Friday, 30 May 2008

Move Over David Beckham

On Eli's Birthday we ended up taking Thomas out to buy him his very first pair of football boots.

A monumental occasion in any boys life.

(But with the knack we have for matching the XY chromosomes over here this was the first pair of many many many pairs I am sure.)

The kiddo adores football and every other sport for that matter, (he SOOO didn't get that from me!) and due to his constant insistence that we play I have even become a pretty decent player myself (well if managing to consistently kick the ball in a straight line qualifies me as such, which to be fair I think it should, it required a lot of practice).

He could not get his shiny Nike's on fast enough and straight away was requesting Rob put his 'football pants' (we assume he meant shorts but who really knows?) on so they could go play outside.Obviously we had to record this milestone, (even though you can't even see his boots in this particular footballer stance) you know just in case, should he need it for his biography when he's a world famous player earning bazillions of pounds.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

How to Traumatise a Two Year Old

So as you may well have gathered Eli loves his Gee-Gee (for an explanation of what that actually is click right here). We have 5 of them and over time they all tend to need a bit of a clean, all that Eli love really takes its toll. Two of them were desperate for a wash after being given a little paddle in the remaining milk in Eli's breakfast bowl. Seeming as I was just about to start a load of laundry (Which makes me wonder when I am actually not about to start a load of laundry?) I picked up the two milk soaked Gee-Gee's and put them in the washing machine and pressed start.

Then the hysterics commenced!

You'd have thought it was the end of the world but I guess he must never have noticed Gee-Gee going for a refreshing clean in the washing machine before.

This was the outcome!

I did try to console him with the remaining three Gee-Gee's that had managed to avoid the washing machine trauma but he just would not be comforted. So he pretty much stood, wailed and waited for them to come back out.

Which incidentally I now refer to as the longest hour of my life!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Water Slide of Death

I have a gift.

My gift it is to be able to look at any scenario and immediately see the worst possible outcome. Now others may call this gift negativity or even being overly dramatic but I'm sticking to my guns (whatever that means), it's a gift.

Like for instance I can picture if my child walks too close to the road that he is obviously gonna unexpectedly stumble and fall into the path of an oncoming vehicle, so to be safe I keep him as far away from the road as possible.

It is a very useful gift!

So while we were celebrating having sunshine a few weeks ago we took up residence outside for as many daylight hours as possible to soak up every second of sun we could. (Thank Heavens we did because who even knows if it is ever coming back!)

Now it crossed my mind while playing outside that it would be really fun to put the paddling pool (which may possibly be the smallest paddling pool ever made, not sure what my mum was thinking with that purchase) at the bottom of the slide and let the boys slide down into the water. But then my gift kicked in (thank goodness!) and I realised that our 'garden' is pure concrete and that water+children+slide=Emergency trip to the hospital. So I put the thought of smashed opened heads and broken limbs out of my head and continued to let them play safely and responsibly in the garden.

Well, at least until Rob came home. He is a sceptic of my 'gift' and was quickly chucking the boys down the slide into the water (with me ageing several years with every slide). Of course they loved it and Thomas even tried it head first, which was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Rob is always keen to take things a little bit further and suggested putting washing up liquid on the slide to make it extra speedy, fortunately my gift was able to even persuade him otherwise. So both of our children are still completely intact.

My gift saves the day again!

Tagged Again (May must be international tag month or something!)

So, I got tagged again, this time by my friend Allison. So here I go...................

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was coming to the end of my 18 month mission for my Church, based in of all the incredibly lovely places on Earth...... Birmingham, England. My assigned companion/co-worker at the time was Amy Knight, we were living in one of the three (yes, three!) houses we had in the 4.5 months we worked together. Life was far from dull and despite the incredible fatigue from working 12 hour days, 6 days a week for going on 16 months it was one of the happiest times of my life.

Amy (affectionately named AJ, short for Amy-Jo even though her middle name is Dawn) was a joy to work with, one of the most patient and sweetest people I have ever come across. She hailed from Thatcher, Arizona (if you're thinking, WHERE??? That is the correct response!) She was incredibly easy to tease/mock being that she was a) from a small town, b) she was a cheerleader in high school (Go Eagles!) and c) she had dated her own cousin but I guess that goes hand in hand with point a. (OK so she didn't realise he was her cousin at the time I'll give her that). Also she introduced me to Mexican food before it ever took off here and for that I'll be eternally thankful!

