Monday, 29 December 2008

The Moment When I Wondered if I bought the Right Baby Home from the Hospital

Remember Christmas Morning when you were a kid?

Tearing wrapping paper off with wild abandon and getting thoroughly stuck in (Ok so that is still what I do now but thats not the point people)?

Joyous, right?

Fast forward to Christmas 2008.

Where my firstborn child carefully unwraps each individual present before taking care to add it in a very orderly fashion to his tower of presents before moving on to the next.
I only caught a photo half way through but he repeated such shameless tidy shenanigans the very next day at my mum's house.

Heaven knows he didn't get the tidy or self restraint genes from me.

I hope it's not contagious.

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Saturday, 20 December 2008

I Blame That Geoffrey Giraffe

Recently we hit Toys R Us (Thomas pronounces it Toys R arse which always makes me chuckle because the A word is tres naughty here) with the kids in tow.

Knowing fully well that leaving toy-less would result in complete hysteria from our offspring.

Thomas chose a Ninja Turtle and Eli a Fire Engine, Police Car and Ambulance Combo.

Hysteria avoided.

But then he saw this:
The Hot Wheels Shark Park.

It was half price.

He started using words like awesome, car munching action and dare I say it? Flying Pizza.

I did my best to discourage the purchase but he had his heart set on it.

Oh and when I say he I'm not referring to Thomas or Eli.

I am referring to Rob.

Apparently boys never grow up.

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Well That Flew by!

Dear Friends & Family,

We decided this year to be responsible and do our part for the environment and not send out Christmas cards to our loved ones and to try this approach instead. Well, really we're just incredibly lazy and disorganised but you probably knew that already.

(Techno retards please note that all words highlighted in a different colour font are actually hyperlinks to more information on that topic not just pretty writing).

2008 started on a massive high for us. Having one child master potty training over the Christmas break left us feeling the world was indeed our oyster. It is amazing how those little things really make a truly enormous difference. At the end of January Thomas turned 3 and it really has been a delightful age for him, mostly.

In February Rob was able to go to France for his 3rd annual snowboarding trip. Carol once again stayed home with the kids (and her mum). Carol incidentally is adding up all these snowboarding days and when it gets to a number she is happy with will get her own back and take a trip of her own, without either kids or husband, with just chocolate and books for company somewhere very warm and blissfully quiet.

In April we celebrated our 5th anniversary and wondered at where the time had gone.

It was also all change at church for us. Rob finally got released from his calling in the Young Men's program which he'd been involved in pretty much since we got married, so Carol finally got her husband back on Tuesday nights. Rob is now teaching the youth Sunday School class. Carol got released from her calling on the Relief Society Presidency (women's organisation) after a 3 year stint and was called to be the Primary President. A challenge she quickly grew to enjoy.

Also April saw our family grow by 4 fish. One has since passed away but we remain astounded (and a little bit impressed with ourselves) that we have managed to keep the remaining 3 alive so long.

In May our baby Eli turned two. May also saw Carol and Thomas endure an overnight stay at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary due to Thomas breaking his radius and Ulna driving a car down a slide. We hear these things are only to be expected when you have sons. We feel sure this isn't the last of our trips to Accident and Emergency.

In July we enjoyed a family holiday in Wales with 23 lovely folks from the Siswick side of the family. The sun obviously does shine on the righteous because it turned out to be the loveliest week of the whole summer.

Having waved farewell to playgroup in July (where he had been attending thrice weekly for the previous 9 months) in September Thomas started at Nursery School and absolutely loves spending his afternoons there. We also had a pleasant surprise when Playgroup called to offer Eli an early starter place rather than him wait until January and he now attends two mornings. All the workers adore him and we have had several offers to take him off our hands. Occasionally we have been tempted to agree.

Rob keeps busy at work with Velux and continues to take advantage of managing his own time and the perks that allows. He has been playing football in a fair play league based in Sheffield and as they had a break in fixtures for Christmas his team 'Yorkshire New Saints' were top of the league.

Carol keeps busy with the boys and is constantly entertained by their antics and enthusiasm for life. She is a bit concerned that maybe she now loves The Backyardigans more than the children.

