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Updated: 2016-04-12T04:49:08.893+01:00


James at 3


Time to resurrect this blog, considering it's been almost two years since I last posted. Whoops!

In the interim, we have packed up our entire lives in Worcester, moved to Canada, bought a house, travelled a bit, and just generally settled into a new suburban Canadian life.

James has also recently turned three. He is a happy, kind, and much-loved little boy. He continues to be a good eater (and follows our rule of 'you don't have to like it, but you do have to taste it').
He started soccer this summer and still loves to read books. Particular favourites lately have been Curious George, Where's Waldo books, and any Robert Munsch books.

On his actual birthday we took him to Centreville, a small amusement park on Toronto Island. He loved all of the rides and was very proud when he rode some of the rides by himself.


James at 13 months


      Eating James is still eating well and enjoying a range of different foods. Pasta is still a favorite and he will specifically eat it first during a meal. He is still breastfed once in the morning.   Sleeping There hasn't been much change with James's sleeping. He usually sleeps from 7pm to 5 or 5:30am, with 2 naps in the day.   Appearance His hair is still lovely and curly and rather red. His rash has now cleared up after we stopped using a certain washing powder. He is entirely in 12-18 clothes now.   Development James is great fun at this stage and is learning so quickly now. He seems to understand so much more of what we say, which is tremendously exciting. He is cruising around the furniture quickly and seems very proud of himself.   Pictures from the past month Family trip to Eastnor castle         Trip to Delft, Netherlands to visit with old university friends           Visiting with old uni friends in delft  [...]

James's first birthday party


We had a small family gathering to celebrate James's birthday a few days after he turned one. The weather was clear and it was nice to be together to fete dear James....and the bouncy castle arranged by his Nana helped too!     12 months of James!           The cousins made valiant attempts at the piñata!   In the end, we took it down and just smashed it!      [...]

James at 12 months


*** We're a bit late with this post, but better late than never! Eating James is still a great eater and enjoys eating a range of foods, although fruit and pasta seem to be his favourites. He will now feed himself his yogurt and insists on being given a fork or spoon with which to eat his meal. This can be pretty messy and slow but it is great to see him developing his fine motor skills. He is now only breastfed in the morning and is offered whole milk at meals and throughout the day. Sleeping He continues to sleep consistently through the night but has moved his wakeup time forward to around 5 am. It is rather early but at least he is sleeping! He still has two naps a day, which range in length from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Appearance At 12 months he weighs 24 pounds 15 ounces (11.35 kg) and is 78 cm long. His hair continues to grow longer and is rather curly in the back. James wears 12-18 month old sized clothes with quite a few 18-24 month items. Development His understanding seems to taken off this month and he seems to understand directions a lot more. He will pick up the correct stuffed animal if you ask him to bring it to you. He is crawling really fast now and can pull himself up and stay standing for a lot longer. He is a bright and inquisitive little boy and has really started to get into EVERYTHING this month. He seems quite a ease in social situations and doesn't seem too shy with strangers. He is still really happy at nursery and starts to clap when we approach the building. Pictures from the last month   Carrot cake on his actual birthday     Usual scene in his bedroom   Into everything!   Family trip to Goodrich castle            [...]

James at 11 months


  Eating James is still eating well, with 3 meals a day and an afternoon snack. He will eat pretty much anything we put in front of him, which we are grateful for. As it is berry season, he is eating loads of raspberries and strawberries, and continues to enjoy his peas. He is still breastfed in the morning and night and we are trying to get him used to drinking whole milk now.   Sleeping No real change here: he is still sleeping 11 hours at night with two 45-minute naps during the day, although occasionally he will nap for longer.   Appearance He is getting bigger and longer and now weighs 23 pounds, 8 ounces. He is wearing mostly 12-18 month clothes now, with the odd pair of 18-month old trousers.   Development James has made significant physical developments in the past month. He is now crawling and is also balancing on his knees. He seems a lot more in control of his body and can get around really quickly. He is talking and babbling a lot more now, and is able to communicate when he wants something with grunts and pointing.   Pictures from the last month         James's christening         Visit to Canada           Around the house     Outtakes from his 11-month pictures     Block throwing!    [...]

