Monday, 29 September 2008

Monday Musings

It seems like a while since I have actually blogged, in reality it was only Thursday, but whatever.

Firstly, having recently remarked that I never get spam in my email inbox it seems this one opened a tidal wave of epic proportions. This week alone I have been busy winning both the British and Australian lotteries, I have become beneficiary to millions and millions of pounds due to numerous deaths of obscure relatives I have never heard of or met. Plus on top of that kindly strangers are frequently offering me the opportunity to put all of their gazillions in my bank account while they leave their homelands and move westward for a cut of their cash. Clearly the light of fortune is shining on me brightly right now. Well, either that or I need to change my email address.

Secondly, Eli is happily settled at playgroup (HOORAY!). His teachers tell me by his second session it was like he had always been there. Sadly that did not save me from the look of complete horror I received at his first session from his key worker (who was brand new) when I explained he would bite someone if he got into a scuffle and it wasn't sorted out immediately. She won't be nominating me for any parenting awards that is for sure.

Thirdly, last Monday in celebration of having successfully offloaded Eli at playgroup for 3 hours I hit the supermarket with Thomas (I know, I know how to have a good time don't I?). Having purchased all my groceries without having to reprimand or bribe anyone I headed to get petrol. I was filling up my tank with £1.09 litre/£4.36 per gallon (Yes that is like $8 per gallon, don't feel so hard done to now do you?) when my phone starting ringing. My gut instinct immediately told me it was playgroup calling and that Eli had bitten some unsuspecting child and that he'd been expelled on his very first day. In a state of panic I finished up and found my phone. To my great relief it wasn't playgroup calling, phew! 5 minutes into my journey I heard something on the roof of my car, I glanced into my rear view mirror only to see something flying through the air and hitting the car behind me. Confusion turned to clarity as I realised in my Eli induced panic I had forgotten to put the petrol cap back on and had left it on the car roof. Yes, I am that stupid!

Apparently I am just not satisfied with paying ridiculous money for petrol, I want to fill up and let it freely evaporate into the atmosphere just so that it can be as costly as possible. I had to go to the Peugeot dealer and attempt to buy a new one. After having explained my story to 2 rather amused men I was informed they didn't actually have one in stock so had to go elsewhere but I finally found one. It made for a rather frenzied 3 hours (I didn't even end up with time to bring Thomas home for lunch before dropping him at nursery so he had to make do with a feast of crusty french baguette in his carseat, dry and with no juice to wash it down) without Eli rather than the calm and serene and leisurely time I had envisioned. Fortunately Wednesday was vastly better.

Fourthly, when Thomas arrives at school it is lunchtime for all the kids who are in full time schooling aged 4-7. That means 250ish kids are playing in the playground merrily enjoying their freedom. Three weeks into dropping Thomas off he still without fail says 'The boys and girls are so happy I made it' as we pull up, yep my three year old is in such a happy state of thinking the world revolves about him that he has interpreted their high spirits as simply the whole school being thrilled that he, Thomas Siswick, has arrived for his 2.5 hour stint that takes him into zero contact with the rest of the school.

Lastly, I am wondering when we will walk home from school without the following conversation. We get to this alleyway about 5 seconds from our house where once about 7 months ago there happened to be some dog poop. We now frequent this alley on a daily basis and without fail as soon as we enter it I hear, "where that dog poo go?", "It's gone Thomas that was a really long time ago, someone cleaned it up.", "Who clean that poo, why?" seriously have we nothing better to discuss than the disappearance of some 7 month old dog poo? Maybe I'll have to consider a new route home or talk someone into letting their canine friend poop there because apparently all is just not right in the world if our alley is a poop-less place.

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Thursday, 25 September 2008

It's the Reason for the Season

I know the secret.

I have discovered how to positively encourage good behaviour from my eldest child.

It may well still be September.

I may have already been using this technique for two weeks.

The technique?

The power of Santa.

Never did I imagine the thought of disappointing Santa would have such a radical effect on a three year olds behaviour.

Fortunately for me he is naive enough to believe I have Santa's number in my mobile phone and can call him to discuss behavioural issues any hour of the day.

Fortunately for me I just have to utter the magic words 'What would Santa say.....' and angelic peace is restored.

I can only hope the magic lasts through to December.

And I can only wish it worked on my two year old.

But in the mean time I am feeling festive already.

