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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Eleanor Blair's LiveJournal:

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    Monday, September 8th, 2014
    2:46 pm
    You know you have a cold when: you can't smell the Olbas Oil.

    One of the lovely things about living where I do: looking out of the kitchen window to see barn owls, and scaring baby bunnies off the bike path on the way to work.

    It is too hot in my office.

    Lovely Professor Jim signed Matthew's passport application. Now to find his birth certificate and post it, and hope the tiniest hint of red-eye on the photos done in the post-office doesn't get it rejected.

    I don't think Postmaster at Engineering really wants to go see Peter Pan in Bournemouth.

    Must have a sort of recent photos for Facebook/LJ soon. Still posting one-a-day to http://www.blipfoto.com/amatthewaday
    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
    2:28 pm
    Passport counter-signatory dance - help!

    Hmm, I need to find someone who:

    • Has known me for at least 2 years
    • Can identify Matthew
    • Has a current British or Irish passport (and can find the passport number)
    • Is not related to me by birth or marriage
    • Is on the passport office's list of people in a profession or of good community standing

    Anyone immediately want to volunteer? It would probably help if you live near enough to sign it in person too, though we could use the post if absolutely necessary.

    I also need to get passport photos done, but that's another issue!

    Thursday, June 26th, 2014
    10:08 pm
    Toaster tales, part two

    So I went into the office by the front door for a change on Wednesday, and Lily on reception called me over to let me know the person I'd given the old toaster away to had never collected it from reception, so I've brought it home again. Ocado have said they'll take the new one away even without the box, which is great. On a whim this evening I made two slices of toast, one in each, and though the new toaster has a slightly bigger slot they both came out equally uneven and equally not quite toasted to the edge. Far better to keep the existing slightly rubbish toaster than pay £30 for a new one. Shame it's taken 4 weeks and so much faff to discover!

    Still tempted by the see through Magimix one mind :)

    Monday, June 23rd, 2014
    9:56 pm
    On toasters
    So when Mike and I first moved in together we bought a toaster. a sorry tale of uneven toastCollapse )

    Anyone recommend a decent toaster?
    Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
    2:09 pm
    Things we have done in April/May/June so far

    Things I have apparently mysteriously failed to mention previously on LJ:

    • Bought a lovely bakfiets cargo bike for Matthew to ride in (pic below)
    • Started a blipfoto journal of Matthew (A Matthew A Day)

    picCollapse )

    Things we have done since 20th April:

    • Given Blood
    • Evicted a wasp's nest from the shed
    • Had our NCT group birthday party (pic below)
    • Visited Clown Around soft play in Harston and Botanic Gardens with Sing and Sign folk
    • Bought a smartphone (Nokia Lumia 520) so taking lots of snaps on my phone
    • Been to the Festival of Wheels in Shelford and tried on police hats
    • Annual cycling campaign ride to Reach Fair (maps below)
    • Given up on Waitrose for lunch with several toddlers and switched to Scotsdales
    • Jack's birthday party and baptism
    • Visits to Kayleigh/Jamie, Rod/Thomas and Jenny/Jack
    • Moved our satellite dish due to a tree growing in the way!
    • Took Matthew to help me vote in the local/european elections
    • Visited granny and grandad, and went to the National Railway Museum and the Barwick Maypole festivities (pic below)
    • Day out at the Cambridge Model Engineering Society with a long ride on a model train!

    Pics and mapsCollapse )

    Matthew is now:

    • Walking and running like it's going out of fashion
    • Learning more words to understand, and following instructions (when he wants to)
    • Nearly but not quite talking, "yum" is his current favourite word
    • Loves reading books, and will ask for the same one over and over
    • Coming to mummy and daddy for cuddles, not just milk
    • Settling a little better at the childminder's, especially when distracted with rice cakes
    • Loving getting messy, and splashing in water
    • Doing lots of playing outside, including in the rain (pic below)
    • Eating! Full meals rather than just small amounts
    • Starting to feed himself with cutlery (pic below)
    • Napping in his cot, sometimes once sometimes twice
    • Currently being very hard to get to sleep at bedtime, and waking 2-3 times most nights
    • Riding on the big seat of the bike, not just the toddler seat (except when sleepy) (pic below)
    • Putting things in and out of other things
    • Climbing on stuff
    • Occasionally having small tantrums when he doesn't get his own way, especially when hungry

    More picsCollapse )

    Monday, June 9th, 2014
    10:28 am
    No superfast broadband for us
    I recently heard that some of the BT cabinets in Great Shelford were being upgraded to FTTC, and that somewhat got my hopes up that we might soon be able to get Infinity. However after some digging I find that it is only a small number of ones being upgraded as a result of the Connecting Cambridgeshire scheme (http://www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk/).

