {This from the woman who was all “WHY WOULD ANYONE EVEN BREASTFEED?” when I was pregnant.}

How was your weekend??

Friday 5: Reasons why Paris with a 5 month old baby was a disaster!

Continuing with my Paris theme this week… I had a few other blog posts I meant to get up this week but I went a little nuts with cleaning and then had a fun little babies/mamas get together with my NCT friends yesterday… so sorry about that. BUT, Here are my 5 reasons why taking our 5 month old baby to Paris was a disaster!

{With copious amounts of pictures that are of us in Paris, but don’t really illustrate any of my points…because that’s how I roll.}

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1: THERE ARE NO BABY CHANGING ROOMS! No baby changing tables anywhere. Not in a bathroom. Not in a separate room. Not in the handicapped bathroom (which, side note, at the illy cafe was at the bottom of two flights of stairs… which I am sure is super helpful if you are, you know, actually HANDICAPPED).  I had to change Archer on my lap while I was sitting on a toilet, on his changing mat on the toilet, and even on his changing mat on the FLOOR several places. Yes. Floor. It’s fine. We aren’t germaphobes, and he was on his changing mat, but I did slather all of us in some hand sanitizer just in case. I am sure there HAVE to be baby changing areas somewhere, but we were unable to find them anywhere.

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2: You can’t get a buggy/pram in ANYWHERE. Not in cafes. Not in restaurants. Not down some streets without hitting people or cars or both. I live in England. I am used to small places and having to manoeuvre our buggy in tight spaces, but seriously. It was a no-go for us in most places. We tried eating outside but the smoking is still out. of. control. in Paris. If we had wanted to eat at Pizza Hut or McD’s we could have easily gotten the buggy in. But we wanted to have steak frites and wine at the cute little cafes… which have doorways that are minute. We took to wearing baby boy everywhere but he quickly got sick of the Bjorn too. Basically we could. not. win. with him.

Also, this meant I had to breastfeed Archer sitting outside on a bench several times. I had him snuggled up in his coat, a muslin, and a big fuzzy blanket, but still. I mean, we totally could have gone into a Starbucks but they are few and far between (also – another side note – the cost of a grande cappuccino? That would be roughly €6.50. Which is about $9 give or take?)

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3: Dog poop. It is everywhere. Literally. Everywhere. I was constantly having to stare straight down to avoid pushing the buggy through a pile of it and/or walking through it myself. This is no fun when you are surrounded by gorgeous buildings and scenery and want to take in everything around you. {This reason isn’t really baby specific, but I’m just saying.}

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4: Formula problems. OK, so Archer is primarily breastfed but we have been giving him a bottle of formula every night to get him used to it because when I go back to work I am not going to be able to pump/breastfeed any longer. (This is a post for another day… we have a week left of breastfeeding and it makes my heart hurt.) So anyway, we were going to get 4 little bottles of the pre-mixed stuff at Boots in Terminal 5 at the airport to take with us. Insert manic Monday morning traffic, the fact that Boots in Terminal 5 had moved, and we didn’t have time to go hunt it down, and we boarded the plane formula-less. We thought we would just buy some when we got to Paris because it is widely known that most French women formula feed their babies. SO. We got there and there was no pre-mixed bottles to be found anywhere. Also, the cost of an entire container of formula was around €20. A container of the same size in England is between £9 – £10. YES. So basically baby boy had no formula all week because I am cheap and he was feeding CONSTANTLY during the night because my milk supply had adjusted to me not feeding him the bedtime feed. Suffice to say the adjustment when we got home and he got his formula back was great for him but painful for me.

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5: Archer hated Paris.

Actually… let me clarify that.

He loved being outside in Paris. We walked and walked and walked and walked. He would get fussy when he was hungry or tired, as all babies do, but was generally quite happy outside. Inside? CUE SCREAMING BABY. Literally. Any time we tried to go in ANYWHERE he would have a meltdown. The exception being when we went to Angelina’s for overpriced cappuccinos and eclairs. He was a smiley happy boy then and only then. I don’t know if it was the smells, him being overwhelmed with all the new exciting things or what, but goodness. The French love babies. Men, women… Everyone was fawning over him everywhere we went… until he started screaming the house down. We managed to squeeze the pram into this cute cafe one day to have a nice lunch while he was sleeping and then he woke up absolutely puce with rage and wouldn’t calm down until I walked outside with him. That was the end of us trying to dine out.

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So basically, we walked around. Saw some things. And then were stuck in our hotel room with a sleeping baby from 7PM every night (ROUTINES. MUST NOT DISRUPT THE ROUTINE.) We will go back to Paris one day. But only when that one day is after my mother flies in to babysit so we don’t have to be subjected to Archer the Monster again. We were all VERY happy to be home.