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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Without Prejudice

One day I found myself here only to find a review about Pride and Prejudice. I was excited to see it was all part of a Classics Book Club and before you could say 'Mr Darcy' I was all signed up.
Classics Bookclub
The deadline for reading Pride and Prejudice had already passed but I knew I could squeeze it in and have the next book (Jane Eyre) read on time (October 7th) so I indulged myself.

I love Pride and Prejudice it is the literary equivalent of pulling on your snuggliest PJ's, sitting in your most comfy chair and having a humongous mug of hot chocolate with like 40 sugars. It is pure comfort reading at it's best

I had been attempting to recapture my adoration for Mr Darcy-Firth so I figured this was as good a place to start as any. I have seen the BBC adaptation so many times that when I read the text it is those very same characters I see in my mind.

Pride and Prejudice has long been a favourite of mine for the following reasons:

  1. Why use 3 words to make your point when you could use 27 (true of all the classics)?

2. You have to love a bad boy don't you? And P&P has two. I just cannot help myself Wickham fools me every time with his dashing good looks and pleasing words and the fact that he is in the Militia. I always hope somehow he'll surprise me and not turn out to be the shallow monster he really is. Then we have Mr Darcy, who the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which tuned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him , well, we all know how that turns out, happily ever after.

3. I think I would have truly loved to live in the setting of Pride and Prejudice. Sure I would have missed denim and electricity but doesn't it just seem a wonderful life to fill your hours with reading, walking, chatting and the occasional ball?

4. I can't help but alter between smiling and grimacing whenever I read of Mr Collins (Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man; you know he is, as well as I do; and you must feel, as well as I do, that the woman who married him cannot have a proper way of thinking.) and his smarmy nature, his refusal to accept Elizabeth would not choose to marry him and his devout adoration of that old beast Lady Catherine De Bourgh.

5. Mrs Bennett a woman of mean understanding, little information and uncertain temper. To give her an ounce of credit she was concerned about the welfare of her and her daughters should her husband pass away but all the same I would be thoroughly mortified if she were my parent. For which reason I find her highly entertaining. Her lack of thinking before speaking and inevitably saying the wrong thing in the presence of the wrong people never ceases to be amusing.

6. The Spice Girls think they invented 'girl power' but they are sadly mistaken. It was Jane Austen in her heroine Elizabeth Bennett instead. I applaud Lizzy for standing up for herself endlessly and so articulately to boot. I wish I were half the woman she was back in my dating days.

In essence it is a witty and romantic love story and what is there to dislike about that? So if you haven't read it, slap yourself around the head and go get a copy.

You will not be disappointed!!

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Sunday, 21 September 2008

The Grino Goes to School

Remember not so long ago I was harping on about Thomas starting nursery and not feeling ready for that stage?

Well I really need to clarify, it wasn't the thought of him being gone 12.5 hours a week (I was excited about that for both of us I assure you) that pulled on my heart strings it was the fact that he is getting bigger and more independent all the time and I just simply can't keep up.

For goodness sake he was just born and he is already 3 and next time I blink he'll no doubt be fully grown and leaving home (see how I completely bypassed the teenage years there? Yep, I am in denial and we're 9 years away). Time betrays me every day by going too quickly.

Two weeks in he adores Nursery School but every day I collect him he seems just a little bit smarter and a tiny bit bigger. I have to admit though the last two weeks I have revelled in the wisdom of my decision making skills by choosing to send him in the afternoons. We have happily idled away our mornings waking at 8:30, breakfasting at leisure and dressing sometime before noon. It has also been lovely to have quality time with Eli every single day.

I have been feeling like life is pretty much perfect.

Then on Thursday I got the most terrific phone message ever. It was Thomas's old playgroup calling to say that they had Eli on their waiting list to start in January (the next term after he turns 2.5) but because they're familiar with him and he is used to the environment would I like to start him a little bit earlier, like on Monday????


I was so excited by the prospect I had to listen to the message 4 times to get her number to call her back. I returned her call and made sure she knew that he wasn't potty trained (and I have no intentions of attempting him being so) and that he wasn't 2.5 yet. She knew both things and they were still happy to take him. Hooray!

So on Monday and Wednesday he will be attending playgroup. I am thrilled for him and even more so for myself.

Back when I made the slothful decision to send Thomas in the afternoons I knew when Eli started playgroup in January he would be going in the mornings.

