Archive for March, 2008

One, two, three, Happy Easter!

March 23, 2008

Sam and I finally got out of the house at the end of last week after a little sickness enforced self quarantine. Once Sam was feeling better and ready to meet his friends again we went to the zoo.

We were the first ones there and I wasn’t able to keep him occupied looking at the flamingos while we waited for company because he was desperate to see a rhino. I’m not sure when he suddenly gained a fascination with rhinos but Bill tells me that the last time they went to the zoo together Sam was smitten. On Friday he chased off to see his new found friend, past the elephants, the warthogs and the meerkats, while excitedly yelling “rhino! rhino!” the whole way. I could barely keep up with him.

We then met up with our friends and continued on a more sedate tour of the grounds. The elephants weren’t in their enclosure, replaced by a sign notifying us of their presence in the elephant house. Sam was disappointed and pulled me into the elephant house to find them but we must have just missed their exit as there was no elephant to be seen. My little boy was very confused. Then, like magic, they reappeared outside again just as we had given up and were to be found busily swinging their trunks to pull food from the bundles dangling above their heads.

Sam at the Zoo
I also tried to play with my new camera lens.

Yesterday Sam and I went to support Bill as he played his first ALTA doubles match in five years. I wish I could report that they trounced the opposition but sadly he and Richard blew it. Three match points were thrown away and from a commanding position they went on to do a great Tim Henman. Sam had a fun time watching, chasing his ball around, and making lots of friends among the ALTA team members. We also saw Leigh and Ryker, and the toddlers played together on the nearby playground before the match began.

This morning I woke bright and early and packed Sam up into my new jogging stroller (a cool lightweight three wheeler I snagged off freecycle and which I’m very excited by), hitched Quincy to his lead, and made our way over to Martha’s house. She was hosting the Sunday Runners today and had mapped a twelve mile route which took those scary athletic types past our house. Sam and I are proud to say that we also did the twelve mile run, except we started at Braeburn and thus it was three for us. We also didn’t quite run all the way, but instead halted for several pee mail nosings en route and settled for a stop start brisk walk/jog combo.

Didn’t stay too long at Martha’s because Sam took a liking to her pond and couldn’t be persuaded that throwing pebbles, small stones and even some hefty rocks into it was not allowed. Martha’s other guests were treated to a few toddler tantrums and crocodile tears as I tried to tame my child. It was soon clear that we ought to bid a retreat before our welcome was outstayed and Bill was called to come pick us up. Mind you he didn’t turn up before Sam had also dragged a folding chair from Martha’s front room all the way into her kitchen in a cunning plan to climb up and get to all the Easter food and treats she had laid out out of his reach. Still, it was nice to get out, get some overdue exercise, and to briefly see everyone. Thank you Martha.

Oh, I almost forgot one cool thing Sam did though. He was gazing into the fish pond muttering to himself. I went up to see what he was interested in and was surprised to hear “one, two, three, three fish!” I was even more surprised when I peered into the murk and saw that there were indeed three goldfish swimming around together in there!

Back at the house Sam and I had a lovely nap while Bill did some DIY around the house. We still have no sink, but the hole in the floor is now patched and I was able to have a warm bath this evening without a breeze and the air around me being frigid. We also no longer have to capture toilet paper rolling around the floor as he installed a holder, and there is a towel rail attached to the wall. Bill also fitted another catch to the front porch door, this one is higher than the old one because Sam got tall, clever and not to be trusted.

Bill and I then did a super meal time collaboration and whipped up a proper roast for an Easter Sunday dinner. My tummy is so full and happy now, though I think I may have overdone it on the parsnips and swede. After all our hard work Sam of course refused to eat any of his. I even tried to coax him with a dollop of tomato ketchup but his eyes widened and he preferred to eat the sauce straight.


March 20, 2008

Ok, yes I know, it’s almost Easter, but here is the final edit of “An Ashridge Crimble” starring Sam, Mummy, Daddy, the Ashridge Three, and a large stack of presents. Sort of topical because today is my birthday and I got to open presents today too!

