Thursday, 29 April 2010

Somedays I wonder why I became a mother.

This is one of them. I love them dearly I really honestly do but a lot of the time I question my ability to parent them effectively (or at all). Take today for example I had lost my rag with them before 9am, that means I was up for 1 paltry hour before I was cross. Phoebe wouldn't get dressed and was running around in her socks and Clara did an escapa-poo. Phoebe deigned to get dressed as I said it was time for school (and in record time to). Then I had to face the shops with Clara who on a good day could be described as "strong willed" and on a day like today perhaps Mini-Mao would be a better description. She ran, screamed and jumped her way around the shops and I gave in and embraced my inner (ha!) fish wife, in public too.

I find it all SO frustrating, the mindless destruction of things and the injuries to me. I feel like I am a thing to them. Something to climb on, yank around, pull hair of, elbow, jump on etc, slave to their every whim. Nothing I do is right, there is always something for them to moan about. I do something they love it, then they whine for more and more. I feel like I am never enough. I am so sick of having the same conversation over and over and over by them. I do the housework and they muck it up again, with interest meaning we spend far more time than I would like living in what resembles a pig sty.

I feel like I need a week off from them to recover but I know it will never be enough. Is it so wrong to want to live in a nice house, with nice things that STAY nice and don't get covered in sticky finger prints or broken within 30 seconds of entering?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Have you pressed your button lately?!

After a few t'interweb weirdy friends have suffered fires recently I was kicked up the bum to sort my own house out with smoke alarms (again). We did have them but over time batteries have migrated into other things (!!!!) and they have come off the ceilings. I have mentioned it with regular monotony but nothing has happened. Anyway, we were walking through town the other day when we saw a big firetruck in the middle of town advertising free smoke alarms and fitting by the London Fire Brigade so I took a leaflet and filled it out. They came today to fit them and I am very very impressed! We got 2 free smoke alarms, we just need to check them once a week. I was even more impressed to find out that even if you suffer from hearing loss or are deaf they can fit alarms to suit with a flashing light and a vibrating pad.

I think I may involve the children in this so they understand how important it is. We are also going to work on an escape plan for them, children's natural reaction is to hide which is the worst thing they could ever do. So at some point over the next couple of days Paul and I will sit down and work out an upstairs escape plan, and a downstairs one including where the children should go if they hear the alarm.

In conclusion, these two small devices could save your life so very easily, there is no excuse for not having them. If you don't it might be worth googling and seeing if your regional fire services offer the same.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Happy Birthday to me.... tra la la!

Well I have had a bloody AMAZING weekend. It has been truly fab, filled with friends, food and fun!

On Saturday my friends Annabel and Mahri-Claire bought their families over to my house and then we buggered off into London to meet up with some other Mummy friends with April birthdays. We have called ourselves The April Kleeksters. We had made plans to go to Fortnum and Mason for afternoon Tea, we were booked in for 3pm and so very excitedly we arrived at 2.45 to meet up with everyone. We were in St James Restaurant and it was so glam I was half afraid we would be kicked out for being fraudsters!

We had some divine sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and then cakes... we were a little surprised that it just kept coming!  My favourite sandwich was a croustini with an elegant splodge of dressed crab and a smaller splodge of advocado puree, mmm just yum! Those that liked tea had tea (in fact a huge selection of tea in a book to choose from!) and those that didn't (which included me) had freshly made lemonade. The service was faultless and very elegantly done and we spent a lovely couple of hours being a group of adults nattering rather than a group of mothers having interrupted conversations and trying to keep an eye on the kids at the same time. I think it was something sorely needed by us all! A friend who couldn't make it sent a cake and pink champagne which was just the crowning glory to it all, they even played us happy birthday when they gave it to us... perfect!

By the time Annabel, Mahri-Claire and I got back to Victoria Station it was 6.30 pm... none of us could figure out where all the time went and we were all slightly concerned for getting back for bedtime and would there be ab dabs when we weren't there. Needless to say we shouldn't have worried 3 Daddies and 6 children was a good combination and with the exception of the usual childhood war over the toys it all went swimmingly! We got home to 6 happy, bathed and PJ'd children who we read stories to and tucked into bed! We were taken by surprise that all 6 of the children fell asleep without much fuss, Phoebe and Elijah were sharing Phoebe's room, Clara was on her own in her room, Sebastian was in the travel cot in my bedroom (where Greg and Mahri-Claire were also sleeping, couldn't let a pg lady sleep on our sofa bed!) and Eliza and Hugo camped out in the living room as they would be going home later on. Hugo isn't the worlds best sleeper (I am pretty sure Annabel will give a wry laugh when she reads this!) but he dropped off very nicely in Peter's arms and then consented to sleep on my giant red beanbag with a blanket. We snuggled Eliza up on the sofa and put Wall.e on for her, but she fell asleep pretty quickly too. This all meant that we were able to spring a surprise on Mahri Claire that her husband, Greg, Annabel and I had been planning via facebook.