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Are you sharing your Friday Five too? If so, leave a comment and I’ll pop on over to check yours out! I need to find some fun new blogs to read.

Paris: Seriously Life Changing Chicken…

We spent last week in Paris. I was going to start with a recap, but basically it is still too painful to discuss. Moral of that story {which I will detail more on later this week}? DO NOT TAKE A 5 MONTH OLD BABY TO PARIS.

However, one thing you definitely SHOULD do in Paris? Take a wander down the Boulevard Raspail to the Organic Market in the 6th around lunchtime… and definitely go hungry.

We always stay around the Opera house and have never ventured much to the other side of the Seine. However, my girl Ina has recommended this market in several interviews and it did not disappoint.

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The fruits and vegetables were amazing. It made me wish we had rented a flat instead of a hotel room so I could cook us up a vegetarian feast.

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Cheeses.

OH THE CHEESES.

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We walked the entire market back to front before deciding that we might actually perish if we did not have chicken and potatoes. The smell permeated the entire market and we were both salivating. We had walked past a cute park en route to the market so we got us each a little basket of potatoes and a big ‘ole hunk of chicken and headed back to eat outside. It was freezing but the baby was napping and I knew he would need to be fed anyway when we woke up, so we could eat and feed him and basically kill two birds with one stone.

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THESE POTATOES. IMG_1684 IMG_1689    IMG_1683 IMG_1690

I think those potatoes were maybe the best potatoes I have ever eaten in my life. They cook the chickens over the potatoes and the fat drips down and bastes the ‘taters. They were SO tasty. Unhealthy? Yes. Worth it? Yes. I wish my French was good enough to have gone back and asked what spice mix they used on them because they were perfect. No salt or pepper or anything was needed.

After I housed all of my potatoes (I blame breastfeeding for my appetite… Paul didn’t finish his. Weakling.) I started in on my chicken. I don’t NORMALLY eat chicken skin… being a Weight Watcher, and all. BUT.

I had to.

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This was still piping hot and the skin was perfect crispy. Paul and I agreed that neither of us have ever had such amazing chicken before. I ate the whole thing. Skin, fat, and all. It was LIFE. CHANGING.

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Right as I was finishing my chicken this little nugget woke up. He was a happy baby until he realised we had eaten without him. But seriously.

How cute is my kid?!

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So if you are in Paris you MUST go to the Boulevard Raspail market and get you some chicken and potatoes. Go with the first stall you see walking down (which ironically was NOT the stall pictured above. I got so excited ordering that I forgot to take a picture). They speak perfect English, are kind about pathetic attempts to speak broken French, and you can get that honking meal for only €10.

Stay tuned for tales from the rest of our Parisian adventure!

The Beginning of the End…

Today marks the beginning of the end of my maternity leave. I got Archer up and dressed this morning and headed to the nursery. He will be going half days this week moving to full days next week. I am due to return to work the first week in March. I started him a bit early to ease him into it and to practice the routine so that my first day back in London will hopefully be less stressful.

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I have SOMANYTHOUGHTS on being a working Mom/Mum.

I am lucky that I am going to have all of my children in England. Every woman is legally entitled to take a full year off and most of the year is usually paid either by the woman’s employer or by the government. My firm offers a ridiculously generous maternity package. However, when I first was having my meetings with HR I told them I knew that I ONLY wanted to take 6 months off (and I even was worried that I would want to start back before the 6 months had lapsed)… However, here I am 5 months into motherhood and I find myself wishing I had decided to take the full year.

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It’s funny, becoming a mother. If you know me in “real life” or even if you have been a follower of my old blog you likely know that I am a major proponent of women in the workplace. I have never understood why you would NOT want to go back to work after having a baby… until I had a baby.  Do I want to be a stay-at-home-mom? DEFINITELY NOT. I know this. I crave adult interaction and I, as much as I hate to admit it, have tied my sense of self-worth to my career. I also know that Archer, and any subsequent children, will have a much better quality of life if I continue to work.

I know all of this.

However, being faced with not spending my days singing to my baby, tickling him into giggle fits, and snuggling him up when he cries brings tears to my eyes. It turns out I really love my little guy and love being his “mummy”. But he needs some time away from me. He cries when I leave a room or when anyone else picks him up… Basically he has slightly early onset separation anxiety. He will definitely benefit from being around other adults and babies. I just need to keep reminding myself of this.

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I am going back to work 4 days a week for the first few months and will eventually move back to 5 days.

Am I worried that my career prospects will suffer by taking one working day off? Absolutely.

Is it worth it to me? Absolutely.

He will only be a baby once, and I can’t bear to miss everything. I’m sure I will do many more posts about my return to work, but for now I am going to go wipe my tears and see if any of my work clothes will even zip. That’s a whole conversation for another day!