From my lovely husband I unwrapped a cool new lens for my digital camera. I have no idea what to do with it, but it’s fab! Apparently it’s a portrait lens and will mean lots of great photos *cough* in our future. I really need to get to grips with the manual functions of my camera, this is going to be a good incentive to do so.

I also got a great book about Japanese master monster director Eiji Tsuburaya. Some fantastic pictures in that.

From Mum and Dad I opened a parcel full of summer maternity clothes. Yeah! Now I need the weather to warm up, and for bump to fill them out a bit more so I can wear them.

One of the nicest surprises though was a card from Fran and Don containing a few photos of Sam. One of which is of Sam and Bill curled up on the sofa together at their house, fast asleep. Awwwww.

Had a really rough night with Sam last night, he did an awful lot of crying and screaming and wanting his mummy to cuddle up with him in his little toddler bed. Not at all comfortable. Poor Bill got to deal with him when I got frustrated in the early hours and is probably at work feeling very much like a zombie husband right now. I’m sorry babe.

If Sam seems up for it this afternoon I think we’ll try to venture out to a playground later. I also want to go on a birthday marmite hunt and try to score myself some. Hopefully I’ll make some cauliflower cheese for tea and Bill will be providing birthday cake and candles. 😀

And now I’m going to celebrate with a Cadbury’s Creme Egg for breakfast.


March 18, 2008

As I was settled in watching my Friday night installment of House I was disgruntled when interrupted by the weather station for a meteorological alert, accompanied by its familiar obnoxious ear piercing beeps. These wind me up as they ruin a good show and are usually warnings regarding remote parts of Georgia and of no relevance to us at all. This time however I stopped my grumbling and my ears pricked when the forecaster mentioned a tornado warning had been issued for City of Atlanta – Fulton County, and parts of DeKalb. Atlanta was bright red on the map and I sat up with a start when the close up showed the predicted path heading straight towards East Atlanta Village.

Bill was at the airport in NY waiting to board his plane home so my first thought was to fire out a text message to warn him to be safe driving home on landing. He immediately called me back chiding me for making him nervous about flying and gave me some quick what to do in a tornado situation instructions. The rain outside really began to pick up then and my connection to the storm’s progress was severed when our power cut. Instilling urgency, this was my cue to get off the mobile and get Sam, Quincy and I to safety.

Poor little Sam was sound asleep and I was hesitant to wake him as he’d had a raging temperature and wasn’t very well when I put him to bed. Instead I initially just left him slumbering and pulled his bed from the windows to as central to the middle of the house as I could get him. By now the storm outside was fierce and I huddled by Sam ready to grab him and leap into the bathroom and hide at any second.

Bill said the tornado would sound like a freight train, but although everyone else attests to that, I never really heard it, just the dreadful wail of high winds such as I’d never experienced before. It’s not uncommon for us to hear branches falling around and on our house during storms, but I wasn’t even aware of any bumps competing with the roar of the wind.

I don’t think it was long after that the winds died down and the sound of sirens from emergency vehicles, punctuated by the crash of thunder, filled the air instead. I decided to go clamber into bed, leaving Sam tucked up, and wait for Bill to get home.

Outside I could also hear the neighbours yelling on their front porch and Quince kept getting very upset by the unusual sight of several people wandering up and down the road with torches. I think the first sign I had of anything being really wrong on our street though was when several fire engines came past the house and then backed up again and went up Nash. They were obviously trying to pick their way through to somewhere and getting blocked.

Sleeping was out of the question as I was far too nervous, and there was still some serious thunder and lightning going on overhead.

Around one o’clock little Sam woke up in distress and needing lots of love and attention. As I was attempting to change his nappy by torchlight I got a text from Bill saying that he had landed safely and would be home shortly. Hoorah!

