These things are rare, having kids and then going to the other side of the world means that me and tiggs get no time for us.
Last time we tried to go out somewhere i got stuck with the 24x7 mobile at work meaning I had to be ready to fly into action if it rang.
So last night we managed to get out. At the end of the road is a restaurant...called The Pepper Leaf
It is advertised as Asian/Vietnam and it was delicious. We shared a bottle of wine, starters, a noodle dish, two main courses and a coffee each between us for $80. Neither of us could move afterwards we were so full.
So if you are passing the North East head to the Pepper Leaf and enjoy a meal...we will be going back
p.s. I am not on commision but probaly should be
From 10 this morining until 4 this afternoon i was trekking around the metro centre looking at luggage - i never would have believed that cases could be so complicated
As i see it the problem initially stems from the airlines. I just cant figure out why their rules for luggage have to be so complicated! You can have two pieces of hold luggage, but the combined dimensions cant be bigger than a certain size, then each piece individually cant be bigger than another size, then you have an overall weight limit plus a different individual bag limit
On top of all that there is your hand luggage that can have maximum length, width and depth but you cant 'take' a bit off the length allowance to offset the fact that your depth is over.
Plus there is the luggage itself - apart from the ridiculous prices - you just think you have found somrthing that looks right for all of your sizes and then you pick it up and discover that it weighs a tonne!
Then you find a piece that has an extra zippy bit that opens to give you more capacity - great! you think - only when you measure the case with the added sticky-out bit it turns out that it now means that you exceed the combined luggage dimensions so your second case needs to be smaller, thus you have in effect negated the point of the 'expanding' case in the first place.
The final problem of course is when you ask the nice lady on the counter how many of a particular case they have in stock. The incredulous surprise on her face is a picture to behold when you tell her that you need 10 of them .
Anyway with a lot of to-ing and fro-ing (with very tired bored kids in tow) we finally found cheap (reduced twice in the sale sort of cheap) reasonable quality cases that will fit our baggage allowaces, Callum was thrilled with his 'trunki' ride on hand luggage, Rhys decided on a back-pack so he could be like daddy, the blokes went for maximum capacity rucksacks - which left me ...
... well all i really wanted was a nice girly flight case in some sort of chintzy fabric (maybe in pink?!). Could i find one? Could i heck. So after all that i am still not finished - but then again i have a good excuse to go hand bag shopping so that is ok! (as long as i can leave the kids at home next time!)
Who needs Sigmund Freud anyway
This morning I managed to doze back off to sleep after the alarm had gone off (always a bad idea) and i actually did remember the dream that i had ...
... For some reason the five of us are all about to set off to WALK a marathon - but this is not a road marathon the 'course' is all hills and valleys and forests and things. There are a large group of other people (who i dont know) all ready to go too.
We have the kids in the buggy/on the buggy board and everything we need for camping (obvioulsy i am expecting this to take us some time) is packed in bags on the buggy or being carried.
Just as everyone sets off it starts to rain so i nip back into our house (only it is not quite our house the furniture is ours but the house itself (both inside and out) is my Grandma's house) and i grap all of the waterproof anoraks from the chest of drawers in the hall.
We are about to set of again (by this time everyone else doing this marathon are only just visible down the road) and i realise that the window frame in the back upstairs bedroom is broken and we have to fix it before we go ... because apparently there is a hurricane coming! (why we would be setting off to walk a marathon when there was a hurricane on its way i have no idea!)
Anyway miraculously a workman arrives to fix the window and but then i have to explain to him what all the house keys do so he can lock up when he is finished (this is not really surprising as my grandma has so many keys in her house that when i go along i can never find the right one for the door i am trying to open!)
Needless to say the kids are getting bored and want to get moving and all the other marathon walkers are well out of sight!
We are just about to set off again (the wind and rain are really getting up by this point) and eldest son decides he has got to go to an interview instead and he needs me to take him there ...
... at which point it dawns on me that my eldest really does have an interview today and i must be dreaming so i opem my eyes and realise that it is about 20 past 8 and i have to have kids ready for school in 20 minutes!! Aarrgghh!!
I couldnt help but laugh at myself (while racing around trying to get children ready!) - some people have deeply symbolic dreams that need an interpretation - i certainly cant class this dream as one of those. It cant really be clearer can it?! I have set of on a hugh emotional rollercoaster of a journey by choosing to emigrate to the other side of the world ... i am all geared up to go ... but things completely out of my control are stopping us from getting on and doing it. Only yesterday i was telling the girls on the webboard WPHS thread that i felt i was in some sort of limbo land and just wanted to be able to get going.
So my apologies to Sigmund and the worlds other psychiatrists. If you were reliant upon me you would all be out of a job! Deep and meaningfull my dreams may be but they dont take a genius to work out what they mean.
Boys with Toys (or It´s for the kids....really)
But what to play, a board game, colouring in? Hang on this is a house full of boys. Then answer
So by 10:00 this morning the ill child feels fine (cos otherwise he can not play ) and we have a full track laid out around the extension, perhaps we should put that on the house advert, kitchen/diner big enough for decent scalextric.
Right I am off, a lap record needs breaking.
Ouch Ouch Ouch
And now my legs hurt
I am getting no sympathy of the wife cos I did no training and I am now suffering for it.
Coming over the Tyne Bridge with 50000 other people.
Watching the Red Arrows blating around South Shields below the roof level.
Next year, city to surf? with training!!
I'm a little teapot ...
Anyway i was inspired to add a little note today.
After school today R and C were invited to a birthday party. As i have mentioned (ranted about?!) before, turning 5 in this part of the world can no longer be celebrated with just jelly and ice-cream. No that sort of thing is soooo last generation. These days no self respecting 5 year old would have a party that didnt involve a full disco with DJ and of course a party host.
