Sunday, 31 March 2013

thinking about Easter

Even though I am not of the religious persuasion, today on the blog I'm contemplating the meaning of Easter...

This got sparked on Thursday when the boy and his class did an amazingly good assembly for Easter.  His teacher did a great job of letting every child shine.

They told us the Christian Easter story (the boy was Judas), and they talked about Spring, Pancake Day (the boy told us all how to make pancakes), Mother's Day, and lots of other things to do with Spring, and they fit this all in using the innovative technique of explaining things to an idiot angel.

The idiot angel thought that Easter was all about having fun playing out, and eating lots of chocolate, but it was explained to him that Easter was really all about Jesus dying for our sins, and being resurrected to sit at gods side (don't you just love these non-denominational assemblies).

Well, I am entirely godless so for me Easter is not about Jesus dying for our sins.  For me, Easter is all about enjoying the beginning of Spring, and getting to play out more (you heard me weather gods), and also eating tons of chocolate.  I can see why Christians have adopted Easter to celebrate resurrection.  The kindling of Spring brings so much joy after a long cold winter (although I'm not sure how Easter would work in Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere?), I can see why they'd want to hop on board that, and also why people through the ages would feel joy (and notice the dust) when the sun starts shining again.  Some people have asked me why I celebrate religious festivals now I am avowedly non-religious, and it's because religious festivals have evolved (or been put) at the times of year where they should be.  Again, I don't know how it works in other countries, but here in Scotland we want to huddle close and celebrate our families at Yule/Christmas, we want to get out and about and have some fun at Easter, we want to hang out in lazy sunshine at Summer Solstice, and we want to tell scary stories, and enjoy the smells and mists of Autumn at Samhain/Halloween, because that's the last time we'll be spending much time outside for the year.

The Christian idea that Christ is resurrected at Easter is a powerful one.  To die, and for that not to be the end.  Of course, death is not the end... life goes on, maddeningly; our genes carry on, if we've managed to reproduce; our atoms carry on, either through our bodies decaying and turning into other things (soil, plants, wormfood etc), or through our bodies burning, and oxidising, getting breathed in and out, getting taken in by plants.  "All this has happened before, and will happen again" (who can tell me where that's from?).

So if I was praying for resurrection, what would I be focusing on?  Times are hard.  A lot of people I know have been badly affected by the financial situation.  We have got away fairly lightly, but, that said, I'm not convinced we would have moved our family around quite so much if we didn't live in these times.  Wishing for things to be back the way they were is no good.  We can't re-open the shipyards and mines, we have to move forward, so maybe it would be good to notice how good things are, for the most part, to practice gratitude (see Bytes blog for more on gratitude).  

I cannot believe the huge strides we have made in what's normal since I was a kid.  When I was little not having central heating, and not having a 'phone were both normal, now we have smart phones, and passive houses.  We are doing great, let's make it even better.  What I would wish to resurrect would be hope.  Of course, there's lots of hope around at the moment, and the Olympics really helped.  But let's keep it, let's grow it, and let's make tomorrow good too.

What would you resurrect?

This post is part of a series of 50 I'm doing. I'd love to see your take on one of the titles.  Find the full list here.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

hanging out with family

When I set this blog up I said I was going to use it to let you all know how we were going with turning our brand new house into a home.

I was thinking about that the other day, and about what exactly turns a house into a home... some of it is about stuff, some of it is about making the house look like you wanting it to look, but mostly it's about living in it...  Scuffing the walls, messing up the carpets, having fun, and hanging out with family.

This Easter weekend we've been hanging out with family, dancing to the X-Box, eating ice-cream, setting up beds all over the place, and just hanging out.  It's fun.  It involves not getting quite enough sleep, and consuming just a bit too much sugar (until tomorrow, then we're ramping up the sugar to WAY too much).

My fabulous brother has come to visit with his lovely family, and it's great to see them, so chilled, and funny, and my brother and I just slip back into being daft, moaning about people we know, and slobbing about.  A top weekend, and a top way to turn your house into a home.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

seeking external validation

We've been to the school for Parent's Evening tonight.  We're really proud of the kids, they've settled in really well, and are doing well all 'round.  The big girl was massively behind on her reading books (just because the different schools were going at different paces), and has moved up two stages very quickly.  It's been hard work for her, but she's doing great.  So that was good...

But do you know what?  All the time the teachers were saying they were doing well, I was thinking, well, how well?  The big girl's teacher did say that she was secure for early stage, which left Kenny looking mystified, and made me happy.  No idea for the boy though.  