Sam would not settle back down again and insisted that he was hungry. He would spit out everything I tried to give him to eat though. The next hour or so passed quickly as I tried to placate Sam and keep his mess to a minimum, and I was just being to worry about where Bill had got to when I got a freaked out call from him.

Apparently it was a really smooth landing at the airport and the captain just jovially mentioned that Atlanta was experiencing some showers, so when Bill drove home and ran into devastation as he hit East Atlanta he near panicked. He’d then spent a good while been driving around the neighbourhood trying to get to Sam and I but was being confronted by blocked roads at every turn. Eventually he had got as far as our road where he had found some of the worst damage yet and was talking to a neighbour whose house had been crushed by a falling tree. To reach Sam and I, Bill ended up having to drive through the vacant burnt out house on Josephine’s front yard! He was very relieved to find us still intact when he got here. Big hugs all around. It was sooo good to have Bill back.

Around four or five we then had another terrific round of scary lightning storm which kept me on edge but which Bill somehow slept straight through. I couldn’t even count between the lightning and thunder it was so close together, and every crash would make me jump and want to be elsewhere.

Braeburn and Josephine Pan

In the morning while I was getting Sam ready for the day Bill took a walk around the neighbourhood with Quincy. This was the scene six doors up from us, yet thankfully our little house was unharmed. The tornado had blown through Downtown Atlanta, wreaked havoc in Cabbagetown and then careered into East Atlanta Village where apparently it had finally ended its path of destruction at our doorstop.

Although the emergency services and GA Power were already out in force we were convinced that it would be some time before we got power back, and seeing as Sam was poorly, we decided to drive down to Milledgeville for the weekend and hang out with Bill’s folks. Before we headed down there Bill drove me around so I could see some of the damage for myself. It was quite amazing. I’ve never seen huge trees spun around like candy floss, twisted and turned into such tangled masses. Clumps of trees, once proud and erect, now looked like sorry straggled lumps of spaghetti.

Other trees had come crashing down on top of houses causing some terrible damage. I have no idea how nobody was actually hurt badly or killed on Friday night. I can’t believe we didn’t lose a single tree, not even the dead one in the back yard we were hoping would come down (glad it didn’t though!).

One of the most bizarre sights we saw was this shed, or maybe car port, that had taken flight, flipped over the house, and been caught high up in a tree:

Van Epps and Ora Ave. (there’s also more photos on Flickr)

We didn’t even get to drive down Glenwood and into the village proper as emergency services were busy clearing the roads there and we didn’t want to get in the way.

Of course, we got down to Milledgeville and that afternoon another tornado had us scurrying for cover in the bathtub down there too! That one was accompanied by some tremendous hail raining down on us. I don’t think that one got as close to us though and all was well. Meanwhile, Atlanta was apparently hit again by another fierce storm battering the already tornado weary residents.

Amazingly we heard our electricity had been restored by Sunday morning so after a pleasant weekend with Granma and Granpa headed back to our little house that afternoon.

Good Morning Mummy

March 14, 2008

This morning was a real treat for me. I woke up to the usual sound of Sam knocking on his bedroom door and calling out “morning Mummy! knock knock!” and so went to give him cuddles and breakfast. As I opened the door two filthy poop covered hands wiped and smeared themselves all over my jammie bottoms as if I was a walking towel and before I could catch him, off Sam ran.

Thanks Sam.

Poop disaster in the nursery. Wow, it’s actually been quite a while since I had to deal with one on quite that scale. Sam got a good dunk in the tub and I’ve been working on putting his room straight and poop free again since I got up. Yuck.

I hope I get my Bill back this evening. Enough with his gallivanting all over the country on business! He says he really misses Sam, I bet he’s not missing his dirty nappies!


Tuesday night was a lot of fun. We organised a long overdue girls’ night out and the mummy posse met up at the Brick Store in Decatur for food and drinks, in my case, water. Boo hoo! It was fantastic to get out without being attached to the boy for just a few hours and the company was great.


