Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Little Fish the Little Flirt?

Little Fish likes the boys. Remember Annie Boy? Annie Boy told his mother that Little Fish is his Valentine. They do love to see each other. Now today Little Fish has a playdate. With a little boy from preschool, who has told his mother he really likes Little Fish because she gives great hugs. Today we walked into preschool, and one little boy found her name card for her (the preschool takes a register by getting all children to find a card with their photograph and name on it, and sticking it onto a velcro board), whilst another rushed up to hold her hand and say hello, the mother of another asked about meeting up for a playtime.

Should I be worried? She loves the little boys, they seem to love her, whilst all the little girls stare at her or ignore her. I'm not overinclined to worry at the moment, she's three, and she has friends, and that's lovely. But oh my, I think the future is going to be interesting!

It is interesting though - with Mog it's generally girls who like to come up and say hello to her. The boys on the whole are far too busy (apart from one little lad in the supermarket who memorably followed us around for a couple of aisles, before running back to his mother crying "Mummy, I think that little girl is DEAD"), whereas the girls like to gather around and admire her shoes and dresses. Meanwhile Little Fish gets away with calling her very male friends Annie and Amy. I love the fact they don't mind this.

Tia

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Don't try this at home

When you wish to cook chicken in a tomato and marscapone sauce, and, after lovingly preparing the opening the jar of sauce, discover that what you thought was chicken breasts was in fact fish fingers, do not, repeat, do not, attempt to substitute leeks. If you must substitute leeks, do stay in the kitchen when they are cooking. Tonight's evening meal was not a success.

I think pudding made up for it though
Tia

Monday, 28 April 2008

Organised

I was organised yesterday (not organised enough to post this yesterday, obviously, but still, a little organised). All three of us were reasonably smartly dressed, the girls modelling some of their vast haul new clothes; I even managed to wrestle persuade Little Fish into wearing her hair in bunches. Very smart.

We left the house on time, all three of us fed and watered, and for once with emergency supplies (nappies, wipes, buccal midazolam) in my bag. Usually at least one of those items is left here when we go to church, not disastrous since I live just 2 minutes away but still, not terribly convenient if they're actually needed.

We leave early enough that Little Fish can self-propel most of the way (power chair waiting for the wheelchair repair service to fix its broken arm. No, we didn't break it in Florida; we didn't take it to Florida). The lights at the crossing are with us, we cross elegantly and without getting small wheels trapped in the kerb, we saunter along the road and are about to cross over to get to church when I notice that Mog is twitching slightly. No problem, I think, smugly remembering that I have her emergency meds with me should they be needed. And then I remember I haven't given her her morning meds.

It's like the Bear Hunt. Back down the path, oh wait, red lights, press the button, green man, back across the road onto the traffic island, oh wait, red lights, press the button, green man, back across the road, past the pub, through the garages down the slope get to the garden and phew, but oh no, now here come our church friends looking mightily puzzled as we head back to our house instead of into church.

They offer to push Little Fish back to church again for me, a kind offer but one Little Fish rejects by the simple method of clamping her hands onto her wheels and screaming. Who needed a lie-in anyway? Serves the neighbours right for not coming to church! A lovely Christian sentiment, if I do say so myself.

So, abandoning both girls in the front garden, I let myself in and grab various medications. At the moment Mog has 6 drugs in the morning, one of them (the laxative) can wait, so I grab the others, dissolve the tablets, shrink the dose of the one we're withdrawing (Vigabatrin), draw up the baclofen and then stand in the garden with the girls, shaking syringes like a mad thing in order to get the glycopyrrulate tablet to break up. It won't be the first time there have been syringes in my front garden, but they usually have a habit of making their way their mysteriously overnight and not through my hands; it's definitely the first time the neighbours have been treated to the pill melting dance - thankfully by this time the kind friends have moved on, so Little Fish has stopped screaming. Push the medicines through Mog's tube, flush them, post the slightly sticky syringes and the little bowl of water into my bag, grab both girls and hot foot it back to church.