James at 10 months


  Eating James continues to eat well and enjoys three solid meals a day and an afternoon snack. He is still breastfed in the morning and before bed, and seems to have dropped the bottle of milk in the afternoon. He is pretty good at drinking his water out of the sippy cup and will also drink pretty well out of a normal cup. He still is pretty easy to take out to restaurants as he will eat anything that we put in front of him. James seems to also enjoy foods with spice and has tucked into fajitas and a curry this month. His favourite foods this month have been peas and blueberries.   Sleeping James is still sleeping around 11 hours a night, going down at 7pm and waking up any time between 5:30 and 6:30am. He still takes a 9am and 2pm nap.   Appearance He has certainly filled out this month and weighed 22 pounds at 9.5 months. His hair continues to grow and he has a bit of a baby mullet going on. His two top teeth came through this month, which makes him look so much older!   Development James is still bum shuffling and is also semi-crawling (in a backwards direction). He has gotten a lot more comfortable on his stomach and can now push himself back into a sitting position from his stomach. He is also pulling himself up onto his knees a lot now, which means that he can reach a lot more places!   Pictures from the last month   Around the house                 James's first 'glamping' trip, which he seemed to love!         Al fresco eating!   Finally a family picture!     More al fresco dining at our local park      [...]

James at 9 months


EatingJames loves his food! We are so grateful that he will try anything that we put out in front of him. He eats 3 solid meals a day and is still breastfed in the morning and before bed. He doesn't seem all that interested in his formula bottle in the afternoon at nursery, although he will drink sips of water throughout the day. We took James out to two restaurants this month. Getting there before the lunch crowd and choosing casual restaurants helped to make it pretty relaxing and enjoyable for everyone. He did really well and we all just shared our meals he was happy to sit there and eat what he was given. His pincer grasp has improved significantly and he can now manage to feed himself peas and blueberries.SleepingJames is still (thankfully) sleeping around 11 hours a night. He now only really has 2 naps in the day, which both tend to be only 45 minutes.Appearance He hasn't been weighed yet but seems to be getting heavier and longer. His hair is getting longer with a bit of a curl in the back. It certainly is getting darker in colour, but still has the lovely reddish tinge. There haven't been any new teeth this month but he certainly was showing signs of them emerging at the end of the month.DevelopmentJames is starting to bum shuffle a bit now and can spin around in a circle. He can hitch up one leg and is trying very hard to get mobile. He will push up from his belly but will push himself backwards not forwards, which can get a bit frustrating for him. James can reach for things really well from the seated position, and will surprise us with just far he can lean forward to reach a toy. He still isn't rolling but for now we are just enjoying this time before he becomes fully mobile!Pictures from the last monthAround the houseJolly Jumper/ weights session!Family trip to BathFirst picnic!Visit with Granny!First babycinno[...]

James at 8 months


  Eating James is eating three meals a day and has milk feeds in the morning, just before bed, and 1-2 during the day. He seems to really enjoy his food, and the staff at the nursery always comment on what a good eater he is. James loves roast root veg like parsnips and squash as well as yogurts and pears. He will try anything we put in front of him and seems to have enjoyed trying different types of fish this month, some curries, and strawberries.   Sleeping His sleeping has remained pretty consistent, with 2-3 45-minute naps during the day and around 11 hours at night.   Appearance He is now a solid 20 pounds and his hair continues to get longer and perhaps even redder. He wears a range of clothing sizes depending on the brand, but the majority are now 9-12 months.   Development He can sit unassisted now comfortably and we only tend to put cushions behind him now if he is sitting on a hard floor. He can stand when holding onto something pretty well, but hasn't made any more progress on his rolling or crawling. James still lives his jolly jumper and loves using bouncers at friends or nursery.   Some pictures from the last month           The eyebrows!   Wearing green for St Patrick's day First Easter     First Easter card  [...]