Oh and I also forgot to mention the other funny thing Sam did at Candler Park. This was the day he climbed into someone else’s tow wagon. He spotted a little girl’s pink bicycle parked by a bench, ran over and climbed right up onto the seat. It was for a much older child and his feet were dangling nowhere near the pedals. I can’t believe he managed to scoot right up onto the seat the way he did. I raced over, concerned he would fall off or be worrying the real owner. When I puffed over there Sam pointed to the pretty pink helmet on the floor next to the bike and authoritatively said “hat!” I gave it to him and he sat perched with the helmet on his head for a few moments, he was really pleased with himself.

The running commentary in the car as we drive anywhere is getting a little more diverse now. Sam points out all the cars, trucks and trains he sees as we drive around. It goes a bit like this:

“car! car! car! truck! bus! car! car!”

Except now he also gets excited if he sees bicycles “bike!” and has started categorising buses into plain old “bus!” or “yellow bus!” The yellow school buses get him particularly enthralled. Occasionally I’ll also hear the odd, “flower!”, “leaves!” or “tree!” thrown in too.

March 12, 2008

Hopefully I have a very tired little boy on my hands who will be wanting to go to bed very soon. This afternoon I took Sam swimming, then to the park to meet his friends and he’s now playing on the front porch in his sand table. I want a nice peaceful evening please!

It didn’t work! It is now almost midnight and Sam is still up and running around kicking balls with gusto! Argh! Why is he still awake?!
*end edit*

The other day I was awoken to the sound of Sam grizzling and crying out for “Mummy! Mummy! knock! knock! Mummeeee!”

I got out of bed and went to go see to him. When I got to the hallway I noticed a nappy slide out underneath the door and land at my feet. Thankfully it was a clean nappy but I think little boy was trying to tell me something because when I went into the nursery the one Sam was wearing was full to the elastic.

At the park this afternoon Sam commandeered someone else’s big plastic tow wagon. He just got right into it, sat down, and even buckled himself in. He was quite content to just sit there and pretend the wagon was his. He was quite convincing because other children would come up and try to join him but be followed hastily by their mother’s pulling them away because the wagon was Sam’s!

After a while, someone else’s football rolled past the wagon and Sam was finally tempted back out to play with his friends.

Swimming was a lot of fun and Sam really enjoyed himself in the pool. We borrowed a float and chased it around all over the place. Sam is very confident in the water and will barely let me hold on to him to keep him afloat. I was a little less confident as I can’t quite believe it but already my swimming costume is getting to be on the small side. My bump is definitely progressing and now, along with my lack of any waist, my legs seem to have transformed back into tree trunks again! I think this pregnancy I may have to go out and buy a maternity costume very soon if Sam and I want to continue having fun in the water this summer!

A Naming.

March 11, 2008

Splashing around in his warm bubble bath this morning Sam was playing with his toy paddle boat’s little plastic sea captain. He lifted him up and with water dripping everywhere gave him to me, saying “Marmite”.

“Uhm, no Sam, that’s not Marmite” I said. I was confused, but as I handed him back, I did note that the captain was wearing a smart black uniform with yellow shiny buttons and trim.


“Oh, is that his name? My name is Mummy, your name is Sam. Is the sea captain’s name Marmite?”

“Name! Marmite!”

Okay, I think Sam may have christened his first toy.

After his bath a very sweet smelling and clean Sam was charging around the house, until we shared a pain au chocolate. Now he’s sticky and messy once more, and loving it. Currently he is chocolate faced and tap dancing on top of the big parcel that was just delivered.

Little does he know that it’s a present for him and contains a nice wooden easel and chalk board. Now Mummy and Daddy just have to try to resist giving it to him until his second birthday at the end of next month! That’s going to be tough, especially as right now he loves his crayons, to the extent that we keep finding doodles in strange places, like computer monitors and crockery. I think if he wasn’t so hairy we’d be seeing scribbles on Quincy too.