Here we are on a rare day off in Stratford-Upon-Avon dressed up in clothes at the Shakespeare Museum. (If you're wondering what I am doing, this is when the Spice Girls were at their peak and I am not ashamed to say I loved to imitate them in almost every photo opportunity. Ten years ago that didn't seem so pathetic I promise!)

Oh and lastly ten years ago I was excitedly looking forward to the beginning of the World Cup in France (I even owned France 98 Monopoly) as usual the excitement quickly turned to disappointment thanks to Argentina and David Beckham, but alas who could stay mad with David for long though? Definitely not me!

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
It is a holiday weekend so I wish I could say nothing,
Sadly I have to go to work just for two hours,
I have to do laundry (which is on my to-do list every day)
I have to eat chocolate (also on my list everyday)
I have to shower (I am not fit to go out in public otherwise)
I have to have a nap (I wish!)

3. Snacks I enjoy
Anything containing sugar or fat pretty much without exception.

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire
Travel lots,
Pay someone to do my laundry,ironing and cleaning,
Take care of my family,
Contribute to charity.

5. Places I have lived
London, Essex, Coventry, Nottingham, Bedford, Birmingham, Boston, Leicester, York and Huddersfield. All in England.

I was supposed to tag a bunch of people but instead I am gonna say if you wanna do this, consider yourself tagged and go for it!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Happy Birthday Eli!

It just doesn't seem possible that Eli just turned 2! When Thomas turned two we already had an 8 month old Eli on the scene (by choice may I hastily add, I think the happy hormones after I had Thomas sent me temporarily delirious or something). Seeming as Eli generally gets a bad report on this blog I figured I'd dedicate this post to our second born child. Here he is a day or two old, all 6 pounds 9 ounces of him.
A few months older
Happy 1st Birthday
Crazy haired naked happy boy!
An incredibly handsome two year old!

I love Eli because he chooses to call a spider a 'bee-bubb-er' even though he can clearly say spider, I love that Spiderman therefore translates to 'bee-bubb-er-man'.

I love that he loves his Gee-Gee's, each and everyone of them. I really wanted Thomas to have an attachment to something and he never did. Then Eli met Gee-Gee and the rest is history.

I love that nobody in our extended family says penguin....ever! Gee-Gee is an accepted term for penguin through both sides of our families.

I love that when he cuddles me he has to tuck his arms snuggly inside mine so he can be as close as possible.

I love his boundless confidence, he knows he's funny and he's more than happy to entertain.

I love that he is arguably the best sleeper ever. Since birth we have just laid him down at night awake and he'll fall asleep in the very position we leave him in without a single complaint. (Naps are another story but I'm focusing on the positive, right?)

I love that he can read 'Fix it Duck' a trillion times without ever getting bored.

I love his new found adoration for babies and how he'll just sit next to a baby and happily rub his gee-gee on them or give them gee-gee to play with. (Under his close supervision of course!)

I love that he watches 'Cars' with the same enthusiasm the 2354th time as he did the 1st time.

I love that he says 'that's munny' instead of that's funny.

But most of all I love how cute he is when he says 'I luf yoo mummy'.

Can I keep him this size forever?

Friday, 23 May 2008


Today we had a fun family trip to Flamingo land in honour of it being Eli's 2nd Birthday Eve. (You can find all the pictures of our fun and frolics at the end of this Facebook photo album.) Obviously a fun time was had by all and the sun shone just enough to not need jackets! Perfect. Both boys were thrilled by the endless rides and rollercoasters and got soaked through before our day was over!

On the way home with both kids unconscious (which means they'll be up until midnight no doubt) in the back of the car we started talking about blogging.

Rob: "All you do is blog about the kids anyway....." (Because my life is SO crammed full with other things, right? Nope!)
Me: "Is there something special you'd like me to blog about you then?"
Rob: "Yeah, that I am awesome!"

I am in full agreement and I probably should have said it far sooner.....

Rob is awesome!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Wonderful Wisdom of Wise Women

Last night I went out for pizza and a movie with friends. One of the friends was Rob's cousins pregnant wife Katie and the other was one of my closest friends in all the world, Dawn.