I really liked getting grades at school, and university.  I guess it helped that I generally got good grades, but mainly it was good to get some feedback.  It's always nice when people tell you you've done a good job, but it's even better to know how good!

I may have got this obsession with wanting to know just how good things are, and how far from perfect, from my Dad (which gives me a great excuse for a photo of my Dad and I).

I remember when I was at University, I got 99% in a statistics exam.  I was really proud, so I called up my Dad to tell him.  He asked me what had happened to make me lose out on the 1%. I knew the answer. Because I had asked my lecturer that very question - I had slightly wobbled on a graph drawn freehand, allegedly.

Also at University I had a lecturer in Women's Studies who was so nice it was unbelievable (dead clever too, and a great lecturer).  She was fantastic at encouraging people to speak up in seminars, and would always praise any input.  I remember in a seminar on sado-masochistic imagery (Women's Studies is a great degree), that somebody said that it was just wrong, and normal people didn't do that kind of thing.  I was busily hiding behind my hair so this person didn't see me roll my eyes - who were we I thought to morally judge?  But the lecturer looked at them and said "that's really great, it's so great that you're happy to say that here, thank you, you've raised a really good point", and then proceeded to make a really good point of her own that was vaguely related.  Genius.  I wish I had her ability to see the good in everything, but I'm still working on it.

To me, some things are good, some even great, but a lot are adequate or even, bad.  If things are good, then I want to know exactly how good, and how can we get the wobble out of the graph?

What about you?  Are you happy enough for things to be a nebulous 'good', or do you want to know how much?  Maybe I'm just a control freak?  What do you think?

Friday, 22 March 2013

dreaming of spring

We're having a snow day today.  What's it like with you?  Kenny's been helping dig people out at the bottom of the road, the school is closed, and we can hardly see for the wind and snow.  It's a bit extreme!  It's also our anniversary, and the plan was that the kids would go to Kenny's folks for a sleepover (the little girls first!), while Kenny and I hit the shops, caught a show, and ate out!  I'm a bit grumpy, because I don't think it's going to happen, but as always, I'm impressed with Kenny's positivity.  He has a plan, it involves a 4x4.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.  

I know I'm probably remembering the past through rose tinted glasses, but I'm sure that when I was a girl there were proper seasons.  

Winter started around Christmas time, and there was very little chance of having snow at Christmas, Spring started mid-March, and involved sunshine and showers, and NO SNOW, and then there was summer, which started in June, and involved hot sunny days, and the occasional weird storm.  Autumn was rainy too, and cool, but didn't have any snow.

I'm not saying these were halcyon days of weather; I remember fog so thick you couldn't see your fingers.  However, in the last few years I think winter has been trying to take over the year somewhat.  It's been starting to snow in October, and keeping on going through to March, which is nearly half the year for goodness sake!  It's still snowing now, even though it's officially spring, and once again the daffodils have given up.  Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of snow - sledging, snow days, and snowmen are great, but I like Spring too, and Summer, and Autumn!

So weather gods, please pull your fingers out, and sort out this mess... more Spring, less Winter please!

Oh, and if you're thinking about another rubbish summer... don't.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

singing silly songs

I love singing, it helps bring out the joy in my heart, and I don't mind what I'm singing.  I'll sing to gods I don't believe in, sing about wicked witches, sing along with Moshi Monsters, it's just great to sing.  My girls love to sing too, which is lucky, because I've been taking them to singing groups since they were born.  Singing in the library, singing at toddler groups, singing at home, singing while we walk, singing at bedtime.  It's all good (even when there's singing wars!).

Every town has different songs which are sung so regularly they are thought to be universal, but they vary from town to town.  Even songs which are sung everywhere, like Wind the Bobbin Up have regional variations.  It can be a bit befuddling.  I thought I'd include a couple of our favourites here.  First of all, Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar - a twinkle twinkle variation which was taught to both my son and my big girl when they started their separate nurseries.

This next one is a fabulous slow build tickling song.  We learnt it while we lived in rainy town, and I haven't personally heard it anywhere else.  You might have!  It's sung to the tune of 'If you're happy and you know it'.  And a 1,2,3...

Spider on the Floor
(use your hand to be a tickly spider)

There's a spider on the floor, on the floor
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor
There's a spider on the floor, do you think there's any more?
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.

