Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sneaky in the AM

When I woke up this morning around 7:30, the house was silent. Ahhh, I thought. Maybe I can either have a much-needed shower or go down to the kitchen and have a quiet cup of coffee before the girls wake up. I went into Anna's room to make sure that she was still sleeping, and her bed was empty! Hmmm. So downstairs I go, and guess who I find in the kitchen -- Miss Anna herself. Her mouth was covered in white stuff. She had snuck downstairs, gotten onto the kitchen counter and eaten up 4 cupcakes with white icing! We made cupcakes the day before I was using them as bribery to get her to eat her food. Well, I guess she decided that my method wasn't to her liking. I can't believe she ate so many.

Sneaky little girl.

P.S. I didn't get the quiet cup of coffee nor the much-needed shower (ponytails are wonderful things on days like today).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The water is finally flowing through my kitchen sink and down the drain! Hurray for Glen at Dynorod! At last, I can use the dishwasher again. Washing the dishes by hand is a real drag.

Painting is underway at the house. I'm very excited to see how it turns out. We're going rather bold with the colors. I guess it is a reaction to all the beige in the house. I'll finally post pictures of the house once this is complete. I've given the painters a deadline -- they need to be done by Elsa's birthday. Can you believe that she turns one in two weeks time???

Here's Elsa's latest party trick: when she hears a phone ring, she puts a hand up to her ear like she's answering the phone and starts babbling. Very funny.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Banged up

Maybe Anna isn't that cautious after all. Recently, I had written about Anna being cautious at gymanastics. But, today when I picked Anna up from school, I found her with a bloody nostril, scraped cheek and fat lip. Yikes! Her teacher informed me that she had taken a tumble off on of the bikes when she was outside playing. She told me that Anna loves to go really fast on the bikes, and I guess she got a little carried away. Poor little one.

My house is abuzz with activity. I have someone here painting the interior -- hopefully transforming our house from being all beige all the time to something more colorful. I've also got someone coming tomorrow to hopefully resolve the drain problem. I'd really like to have the kitchen sink back in working order and reall really want my dishwasher back. I've also made a claim under my homeowner's insurance to see if I can get some help repairing the water damage on the floor. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Down the Drain ...

that's where my money is literally going. I'm still trying to resolve the kitchen sink drainage problem and on Friday I had a drains specialist here with a camera in the pipes trying to figure out the problem. He discovered that the main drain for the house is smack dab in the middle of my family room, and, here's the kicker, it has been covered up by our floor. Yup - no access without cutting a hole in our hardwood floors. What the f**k? Who builds a house where you cover the main drain for the house in concrete and put the dining area/family room over it???? I'm so annoyed. I know my house is old and has had many incarnations -- first a single family home, then a divided into two apartments, then a single family home and extended out the back, then the attic was converted into livable space. But this just makes me boil. It is just stupid to cover up this drain. Now, I have a 3 foot square cut out of my floor to reveal access to the pipe that drains water from the kitchen sink -- which, by the way, had bubbled up and leaked water into the subflooring, but that's another story. I have drain people coming again on Monday to see if they can't fix the problem with what we've already done. Hopefully they'll be able to fix the problem just just accessing the pipe and not the actual drain (that's buried in concrete further below the floor).

On a lighter note, I was smiling today about some of Anna's funny speech patterns. She calls skating "scaping" and sweeping "sweeting". Also, when she asks for help, she says: "Mamma, can you help for me?"

Pardon the bad pun, but I'm drained.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nothing But the Truth

I just got home from an outing with the people that I work with. The director of the organization has treated us to tickets to a play at the Hampstead Theatre called "Nothing but the Truth". You can read about it here. It was amazing. The best play I've seen in a really long time. The play is about the transition to democratic government in South Africa and the process of coming to terms with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process. It is written by John Kani, and he also stars in it. He was truely incredible. What a performance. I was completely blown away by him. The play itself was also so interesting because it involved a storyline which showed the interplay of the personal and the political in the people's lives. If you get a chance to see this --GO.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Francesca Pig

Meet Francesca Pig. This is Anna's latest best friend, favorite toy, constant companion.

The pig was actually a gift to Elsa from our lovely friend Kelly, but Anna seems to have appropriated for her own use (as she has done with a number of other things that Elsa has been given; just wait till Elsa's a little bigger!!). When we returned to London after our Christmas trip, and Anna started school again, suddenly the pig was named Francesca. I thought where on earth did she come up with that name? It turns out that there is a girl at her nursery school that is named Francesca, and it seems that she is the "alpha" girl in the class. She's among the oldest, has long blond hair, etc., etc. I can't believe it starts so early, but one of Anna's teachers told me that all of the younger girls are completely enamored with Francesca.