You know what that means? It means I could have had 6 beautiful hours to myself, every single week. But in some obvious attempt to win some Mother of the year contest I actually decided to put the kids before myself (could I be more motherly?) and have them go at alternate times so I could have quality time with one while the other was busy at school/playgroup. That has to be award worthy, seriously.

I was elated at the prospect of him being a big boy and attending playgroup right up until I climbed into bed on Thursday night. I lay there waiting for sleep to come and my head filled with thoughts.

What if it turns out like that time I helped out and took Eli along?

What if he bites someone? (Always a possibility where Eli is concerned.)

What if he is just too young?

What if creates poop art there?

What if they discover his double butt and think he's a bit odd?

Eli is my baby. He may well be 2 and 4 months but he is my baby.

He is our youngest and he is starting playgroup and becoming independent.

I had my babies close together and every day felt 47 hours long and it felt like they would be babies forever. But now neither of them are babies.

I felt sad.

I knew the day was coming but January seemed so far away and so much more manageable.

Think of me because tomorrow (slightly reluctantly) I become the mother of two big boys.

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Friday, 19 September 2008

The Bad Parenting Chronicles: Episode 8

On our very leisurely stroll (is there any other speed in the company of a 3 year old?) back down the hill from school with Thomas in tow we have to pause at every single flower bearing weed we pass.

This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that most of the school are actually following us down the hill and Thomas walks considerably slower than them all. I am sure we are a common cause of frustration. (We must be annoying because slow walking infuriates me beyond measure, of course I have just traipsed up the hill to collect Thomas with Eli to push so all I am fit for at this point is a slow trundle downwards, so I can overlook it).

At every weed he stops and stoops down and very slowly picks me off a flower and hands it to me saying 'That's for you mummy', it is sweet I admit (plus these are the only flowers I ever receive so it'd be rude to be ungrateful). But by our journeys end I have more flowers (that are actually weeds) than I know what to do with.

On arriving home the other day I emptied the contents of my pocket into the bin by the door giving it very little consideration.

Later on Thomas approached me with the flowers in his hand and a look of grave concern on his face,

"My find these flowers in the bin mummy."

He looked so sad and almost betrayed that I did what I had to....

I lied!

"Oh no Thomas they must have fallen out of my pocket by accident into the bin, thank you so much for finding them for me."

He handed them back to me with a look that indicated that he'd accept my answer but that he wasn't completely convinced it was the actual truth.

I placed them on the desk and he frequently came to check they were still right there and not accidentally discarded.

I guess in future I'll just have to remember to conceal them a little bit better because I think he's getting to the age where he is suspicious I might not be 100% honest.

Dishonesty, now that's is something you have to be proud of teaching your kids (drips with sarcasm).

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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Day I lost 15.2 Million Dollars

On Monday I was checking my email and amazingly I get very little spam so I was surprised to see an unfamiliar name in my inbox. Intrigued I opened the email and read intently.

You'll find my thoughts in italics and brackets.

From: Law***** CHAMBERS
Sent: Monday, 15 September, 2008 21:19:33
Subject: Attn:

LAW***** FOO (Seriously, does anyone with the surname Foo sound trustworthy? I'll answer that, NO!) & ASSOCIATE SOLICITORS & LEGAL PRACTITIONER

Dear Carol Siswick,

I have an obscure (good choice of word Mr Foo) business interest to share with you. It's understandable that you might be a little apprehensive (Oh no, not at all, it's perfectly normal to get random emails from legal folks after all) because you do not know me (fair point). I am Barrister Law***** Foo (Foo? May I suggest a name change. I think you'd be taken more seriously in legal circles with a less amusing name), a solicitor at law and personal attorney to my late client Mr. Raymond A. Siswick (who I have never heard of and doubt exists), a nationality of your country, He died in March 2005 as a result of heart condition.

My deceased client made some fixed deposit valued 15.2million United States Dollars (Woohoo!), in a finance firm here in Malaysia (So likely that a British man would deposit 15.2 million dollars and in Malaysia of all places). Upon maturity legal responsibilities, I have been given deadline mandate by the Bank Management to provide the next of kin and beneficiary to the fund hence failure to that (Oh, well that is obviously me then being that I have been a Siswick for five years and only by marriage), the fund will be confiscated and declared unserviceable by the Bank (now wouldn't that be a tragedy?). Regards to this, I have exhaustively made efforts to locate the next of kin/beneficiary, or any relative of my deceased client (and you assume email the best way to achieve that? May I suggest Facebook? You''ll find plenty of Siswick's there. Though Rob did appreciate his email from you also), which was not successful (May I suggest that is because your 'client' is a figment of your imagination?). My purpose of contacting you (is to no doubt scam me out of my life savings which would amount to about £4.63 a present) is to seek your consent and to present you to the bank as the next of kin/beneficiary of my late client's fund since you have the same last name and country origin.

