Saturday, February 27, 2010


This is the mother and child row of parking spaces at Newton Mearns ASDA today. Needless to say when I did find a parking space, I also found the shelves of the supermarket fairly empty. I guess the delivery trucks were having trouble negotiating the weather conditions. So we're having a bit of an improvised dinner!


I hadn't managed to get out all day, not even for the school runs but with the rain on, I decided to attempt it at 3pm. The blue car was the obvious choice, being heavier and more powerful. I jumped in, turned the key and bang, the car sunk. I jumped out and saw I'd blown a tyre. I found that a bit odd, given I hadn't actually moved so couldn't have run over anything under the snow. The thought of jacking up such a big, heavy seven-seater didn't appeal, especially in the snow so I checked with Tesco Breakdown and was pleased to hear that my policy covered someone coming out and changing it for me. Within the hour a bloke with a jack knocked my door. He said it'd take ten minutes. Of course, he then rang the doorbell to say he'd found the wheel spring had snapped bursting my tyre, so firstly my tyre couldn't be changed, secondly I would need to be towed to a garage for repair and finally he couldn't get the tow truck down my street until the snow had melted. That was Thursday. The street and car are still in the same state and the seven of us are wondering how to walk as far as Silverburn to go birthday shopping for both Mum and Amanda. I am considering going out with my hairdryer on an extension cable if it hasn't gone before Monday. Thomas is going down south next week so I am trying to work out how to drive five kids and myself to school, not that five need to go to school but I can't really leave Anna home to babysit Amaia while I do the school run! It's going to be another fun week.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I went out into my garden and found this sitting on the garden table. I have to say it reminded me of many of the old Calvin and Hobbes snowman sketches. Should I be worried about Charlotte's psyche?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I've been saying since day one that Amaia looks more like Pudge than she looks like the others. Today I happened upon this photo of Léon taken at five weeks. There's a definite similarity... 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


My parents have always lived in a house but to say they were never keen gardeners would be an understatement! They like a wee bit lawn, some quartz chips and an ornamental plant pot or two and would happily have someone else cut the grass if money was no object. They have never to my knowledge grown anything to eat: no herbs or fruit or veg. Consequently, what I learned from them was that instead of weeding, you cover your garden in plastic, put stones on top and then pots, thus removing the need to weed. Being more of a flowers and food girl, I didn't follow their polythene advice and therefore spend a good deal of my summers weeding. Thomas's mother was over seeing Amaia the second week in January. Brita is a big gardener. She went out to weed one day. I found this a bit strange given the baltic conditions but she explained that weeds are really easy to pull out in their dormant January phase. I went out to my raspberry patch to test her theory. The patch that is a day's work mid-summer took less than an hour to weed in January, and the weeds were so weak I could pull them out without a tool. I was amazed. Forty two, and just learning to garden now!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Looks like I'm off lentil dahl for lent... possibly till Easter 2011 in fact. I had a lovely bowl of it on Saturday at 6pm. Around 8pm Amaia started to grump and grizzle, then the farting started, followed by the burping and screaming. The ill effects finally subsided enough to let her sleep at 3-19am. Nice as it was, it just wasn't worth the fall-out :-(

Sunday, February 21, 2010


André was having the three big kids this weekend. I was looking forward, therefore, to advancing leaps and bounds on our book-moving project given we only had a two year old and a newborn to look after! I quickly rushed to ASDA before getting the biggies from school on Friday. With Anna and Amaia in a baby/toddler trolley and Léon walking by my side I started to slowly tick off the items on my list. It was about 2-25pm. Suddenly I realized I didn't have till 3pm to shop because Marcel gets out early on a Friday. I picked up Léon and threw him in the trolley along with my shopping and started running round like a mad thing. A trolley full of goods and three kids is quite heavy to corner with at high speed. My back is still a little delicate given it is only 5 weeks since I had a baby elephant but I got to the checkout with five minutes to spare.

I threw the shopping in the car and lifted in kids 3, 4 and 5 then zoomed round to the high school just in time for kid 1, then down to the primary for kid 2. On the way home I heard a crash and realized my box of eggs, thrown precariously into the boot, had upended and smashed. On arrival at the house I found my parents had dropped by for coffee so didn't want to dwell on mopping up the car. I ran out quickly with a pack of baby wipes. Three eggs had smashed and run from the boot, between the two back seats and under the three middle seats. I couldn't be bothered opening the side doors so stretched in as far as I could, hurting my back a second time. Eggy disaster was minimised.

I came in and went to change Amaia's nappy. My back, I thought, gave a little twinge. By an hour later I couldn't sit down. My bum/back/tail bone was in agony. I have been unable to sit, stand, turn in bed all weekend. Moving books has been impossible, in fact sitting drinking a coffee has even been a complete 'pain in the arse'. What a bloody nightmare! I have no idea what I've done or whether tomorrow will be any better :-(

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Why is it you need to spell everything out to kids? You ask them to fill the dishwasher, they fill it but don't switch it on.. You buy them a laundry basket for their room and they fill it (once you've pointed out its existence) but it still doesn't occur to them to bring their basket down to the washing machine. You tell them to go make cookies, because they're finding being off school boring, but unless you state expected dimensions, you find they've thrown together cookies bigger than your oven using so much Belgian chocolate, you need to take out a second mortgage!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Don't you love medicine instructions? We've all had the cough mixture for four year olds that warns them not to drive or operate machinery if the medicine makes them drowsy. Poor Amaia (aka the mushroom factory) has been suffering terribly from oral thrush since she was a few days old. We're on our third bottle of Nystan suspension and she's only five weeks old. I had to laugh though when I read the label. Unlike the other two bottles where the pharmacist had typed 1ml four times a day, this week's bottle says: 1ml four times a day, shake well before use, finish the course, keep in mouth for at least two minutes before swallowing! Now I know at five weeks Amaia is more advanced than she was at three or four but I am not sure she is able to follow this advice to the letter just yet!