We chatted away like girls do and eventually the topic turned to childbirth (Rob will think this was inevitable because whenever I go out with friends this topic comes up, it is never initiated by me and I can't think of anything I'd like to discuss less whilst eating). It was only to be expected really when in the presence of a person almost 36 weeks pregnant with their first child. We were the seasoned voice of experience after all, we were providing a service really, she is hundreds of miles from home and her mother in law just left to live in China. So we figured who better to offer her support and calm her fears in preparation for labour than us.

Now thinking about it when Dawn and I were housemates we were loved by our fellow housemates (to this very day!) but they have admitted they found us, sarcastic, mean and a little bit (okay a big bit!) too harsh in our teasing when we were together. Individually apparently we were just lovely all the time. So, who better to offer you advice on the eve of you bringing another person into the world. Who wouldn't want reassurance from us when you're facing a potentially terrifying ordeal?

Despite our well meaning intentions this is how it went:

Dawn: (Mother of two girls, excels at keeping the baby in until week 41 or even 42, brave/stupid enough to survive childbirth without an epidural) "All I'm saying is if you think you're coping with the pain ok that's great. But just know that the pain is gonna get 50 to a 100 times worse before you are through and then when you realise you can't cope it'll be too late for an epidural. I wish I had an epidural with Hannah because the pain was just awful, in fact I was completely traumatised afterwards".

Me: (Mother of two boys, survivor of one C-Section and one induced labour, complete wimp in the face of pain) "If you're ruling out an epidural because you're scared of the needle and the pain associated with it, just know that the pain of giving birth far outweighs the pain of the epidural."

Needless to say if she wasn't terrified before she definitely will be now.

Our intentions were well meaning but I think pregnant people everywhere should probably have an injunction taken out against us.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Overcoming Inhibitions

As you may recall I am not a big fan of Winter, it just doesn't appeal to me at all. But Summer? Summer I love!! I don't care about being too hot, hot is good, the hotter the better! Well after all I do live in England where hot is classified at approximately 25 centigrade/80-ish Fahrenheit. But still I vastly prefer being overheated to frozen to my inner core. I am more than willing to trade lives with anyone who is unappreciative of the toasty climate they live in.

I love Summer for the smell of just cut grass, and because everyone is so much more cheerful, (particularly me!), because you get to have picnics and BBQ's. It is just a terrific time of year. I think everyday in Heaven will be Summer. Which I'll totally appreciate considering my ticket there is assured already.

Today we went with friends to the park, inhaled freshly cut grass and devoured a picnic all while the sun (mostly) shone on us. Thomas lost all his inhibitions and manners and finally succumbed to urinating in the park. Which was a tremendous relief after our last episode and also incredibly humiliating, I mean could I be more white trash? Letting my child pee into a bush in a public park? But I'll never (fingers tightly crossed!) top my Sister in laws story, her eldest child once mounted and climbed to a top of a slide at a park only to swiftly pull his pants down and pee freely down the slide! I guess I'm at least less white trash than that!

Even more entertaining was that the kids had been playing with sticks and exploring beforehand so Eli thought Thomas' pee break a fantastic opportunity for attempting to poke a stick up his backside and then at his wilbs. I have pleasant kids, right? I just quietly hoped any passers by would assume they belonged to the two friends I was with instead. I think he enjoyed his back to nature approach a tad too much and I'm concerned now that he'll want to revel in the joys of the outside toilet wherever we go . Oh well it is at least better than peeing his pants and requires less laundry!

But best of all I love Summer because it does this.........

4 hours at the park+Picnic+2 public urinations=2 very exhausted boys

Long may the sun shine!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Better off dead

I remember the Summer Eli was born being given this book to read and seeming as it was relatively thin I read it right away (no time for epic novels in newborn baby days). I now love the author Dean Hughes, I am also holding him at his word.....I had better get to heaven. I really feel like I've earned it. Well actually I don't feel like I've earned it all but I am hoping just being a mother is the only criteria I have to meet and that I don't have to be an especially good one to get into heaven. So this little book amongst other things is a record of his experience the Summer he became a 'one-time Mother' to his own three kids, aged 5, 3 and 3 months and watched two other kids aged 9 and 7. All this while his wife worked on a Masters degree and part time in the evenings.
In his own words:

"We did a lot of thinking and praying about the situation and decided that Kathy was not only receiving a wonderful blessing but that I, too, would have a rich and rewarding experience. I would be able to grow closer to my children--and truly bond with them. I would also (this was my thought, not Kathy's, as I recall) be able to have a laid-back summer with time to read and prepare for my fall classes.