I want you to know that I have had everything planned out (Oh I am sure you have Mr Foo) so that we shall come Out (I don't believe that letter O needed to be a capital) successfully. I will prepare you with the necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin/beneficiary to the fund inter alia that will enable onward transfer to your local account (you mean the account you're hoping to withdraw my life savings from?) in your country. We are going to adopt a legalized (is that fancy talk for fraud?) method in the whole matter that will protect you from any infraction of the law (somehow I don't believe you). There is a reward for this project (tempt me, tempt me)and it is a task worth undertaking.

However, if the proposal does not conform to your ethics, please do accept my sincere apologies. If on the contrary, could you kindly open a correspondence with me, after which I shall furnish you with more information on this transaction.

Please write me direct at l.l******

Best Regards,

Barr. Lawrence Foo
(Attorney at Law) Esq.

And that is how I sadly lost 15.2 Million Dollars. But managed to avoid having my bank account assaulted by a naughty man who hoped I'd be greedy/stupid enough to fall for this whole spiel.

Oh and Mr Foo may I recommend you add a letter L to your name. I think the surname Fool is far more fitting.

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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Great Krispy Kreme Controversy

During my visit to London on Saturday I had a little spare time for shopping. Obviously this involved buying absolutely nothing for myself but something for the kids.

I also found out that you can take the mummy away from the kids but you just can't take the kids away from the mummy. With every cry or call for a Mummy I heard I couldn't help but instinctively turn around expecting it to be one of my boys. I guess there just isn't a parenting switch we can turn off for such occasions.

But I did come to the happy realisation that there is a Selfridges in London and Selfridges just so happen to have Krispy Kreme outlets.
I love krispy Kremes. Who doesn't?

What is not to like?

100% Sugary deliciousness in every bite.

I remember fondly my first encounter with a KK. The store by Arizona Mills Mall Summer of '99. (Next year is our 10 year anniversary no less.) I almost kissed the kind employee who explained to me that every customer gets a free doughnut. I inhaled my glazed ring doughnut in oh, about 2 seconds, and was instantly hooked. No doubt I went on to eat 4 others.

Fortunately for both my ever slowing metabolism and I Krispy Kremes are far from mainstream in the UK. I sadly don't happen to live close enough to any of the locations to justify frequent doughnut purchasing trips. If I did I assure you I would, most likely daily.

So you can imagine my elation as I suddenly remembered I was in KK territory. I practically floated to the store and there before me was the most beautiful display of doughnuts ever known to man. (At this point I have been KK free for seven long, loooong years). I stood and tried to figure out in my mind how many doughnuts I could actually eat before I'd be violently ill. I decided on two but knew perfectly well I could devour ten, easily.

I took my precious purchases and sat and thoroughly enjoy every single mouthful.


Worth every single penny.

As I came down from the heady heights of my extreme sugar high I realised in the cold light of day that I just spent £1.35 per doughnut. That is almost $3 a pop.

I essentially just spent $6 on two doughnuts and knew my money would have gone so much further in the US. Plus to add insult to injury here in the UK there are no freebies for customers whatsoever.

So next time you're at Krispy Kremes enjoying your freebie please think of me because no doubt I subsidised it by paying an extortionate £1.35 per doughnut.

And you are welcome!
(Krispy Kremes opens in Leeds Feb '09, I envision far more frequent trips occurring!)

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Monday, 15 September 2008

The Week I Fell in Love With My Cross Trainer

The unlikely has really occurred.

I actually enjoy exercise. (Those are 4 words I never imagined ever typing!)

Dare I say I even look forward to it? Seriously.

Obviously after the first 2 minutes I am cursing myself for torturing myself so but I carry on regardless!
Me and my pal the cross trainer have truly become BFF.

Out of 12 days I have exercised 9. Giving myself Sundays off (it being the day of rest and all) and Saturday I was up for London at 5:15am so by the time I got home at 10pm I was destined for one thing and one thing only.....sleep!