Amazingly we're still not late. I park Mog in the carpark and take Little Fish to her Sunday School class. This is only her second session there, there is debate about whether I need to stay with her, but in the end they decide I can leave her, provided that I come back after dopping Mog at hers. Little Fish is not best pleased by this, so I melt away as inconspicuously as I can, to throw Mog at her Sunday School teacher. Mog's group has a large adult team of musicians who are all tuning up and counting down until the start of the service, speakers blaring, children running around colouring things in; she's very happy. A quick march across the carpark to Little Fish's group, where I stick my head around the door to check they are ok. Little Fish is fine, she's found another child in a wheelchair not dissimilar to Mog's, and is attempting to push her around the room. She is distracted with toy cars and boys to play with and crayons to eat draw with, and the leaders assure me they will be fine.

So I make my way to the main church building and sit myself down. An epic moment - since Little Fish moved in in February last year I have spent most Sunday mornings sitting in creche with her. I came into church for a couple of weeks, but there were a lot of babies and toddlers in a very small space, and it wasn't a safe place for her to be. So with the exception of family services, I have sat in creche and revisited infant theology. It hasn't been a waste of time; I now have a very good idea of what the creche children are being taught, I have ideas for things I can do at home with the girls, I have had time to chat to other parents. I'm still not sure about the morning when the children were handed paper telephones and told they could call God at any time - yes, I understand they were trying to compare prayer to a phone line that was never engaged, but I still have a feeling that may have been above the comprehension level of the average two year old child.

Things were sorted for Little Fish last term, just in time for me to help Mog transition to her new Sunday School. Again, not wasted time - important for the teachers to know how to communicate with Mog, how to read her, and what constitutes a medical emergency as opposed to what is just normal life for Mog. And great to see the inside scoop on what's happening for the children in her group - it's a very big change from how things used to be done, an awful lot of work for the leaders but very exciting too I think. It's been running for a few years now, but it's the first time I've seen what they're doing other than what they bring over to family services. They've had to make a bit of a change to accomodate Mog (move a class group downstairs), and I'm really pleased they've managed to do it. Of course Mog has celebrated by sleeping through most of the sessions so far, but I do know that when she is awake, what she is hearing is reaching her better than what she was hearing in the younger group (mostly the noise of other children playing!). I've seen her listening and heard her joining in, even if her group leaders don't now pick up on it I know that it's the right place for her to be.

So I left both girls in their own groups, and went to sit down in church. And got to join in a grown up worship session, and got to hear a grown up, adult, sermon without having to download it from the church website. There's a lot to be said for having children in the service, but oh my there's a lot to be said for having a nice distraction-free adult service too. Of course having managed that yesterday, next weekend we have a gathering of the clans to celebrate a 60th wedding anniversary, and the weekend after that my friend's son is being Baptised, so it'll be three weeks before I have the luxury of sitting in a service at our church again; and if I'm not mistaken we've a couple of family services after that over half term, but still, it happened once and I'm confident that it'll happen again some time this year. Very nice.

After all that lack of organisation, we were tired, so we headed back home again. More kind friends pushed one of the girls for me, Little Fish raced the "boy boy" to push the button at the traffic lights, we fished someone else's empty vodka bottle out of the front lawn, and went inside for lunch.

All attempts at organisation fell apart after that. There's still a huge amount of joy involved in watching Little Fish eat a sandwich; she can eat a banana without it needing mashing too now, and even had a go at some melon. This was apparently the worst possible thing I could have tried to give her, it was very scary even to look at. I'm clearly an evil mother. Once safely hidden in the 'fridge lunch was over and we spent the next several hours sitting in the garden. Mog got to laugh at the light coming through the blossom on the apple tree, and Little Fish burned off some energy doing wheelies down the ramps and slogging her way back up again.I meanwhile got to sit back in a rocking chair and read a book, perfect.

It's a shame I forgot about the St George's Day Parade we were supposed to be attending in town.