Monday, February 15, 2010


When I moved in with Thomas he had a large library of books. To frighten anyone who knows me, he had about six times as many books as I'd acquired after nearly fifteen years working in publishing with a subsidised bookshop. When his one man flat became a five person flat overnight about 80% of his books were moved into storage. When we moved to the house, I moved in my books. All my books plus 20% of his are the books you've all seen in our house over the last four years. They take up two whole walls of the TV room, one wall of the living room, one in the hall, one wall in the office and two shelves in the kitchen. Added to that each child has a shelf or two of kids' books in his or her room. Our storage room ran out at the weekend :-( so we went to retrieve the seventeen large boxes of books (see this photo for the size of one), all my old paper photos from 20 years with a professional slr (you can imagine - if I start scanning now, I may fit them in before I die), and all his papers (approximately ten large shoe boxes). With six boxes still off-site, we have lost access to the living room and dining room already. Thomas now needs to go through these and pile them into the categories: keep downstairs, keep in the loft, give to charity, sell, bin or burn, wrap up as Xmas presents to be given until 2050! I can't help because they aren't mine, so this needs to be fitted in after work, meaning it will potentially take weeks. Of course I already live in dread of where the 'sell' pile will be stored while the countless obscure tomes fester on Amazon for the rest of eternity. The loft pile is also an issue given Thomas hasn't floored the loft yet :-\ We can, of course, no longer have guests other than the odd individual who can be given a coffee in our TV room. We certainly can't have anyone stay over as the living room futon is no longer visible at all. Walking through my house makes me want to run and hide and cry. The health visitor is likely to start treating me for post-natal depression, I am becoming so unstable - not realizing it is post-book-retrieval depression instead! I have found one way of helping out. I went through our current shelf yesterday and threw out 80% of my own reference books to make space for his stuff. I figure anything non-fiction can be googled these days. If I never see another reference book, it won't upset me. But one question does puzzle me... before Thomas met me, how long was he planning to live to actually get through all this crap? 180 years maybe?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Marcel, Charlotte, Léon and myself have no problem getting up in the morning and just 'going'. We can have a shower if we're in the mood, or simply dash out if we've got washed the night before. Anna on the other hand looks like this every single morning in life so needs to wash her hair before facing the world. I assumed things would improve as her hair got longer and heavier but it is actually getting more unmanageable! Thomas has the same problem, despite being bald his hair does this too and can actually stand on end as soon as it reaches about 3mm in length. And worryingly, he assures me it was much worse when he was a long-haired 70s child. I already have my fingers crossed that Amaia has followed our side of the family or we'll have to fit several showers into the morning school routine from age 4 :-(


I've been tidying and changing bedrooms around in my house since Hogmanay. While moving Marcel I found the shoes we bought him for my wedding just less than a year ago. They are size 5 (38). He threw them downstairs and they happened to land beside his current school shoes which are size 9 (43). Imagine how many pairs of shoes that means I've had to buy in the last eleven and a half months (with almost no money)! And then multiply that by five!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Anna has been amusing us linguistically recently. She has taken to inventing her own very expressive verbs. It started on Xmas day when her cousin Gordon got a new bike. Hampered by the subzero weather, he was trying it out in the hall in his flat as Anna walked out of the dining room. As he ran her over she indignantly wailed Gordy Boo biked my toes! This week another yell was heard from the dining room, this time in our own house. She walked into the kitchen holding her hand aloft crying No-no (her name for Léon) doored my fingers! As a lexicographer, I can't wait for the next instalment of Anna's dictionary of verbs :-)

Saturday, February 06, 2010


One thing I have learned over the years is the way to deal with these angelic little terrorist trolls when they decide they'd rather you held them all day than spent time doing dishes, washing clothes and the likes. Although this little cherub is more than happy for me to break my back wearing her while doing chores around the house, I am still trying to work out exactly how to wear her in this carrier while helping Thomas floor the loft. Having her on my front and crawling around isn't ideal, and she gets in the way of both the hammer and the screw driver. I guess I need to stick to painting ceilings for the next few weeks!


Thomas and I often look at Photoshop Disasters. I am often amazed at the quality of the things some news media publish and momentarily consider giving up the day job to become a full-time photo editor. Many people overlook the simplest rules when editing digital photos such as colour blending, duplication, failing to remove all the evidence, the symmetry rule, removing too much, plain stupidity etcetc
I have to say the one they uploaded on my birthday made me smile - how was this picture created and when did it become simpler to go to all this trouble rather than simply taking an actual photo of an air stewardess in front of a plane at your local airport anyway? Does no one ever stop and analyse that?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


When I was little my Dad used to call rubbing noses Eskimo kisses. The other day the kids were kissing and hugging and Thomas asked if they knew how to rub noses instead - instead of rubbing their noses together as we intended, they each rubbed their own nose with their hand - it was very cute!