I have been trekking 3.2 miles a day, which my new Europe-ised mechanical friend informs me is 5KM. I even walked one day to get Thomas from Nursery School which adds a couple of extra miles to my tally too.

My goal is to walk and collect him every single day, but with the seasons changing my greatest desire right now is hibernation.

I am no longer wheezing myself through exercise and the following two hours like a 60 a day a smoker. I think I may actually be getting fitter.

I am feeling toned and have more energy. As for my abs they remain MIA.

I know they are in there somewhere and I am not giving up until I find them.

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Friday, 12 September 2008

Why I Love My Job

Tomorrow I am going here....Well not exactly to the Houses Of Parliament and good old Big Ben but to London nevertheless.

Did I mention that I am going alone?

As in without children.

Well, not exactly alone. It is actually a work trip so I am going with 11 other people.

All of which are adults.

All of which (hopefully) will not require me to change their nappies, fill their juice cups, get them dressed and hopefully none of them will insist on sharing my dinner.

No pushchairs (strollers, figured I'd through in a translation there, you're welcome), no face wiping, no mummy bag.

I do have to get up at the horrifically early hour of somewhere around 6am which I could live without I assure you.

But I do get to sit on a train for 2-ish hours and read completely uninterrupted. (I'm certainly hoping these work people aren't gonna be requiring conversation from me, surely the fact that I am there is enough, right?)

Did I mention too that we're going to see this?

Yep, Disney for grown ups!

I have seen it before but who cares?

A day off is a day off and it's all free!

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Thursday, 11 September 2008

The One Where I Get Sentimental

Recently I read 'for one more day' by Mitch Albom, it had been stashed under my bed for months and months where I keep my vast collection of unread books. I love Mitch Albom's books (if you haven't read Tuesdays with Morrie or the five people you meet in heaven you really must) but they always give me so much to think about and reflect upon, and to be honest in my life right now which is best described as utter chaos I have little enough time for actually reading. Thinking and reflecting are luxuries I definitely don't have time for.

But I pulled out for one more day and I was hooked within minutes. As I read one line struck me deeply and has been on my mind ever since,

And I realised when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.

Isn't that just perfectly true?

As I have pondered I have thought about how grateful to my own mother I am, and how it wasn't until I had my very own children that I realised finally, fully and completely, how much she actually must love me. Ever since I experienced a feeling of love so deeply overwhelming that there are no words to actually describe it, as I held my very own infant in my arms (even if they were a bit on the hairy side) and felt love grow and mature I have felt both humbled and amazed to realise that my mother had had those exact same feelings of love and dedication for me every single day of my life.

I thought about the pure love I feel for my boys and how everyday I am amazed by this unconditional love I have for them, (and they're both at totally unreasonable ages and push my love to its limits at times) and the amazing beings they are.

As they both grew inside me and I felt the first flutterings of life a relationship began that I never imagined could be so wonderfully powerful.

I know I will never be a perfect mum and I know they will never be perfect children. Neither of those things exist, anywhere. We can but do our best.

But my love for them will always be pure and in my eyes they will always be perfect.

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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

And it Has to Happen on My Shift?

I don't think I have mentioned that this week all week long Rob is off work.

You know what that means?

Yesterday I got to sleep in until 9:30! Yay! (Of course Eli didn't want me feeling too rested and happy so decided to wake up randomly for two hours in the middle of the night but I got to sleep til 9:30 so who cares, right?)

Yesterday consisted of a trip to the Kids Museum, going to the supermarket with an equal ratio of adults and children (a real luxury), getting a £75 parking ticket and watching Federer destroy Murray at the US open (So not worth staying up past midnight for I assure you!).

Today we were woken at 8:30 by Eli. Rob had arranged to go visit his sister Helen down South because she had her 4th baby, Sophie, weeks ago and we haven't had a chance to meet the newest addition before now. So he was up and out the door with Eli in tow by 9am. (Good luck on 6 hours in a car with Eli today Rob!)

I stayed here with Thomas because it is his first 'official' day at nursery today and he has football training later which was rudely cancelled on Saturday because Friday involved so much rain that apparently we had a months rainfall all in one day. This irks me somewhat because a months rainfall is surely sufficient, but, no, it continues to rain and rain and rain. (Get used to comments like this they'll be coming frequently between now and Spring I assure you.)