As Mahri-Claire has had it pretty rough depression-wise for a long time we thought she was due a treat. So secret squirrel like we plotted. Greg emailed Annabel and I asking if we would like to go out to Dinner in her honour but as childcare is a logistical nightmare for both of us really I put forth the idea of having something ready for her when we came back from our afternoon out. With that in mind we planned... the next time Mahri-Claire came over I set out all my recipe books in a cunning plan to trap her. I told her my parents were coming for a birthday bbq but I was stumped as to what I should cook and what would she suggest. She came up with all sorts of delicious things that she loves like pulled pork, cornbread, Boston baked beans and lamb... so there was my menu and Annabel was on puddings so stuck with the American BBQ idea and made Key Lime Pie and a Brooklyn Blackout Cake. She was thrilled when the penny dropped! So we had a proper grown up meal with no children with friends for the first time in our collective parenting life. Candle lit, on the patio (with a patio heater...oh I love that thing!) and it was simply perfect!

Today was my actual birthday and was also fab! I got some lovely pressies in the morning, A gorgeous green spotty wallet by Cath Kidston from Paul, a Sound Asleep Pillow from the girls, some Cath Kidston sewing tins and material from my Dad and Smummy, a gorgeous bunch of flowers from Mum with a promise of shopping when life has calmed down a little for her. And as Mahri-Claire, Greg and the boys had stayed the night they stayed for lunch and we were joined by Jane, Mike, Lexi and Rowan.  Foodwise we had black and blue cow from Nigella, left over boston baked beans from the night before and a generous helping of french bread. Followed by Flake birthday cake (that the girl's had picked for me the day before) and Gypsy Tart provided by Jane.

All in all it has been utterly perfect and fabulous! I am a very happy bunny right now and feel very blessed to have such lovely family and friends.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Bunny lovin'

We have started bringing in the buns in the evening. So they can get a bit more used to people and particularly us. They are slowly getting braver and braver and they are just adorable!

I don't regret getting these guys for a second, they are so so so lovely!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

When reading comes good!

Last night I read Phoebe (Clara had passed out on my lap earlier so went straight to bed) The Velveteen Rabbit. She loved it and I loved reading it to her. I thought the story had just washed over her in the way they often do but I think she understood more than I gave her credit for.

Today in the car on the way back from swimming she was having a long conversation with Moose (her best buddy since she was teeny) and it ended with her telling him in a sotto voce that when he was older she promised the nursery magic fairy would come and see him and he would be a real Moose!

I could have cried!

I hate Tuesdays.

I am fit to keel over! Poor Paul is well aware of my hatred of them and, so I believe, is the rest of his office and most of his mates. He is aware that he can go out for beers when ever he likes just so long as it isn't a Tuesday!

Tuesdays are swimming days and whilst I am no longer having to go through the ritual humiliation of donning bathing suit anymore. It is still exhausting! This is our run down:

8.30 - 9.30 - Get Clara to choose her outfit and get dressed in her room. Lob Phoebe's clothes down the stairs and spend the next 45 minutes convincing her that going to Preschool in her Wall.e Pyjamas is not a viable option and that she can't possibly be too tired to get dressed and could she just DO IT please?!

9.30 - Pile children into car... cajole the small one into her carseat after telling her 5 billion times that no she can't sit anywhere else but in her carseat with her harness on. Buckle the larger one in and attempt to ignore the smugness she exhibits just because she got in her carseat nicely.

9.40 - 12.30 - Entertain Clara whilst listening to her moan and whinge about being hungry (she just had breakfast), Thirsty (I have lost count of the number of drinks I have got her and she has poured away), Tired (well go to bloody sleep then!), she wants Phoebe / Becky /  Poppy / Mary etc etc.

Today we took a break from the norm and visited Ikea in search of bag fabric and some shops in search of non-hooker-esque skirts for her. Shame she wore herself out in Ikea chasing imaginary lions!

