Archive for July, 2009

Congratulations to Simon and Jana

July 28th, 2009

Our friends Simon and Jana from Nipper News are pleased to arrive the safe arrival of their son. He caught them by surprise, and arrived slightly earlier than expected (33 weeks), but is doing well.

Huge congratulations from all of us at Just Relax!

PhotoWalkthrough on One Minute How-To

July 23rd, 2009

For those of you that don’t know I, John, also produce a regular photography based video podcast. In that capacity as photography guy George Smyth has been kind enough to ask me a third time if I’d like to contribute a segment on his show – One Minute How-To. His show offers weekly tips on a variety of interesting subjects, each being a very digestible minute or two long. Quick, informative and fun. Well worth a look. Check out my latest contribution on How to shoot panning shots and be sure to subscribe to George’s show.

Out of my parenting comfort zone

July 23rd, 2009

One of the things I have found the most difficult since having Catherine is getting out of the house, particularly anything that involves long car journeys and/or staying away. This was probably brought on in the very first weeks after Catherine was born, when I tried so hard to throw myself into the “new Mum” thing – going out to NCT get-togethers, music classes, massage classes, and everything else I thought a new Mum should do. I got more and more stressed as Catherine spent more and more of her time outside of the home awake and unhappy. After one particularly unhappy NCT coffee afternoon, where I spent the whole time literally holding the dummy in Catherine’s mouth to keep her quiet, I decided something had to change, and I battened down the hatches, and got a proper daytime routine in place.

Part of the problem was that Catherine really doesn’t nap well outside of her own bedroom. She’s always slept shorter at nursery than here, and I’m lucky if I can get 30 minutes out of her in the car. And when Catherine doesn’t get enough sleep, she gets grotty.

It’s taken a long time for me to start learning how I can “flex” Catherine’s routine when needed, and as she’s grown older she’s become more willing to be “flexed”. And I’ve been really pleased that we’ve managed to start getting out and socialising again – I’ve missed everyone!

This weekend we hit two major milestones, things that I’ve thought we ought to try doing for a while. First of all, on Friday night we went over to Austin and Lynne’s new house to see it, and have a takeaway and play some board games. Originally John’s Mum was going to babysit for us, but she didn’t feel well enough, so we were stuck with either not going, or taking Catherine with us. So we stuck the travel cot in the car, packed Catherine’s travel Grobag and set out to see what would happen.

Catherine was an absolute darling. She enjoyed the cook’s tour of the house, and tried to chase Austin and Lynne’s cats. She spent ages washing her hands in the handbasin (the latest, Lady-Macbeth-type obsession!). She was later than usual going to bed, but we tried to stick to our bedtime routine as usual, and bless her – she went straight to sleep in the Pickles’ spare room!

Come midnight and time to go home – she scared us a bit by waking up very easily, as soon as we walked into the room. She was then wide awake for the whole car journey home, but when we got in and put her in her cot she rolled around a little bit, but then went back off to sleep. What a good girl.

The next challenge came on Saturday – a two-and-half hour journey to Birkhamstead and it back for a friends’ daughter’s second birthday party. Any long journey that we have done like that before has been when going on a week’s holiday, and we’ve taken slowly, trying to fill the whole day, with a good stop part-way through. Not possible in this case. One the way down we tried setting out before lunch in the hope Catherine would sleep a little first, then we could have lunch, and perhaps a full tummy would send her to sleep again for the rest of the journey. She fell asleep quite easily in the car, did her traditional 30 minutes and then woke up. Thankfully she was happy to sit quietly for a bit, so we got a good chunk of the journey under our belts before stopping at a service station for lunch. She ate well, enjoyed a little roam around the services, and only had a small whinge when we put her back in the car. She didn’t sleep again, and I had to sing with her when she started getting a bit fractious, but we managed to make it to our friends’ house.

Again Catherine slept like a dream. Again she was slightly late to bed as there were fun party things going on, and we all ate late, but she went to sleep without complaining, and slept right through. We didn’t take the baby monitor with us, as John thinks I should learn to live without it. We slept in the room directly above Catherine’s, and we would have heard her if she’d yelled, but I set my alarm for 8am to be on the safe side, as these days she tends to wake up and play in her cot until I go in to her, and I wasn’t sure I’d hear that. I slept soundly until rudely awakened by my alarm, and as I was getting dressed one of our hosts knocked on the door to day she thought Catherine was awake – there were some shuffling noises coming from her room. What a good girl.

Coming back we tried things slightly differently, and ate lunch before setting out. I wanted to see if Catherine would sleep longer than her 30 minutes with a full tummy. Sadly not, but she was tired enough to sit quietly in her seat until we stopped at the services on the M6 toll. Cups of coffee for me and John, a slice of cake for Catherine and we set out again. Again, whilst she didn’t sleep, she was good as gold, and we got home without any yelling from any of us 🙂

So that’s two new things to add to my list of stuff I know I can do. It’s liberating to think we can go somewhere for an evening and get Catherine home and back into bed. It’s great to think it is now feasible to visit some of our further afield friends and family.

My next challenge is to try all three of us sleeping in one room – I’m still nervous about that one…

Free at last

July 22nd, 2009

Paul Rogers wrote:

Dear John, I hope you are well. I am seeking an Oracle DBA/Developer contractor for an inital 6 month engagement in Manchester. My client is a leading NW organisation.

John Arnold wrote:

Hi Paul. I’ve not been on the job market for 9 years and I’ve repeatedly asked your organisation to remove me from your database. However I might be tempted to reconsider if you sing me a few bars of All Right Now.

Paul Rogers wrote:

Apologies, but I can ensure it will be “alright now” as I have sent your details to ensure you are removed from the database, so you will be “free” from hassle by not recieving future mailshots.

Jumping on the rollercoaster again

July 14th, 2009

Last Monday night John and I went back to see our fertility consultant to discuss how we go about using our frozen embryos to try for a mini-Arnold number 2.

It’s taken us a while to feel ready for a second, particularly as Catherine gets more and more fun every day, and we don’t want to upset the apple cart. Being an only child myself, I’d prefer Catherine to have a sibling if at all scientifically and medically possible. Ironically John was the one who found the decision to try for a second one the hardest, however after lots of thought he has said he wants to go for it.

Just Relax S2E027 – iPhone Envy!

July 8th, 2009

Today we talk about our efforts to conceive our second child and how we’ll be using our frozen embryos to try and achieve that.

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just relax, it’ll happen! : Just Relax S2E027 – iPhone Envy!

Just Relax S2E026 – Still reeling from the ambush

July 3rd, 2009

On todays show we continue our discussion of worries about having a second child and how Ruth felt about John ambushing her with a reality podcasting moment last show. We have tons of listener feedback and lots of new topics including sleeping issues, weaning children off bottles, more on miscarriage and how much TV is good for children and we tell you all about what’s been going on in our lives recently. With music at the end by Martina McBride.

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just relax, it’ll happen! : Just Relax S2E026 – Still reeling from the ambush