Thomas loves his weekly football training with the West End Under 5's and loves being a Huddersfield Town season ticket holder along with his dad, grandad and Uncle Phil. He is getting big so quick, has recently mastered writing his name and we are constantly amazed at the wisdom and knowledge that pours out of his constantly moving mouth. He starts attending Primary at Church in the new year and is thrilled to officially be a big boy.

Eli still loves his penguin more than anything in the world and 2008 saw him slowly gnaw the poor diseased looking birds beak off. He still likes to entertain us at any opportunity and gives the best hugs ever. He recently moved from his cot to a bed and did so far more smoothly than we ever imagined. We love hearing his little prayers each day and other Eli-isms.

We are already enjoying the Christmas Season and seeing the boys buzzing with anticipation is wonderful.

2008 has been good to us.

We hope it has been good to you too!

With love,

The Siswicks
Rob, Carol, Thomas & Eli

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Deliciously Devious

Here in the blessed British Isles there is no expectation at Christmas time to buy gifts for teachers.

There is none of that 'room mother' malarkey either.

In fact teachers are to consider themselves honoured if they receive a Christmas Card from a parent. Mostly they get nothing. Us Brits are nothing if we aren't stingy.

Here you take your kids to school leave them there and stay away.

Returning only to collect your kids or dutifully attend concerts and other presentations when permitted.

I am perfectly happy with this arrangement.

But at Christmas I go the extra mile, I want to make a good impression.

I want to let the teachers know I appreciate them both educating my kids and taking them off my hands several hours each week.

So again this year in a bid to make an everlasting impression I baked (if you can call stirring and chilling baking because really that is all the effort required).

I baked Banoffee pie, crisp chocolate biscuit crumb base, filled with dense swirled caramel and melted Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, topped with banana and finally whipped cream.

Why make the effort if it isn't even expected?

It's all about being teachers pet.

And when I say that I'm not talking about the kids I am simply talking about me!

From the tears in Thomas' teachers eyes I'd say Mission Accomplished.

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Sunday, 14 December 2008

Angelic, Really?

On Friday I was absolutely swollen with pride as I went to see my firstborn in his first ever school Christmas concert.

A couple of weeks previously we received direction that the Nursery Class were gonna to be a choir of angels in the production (which I quietly found highly amusing because the furthest thing you can probably find from an angel is a three year old) and that in aforementioned role my son would be required to wear an angel costume.

I explained it to him and he responded promptly and with disgust, "No!"

Turns out angels wear dresses and as he is very much a boy there was no possibility of him wearing a dress ever.

After convincing him to trust me that angels are actually men (despite them being depicted in nativity plays worldwide as sweet little girls) and they wear 'special robes' and not dresses he finally agreed to participate. Though there is a possibility he agreed to participate solely to shut me up so he could concentrate on more important things, you know, like Diego.

So here is my very own little angel pre-performance. It is amazing what you can accomplish with a pillowcase and some tinsel (my sewing machine conspired against me dressing my son in a dress too and refused to work) when needs must. Crazy face courtesy of insisting on saying cheese with gusto.
The concert was so lovely and I only caught him picking his nose once (his new hobby) and fortunately he was far from the only one.
And for 30 entire minutes 39 3 and 4 year olds actually were angelic.

Too bad it didn't extend to the two year old I had to take along.

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Monday, 8 December 2008

So That's Where Snow Comes From

This morning Thomas gave us an extensive discourse on where water comes from as only a 3 year old really can.

So I asked him if he knew who made the snow (I like to be topical you know).

'Yes' He promptly replied.

'Santa and Jesus'.

I couldn't help but think the world would be a sublimely nicer place if Santa and Jesus were responsible for everything, not just snow.

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Friday, 5 December 2008

What Exactly Goes On In Those Little Brains?

A couple of days ago as Rob pulled onto the drive Eli started yelling with excitement "Poo-Daddy, Poo-Daddy!"

Thomas corrected him and said "No E-I (which is exactly how he pronounces his name, I am doing you a phonetic favour here) it's not Poo-Daddy it is Who-Daddy."

