i never mentioned my new year's resolutions. the first is to wear lip liner [i'm extremely lazy when it comes to makeup] and the second is to use my new slow cooker at least once a week which i'm hoping will help to decrease our consumption of processed foods. re-subscribing to spud - an organic delivery service - really helped me with this [if you decide to sign up, use the code CRVAN-WILPEA to save yourself some money]. the vegetables need using up quicker so it's hard to decide i can't be bothered to cook and just throw something in the microwave. despite the fact that i really don't like cooking, my lovely new kitchen also helps.
zoe has been ill again this week - just a cold with hint of vomit and extreme whininess. poor thing. but she's on the mend and is finally eating again.
by the way, you should watch this beautiful time lapse of vancouver:
working life seems to be going well so far. although i have to say, i did prefer the first week when i only had to work one day instead of 3 :) zoe appears to be adjusting to daycare ok. she's a little clingier than normal when i'm around but apparently ok when i'm not. it was very very strange walking back into a job after a year. it was difficult to know whether it felt like it was yesterday or a lifetime ago. with toby, i was already at home and when i went back after aly i had barely missed a beat - i was back after 3 or 4 months and with sascha working at the same place i knew everything that was going on. anyway, it's a lovely place to work and 18 hours a week really isn't too much.
zoe is officially a walker - a toddler in fact. i've just trawled back through my blog postings to try and figure out how long she has had the ability to walk. it seems it's been about 3 months. i looked for a little while like she was going to skip crawling all together, but then the hands and the knees figured it out and she was a crawler. she'd still stand a lot and cruise a lot, but she wasn't very keen on letting go and walking anywhere any more. anyway, fast forward to this weekend and she decided that it would probably be just fine to take the odd stroll and then today she tipped the balance and spent more of the day walking than crawling. her signing is also coming along nicely. she's up to 3 word sentences: 'i slept in there (bedroom)', 'daddy car goodbye' etc. it's SO handy.
tower of london
well we made it back home safe and sound yesterday afternoon. we survived another 9.5hrs flight [actually 10.5hrs since we sat on the tarmac for an hour while they twiddled buttons in the cockpit trying to get them to work.] after landing at 1pm we managed to stay awake until 7 or 8pm and got a really good night's sleep. we were up a little early, but since toby had to be up at 7am for a hockey tournament, that was probably a good thing!
right... what did we do for our 3 weeks in england? it suddenly all seems a bit of a blur..
dec 11: curry!
dec 12: lunch with nick and abbie in clapham junction, piccadilly circus [i've never seen so many people in such a small space - not very handy when you've got a large stroller with you], leicester square [filled with a funfair and many santas - some sober collecting for charity and many not-so-sober staggering to and from christmas parties!], covent garden [lovely and christmassy, and very busy. i tried to squeeze into paperchase but gave up eventually], london transport museum [suprisingly entertaining for everyone - i'd never been before but sascha tells me they've added a lot recently], harrods [scraped in for the last hour, threw a very expensive meal into doggy bags, checked out the pet department, toy department and food department. finished off in the candy store. it was tricky to squeeze this one in but i really wanted to re-live some very happy childhood memories and succeeded - could have done with another 8 hours or so there though. at the very end of the day i got lost in the men's dept in the basement trying to find a stroller friendly route and was very amused to see the normally immaculate staff all [literally] running at full speed for a back entrance the minute the shop closed!
dec 13: looked at the london eye, big ben, houses of parliament and went to the tower of london [where zoe signed 'sparkle hats' to me as we were on the travelator past the crowns! all those towers were a little stroller unfriendly and since zoe is still VERY clingy, i ended up carrying her around the whole place which made for a very tiring day]. we also squeaked into the natural history museum before closing.
zoe at the tower of london
dec 14: left kellie and mike's flat in london and took the train to runcorn from euston so we could stay at my mum and dad's in parkgate, wirral. very happy that the journey now only takes 2hrs thanks to the pendolino trains. besides finally getting to see my mum and dad, the highlight of my day was the golf cart ride at euston from the taxi rank right to the doors of the train via the ticket office. it was such a relief because i had no idea how we were going to get up the escalators from the taxi rank with all our luggage and children in tact!
dec 16: to the pub!
at the merebrook
dec 17: zoe's birthday at rose's tearoom [she'd just got over an eye infection but was getting a cough and cold so consequently wasn't very happy
dec 19: chester zoo [on a cold, snowy day. i was surprised how much of the population was willing to show up in such terrible weather - including my cousin, benjamin, and his fiancee, pauline. fortunately it's a great zoo with lots of big indoor enclosures so we got to see all the animals who were hiding from the weather in the comfort of lovely warm buildings. i hadn't been to the zoo since i was a child and apparently i'd forgotten everything about it]
a snowy elephant at chester zoo
dec 20: toby's journal entry for this day reads 'i had a playdate with theese kids called heather and miachel. miachel and me played on our DSes for the whole time'. it's a fairly accurate entry as the four of them did, indeed pretty much play on their DSes the whole time. heather and michael are my friend ana's children and it was great to see them all and amazing to see how much children can grow in 3 years!
albert dock, liverpool, with michael and heather
dec 22: beatles museum with ana [the children seemed fairly content with their audio tour - no-one seemed to get bored. unfortunately i was wrestling with a slightly grumpy 1 yr old so missed out on the audio tour], pizza express [oh we'd missed you so], the liverpool ferries wheel in liverpool one [best view of liverpool i think i've ever had - really glad we did it]
dec 25: christmas at aunty di's house [fantastic day - thanks for hosting di and stewart]
grammy, grandad, aly and zoe playing with new toys
dec 26: boxing day at mum and dad's place [which they had kindly moved out of so we could all fit for the duration of the stay - thanks mum and dad!]
dec 27: walk-in clinic with zoe [only to find out after 10 days of not eating and being thoroughly miserable that she had an ear infection AND throat infection], pub [and goodbye to lucy/alex, benjamin/pauline and daniel]
dec 28: snow white and the seven dwarfs pantomime [aly LOVED it and even toby was seen to be laughing a lot]
dec 29: liverpool for a penguin hunt [there are penguin sculptures everywhere at the moment], conservation museum, world museum, pub!
dec 30: back to the doctors with zoe [who now had thrush thanks to the antibiotics she'd been taking]
dec 31: quietest new year's eve ever [went to bed at 10.30pm since we had to be up just after 5am for our flight. of course i didn't manage to sleep until 1am and then had to get up a couple of times to feed zoe]
jan 1: home at last!
i should get writing some reviews of the places we saw for my friend, sarah's, uk website families recommend.
the bags are unpacked, the washing done [in my joyfully large washer and drier which holds 3 times the amount the english ones did!], the christmas decorations are down and it's back to school on monday and work for me on wednesday. sascha is no longer working at bigpark and will be doing some zoe-sitting along with our new childminder. zoe, by the way, is now feeling much better and is back to being herself again.