So, Thomas decided to wake up at 9:15 (that's why he is my favourite, just kidding) and came and clambered on my knee enquiring where Eli and Daddy were. Then the waterworks commenced. Thomas it appears had his heart set on meeting baby Sophie today too. Which came as no big surprise because my boys try to bring home any baby we ever see. I managed to cheer him out of it with excited talk of Nursery and football and settled him finally happily with the Backyardigans and his breakfast.

Then a few minutes later he approached me just sobbing. I figured he just felt sad because his dad was gone, he is a bit sensitive by nature after all. He kept saying something that I couldn't understand through the muffled cries.

Then I got it.

'One is missing'

Now I just needed to ascertain what exactly was missing. No easy task because he has taken to carrying and hoarding ridiculous amounts of anything everywhere he goes.

So I followed him back to the living room.

He approached the fish tank.

I held my breath, hoping he'd keep walking.

He didn't. He stopped, turned, looked at me. Crying all the time.

He said, pointing, "My fish (insert sob), one missing, (sob), look 1, (sob), 2 (sob), 3 (multiple sobs), one gone".

At which point I had to explain that Squidward got very sick and has now gone to live with Heavenly Father.

I chickened out and avoided use of both the D word (dead) and burial at sea (down the toilet) as he was upset enough.

So note to Rob. If you're gonna have a week off work at least have the courtesy to be home when our sensitve and emotional 3 year old comes to a realisation that one of his/your fish has passed away.

Even if it does take him 9 days to come to that particular realisation.

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Sunday, 7 September 2008

Operation: Abs Reclamation

Have I ever happened to mention that I am 5 feet 10 inches tall?

And that I have pretty consistently weighed 125 pounds my whole adult life.

(You have got to love good genes, thank you gene pool!)

And that I have never been on a diet.

(Courtesy of a super zippy metabolism)

And that I have never had to cruelly convince myself that Diet Coke is just as lovely as the sugar and calorie loaded Regular Coke.

And that as far back in life as I can remember I have eaten at least one bar of chocolate per day (except whilst pregnant with Thomas when I abstained for the whole pregnancy, but that is a whole other story) but generally more.

You hate me right now, right?

Well times are a-changing, sadly.

When I had Thomas I was back in my regular clothes the very same day (thought to be fair I didn't have to resort to maternity clothes until the 32nd week of pregnancy). A fact that was utterly disgusting to most people, apparently some people find it deeply offensive if you effortlessly get your figure back post baby.

In contrast, when I had Eli less than 12 hours later I was back at home and my mum came to visit and truly one of the first things she said to me was 'Well looks like you'll have to do sit ups this time'. (Yes, I am still holding a slight grudge about it in case you're wondering).

I did do sit ups in a bid to locate my abs that were seriously MIA.

But I quickly got bored and gave up. Sit ups it turned out weren't really all that fun and progress was made painfully slowly indeed.

But then something truly appalling happened.

My metabolism rudely started to slow down.

Not drastically by far but enough to make me realise that if I wanted to continue to live a lifestyle filled with regular coke and chocolate bars I might actually have to get my backside off the sofa and raise my heart rate above 60 bpm occasionally.

An incredibly painful conclusion to come to for one with a serious allergy to all things exercise related.

Then Jen posted a challenge on her blog:
I was in total agreement that it was a terrific idea and that I would simply cheerlead from the sidelines (because we don't generally have cheerleaders here and Bring It On made it look lots of fun).

Then Rob and I were getting ready for a rare trip to the cinema actually together for once (I know, crazy!) and I tried on a top that I hadn't worn in a while and looked down and saw my stomach, the stomach of Carol when she is 3 months pregnant. Sadness and hormones quickly turned to horror.

Horror induced a chain of reactions that had me committing to reclaim my abs, ASAP!

So I invested in one of these contraptions which frankly I can't help but feel looks like some apparatus worthy of a torture chamber but it will help me in my voyage of abs reclamation.

Being 5 feet 10 inches and 125 pounds I have always looked healthy and dare I say fit? Truth is though courtesy of my metabolism I haven't had to endure regular exercise since leaving school. My fitness levels are no doubt on a par with 80 year old's worldwide.

The energy my boys have has no limits and I owe it to them to be fitter. Day 1 of reclaiming my abs 15 minutes in I was almost victim of death by asthma attack. But moving on to day 3 I already feel much fitter and better. But with about a gazillion long miles to go.