The girls were nicely tired out anyway, and settled well to sleep. Until 4 this morning, when Mog woke with a fit and a jump and a spasm and a twitch and a scream and a sob and a start. Her brace is broken and she does not like to sleep without it. That's not true; I'm sure she'd love to sleep without it, but without it her body twists into a pretzel, this pulls on the plates in her hips and is very painful. Painkillers given she started to relax, eventually morning medicines given a couple of hours early, and she slid back into a comfortable sleep, propped up in her wheelchair. Woke up long enough to get clothes on and eat breakfaast, and then fell back to sleep solidly enough that not even the arrival of our cleaner with hoover woke her up. So, one child not in school today.

Little Fish on the other hand slept in this morning. Still woke in plenty of time to have breakfast, get her clothes on, and sit and wait for the school bus. She likes to sit in the window and shout to me when the bus comes. Very useful; I can get on with writing in home school books, packing spare clothing, sorting out milk and lunches for Mog, and so on.

It was as the bus drove off that I realised Little Fish had not had her morning water. A quick call to one of the most flexible nursery teachers I've ever met, and problem solved, but not a great start to the week.

In other news, Bob says he now has a loan van from the insurance company (yes, the need for it was news to me too), and he will be here in the morning. I do hope so. I'd really like to be able to cook in the kitchen again. Watch this space
Tia

Sunday, 27 April 2008

We have a winner

Random.org produced the following

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

18 

Timestamp: 2008-04-27 18:16:34 UTC

© 1998-2008 Mads Haahr

Comment number 18 was made by Tammy, from Three Different Directions. Congratulations, Tammy! I'll be in touch, or if you're reading, email me your address and I'll get them in the post.

Tia

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Bladders and Bowels - you have been warned!

So, at the request of the nurse, I'm keeping a fluid balance chart for Little Fish. Liquid in, mushy food in, urine out, all scribbled on the back of an envelope recorded neatly. Now I can weigh her nappies and record the volume of fluid stored in them (incidentally, size 5 Huggies would appear to hold 375mls before leaking, whereas size 6 Tesco nappies only hold 250mls, figure that one out if you will), but how do you weigh a puddle? How do you estimate the amount of urine contained in a 3 cm damp patch, in a trouser leg, in a bed pad? And what about when the child in question insists on sitting naked in the kitchen sink for two hours, "helping" with the washing up?

It's been a lovely day, finding something to cover the kitchen scales in so I can use them for weighing wet nappies, trying to pour the contents of the potty* into a measuring syringe (no, I don't know why I didn't just draw it up with the plunger. I was tired), trying to work out the liquid content of a bowl of apple puree.

So far it would appear to be the case that Little Fish can excrete as urine approximately 150% of the amount of liquid she can take in. Not entirely sure how that would be possible, but it certainly explains the flooding.

In the meantime I get to enjoy the sight of her eating sandwiches. I never thought we'd see her doing that. Especially not chili bean sandwiches. And like many three year olds, she turned her nose up at fish pie until it was drowned in ketchup. I love the fact that she is expressing preferences - ketchup is a vegetable, isn't it? Wonder what the liquid content of it is. Eating unpureed foods can't affect your urine output can it? I know her meals contain less water now that I'm not blending everything for her, but can taking in less water cause you to wee more of it? Doesn't make much sense to me!

Mog meanwhile slurps down her sandwich softened with hot water followed by a morsel of mashed banana and wonders what all the excitement is about. She's far too cool to get enthusiastic at the sight of anyone else eating. And has recently developed the ability to kick Little Fish's table over; something both of them find immensely entertaining, provided that she waits until the end of the meal.

Tia
*Potty - Little Fish isn't supposed to have any sensation or be able to control her bowels or bladder. I'm pretty sure that she has no control over her bladder whatsoever, but she has recently started shouting "Poo coming Mummy" and she's generally right. Is it strange to be excited about that?

Friday, 25 April 2008

Interlude


Small child, looking particularly endearing, in pyjamas with a soggy sleeve from a long night of thumbsucking, tousled hair, and small specks of sleepy sand in the corner of each eye.

Mother, worn out from a long night with slightly larger child, speaking to small child "Do you know how much I love you?"

Small child "Yep!"

M - "You do? How much?"
SC - "Ummm, half past two."