I'd like to take this opportunity to correct them both.

It is actually Ho-Daddy, Ho-Daddy and if you have no clue whatsoever what I am referring to then you obviously have been deprived of the 217 hours of Backyardigans that parenthood has forced upon me.

The Ho-Daddy reference is from the Surf's Up episode. I totally recommend it BTW. Anyhow that is a massive tangent so I'll get back to the point.

Eli responds, "No Daddy is a giant like mummy!" (I'm 5 feet 10 inches hardly giant proportions but I guess to a little person it could appear that way so I won't take offense, much.)

"NO daddy is bigger than mummy because he is the boss!"

How on earth did my three year old form such a politically incorrect opinion? I'll have you know Rob is neither the boss of this household (or anywhere else really) or even taller than me.

I am an actually an entire inch taller. So there, Thomas. I must be the boss if height is the only requirement.

As if that wasn't a treat enough last night when I thought both my boys were sleeping somewhere around 10pm Thomas unexpectedly shouts my name out. He didn't sound upset so I chose to respond from my seat on the sofa (the benefits of dwelling in a teeny tiny house) wondering what he could be wanting at such an hour when he should have been in a peaceful slumber for hours.

His response?

'I am getting big boobies like you'.

Cue near death by laughing fits for both Rob and I whilst Rob explained that boys don't have boobies.

And for the record I think he is the first and no doubt the last person to ever use the word big in connection with my boobies.

Because we all know when God was handing out the boobs I was obviously in the queue for a zippy metabolism instead.

A girl can't have everything.

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Monday, 1 December 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

It actually snowed this morning (about 37 snowflakes to be exact but hey, snow is snow!) and it just seemed far too perfect to not get festivities under way.

Eli about to throw the bauble at me because he could make it 'stick' to the tree.

So excited for Christmas this year!!

My little elves getting the job done.

On a side note the Eli monster is officially out of his cot and in a bed (our house is 100% baby kit free, hallelujah!). He even slept through falling out of bed on night 2 and slept this morning until 8:30 (we can only hope it wasn't concussion related). Joy! Here he is sporting his new haircut courtesy of Joel and the most random hairdressing technique ever.

SO proud of their efforts! (Please note we have never been to either the Hard Rock Cafe or Copenhagen, T Shirt courtesy of Thomas drenching himself whilst washing his hands at school today.)

Obviously I let them have free reign and decorate the tree to their own preference.

Which was of course to cluster all the baubles in one preschooler high area.

So of course I stripped it bare and decorated it beautifully when they were tucked up in bed.

Here's hoping they never notice the difference!

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Sunday, 30 November 2008

If Only

Friday night I found myself at a loss.

I had nothing specific I actually wanted to do.

My choices were these:

Tackle the ironing pile, this I hasten to add isn't my actual pile of ironing mine is at least neatly-ish folded awaiting it's date with the iron (my house doesn't contain an unhealthy collection of pictures of Roses either I assure you, floral and I just do not gel).
Or watch this movie which was taking up precious space on our Sky+,
It shouldn't take Einstein to figure out I chose the latter.

I just want to say that should my marriage to Rob come to an untimely end either through some tragedy or the fact that he scarpered with Catherine Zeta Jones or Liz Hurley when the opportunity presented itself I want to marry Matthew McConaughey next.

Due to my lack of diligence in the ironing department he'd no doubt be forced to exist in a shirtless state.

But I could live with that. It's not a big deal.


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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Wanna Hear a Good Joke?

What's a pigs favourite snack?


What do you mean you don't get it and you're not laughing?

Apparently you have to be about 3 and three quarters to fully comprehend the true hilarity of this joke.

Also Thomas finds the joke can be endlessly revitalised by swapping the word pig for just about any other type of animal imaginable should the laughter start to dry up using just pig.

Yes it is a chore to force out a sincere laugh to a non funny joke 213 times a day.

Fortunately he is always guaranteed a laugh in this house because Eli thinks finds the word popcorn highly amusing indeed.

Too bad he has no clue what popcorn actually is.