I had my eyes opened that summer. Opened wide. I can now honestly say that I've been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. And I'll tell you this: men just don't understand what we mothers go through.

I didn't read that summer. Not anything. I didn't even get to the newspaper. If you're a mom you understand that, of course, but as the realization set in on me, I'll admit right now, I began to suffer symptoms of depression. I got so I didn't care much what I looked like. Who would see me anyway? And I snacked way too much. It was almost the only thing I had to look forward to--a little chocolate to comfort me when the stress got too great. And stress was a way of life. I'm the kind of person who likes to focus on a task, follow it through, get it finished, and move on. I get a great deal done, and it's because I get after a job and conclude it. But there's no finishing anything in the child-care, home-care business. When I think of that summer, I still get a mental picture of confusion and chaos, as though a hurricane had blown the whole time. I hear noise, see toys scattered everywhere, smell sour milk, and feel Robert, our baby boy, squirm in my grasp.

Little Amy would still not be dressed an hour after Kathy had left for the day, and the baby would be crying for no reason whatsoever, and Tommy would want me to help him build a house out of Lincoln Logs (even though he would lose interest soon after I started). The arguments never ended over who had hit whom first, and who had called whom a poopy face. Everything was always happening at once, and I never stopped trying to get it all under control.

Diapers and dishes (sorry to put those words together) were only two of the jobs I faced with shocking frequency. I really wanted Kathy to come home to a clean house (so she wouldn't think I was taking it easy all day), and that's why I always meant to make the beds, but I often found little opportunity to get to such things. More than anything, though, I suffered from the never-ending job of controlling the clutter.

In the heat of the action, I didn't much care about such abstractions, but once the kids were finally in bed, I would ask myself what I was doing to them. I shouldn't have gotten so upset about certain things; I should have been a lot more firm about others. Robert needed more attention and affection. And what would Kathy say if she knew I let the whole crew eat those Oreos when they never did eat their carrot sticks (which I had so firmly required as prerequisite)? All three of my kids were probably heading for disease (not enough veggies) and jail (not enough discipline).

Of all the challenges that summer, the worst was getting our three kids down and asleep without losing my mind or my temper or both. About the time I would finally get the job done, Kathy would walk through the door, and I would try to explain what I had been going through. I don't mean to be too critical of her, but I do have to say, she didn't show nearly as much empathy and understanding as I thought I deserved. First, she would remind me that she knew all about that stuff, and then there was always the "I've had a hard day myself" line.
Oh, right. Like I hadn't been out there going to college and working part-time all my life? That kind of life is a vacation compared to being home with a bunch of kids--and of all people, she ought to know it.

All I wanted from Kathy at that point was a minute or two of her time. I wanted to hear what adults, out there in the real world, talked about. I wanted to tell her some of my trials, seek a little advice, maybe even sob on her shoulder for a minute or two. But she was tired. Tired?

I hate to say this, but people who spend their lives away from home all day really don't understand what it's like to be a mother. All I wanted was to say something in a sentence with a few two-syllable words. I wanted to express an opinion that didn't start with, "Tommy, if you do that again . . ." I wanted to find out whether anything had happened in the world that day. (If a UFO had landed in Washington and absconded with President Nixon, how would I know?) And I wanted someone to listen to me. If I told Kathy that the kids had cut a big gash in our kitchen table with a screwdriver, she would want to know how they got hold of the screwdriver. Or if I told her I was afraid that I was in need of counseling and drugs, she would say something like, "It's only three months, Dean. I have them all the time."

The truth is, though, I was losing the power of speech. I'm not sure I could have explained my feelings if Kathy had wanted to hear it all. After you've talked to young children for twenty-five straight hours in a day, normal usage begins to atrophy. When you've said, "I know, honey, just a minute" twelve times in a row, only to hear, "No, Daddy. Wight now!" in response, you start saying strange things: "Daddy can't come wight now. Baby Wob will cwy. He needs his baba."To which Amy replies, "I don't ca'e. Baby Wob's stubid."And then, if a mother is not really careful, the argument can begin. "No, you the one being stubid, not Wob." "No, you stubid, Daddy.""Not as stubid as you." About then it's time to count the days that remain in your ninety-day hitch.