So off we trotted this afternoon to the obligitory disco, as usual around here hosted by Gillian. Now Cal decided that he really wanted to join in 'pass the monkey' but he wasnt going on his own - and his big brother was doing his usual thing and refusing to join in - so the task of sitting in the circle and 'passing the monkey' with cal fell to Graham (actually he jumped at the chance - he was dying to play and just needed an excuse!)
Unfortunately Graham managed to be holding the monkey when the music stopped and Gillian (ably assisted by all the kids!) decided that Graham had done it on purpose. So she said he had to stand in the middle of the floor and do a dance ... and the music she chose was ... (yes you guessed it!) ... i'm a little teapot! Well all i can say is that Graham makes a very good little teapot. Just to top it off the birtuday boys father managed to get the whole thing on video - and has promised me a copy - so Graham will be able to relive his 5 minutes of fame whenever he feels like it!
Young McCallum had a farm EIEIO ...
sheep ... and a ...
goat ... and a ...
donkey ... and a ...
pig ... and a ...
stick insect ... and a ...
giant hissing cockroach!!! EIEIO
In case you hadnt realised we spent the day at the farm (Whitehouse farm in Northumberland to be precise). There were too many animals to add all of the phots to the blog but both Rhys and Callum got involved with feeding the sheep, grooming the goats and bathing the pigs as well as meeting lots of other animals. Callum is a HUGE fan of creepy crawlies so he had a fab time at the beastie show. Rhys on the other hand was happy to sit back and let his little brother do all of the holding!
We did have a small crisis when a goat ate Callums bag of feed (the feed AND the bag itself!) so Callum spent the whole of the journey home telling us that when we go back to the farm we are not going to feed that naughty brown and black goat!
A relaxing day out at the water.
Graz had this great idea that we load the car and spend the only sunny bank holiday monday we have had this year at Kielder Reservoir. He proposed a picnic lunch and a quiet ride along the banks of the water on our bikes. It sounded a very nice idea.
However what i hadnt really thought through was that this is a large body of water artificially dammed up in a steep valley. A valley, by its very definition, is a low point in the landscape with higher land on either side. In practice the problem with this (at least for a person riding a peddle powered vehicle) is that you dont ride along the low bits or along the high bits but you do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time (and effort) moving up and down between the two.
What i am trying to say, in a slighlty longwinded way is that it was VERY hilly and some of the steep uphills were real killers! By the time we stopped for lunch my thighs were killing me and i wasnt entirely sure that i was going to manage cycling all of the way back! In total we managed somewhere around the 6 mile mark which, in normal cycling terms, is just a little tootle out. But with all of those climbs it felt like we had been at least twice that distance.
It did occur to me at one point that that there seemed to be a lot more uphills than there were downhills which, considering we started and finished in the same place, doesnt make a lot of sense - but sense is not always evident when you are trying to get up yet another hill and your legs dont want to go!
Anyway i survived and managed to take some nice snaps along the way.
Party photos as promised ...
Rhys helps Callum open his presents.
Callum has a lot of puff.
Callum's 'brooch' says 'Busy Being 3'
A happy birthday morning!
Happy Birthday CallumI was woken up this morning by a grinning face telling me 'mammy it is morning' *grin* *grin*. 'What sort of morning is it?' I asked. 'A happy birthday morning' was the reply!
By quarter past 8 all the presents and cards were opened and Callum is now happy to report that he is the proud owner of a brand new 'Iggle Piggle'.
More photos to follow after the party!
Faster than a speeding cheetah
Any parent will tell you that the fasted animal on land is actually the teenager ... when someone starts running a tap to wash dishes.
In addition to lightening speed the agile teenager also displays the sudden ability to open and close a front door without making a noise (a phenomenon all the more surprising seeing as normally they can only manage to close a door by making the whole house shake) and the equally unexpected skill of being able to come up with the most eloquent and inventive of excuses to ensure that they are somewhere else as soon as possible (even though ten minutes ago the best they could mange in reply to your questions was an indistint grunt).
Camouflage is another interesting aspect in the life of the teenager. With a tendancy to flock together in large groups they attempt to confuse potential predators by dressing alike (preferably all in black with 'spikey' and 'studdy' silver coloured bits sticking out) thereby appearing to be much larger than they actually are.
... and dont get me started on mating rituals .
I think i had better go and wash my dishes!!!
Toddlers from Mars
Today's theme was 'Outer Space' and in the space of a single afternoon they were transformed into astronauts!
Rhys and Callum model their spaceman helmets
Since they got home this afternoon they have gone 'planet crazy' asking Andrew which planet they should visit next and getting him to google for a picture. They managed Earth, Saturn and Mars before Andrew got bored and started looking at nebulae - much to the disgust of the boys who decided in that case they may as well head back to earth. lol
This is the week that was ...
Where do i start?
Firstly an apology to all those of you who have emailed, texted and/or pm'ed me over the last week. I just havent been in the right frame of mind to reply but i am starting to get through the backlog now and i promise i will reply to you all.
A week past Tuesday
When i started the day all i was really thinking about was getting the house sorted for the viewers who were coming in the afternoon.
But the phone call i got at half 9 put a stop to all of that. For those of you who dont know, my Grandad has been completely bed-bound for the last 2 years suffering from Parkinsons Disease. His condition has been compounded by dementia which has gradually worsened and for the last 6 months he has lost all comprehension for the world around him.
The phone call i got on that Tuesday morning was from my grandma telling me that she couldnt get Grandad to respond and she couldnt hear him breathing. My uncle was there with her but she couldnt get hold of my Mam.
