Monday, March 26, 2007

Elsa & Sir Edmund Hillary

What do Elsa and Sir Edmund Hillary have in common? They both like climbing tall things. In Sir Edmund's case, it was Mount Everest. In Elsa's case, it is the stairs in the house. And, for someone just shy of 80 cm, that involves some Everest-like climbing.

Elsa has fallen in love with walking up the stairs. The key word here is "walking". She wants me to hold her hands as she steps up the stairs from the bottom level all the way to the top. That's 50 steps. Does that mean I have something in common with Sherpa guide Tenzig Norgay?

By the way, we had our 1 year check up on Friday, and no surprise here - Elsa's still pretty big (23 lbs and 78 cm). Anna better watch her back because at this rate Elsa's going to catch up with her big sister soon.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Good morning and farewell

Today is a grey and cold day. Grey in the way only London can do – steely with a damp cold that takes many cups of tea to shake off. In keeping with the weather, I saw the most bizarre site while walking with Anna to school – horse-drawn funeral procession going right down the main street leading into Richmond. Two jet black horses with jet black feathery headpieces were drawing a hearse carriage followed by a slow procession of black cars. Wow.

I’ve never seen something like this before. It is definitely a way to make a statement as you exit from the physical world – black horses clop-clopping down the street with two black-clad coachmen in black top hats.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sneaky in the AM, Part II

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson last month when I discovered that Anna had been sneaking down to the kitchen in the mornings and gobbling up anything sweet that I may have left on the counter. But, no, not this mom.

Last Sunday was mother's day here in the UK, and Carlos went out in the morning to a cafe/bakery that's down the street to get some delicious pasteries for us. While he was there, he found a chocolate/marzipan sheep shaped like Shaun the Sheep. Shaun is a creation of Nick Park, the claymation guy who created Wallace and Gromit. Shaun the Sheep now stars in a TV show here (see him at:, and Anna loves the show. As a matter of fact, we all love the show; it is very funny. So, Carlos thought Anna would enjoy getting a little Shaun the Sheep sweet. And I thought it was a good thing to use to incentivize Anna to finish her food.

Last night, Wednesday, Shaun still had not been eaten by Anna because she had failed to finish a single dinner since Sunday night. I put Shaun on the dinner table last night and told Anna that all she needed to finish were a few measly piece of pasta and some vegetables and Shaun would be all hers. She seemed pretty excited, but promptly started whining about how she couldn't finish her pasta and didn't want to eat vegetables. Shaun the Sheep went back into the packaging and back on the counter. BIG MISTAKE. Shaun was now on Anna's radar. This morning Anna came into my room at a little past 7 am. We all got up and went down for some breakfast. Nothing downstairs looked amiss, but then I looked a little more closely. The Shaun the Sheep packaging had, in fact, been tampered with. I peered inside to find a small portion of Shaun's sheep butt left, but the rest was gone. ANNA!!!!!! I was not pleased in the slightest.

Note to self: You have a small, browned-eyed sweetie thief living in your household. Do not leave sweeties lying around the kitchen.

I've been warned.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Eating and Sleeping

Eating and sleeping are two things that I enjoy immensely. Good food not only satisfies my hunger, I think it also is good for my soul. And sleeping -- I wish I could sleep 10 hours a night.

Eating -- Anna has developed the world's smallest appetite. I am at my wit's end as to what to do to get this child to eat properly. The thing the worries me the most is that I remember what a poor eater I was as a child, and I'm dreading have to deal with someone who is like I was. Anyone have any ideas for what I can do to make mealtimes less of a struggle??

Sleeping -- Anna, despite not eating much, is a pretty good sleeper. She's a deep sleeper and falls asleep easily on her own. Elsa, on the other hand, is a champion eater, but a lousy sleeper. She craves physical contact so badly that getting her to fall asleep on her own is a monumental task. Argh.

I went to Spamalot last weekend. It was pretty darn funny, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't like Monty Python. A lot of silly humor and poking fun at musicals, particularly Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Ugh. I'm really struggling to get work done today. I've been feeling gross and nauseous since last night, and I'm worried because there's a nasty vomiting bug going around. I hope I'm just feeling icky due to lack of sleep. I just bought tickets for Spamalot for tomorrow night to go with my brother and Carlos. I'd really much rather listen to Monty Python gags than do a close examination of my toilet's porcelain.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Elsa

It has been 12 whole months since that moment in the wee hours of March 12, 2006 when I told Carlos: "I wouldn't bother getting changed into your pyjamas if I were you." And 12 whole months of getting to know a lovely little person named Elsa Lind. She is a mischevious little slice of joy.
Today was a glorious and unusually warm spring day -- what a wonderful way to welcome Amma, Afi and Kiddi. They arrived this morning and Anna and Elsa were thrilled to see them. Anna immediately co-opted Kiddi to be her own personal entertainment -- she loves her Uncle Kiddi. Meanwhile, the birthday girl entertained with her belly laughs, bear hugs and bottom scoots. It was one of those days that made me feel like a very very lucky person.
P.S. In the background of the pictures you can see some of the new colors of the house. I'm particularly in love with the terracotta color.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Queen of Scat

I've been waiting for this moment to come, and it has arrived. Anna is the queen of scat in this household. Scatalogical humor, that is. Lately, she thinks anything that involves the words: poopoo, stinky or poopy is fall down laughing funny. Her favorite saying is "Elsa's a stinky poopoo." Then she proceeds to crack herself up for about 10 minutes. Hilarious.

