Nap laps, tantrums and stepping in poo

Dexter is having kind of a tough week.

On Tuesday, I woke him early from his nap to get to a midwife appointment on time. It’s been cold and wet lately, but that afternoon was sunny and cool so we played in the front garden a bit before heading inside. It was all fun and games until he tried to step down a concrete step onto our driveway, slipped and fell.

That’s when I realized the bottoms of his shoes were coated with poo, about an inch thick.

Dex would like to show you this big leaf he found, in happier times, before he stepped into a poo trap.
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Dexter sees snow for the first time

London snow is unusual. The city is 3-4 degrees warmer than the most of the rest of the UK and we just don’t see flakes very often.

But on Thursday, it snowed, a pretty good showing – almost complete ground coverage with fat flakes still falling when Matt got home from work.

Our usual evening routine is Matt and Dex play while I make/finish dinner, then we eat, then bed. That train doesn’t derail very often, but still, when Matt said, “You wanna put on coats and boots and go outside and show him the snow?” I only had to think a second before saying yes.

Who knew how long it would last, or when we’d see it again?

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Dexter Ian: 21 Months Old

Every time he puts the baby to bed, Dex turns around with his finger in front of his lips and says “Shhhhh….”

We put a fake baby brother on Dexter’s Christmas list.

No one bought it for Christmas but then Matt’s mom sent it for Three Kings.

The idea was to maybe start play-acting some stuff, feeding and holding, to get Dexter used to the idea of a baby in the house ahead of Cricket’s arrival. Dex knows there’s a baby in mommy’s belly, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t get it. Our hope was that Fake Baby Brother would give us an anchor, a way to talk about things so they’re a little less abstract.

We weren’t sure how it would go, but it turns out that Dexter loves that baby. He feeds it, puts it to bed about 493 times a day, wraps it in a blanket and is very diligent of being sure the baby has its paci.

He is so freaking adorable with that doll that if I wasn’t already pregnant, I probably would be by now. 

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Top Books of 2016… and Dexter’s picks, too!

You: “We get it, Jamie. You really like books and reading. You are weirdly dedicated to the library and are super happy that Dexter loves books, too, and you talk about it all the damn time. WE GET IT.”

Me: “BUT HAVE YOU SEEN A WHOLE BUNCH OF PHOTOS OF DEXTER READING BOOKS, ALL GATHERED IN ONE ADORABLE COLLAGE HERE ON THE INTERNET?”

You: “[sigh] No. Fine. Show us.”

Me: “If you insist!”

You: “Don’t push it.”

Dexter reading photos are at the end, but first, my top books of 2016.

Another relatively light reading year for me, but there are some treasures. Maybe next year I’ll get to read more. I hear you get LESS busy with two children, right? RIGHT?

Seriously, though, reading is a big part of my life and one of my 2017 resolutions is to put some effort into it. It’s always come easy because I’ve always had lots of time for books, so if I read a few duds, who cares? There were 3-4 good books for every bad one. Now that that has been untrue for two years in a row, I’m putting some effort into research to make sure my precious reading time is of higher quality. Man, this is some privileged person problems, here. Also note that the links below are affiliate, so if you click and buy a book, I’ll get a few pennies (literally) to put toward my hosting.

Here are previous lists, and here are the 2016 picks:

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Our first Christmas in London

I really thought we’d have another 17-20 years before we’d have to worry about Dexter face-planting on a pub floor, but it happened a few days ago. We were with friends waiting to be seated for a late lunch, in a slightly crowded bar area, when Dex sucessfully navigated the stairs and then when taking his next step forward, stumbled and completely failed to stop his fall. (The puffer coat and new backpack he was wearing probably didn’t help.)

Matt scooped him up and sure enough – mouth full of blood. 

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Dexter vs. Santa 2016

Last year, Dexter met Santa for the first time at the EA holiday party  held at Matt’s office. He was much more interested in removing his socks than getting to know Claus, and his face was that knowing, “I’m just doing this to make my parents happy” smirk that he continues to perfect.

This year, as his is nature, things got more judgmental. 

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Hello, Florence: Views to die for, telescope porn and the Florence Marathon almost strands us

After Dexter conquered his carousel fear, we took him home for a nap and then bought him some pizza when he woke up. He was pretty happy about it.

Our itinerary was loose, but we knew we wanted to wander around and look at Christmas lights, eventually heading to Guilio Giannini, a shop where six generations of family have been master bookbinders since 1856.

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Hello, Florence: Dexter drops his carousel fear but develops Vespa-phobia in Florence, Italy

Now that Matt is all British, he’s incorporated a new phrase into his vocabulary: giving stick. It’s means good-natured picking on someone, which, if you know Matt, you know is 90% of his interactions with other humans.

I tell you this because I will be giving Matt some stick this post. You’ll notice a running theme. Matt is terrible at taking vacation photos. Yeah, he can do a decent landscape, but when it comes to photos of his fellow beloved family members? Usually, he forgets to take them altogether and if he remembers (or I remind him), they look like this:

Dexter and I had been gazing thoughtfully and adorably at art, and as I asked Matt to take a photo, I imagined an image from behind, a lovely mother+son cultural moment. Instead, we got Dexter messing with the thing that controls the temperature for the priceless paintings and me hitching up my maternity pants as I chase after him to stop him from accidentally melting priceless paintings.

This is sort of better?

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Hello, Florence: From pizza surfboards to perfect turkey, our first few days of Italian Thanksgiving

When we were leaving Florida, during our final garage sale, a few Orlando pals stopped by to buy to some stuff, and mentioned they’d be spending Thanksgiving 2017 in Florence, Italy. They had a big apartment, and would we like to meet up?

Yes. Yes, we would.

We left on a Tuesday afternoon and returned on a Sunday. On the flight there, Dexter blessed us with a rare airplane nap. Matt joined in.

Our family ended up renting our own flat for reasons of Toddler and Pregnant Belly and Sleep. It was teeny but charming. Dexter LOVED it, and would run back and forth with unbridled glee every time we returned “home.” I think the hobbit hole-like layout felt his size, to him.

The night we arrived, it was already past Dex’s bedtime, so we pretty much put him straight down (he had his own area with a door for once, no cowering in the hall for us, woo hoo!) and then Matt went scouting for some pizza. He was successful at Toscania Pizzeria, and brought home a pizza the size of a surfboard. 

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