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Sunday, 23 November 2008

The Best Money Ever Spent

At Thomas' school they have a book club where you can buy really lovely books for discounted prices and the school makes commission on their sales. So when I indulge in my book purchasing addiction really I am just helping his school raise funds. See, I am totally selfless like that.

I ordered this one with the Christmas season sneaking up on us for the discounted price of £4, reduced from £12.99. You gotta love a bargain like that right?

I have really fond childhood memories of watching the short movie adaptation of this book at Christmastime and feeling fully festive.
The beautifully presented hard bound version of the book in it's super snazzy presentation case I bought also came along with a CD reading of the book.

Tonight after their bath we read some stories and then I asked Thomas if he'd like us to read the Snowman book (Eli and I had read it earlier while Thomas was at school) but he was so impressed that it came with a CD of his very own that he wanted to listen to it.

So I took the CD player in their room, tucked my boys up in bed, switched off the light and pressed play.

Silence followed, as did sleep.

And that my friends is priceless.

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Friday, 21 November 2008

What a Charmer

In a recent post I mentioned Thomas in connection with the words 'chronic constipation'. Thankfully those days are long long gone. They were not happy times.

My (maybe vain) hope is that my boys will have such incredible senses of humour when they're older that they will see the very funny side of my having shared such intimate details of their bathroom habits years previously.

If not? Well I guess it'll just be too late and they'll either have to live with it or else legally change their names and move far away from me and my Internet ramblings.

You can see now why I'd prefer the first option. I am pretty attached to my little chaps after all.

But anyhow, very occasionally for old times sake Thomas will take a walk down constipation memory lane (so to speak) and take himself off to sit on the toilet for an hour or so. I'm not complaining my life is pretty low maintenance while one of the kids is on the loo watching the day go by with no real intention or need to poop. Eventually boredom sets in and he gets down and returns to whatever he was doing before the urge took him. I consider it a gift of sorts. Like a self inflicted time out that he gives himself.

Recently before boredom had the opportunity to set in I had to use the bathroom and for those who are mothers you'll no doubt sympathise that bladder control sadly isn't what it once was. So I asked Thomas is he would temporarily take a break from his non-pooping so that I could quickly use the toilet.


But I'll only be a minute.


(More urgently) Please Thomas I'll be really quick.

My said no. You go outside in the park like those dogs do.

Can I just take this opportunity to apologise to whoever has the good fortune of marrying my firstborn because apparently a boys toilet is his castle and there is just no parting him from it.

Even in an emergency.

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Monday, 17 November 2008

Obsessed. Strictly Speaking.

I have added yet another addiction to my list.

Joining the ranks of chocolate, Pepsi, Blogging and laminating is my current obsession, Strictly Come Dancing. (That'd be Dancing with the Stars for my US readers. Pretty much the same show even including Len & Bruno but much more traditional in format, you know us Brits we love tradition.)

I got slightly engrossed at the very end of Season 4 back in 2006.

I was an avid viewer of season 5 last year.

This year I admit I am a truly obsessed super fan.

Phew, feels so much better to say that out loud. Well in type anyhow. I watch the show on Saturday, I watch the result show on Sunday and every week day I watch the behind scenes show to see who is dancing what on Saturday and how they're getting along.

See I really wasn't exaggerating when I used the word addicted, was I?

Looking back to how this addiction may have started I can look back no further than my first ever viewing of Dirty Dancing, at the tender age of 11 I got to watch it at the cinema despite being 4 years too young for the age 15 certificate. Lucky for me the light of good fortune favoured me because my mum worked there so I just sneaked in the back and stood completely enthralled watching the whole thing. What girl didn't want to be Baby? And who didn't want to marry Johnny? Patrick Swayze you will always have a special place in my heart (and probably a few billion others).

After the first viewing I was totally hooked. I remember watching it on video over and over and over again. Even attempting to write all the dialogue down in script fashion (though I got bored on about scene 4, I was lazy it would appear even then). I wanted desperately to be a dancer.

But I was missing one particularly vital thing.

Any sense of coordination.

Being somewhat statuesque in build, well maybe that's too generous, a more apt term to describe me would be gangly.