Francesca (the pig) has quite an extensive wardrobe. She's pictured here dressed as Tinkerbell with a string of pearls. Usually, her outfits are pulled from Elsa's closet. At one time or another, I think Francesca has worn most of Elsa's clothes, and some of Anna's.

Following the success of Francesca Pig in Anna's stuffed animal menagerie, Anna now has recently named her beloved stuffed hippo, Violetta Hippo. And guess what? There's a girl in Anna's class named Violetta, and she's friends with Francesca. What a surprise.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Chaos

Happy Valentine's Day!

Picture my afternoon -- Anna and Elsa had cute outfits, had just eaten a good lunch, and were both in good moods. It is a nice, sunny day. What a perfect time to take a picture of the two sisters. I don't have very many pictures of the two of them together. Who could have imagined that it would be next to impossible to get a proper picture of the two of them together.

This is what I took before I gave up.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Erratum & Dumb-dumb

Elsa actually has four teeth now. The second front tooth up top has popped through.

Figured out what was wrong with the digital camera -- it needed new batteries. Duh. I thought I had put new batteries in it, but I guess I put in old, dead batteries. Double duh. Now, the girls are asleep in bed, so no pics. Maybe tomorrow.

Back, 11 months & cautious Anna

We're back from Barcelona. Yayo loved seeing his two little grand-daughters for his birthday, and the girls loved seeing their grandparents. Anna loves the extra attention, and Elsa loves the extra food. Elsa is turning into a bottomless pit at meal times. I swear, I think she would eat an entire roast chicken if I let her. Mind you, she only has three teeth.

Elsa, or the Chubster as she is known intra-familia, is 11 months. No pictures, I'm afraid. Our digital camera seems to have died on me. I need to figure out how to revive it. Elsa is growing and changing so fast these days I feel like she's going to be a completely different person by the time she turns one next month (I know, next month, can you believe it?). Elsa's decided that crawling on all fours is definitely not her cup of tea. She scoots around on her bottom remarkably fast. The scarey thing is she always scoots her bottom over to the stairs (going down) and thinks it is incredibly funny when I tell her no and move her. What a fun game. Other than scaring her mother, Elsa is clapping, waving bye-bye and generally being a jolly baby (and, dare I write it, sleeping better).

Yesterday, Elsa and I got to observe Anna again at her gymnastics class. She's really funny to watch. Unlike her daredevil sister, Anna is a cautious one. She's finally feeling comfortable on the trampoline and doing some jumping there, but she doesn't like jumping into the foam pit. The foam pit is at the end of the trampoline and about the size of a small swimming pool. Most of the kids in her class jump into the pit as if it were a pool, but not Anna. Anna will go running full speed toward the pit, only to stop at the end, sit her bottom down and slide in that way. Bless her cautious little heart.

Anna also has decided that band-aids (or plasters as they're called here) are solutions to everything. So much so, that when we were watching March of the Penguins the other day, and one of the penguins was eaten by a seal, Anna told me, "Oh no, poor penguin. I think he needs a plaster."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Toy

I've got a brand, spanking new toy -- a new laptop!! Hurrah for my job! My old computer was giving me so many problems it almost wasn't worth using. However, that is now a thing of the past. I'm just whizzing around the internet today with tons of applications running, and not a problem in sight. Fantastic!

We're off to Barcelona tomorrow for Yayo's 80th birthday.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Midas Touch

Everything I touched today turned to crap. Boy, what a day. I feel like I'm living in the Money Pit. First, the kitchen sink got clogged, and I went off to get the horrible chemical stuff to clear it up. Didn't really work. I'll try again tomorrow. I'm trying to avoid calling in a plumber. Then the toilet in the girls' bathroom wouldn't stop running. The water tank wouldn't fill up and water kept running into the toilet bowl. I opened up the tank to see that toilets in the UK look different than toilets in the US. I didn't really know what to do. Argh -- if it were a standard US toilet, I'd know how to fix this (believe it or not). Then to cap off the day, I blew a fuse that caused a lightbulb to burst and all the lights in the upstairs part of the house to go off. Double argh because this confirmed something that I already knew, but didn't want to acknowledge -- the electrics in this old house totally stink. At some point I need an electrician to come and fix it. For now, I'm taking the ostrich approach.

By the way, I was supposed to be working today, and I didn't finish what I needed to finish. This means I'll be up late.

Also, I agreed to host playgroup tomorrow. Why????? This means I'll be up even later to clean up and go over the toy boxes to make sure there's nothing disgusting (i.e., petrified raisins) in there.

In other news, Elsa has definitely taken to walking around if you hold her by the hands. It is amazing. She's figured out the one foot in front of the other thing. She still doesn't crawl on all fours, preferring to do a very weird bottom scoot.