12.30 - Collect Phoebe from preschool and ooh and ahh over the huge amount of tat she has produced today (3 paintings allegedly of rainbows but all resembling something like a big brown splodge).

1pm - Feed the beasts. Food of choice for today was Chorizo Pasta... Phoebe even deigned to eat some pasta (thank you Ikea and Moose shaped Pasta).

1.30 - 3pm - Listen to them moan about "is it time for swimming yet?!" repeatedly no matter what I try and distract them with.

3pm - Get in car to leave for swimming, listen to Clara to "I don't WANT swimming" all the way there and then shriek "SHAAAARRRROOOOON" as soon as we get their in a delighted tone of voice!

3.30pm - Small child swims. Entertain a moaning larger child because she wants to swim.

4pm - Get small child dressed again. Listen to moaning larger child because she wants to know if it is her turn and she seems to think it might change every time she asks me.

4.30pm - Finally let Phoebe swim. Tell her off for going under the water and pratting about. Praise her for fabulous swimming across pool.

5pm - Get Phoebe dressed and pile both children back into the car.

5.30 - Go to Macdonald's drive through and purchase 2 x chicken nugget happy meals (yes, yes I know... but it is only once a week!). Today I made it even more FUN by having to pop into Pets at home for rabbit food and I took the girls in with me.

6pm - they eat, pester me with the poxy toys the got in their happy meal.

6.30pm (ish) - husband walks in through the door to discover a tomato ketchup (yup with the happy meal... shoot me now!) masacre and a wild eyed me frantic for them to GO TO BED.

Oh yes, I hate Tuesdays!

Monday, 19 April 2010


Oh bliss... how I have missed the break when the girls are at preschool. I love them dearly but I am a much better mother when I have a regular break from them!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

In one week I will be 32 yrs old.

I am sat here in my quiet house, children, husband and cat asleep, bunnies in their hutch for the night.

How am I 32 already?! What do I have to show for myself? I have a house and family yes but personally? A degree I suppose, A levels and GCSEs. But what else? I have no proper career (yes I have Vix Photography but I don't consider it career more fun that makes me a few extra pennies), I have made no difference to the world at large except to unleash Phoebe and Clara onto it.

What do I even want from my life?! I am roughly 1/3rd of the way through it and I don't feel like I have done anything! Do I want to sit and watch the world go by for another 60 years?! Of course not but it is, to quote Pretty Woman "a slippery little sucker!" and hard to get a grip on or a hand hold in.

This is why I am not keen on my own birthday, I tend to get glum and worried about what I have or haven't done with this wonderful wonderful gift of existence! It should be treasured as it is truly a gift and yet I feel like I am wasting it with every breath.

[booooooiiiiiing!] Spring has sprung

It is glorious sunshine outside and I have washing on the line, bread dough in the bread maker, rabbits sunbathing in their run, seedlings popping their heads up out of the soil and tulips preparing to bloom... ahhhh bliss. Yup Spring is here!

Mum and Rob are coming for lunch today and we have a feast of venison burgers, sausages, belly pork, potato salad and a green salad.Yum! Pud is still under debate but I am thinking brandy snap baskets and vanilla ice cream, or maybe something with limoncello.... undecided as yet!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I am Gardener...hear me ROAR!

Today I was a woman on a mission. A mission to make my front garden look nice!

This mission had started a few weeks ago when Paul cleared all the stones off the front garden for me. I then removed the weed suppressant, dug over the bed and dug in a load of chicken poo (ick) to revitalise the soil. Today I piled the girls into the car and took them to the garden centre where I bought 6 bags of topsoil, a lovely azalea and 6 pretty dangly flowers of which the name escapes me. I then drove out to another town and bought 6 m2 of Turf.

When I got home I had to tackle The Rock... a huge beast of a thing I found buried under the weed suppressant. I had been asking Paul to move it for me for a while but he hasn't found the time, so I went at it with a shovel and eventually I managed to lever it out of it's hole and roll it out of the way.... hurrah! Then on went the top soil and the turf and it was starting to look better.

I also planted my azalea and dangly plants in a gorgeous pot I liberated from my late Grandfather's house and moved it into the middle of the new lawn. I suspect we will move it off and put a slab in the middle for it to lie on at the weekend but enough is enough for now!

I am very pleased with myself because I have transformed the front Garden from this:

To this:

Not bad for a days work really! I am pleased with it!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Oooh exciting day...

