Thursday, October 16, 2014

A day in the life

So after I wrote my post about Colin last night, I realized that I haven't been blogging as much lately. There are a few reasons for that, but I think the biggest reason is that we are settling into a life and a routine here, so there doesn't feel like loads of new stuff to write about. However, I should not let myself off easy like that. Just because there isn't something new and exciting doesn't mean there isn't a story.

So I thought I'd document a day in our life. And what better day than today, really. Today was a pretty ordinary day in our lives here. Nothing too special or spectacular, just run of the mill.

All three boys are waking up pretty regularly between 6 and 7 a.m. It's pretty dark still at that time since the sun doesn't officially rise until 7. This morning, Colin woke first and wanted to nurse. As we finished, I thought I might get him back to sleep when I heard the first calls from the boys on the floor below. Reid was hungry. So Colin and I came down a flight of stairs, collected his brothers, and we all descended to the kitchen to find some breakfast.

Lately, we've been choosing between Multigrain Hoops (similar to Cheerios), Scottish pancakes (microwaveable pancakes), porridge (oatmeal), or Nutella bread for breakfast. The boys also like to through a fruit in there, like bananas or berries, to round things out. Today, Jack made himself pancakes, Reid had Nutella bread, and I ate porridge. Welcome to the Barrett short-order diner.

After breakfast, and some playing around in the living room, we head back upstairs to get dressed for the day. This usually involves some fighting between the boys or between me and the boys. They don't want to get dressed yet, or someone is pushing someone else, etc. Today wasn't too bad. Both Reid and Jack got dressed fairly quickly and easily. So much so that I thought I could fit a shower in before we had to leave for school. I had a full 40 minutes after all. But as soon as I left them to play Space Astronauts in their room, the fighting began. Reid wanted to climb up on Jack's bunk, and Jack didn't want Reid in his space. Commence the crying. I brought Reid up to my room to play with Colin, and I still got to take a quick shower.

This is where things always get interesting. I get stressed for time, so I start to get irritable. I try to ask everyone nicely to come down stairs and get shoes on while I finish packing Jack's lunch. Some days it works, today it was not so smooth. Jack complained about being hungry. Reid started to complain that he didn't want to go to school. I think Colin even started to cry because he was tired then. But I got Reid and Colin into the stroller, and all four of us were out the door at a reasonable time. And off we walked to Reid's Montessori school.

It was a great morning for a walk. The sun was shining and drying up the puddles left by the rain last night. So after a quick, nice walk to the school, Jack, Colin and I turned right around and headed back home. We packed up in the car, and drove the 7-minute drive to Jack's school in Kingston. A hug and a kiss there, and Colin and I were back home to start our day.

While the big boys are at school, Colin and I choose from a variety of activities. There's always a nursing session and hopefully always a nap for Colin. Some days we clean house, others we go into Kingston to shop. Today, we met a new friend in Surbiton for coffee and lunch and a wander around the high street. It was a great morning.

After lunch, we headed back to Reid's school to pick him up at 1 p.m. This is another nice walk and back. Usually Reid is pretty tired after school, and so is Colin. Today, Reid did not eat much lunch at school, so he wanted oatmeal. I made him oatmeal. Then we all sat on the couch for a little quiet time and a television show. This is also my time to talk to Reid and hear his fun thoughts and ideas. Today, he wanted to try "squiggling" letters. There is a show on TV here where they teach children how to write letters, and today's letter was "i". I got out the crayons and notebook, and Reid practiced writing the letter i, and he did a great job! I think I'm going to have to look up other episodes and see if we can teach him how to write his name!

After a little TV, we played around the living room with tractors and cars. Then it's time to pile back into the car to pick up Jack from school.

Today, after school we had our usual snacks: apples and digestives. After a quick potty break, I got Colin into the stroller and we headed back down the road to the barber shop for hair cuts for Jack and Reid. Both boys are so good for hair cuts, I feel pretty lucky. I was a little worried about how Reid would do since in the States we always went to KidSnips with the movies and fun chairs. But I needn't have worried. He loved sitting in a proper barber's chair looking into the mirror and chatting with the barber. With a couple of lollies (suckers), we were on our way back home to make dinner.

I tried out a new recipe tonight, cheesy pasta bake. While I was cooking in the kitchen, the boys snacked on some crackers and watched a little TV. Then it went downhill a bit. Neither boy wanted to eat the cheesy pasta, even after I told them it was basically macaroni and cheese. Jack did eat the green beans I made, but then he threw a fit when I wouldn't scrape off the cheese or breadcrumbs from the noodles. He continued his fit when I wouldn't make him something else to eat. Being tired is hard. Reid decided to just skip dinner.

We did eventually make it to bath time. With both boys cleaned up and all three in pajamas by 7:15, I  felt like we just might make it through bedtime. Tonight was a little special though. With Steve out of town (actually, on his way back from his big trip), we got to talk to him on the phone before bed. The boys really love their dad, so these types of phone calls get them pretty excited and worked up. So we turned off the lights and calmed down a bit with a few lullabies. And by 8:30, both Jack and Reid were asleep. Colin has slept during this too. But he doesn't go down for the night until after a nursing session some time after 9 p.m.

So there you have it, a day in the life of the Barretts while living in Surbiton. Maybe next time, I'll try a day in pictures!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peek-a-boo! Colin is 4 months old!

Time is definitely flying by. I once read a quote about motherhood that said something along the lines of "The days are long, but the years are short." In this case, that should read months, and I think that is very true. It's hard to believe how much Colin has grown and changed in 4 months. And then I look back at his 1-month pictures, and it is all too apparent!

Look at him, so tiny on the back of Blue Dog. And here's today's picture:

All chunked up and smiley! He smiles a lot lately. And giggles too! He has also started to "sing" when he is tired. I put in up on my shoulder and he just hums along until he's too tired and falls asleep.

Colin has really built up his muscles too. He does pretty well at tummy time, lifting his head and looking around. And when he's sitting in his bouncy chair, he tries to pull his head and upper body up into a higher sitting position.

He has started to using his hands more. He likes to grab onto toys and his burp clothes. He'll even reach for your hand when you offer it to him.

We have also hit an interesting mark in his life. As of now, Colin has spent more of his life in England than he has in the US. I'm looking forward to seeing what effect this has on his life, if any. After all, he has the same parents and brothers no matter where he lives!

Jack helped with the photo shoot today! Reid was at school.

Monday, October 06, 2014

They have arrived!

Our things have arrived! And we are surrounded by them.

We've made two trips to a local charity shop to donate 5 bags and 4 boxes of things we either had multiples of or just didn't need. And there's plenty more heading for the same fate.

But it is so nice to have our things, especially our furniture. Unbelievably, the moving men were able to get every piece into the house and into the rooms we wanted it in. Steve is loving having his snuggler (couch) back. And you cannot overrate having a place to sit.

But of all of our things, there has only been one type of item I've had an emotional response to having my hands on. Our books.

I was slightly surprised at how excited and relieved I was to see my copy of "The Americans," a street photography book that resides on our living room bookshelf. And my heart was so happy when Jack and Reid squealed with excitement when they saw their copy of "Stuck" by Oliver Jeffers. We've read it several times now in the three days since we unpacked it. 

So you can keep my furniture, I can easily replace that. I can (and probably will) buy new clothes. But there are certain books in our collection that I would be so sad to lose and have to replace. So I'm pretty happy to have those back in easy reach.