I thought at the time that i was quite calm - i know i sounded calm when i told Grandma not to worry about that as i would find her. However when i realised that i was phoning Mam's mobile about every 30 seconds i decided that i wasnt quite as calm as i had thought.
Cutting a very long story short my Grandad had simply stopped breathing and died peacefully in his sleep. A very gentle way to go after such a long and debilitating illness.
A week past Tuesday afternoon
The house viewers, for whom i had spent a whole day cleaning my house, never showed up. I thought about phoning them and asking them if they would like to view again at another time (good salesperson in me) but then i decided that i really couldnt be bothered anyway.
Intervening bit of the week
Had two more estate agents in to value the house - one 10 grand less than the first, one ten grand more. How can they be so different?
A week ago (Friday) - Heard it on the grape vine
My eldest came home with a puzzled look on his face. 'Mam?', 'Yes?', 'You know the people who live in the end house?', 'Martin and Kerry, yes' (lol - he is not very good with names!), 'Well Martin just stopped me in the street and asked us when we were moving out because someone had told him that we had sold our house'
I have to admit i laughed - how in the world do these rumours get started?!
You get a couple of estate agents in to value your house and low and behold everyone 'knows' that you have sold your house to a couple of chavs and are moving to Outer Mongolia to raise wild Llamas for a living . Actually that doesnt sound like too bad a plan - maybe i will suggest it to Graz.
A week ago (Friday) - Teatime
Mam had phoned earlier in the day - could she bring my Grandma round for tea (trying to get her out of the house for a bit). Maybe i could cook mince and dumplings?
I have no idea why they wanted mince and dumplings but i duly obliged.
When i told Rhys and Callum that Grandma, Grandad and Great Grandma were coming for tea Rhys wanted to know if Great Grandad was coming too. So how exactly do you explain death to a rather sensitive 4 year old who is prone to worrying? I know that my cousin had told her 4 year old that Great Grandad had died and gone to live with Jesus in heaven - but what if i dont believe that myself? It seems rather unfair of me to tell my 4 year old something that i dont believe is true.
Now dont get me wrong. I believe that we all have a soul and that soul lives on after our bodies are gone - the part i dont believe is the Jesus in heaven bit.
I am slightly ashamed to admit that i didnt give Rhys an answer at all. I avoided the question and moved the conversation on in the sure and certain knowledge that at 4 years old he wasnt really that bothered anyway. I know that i should have a better strategy for dealing with things like this - i just have no idea what. Answers on a postcard please.
Sunday was my sister Claire's 30th birthday. Happy Birthday Claire!!!
This had been a bit of a milestone for her as she has been sorting out the paperwork for her visa to oz and needed to lodge before she turned 30 and as she would have lost 5 points (those 5 points made the difference between an independent visa and needing a sponsor). I am really really please to say that she lodged in time and got the confirmation through before her birthday! Yay my master plan to move all of my family to oz with me is working! (only kidding - although they do all seem to have decided come too!)
Monday morning - The funeral
Running late as usual!
Remarkably eldest son appeared out of his bedroom having dressed HIMSELF in a pair of dress trousers and a shirt (!?!) plus he had arranged for his Grandma to get him a black tie. All sorted - nice one Andrew.
Slightly late in the day i realised that i had put on far too much weight lately and there was no way i was getting into my black suit - so had to dig around in my wardrobe to try and find something black that was reasonably dressy (black jeans and a t-shirt NOT going to work).
Ended up in a pair of black trousers that made my bum look HUGE - and a posh long length black cardigan that was far too warm for the weather but it was the best i could do. No-one was going to be looking at me anyway (i hope).
Dropped youngest two off at playgroup (had arranged with a friend to pick them up if we were not back in time).
Got to Grandma's house and hugged and then chatted to loads of family who i hadnt seen since the last family funeral - nearly 2 years ago. I wonder why extended families only ever get together for funerals? i suppose we are all so busy with our own lives we have very little time for other peoples - even those we are related to.
The funeral service was typically religious with the usual bit added about what Grandad did in his life. (note to self - must find an alternative to the church funeral)
Definitely the most moving part of the service was when Claire stood up and talked about our Grandad. I dont think there was a dry eye in the house. I will get her to send me a copy and add it to a blog entry.
Monday afternoon - The party
Grandad always said that it was not a proper party unless there were balloons, so Mam turned up after the funeral with loads of purple helium filled balloons! The kids thought it was great!
Loads of people kept asking us about going to Australia. I had been trying not to mention it as i know that Grandma is not particularly happy about us going but nearly everyone i spoke to wanted to talk about our plans! She did actually join in with the conversations though and she seemed ok about it. Ages ago I had said that we would pay for Grandma to come over and see us once we move - but she had refused to even contemplate the idea. Apparently she is too old!?! Anyway everyone seemed to have a story about how they know someone in their 80s who has kids in Australia and they are flying back and forward all the time and she actually seemed to come around to the idea. We will get her out there yet .
Monday night - Contemplation
It has been the strangest week. I have sort of felt very odd. I know i should be upset about losing my Grandad but to be honest i am not. What i realise now of course is that i didnt lose him last Tuesday - he had already gone. The Grandad that i grew up with - the one who always had loads of time to spend with his grand-daughters, so much love and affection for his family - he left us a long time ago. This week we may have been saying goodbye to his body but i wasnt saying goodbye to my Grandad. I had already done that.
I am crying more as i write this than i have done all week. I love you Grandad and i miss you. x
Last bit of the week
Chaired playgroup AGM on Tuesday. Only got around to writing the agenda and chairman's report on Monday night. Susan, the committee secretary, was worse though - she only wrote her report on the Tuesday morning!
Thursday finally 'got rid' of Parents & Toddlers - will write a blog entry about this anyway as it included a Summer Show and i have loads to say about Callum and the animals!