There's a spider on your knee, on your knee
There's a spider on your knee, on your knee
There's a spider on your knee, and it's very tickly
There's a spider on your knee, on your knee

There's a spider on your arm, on your arm
There's a spider on your arm, on your arm
There's a spider on your arm, but he won't do any harm
There's a spider on your arm, on your arm

There's a spider in your hair, in your hair
There's a spider in your hair, in your hair
There's a spider in your hair, what do you think he's doing there?
There's a spider in your hair, in your hair

There's a spider on the floor, on the floor
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor
There's a spider on the floor, do you think there's any more?
There's a spider on the floor, on the floor.

Are there any songs you know that you've not heard sung in other places?  What are your favourites?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

making tummy yummers!

We had a fantastic day yesterday, we all piled in the car and drove down to rainy town to catch up with lots of friends.  It was a bit of a whistlestop tour, and everyone was tired out at the end of the day, but it was great.  We're looking forward to seeing lots more of our friends at Easter.

Unfortunately, one thing that will definitely follow an unusual day is a difficult night, and last night with the little girl was hideous, so Kenny and I spent a while today catching up on sleep, and the rest of the time trying to ensure the other one could get some rest!  This morning, while everyone was still in their PJs/clothes combos they'd fallen into bed in last night, and Kenny was sleeping, the kids and I did drawing, Hama beads, card making, and baking.  We made olive bread, as per the recipe from I Can Cook (although used 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs instead of fresh rosemary.  It is sooooo easy, and pretty quick, and the kids love it (and only one kid pulls the bits of olive out).  Give it a go!

We also took the recipe from I Can Cook for Melting Moments, and changed it to create:  TUMMY YUMMERS!  Here's how to make them:

Tummy Yummers

100g caster sugar
200g soft unsalted butter
1 egg
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
250g self-raising flour
a plateful of porridge oats

  1. Weigh stuff out, prepare your plate of oats, and preheat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/gas 4.
  2. Line baking trays/sheets with greased baking paper.
  3. Mix the sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl until it's light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg, cinnamon, and flour, and mix together to form a sticky mixture.
  5. Bring the dough together, then break bits off and form into balls.  About 12
  6. Hand the balls to your junior assistants, who can roll them in the porridge, and then place them on the baking trays.  Squash the balls a bit, and ideally a wee bit more in the middle with your/their thumb.
  7. Pop the baking trays in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Meanwhile your junior assistants can play with the porridge oats (please note, you may need extra porridge for this).
  8. Leave the Tummy Yummers to cool down, and then eat them.  They're good by themselves, but we reckon they'd be even better with pears and icecream.
Apparently you can freeze them, but we thought eating them would be better.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

feeding the kids

Can I ask you a question?  What did you have for tea today?  We had chicken fajitas, as the children have decided that my fail-safe everyone-will-eat-it meal (chilli), will not longer be eaten by them.  They are rejecting nearly all the meals they used to eat.  I don't really blame them.  No doubt they're bored of the same old same old.  I know I am.  But what to feed them?  Most of the time the boy won't eat anything red, the big girl won't eat anything messy, and the little girl won't eat anything that resembles a vegetable.  Ideally they would eat cheese sandwiches at every meal.  Or ham.  Sometimes ham.

The boy shows his appreciation for a
recent meal (veggie sausages, spuds
and beans)
The children tell me that they don't like chicken, so the fajitas weren't the greatest hit (although they did like putting things in tortillas).  By the way, chicken goujons (made by Daddy, mine are apparently not good) are their current favourite.  So, have you got any ideas for things they might like to eat?  We need something new in the mix.  What did you have for tea today?  If you have kids, what's their favourite?  What was your favourite when you were a kid?

I remember liking cheese sandwiches a lot when I was a kid, but also enjoying tinned pasta on toast, snoopy burgers (peanut butter and pineapple on a beef/soya/bean burger), pilchards, and my favourite at my Dad's house was chicken noodle soup (out of a packet).  When I was a teenager I loved pineapple curry, lots of Quorn ready meals (and Quorn hotdogs - delish), and pasta with mushroom sauce.  No doubt the kids will like more stuff as they get older, but what should I try them on?

My cousin-in-law, who's a baker, recommends 5 o'clock apron for inspiration.  Have you got any ideas?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

having a decorating day

A long lie, breakfast in bed, beautiful homemade cards and presents, and lunch out, was fantastic, I also got to have a nice long chat with my Mum, watched a terrible film with the kids, and had fun spotting the blue sky in between the snow.  A lovely mother's day, for a very lucky Mummy.  I hope my mummy readers had a lovely day too?