So there you go, I love her half past two (and back again?).
Tia

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Gilding the Lily

The day after serendipity day, reaching for the rice cakes, and discovering a packet of Maltesers.
If this is to be a week of random good things, does this mean Bob will be back tomorrow? I won't hold my breath.

Tia

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Serendipity

Going to the freezer to extract frozen vegetables and discovering a takeaway you froze down before you went away and had forgotten about.

Stripping your daughter's bed and finding a sealed and wrapped Cadbury's Easter Egg tucked down at the foot end all shiny and yummy.

Tia

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Running A-wee

Definitely back to earth with a bump now.

I phoned our Health Visitor yesterday, looking for advice on more absorbent nappies for Little Fish. She phoned me back a while later after our chat, having pulled out Little Fish's notes and checked back, and because she was concerned that some of the descriptions I had described could be significant given LF's diagnoses. She recommended that I contact the urology department urgently "just in case", but of course is not a urology nurse, so didn't give details of what the "in case" could be.

So, I rang the urology clinic. We have an appointment in the middle of August, at a time when we will be on holiday. The nurse can't change that, I need to phone someone else to rearrange it, and no, it probably won't be able to be brought forwards. But the Health Visitor said it was urgent. The urology nursing clinics have just been cut down from 5 days a week to 3, and from 2 nurses to 1. She can therefore fit us in "urgently" on May 27th. Five weeks for something which may be urgent; I wonder when it becomes an emergency?

Meanwhile, Little Fish continues to soak through all her nappies on a regular basis, getting through 2-3 changes of clothing each day. Something she should not be able to do, given the amount of fluid she takes in, and the size and functioning of her bladder. I could google symptoms but they scared me silly I'd rather wait to see the expert rather than trying to work out the likelies from the mightbes. She's also managing to produce on the potty, something she shouldn't be able to do, according to the experts. I thought this was a good thing but it turns out it might actually not be - not sure why though.

I am also curious to know why 1 litre of water is "not very much" for a Weeble shaped 3 year old but is "plenty" for my 5 year old, and why yet again the advice from the experts is so different depending on which expert is talking at the time.

I'm also shocked at the 5 week delay even to see the nurse - I suppose I have been spoilt by our other liaison nurses (gastroenterology, respiratory, epilepsy, community and others I've probably forgotten) who will nearly always fit us in that same day; the longest we've needed to wait has been until the end of the week.

And whilst typing this up, Little Fish fell asleep on the potty, ending up lying on the floor in a puddle of wee without waking up. I had to wake her to hose it out of her hair, she was not best pleased (and nor was I). Anyone joining me in running awee?

Tia

It's another giveaway

I wasn't going to enter this

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button


this time, having just come back from holiday and being rather jolly busy with other things. But, in unpacking, I found this pair of dungarees
and realised that they are completely the wrong size for both my girls; not quite sure what I was doing there. It's a little far to take them back for a refund, so I am now offering one pair of boys' (yes boys, not quite sure why that either!) Osh Kosh blue and white stripy dungarees, size 4T. These are brand new, with tags, and have never been worn or even tried on by either girl (they wouldn't go near Mog, and Little Fish would drown in them). There's some whiteness to the knees as though they have been crawled around in, but that is I think a design feature (or design flaw), it isn't anything to do with me.

So, folks, to become the new owners of these dungarees just drop me a comment. You don't need to have a blog, but I do need an email address for you or I can't let you know you've won. I'll choose the winner using random.org's number generator at some point on Sunday. Are these going back to America or staying here in England or taking a trip somewhere else in the world? Entirely up to you - I'll post them anywhere.

Do take a look at some of the many other giveaways going on this week by clicking on the pink button up at the top there - 590 so far!

Happy clicking
Tia

Monday, 21 April 2008

The Monday After the Fortnight Before

From this:
To this:
So far today:

Phonecalls to
Prescriptions
Health Visitor
Wheelchair repair
Hospital
Sitting Service

Letters to
Holiday helpers
Wheelchair suppliers
School
Niece and New Nephew

156 emails

Washing, unpacking, ironing, clean bedding, finding homes for all the girls' new clothes and our two shiny new suitcases.