James at 7 months


EatingJames is now eating three meals a day and tends to eat the same as we eat. He is generally feeding himself, which can get pretty messy. We do spoon feed things like yogurt or porridge. His food intake has continued to increase as his ability to handle and chew food improves. Some favourite foods have been pancakes, tortellini, quiche, salmon, and pears. Over the past month his milk feeds have gradually started to decrease in quantity, which is really directed by him. He still has some breast milk in the morning and just before bed.SleepingHe still has 2-3 45-minute naps during the day and is now generally sleeping through from 7pm to 6am. He is waking up in the morning happy and content now, and it is a pleasure to listen to him talk to himself before we go in and say good morning. AppearanceJames is now 19 pounds and a solid little boy. His hair is continuing to come in, and still is a lovely strawberry blonde colour. DevelopmentHe started to sit unassisted from 6.5 months, which is around the same time he cut his first two bottom teeth. He started a nursery 3 days a week this month as I have returned to work part time. He really seems to enjoy himself there and the interaction with the staff and other babies. He did pick up his first nursery cold in his second week, which coincided with the arrival of his teeth. This led to him not being his usual self and our first (of many I'm sure) call from the nursery telling us he was ill. Thank goodness for Calpol. Things we have learnedBaby teeth are sharp!Babies are vessels of infection :)Pictures from the past monthHe loves to dig in his treasure box and throw toys everywherePoor hat is a bit too small nowShowing off his new teeth with a big smileFirst day at nursery photos sent home with James His first Valentine's Day craftFirst time on a swingLove you Jims![...]

My first Mothering Sunday


I am so grateful for my little boy and the joy that he brings. Today was my first Mother's Day and I am reminded how blessed I am to be his mom.


We started today enjoying my favourite breakfast (smoked salmon on a bagel) as a family. We then popped over to the Malvern antique fair and then into Waitrose for lunch and to pick up some bits for tonight's dinner. Bliss!



James made a lovely card for me at nursery


Mothering Sunday is celebrated in the UK on the fourth Sunday of Lent, where historically people returned to their mother church.


James at 6 months


EatingJames is still mainly being breastfed and then has a bottle of formula at night or if someone else is caring for him. The main event this past month has been the introduction of solids. We started a bit earlier than the official NHS guidelines of 6 months, but we felt comfortable as he was sitting well in the high chair. His first taste of solid food was banana, which he nibbled on and seemed to enjoy. He also tasted avocado, carrot, broccoli, sweet potato and cauliflower. We also gave him a little bit of baguette even though he wasn't yet 6 months but he seemed to tolerate the gluten just fine. We are planning on skipping purees and just feeding him what we eat. This is making us more conscientious of what we are eating, which I think can only be a good thing. I had read about 'baby led weaning' on blogs previously and was rather pleasantly surprised that this is the method endorsed by our health visitor and the NHS as a whole.SleepingThis month has been great for sleeping with James only waking up once in the night. There were even a few times where he slept through the night. He even did well when we stayed in a hotel for 2 nights, which was such a relief.AppearanceHe has nice chunky thighs now and weighed in at 18 pounds the day before he turned 6 months. We have no clue how long he is as they only measure weight at our children's centre.ClothingJames is definitely in 6 to 9 month clothes now and we had to pick up a few more pairs of trousers as he has grown out of all of his.Development He is such a pleasant little boy and has started to really laugh and giggle this past month. He continues to be ever so nosy and inquisitive (it makes taking pictures with blocks rather difficult).James has made a lot of physical progress this month. He found his feet just after he turned 5 months and has started to grab his toes and put them in his mouth. He will roll over from his stomach to his back now too. He has also started to sit a lot better and can sit unassisted for a few moments.Pictures from the past month[...]

A Glasgow weekend


A few weekends ago we made the long drive (by British standards) north to Glasgow to celebrate our friends' wedding. Neither of us had ever attended a ceilidh and after the fantastic time we had, I've decided that we need more Scottish friends!We arrived on the Friday after a uneventful journey. James was stellar in the car and he tried his first bit of baguette when we went for dinner at the Mussel Inn. Certainly not the healthiest solids but he seemed to love the bread and allowed us to enjoy our meals. We spent the morning before the ceilidh walking around Glasgow city centre and the West End where we visited the Kelvingrove museum.James did really well at the ceilidh even if it was quite a bit after his bed time.My favorite dance was called the 'cartwheel' (I think), which involved being spun around and lifted off of the ground (a first for me!).I really am kicking myself for never attending a ceilidh when I was at the university of Edinburgh! Such fun and a great work out![...]