It's true, I admit it. I am gangly. At 5' 10'' I have arms that are longer than most women's legs and hands that truly are bigger than most boys.

I was never gonna be a dancer. Aerobics is too challenging a feat for my level of coordination let alone actual dancing where you're supposed to look refined and elegant while you do it.

But still in my heart I want to wear those divine gowns (even the really immodest ones) and have gorgeous hair and make up and wear those dainty heels.

But in reality even one of those gowns wouldn't distract from my truly hideous varicose vein on my left calf (courtesy of pregnancy number 1), even if I managed to get my pig trotter type feet into dainty heels there is no chance I'd actually manage to walk in them, never mind dance. I don't even remember the last time I wore heels, at least 10 years, I have none in my shoe collection. Victoria Beckham would be utterly appalled.

But that is why Strictly Come Dancing brings me such tremendous joy. Ordinary celebrity people get to fulfil my fantasy. Some are excellent and some are appalling (which entertains me to a completely other degree I have to tell you) but they are dancing and every week I feel a little bit fulfilled just from watching them.

Oh and the eye candy in tight pants and shirts split to the waist really doesn't hurt either.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Letters, Laxatives & ?

Dear Thomas,

Lets make ourselves a little agreement. From now on unless informed otherwise by your good self I'll just assume that you would like every toy on every advertisement you see between now and Christmas. Not having the same conversation 3681 times every day will help keep me on the verge of sanity which I'd greatly appreciate.

I have to say when you told me you wanted that shampoo for Christmas, that was a low point.

I think you might have fallen over the materialistic edge of Christmas. I think it is time to overdose on our nativity books to get you back on track.

Love mum


I am intrigued by the laxative effect playing with cars appears to have on Eli's bowels. Without fail if he plays cars for longer than a few minutes it kicks his intestines into overdrive. If only we had known what we know now when Thomas suffered with excruciating constipation for 18 months. Ah well, you live and learn.


Not to brag (well maybe a little) last night I got Christmas wrapped up and all stored in the loft. The kids were beginning to get a bit suspicious of odd shaped packages appearing around the house. Only 4 more presents to buy. Yay!


Dear Sweet cute brown eyed but incredibly devilish Eli,

If you could not throw a massive tantrum every single day when we have to leave Thomas at school I'd really appreciate it. Especially on those days when just ten minutes before I was picking you up from playgroup after a 3 hour stint where you got to do all the exact same things you are so enamoured with at Thomas' school, on those days I find your behaviour beyond unreasonable.

Frankly I could live without my hefty daily dose of humiliation. Nobody else's younger sibling gives an ounce of resistance about leaving. Clearly you are trying to make up for them all.

I don't really appreciate the fact that everybody stares like we're a car crash as I have to physically remove your screaming, crying self from the building while all the parents are no doubt thanking their lucky stars that you're not their child and the staff are probably making a mental note to look for new employment by January 2010 when you'd be in their class.

Come on kid, give me a break.

Love mum


Tonight we start choir rehearsals for our Carol service at church. I signed up immediately. Don't get me wrong I am not a great singer. I know that. But still I can be found in my car belting the hits out like no ones business. But if nothing else at least my paltry singing talents will make the rest of the choir look good. Plus biggest bonus of all I have to it on the stand in church for the duration of the Carol service, so when December 21st rolls around I will have a child free church experience. Bliss!


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Monday, 10 November 2008

Crash! Bang! Wallop!

I'm not gonna lie to you.

The truth is I am not a very good driver.

I didn't even make any attempt whatsoever to learn to drive until I was 26, (not so uncommon here with the extortionate pricing and terrifically fabulous public transport systems, in fact lots of people never ever learn to drive).

I was not a fast learner. Throw some organic chemistry my way and I can figure that stuff out no problem, clutch control? Reversing around a corner? Not so much.

It took 20 months and 4 test attempts (one of which I kept a secret from everybody because I couldn't bear to confess I had failed again!) before I actually finally passed. At which point I was convinced I would remain in learner status forever. One of my tests I actually managed to fail whilst pulling out of the test centre in minute 1 of my test (not as easy as it sounds you know), apparently it is dangerous to set off on a road without indicating first. What's the big deal? Nobody got injured.