Still to do
Disability Living Allowance Form (yuck)
Tax return (double yuck)
Passport photos for the girls for the holiday forms
Passport application form for Mog (2nd attempt)
Clean out the fish tank.

Meanwhile, in our absence, Bob has been. Hurrah? Well not quite; he has arrived, he has rearranged items in the sunroom so his tools are in the front and my clothes horse is at the back and inaccessible, he has moved the fishtank from its alcove to the only free bit of worksurface, ensuring I now have nowhere to chop veg or cook or stack the dirty dishes before washing them up, he has filled the alcove with packs of tiles, and he has disappeared again. No progress in the garden or anywhere else, and reverse progress in the kitchen.

Take me back here again please!

video
Tia

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Water Baby!

Apparently today was one of the coldest April days on record here in Florida. Thankfully, we're from England, and it really seemed to be rather jolly warm to us. So, naturally, we spent the day doing this:
video
I don't usually upload videos of the girls but how could anyone resist Little Fish and the Fountains? Anyone still wondering where her nickname came from?

We went to Epcot today and the girls (and the grownups) had a wonderful time. Every day, when we have been coming home, I have asked Little Fish what her favourite thing about that day has been. Rather sweetly, so far her favourite thing each day has been Mog. Sisterly love, ahhhh. Today however Mog lost out; the best thing ever was "Pah BAH PAP Awer" (also known as splash, splash, SPLAT, shower). Sorry Mog!

Mog enjoyed it too but as her wheelchair is a little fatter with rather more expensive adaptations she stuck to dabbling her toes. Quite how much dabbling she did we didn't realise until later on, when we realised her shoes were still dripping. Little Fish meanwhile is overjoyed with her new emergency outfit (I didn't think just stripping her and spreading her clothes on the concrete to dry would go down terribly well, so Mog and I nipped off and bought her a new Disney dress, thankfully Mog thought it was funny that LF was so wet and was giggling about that rather than getting upset about not being the subject of a shopping trip), and I should like to reassure any native Floridians reading this (Hi, Alesha!) that we didn't catch hypothermia, it was just pleasantly refreshing on what still felt like a pretty warm day.

Oh, we also got to ride a boat through Mexico with Donald Duck, had lunch in Japan (Little Fish enjoyed Teriaki Chicken, M and I enjoyed Udon noodles, and Mog enjoyed the atmosphere), took a trip in a time machine with Dame Judi Dench, and got to press the button to make a fire engine start its flashing lights. Now if the girls would just settle to sleep, we'd be all set.
Night,
Tia

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Guess where we went today?
Two girls (just!) meeting Shamu. Little Fish wasn't so sure but Mog was absolutely transfixed.
Next stop Antarctica.
Little Fish preferred these fine creatures.

Such a busy day! We didn't see the Shamu show, but did sit down to see the dolphins. Both girls were very interested, until one of the whales did a big bellyflop directly in front of us and drowned us all in a huge great tidal wave. I know it was hot, but that was a little too refreshing for Little Fish at least! Mog was in stitches, and kept giggling until her dress dried.

Then we came back home and found this.
Little Fish objected to being asked to leave baby behind. So she threw a strop, threw the buggy, and was dragged screeching from the room!

Tomorrow we're taking things easy - Little Fish is getting a bit "precious" and definitely needs a day without excitements, Mog is very happy, but coughing and stiff, and needs a day chilling out, and Mary and I need a day where we don't have to lift little girls in and out of taxis!

Tia

Friday, 11 April 2008

It's a small world after all.

One kind of Small World - Little Fish enjoying the Magic Kingdom. You can't see her face because she was in no mood to face the camera - but instead sat absolutely transfixed watching all the many dancing dolls, hands beating out the rhythm of the song, mouth wide and sheer and utter awe on her face. And then the ride stopped, and we had to leave the boat, and she clamped her hands down tight on her wheels and screamed and refused to move. But perhaps we won't go into that!