    According to Connecting Cambridgeshire: Cabinet 18 is not included in the programme due to the Virgin Media coverage in the area.

    Only our house isn't on Virgin, though much of our street is, and their green box is under 100m from our door. I contacted Virgin on the offchance, and they put an actual paper letter through my door by hand to say they've done extensive surveys but that it is uneconomical to provide service to us at this time.

    And BT, when asked if they have any plans to upgrade our cabinet themselves, say: please be advise I am afraid to say that your locality will be enable with infinity within 3 months

    Which to be honest could mean anything, but I think means they have no plans within the next 3 months, and who knows after that. Mike is much more philosophical about the whole thing, we do at least get approximately 4Mbps these days, but dammit, I got my hopes up briefly there!
    Sunday, April 20th, 2014
    8:11 pm
    Happy Easter

    This had become a bit of a state-of-the-Matthew blog, rather than strictly a journal about Me, but I guess a lot of the time that pretty much amounts to the same thing these days.

    13 months old today, and enjoyed his first Easter egg:

    He still has two more when he finishes that one :)

    Read more...Collapse )

    Thursday, April 17th, 2014
    10:20 pm
    Stair gates and plaster

    Deliberately bought a stair gate for upstairs which the manufacturer claims can be used by just attaching the wall cups to the wall with the supplied stickers, rather than having to drill and use screws. Went up ok last weekend, though the wall cups on the bannister side seemed to slip a few mm as I tightened the pressure fittings. Trouble is over the rest of the week they slipped more and more and last night one of them slipped off entirely!

    Took the gate down this morning, but when I turned my attention to the wall cups on the other side it seems they were rather better stuck to the stickers, and the stickers were well suck to the wall. However it seems the plaster was rather less well stuck! This is the result:

    Read more...Collapse )

    I'd been meaning to get round to doing something about that crack!

    Amusingly as the other gate at the bottom of the stairs had to be fitted on the second step up Matthew has now managed to fall off the second step a few times, making it feel slightly less safe than when the gate wasn't there :)

    Sunday, March 30th, 2014
    9:43 pm
    Out of date

    I seem to been neglecting LJ a little of late! It's been a busy few weeks - starting at the childminder, a trip to Wimpole Hall, visiting Pete, Val and baby Alice in London, Matthew's first birthday (!), starting back at work, a trip to visit nana Gina and grandad Evan, and now Mother's Day today. Some of it has been a bit hard (he's slowly settling with Hania but it's definitely tough on him so far), but most of it has been great fun. Amazing how quick a year goes by!

    a shortish selection of photosCollapse )

    Monday, March 10th, 2014
    12:11 pm
    A lovely weekend

    We have had a fun filled weekend. Saturday was Terry and Karen's wedding at the Quy Mill hotel, and they couldn't have asked for a nicer day. Everyone had a lovely time, the sun shone, lots of gin was drunk (sadly not by me), there was much fun with bubbles and loads of exploring in the gardens. Matthew did not fall in the mill race, or in the pond, nor did he manage to eat any gravel. He loved clapping all the speeches. Caught up with several lovely friends I haven't seen in far too long. And of course most importantly of all the bride and groom were incredibly happy, and Karen's dress was Amazing. I just wish I'd got any nice photos. (It was also Becky and Stu's wedding, which is one of those coincidences which makes you wish for the ability to be in two places at the same time - it sounds like they had a lovely time too). Wishing them all many happy years together.