In between all that I spent some quality time with the girls decorating their rooms, and Kenny got some pictures put up.  The big girl had the great idea of making her butterfly decal stickers into a flower shape.  I think it worked out really well!

In the little girl's room we have a blossom tree and some swallows (she's fed up with winter too!).

And I decided to get in on the act too, finally getting some decoration going on in my own bedroom!  The big girl's room was by far the easiest to do.  The little girl's stickers were in massive sections, which were very difficult to handle, but the ones for my room had terrible static, and stuck to me, and to each other more readily than the wall.  I ended up having to throw a bit of it away.  The big girl's were the cheapest, the easiest, and I think they look awesome.  They were from DecoMatters (on Amazon).

While I was busy doing all the wall stickers, Kenny's been sorting things out, making me get rid of stuff (including my beautiful teal and brown curtains, can anyone make use of them before I'm forced to donate them to charity?), and putting pictures up.  I really like this big photo from my brother (you can't see it very well in the pic, but it shows the boy and the big girl with their cousin in Manchester), and I've procrastinated so long as to where it should go that Kenny's gone and put it up.  Good job sir!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

having a good day

It's been freezing, and windy here again today, but two very good things have happened.

One, Kenny has frozen his fingers finishing the new roof of the playhouse (I battened the temporary roof back down the other day, but it blew off overnight).  I think it looks great.

The kids thought it looked good too, and decided the time had come to move the furniture in.

Playhouse done, and ready for action!

Two, we had some visitors.  It was great to catch up with some friends from rainy town, and have a lovely day together.  The children especially had a whale of a time, and were worn out tonight.  We're looking forward to seeing more of family and other friends over the next few weeks.  Bring it on!

Sorry for the rubbish quality.  I can't do indoor
pics well at all!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

sticking circles on a wall

Morning all, I'm so glad it's Thursday.  I love Thursday, I think it's because it was when Tomorrow's World and Top of the Pops was on when I was a kid, but it's always been my favourite day!  Today the little girl and I have been working on the boy's room, while outside it's windy and raining, and the temporary roof is not doing too well on the playhouse... Yikes.

So, here's what the little girl and I have been doing in the boy's room this morning.  Decorating it with spots, and incorporating his special pictures.  You can just see a couple of chimneys of his titanic model in the picture too, it's had a scrape with an iceberg, but is doing remarkably well.  I tried to leave the Titanic behind in Rainy Town, but the boy's teachers made sure he didn't leave without it!  Thanks for that then.  I hope he likes it.  I'll have to get some more photos of his friends printed off for him.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

getting sparkly

The big girl, you'll be glad to know, has had heaps of attention, and is feeling somewhat better.  Thanks for your support and advice.

I'm staying in today as it's FREEZING!  I've been focusing on the kids rooms in my efforts to make our house more homely, and recently I've been making progress.  I thought I'd give you an update.

First off, the little girl's room.  It's the first time she's had a room to herself, and we've got to make it totally lovely.  She likes birds and all things girly.  She's got pretty bird curtains, and nice wee girly furniture, but until this week she had blank white walls.  Now she's got my granny's old (incredibly heavy) mirror, and a whole wall of sparkly butterflies.  The idea with the butterflies is that they will catch any bad dreams before they get to the little girl.  It worked last night, so keep your fingers crossed.

Butterflies have also been fluttering into the big girl's room. She has always shared a bedroom before, so in this house she got the biggest of the children's bedrooms. The theory is that people will do their homework there, and play there too, so it's not such a great thing! However, that's still just theoretical. The kitchen table is still the place to be, and all toys are still being brought downstairs. We will see how it pans out, although I suspect it's going to continue to be mainly a bedroom... I am hoping that we will, in time, turn the garage into a family room, and then maybe the homework will go there.

The boy's room has also got a bit sparkly, with stars going up on the walls, alongside lots of pictures. His room here is a lot smaller than the room he had in the last house, but he's really making it his own.  He's got lots of pictures of Skylanders and Moshi Monsters, as well as Spin Art from Dalton Pottery, pictures of things he likes, and of some of his friends.  This is the busiest corner of his room, but it's all pretty cool.

There's plenty more to do, but the house does at least look like someone lives here now.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

getting the silent treatment

The big girl is back to not feeling happy at school, and it's really difficult to know what to do about it because she's not talking. She does this, when she gets sad, she just won't talk at all, and you're reduced to guessing what's wrong.