Today a nice man came to fix our fireplace! When we moved in we loved it but discovered it was broken and therefore unusable. Gah! We had a few ideas for sorting it, mostly we went along the idea of replacing for which we were looking at A LOT of money we didn't have. So we left it for a while whilst we had the girls. Then this year I was talking to next door who had her fireplace exchanged for a stove and recommended the man who did it. We didn't want a stove as we didn't think it fitted in with the period of the house. However this wasn't a problem, he came in and said that we absolutely could not get rid of such a beautiful fireplace and it was 100% rescue-able for about 25% of the budget we had set in our heads. Hurrah! So we booked him then and there and he ordered the hearth.

Today he came and he transformed my fireplace from this:

To this:

Paul had already chipped off all the gloss off the fireplace, we need to polish it. Today he fixed the grate, fitted the gorgeous new hearth (level too... hurrah!) and a matching ashpan!

This is the first step in the Great Living Room Redecoration. Next step is the walls, then the sofas & curtains and then, finally the floor (needs sanding and revarnishing!). Paul thinks he will be breathing a sign of relief then but I think he knows deep down that I will be turning my attention then to the hallway and bathroom... poor Paul!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

What a crazy weekend!

Finally I get a chance to sit down and take it easy! We haven't stopped since yesterday really but it has all be great fun!

Yesterday we got up, no one bothered getting dressed and I started on Mt Laundry, as it was such glorious weather I shoved everything out on the washing line. Paul did some potting on of tomatoes (little weedy seedlings hopefully will be big beefy toms!), I pottered and the girls played in the living room. Paul popped out for compost and I bathed the girls and we donned party gear to go and celebrate Lexi and Rowans 7 and 5th birthday party by jumping around like loons on a bouncy castle and a fabulous following tea (where, shock horror, the children actually ATE fruit first!). I think the biggest highlight for the girls was that we were in the aerobics studio of a leisure centre and as such there was a mirror all the way down the wall! My two little narcissists couldn't get enough of prancing around in front of it! Clara was giving it some good old welly though and everyone was quite impressed with how she coped, she was the youngest there by a fair old whack and she didn't bat an eyelid! The funniest moment for me was when Jane's best friend Tracey was handing out the party bags and gave one to Clara early, and then went to take it back! Paul, Jane, Mike and myself all looked on in horror awaiting the tantrum but to our amazement it didn't come! We think it must have just be the pure shock that someone just took something back from her. She isn't spoilt in any way but she is someone you HAVE to follow things through with because the fall out is spectacular! After the party we headed back to Jane and Mike's for tea and more cake and a bit of a giggle. I should learn by now that I should just take PJs for the girls when we go down as we always lose track of time!

As we got home late the girls had a lie in until 9am (never happens!) when we were woken by Clara's shrieks of:

"Daaaaaaaaaaaaddy. I did Poooooooooooooooooooo, nappy change please!"

What a charming way to be woken on a Sunday morning! Still needs must and the devil was in Clara's pants (note to all cake makers Blue icing is revolting on review... bleurgh!). As we were all up we got cracking on the days jobs. Paul had to paint the downstairs window at the front (we had them replaced a while back but the weather hasn't been good enough to paint them until recently), we decided to make a swing for the girls as we had two strong branches that could be used in our Laurel Tree. I had the rest of Mt Laundry to do (6 loads, that will teach me to leave it!), I wanted to bake some bread and also make a start on some placemats (well I cut the wadding out, so that is a start!). We also had the rabbits to sort out and some weeding to do in the back garden (the dandelions are taking over!). I also emptied the pot we have at the front that has a tatty hebe in it ready to make a beautiful arrangements when we have turfed out the front. I had a brainwave too, I looked on ebay and am now bidding on someone else's excess turf, seems daft to spend so much when we only have 6sqm to do. I just need to rake it out and shove a load of lovely rich topsoil to make a good root base for the turf.

It has been a very tiring but a very lovely weekend. I have one more week of the girls both being home and I confess I cannot wait until school starts again. Just a little time to myself is going to be very much welcomed! Not least because I am behind in my work and have a pile of editing to do that I am finding tricky to get done with the Mummy Chorus going on in the background!

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Toys Are Taking Over!!

Paul was out for beers today with an old colleague. I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to do a toy inventory to see just how horrendous the toy situation is. I have not left the living room (unless to retieve a part of a toy that I knew to be in another location) nor have I counted any of the kitchen items that have migrated into the living room. The count so far...