Amy would sit on her little chair and stare at the television as long as kids' shows were on, and Tommy liked most of the same shows. It was like looking a gift horse in the mouth (whatever that means) not to let electric entertainment help me out, but I strongly suspected that if any of my kids ever ended up in prison, someone would finally trace the problem back to TV and then straight on to me. Kathy would remind me that we had to limit the number of hours they watched--and maybe keep it down to some ridiculous number, like two--and I would nod and agree, but almost every day I would let temptation have its way. Cookies, TV, no exercise: I was polluting my own kids, and I didn't have the willpower to stop.

The worst single disappointment in raising kids is holding on and holding on, trying to be patient, trying to explain, trying to encourage, trying to reprimand with love, and then, finally, losing your temper. "I told you, just a minute," I would finally bellow, and look down to see a lip begin to quiver. President McKay used to say there was never a reason for parents to raise their voices. I believed that--still do--but there I would be, shouting at a kid because she had just smeared peanut butter on the bathroom doorknob, or because he had asked you for the thirty-second time, "Why can't I go outside?" And suddenly you're yelling, "Because I said so."
And then you see his little face go limp and his bottom lip stick out, and you drop down and take him in your arms and tell him you're sorry. But you know you've blown it one more time.

In all seriousness, I got depressed that summer. I've exaggerated some of these things, for fun, but I did struggle with myself. I didn't go into a clinical depression; I knew the summer would end, eventually. But I was often disappointed with myself for my impatience and crankiness, and for my failure to teach the kids what I wanted them to learn. But the worst thing--the thing that kept me unhappy--was getting up in the morning and thinking, "This day will be just like yesterday and tomorrow." My only goal each day was to get back to where I started in the morning. The house was always messier and dirtier than I wanted, and so were the kids."

Don't even think for a second that I typed all of that I stole the excerpts from (shhhh don't tell anyone, it may actually be illegal!), hoorah for copy and paste.

I had been thinking about this book this morning when I set my Facebook status to something along the lines of.....Carol is having a day the same as yesterday, and the day before and the day before that and that. My pants have officially had 'grumpy' written on them the last couple of days and it's exactly for all the reasons the lovely Dean Hughes touches on.

I don't feel like I do any of the many things expected of me particularly well. Then I feel guilty about it until eventually I can just laugh at the chaos and my many inadequacies and move swiftly on. Despite the fact that I haven't cleaned my fridge for like 6 months and my kids don't always behave as I'd like.

My Uncle responded to my status on Facebook by sending me a message that said 'Life may well be monotonous but it's certainly better than being dead'


Plus I have the comfort that at least Dean Hughes totally understands how I feel. (Because I too have lost of the power of speech and ability to articulate what's going in my head most of the time.)

Well that and the assurance that I am a mum so I am for sure going to Heaven!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Why a leopard never changes it's spots

I hate ironing. Well I say the word hate like its a chore I actually frequently endure, that seriously is not the case, not even a teensy bit close. I hate ironing so to rectify the situation I simply never iron. I am practically famous for my non-ironing.

I have a motto: If the creases don't fall out in the dryer I just don't wear it again......ever.

Very occasionally I'll break down and maybe iron a whole outfit, when I say occasionally what I really mean is if I'm going to a wedding or speaking in church, yep that infrequently. Fortunately I have a mother in law who along with the gazillion amazing attributes I listed previously also introduces her children to responsibility for their own ironing when they reach the grand old age of 14. Therefore Rob is a dab hand with an iron and can iron up his shirts etc real nice in half the time I could, that's if I could be bothered to even attempt it.

So today I turned over a new leaf as I frequently do (for a whole 12 hours) and decided something had to be done about the four enormous piles of my clothes that were folded next to my bed. These piles of my clothes have been there for so long they were actually starting to gather dust (I wish I were joking). They were piled as tidy as piles could be tidied until Thomas somehow managed to untidy my previously tidy piles (try saying that 10 times fast!). Until then my piles of clothing had been working just fine for me I could remove an item from the pile without disturbing or creasing (heaven forbid!) any of the other items of clothing. It wasn't an ideal system, I wasn't proud and yes I would be ashamed for anybody to go into my room and see my clothes in piles instead of neatly put away like a normal person would do. In my efforts to organise my clothes I came to the grim realisation that Thomas had managed to crease more clothes than I was willing to deal with in my usual decreasing method. My usual decreasing method is to rewash the already clean item and re-dry it in the tumble dryer and voila crease free clothing. (All without having to plug in an iron, it might use up a thousand times more electricity but that I can happily live with!)