When I am huffing and puffing and breaking a sweat and my new mechanical best friend is informing me I have successfully burned an entire 97 calories, suddenly that chocolate bar doesn't seem so tasty.

And truthfully I don't know whether to be overjoyed about that or depressed.

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Friday, 5 September 2008

Why 3 is the Magic Number

Just lately I am loving this boy.

Not that I didn't love him before but right now I really absolutely totally love him.

He makes me laugh without fail every single day with his weird and wonderful ways.

Whether it is catching him peeing into a bucket in the bathroom whilst stood actually right next to the toilet,

Whether it is him asking me whilst pointing to his face, "Do I have something right here on my face next to my beard?"

Whether it is going into his room at 10pm to find this,

Allegedly he lost something under his bed. (For like 5 days in a row.)

Or the fact that he has to sleep with both of these, what you can't see what they are?

Well one is a Huddersfield Town FC bear that his dad got him as a baby and the other.....

......well, the other is this, a pile of bookmarks commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Preston Temple.

Bishop actually gave them to me and asked me to give them to the children in primary but before I had a chance Thomas found them in my bag and has been sleeping with them regularly ever since.

Shh don't tell Bishop.

Last week he randomly came to a knowledge of borrowing.

Borrowing to a three year old is a dream come true. It means you can enjoy something you like but doesn't belong to you. On Sunday his teacher at church had bags and bags of things with her to keep the little ones entertained and when I went to collect Thomas he was holding what had to be easily 20 items. I explained that we had to give them back because they were his teachers and he curtly replied 'It's OK mummy I just borrow them', his teacher being one of the nicest people on earth couldn't say no and neither could I but I did manage to persuade him to only bring home 5 things.

Which included this dog, 3 used wedding cards and a truly hideous picture of Rob and I at a wedding in our pre-parenting years. All of which he insisted on sleeping with also, obviously.

I love that he now takes a genuine interest in other people now.

How work good mum?

How your run good dad?

It really just never ends.

Some days he'll approach me with his sad face and I'll enquire what's wrong and he'll just say "I miss Lucas" even though they have been in Utah now for a month.

If he happens to be in the garden when our neighbours come home he'll be sure to hold them up in enquiring about their day. I'm sure they really appreciate it.

I love that he has started football training and passionately loves it despite having the concentration span of a fly.

I adore seeing how his brain works, last Sunday he asked me "But who draw those pictures of Jesus?" referring to the the ones on our wall.

Stumped for an explanation fitting to a three year old logic I did what all good mums do. I directed him with his question to his dad.

He asked his dad.

His dad paused considering his answer and then replied, "I did!"

Thomas was completely content with that response.

I know that being 3 isn't a perfect age by far and we do have our moments I assure you. But at this point I am focusing on the positives and the fact that Eli is not so far behind and whatever Thomas can throw at us as a three year old will surely be vastly eclipsed by Eli when his turn comes.

That I would bet on.

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Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Beating the Teacher

Thomas officially starts Nursery School (which is essentially just preschool but attached to an actual school) next Tuesday. I am extremely excited for both him and myself. At his nursery school prior to starting you have a few visits to the school to familiarise your child with the new environment and then right before they actually start the teacher kindly comes to your house to bond with the child on their territory.

Nice, right?

Well I just don't buy it. The real reason they come (though they would never of course admit it)? To totally check us out. They will learn more about our family dynamic from 5 minutes in our house than they would in a whole year of drop off's and pick up's in the classroom. But to be fair she could have just saved herself an unnecessary trip and simply googled me instead. I'm sure my Bad Parenting Chronicles would answer many a question as to what kind of parent I really am.

We are SO not morning people in this household so you can imagine how utterly thrilled I was to get our letter informing us that Thomas' teacher would be visiting us at 9:45am. I started preparing days in advance, cleaning my house, tackling the laundry pile, putting all the jigsaw pieces in the correct boxes like my life depended on it.

But still I was at a major disadvantage. Kids dressed, fed and clean and the house repaired and beautified from the destruction wrought upon it by the kids since waking time all by 9:45? Impossible.

Panic really set in when Rob's cousins wife called to ask me to follow her to a garage to drop her car off while it got fixed and take her home again. Understandably she didn't want to sit all day at some stinky garage with her 2 month old baby. So I of course agreed (semi-reluctantly) and hoped beyond hope that if we set off early enough, 8:45, I could make it there and back in plenty of time to meet the teacher.