James at 5 months


EatingHe is still mostly breast fed with one bottle of formula in the evening. Nursing sessions have become more regular and shorter throughout the day, which is such a bonus for me. Feeding James in busy places or if there is a lot of noise has started to become more difficult as he is constantly coming off as he rubber necks to see what is going on.SleepingThe month started off pretty rough with 3-4 waking during the night, but half way through it seems like something just clicked and James started to wake up only once. He has even surprised/blessed us with sleeping through the night on a few occasions. His day time sleep has remained consistent with three 45-minute naps a day.AppearanceHis hair is getting thicker on the top and I love how red it looks in sunlight. He is filling out in his face and weighed in at 16 pounds 2 ounces at his last visit with the nurse.ClothingWe have started to crack open his 6-9 month clothes storage box, mainly for onesies and trousers. He still wears some 3-6 month sleepers from Next as they tend to fit big.PersonalityHe really has gotten to be so much fun this month. He wants to be involved with everything and doesn't like being left out. He is still friendly with strangers and loves interacting (and touching) other babies. His smiles are getting even bigger and broader and he has started to laugh and giggle.LikesPlaying with his feet (he found them this month!); the bath; car rides, being outside; chewing on anything and everything; his jolly jumper (it's easy to imagine Irish music playing in the background with the way he jumps, kicks, and waves his arms); playing peekaboo and pat-a-cake; sitting in his high chairDislikesNapping for longer than 45 minutesEventsFirst Christmas and New Year's Eve;Two visits to the Worcester cathedral;Started using (and enjoying) his jolly jumper;First trip to Ikea to pick up his high chairPictures from the past monthAttempt at a Christmas photoshootSerious about opening giftsNew Years Eve decorations New Year's Day walk with friendsFlooded SevernEnjoying his new high chairWe love you Jimmy![...]

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas Eve! Lee is at work, James is in bed and I'm just sitting enjoying some tea and a mince tart. I have managed to enjoy the build up to the big day and managed to cross off most of the activities on my advent list.I took a few pictures around the flat to try to remember James's first Christmas. Our wee treeJames's little treeWe also managed to get all of his advent pictures taken, including today's wonderfully naff outfit.[...]

James at 4 months*


*we were obviously sleep deprived this month and cannot spell months!SleepingNapping during the day has been pretty good this month, with 2-3 naps a day. Most naps are 45 minutes and it still amazes us how James will wake up bang on 45 minutes!Nighttime sleep started off rather well at the beginning of the month, with only one wake up during the night. But things went downhill significantly once we returned from Canada. I initially attributed it to jet lag, but a few weeks after our return James was still waking up 3-4 times a night. This was pretty rough for both of us - sleep deprivation can make parents nuts. AppearanceHe has continued to fill out at weighed 14 pounds when the health visitor weighed him at 15 weeks. EatingJames is eating every 3-4 hours now and still has a bottle of formula at night. There was a few nights where he was refusing the bottle, but thankfully that passed. ClothingHe is still in mainly 3-6 month clothing with some 6 month pyjamas and sweaters.PersonalityHe is generally a happy and smiley little boy but we went through a few weeks where he just didn't seem his usual self. He would cry a lot more than usual and wanted to be constantly kept busy. He also started sucking his thumb and fingers a lot more. This all tied in with what the Wonder Weeks describes as getting ready to make 'a leap'.EventsFlight back to the UKHis first 3+ hour car ride (he slept most of the way!)His (and ours) first visit to YorkThe birth of his friend NorahA few pictures from the past monthIn front of York MinsterYork at nightBefore the Advent processionExcited for fish and chips![...]

Advent activities


Inspired by the internet (where else?) I have drawn up a list of activities to help me to savour the Advent season. James isn't old enough to appreciate this time of year, but as I am on maternity leave, this is the year to truly embrace the season.