I was left with one of two alternatives, only wear the 15 uncreased articles of clothing I had left for the rest of time or actually iron. So I made a date for myself this evening with our iron and got to it. Now the majority of my clothes are crease free and hanging in the wardrobe happy and crisp. I have zero piles by my bed (I'd forgotten how spacious our bedroom is!) but I have a renewed clarity as to how much I detest ironing.

Clearly I'll be waiting for four humongous piles of clothing to accumulate next to my bed and a preschooler to jump all over them before I even begin to consider another encounter with the dreaded iron. But in the meantime at least I'll look presentable.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

I love to see the Temple....

Yesterday we took advantage of the sunshine and trekked off for a few hours to the Preston Temple with some friends and their kids to enjoy the grounds. Here is the temple in all it's glory, we're lucky only be 45 minutes away.
Here are our boys (note Eli is firmly grasping Gee-Gee as always) and our friends girls sitting on the steps at the back of the temple, where incidentally Rob proposed to me a million years ago.
Thomas, Eli, Neve and Hannah

Not the best family picture but we get so few taken I thought I had better use it regardless. I'm wishing now that I had actually bothered to do my hair.

The temple spire, featuring the Angel Moroni.

When we arrived I asked Thomas if he could see the temple as we approached. He said "Yes, but I don't see Heavenly Father and Jesus anywhere!" That's what I get for simplifying the explanation of the temple as Heavenly Father and Jesus' house I guess.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Compare and Contrast

Those familiar with Facebook may well be aware of the 'Compare People' application that you can add to help you people. For those not in the know it is this nifty little function that asks you to randomly compare two of your friends against each other on a variety of things, like who has the best hair or who would you rather kiss, incidentally nobody thinks I have the best hair (not many fans of the annual haircut I guess) but two people would rather kiss me! It's not terribly accurate because you are only being compared against one other person and not every friend you have but still the results are somewhat interesting, amusing and at times a tiny bit painful.

So considering Rob is away with work and I can't sleep without him here until I reach the point of sheer exhaustion and just pass out I have been killing time on the Internet until now, 1:30am, sheer exhaustion evidently hasn't kicked in yet, but I'll for sure be feeling it tomorrow because it's my helping day at playgroup and I failed to find someone to watch Eli but hopefully we'll have no repeats of our last experience.

So this is how I compare to my Facebook friends:

I am the 1st 'Coolest'. Somehow I won all 5 votes in this category. I can't even begin to imagine how seriously uncool an individual would have to be to be less cool than me.

I am the 2nd 'Smartest', again winning all 5 votes. (See comment above but replace uncool/cool with unsmart/smart) I totally think people just know I studied Biochem at University and think that sounds supremely difficult so I must be really clever, truth is it is supremely difficult (not to mention boring) but I never claimed to excel at it. Plus now I don't even remember any of it. But I have finally memorised the names of all 5 Backyardigans so maybe I am a little bit smart after all, does that count?

I am the 4th 'Rather get stuck in handcuffs with'. I didn't do quite so well here, out of 5 votes I only won 4. One of my friends would rather be stuck in handcuffs with somebody very clearly less smart and cool than me, shame on them, but seriously chances are I wouldn't want to be stuck in handcuffs with them anyway.

I am the 5th 'Would make a better Mother'. I won 3 out of 3 votes which is 100% so some people clearly think I am a better mum than I actually really am.

I am the 7th 'Most Reliable'. Again winning only 4 out of 5 votes but a reliability rating of 80% is pretty flaming respectable.

So I sound pretty good eh? Cool, smart, good mother, reliable and desirable to be stuck in handcuffs with.

Well that's because they are the 5 things at the very top of my list, if I scroll all the way down to the bottom five it is a very different story, but no one is perfect, right?

I am the 100th 'More likely to succeed'. I only won 1 out of 5 votes in this category. I guess I haven't been using my smartness and coolness to my greatest advantage. It was humbling indeed to realise I am not succeeding. Thanks 'friends' for pointing that out!

I am the 100th 'better friend'. Out of two votes I won zero. Now this I really resent because I happen to know that I am a spectacular friend. Yes, I might mock or throw sarcastic comments around with ease but still I am dependable (and the 7th most reliable) so I can only assume these results came from Facebook friends that aren't really my friends at all but just people who want to appear popular because they have 500 friends on Facebook even though 80% of them they have barely met let alone spoken with. I'm not bitter, seriously.