Sam just came up as I was writing this and gave me an unprovoked kiss and cuddle. That would have been really nice if he wasn’t so sticky! Okay, time for another clean up.

Wits end.

March 10, 2008

Bill’s home again and we’ve just spent a lovely evening collaborating over a tasty home cooked meal and watching Eastern Promises. Got him for one more day then he’s flying back off to NY for the colour correction of his ads. I hope I get him back again for the weekend.

Yesterday I was just about losing it as I tried to make the house presentable while my crazy little boy ran riot around me. I think I’d just had enough of being on my own with him, especially when he started filling his mouth with milk then spitting it out all over the place. After telling him several times to stop and giving him a time out he then undressed, took his nappy off and started spitting on top of that too, laughing. I got a tad angry with him and started to raise my voice and get upset. But I couldn’t stay that way for long when he looked very hurt, charged into his bedroom, climbed into his bed, snuggled up naked underneath the covers and said “night night mummy!”

A place for some things

March 9, 2008

Recently Sam has started putting certain things away where he thinks they belong and being haphazardly neat and tidy. He rather puts me to shame.

His toys are strewn around the front room at the moment because every time I put them in his boxes he tips them right out again, but I left my trainers out last night and couldn’t find them to put on when I needed them. After hunting high and low, eventually I checked the shoe closet and, lo and behold, that’s exactly where they were. Definitely Sam’s work as they were on top of the piles of towels and not at the bottom with the other shoes. Good effort Sam.

Lazily I have yet to round up Sam’s clothes from where they ended up scattered as I chased him to get him ready for bed (*cough* last night), but I just went to put my own pyjamas on and found they weren’t where I left them. I hunted through the house and finally discovered them tucked into the dirty laundry basket, along with some other garments of mine that I’d carelessly left out. Oh and a pair of Sam’s shoes.

Sometimes Sam will like to grab a tissue or wet wipe and clean surfaces. He happily polishes his little table and cleans up during and after a meal. Though, he seriously dislikes to wash his sticky hands and grubby little face.

When he has finished eating he will hand us his empty plate. Often he will get up and take it to the baby gate separating him from the kitchen, and if no one is there to take it, he’ll throw it over the top in the general direction of the dishwasher. He has also been known to collect any other dirties he finds and attempt to take them to the kitchen too.

I have also just climbed into my bed and laid down on top of an assortment of toy cars, trucks and trains. I can only presume he has carefully tucked them in, told them how much he loves them, and wished them sweet dreams for the night.

Puddle Jumper

March 8, 2008

After spending a mere three days in Bill’s company again he jetted off to NY early Thursday morning to work on the ad edit. Not sure when we’ll be seeing him again but right now it’s looking likely for late Sunday. It sounds as though everything is going well up there though and I can’t wait to see the result of his effort when his first spot hits TV screens.

Sam and I had a miserable couple of days on Wednesday and Thursday and despite having plans I didn’t manage to muster us out of the house. Hopefully that lack of energy and feeling crappy has passed. In retrospect I do wonder if that was maybe related to the road resurfacing being done outside our house? The heavy machinery dredged up a lot of dirt into the air as they scraped the existing road up, and then although I wasn’t too aware of it, spreading of new tarmac always has a nasty whiff.

Sam absolutely enjoyed all the commotion in the road though. He was so excited to see all the big trucks and road rollers trundling up and down outside the window. He spent a lot of the day with his nose pressed to the glass and repeating “look! look!” or roaming around the house making appropriate noises with his miniature versions.

Yesterday afternoon I had to force us out of the house by arranging to meet up with some of Sam’s friends at a park in the Highlands. What was a horrid rainy morning cleared up to become a beautiful warm afternoon and had us peeling off layers.

Sam immediately ignored the play equipment and his friends in favour of muddy puddles.

Brandie didn’t really help his look when she spotted that the adjacent volley ball courts were somewhat flooded and started enticing all the toddlers to go “swimming.” Of course, everyone ignored her except my own little Samuel who merrily charged off right into the middle of the giant puddle and then spent the rest of the outing excavating sand from amongst the murky water with a digger that he mysteriously found.