A second kind of Small World - this is the view from the terrace of our appartment.
To the right, a shopping centre, where today we bumped into friends who live just a few miles away from us back at home.

Back into the appartment, a rather nice table and chairs, extremely nice kitchen, and a couple of bedrooms you can't quite see.




And out here, the appartment block opposite where another family we know from home are staying. And no, we didn't plan this!

That's all for now, folks.
Tia

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Sunny Climes

Very sunny, and definitely climes! Eleventh floor; we have views for miles around and a beautiful appartment with a terrace just right for posting the children out onto and closing the door to grab a few minutes' peace eating breakfast.

Walmart less than a mile away; we tried to walk it but were somewhat handicapped by the inability to cross the road. Never mind - a nice taxi helped us out.

I would post pics but I've mislaid the cable from the camera. We do have internet access (obviously), and my mobile phone does work.

Mog celebrated the flight by shedding a tooth, Little Fish by shredding the magazines. We were so popular. I'd post more but we're about to jump in a pool.

Laters!
Tia

Monday, 7 April 2008

Addendum

No, we aren't flying out of Heathrow Terminal Five! I think everyone I have spoken to in the past 48 hours has asked me that at least once.

A long and sillily stressful night - all bags packed, all tickets and passports collected and witnessed, I even found my sandals. And ended up having dream runs about being trapped in a ruined castle , with a strange woman who owned a motability scooter and wouldn't therefore let Little Fish charge her wheelchair at the single power outlet in the castle (all ruined castles have single power outlets, don't you know?), wandering around the castle and discovering a hospital where nurses were selling babies to adoptive parents, but only autistic babies, finding friends in ruined corridors but friends who had left seriously sick children with in laws who wouldn't look after them properly; kept waking up and going back into the same dream again. With new and intriguing twists. Normally I like dreams like that - get back to sleep to see what the next chapter will be - but I could have done with a decent solid block of sleep last night. As it is it's going to be nearly 24 hours from when I woke up properly this morning until I can fall back into a bed again tonight. I have a feeling we won't be doing very much tomorrow!

However I now have coffee, clean clothes (and a rather wet bra as I forgot to hang it up to dry last night but perhaps we won't mention that), and am starting to think we might actually be going on holiday after all.


It's 7AM and our carer has arrived. The taxi's due in an hour; I need to go and make breakfasts, wash faces, find clothes, and GO ON HOLIDAY!

If I don't get online when I'm out there I'll see you all when I get back.
Tia

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Baggage

I'm sitting here staring at a mountain of bags. Four bags to be stowed in the hold, 3 carry-on bags, one feed pump bag, one suction machine, one ventilator back-up battery (ventilator itself is in use), and well aware of the fact I still have to find space to stow one huge bag of toiletries, and one missing pair of sandals. I don't think I've worn the sandals since last time we went, October 2006.

We have 2-3 changes of clothing each, and yet we have filled three huge bags with other essential items.

Tomorrow morning we are being picked up by a black cab. Into this black cab we are going to have to squeeze two girls in wheelchairs plus two adults, plus this vast array of luggage. It's going to be an interesting experience.

It's a strange feeling, going back to Florida. Last time we went, it was to celebrate Goldy's 18th birthday. It had been something I'd wanted to do with her ever since she moved in, and I am so pleased we managed it. We had just a week, and for a good few days of that week, she was in a seriously hormonal teenage girl grump. She kept this up throughout the first day we had at Disney, until we found some Flying Carpets. The staff strapped her wheelchair into one of the carpets/carriages, and as the ride started, she went from grouchy grump to wildly excited in seconds. From chewing her hands and cross screechy "EEEEEE" she flipped instantly to flapping her hands and happy screechy "WHEEEEEEEE". She loved the Small World ride, and had a blast watching Tigger. I have a photograph of Goldy, Piglet, and I at a Character Dinner. It's a really unusual photograph of Goldy - I have hundreds where she is happy and smiling (and countless more where she isn't) - she is smiling, but she isn't just staring at Piglet and smiling, she has turned away from Piglet and is pulling on my shoulder to make sure I have seen Piglet too. She has really reached out of her world to share her joy with me - and that isn't something Goldy did very often.