This may be something to file under "too much information", but I think my hips are finally moving back to their pre-pregnancy location. Either that, or I'm developing some wicked arthritis in my hips. I hope it is the former. It started a few weeks ago with my left hip aching, and that made me feel like a crooked grocery cart (or "shopping trolley" if I'm to get all British with you). My bad left hip made me feel like I wanted to veer off to the right all the time. At least now that both hips are aching, I don't feel like I'm veering off course anymore. Maybe this means that some of my prepregnancy clothes will start fitting again. Yeah, that's right -- they don't fit because my hips haven't gone back and not because I continue to consume too many biscuits and other sweet treats. (As Anna says: "I love sweets -- they're so tasty!" -- like mother like daughter)

Is it too good to be true?

The insurance company's claims adjuster came today to check out all the damage under my floors from the drain fiasco. I was ready for a fight -- I was positive he would tell me that the insurance would only cover the replacement of a portion of the flooring instead of everything. Replacing just one portion of the floor would look ridiculous since we the same wood flooring covering the entire kitchen/family/dining room area. But, the claims adjuster agreed that would should replace the entire floor (especially since we don't know how extensive the water damage is). Wow! Although, I'm going to wait until I get the check from the insurance company before I really celebrate.

On a side note, this part of my homeowners insurance coverage is for "escape of water". I think this is such a funny phrase. To me, this phrase sounds like something that has been translated into English from another language -- it doesn't sound quite right to my ears, even though it is technically correct. I'm a weirdo.

Anna continues to raid Elsa's closet. I'm thinking of putting a child lock over the knobs of the closet doors. Also, she's decided that she no longer says "No thank you"; she says "no thank".

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Spring spring spring spring. Today is a perfect, sunny spring day. Lots of puffy white clouds in the sky, and I see small green buds forming on the trees. The sun is an instant mood lifter, especially after the torrential downpours we've been having.

Painting on the house is nearly done, and I'm really loving the new colors. I just wish we had added the living room to the rooms that we decided to paint. That will just have to wait until the next painting project.

When do children start to understand the concept of time? I told Anna that Amma, Afi and Kiddi are coming for a visit in one week, and she's been asking me constantly if Amma is coming today. I say, no, not yet, and point to the calendar and show her how many days we have to wait. It doesn't seem to sink in.

Monday, March 05, 2007

How does she do it?

Anna has developed a strange talent. I've mentioned that she likes to raid Elsa's closet and use Elsa's clothes for her stuffed animals. Well, Anna has decided that her stuffed animals shouldn't be the only ones to have all the fun, and she's started getting dressed in Elsa's clothes (many of these clothes are too small for Elsa). The recent pattern of events has been as follows: we come home from school; we eat lunch; Anna says she wants to play in her room; I hear nothing for an extended period of time; Anna descends in a dress intended for a 6-12 month old. I have no idea how she manages to get these dresses on because it is quite tricky to get her out of them.

We had a great visit from the lovely Alison this weekend. I love it when she has business trips to London which can be extended to a weekend visit with us. Anna and Elsa just love her. We are lucky to have her friendship.

Friday, March 02, 2007


I could have sworn that this morning I left a small, brown-eyed girl at nursery school. However, this afternoon, I collected a small, brown-eyed crab to bring home with me. Crabby crabby. Hopefully, she's just hungry and will feel better after a lunch of yogurt and bread with butter (apparently, that's what crabs eat). I guess everyone is entitled to be in a bad mood once in a while.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Color and Colour

I'm so happy! The walls of my house have been transformed from icky beige to lovely shades of yellow and cream and terracota. Hurray! Tomorrow the painters should finish the halls and stairs which are now a lovely combination of cream and terracota (a sort of brick red/orangey brown) and my family room/dining room is yellow (and the office will be a lovely shade of green). I love it! I think my love for colorful rooms harkens back to my childhood bedroom, for which I have my parents to thank. As a kid, my bedroom was painted bright colors - yellow, green and orange and I also had curtains made of this fantastic Marimekko fabric (a tulip pattern in similar colors).

Has anyone ever played Bunco? I just got home from a monthly outing with some American and Canadian women I know here. We play a dice game called Bunco that is really quite fun. Usually I do very poorly, but tonight, miracle of miracles, I got the high score and won £20!! Wowee!