I stopped keeping track at 40 lessons when it just became too soul destroying to keep tally any longer, which sadly was only about 5 months into my driving tuition marathon. At £18 a lesson it takes no Einstein to figure out I spent literally thousands of pounds learning to drive.

My driving instructor was even a guest at our wedding. How many people can claim such a thing? But it is the sad truth. I spent so much time with the lovely Jo that around the time we got married she and I were firm friends. She probably knew more about me than most of my close friends and of course she was more than happy to attend considering I was probably her main source of income at that point in her career.

It really should come as no surprise that right after I finally passed my driving test my instructor got herself a brand new car and expanded her business to employ 2 more people. I'm telling you, I totally funded her expansion plans with my incapability to master the skill of driving. I hope she is appreciative.

In the time since I passed my test and could legally drive. I have had numerous incidents with posts in car parks, all of which have been yellow and have resulted in me having to scrub the evidence off the car before Rob saw it. Once I even did this kneeling on the pavement in the rain whilst 8 months pregnant.

Now though it is a different story altogether, if I hit a post I leave the paint on my car. My car is 11 years old. Streaks of yellow paint are the least of my cars problems. Plus I like to think it adds a little dash of character.

I once had the misfortune of a bus not seeing me overtaking and pulling out into the side of my car, leaving just a couple of scratches. I was pregnant with Eli at the time and bus drivers happen to be notoriously grumpy and rude and the outburst from that rather antisocial one sent me over a hormonally charged edge to crying wreck-dom.

I have been known to stop at traffic lights on green. Initially it only happened when I was pregnant but it would seem the brain decay has worsened of late because I caught myself doing so a few weeks ago and pregnancy was definitely not responsible.

Today though I rear ended a car on the way home from the supermarket. The first accident involving another car that was 100% my fault. He braked. I slammed on my brakes. My brakes did not engage, not even a tiny bit. Resulting in me bashing right into his cars backside. So I guess officially it was my brakes fault not mine. I wish that made me feel better.

Miraculously no damage occurred to either vehicle which leads me to suspect my car has super powers of some kind because at 11 years old plain good luck is the only thing holding the pieces of the car together. But she will not die. She is a fighter.

Ironically the car I hit turned out to be a driving instructor teaching a (most like terrified now) pupil to drive. I can only hope the victim of my failing brakes turns out a better driver than me.

And lets face it that really wouldn't be a terribly difficult accomplishment to achieve.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Out For the Count

I think we all know how much I enjoy moderating my comments.

I'm so easily pleased, I know.

The last few weeks I have been utterly baffled.

Blogger has lost the ability to count correctly.

My two year old can count to 14 all by himself.

I am expecting Blogger to be slightly more intelligent than Eli.

Is that really too much to ask?

What am I rambling on about you wonder?

Without fail I always have one more comment than Blogger informs me I have.

At first I thought Blogger was just having a bad day.

I sympathised, we all have days like that after all.

Lately I am having a few (thanks kids!).

But weeks on the madness continues.

You know what the worst thing is?

Sometimes when it says I have no comments to be moderated if I click on moderate comments lo and behold there is a single lonely comment anxiously waiting acceptance.

What is the world coming to when even Blogger is keeping secrets and lying to you?

See this is exactly why I am concerned about my children's future.

A deceitful blogger account is surely just the beginning of the end.

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Thursday, 6 November 2008

Remember, Remember the 5th of November:Fireworks & Festivities

Last night was no less than our most random British celebration.

Bonfire night/Guy Fawkes night.

Yes, that cheery celebration of catching those crafty catholic conspirators who plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder way back in 1605 when frankly gunpowder was the best option you had for attempting to blow up British government or anything else really.

That Guy Fawkes fella was the chief conspirator and so therefore greedily gains all the glory by having the whole evening named after him.

their plans were foiled and they had the pleasure of death by being hung, drawn and quartered. (The good ole days were fun, right?)