Retracing our steps without her is going to be hard. I'm so pleased we made it there with Goldy; I think it would be harder going now if we hadn't ever been with her. I know that we probably wouldn't have taken her with us this time anyway - but we would have sent her a postcard, found her a new Tigger to feed her obsession, found another Cinderella to make her smile. Goldy enjoyed a lot of our holidays together, but this "Mouse Pooh" holiday as she called it (Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh to the rest of the world) was definitely her favourite. I have seven years' worth of Goldy photos, and a good 1/3rd of them come from just this one week.

So, we're going to go, we're going to have a good time. And we'll have some popcorn and an ice cream sandwich for Goldy sitting on a park bench somewhere.

The bags are packed and piled high. The girls are settled, the feed pump is on charge, and the washing machine has just beeped. Me for bed I think.

Taking the laptop with us as our hotel room is supposed to have internet access and the girls will be asleep in the evenings (I do most sincerely hope). So I may be able to update things - I almost certainly will not be able to access my email though. You can leave a comment (and tell me not to publish it if you like!), and I will respond.

Spare a thought if you will for Trina and Jophie, and for my sister in law and family; they are expecting a new addition any day (Hello, brother, if you're reading this and she's popped then let me know!).

Take care all
Tia

Always take the weather with you

I'd quite like to leave this weather behind, if it's all the same to you. On Friday I was airing out the house, windows wide open, hanging around in shirtsleeves and hunting out the sandals.

Yesterday we trundled into town, needed jackets as it was a little brisk, but the sun was shining and there was a definite feel of spring in the air.

And today we woke up to this!



Wonder what temperature it is in Florida at this moment? I was expected to go from snappy crisp spring to an English summer, not from deepest darkest winter to blazing inferno!

Tia

Friday, 4 April 2008

A new twist in the Bob tales

I caved. I wasn't going to contact him, I was just going to wait it out. But I needed to know how much his bill was likely to be, so that I knew how much we'd Mog would have to spend when we go on holiday. So, I asked.

Which, inevitably, led to a request for the money to be paid. So, Wednesday morning I collected money from the bank. Bob said he'd be here on Thursday, around lunchtime, to pick it up. Not really believing it, I made arrangements to stay in, and he did indeed turn up at 1PM. A good start. Even more hopeful signs; he brought a worker with him - this is clearly a man not just turning up to collect money but also willing to work for it. Great. They then spent 2 hours gardening. Not building, not finishing the many little tasks which need to be finished, but mowing the lawn, strimming the edges, and picking up the rubbish. Lovely - but not, strictly speaking, a building-related task. Thirty minutes at the end of the day was spent doing a little tiny bit of actual building work.

They then left, without taking the money. Bob asked me again if I would pay him, I told him the money was here and he said he'd be back today for it. Little Fish and I have been here all day, with the exception of a 20 minute dash to the post office to collect our currency. It's been an absolutely beautiful day, perfect outdoor building work weather. So, has Bob been? Or has he yes again vanished?

It's not that I mind not paying him - I would far rather not give him any more money until he's actually finished. But I do object to having spent today waiting for him, rather than heading into town to do last minute pre-holiday shopping stuff. Now I'll have to do that tomorrow, with both girls in tow. This gives me the choice of pushing both girls around town in manual chairs (doable but stressful) or pushing Mog and letting Little Fish drive herself around in her power chair (easier but means we can't get into some of the shops we need to visit). I suppose there's a third choice, do without the things I was hoping to get; this is looking to be the most likely option, but I was hoping to pick up some little "keep a three year old quiet on a plane trip" bits and pieces. It's also odd - who fails to turn up to collect money? Failing to turn up to work I can understand, but failing to turn up to collect money?

I wonder if he'll come in when we're away, if I will come back and find it all finished? Anyone want to come and put a twist in his tail?

Thursday, 3 April 2008

It has begun

I have just rescued Little Fish's glasses from the washing machine. And have only just prevented myself from ordering dollars from a company which, whilst promising excellent rates, cannot deliver until July.