I am the 107th 'better singer', again losing two out of two votes, fortunately I was under no illusions that my singing was appropriate for anywhere other than the shower.

I am the 111th 'craziest' losing out on the only vote. Bah, I'm a Capricorn we're not supposed to be crazy. Plus I have two kids under three, where am I supposed to summon the energy or time from to be crazy?

And finally at the very bottom of my list, I am the 116th 'Most talkative'. Losing two of two votes. That's me, quiet, unassuming with nothing to say.

But then you knew that already.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


We are currently dealing with an ant invasion. Lucky us. Where? In the garden perhaps? Nope, in the house and even better (and even more hygienic?!) in the kitchen. We have dealt with this before, two summers ago, but unfortunately neither of us can recall what we did to kill (literally) the problem. Last year we didn't have any of our ant friends come to visit us for their summer vacation so we thought our unwanted house guests were firmly in our past. Wrong....again!

Thomas and Eli both think it's tremendous fun to have all of these fun 'ant pets'. I'm glad they are so easily pleased. Rob gets itchy all over whenever he comes across one but me, I am totally unfazed after turning up in San Antonio to work at EFY and being greeted and given a can of Raid to kill any unwanted visitors that might be in my bed for the duration of my two week stay. Delightful, and what a welcome!

So we're left with tackling the invasion all over again. (Which currently involves killing each one at first glance.) Now if only I could get Eli to stop dropping whatever he eats all over the floor constantly I'm sure we'd see success far sooner. But, maybe , just maybe I'll have to call those friendly folks in San Antonio and get them to send me some Raid.

Invasion may be a bit on the dramatic side (so unlike me of course) considering really it's only 6-8 ants a day (which is 6-8 more than I'd ideally require taking up habitation in my kitchen). I'm just simply not up to scratch on what is actually defined as an invasion and what clearly isn't. But I feel invaded so I'll continue to refer to it in such dramatic terms, I just wouldn't be me otherwise.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


The reason for such jubilation? The sun is shining and it is actually warm. I could not be more happy. We have been basking in the 23 (70 for you Fahrenheit lovers) degree sunshine, which I am well aware compared to many many places is possibly a little bit chilly (but that's the price you pay for grass all year round and something more aesthetically pleasing than cacti in your garden) but for England it is truly glorious. Last year we had a sunny week in April and I rejoiced that a record breaking hot summer must be on the horizon and rushed out immediately and stocked up on sunscreen, shorts and sandals. I should have waited as summer never ever came and instead we got a record breaking rainfall that would have frankly left even Noah severely depressed.

Fortunately the majority of things from last summer can still be well utilised this year so fingers crossed the sun keeps shining but in case it doesn't we're taking advantage of every single minute we can. After living on the verge of hibernation since last Spring (I don't do cold or rain) it is a thrill to be outside and without a hat, scarf and gloves!

So if I don't blog for a while you'll know where I am. But then again this is England so I could very well be back tomorrow and every day for the next 4 months. But I really hope not, bring on the sun!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Breaking the Habit

People always think I must be joking when I say that I have an annual haircut. But for the last five years or so it has been the complete and total truth. I don't know how I got into this annual habit, it just happened. Generally I'd go along and lose a good six inches and then wait for it to grow back before visiting the hairdresser and requesting the same again and leaving whilst saying 'Same time next year!'. I guess the fact that my hair was just long and straight and not in any particular style really helped me make my one haircut last all year long, well that's good value for money!

But I decided to break my habit and went and got a haircut on Friday despite the fact I had just been in January. Already two haircuts this year and we're only just in May......I must be feeling crazy!

I really like going to the hairdressers though and here is why:

  1. It as close to pampering as it gets for me

  2. I never fail to be amused by how the hairstylists dress. They dress like Beyonce or Britney Spears every single day, there is no shortage of hot pants, halterneck tops, gold jewellery and animal prints at my hairdressers. It could be a freezing cold day but you just know the hairstylists are gonna be dressed in the tiniest items of clothing ever made because heaven forbid anyone take a pair of scissors to another persons hair dressed any other way. Zero dressing for comfort or warmth allowed. It's like a violation of the hairstylists oath or something.

  3. It's the one day I know my hair will actually look good all day long and not just an afterthought pulled into a ponytail.