Thursday afternoon. Chosen estate agent was back in today to do the photos etc. He said that they would get the details to us to check asap. So at least something is still progressing - unlike our visa!
Well ... Congratulations if you have made it to the end of all of that!!
I would normally have had half a dozen entries to cover that lot. I will try and keep it shorter in future! I did try and start writing a few times but the words just didnt want to come. Anyway normal service is now resumed.
The Australian way of life....does not work in the UK
Last weekend our day on the beach was a washout ... we persevered for the morning but went home damp and defeated. The surfing lesson never happened.
This weekend. A Bar-B-Q... The rain is still falling.
The Bar-b-q happened, I stood in the rain with the FiL providing cover with a brolly until everything was cooked. Somehow it did not quiet give quite the same level of satisfaction that i expect to have and the eating was done indoors.
I am not expecting miracles in Oz with the weather but it would be nice to at least do something outside without the rain interfering.
Never mind...I am going back to email watching waiting for a Visa.
Happy Birthday Andrew!!!
My eldest baby is 17 today (at 12.20 pm to be precise )
Cant believe the he is 17 already - cant believe how tall he has got - cant believe we are going to be daft enough to let him drive on the public roads!
Happy Birthday sweetie!
love Mammy xx
...oh we do like to be beside the sea
Geordie Mandy and her boys had travelled up on the train and we all headed off to Cullercoates beach - not surprisingly we had it all to ourselves.
We managed to munch our way through at least some of our picnic before the first rain shower. Oh well we thought, that wasnt too heavy a shower we can cope with this.
The second rain shower was more rather worse and i have to admit that i was beginning to wonder what we were doing out in this weather! But i tried to stay positive. The rain had stopped again and it was looking a lot brighter (and feeling considerably warmer).
The sandcastle building now began in earnest. Graham and our mate Vicki marked out the moat and all the kids got involved with the digging.
All was going well until the rain started again ... and then it got heavier .... and then there was thunder! ... and more rain ...
We gave it our best shot but i am afraid that we just got too wet and throwing our stuff together we headed off to my parents house.
After getting dry, hanging clothes and shoes over every radiator, depositing large amounts of water and sand all over the house, we finally finished our picnic camped out in my parents living room!
Although things didnt go quite as planned it was still great to see mandy and her boys - and the next time we do this we should be in oz and hopefully the weather will be a bit sunnier!
Callum looking very soggy.
The building of the sandcastle.
David and Craig are employed as flag poles!
(p.s. dont forget to check out Geordie Mandy's blog too!)
Australia - It keeps cropping up everywhere
Anyway it turns out that Eddie (the artist) was supposed to be in the first school all day but when he had arrived they told him they were not ready for him and it was suggested by someone that he dropped in to see us in toddlers instead.
Well i am always happy to have extra activities going on to keep the kids entertained (especially activities that someone else is organising and more to the point someone else is clearing up afterwards!) so we got out the tables and i gave him a hand setting up. I have to admit that i couldnt help smiling when he told me that todays art activity was finger painting, based on australian aboriginal art and using little dots to make simple pictures and maps (perfect for little fingers - not so perfect for keeping my mind of the wait for this visa!)
Just to complete the australian theme Eddie had a cd player with him so we all sat and listened to some nice didgeridoo music while we did our paintings!
Callum really got into the finger painting and did several pictures - one of which Eddie pointed out as being a particularly good example of working with paint (it looked a bit like a green smear to me but apparently it was artistically excellent!)
i will make sure that i bring the paintings home next week (they were still wet so i left them hanging on the church hall wall to dry) so i can add some pictures to the blog so you can all see how talented my youngest is.
Plenty of firsts
The reason for breaking my blogging absence? I am in for my first Oz sensation (if you discount copious amounts of alcohol and the odd bar-b-q).
On Saturday Adele and the kids are going to the beach with fellow expat forum members for a fun day of sun , sea, sandcastles and family fun, I am going into the next bay and I am going to Surfing lessons.
No we are not talking surfers paradise, golden sands sharks and 10 ft waves. We are talking Tynemouth longsands, a grey sea, the odd toilet roll and a wetsuit.
I am assured however by the instructors of Tynemouth Surf Co (blatant advertisment) that if the weather is good they can teach me the basics of getting onto the board and not falling in instantly.
Pictures and a review will be entered at the weekend assuming all goes ahead.
One rainy afternoon, two children and a pack of biscuits
Our back garden is beginning to look like a lake. As i type there is a rather soggy blackbird sitting in the middle of the lawn trying to decide if he should change career and become a duck.
The kids are fed up being stuck in the house and i am fed up trying to think up things to keep them occupied.
This afternoons plan involved some butter icing, mini choc buttons, assorted sprinkles and a large pack of ikea vanilla biscuits (that i am not very keen on but Rhys insisted on buying when we were in ikea on wednesday (i much prefer the ones with chocolate ))
Now, an hour later we have two entertained children and lots of iced biscuits that taste much better than they did when they were plain! Well at least i am happier!
(oh bother i just dropped a load of rainbow sprinkles into my keyboard I suppose that is what i get for eating biscuits while i am blogging! (no-one tell Graz! ))
Went to the hairdressers and came out 20 years younger
I worry that i am not going to like a new style, i know that i am never again going to be able to make it look like it does when i leave the salon and i am not altogether fussed that it is going to cost me a small fortune (well it seems like a small fortune to someone on a small budget).
On the plus side i have been going to the same hairdresser for years and she is lovely - and i know that if she thought that a particular 'do' would be a disaster on me she would simply refuse to cut my hair!
