Saturday, December 31, 2011

My favorite 11 photos in 2011

This year, though, I learned a lot about photography. A little over a year ago, my wonderful husband bought me my camera and I have slowly been learning about it and putting it to good use. So, without further adieu, these are my favorite pictures that I took this year!
This was taken in January in London (obviously!). This was the from the first batch of pictures that I edited using Lightroom.

This is from the first set of pictures I took with my Lightscoop - it changed my photography world! Such a cheap piece of equipment could help me take better pictures in my dark house.
This was in March in Colorado, bathing Georgia. I cropped and edited and edited and edited. I thought it looked wonderful! Looking back now, she looks a little fake ;-)

We probably see Grandpa Wallace the most of out all the grandparents (thus I have the most pictures of him), but I think Georgia with any of her grandparents is special!

A friend lent me his camera lens and I fell in love with it!

This picture was taken by my father-in-law (although I arranged us and set the settings and edited it)
As the weather got warmer in June, I was able to plan "photoshoots" where I could take pictures of my stationary child. Ah... those were the days!

Some of my favorite pictures are spur-of-the-moment ones! This one just happened to work out perfectly! This was in July when we were packing to go back to the US and Georgia was sitting in my suitcase. I just love that it turned out so well - in focus, great lighting, and her eyes really pop in this one!

In October, some friends of ours had their baby dedicated at church and asked me to take some pictures. I had a blast and did a fairly good job with them (I think!) and now the church is even using one of my pictures in their latest marketing campaign. Pretty cool!

In November, I did two "photoshoots" with Georgia, one in this bath tub and one doing a cake smash. I was shocked at how many pictures turned out good. I learned a lot from these, and enjoyed them immensely!

I'm amazed this picture turned out so well! Georgia was cranky and this was taken right before her nap. I was laying down sideways because our room isn't large, and Georgia had to be as far away from the lights as possible for this picture to work. Also the lights are way too bright because they're from America (120 volts) and I plugged them in here (240 volts!) and they definitely had a "wow" factor!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

13 months

Chasing birds in the Common on Boxing Day

This has been a rough month for us. We flew back from Colorado the day before Georgia's birthday and it took a good week to get back into the correct time zone. We had a birthday party for Georgia and a couple days after that, she woke up in the middle of the night with the croup. The croup turned into some sort of virus, and she was sick for about 10 days. She lost about 2 pounds over the course of two days, and was a sad sight to see! She is finally better again, yippie! And just as happy as could be. We had a wonderful Christmas as a family, and have enjoyed having Dave on vacation with us.

Doing the Advent Calendar together

Weight: 22.2 lbs, 55th percentile (but she was down to 20.5 when she was sick!)
Height: about 32 inches, 95 percentile
Diaper size: 4
Teeth: 8 still, but lumps where the molars are starting to come through
Words: 12: hi, bye, mama, dada, grandma (possibly? ma-ma-ma), bird, book, dog, diaper, birthday, where is it? and there it is!
Signs: eat, please, all done, milk (and she has signed please, followed by eat!)

This month, Georgia gave up her pacifier (yay!). I had been slowly weaning her off of it, as she had been using it less and less. When she got sick, she was unable to breathe through her nose, so I just stopped giving her the paci and she hasn't missed it yet!

We love having Aunt Kate live near us!

She is more and more fun each day, and also more and more work. When she's in a good mood, she is playful, giggly and a whirlwind. She moves from room to room carrying toys, keys and Christmas cards around. She loves reading her books and turning on all the toys that have sound. She will run away from me when I ask to change her diaper or put her coat on.

I just love this picture! 

Mealtimes have become a difficulty. I've been in the process of night weaning, so I want to make sure she eats enough during the day. That being said, she doesn't like to eat. I'm not guaranteed that she'll like the same things twice. She has been throwing any and everything off her high chair tray. I'll tell her she needs to eat what is on her tray before she can get eat anything else, and she will toss if off as if she understands what I am telling her. The two things that she will always eat are meat (most of the time, although this week its been iffy) and tangerines, her newest favorite food.

playing in the park

We are still nursing strong and Georgia shows no sign of stopping. Because Dave has been home, we are trying to do night weaning. She has never once slept through the night (yawn!) but we will get there soon! She now wakes up around 1 or 2am and around 4 or 5 am. I give her minimal milk and am cutting down on the amount she gets every time. If she wakes up too soon after a feeding, Dave goes in there and calms her down and puts her back in bed. She is probably drinking 1/2 the milk at night she did a month ago, so there is great improvement!
my sick girl

Talking about sleep, other than her night wakings, she has been sleeping great! She sleeps 12-13 hours a night and still takes two naps a day, usually around 3 hours. The good thing is that she is flexible, so we are able to get out of the house for longer periods of time as long as she has one good nap that day.
a muddy day in the park

The other thing that is very fun is watching Georgia develop relationships. There are several kids close in age to her that we see on a weekly basis. It is very obvious that Georgia is an extravert like her daddy and loves playing with her friends (as much as they can do when they're this little!).
playing on the piano she got on Christmas

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day!