She was crying in school again yesterday, but we don't know why. What she does say is that she misses her old school, and she's scared, and doesn't have friends at her new school. The trouble is, she won't talk to anyone. She's not even talking to the girls who want to play with her. She won't talk to her buddy, and she won't talk to the nice girl who came 'round to play the other day. She complains that no-one will play with her, but it's nigh-on impossible for anyone to play with her when she won't speak to anyone.

Her teacher has been trying really hard to get her involved, but the girl won't speak to her either now, so when she is asked a question in school she won't answer. The teacher has told her off (just corrected her behaviour – not grumpy at all) on a couple of occasions, and she's now saying she doesn't like her and won't speak to her again.

I am not the best placed to help her, because I increasingly feel that this is absolutely ridiculous. Her brother hasn't kicked up all this fuss, and how she expects anyone to make friends with her when she won't speak is beyond me. But I do feel sorry for her. She's obviously thoroughly miserable, and I don't know how to break her out of it. We've got one of her friends from rainy town coming to visit at the weekend, and she's miserable about that. She's miserable about everything she normally likes, she just wants me, all to herself, but so does everybody else in the family.

I wish I could sprinkle her with magic dust, and make everything alright, but I've run out. Have you got any ideas?

Update:  Lots of people gave us good ideas.  We arranged lots of play dates and had Mummy and me days, and just gave it plain and simple time.  It worked out OK in the end.  Just a few months later, she's got two best friends and she's doing fine.  Thank goodness!

Monday, 4 March 2013


The man from BT came today.  Well, two men came because the first one couldn't work out what he was supposed to be doing.  But between them they managed to sort it out and we now have 'phone, TV, and broadband!!!

We have communication.  It no longer takes me an hour to upload a blog post, and all the apps on my 'phone and my tablet are once again working.  Yay!

I didn't have a problem being without the 'phone, or much of a problem being without the TV (although I was happy to see the return of the CBeebies safety net), but I really really really missed the broadband.

I didn't think I needed a smart phone when Kenny got me one for my birthday the year before last.  I got a HTC Wildfire S on a deal from Tesco mobile.  It's OK, but I won't do it again.  To start off with I just used it for phoning people (controversial, I know), texting, emails, and facebook, but then other apps started creeping in.  I played Sudoku, I read the Guardian, the boy played Angry Birds.  I took photos using Vignette to get them looking funky... but those things are no longer on my 'phone.  Here's a quick guide to my favourite apps at the moment (by the way, these are all Android apps):


This app plays podcasts.  I listen to podcasts loads, and this works really well.  Here's what's on my playlist at the moment: 

There are podcasts I listen to which aren't from either the Radio 4 or the 'Stuff' camps, but not many!


I use this lots!  It's a photo editor which is simple to use, gives you a range of filters, effects, and frames, all of which are applied after you've taken the photo.  I prefer to do it that way 'round (although I did love using Vignette too, which puts the effects etc straight onto your photos).

Out of milk

This is a nice shopping list app.  Kenny's got it too, and we share lists, so if I put milk on the list, Kenny can get it on his way home (that's the theory).  You can type things in, and also use voice recognition (although that's a bit ropey).  The voice recognition option is best for getting funny results (like sex chocolate), but typing it in brings up options that you've typed in before, so it's pretty quick.

Met Office

Not as good as it used to be, with lots of glitches, but this is still a spookily accurate weather forecast app.  Hopefully they'll get all the glitches sorted soon.  I've got seaside town and rainy town in, just so I can check that rainy town really is more rainy!

Astrid Tasks

I'm a list kind of girl, and this is a great to do list.  If things are out of date they go red, and everything on my list is red.  In fact I'm currently up to 27th Jan (the day before we moved in!).  You can make lists recur, which is about as fancy as I get, but there's lots of whistles and bells you can use too.

I've not included things like email (I use Gmail), and calendar (Google), and I have got other apps on my phone, but I'm just telling you about the ones I use all the time... and feel totally miserable without.

For my birthday last year Kenny got me a tablet (a Google Nexus 7), which has a lot of the same apps that are on my 'phone, but I've also got more games on it for the kids to play.  I mainly use it for Facebook, reading the Guardian, and reading books... well that's the theory, but I've only read one book so far, as I've still got a massive backlog of physical books I'm working my way through (I got stuck on Cloud Atlas), but I love the theory of it.

