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April 2012

Theo at 8 months

Theo at 8 months

by Clare Mansell

With Theo’s eight month birthday he reaches a milestone – I’m pleased to say he can at last sit up… although he still wobbles and crashes sometimes.

He is embracing solids with great enthusiasm, it really astonishes me how much he can eat. I’m sure there are many grown adults how eat less for breakfast than he does! His favourite meals at the moment are spinach pasta (an Annabel Karmel recipe known as “Popeye Pasta”) and Courgette Gratin – both smell great when they are being cooked! We have just ordered a new freezer for our garage to create more space for a rotating stock of little boxes of Theo food (and quite a lot of homebaked bread.) He eats a banana a day too and will make a grab at almost anything that anyone else is having. Apparently this is pretty typical of boys? I only have experience of this chap, so know no different…

Daddy does teatime

Having been getting out and about a bit more since Jim has been home it has also struck me that not every baby smiles and giggles their way through the day. Again it is only what I’m used to, and I just assumed every baby was like that, but Theo really rarely stops laughing – what a funny boy he is! Or maybe he just thinks his parents are really hilarious!?

The arrival of some belated Christmas presents has also seen an influx of new toys in the house and he is exhibiting excellent taste! His favourites are a wooden bear charm from Germany (a gift when he was born that clips onto his clothes) some soft fabric cubes my sister made, and a handmade sock monkey we bought in Canada. All of which sound quite strange, but crucially they are all handmade! The plastic toys make great noises, but are apparently not quite as alluring at the moment – That’s my boy!

Seasoned traveler

And finally he is still sleeping well. He wakes up around 7am, has a morning nap at about 10am, a couple of hours at lunchtime and in bed by 6:30pm. He even slept through most of our most recent flight to Inverness. It was flight number six for him, just over an hour long between England and Scotland, but as you can see he’s very laid back about air travel these days – He even reached out and helped himself to an infant seatbelt as we boarded!

So with all that sleeping you’d think mummy would be updating her blog a bit more? Oh dear, where do the days go?

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A dog that sits still…
Molly Dog - Duffus Castle

We had a doggy visitor today. Our friends Heidi & Billy are moving away from the military patch into their own house <sigh> and so Molly came to visit us for a few hours while the removal men were doing their job.

Unlike our two dogs, Molly will actually sit still to have her photo taken – especially if there is a ball that might be thrown included in the scenario! She also doesn’t roll in mud or run round with seaweed hanging from her mouth, which definitely helps. She was extremely well behaved with Theo too, who spent most of the day trying to grasp her wagging tail (without success) and playing tug of war with her – at her insistence.

Meanwhile her owners are settling into their own home tonight, something that we are all a teeny bit jealous of. Now they will be able to paint the walls a colour other than magnolia, hang more than six pictures in a room and plant things in their garden. One day, one day!

PS – For my Nova Scotian friends, look at that grass!!

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Nova Scotia

Who says bleak can't be beautiful?

Finally a slightly overdue post on our trip to Nova Scotia!

Although we got back to Scotland on Tuesday, the whole week seems to have disappeared in the blink of an eye and at feels like nothing has been achieved. I am behind reading blogs, behind on uploading photos and behind on sewing! I honestly think it’s because I’ve spent most of the week washing clothes – where does it all come from? There’s more than two suitcases worth, that’s for sure!

Anyway, I am hoping that this update marks the start of some progress!

We flew off to Halifax on 6th April. It’s a trip we have been wanting to make since we lived in Alberta between 2007-09, but because internal flights are expensive we decided to wait till we were back in the UK to do the trip, and then along came Theo, and a Afghanistan deployment, and it started slipping out of our grasp, but to cut a long story short, my parents offered to have the boy for a week, we booked the flights and off we went!

Fisherman's hut, Peggy's Cove

It is fascinating going back to a country after 3 years away and seeing what you have forgotten and what you have remembered through rose tinted glasses. The one thing that immediately became clear is that Nova Scotia is not Alberta! For those of you who don’t know Canada well, Alberta has a lot of oil and gas and with it, a lot of employment, money and low taxes!

 That aside it was still the same country. Tim Horton’s Boston Creams still taste amazing (particularly the first one after 3 years eaten in the sunshine on Halifax waterfront) and Canadian Superstore (or Atlantic Superstore as it is in the east) still stocks brilliant cheap kids clothes (just don’t ask how much I spent!)

We had forgotten that spring comes late to Canada and that this does not just mean it is cold (we were ready for that!) but that the grass is brown and the trees are completely bare. In contrast coming back to Scotland has been an absolute explosion of greenery!

Peggy's Cove lighthouse, Nova Scotia

Peggy's Cove lighthouse

Halifax was absolutely fascinating. We hadn’t planned to visit in the run up to the Titanic anniversary, but as it turned out it added a really interesting angle to an already interesting place. Not only was there all the Titanic stuff to see, but lots on the Halifax explosion (telling a friend about it yesterday, she said “but why doesn’t everyone know about it?” – quite!) There was fascinating information in the museum about laying the transatlantic cables, Pier 21 which was the Canadian centre for immigration and the Swiss Air memorial. For a small city, Halifax has seen an incredible amount of sadness and we both found it very moving.

Of course any holiday is not complete for me without some photo opportunities and this time I bravely left my SLR camera at home and relied entirely on my new compact camera and I was not disappointed! In fact it was quite liberating to know that all the kit was thousands of miles away and there was no decisions to be made about which lens to use!

Adams & Nickle


So, apart from the bare trees, it more than lived up to our expectations and we will definitely be going back. We already have the summer of 2015 penciled in, when Theo will be old enough to appreciate it and this time we’ll factor in some ferries and Prince Edward Island too.

There are many more photos, but not enough time yet for post-production twiddling, so I may do another post later in the week…

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Theo at seven months
Tummy Time - 10 March

And he’s on the move!

At seven months old, Theo has decided to bypass the sitting stage and go straight to rolling, and so now he rolls everywhere, sometimes by design and sometimes by accident! I think he’s like me, why sit still when there is so much to explore!?

This week he also got a few more air miles under his belt, with his fifth flight. The first four have been with me alone, but for this one he had his daddy to keep him company and a little girl in the row behind who was 10 days older. It all went pretty well though he wanted to know why there was nothing on the refreshments trolley for him! He made a good attempt at grabbing my sandwich and maneuvering it to his mouth!

Gatwick bound

Talking of which after a slow start with weaning, about a week before Jim came home, he suddenly got the hang of it and has been eating in ever increasing quantities since. Lots of porridge for breakfast, something from a vast stash of homemade frozen meals for lunch and then a mashed banana for tea. Though he’s not sitting unaided, he’s been sitting in a high-chair with a harness and enjoying it (I’m still painting our one though, just don’t ask…)

First beaker

Last week we had a lovely few days at a holiday cottage in the Cairngorms, enjoying record high temperatures before the weather changed from 22c and sun to freezing with snow! We had no bath in the cottage, so T had the treat of kitchen sink bath-time! Such good fun for him and much kinder on my back! If ours wasn’t normally full of washing up I could introduce it as a regular thing!

Bath in the kitchen sink

Tomorrow another big milestone for the boy – we’re leaving him! Jim and I fly to Nova Scotia for a week’s holiday and Theo will be staying with my parents. I’m sure he’ll be fine, but will I? I haven’t been apart from him for more than a couple of hours since he was born, I’m sure I’ll still imagine hearing him crying or look in the backseat for him when we’re on the other side of the Atlantic! But on the other hand… Goodness, a whole week with no ties… what will we do with ourselves!!

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