    We had a lovely Sunday too - out exploring the quiet routes over to Fulbourn and back with a visit to cheeky monkeys soft play to break the journey :) It's surprisingly hilly between Shelford and Fulbourn, but we got the big bike up the hills no worries, and enjoyed going back down again! Also discovered a great route back via the Roman Road and Wandlebury which was just about doable for most of its length - just a couple of sections were rutted enough to need to get off and push. Off-road on a bakfiets - I like it! And all in glorious sunshine. Then despite his cold Matthew only work twice overnight, and then slept from 1am to 7am - bonus.

    Today Mike is having his first dry run of being chief child carer on a Monday, so we got up this morning and I had my breakfast with Matthew before saying bye bye and leaving at 8:30 to go to 'work'. I actually headed to the gym for the first time in a year and did a BOSU class (squats, lunges, planks, pressups, sit-ups and burpees with the aid of a large squashy dome on the floor - odd but good fun - it was the only level 1 class on at the right time or I might not have tried it) followed by a nice long swim. And now I've popped into town to the library and sneakily used Matthew's library card to do some printing - and am having a cuppa in the library cafe - which is sadly a bit soulless given how nice the new library is. Next stop lunch, and then home for 1pm to see my lovely boys.

    obligatory cute matthew photosCollapse )

    Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
    11:32 am
    One year health review (and other stuff)

    With apologies to those on Facebook who saw a very similar post yesterday...

    Soft play yesterday morning with Rod and Thomas, and with Hania (our childminder) and her daughter Nardjess. Matthew happily played with them for a while - letting me step back to give him some time to get used to me not bring right there, and me a chance to have a cuppa.

    Then a quick lunch, and a short 20 minute nap in the bike on the way to Sawston to see the Health visitor for his one year review. All is well, and he's apparently very in proportion with height, head circumference and weight all on or just above the 25th centile. He doesn't seem little to us mind! Now weighs just over 9kg (or 19lbs 14oz in old money). His red book only notes that he's still breastfeeding on demand and that he's developing well with no concerns.

    We had pancakes for tea. Going a bit non-traditional with haggis in one of them. Plus ham/cheese, jam, Nutella/banana and the traditional lemon/sugar. Matthew had a good go at trying them and seemed moderately impressed.

    We've had a nice little wander round the garden and then end of our cul de sac this morning in his new shoes - which he keeps trying to eat! Looking forward to the baby group at the church this afternoon. Rod pointed out most of the toys are a but young for them now, but I guess we keep going for the company and the biscuits :) we'll move up to the under fives group in the mornings next term.

    Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
    9:33 pm
    Growing up

    Matthew is now over 11 months old, learning to walk on his own, has his first pair of outdoor shoes, and is generally feeling quite grown up - well, for a baby anyway!

    I'm going to be going back to work the day after his birthday, so he'll be starting at a child minder to settle in next week, and she's asked me for some information about his routine and likes to help her get to know him, so I figure I may as well post it here. It'll probably be useful when we have our one year review with the health visitor next week too.

    probably boring detailsCollapse )

    I shall close with the obligatory cute photo :)

    Monday, January 20th, 2014
    10:43 pm
    10 months today!

    Since I last updated Matthew has got better at crawling, and has been getting more confident at assisted walking.

    Read more...Collapse )

    Friday, January 3rd, 2014
    12:52 pm
    Baby progress

    Some time over the last couple of weeks Matthew has suddenly got the hang of how to sit up when lying on his back, he's got better at pulling himself up on things, and much more stable when standing, he's still clapping at every opportunity, and has also learned to point, mostly at lights, best of all though is that yesterday he finally indisputably crawled! Not very far as yet, and he'd still rather walk, but as well as tipping forward on hands and knees to pick things up then sitting back up he's managed to move a few paces on hands and knees too - though he does rather tend to drag his legs behind him. Now he just needs to get faster :) He's eating a bit more at mealtimes too, and I've finally started to get Mike's knack of resettling him in the cot without picking him up (though we always do milk first still, and just have to settle when he's put back down).

    After yesterxay's lovely sunshine today is definitely what you might call changeable, with wintry showers. We've had some grey spells, some bright sunshine and blue skies, and an impressive thundery hailstorm! Thankfully just AFTER I'd swept the drive.

    Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
    3:53 pm

    Gorgeous day today, and we spent the morning largely out enjoying it, by heading into town to the shops. Town was pretty busy, but we went by train and had a nice walk through the back streets between Mill Rd and Hills Rd - where I found myself wishing for the camera to capture the blue skies, bright sunshine and lovely Victorian architecture. Instead we just had each other and the baby for company and admired things without stopping to try steal their souls. Successfully bought baby sleep suits, us some roasting tins, Mike a T-shirt, paid in a cheque and had a nice lunch. Also looked at bike trailers in Station Cycles, but failed to look at Dutch box bikes at the School Run Centre as they weren't sticking to their advertised opening hours this week (padlocked gate seemed to indicate closed, anyway). I shall have to try another time. Very pleasant day out anyway.

    Matthew's getting better and better at pulling up and standing, bug did manage to fall from full height and bang his head on the carpet thus afternoon, to much wailing. Nap time now though :) I've now got a confirmed meeting arranged with work next week to discuss my flexible working request, and Stephen gave me good reason to hope they'll agree when he and Emma popped round on Christmas Eve. Mike has the day of to look after Matthew, but once everything is confirmed I'll have to get in touch with the childminder again to confirm when she has the place for him free, and arrange some trials to get him used to it! Also need to do some trials of daddy days at some point too!

    Might continue to try and include photos in most posts. This one is from another lovely day before Christmas. The tree was even prettier when it still had red leaves as well as yellow berries, but I never got a chance to take a photo at that stage :)

    Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
    9:03 pm
    Non-resolutions for 2014

    I don't really do New Years resolutions, but I have some vague hopes for the year to come:

    Enjoy the baby
    Enjoy getting back to work
    Get some more knitting and reading done than I have managed this year
    Try make more time to see friends and family
    Sleep :)

    I'm not going to stress about any of them, but I have made a start on the knitting today, with one foot of a basic doll body from the book of knitted wizards, pirates, witches, etc that Mike got me for my birthday. I may be some time :)

    Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
    4:00 pm
    Farewell sun - photo a day

    As the sun sets on 2013 my last photo of the day for the month is another view from our back window. As years go 2013 has been completely different to anything that's gone before. Completely exhausting but full of joy, and great fun in places. 2014 has lots to look forward to - though preparing to go back to work in only a couple of months feels very strange. More sleep would be good - so I doubt we'll be staying up until midnight!

    I'm not sure this series of photos has really achieved all that much, other than an excuse for a little livejournal post every day. I'm looking forward to posting some of the other photos I've taken over the last month to Instagram eventually too.

    Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

    Monday, December 30th, 2013
    7:44 pm
    Decorations - photo a day

    I have some fun photos today of Matthew pushing his trolley of wooden blocks around - one handed with Mike to hold his other hand. I also have some photos of book covers, which I took while adding Matthew's 18 books to librarything. Plus some exceedingly silly ones in rather dim light of him licking Mike's tummy (what?). I could have gone for any of those, but instead I looked at the collection of ones I took this morning of the decorations on the Christmas tree and decided it was time for another collage. Fuzel is a rather handy app for that. I,m pleased with how this came out, apart from the fact you can't really tell the difference in size between the large (red/gold) and small (blue/purple/silver) baubles. The snowman was a lovely new addition this year, a gift from my brother-in-law's mother-out-law from Austria, along with some lovely Mozart Kugeln marzipan sweets. I always like to add a new decoration each year, and although I bought lots of baubles and new tinsel this year, he's much more in the spirit of it.

    Sunday, December 29th, 2013
    7:35 pm
    Lunch - photo a day

    Instagram has a bad reputation for people posting photos of their lunch. So here's one of Matthew's - he's probably too young to realise the effort I go to with these, but it keeps me amused anyway.

    Saturday, December 28th, 2013
    4:50 pm
    Holly - photo a day

    Matthew is looking much better - and has been pretty cheerful again today. I took him out for a walk before lunch to the park, to play on the swings and let Mike have a rest. Took a few snaps but the trains came out uninspiring and the blossom out of focus. Hurray for sunshine of holly leaves and another smashing blue sky. Lunch was leftover leftover-turkey curry, and tonight we aim to out the last of the turkey itself in a risotto. Then there's just the cheese, and al the mince pies, cake and chocolate to tackle. I fear we may have over catered!

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