Someone get me some more coffee quickly.

Tia

Coffee

I also forgot to buy coffee yesterday. I've just used the last of it. This could have disastrous consequences.

Tia

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Busy day today. Started much too early as Mog woke with a bump. Or collection of bumps; a big long seizure anyway.

By 10 o'clock in the morning I had organised both girls up and out to their respective schools, collected Mog's nappies for the month, collected medical letters for our holiday, failed to collect a prescription (will have to try again tomorrow, which will make it three trips into town just to collect a single piece of paper), sorted out money with the bank, and made it to Mog's school for a coffee morning.

I usually have both girls with me for end of term coffee mornings. Forgetting that I only had Mog, I blithely broke off a piece of pastry from a cheese straw, and poked it into her mouth. Little Fish is getting quite good at coping with this; she'll either fish it back out again with her fingers or suck it til it's soggy then swallow it. However this was Mog, not Little Fish, and she promptly had a big choking fit and then stridor for the rest of the day. Oops. Sorry Mog.

She might have forgiven me for this (it was tasty pastry, after all), had I not also forgotten to send her a bottle of her formula in with her. So she had water for lunch. Again, oops, and sorry, Mog.

Left Mog at school and zipped round to collect Little Fish from her preschool. Then back into town again to have lunch with a friend, very nice. Quick trip to Waitrose to gather Bonjela (which I forgot to buy), sudocreme (ditto), and bread. Back home for just long enough to change Little Fish and for some reason sit and watch 60 minute home makeover. Oh my. Take one reasonably respectable house (beige sitting room, neutral bedroom, pink and cream girl's bedroom and admittedly dated kitchen), take one hour, and transform it by hanging horizontal blue, brown and black wallpaper in the sitting room (why? WHY?), paint the kitchen a colour described as "sludgey lime green", shrink the bedroom by hanging red and gold draperies everywhere, and then pull the child's bedroom apart and make it more suitable for longer by replacing one pink painted wall with one wall of wallpaper with butterflies on it. The house did look alright afterwards, in a sort of ultra-modern anonymous Habitat/IKEA/Argos catalogue fashion, but overall I'm not sure why they picked the house in the first place; it didn't seem that bad. Nor am I sure why Little Fish and I sat and watched it, other than that she was glued to her "pretty potty" and I had a cup of coffee in my hand.

All things come to an end (although some not soon enough), and it was time to throw Little Fish back into the bus, grab her chair and then whizz round to school to collect Mog. Off to meet Mog's other family for a special story telling session at the hospice, a nice chat (and another Easter Egg), and then home again for tea drugs and bed.

Tea and bed for the girls, that is; I'm still up waiting for Mog's milk to finish. My fault entirely for
forgetting to send her lunchtime milk into school. Should be finished shortly and then I can follow them to bed. And hopefully this time not be woken by Mog the early riser nor by Little Fish the remover of breathing masks.

Another day in the life
Tia

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Little Fish the photographer

Hello, it's Little Fish here. Mummy was busy and I found her camera. I am very clever, I worked out all the buttons I needed to press to make it make funny noises. Here are some of my photographs I took.

Self Portrait:
Mummy:
More of Mummy:
My sister Mog:I'll try that again:
Mummy says I have to leave the camera alone now!
Goodbye
Little Fish

Chocolate Chip Cookies


Melt 250g butter.
Stir in 350g brown sugar.
Add 2 large eggs and a big dollop of vanilla essence.
Stir in 300g plain flour, with a large teaspoon of baking powder (you might be able to use self raising flour; I've not tried).
Take 200g milk chocolate, chop it into decent sized chunks, and stir in. The dough should be gooey and sticky, almost like a thick sponge cake dough rather than mouldable playdough style.

Grease baking trays and drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto them - leave plenty of space as these cookies SPREAD! Bake in a preheated oven at 190degrees C (375F) until they look done - golden on the outside, gooey in the middle. Somewhere between 8 and 15. minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Makes 2 dozen super large ones or 3-4 dozen smaller, polite ones!

Tia

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