Sunday, May 3, 2015

April Roundup

My latest post is from Friday, April 10th. For some reason that day I felt I needed to get it done, otherwise I wouldn't. A pricking in my thumbs, mother's intuition, call it what you will - that night my precious star was born, and I haven't been on here since then. I've been changing diapers (about 158 so far), cuddling, singing, taking pictures, napping, crying happy tears, and just enjoying being a mom. April is my birthday month, and now it's also my son's birthday month - extra special!
going to church
After a bit of a hiatus on the linkup, I'm back with Leigh to share what I've been into this month (a heads up - it's mostly baby-related):

Reading: I reread my Hypnobirthing book. It's so calming, and I found it helped me stay relaxed and focused during pregnancy as well as birth, helping me to see the process for what it is - a natural, normal, albeit amazing part of life. It was a good tool for helping me stay calm and open minded during the actual birth (more about that later).

Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Drukerman. This was a gift from a friend, and a great read for during Baby's first days at home. Ms Drukerman is an American living in France, and her observations about French parenting are useful and in line with my style, An example - there is no separation between "kid food" and "adult food". Kids should be allowed and encouraged to enjoy lots of flavours from childhood. Some ring true for Spain, such as snacks are for snack time, and snack time happens once a day. If you eat properly at meal times, there is no need to have a bag of squashed cereal floating around in your purse or diaper bag (phew! I hate crumbs). Her comparisons of French and American parenting styles are often humorous, and anecdotes aren't long or rambling, an easy book to pick up for a few minutes here and there when I had time/was awake.

What to Expect in the First Year. Given to me by the same friend, this is a nice book to reference, with lots of lists and good information to use as starting place. I also just like reading about babies, and found this one kind of fun just for that.

Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert. A reread, but I do love me some armchair travel! I love Italy, and India is on Tall Guy's and my to-visit list. Indonesia's relaxed pace and reverence for children is extremely appealing (what, babies are carried until they're a year old? And it's socially acceptable? I could totally go for that; I never want to put my little one down!). 

Chatelaine and Reader's Digest. Thank goodness for magazines! It's great to start and finish something in one sitting. I have a stockpile of RD which I had been saving for during labour (reading light, funny articles is supposed to be relaxing), but it was over so quickly there wasn't time. As for Chatelaine, can I just say that the weekly grocery shop and meal planner is fabulous, especially at this stage of our lives? 

Be Family to Your Friends, a lovely post by Fiona Lynn that will ring true for anyone living abroad, but especially resonated with me this month.

Going: There were lots of changes in this month's schedule thanks to our early arrival - all of them worth it. 
fragrant lilacs in the park
During Easter holidays, we went to "de billidge" (the village, specially to Tall Guy's family farm) and went on a few lovely day trips, which you can read about here.

My next big excursion  (big as in life-changing, not far or exotic) was to the hospital! In Spain, mothers and babies stay for 48 hours after birth. Since that would have brought us to a Sunday, we stayed an extra day (no discharges on Sundays). They don't call babies bundles of joy for nothing - I am so in love! And the hospital stay was very positive - my doctor and midwife were of course on hand (one or both of them checked in on us every day), and the nursing staff were lovely. There was a sofa bed in my room for Tall Guy, and of course we had our newest family member to keep us company.

Since our homecoming, our trips have been mainly to Parque Santander here in Madrid, where until only a few weeks ago I was running on the track. I had no idea that around the outer edge of the track, there is a beautifully landscaped walking path! Lots of fragrant, colourful plants and flowers, benches to sit down, water fountains, and even a cafe. 

We did get to church on my birthday, and also out for lunch. We went to Sagaretxe, a pincho bar in Madrid. Pinchos are rounds of baguette with different toppings, and also great baby food. Not for the baby, of course, but when you have one - they're already made, so you just pick the ones you want from the bar, and you can eat them with one hand.

pinchos. my favourites are brie and jam, and baby eel and pepper.
We also went out for hamburgers one night at New York Burger. A good burger, but really slow service. REALLY slow. So slow, Baby ate twice before we ate once. And while it was a good burger, it wasn't better than The Good Burger, which is faster and has frozen yogurt for dessert, so...

Eating: I really didn't feel the need to "eat for two" during my pregnancy. I ate enough (okay, probably more than enough!) but my appetite was nowhere near as voracious as it is now that I am feeding my Plus One as well as myself. I am a bottomless pit! Thank goodness for a fully-stocked freezer (and the bakery downstairs...).

vanilla cake with berry jam filling
Maybe because of his early arrival, but a true, strong nesting instinct didn't kick in until AFTER baby. I made lasagna and vanilla cake (May's Chatelaine) for a triple birthday lunch (me, my mother in law, and baby!). I made a giant meatloaf just because, and mashed potatoes and peas to accompany. I also made lactation cookies from bellybelly. It turns out I'm a regular ewe for my little lamb and don't really need them, but the coconut flour adaptation sure is yummy, and the extra help certainly can't hurt.
i made two - one for the freezer!
For breakfast these days a smoothie alone just doesn't cut it. I've been making steel-cut oats with different toppings. Tall Guy's favourite is pear, cranberry and almond, and I'm a little bit boring, with raisins and a little bit of milk.

Thankful for: With my own family far away, and not visiting until next week (the idea was that hopefully I would have given birth by then!), I am so thankful for my friends and Spanish family, especially my Spanish Madre - my host mother from when I was here on exchange as a teenager came to the hospital the night Baby was born to check on me. She came to see us every day while I was in hospital, and has been popping by with afternoon snacks and for walks ever since. 
"I know you have your husband and in-laws, but it's not the same," she said, "I'm here as your family." 

She has known me for nearly 14 years, from when I could barely string together a sentence in Spanish and would blush beet red with embarrassment when I had to give anyone "dos besos".

I'm also thankful for Skype, for being able to connect with my family and friends back home and in other lands, to share with them the joy that is my son. Even my grandma has seen him, thanks to a cousin and her iPad.

My church family has been carrying us along in their prayers during the whole pregnancy, and continue to do so now. Another language wouldn't stop me, but I am thankful to have an English-speaking church.

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