So in memory of the occasion us Brits unite for some Fireworks and of course generally food.

When I was a kid (forever ago) we used to make our own Guy's out of old tights and clothing stuffed with newspaper and fling him on the bonfire during the nights festivities, you know, just for fun.

Bonfire night has had mixed reviews from our kids thus far. Year one at 10 months Thomas was enthralled and delighted, Year two he was terrified and Eli was oblivious, Year 3 we decided to skip it entirely (which is practically treasonous behaviour) and this year we just planned to attend our church shindig which some bright spark (no pun intended) had arranged for Friday night.

Friday night is 2 days too late for Bonfire night.

But we figured we could get away with it because fireworks have been sporadically going off now for weeks and fortunately our kids are too young to pay any kind of attention to a calendar. Phew!

Alas I didn't take into account that both playgroup and school would be whipping them into a fireworks night frenzy yesterday (thanks for that British educational system) Thomas came bounding out all over excited that today was the big day and we could have a bonfire and fireworks.

I explained that we were having ours on Friday instead at church with all his friends. He reacted like I just told him Santa doesn't exist coupled with a future without TV.

Yes, that badly.

Fast forward a few hours and we were in the in laws garden. Rob had been to Tesco to get us some family friendly fireworks. (I have to admit all fireworks are spoiled forever to me now. Having spent 4th of July at Disney's Magic Kingdom nothing can top that. It was seriously firework heaven. Everything else is just a bit lacking in comparison.)
Impressive I know!
One little boy who is thrilled regardless.

So you may recall we have two kids.

One of which practically emotionally blackmailed us into the whole impromptu fireworks fandango.

Where's Thomas you wonder?

Well this will be our firstborn indoor with grandma because after the very first lame firework he announced 'I want to go home now!' Typical.
So I'll leave you with a cheerful little ditty we used to sing as kids at this time of year,

Guy, Guy, Guy,
Poke him in the eye,
Put him on the Bonfire and let him die.

Charming, no?

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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Well That's Not British!

I recall when I decided to join the classics book club over at 5 minutes for books that it'd be just the incentive and motivation I needed to read all of those books that a person really should read before they die.

I figured with all the novels of Austen, Dickens and Hardy alone we had a good few years worth of titles to trudge our way through.

So when I saw this last months selection was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn I thought to myself 'WHAT?' I came to the sad realisation that I am a patriotic literary snob, a fact that I had never previously discovered about myself. How could this Betty Smith woman and her book that I had never heard of in all my life be regarded as a classic?

How could it be in the same league as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre (even if it was a bit of a yawn-fest)? I almost opted out. After all nobody cares if I play along or not. But then I saw the selection for January was Hamlet. I am most definitely skipping that one.

Now don't get me wrong I don't mind some Shakespeare, the fellow was an odd looking genius and I have spent many a day visiting his hometown of Stratford Upon Avon but please oh please spare me the Monarchy and spare me the tragedies. I love Shakespeare for his comedies and his comedies alone (truly you have to watch Much ado about nothing if only for Keanu Reeves in leather pants and not a stitch else).

So not wanting to slack off for two months I decided to read A tree grows in Brooklyn. I put my British literary snobbishness aside and dove in.

The result?

Never have I been both so depressed and so inspired by the same book.

I loved it.

I also have to admit it was a welcome relief to read it after the wordiness of those Austen and Bronte chicks.

I found the character of Francie enchanting from start to finish.

I love that Sissy reaffirmed to me that we can judge people for their actions but their hearts may make them better people than we actually are.

I loved too that I came to the realisation that parenting isn't about being perfect. It is about doing the best we can to make our children's lives better than our own. Though I may not be able to meet every single one of my children's needs perfectly if I do what I can it will benefit them and they in turn will benefit their children.

As one generation passes and another is born new opportunities abound and families are the vehicles for these opportunities.

Generally when I read I give the book away when I am finished (or else our house would be a library by now) but this one I am keeping in my permanent collection.

The selection for next month is Charles Dickens:A Christmas Carol (to be read by December 2nd) so I'll happily be resuming my British literary snobbishness for that. Why not join in?

