2009
06.04

new haunts…

So we’ve spent this first week in Woking, figuring out where to hang out. Thomas has started his playgroup, and loves it, getting impatient if we dawdle on the way there.

Ollie’s had the virus Thomas had last week – you can see his face is puffy:
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That picture was taken at the very nearby pub. I was reflecting how strange it felt to be bringing my own offspring to this pub that I worked in when I was still a mere offspring myself 😉 so I tried to capture it on camera, but David and Ollie weren’t as impressed by this revelation as me:
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They did cheer up though:
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David and the boys cosied up in front of a warm laptop. They were watching: running man
runningman

Ollie’s favourite spot is here:
trains1

No, it’s not a cage, this is what he’s looking at:
trains3

…or more specifically the trains that pass up and down this stretch of track. Thomas is not very happy about being dragged out trainspotting and constantly asks to go home because he’s bored while we are here:
trains2

Unfortunately, Ollie could spend all day here, in this slightly yuk alley-bridge over the railway lines. He didn’t want to go home, ever. Even when I threatened to leave him there alone he was adamant that we should stay:
trains4

2009
05.30

carwash

So we’re nearly through the first stage of the beginning of our adventure. The house has all been packed into a crate and gone off to a port somewhere, and we’ve moved into my mum and dad’s. It’s coincided with some fantastic weather – absolutely blue skies is always a shock to me in England.

Bedstefar got some help with his chores:
bfarcarwash

…and Ollie took the idea and ran with it:
olliecarwash

Thomas’ seeds he planted at playgroup have started growing like crazy:
thomasplants

and I had a laptopia moment when I put the two together for a photo opportunity. I was finally scrapping the old, old one – it didn’t make it past the welcome screen, but we smashed the hard drive with a hammer anyway – all 10Gb of it! The Ubuntu machine still works like a dream, even though it’s been left on a shelf for nearly a year:
laptops

2009
05.27

virus

So in the last throes of getting ready to leave our home, Thomas has been poorly. He’s had a high fever for a few days, been mostly delirious (though it’s hard to tell with him!) and we’ve been hanging around the sofa a lot. He seems to be slowly on the mend, and nearly no other symptoms other than a slightly runny nose. It seems that between them, Ollie gets all the congestion, and Thomas gets all the fever.

David and I reckon Ollie looks a bit of a thug with his new haircut, which is a shame for him, as he’s so sweet! His nursery teacher says she’s never told him off, ever! He’s been very sweet to a poorly Thomas, passing him his drink etc. Ollie’s become a huge conversationalist lately. It’s a shame his speech is quite difficult to understand still. I just heard him say: “Thomas? THOMAS? Mummy just did a prut!” (“prut” being the danish word for “fart”). Actually, it’s quite lucky most people don’t understand him!

2009
05.26

Haircut and newsbites

Ollie’s had another “haircut”. The word really does deserve inverted commas, as a frenzied attack on Ollie’s head with the clippers while trying to distract him, hold both his hands, and anticipate which direction he would weave and duck his head next probably doesn’t fit the normal description of haircut. He was happy it was all over:

olliehaircut09

Also, we got caught out by the extremely changeable weather we’ve been having lately – one minute there’s baking sunshine, and a couple of yards’ walk later, it’s blowing a hurricane with optional tropical downpour. We weren’t prepared, but we improvised:
ollieblanket

And in the “…And finally” section, I will be wrapping up this blog, as really it’s time for a new dynamic. This one will continue while we are still in England, and I hope to start a new one from our new home in New Hampshire. That will be more about being aliens in a new country, rather than me moaning about how hard motherhood is. I’m done with that now, and it’s time to moan about more wide-reaching topics.

2009
05.22

Light Entertainment

Well, as you can imagine, David and I are working very hard at the moment, trying to tie up loose ends and organise our move to a different continent, but there’s always time for a bit of fun.

Firstly, I may have said this before, but if you haven’t yet seen “Flushed Away” it’s a must. It is hilarious and clever, and has lots of famous people voicing it.

Finally, I’ve had a bit of YouTube browsing time, and I got caught by this pair, on a journey from the string quartet “String Fever”. There’s a lot of footage of these two, but I particularly liked this one, being a pianist…

2009
05.22

Playgroup’s over

So Thomas had his last day at playgroup yesterday. I was very sad. It was a really good playgroup. Ollie had been really excited that he was going to go there too! I thought I’d record their goodbye song for posterity. Thomas had the hiccups, which didn’t stop him, but did make him smile for the camera!

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And actually, while we’re on the subject of singing, I watched a video of Thomas singing “This Side of the Blue” by Joanna Newsom which I’ve put on Facebook, from when he was two-and-a-half. He seems to be singing even more in tune then, than he does now. Ollie still sings more in tune than not, at the moment.

Also, a little breakthrough, Thomas is actually managing to play pieces on the piano. It’s slow progress, and I can’t get him to concentrate for more than a few minutes, but he’s playing the first few pieces in “GBDF” (great book) and “Chester’s Easiest Piano Course”. It’s very hard to teach an absolute beginner, as there are so many things he does wrong, and I have to try to let some of them go, just to get to the end of the piece. He’s not “reading” the music yet, but listening to me tell him which finger, and note to press, but at least he’s starting to get the general idea, and as far as I’m concerned, if the ideas get in early enough, they may almost feel innate to him. I certainly learned my left and right by “feeling” which hand played the low notes, and which played the right.