Thanks for all your well-wishes and prayers! Georgia is feeling much better and is back to her old ways. She has spent this last week giggling, being a handful and running around the house like normal. Tomorrow she turns 13 months, so I'll have a blog post about her ;) Hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Why the NHS sucks, reason #183.

If you are British or live in the UK and are a fan of the NHS, please don't get offended by this post. There are some good things about the NHS. Its simplicity and relative ease of use. I do enjoy going to the doctors office and not worrying about filling out forms or calling the insurance to see if I am covered or not having to hand out my credit card at the end of treatment. But,
That's about where my praise of it ends.

This has been on my mind since Georgia is sick. She work up last Thursday (8 days ago) with a croup cough at 10pm. She had been completely fine all day. It was a rough night, with her sleeping in our bed, me sleeping on the floor in her room, and then for the majority of the night, I held her in the rocking chair so that she could sleep.

I called when the doctors office opened and made an appointment for Georgia. The doctor we saw basically said that Georgia was "fine". She didn't have any symptoms at the time, but she prescribed a low dose steroid for her to take based on my description. Dave went and picked it up (not paying anything, presumably because Georgia is a child and they have free prescriptions) and we gave it to her. Friday night was a bit better than Saturday night. Her cough wasn't quite as bad, and Dave was able to help hold her since he didn't have to work on Saturday.

When we woke up on Saturday morning, we soon realized that Georgia wasn't herself. She was having trouble getting enough air to breathe. Her heart was racing and she was breathing heavily an quickly. She had a fever and was pale with bright red cheeks. We went to the A&E (ER) where they gave her another steroid and ibuprofen and paracetamol (tylenol) to help lower her fever.

Sunday she seemed sick, but her cough was better and her breathing was normal. Monday she slept 18-19 hours. Even when she was "awake", she was still very much out of it and not herself. I'd lay her down in her crib, and she wouldn't make a peep. If I sat down while holding her, she would fall asleep within 30 seconds. Meanwhile, she wasn't eating or drinking much. She'd have a few bites here and there, and thankfully she was still nursing.

Tuesday came and she began vomiting. She refused any liquids (including breastmilk) and didn't want any food. I took her to the doctor. The doctor I saw gave me a lot of attitude. Basically I was over-reacting and she was just sick. She was still alert and looking around (yes, my child is an extravert!), so obviously she was fine and not dehydrated. After interrupting me several times, he basically said that she had croup and of course she's not going to get better overnight!

Tuesday night I thought that Georgia was starting to be dehydrated. I googled it. She had basically every symptom for moderate dehydration. She had lost 8-9% of her body weight, she hadn't been drinking anything, very little pee, dry lips, irritable, etc. I went to the drug store to look for pedialyte (or some sort of rehydration solution for kids). I explained to the chemist what I needed and she said they couldn't give it to me. I'd have to have a prescription or a child over the age of two. On the box it says for ages 2 and up, therefore they can't give it to me. (Stupid government regulations!)

Wednesday brought another doctors appointment. I saw another doctor (3rd one in a week) and he was a bit more sympathetic. He agreed that she was ill and not doing well, but didn't really offer any help. He just suggested that we watch for urine every 8 hours.

Now it is Friday. Georgia is still not eating (much). She had a couple bites of my toast. She still has diarrhea and because she's lost so much weight, her diapers aren't fitting well. Every-time she pees or poops it leaks out (her skinny legs and non-existent tummy) Yesterday she had 2 wet diapers. One was at 8am and one at 4pm. She had another at midnight and one at 11am this morning. Definitely dehydrated. She is unbelievably cranky and irritable. She is weak (not eating for 8 days) and has trouble pushing buttons on some of her toys and will just fuss and whine until I come help her.

And this is where the NHS sucks. Money speaks. I don't pay anything to see the doctor here. They have no motivation to treat me kindly or to give helpful suggestions or to even spend more than 5 minutes with me. They get paid the same amount whether I am happy or not. I can chose to go to another doctor, but it won't do me any good. This is one of the big failures of the NHS. In the US, of course it is expensive to go to a good doctor! That is because they are GOOD! You pay for their services. You want the best doctor (you can afford) so you will find them. If they don't treat you well or you are not happy you will take your money and go elsewhere. Here, there is no incentive (at least none that I know of) for a doctor to be the best that they can be.

I am really tired of going to the doctors office to have my concerns ignored. I am not someone who overly worries about things, and I really do think that having a daughter pee only twice in one day is a major concern. But, I'll wait another day or two because she's not "lethargic" enough and her extrovert personality will convince the doctor that she really is "ok". Until then, I'll continue on, doing laundry and trying to force liquids into Georgia, hoping that she will get better without another trip in to see the doctor.