Thank goodness for a full change of clothes. I wasn’t a girl guide for nothing!


Brandie stood and cackled at the mess she had enleashed. Her daughter did then strip off to her nappy and joined Sam playing in the sand but she delicately tip toed around the puddle and refused to go “swimming” unless her mum joined her. Of course, Brandie wasn’t up for that herself! Very messy, but the kids had lots of fun.

This morning the weather has done yet another crazy shift. No longer are we basking in warmth, instead I drew the curtains to the sight of snow falling from the sky. It’s not laying and it looks quite wet on the ground but Sam is very impressed with the chunks of drifting white and very quickly learnt a new word when I brought it to his attention. Standing at the window, pointing with wonder, and saying “snow!” over and over again didn’t get boring for ages.

I guess we should get up and go give Sam a taste of being outside in the snow, but I’m a little hesitant because a) it’s cold! and b) I keep hearing big thumps around the house and on the roof which I think means we are losing a fair few heavy branches. As we are surrounded by old oak trees I am somewhat nervous about that. For the moment I am enjoying a nice cup of (decaff) coffee and sharing a chocolate croissant (or two) while Sam divides his attention between eating and reading all about tractors, trains and trucks.

September 14th 2008

March 5, 2008

After being away for an entire week shooting a commercial with the Snorri Brothers in fabulous LA, an exhausted Bill flew back into town on the red eye to get back to Atlanta just in time to join Sam and I for a family visit to the OB GYN on Monday.

sproglet i sproglet ii

Yup, Sam is going to be getting a little brother or sister very soon! A sister if the ultrasound technician’s early diagnosis is to be believed! She was pretty convinced and gabbled away, unable to keep this information to herself. Though, not holding her to that too firmly as she did ask us to try to schedule the next ultrasound at twenty weeks with her again so she could get a better look and tell if she is right!

Doesn’t really matter to us either way as regardless of brother or sister, the poor mite is going to be wearing all Sam’s cast offs anyway!

One thing we do know for sure, and about which I am most relieved, is that there’s only one new Allen on the way. No twins for me! Phew!

Although we’ve known for some time now, since the New Year in fact (yep, no drinking for me over the holidays!), I’m much happier now that we’ve finally seen my doctor. I was getting a bit nervous having to wait so long before we got an appointment but she was able to confirm that so far everything is looking, and sounding, great. Bean’s heartbeat was a joy to hear and the ultrasound was just as thrilling as when we looked in on Sam for the first time. We’re a lot later on in the pregnancy than my first appointment with Sam though and I was amazed to be actually able to see a proper little baby moving and kicking around on the scan. The first time we saw Sam he was just a single blob with a pixel heartbeat and was still attached to the yolk sac.

It feels real now and I can’t stop bouncing around and occasionally bursting into emotional tears.

I’m currently at 12 or 13 weeks pregnant and this week I have a definite bump appearing. I’ve also already lost my waist and am up to 130 lbs according to the doctor’s scales. I think I was already in maternity wear by now last time, but I guess this time around I have a lot more “fat” post-pregnancy clothes to fall back on first. I’m cursing that I have missed any opportunity to get a nice and skinny “before” photograph taken to reassure myself that I can get my figure back again afterwards. Rats.

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately and although I still have the odd bout of nausea it does seem like I’m already past the worst. *touch wood* It was actually getting disconcerting that I wasn’t feeling so terrible and I was beginning to get concerned that there might be something wrong. I can even tolerate the smell of coffee again now without wanting to vomit. It took at least until the last few months of carrying Sam before that happened last time. Actually, the first trimester morning sickness has been a breeze compared to what I was like when I had Sam. I’ve had my queasy, miserable moments but haven’t had to actually be in the bathroom nearly half as much. Perhaps that’s another indicator that it is a girl?!