Well for at least 6 weeks i have been saying that i need to go and have a haircut, but being me i simply hadnt got around to actually making the appointment. A couple of weeks back Andrew (eldest son, currently doing the 'goth' thing) said that he wanted his hair dyed black again and after the last 'dye' experience (he got me to do it with one of those semi permanent dyes ) he decided that it would be safer to go to the professionals.
So last week he got super organised and made up both appointments at the hairdressers (and just for the record he didnt really need his mammy to go with him he just thought it would be easier to go at the same time )
Well we pottered off to the hairdressers this afternoon, him to his dye at one end of the salon and me to my cut at the other. We had been in about 15 minutes when the girl doing his hair came over looking rather embarrassed. She said you will never guess what i just said ... i just asked andrew if you where his girlfriend!
Now i know that i have always been blessed with not looking quite my age and i was not that old when i had Andrew but under no stretch of the imagination am i looking like i am 16! Even allowing for Andrew looking a little older than he is that still leaves quite an age gap - so maybe she thought that it was more of a cradle snatcher situation! Either way it did make for rather a giggle and even Andrew thought it was rather funny. i was sort of expecting him to be rather embarrassed but to give him full credit he just laughed.
Anyway i now have a nice new haircut, sort of bobbed with layers, and shorter than it has been in years. I will let you know how much i like it when i have washed it and have to style it myself.
Andrew has shiny black hair which he is very impressed with (he is currently out showing his mates!) and while i admit that i have not have quite managed to be 20 years younger than when i started the day i am perfectly willing to be mistaken for my eldest sons oh rather than his mam!
4 year olds cant keep secrets
Having decided to learn from other peoples mistakes we decided a while back to keep the going to Oz thing a bit quiet - at least as far as the estate agents and neighbours were concerned.
The trouble is that we have a four year old.
Now i know that most 4 year olds like to go over things a few times to get them straight in their heads but i have to say that Rhys is particularly bad. Once he gets hold of an idea it is impossible to get him to let go again (even for a while).
After he announced at the weekend that he didnt think that he wanted to go australia anymore (turns out that he was worried that he would have to leave his things behind) he is now doing his best to get his head around moving all of our things to somewhere else (actually he would probably be just as worried if we were moving down the street seeing as he thinks his Grandma lives a long way away and she is actually about 6 miles)
Anyway the trouble is that he wants to talk about it all of the time, at the top of his voice, including when we are in the garden.
Yesterday he announced that we would need a very big box for all of our things when we moved to australia.
Today he spent a good deal of time informing Callum that we would need a lorry when we moved to australia and the lorry would need to go on a boat because it was too big for an aeroplane (but when we move to australia we will go in an aeroplane because a boat takes too long)
Personally i cant wait for Rhys' next installment - it should be especially good when he starts to think about taking the dog!
Anyway I dont suppose that our neighbours are going to be in the dark for very long (and then we have to take into consideration the local grapevine!) so there goes that theory.
So my new plan is simpler - if a buyer turns up at the last mo and drops the price i will be telling them to s*d off - besides hanging about for a while longer will give Rhys more time to get all of our transport plans figured out.
I have been really expecting him to worry about this - he is one of lifes natural worriers and it took quite a while to get him to settle properly at his pre-school - but he has really embraced the idea of 'big' school. I know that his friends have been talking about it and he seems really keen to get started!
So today was the first of two visits that Rhys is making to school before the end of term. Yesterday he was really looking forward to it but but by this morning the reality had sort of occurred to him and he wasnt going! - lol.
Nevertheless he and I headed off to school this afternoon leaving a rather grumpy Callum to be looked after by Andrew (or was that supposed to be Cal looking after Andrew?! ) anyway...
At school we (the mums) were asked to settle the children into the classroom with the current class and then head out to another room and leave them (the kids) to it. I was sure that this was going to be a problem for Rhys - but after he asked me if i was going home (i said no i definitely would not be leaving school without him) he went off perfectly happily.
By all accounts the kids had a great time while, slightly in contrast , the other mums and i had a thrilling afternoon of looking at slides of 'school life' and form filling.
Now that this first visit is over Rhys is even more eager to get to school. As we walked home this afternoon he was determined that he was going back tomorrow and i had to persuade him that he needed to wait until his next visit next week!
When he got home he spent a good half an hour telling his little brother all about 'big school' - and Cal spent equally as long telling rhys that he and Andrew had had a really fun afternoon at home and Andrew had let cal play on his guitar (a big treat when you are two years old!). I dont think that either actually listened to the other at all - but they never let that sort of thing bother them when telling a good story.
The jam explosion!
Blackcurrant jam to be precise.
Big blobs of it on the kitchen wall.
How did it get there?
No-one seems to know (or at least no-one is admitting anything)
I do have one suspect though, a certain blonde haired boy with suspiciously sticky marks around his mouth.
How am i going to get it off?
I have no idea - if i try to wash it off it is going to, at best, leave a smear. Anything like scrubbing is going to remove the paint as well as the jam.
Here i am - desperately trying to get the house ready to sell - only to be out-done by a jam wielding 4 year old hell-bent on maintaining a toddler embellished environment.
Oh well i guess it it back out with the paint tin. Maybe a nice blackcurrant colour would be worth considering...
Daffodils in Oz
'Yes' i replied 'but not for a little while'.
Then he looked around and said, 'But what about the daffodils?'
'What about them?' i asked.
He replied, 'They are passed their best now and wont have yellow flowers for a long time'. (we always talk about the flowers and trees and birds and things when we are wandering around outside).
'They will have flowers again next spring' i said.
'But do they have daffodils in Australia?' he asked.
'I think they probably do' i replied.
'That is ok then' he said 'i wouldnt like to go if they didnt have daffodils'
... and with that he changed the subject.
I just hope that they do have daffodils in Oz otherwise i am going to be in trouble!