  4. You get to listen into other peoples conversations, this I could do all day long, every day. I'm inquisitive like that.

My latest trip was extremely enjoyable. I arrived at the salon to be greeted by a lovely oriental boy far more feminine than me, with eyebrows immaculately groomed and more make up than I probably wear in a month, okay two. My usual stylist 'Liv' (Her actual name is Olivia but she told me last time that Olivia just doesn't give the right vibe in her line of work, whatever the right vibe might be) wasn't quite ready for me so the pretty oriental boy took me to wash my hair.

If I could pay someone to come wash my hair and massage my scalp like they do at the hairdressers every single day I would happily forfeit food to fund it, it'd be a small sacrifice. Liv realises that while I am happy to politely chit chat I have no problems with just sitting quietly either (all the better for hearing other peoples conversations after all). She is the girl that attempted to cut Eli's hair so she has had a small but ghastly glimpse into what my life is like on a daily basis so she's very understanding. Pretty Oriental boy obviously isn't so acquainted with me so attempted to make conversation with me during my entire blissful head massage.

"Are you going out this weekend?"

"No." (Politely but hoping he'd get the hint that what I'm looking for is sweet sweet silence)

"What you're not going clubbing?" (What on earth would make him think me a likely candidate for clubbing? I'm 32 and my persona hardly oozes party animal.)

And so we went on, and on, and on. Lucky for him he gave a sublime head massage overall so I could forgive him for the incessant chitter chatter. An hour later I left with my sleek new haircut feeling thoroughly relaxed. Of course the next day it was back in a ponytail but at least I don't have to wait another year before my next good hair day now that I have finally broken my habit.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Multi-Purpose Sofa

At Christmastime the kids had some funds to spare so we got them this little Thomas the Tank Engine fold out sofa bed in the sales. It was an instant hit naturally.

Whether for playing a bit of Xbox....................

.......... or catching a movie,

The sofa is slowly changing from a once vibrant blue to a more grimy browny-blue colour but still it is a much utilised piece of furniture in our household.

Today Eli was saying he wanted to go sit on the 'choo-choo sofa', I played along referring to it as 'choo-choo sofa' mostly because when Thomas turned two he probably had 15 words total in his vocabulary (ironically a year on we have a hard time getting him to ever stop talking) Eli on the other hand has been talking like a Trojan (they're well known for their incessant talking right? Whatever!) ever since he turned one (his first word being Tractor, further confirming how much we really are appreciated) it's adorable to have a little one chatter on so much.

Anyhow, Thomas corrected Eli telling him it's not 'choo-choo sofa', I figured he was just doing what we do to him when he says choo-choo when he should say train. So I agreed with Thomas and told him it was a train sofa.

Thomas: "No, it's naked dancing sofa"
Me: (Slightly stunned and hoping I'd misheard) "Naked dancing sofa?"
Thomas: (Matter of factly) "Yes Mummy that's right!"

All I know is zero naked sofa dancing occurs when I'm home so I can only imagine this new naked activity (replacing naked cape racing no doubt) was introduced while I was at work on Rob's watch. Well that's one way to pass the much dreaded time between dinner and bed I guess.

Back in Working Order

So, I just (my birthday was 3.5 months ago) got a Nintendo DS for my birthday from my mum (you'd imagine a mother would be the one dependable person in life who would get your gift to you on time). Yes, I know I am 32 years old but frankly I was running out of reasons as to why hardly any of my clothes are in the wardrobe but instead in somewhat neat piles (lots of them) against the wall by our bed and the very nice people at Nintendo have provided me with a very satisfactory distraction for now. But I will put my clothes away.....eventually! Well probably not but it was a nice thing to imagine for a second or two.

It came with Dr Kawashima's Brain Training and heaven knows I need that after two pregnancies, followed by mostly preschooler company and three years worth of Backyardigans and Diego.

So I did the brain test. The result? 62. My brain is so idle and out of shape it belongs to someone with very possibly not their own teeth or full control of their faculties or even decent bladder control. (Man I paint a pretty picture of being 62 eh?)

So I set about some hardcore brain training that day in a bid to reverse my child-induced brain damage. The next day I took the brain-age test again. The result? 32! My actual age. An overnight success.

Thank you Dr Kawashima, you miracle worker! (I'll avoid taking the test again because frankly I can't face the disappointment, I'm happy enough to know my brain is allegedly functioning just as it should be.)