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Monday, 3 November 2008

Giving Thanks at the Wrong End of November

I may not be American and I may not officially recognise the Thanksgiving holiday as such but today I would feel beyond ungrateful if I didn't give just a little, but very specific thanks.

I am eternally thankful for the inventor/creator or the portable DVD Player.

Yesterday we had a 5 hour trip to take with the kids to a family baptism.

Anything beyond an hour these days requires a family sized pack of sedatives to ensure we all survive.

So we may have borrowed the DVD players without asking from the in laws house while they were away.

We may have even had to listen to Aristocats and Cars simultaneously, but that was a joyous and welcome treat in comparison to the whining, grumping and pouting we usually have to contend with. (Besides isn't the Cars soundtrack pretty cool? Or is that just me?)

I now know what is going on my list to Santa.

It may not be very indulgent but anything sanity preserving has to be the best gift EVER!

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Saturday, 1 November 2008

Dear Santa.....

Halloween and Rob's birthday both behind us we enter into my territory.....


Having pulled out my Santa card on Thomas weeks ago I am gutted to admit the novelty has started to gradually wear off. Santa's all powerful gift control no longer makes my 3 year old stop in his naughty tracks. I guess naughtiness is just more alluring than gifts to this child. (Lucky me when he is older).

Last week was half term from school and Rob was away in Scotland with work so the kids and I went to stay at my mum's where I got to share bunk beds with Thomas. (I am actually thinking that bunk beds are the way forward, having returned last night and slept in my own bed I sadly missed the bunk beds. I am thinking we need some for our room. All the convenience and company of having Rob close by but without the inconvenience of his cover hogging and trampolining style turning over, maybe I'll just have to suggest it.)

Anyhow during such visit we ended up in a shop that sold toys. To which Thomas reacts by requesting one by one each and every toy on their shelves. To which I respond like I always do, "well we can't buy any right now because if we do Santa won't know what to bring you" the combination of too many late nights at nanny's house and pure greed resulted in him not being completely satisfied with that response.

Finally he was happy to buy nothing if we could write his list to Santa right away when we got back to Nanny's house, just to be sure he didn't forget anything that he really needed Santa to bring him.
So I present to you our gift lists to Santa.......

Thomas: (FYI 'mash up' is what the boys do with their dad roughly translates as wrestling)

Diego Rescue Pack
Golden Coin Maker (thank you Nickelodeon for putting this idea into his head BTW)
A Game with Monkeys
A new DVD of a stagecoach
A mash up stage
A jigsaw with an animal picture
A water squirting game
A kicker man to mash up
A mash up turtle
New pictures
New Plates
New Door
Peppa Pig Ball (Previous 5 are due to him getting slightly distracted and just naming whatever he saw as he looked around Nanny's house, he does the same thing in his prayers, very entertaining to get an inventory of his bedroom each night)
Brand new white car (which I am hoping is actually for me)
Fire shooter
Fire engine
Peppa Pig house with beds
A shop


Dora Back Pack
Diego Rescue Pack (not that he's completely obsessed or anything)

So there we have it.

So now that it is officially Christmas I am off to break out my Frank and Bing CD's and the kiddo's are watching Mickey Mouse's Once Upon a Christmas as I type.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

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Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween from my favourite Pumpkins

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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Wordless Wednesday:Return from a Trip to the Park With Dad via a Muddy Puddle or Two

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Monday, 27 October 2008

Why it's Worth the Expense of Buying Things Pre-Assembled

A month or two ago (yes I am somewhat behind in my blogging I admit it) my mum popped up on a Sunday afternoon. The boys were thrilled to see she had not only brought Grandad Fred with her but also a trampoline (or tampoween as Eli pronounces it in his slightly Chinese accent) of their very own.

1 trampoline,

2348 pieces,

Some pretty vague instructions,

1 missing piece,

1 faulty bolt,

4 adults,

1 severely blistered and bleeding finger,

1 potential heart attack,

1 possible hernia,

1 angry outburst,

Several red faces,

A couple of short fuses,

2 excited boys,

A few hours longer than we anticipated.........

Totally worth it!

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