A bottom a baboon would be proud of
The only flaw in this plan was that his rather ancient bike was (quite lieterally!) falling apart. The first time he took it out the back wheel fell off! So he started looking around for a new bike. Somewhere along the way he decided that it would be a great plan to get the boys a 'trail buggy' (a little cart that fastens on the back of an adults bike) so he could take them out too. Then, before i knew where i was, the plan included me on a bike as well!!
Well i never was that good on a bike anyway (doesnt really go with high heels ) plus it is 'only' about 20 years since i was last on a pushbike! So this new plan didnt fill me with great enthusiasm!
Nevertheless yesterday i found myself cycling along the dunes at Seaton Sluice. Well i say cycling along - it was more like wobbling with forward momentum!! But i did it. I didnt fall off and by the time i got home i didnt feel too tired either.
Trouble is i got up this morning to find that my bottom is REALLY sore! I have to admit that i havent looked but i am pretty sure that 'baboons bottom' would be a good description!
I am putting this down to a 'chaffing underwear' problem so I think some experimenting with different knickers is going to be required to in order to identify a more comfortable cycling pair!!
One thing is sure the other 3 are having so much fun with this cycling thing that i am not going to get out of it anytime soon!!
Ladies who lunch :)
Well afternoon tea at the house is served in the lounge and we took one look at the low seating and decided that if Grandma sat down on one of the sofas there was no way we would ever get her up again!!
So a quick confab with the very nice waiter and we ended up with a table on the terrace! Lovely sunshine,
two very big pots of tea, lots of sandwiches with the crusts cut off, far too many sticky pastries, and rather a lot of giggling!
Unfortunately the sunshine didnt quite last until the end of our tea so we probably didnt linger quite as long as we normally would have but a very nice girly afternoon was had by all. We did decided as we were leaving that we definitely need more practice at this afternoon tea idea - in order to ensure that we have the etiquette just right - and of course as a very good excuse to 'do' more lunches!
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
So at half seven we dutifully headed our way down to the the church hall (i seem to be spending half of my life at the mo in the church hall - and i dont even go to church!)
Well i dont think that we have laughed so much in ages.
The quickstep was fine until we needed to turn a corner at which point we collapsed in hysterical laughter and had to move out of the way to let the next couple dance past us. Second attempt was not much better and several attempts later we decided that the only solution to the problem was going to be finding a dance hall that was very long and thin so we could just keep going in the same direction all evening!
As for the cha-cha it turns out that Graham doesnt have two legs like the rest of the population but in fact has three - or so we guess as he was putting at least one extra step into each iteration of the dance. By the time we got to the end he was doing at least twice as many steps as everyone else!
Somehow i dont think that Fred and Ginger are going to loose their title as the greatest dance partnership of all time but we had loads of fun and will certainly be going back to the next class - and you never know one day we might just get around that corner!
In Denial. A play by Rhys aged 4
Morning arrives in the Smith household.
Rhys who is always first out of bed heads off to find his parents.
Rhys Its morning mammy!
Mammy (rather sleepily) Good morning Rhys, did you have a good sleep?
(she turns over in bed)
Oh Rhys sweetie you are all covered in spots!
Rhys No i'm not.
Mammy Yes you are. You have the chicken pox.
Rhys No i haven't.
Mammy Have a look at your spots in the mirror.
Rhys I dont want to look and i havent got spots.
Callum (looking at Rhys) You got spots. You got chiten pos.
Rhys No i havent.
Callum (looking rather confused) Mammy Rhy got spots.
Mammy (whispers) I know honey but Rhys doesnt want to have spots.
Rhys we will go and put some calomine lotion on you and you will feel better.
Rhys I dont need calomine lotion and i dont have spots
Well we got all the way to bedtime and Rhys headed back off to his bed still covered in spots and still very much in denial!
By this afternoon Callum was covered in spots - he has the chicken pox!
I was actually out this afternoon when the spots made their appearance - Daddy was in charge. The story goes that Graham thought Cal was upstairs playing with Rhys, Rhys thought that Cal was downstairs with Daddy and when the confusion came to light there ensued a small panic (apparently Graham was imagining the headlines; Toddler found miles from home, father did not realise he was missing!!) until a very spotty Callum was discovered asleep on his Mammy and Daddys bed ....
.... I dont know, i cant even go out for a few hours without a crisis occuring!
It is about time Cal caught it really. This is the third batch of chicken pox to do the rounds since last September and i couldnt believe that he had not already caught it. I did try to put calamine lotion on him before bedtime but to be honest it would have been easier just to dip him in a bath full as the spots are everywhere. He even has one inside his ear which actually is the only one he is bothering about. He hasnt been scratching or complaining (and apart from sneaking off for a nap) he has been just like his usual self. I guess this means that he is not feeling too bad.
The only question that now remains is when is Rhys going to come out in spots?!
Kids come with instructions...
The Smith Family Grandchild Kit - please note this pack contains models 1.1 and 1.2
Congratulations on becoming the temporary owner of grandchild 1.1 and grandchild 1.2.
Please ensure you read the enclosed instructions BEFORE you unpack your grandchild(ren).
We hope that you enjoy your stay and that your grandchild(ren) give you a world of memories, a plethora of anecdotes and enough psychological disorders to last you a lifetime.
Step one - Getting to know your grandchild..........
Graham and i are off to Edinburgh tomorrow for a whole weekend without any kids!!
Graham's mum has drawn the short straw and will be here looking after the the kids (well actually she volunteered ) so my task this evening is to draw up a set of instructions on feeding, sleeping and general cleanliness.