I had no clue where the garage was or even how far away it was. I had visions of missing our appointment and being forever branded that mother who didn't even care enough about her child's education to stay in and meet the teacher.

I also had a fear growing within me that my exhaust could fall off at any moment. I had recently had part of the exhaust repaired due to a rusty hole that pretty much made me sound like a rally driver wherever I went and the mechanic said everything else looked pretty sound. But when my car had to go to another garage for another reason (this happens apparently when your car is 10 years old) that mechanic told me that my exhaust could fall off at any given minute. I got the impression he was just attempting to scam me because, well, I'm a woman who knows, erm, zero about cars. So now whenever I go anywhere I live in total dread of leaving the exhaust somewhere on the road behind me.

But lo and behold we managed to be dressed, fed, clean and the house looking as presentable as a house that has two little boys dwelling within in will ever look all by 8:45. (Mostly I concede due to the fact that Eli horrifically woke us up at 6:45 requesting Lightning McQueen.) I did get Katie to the garage and home again. Even better I did manage to achieve all of those things with the exhaust firmly attached to my car and I did make it home by 9:30.

Thomas has been eagerly anticipating Miss Hoult's visit all week long. Though he insists on calling her Mrs Fault. This is becoming a bit of a problem for me because when I have to address her I can never actually remember which is her actual name. I sense at some point I am going to call her the wrong name and no amount of explanation is going to convince her of my sanity.

At 9:55 she still hadn't arrived. Thomas could hardly contain his excitement and had his face and hands firmly pressed to the window (that I had laboriously cleaned of all hand prints and saliva previously) seeking a glimpse of his teachers car.

She did eventually arrive and we had a really splendid visit. Well, right up to the point where Thomas said "Mrs Fault come see my bedroom my mum just cleaned it all up" so that shattered the illusion that I worked so hard to project that we dwell in a house of harmony and orderliness.

I feel sure we made a wonderful first impression.

But tomorrow is another day.

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Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Tragedy Strikes

Back in April as you'll recall we added two new additions to our family. We bowed to the pressure from our three year old who had developed such a need for a pet that his weekly highlight was viewing the corpses at the fish counter on our trips to the supermarket. Sad but true!

So enamoured was Rob with our newest family members that the week after he went out and got us two more.

For the last 5 or so months Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward and Mr Crabs have blissfully swam in the depths of Bikini Bottom in their Spongebob Square-tank.

Thomas sadly remained far more impressed by Tesco and their selection of fish than his very own pets. But worry not because the fish had a very special place in Rob's heart and were not at all lacking in love.

Rob dutifully fed and cleaned them.

Rob happily conversed with them. Well as much as you possibly can when communicating with fish.

Then at the weekend disaster sadly struck. I came in from outside only to be informed that Sqidward had passed away. There he was floating limply on the waters surface.

Rob having a far greater emotional attachment to them than myself was too sad to dispose of our fishy friend, so, I promptly gave him a burial at sea (aka down the toilet).

Farewell Squidward, you shall be missed.

But most likely only by Rob.

Because 5 days on the kids still haven't even noticed there is a fish missing in action.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Booker Prize? Not So Much

Well this is the place to be today if you're looking for a recommendation or two. That is of course if you're all finished with the Twilight saga because apparently I am the only human being on God's green earth who hasn't succumbed (yet!) to the literary talents of that Stephanie Meyer woman.

So this is what you really should be reading....

1. Because you never know when your shopping cart ID skills may come in handy. They'll be begging for you on CSI with your newly acquired skills for sure.
2. Because it is always wise to be prepared
3. Because apparently they're not happy with us eating their relatives
4. Because it's cheaper and less scary than a boob job (I can only assume this must be endorsed by Victoria Beckham)
5. Because if you can learn to live with your crazy buttocks you can wave exercise bye-bye!
6. Because if someone was kind enough to write such a book we should at least be courteous and read it. (Please publishers everywhere do not make an Old Tractors and the men who love them calendar, particularly one involving any kind of nudity!)
And finally, 7. Because think of all the money you'll save on knitwear, Christmas gifts and vacuums. We are living in a credit crunch people!
So which do you want to read first? Be sure to let me know.
I can pop over to Amazon and start my Christmas shopping early.

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