What are the apps you couldn't live without?  Should I get them?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

building a house

Last weekend, much to my surprise, Kenny's Dad appeared on the doorstep with our playhouse. The children got the playhouse for their birthdays last year, and they have had a lot of fun playing in and around it, and we fully intended to put it into the garden here...

Playing in the garden at the old house, last summer
...but I didn't think we'd be putting it in yet! Our garden here is sloped, and needs landscaping before we can put everything where it's going to be. So I grumpily told Kenny's Dad we weren't ready for the playhouse, and he of course ignored me and got on with bringing it in. Kenny's Mum and I took the kids out swimming (and for lunch at the famous ice cream shop for a change), leaving the menfolk to it...

...when we came back, we had a playhouse! Where it's supposed to be! The men took the grass up, put in a concrete base, and the house looks fabulous. The kids have been out in the garden playing in it loads. It's not finished yet – Kenny's going to give it a new fancy felt roof and some other bits and bobs, to make it look even better, but it's got a temporary roof on, and I am mightily impressed.

The playhouse in its new position.  The men done good!
Maybe we should hurry up and get the rest of the garden sorted out?!  Any handy hints about landscaping?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

dreaming of sleep

Good morning.  We've had a beautiful few days, and with all the excitement of having Katzuma join our family yesterday I forgot to bring the washing in from the new whirligig, and it's been raining this morning.  Grump.  Hey ho, it's not Spring yet.

It's good that we've had such beautiful days because that really lifts the spirits, and at the moment they really need lifting. Why? Because I am sooooooo tired. Since we moved to seaside town the little girl has been waking up at night. Not every night, but often. Kenny says the boy did this as well, but (probably because of some evolutionary function that ensures you keep your children) while I know we had professional assistance to sleep train him, I don't remember him doing quite the thing that the little girl is doing.

Evidence of sleeping ability!
We thought maybe she was just unsettled, so we gave it a bit of time. We thought maybe she was just feeling lonely, and she'd get used to it (this is the first time she's had her own room), so we gave her a bit of time. We wondered if she was at it. So we attempted to Ferberise her (please see below for more explanation). But she's not waking up every night, and she's not at it, like the boy was (every night for at least two hours for more than two years). What she is is genuinely agitated. Desperate to be asleep, but scared of being asleep too. It seems to me that it's night terrors, accompanied by extreme 2 year old pernickitiness (the blanket has slipped slightly to the left!). This is accompanied by daytime terrible twos. She's running off, she's trashing people's stuff, she's demanding attention, she's point blank refusing to use a potty. All the stuff that requires a kind, gentle mummy, to help the child understand and accept their boundaries, in an atmosphere of love.

The little girl doesn't have a kind, gentle mummy. She has me. I'm a tired, crabbit mummy. That is not fun for anyone. So what to do? How can we get her to stay asleep? You can't give booze to a baby, so has anyone got any better ideas?

What am I talking about? Ferberise? I mean sleep training, where you go back to quietly calm the child at 5, 10, 15, then 20 minute intervals, for as long as it takes. It's incredibly stressful for everybody (and for me it's easiest to do while also undertaking a massive craft project to get deeply involved in at 2am for a couple of hours for a few days), but it does work. Sometimes.  The sometimes bit makes me think it's a bit like the pigeons who do little dances to try to make food come, when it's set up to come at random intervals.  The dance doesn't actually do anything, but it makes the pigeon feel a bit more in control.

Friday, 1 March 2013

getting a cat!

As you'll no doubt recall, a few days ago we were wondering about getting a cat. This sparked more comments (mainly on facebook) than any of my posts before, ever! Lots of great advice, about catnip, scratching posts, double-glazing cat flaps, and how great it would be to get a cat.

There was also a suggestion or two that we get a dog. Now don't get me wrong. I know a lot of people have great relationships with their dogs, and I see how all the walks could be a good thing, but that's the only thing I can see that's good about a dog. I have lived with them in the past and I really don't like them (and before you stand up for your dog, I've never lived with your dog, and I am sure it's great). I do like cats, and rabbits too, but for now, let's get a cat.

Following on from all your advice I got in touch with the local Cats Protection League, and we got inspected yesterday. It went well, and we were assured we'd be getting a new member of the family before too long! We were all pretty excited...

...and then, this afternoon, while we were at the toy shop, my phone rang. There was a cat, would we like to come and see him? Now?

We piled into the car and drove down to meet the cat. He came rushing out to see us, and was getting stroked by all the kids straight away. He was perfect.

His name is Katzuma Ginger McKee, he's as confident as you like, and we are all thrilled to have him in the family!