I have to admit that my list is not going to be quite as comprehensive as the one started above but i do hope that i can at least alleviate some of the problems she will face when Rhys rebels because 'nana, that is not the way that it is supposed to be done!!!! - you should be doing it like this ...'
Actually I am sure that she could manage perfectly well without the instructions - but i cant pass up an excuse as good as this for writing a list. It is these sort of small pleasures that keep me happy .
Kids come with instructions ... well mine do anyway.
Five have a Mystery to Solve
What a jolly morning. The sun was pouring in at the windows and we jumped(*) out of our beds(+) with a hearty "good morning". It was another Monday and the five were back together again for the summer(&). What adventures would be awaiting them today?!OK that is enough - i cant keep that up any longer! There are only so many times you can use the words gosh and hearty in one blog entry!
The upshot of all of this is that i sill have a bike on my drive and i dont know what to do with it! I would have more idea if something had been nicked from the garden but i am just not used to people turning up in the night and leaving me things!!!
If it is still there tomorrow i suppose i had better phone the police - just in case it has been nicked from somewhere - the last thing that i need is to get arrested for handling stolen goods .
Maybe my mystery benefactor can leave me something more useful tonight - a visa would be handy!
Hurrah, what a jolly good show...
(apologies for all of the footnotes! )
(*)this is obviously pure fiction as with possibly the exception of Rhys non of my family would ever jump out of bed or be hearty in the morning.
(+)i am aware that if this really was a famous five book then we really should have been asleep under a gorse bush - but i never did like camping!
(&)tad early for summer but i am trying to keep in character.
(^)well four of us did, Andrew only gets up in time to put on some clothes and go straight out for his bus.
($)i am sure there should be lashings of ginger beer in this story somewhere but i cant seem to work out where...
6 years ago today...
Just wanted to say to Graham that i love you and heres to the next 6 years, and the 6 after that, and the 6 after that .... ad infinitum!
(either i am getting all soppy or it could just be that you are stuck with me )
Things you hear around the house ...
(please note that spelling and grammar are included as intended by contributing toddlers...)
Toddlers - dont you just love `em
It turns out that vertigo is actually a form of dizziness - dizziness being when you feel as if your head is spinning, vertigo being when you feel as if the room is spinning. That old saying is right - you learn something new everyday (well i do anyway ).
At least i now have an explanation for the spinning room, the nausea and the walking into door frames (having problems getting through the gap in the middle!). It is a most bizarre feeling!
So what has caused my vertigo? Well (apparently) vertigo can be migraine related (i havent had a full blown migraine for about 5 years but i have had a niggling headache while i have been having these dizzy spells so this is a possibility) or it can also be caused by a viral inner-ear infection, generally after just having a cold (seeing as i had a cold all of last week then this could be a possibility as well). Not really bothered which of these is the cause for me - just as long as it sorts itself out sooner rather than later.
I have to say that this is not a good affliction for a person currently spending half of her day up a ladder trying to wallpaper a bedroom, but i am not going to let it stop me from getting this decorating done. I want the diy finished so i can sell my house and go to oz!! So if the vertigo gets any worse i intend to lash myself to the ladder!!!
One small step for a toddler ...
So in he went this morning ... leaving a trail of coat, hat and scarf on the floor behind him as he went through the door. By the time i had put his things on his peg Cal and Rhys have already worked out that Callums name card has a picture of Jake (from the Tweenies) on it and he had collected it and put it in the box. So i gave them a kiss, said see you later, and headed out of the door leaving the two of them oblivious to the fact that i had gone.
So that is that. My two youngest are now officially out there in the big wide world ... and that just leaves me in the house, i am already starting to talk to the dog ... apparently she thinks we ought to stop for a cup of tea and a biscuit.
One day the decorating will be finished.
I have this cold that the kids have all had. Runny nose, sore throat, tickly cough and generally feeling icky and a bit shaky.
So what have i done to make myself feel better? I have painted the bathroom ceiling ..... twice!
I did tell Graham a little bit of a fib. He thought that i probably shouldnt be up a ladder if i wasnt feeling too well and i told him that i was ok and i would stop if i felt funny - but the queasy feeling didnt really start until i was about half way across the ceiling and i wasnt stopping then!! (maybe he knows me too well )
Anyway it is now finished, the lights are all back up and it looks really good - so that is another job done and i feel happier that it is out of the way.
Got to get started on the bedroom next - for some strange reason i decided that we should get it done BEFORE we go to Scotland in the middle of March (this means that if we dont get it finished before we go we will be leaving Grahams mam in a chaotic house with a half decoated bedroom and 3 kids!!!) I know it would make more sense to leave it until we get back but i just feel desperate to get on with it. Until we are decorated we cant get the estate agents in to value and i just want to get the house on the market . At least then i would feel as if we are moving forward again rather than standing still which we seem to have been doing for ages now.
I know that one day the decorating WILL be finished, we will have sold the house and i will be able to have a whole day off when i am feeling ill (of course that is as long as it is a weekend day and nobody else desperately needs me do to anything!) and of course there is always the problem that when we get moved to oz and buy a new house the whole decorating thing will start again .
`Callum` and Hobbes
I have to say that todays cartoon strip made me literally fall about laughing - just take a look at Calvins expression on the third frame
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
©2007 Universal Press Syndicate
Hope i dont get into trouble for posting this (i have included the copyright info and the link is http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes) but i couldnt resist!!
Although we have never had nails in our table we do have rather a lot of hammer marks on various pieces of furniture in testament to Callum's ability with a plastic toy hammer and for matter of comparison check out the hairstyle ...
Callum trying to look innocent
The only difference that i can figure out is that if Callum was Calvin then Hobbes would not be a Tiger - he would have to be a blankey instead!
I have promised to snail mail ... can i even remember how it works?!