Holy son of a motherless goat! That is A LOT of toys! This includes animals, jigsaws, games, dolls (and accessories), Happyland, character toys...

Sheesh my girls have a lot of toys! A cull is needed I think, a pretty big one at that! We also have a dolls house in Clara's room, a puppet theatre in Phoebe's and a toy kitchen in the dining room (don't get me started on what is in the garden either!). Isn't incredible what we feel children need to play with, hardly any of these things come out on a day to day basis and yet I can't seem to narrow things down any more! It is quite ridiculous really isn't it!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Introducing Topsy and Turvey!

Today we went and chose our new rabbits. We went and met the lovely Terry who houses loads of lovely rescue bunnies in his garden. We had a choice between a pair of longhaired and a pair of shorthairs. Due to the time factor in grooming longhairs (ie we don't have it!) we decided on the short hairs so it is with pride I introduce you to:


and Turvey:

and 2 ridiculously excited little girls!

(excuse bad pictures, I took them on my iphone)

We may have also fallen in love with doe grey Rex rabbit. We are debating taking her on too and calling her Tipsy. We couldn't re-home her right away because she is pregnant (due any day apparently) and it will take 8 weeks before her babies are ready to be parted from her. We also saw the cutest thing imaginable of a dwarf bunny sneezing... So cute!

They have been so well behaved and we have already established that Topsy is the boss, and that she is greedy (dandelions and apples seem to be favourite so far!) and that Turvey is a potential trouble maker as he has already tried to dig through our rug!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter / Eostar... what ever, hope you had a happy one!

We should have really celebrated Eostar / Ostara on the 21st but as the girls are so young and don't get 2 celebrations really we decided we put off celebrations until Easter. That and we had made plans to come down to see our friends Rachel, Ben and Ikey at Rachel's Mums house (she is away in the states and Rachel et al are house sitting) for the long weekend.

Anyway... things have been fraught and worrysome Chez Vix for the last week. We knew my Grandfer had surgery on Wednesday, he is 84 and luckily a very very fit 84 yr old. What we didn't know was that my Stepfather and my children decided to try and upstage him! Poor Stepdaddy got an infection in his war-wound from his hip operation and had to go back into hospital to have it cleaned. Phoebe smacked her head open on the fireplace as I detailed on an earlier post, later that day Clara ran into a cupboard producing a cracking egg on her head and a fab bruise. So, it was with great pleasure we welcomed the 4 day weekend!

We have had a lovely weekend doing fun things like Soft Play, playing with the dogs (Phoebe is a proper wee Doctor Doolittle!), bugging TJ the canary and doing lunch and fun things like that!

Easter Sunday came (after many questions of "when is the Easter Bunny coming Mummy") and we decided that the Bunny was not allowed into the house until after lunch time for fear of no food apart from Chocolate would pass the lips of the 3 small people in residence. We had Eggs Benedict for breakfast which were goooooooooooood, must do them again! Lunch was roast chicken, roast spuds, roast carrots, peas, bread sauce and gravy followed by tirimisu (for the grown ups) and the Easter egg hunt!

This was Ikey's first hunt, so he was a little slow off the mark. However once he got the idea hilarity ensued as his bucket didn't quite hold his hoard and he was NOT letting anyone help him.

The girls, of course, being old hat at these (all of once before) were at the eggs like a greyhound out of a trap!

That said we were very impressed with them because once they filled their bags we told them the rest were Ikey's. Not a moan or a whinge, instead they encouraged him and helped him collect the rest of the eggs! Of course then the egg related carnage afterwards was spectacular!

I think these 3 babies had a rather fantastic Easter. Egg rolling with GA Cally and  Gruncle Ian tomorrow, erk... that means letting them decorate eggs.... if you thought chocolate was messy!!!

The Rage....

How very very rude of me it was at lunch to wish to eat my own bag of crisps! I should have, of course, known that Clara wanted them. The face of horror she pulled when I dared to take half the crisps out of the packet before I handed over the other half to her was tantamount only to the expression I imagine Hitlers had when he was told it wasn't acceptable to invade Poland! This was followed shortly after by a dramatic march across the cafe at Bowood House and the Oscar worthy slump onto the pillar to sob her little heart out.

Will I never learn that EVERYTHING belongs to Clara unless we are explicitly told otherwise?!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Sharing, Phoebe stylie!

On the subject of sharing a chocolate croissant with her sister....

Oh yes please! I'll have the chocolate bit!