Actually, I was talking with my bridge buddies about that, and one of them, to check left from right, quickly holds her hands up, with her thumbs out in an L-shape to see which hand has it the right way, and is therefore, the left hand. I said that my left and right side actually feel different to me (on the inside, obviously) so that I don’t even have to think about it.

In other news, we got David a Wii Fit board finally. It’s already caused a stir, as David’s bmi is 25 (nearly overweight) and mine is 22 (goddamn perfect!). I’ll let you know how we get on…

2009
05.15

iphone for toddlers

Occasionally, when David is around, we let the boys play on his iphone when they are in bed. It’s a good incentive to go to bed! We like Bloom, and Thomas’ favourite is the Ocarina game, especially the bit where you can go around the world listening to what other people are playing on their iphone. I managed to capture a bit of Ollie playing the Animal Memory game, by Ducane. It was dark, as it was bedtime, and Ollie was already in the cot, so I had a bit of difficulty with the angle of my phone, so it’s not very good quality but you get the smug grin at the end when he finishes. The video was taken a couple of weeks after his second birthday.

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2009
05.05

lusty ducks and other animals…

So, David has just arrived home safely from a week in New Hampshire, which will be our new home from July. We now have a house to live in from the 15th June, and plane tickets for me and the boys on the 1st July. It’s really happening.

I am quite a different person now to who I was less than a year ago, and I’ve never felt this confident or secure, which is just as well, as a huge move away from friends and family is bound to test this. This in mind, I was almost not bothered by David being away for a week, where less than a year ago I think I would have been terrified. That said, I was very grateful to be able to stay at my mum and dad’s for the long weekend, as this takes a lot of the pressure off, and the days we spent at home in Uxbridge I noticed massive energy deficiencies in the afternoons where looking after the boys had worn me down.

The biggest hitch was this:
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The photo doesn’t do it justice it was gargantuan! I managed not to show my fear to the boys – Ollie was happily talking about the “pider in bath”. I bundled them both downstairs to breakfast an thought about how to deal with it. It inevitably involved the hoover and lots of sweating. I’d like to think that this mutant of an arachnid is happily living out its days in our hoover bag, which is closed, and tied in a rubbish bag, and waiting outside for the binmen to collect tomorrow! I did turn the hoover down to its lowest setting. I spent a whole two hours at toddler group afterwards talking through the trauma!

Anyway, it has come to my attention that any time we are near ducks, which is quite often with the kids this age, they are at it like bunnies, it’s like they see me and put on a show – even on one occasion a veritable orgy! Luckily the kids don’t seem to notice. I particularly liked describing the scene to them this morning, “awww, look boys, look at the baby moorhens, aren’t they cute, oh and there’s a rat!”

2009
04.30

Black Park re-visited

We managed to get back to Black Park again already, yesterday. It was a beautiful day. We saw ducklings and ate ice cream. The park was being used as a location for a film, so there were people working everywhere and we walked past the set. (I suspected they weren’t filming until night time, as there were only lots of people around, rather than the millions of people it takes to film a scene). I was intrigued by something the special effects people were laying out. It seemed to be a tube of thin plastic, like what black bin bags are made of, around 30cm in diameter, which they were pumping air through, to make it look a bit like a pipe. It had slits in the plastic, so it wasn’t airtight (Thomas stuck his head over a slit and confirmed air was blowing out. This ‘pipe’ was stretched all the way around half the lake. There were lots of barrels of what looked like oil and cans of propane, so I speculated that they were going to fill the pipe with propane and blow it up. There was a huge wind-machine at each end of the blow-up pipe We asked one of them what they were filming, but they told us it was top secret. Fair enough, but we passed a sign saying “Location filming: one way traffic system in operation,” and at the top of the sign in capital letters, underlined was the title, “THE WOLFMAN”. I expect this is just the working title, but there was lots of gothic statues and flower tubs dotted around the set, so we might recognise it if we ever see it!

2009
04.25

Black Park

So, we thought Ruislip Lido was good, but then came BLACK P A R K!

It’s much closer to home, about 5 minutes in the car, and it’s just much better than Ruislip Lido. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but first of all, a new theme: “Parting shots of Uxbridge”. I’m going to try to capture the images that will stay with me forever when I think about our lives here. I haven’t mentioned it on this blog before, but we are soon to be leaving this place and moving on. The first image in the “Uxbridge Memories” will be:
uxbridge

So, Black Park. It has a lake:
blackparklake

It has geese, curious ones:
goose

It has lovely trees with buggy-friendly paths:
blackpark

The play area is out-of-this-world good, with all the usual stuff plus more rough and ready outdoorsy stuff:
boysbuilding

We got lots of good pictures of the boys, but you’re probably fed up with those, so I thought I’d learn a new skill, animating gifs. I figured that the actual photo-shoot was more interesting than the final shot.
blackparkani