I also promised Vik that i would write to her and let her know all of the juicy gossip - not that we get a lot in our little circle of friends but i will pass on what does come my way. The only problem is that she is going to be without internet access so i am going to have to resort to old fashioned snail mail.
It is so long since i actually wrote a letter that i am not even sure that i have any writing paper (I think that Andrew may have some Harry Potter paper somewhere but i think that maybe i need to go for something a little more ... erm, sophisticated?). I think a trip out for supplies might be in order - plus it gives me an excuse to go shopping!!
oooh, just had a thought, can i remember which corner of the envelope the stamp goes on? (only kidding ).
I wonder if it would count at cheating if i printed out my blog and send that to her instead?!
Ok this diet is not working.
I have actually been really good. I have cut out all of the biscuits, cake, chocolate, crisps and snacks. I have not been eating between meals (apart from fruit) and i have cut down my mealtime portions by about a quarter. I have even added an extra session of exercise each week but i am still not getting anywhere.
So onto more drastic measures. As of today (Monday) i am cutting out my lunch and will be having a bowl of cereal or soup instead. Dinners will be reduced portions and when the family meal has a high calorie count i will have a salad instead. Suppers are out altogther and i am going to drink an extra litre of water a day.
I am absolutely determined this time to get this diet moving - preferably so i can get off it again as quickly as possible!!!
Happy Birthday ... four today!
Happy Birthday Rhys
!!! 4 Today !!!
Rhys gets rid of that wrapping paper!
Callum gets started on Rhys' presents
Approval all round!
The party ...
The birthday party was a great success. Great fun was had by all and as promised we had jelly and ice cream, balloons and lots of cake (Rhys' favourite bit! ).
Men at work - Diversion in operation
It was obvious really, if you have a 'road block' you also need a route for your 'diversion'.
The dog and the Christmas cake - A cautionary tale.
Cake all over kitchen floor, smashed plate, very pathetic cowering dog (and i hadnt even told her off yet!)... so how exactly did this happen?
Well i think a combination of factors led to this unfortunate incident...
And was it worth it? .... this cake stealing? ... well not really. Daisy had not actually eaten any of the cake itself. I am guessing that the plate hitting the floor and smashing was enough to scare the wits (those that she has) completely out of her and left her a quivering wreck in the living room!
So is this intended as a cautionary tale for humans? - dont be so lazy and walk your dog.
Is it intended as a cautionary tale (or tail?!) for dogs? - it is not worth stealing the cake anyway (or else find a way to do it without smashing the plate (a cushion maybe?!))
No. Personally i think that it is a cautionary tale for the cake - after all, however it ends up you are going to get eaten .
The oddness of rain .... and soft boiled eggs.
Quite obvioulsy rain doesn't fall everywhere at the same time - but it still amazes me that you can be sitting in your kitchen looking out at the rain pouring down in your neighbours garden and then you turn and look into your own garden there is bright sunshine and NOT A DROP of rain!!! You could actually make out the 'edge' of the rain just on the other side of the fence. Maybe I am just easily pleased but for some reason I kind of liked it!!!
On the plus side we did get a lovely bright rainbow - one so obvious that even Callum managed to spot it. He usually can't make them out at all - even with me holding his chin in the right direction and pointing directly along his line of vision and Rhys shouting 'look there it is' and jumping up and down (although this last part may actually be a hinderance rather than a help ).
As for the soft boiled eggs... well let me just say that eating 'eggs in an egg cup' (Rhys' name for them) with a 2 year old and a 3 year old is an experience that I could happily live without - and may well cause me to give up life altogether if i ever have to do it again!!
Suffice it to say that by the time Rhys had finished his egg I am sure that there was actually more egg on him, the table and the floor than had been in the whole egg in the first place (must be like a Tardis inside the shell!!). However this experience was easily surpassed by Cal, whos over enthusiastic solider dipping caused his egg cup to over-balance sending his egg shooting off the kitchen table and heading most of the way into the dining room. I managed to locate it again by following the trail of yoke it had conveniently left behind it as it had rolled merrily on its way!!
By the time I cleaned up the mess my eggs had gone all hard in the middle - - next time i think i will talk them into having 'eggy bread' instead!
Happy Birthday Graham!!!
Have some birthday balloons!!!
Another year older!! You will be catching up to me soon
A day out with Thomas...
When i say 'a' ride what i actually mean is that we spent over 5 hours (yes that is right FIVE hours ) riding up and down the line on every single different steam train (and a couple of diesels!) that we could and taking loads of photos of all of our favourite engines and generally having a fab time.
Happy Birthday Callum... 2 Today!!
My baby is getting so big so fast!! I can't believe that Callum is 2 already - it only seems like two minutes since he was a tiny baby ....... but then again when i think about it i can't actually remember before he was here. Surely he as been around forever?! (or maybe it just feels like that because of sleep deprivation! !)
Rather than a birtuday party we took a family trip to the railway and went for a ride on...
Thomas the Tank Engine (and friends!)
See for yourself...
Callum and Daddy meet Thomas
Rhys and Mammy meet Thomas' driver
Callum and Grandad Aidy ride on Daisy the Diesel Tram
Rhys takes yet another ride on a train!!!
Callums highlight of the day was meeting Harold the Helicopter
Big thank yous to Grandad Aidy and Nana for organising our big trip out - and of course to Thomas and his friends!
With a fab set of GCSE results you are now officially a smarty pants ...
Off to college now
(couldn't find a kangaroo in pants - will a platypus do instead?!!)
Recent EntriesTaking a break
Tiggs - soon to be patented - migrating to Oz diet.
The Axe Man
Up on The Roof...And in it!!
CategoriesLiving in Oz
Migration to Oz
My family and other animals
Rhys and Callums stuff
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