The list has been going around in my head, but I think it would be good to put it in writing. I don't have a nice long list of 24 activities, but decided to keep it simple and hopefully manageable.

  1. Make a wreath (done! See below)
  2. Send Christmas cards
  3. Make gingerbread cookies
  4. Meet with friends for festive drinks
  5. Go to a carol concert at Worcester cathedral
  6. Go for a walk as a family up the Malvern hills
  7. Start to sort out the multitude of pictures taken in 2012
  8. Watch Christmas movies (Elf, Love Actually, The Holiday, etc).
  9. Buy and hang mistletoe
  10. Send grandparents a daily advent picture of James (ongoing)

I'm still working on completing all of the activities except for the first one, and it is already the 9th. I need to get cracking! For the first activity, I went with friends to a wreath making class run by a local florist. It was great fun and made me appreciate how hard florists do work (and how dirty and scratched their poor hands can get!).


Wreath making success!

My wreath on our front door


For activity #10, we have managed to send a daily picture of James and are a third of the way there! It is fun trying to think up different poses and locations.


Day 8 of the advent calendar

James at 3 months


SleepingJames seems to have put himself on a bit of a schedule, which is a pleasant surprise. He is up for two hours and then needs to take a nap. This can be either in his cot or his carseat or pushchair if we are out and are usually around 45 minutes. He is waking up from his naps a lot more pleasant now and usually smiles a big gummy grin.Sleeping at night is a bit hit or miss. He goes to bed at a regular time of 7 and then will wake up 1 to 3 times throughout the night. Thankfully he still is really good at going back to sleep after a nighttime feed.AppearanceHe has really started to fill out this month, with the appearance of a few chins and nice chunky thighs. His hair is growing a lot more too. We are undecided as to the colour, which appears dark blonde in some lights and rather reddish in others. EatingJames is still eating every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day and usually has a bottle of formula at night.ClothingHe is definitely into 3 to 6 month clothing now, with some 6 month clothing thrown in. Some of the sleepers he wore at the beginning of our trip to Canada no longer fit by the end of the 3-week trip.PersonalityJames is so much fun now with lots of squeals, squeaks and smiles. He is so nosy and is always rubber-necking and looking around. He seems to enjoy tummy time a lot more and his neck control is getting so much better.Events (there were a lot of firsts)He met his auntie MC for the first time when she visited us in WorcesterHis first flight! He did so well on the 8-hour flight and pretty much just ate and slept the entire timeHis first visit to Canada and visits with his great aunt Marg, great uncle Bob, auntie Megs and lots of friends His first exposure to snowHis first HalloweenThe birth of his sweet cousin LaylaPictures from the past month[...]

James at 2 months


SleepingWe as parents and James himself still struggle with daytime naps. We probably don't work hard enough scheduling naps and are just going with the flow, which leads to a range of nap times and nap lengths. Night times are a bit more scheduled and James is pretty great at going to sleep at 7. He wakes up at various times throughout the night but is generally pretty good at getting back to sleep.AppearanceHis hair is beginning to grow a bit more on the top of his head, with a slight baby mullet. It looks blond in some light and rather reddish in other lights. His baby acne cleared up after one week and he no longer has the dry skin problem on his head. A few days before he turned two months he weighed 10 pounds and 2 ounces.EatingHe is still a great eater and usually eats every 2.5 to 3 hours during the day and twice in the night. He gets a bottle of formula at night or if his grandma is babysitting him during the day and if I haven't managed to pump enough.ClothingJames is now in 0-3month sized clothes, with some 3-6 month sleepers and the odd pair of (rather large) newborn trousers. We are now able to have a little more fun when dressing him. Personality James is starting to develop his own personality. He has started to laugh and smile a lot more and has recently progressed from smiling with a big wide grin to making cooing noises and a high pitch squeal. When he is not hungry, tired or has a dirty nappy he is a very content little boy who likes nothing more than having people talk to him. James also likes nothing more than having his evening bath. He is very energetic in the water and enjoys kicking and splashing around with a big smile on his face. Events He did pretty well at his first round of immunizations at 8 weeks First visit with my boss and colleagues Watched Daddy run a 10km assault course Started using our reusable nappies Pictures from the past monthNot too sure about reusables  Visit with cousins          [...]

James and daddy


James is starting to engage with us a lot more now. His wide smile, coos, and squeaks melt my heart and make everything worthwhile.

src="" width="500" height="305" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" allowfullscreen="">James and daddy from The McWoods on Vimeo.



James seems pretty pleased with the outfit Lee dressed him in today - his first pair of trousers!

I think he looks a bit like my grandfather, who had the tendency to wear his trousers a bit too high.



Milk coma


Snoring and comatose after a feed :)

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milk coma from The McWoods on Vimeo.

James at one month


SleepHis naps during the day are all over the place and there are some days where the only sleep he gets is when he falls asleep during a feed. At night James will usually sleep for 3 to 4 hours, waking to feed at around 1 and again at 4. His favorite place to sleep is on our chest.AppearanceHe has started to get a little bit of baby acne and his skin is continuing to peel like he has been sunburned. His lovely strawberry blonde hair is thinning on the top, leaving him with a hairline like an old man and a bit of a mullet. The red birth mark on his right eyelid seems to lighten and then darken over the course of the day. It turns bright red whenever he cries or becomes overtired. James has also inherited the Wood family ear lump - a small lump on his ear lobe that Lee, his sister, and both Lee's niece and nephew have. Let's just hope he inherits the good Wood family vision. At 1 month and 1 day James weighed 9 pounds, which was a great improvement from the previous week's measurement of 8 pounds 2 ounces.EatingJames loves to eat but breastfeeding has been a struggle since we first tried to latch when he was placed on my chest post delivery. His shallow latch left me with painful nipples, a case of mastitis and lots of tears. We have been supplementing with formula since we got home from hospital due to the large weight loss (9%) and the lack of weight gain in the first 2 weeks. The supplementing with formula, along with whatever I could express, also helped to try and give my nipples a bit of a rest from the horrible latch. I'm just grateful that he is able to drink from a bottle and doesn't seem to have developed any confusion between the two. It is only in the past few days where we seem to be turning a corner with breastfeeding - the sensation is now manageable and no longer like he is shoving needles into my nipples.Clothing He is still in all newborn sized clothes, which as it turns out, we didn't really have very many. There are tons of 0-3 outfits in his closet that remain untouched, but I'm sure that won't be for too much longer. The outfit that he came home from the hospital in is still quite loose in the body but is starting to get too tight in the length.Likes and dislikesLikes: baths, car rides, sleeping on our chests, eating, being in the Boba carrierDislikes: napping in his cot, getting out of the bathEventsGetting his passport photo takenSmiling!! (He first started smiling at around 3 weeks and we love to gurn at him like idiots to get him to smile)1.5 hours car trip to visit family in Oxfordshire (he slept both directions)Pictures from the past month [...]



I know it is a bit late, but we have been a bit busy :)




Thank goodness for the Olympics! They are providing excellent entertainment during the wait for this baby to arrive. I'm now 41 weeks and thoughts are turning toward induction to encourage him to appear. I'm still fairly comfortable, but keen to get this show on the road. Both of my parents are here now and it has been lovely just to visit with them, go out for meals, cook for them, and just putter around town with them.

One of the benefits of the baby not arriving early is that Lee and I were able to attend a friend's wedding. Even though the forecast was for thunderstorms and showers, the weather cooperated with lovely clear skies.


The unlimited ice cream was a welcome treat!



Two days into my maternity leave and I was starting to feel a little bored. Thank goodness the royal couple decided to pop up north to Worcester for a little visit!



The weather was rubbish for their arrival to the Guildhall, but quickly improved for when we saw them again as they visited the Cathedral.



Today is two weeks until my due date and it is slowly starting to feel real that we will become parents fairly soon. I'm still feeling pretty good except for a touch of insomnia in the night and trying to keep active and busy. We have a wedding to attend on Friday so the baby is welcome to make his appearance any time after that. The wedding is of the poor friend who I fainted on, and I've promised her that I won't make a scene on her special day :)