Monday, April 30, 2007

Toasting marshmallows and stinky socks

I cannot believe the end of term is coming round so bloody soon! I actually thought I had a week longer than I do have, obviously being the schmuck I am I misread the dates for the school calendar.....or was hideously optomistic about having one more week!!! So, they will be out of school for the summer by June 8th, that is only one month and one week away!!!

Before then, T. is off camping with the Lower Elementary on the last week of term. We had a meeting this morning about this, advising us of the things they need - changes of clothes and suggestions from us to them about the daily changing of socks and underwear (euugghh!), sleeping bags, soft toy, and the things they don't - cell phones (@!), food and love notes from us declaring that we are missing them, bound to reduce them to weeping wrecks! We were also informed of the possible gifts that may be brought home from camp- the ticks (yak!) and the cootie possiblities (apparently advisable to cut the boys' hair really short before going - nice try Elizabeth!!- she offered to braid T's for me!!)

We actually had our first trial run of a sleepover on T's birthday weekend. His best buddy from school came over for his birthday tea and then to stay the night, well, bless him, he made it to 9.30pm but wanted to go home. It must have been pretty strange for him to be in a different house and bed somewhere without his parents where there are new noises and shadows on the wall. So we may or may not try again before the camp.

Anyway, the camp info is being thoroughly digested by Master Beehive, the elder, he likes to be thorough, as compensation for NOT rushing home to pack his bag tonight........which was his original plan!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Home Run!!

It's Saturday, we are on the home stretch!! Today is a day packed with swimming and parties, however, I am at the hairdresser's this morning and Daddy is in charge.......

So what can I say?
Have we missed the TV?
No, actually.

In a whole week (nearly!) only Mr Beehive the younger has enquired about it, and then, only once! I have only been close to relenting once and that was yesterday, on a day when it poured with rain and they were burning off "we're trapped indoors" steam, very loudly, while Little Miss Beehive was trying to nap. But, we all held fast and she slept! That said, it is really tricky to be out and about and avoid the screen altogether. Where ever we have been this week, Costco, the YMCA (yes even there!) there is a little square box on in the corner somewhere which captures the beady eyes of these poor deprived bairns!

The boys have played so beautifully together. To be frank, we have so little TV on in the house anyway (around an hour a week), that it really hasn't changed what we do. If anything, I have become perhaps a little more tolerant of the noise and mess (oooh and believe me, I mean volume, I'm sure I have told you that there is proof out there that a four year old boy is as many decibels as 20 men in a pub!) while they play happily and we have all been way more observant of each other. The boys have ironed out issues that in the past I have needed to intervene with, Mr Beehive, the younger, has played delightfully with his sister (they had a wonderful hour and a half the otherday interacting in the garden without squabbles whilst going on a spider hunt!).
Mr Beehive the elder was concerned about the weather so we had to find alternate ways to discover this not using the computer or t.v. He has, on the other hand, kept his promise to do 10 minutes piano practice each day.

I have also sorted out a lot this week. It is another great activity for I. to help with, shredding old papers etc. I sorted the kids' wardrobes into hand-me-downs, consignment, can't-bear-t0-part-with and what-was-I-thinking or completely knackered piles, which she then muddled or chose to wear on her head! Then we organised a writing tray for the kitchen and made a rather large order from the Michael Olaf catalogue.

I also made a (maybe) foolish mistake of picking up a Leappad style magnetic letter learner thang (no idea what it is really called) for Little Miss Beehive, from the consignment shop. You put it on the freezer or fridge and then put in a letter, it then sings and says the letter name and sound. She has been more than impressed with it, it has kept her amused for ages..........but the bloody song. Why do these things have to come with such mind numbingly dull, repetitive, brain sapping music that when you wake in the night is always the first tune that sticks in your head.........FOR HOURS?? ("I know a song that'll get on your nerves, get on your nerves, get on your nerves.....") Must remember to accidently consign it and buy a drum instead!

My new toys arrived yesterday, a lens hood, adapter and tele-convertor lens for my camera. No T.V, so I actually started to read my digital camera book and the instruction booklet that came with the camera in the first place (*hangs head in shame, after all, we've only had the camera nearly a year!) I had no idea what it could do!

This hasn't been a very hard challenge, I think we could keep this up for another week pretty easily. I've not done anything with the children that we don't normally do, they always read for hours, play imaginative games, like to climb trees, ride their bikes, make stuff in the kitchen or paint. However, I wonder what we would really find it hard to live without for a week? We have only lived without the dishwasher for 10 days before, unless you include the time we lived in the caravan for a month and then a bed and breakfast for two when I was newly pregnant with Mr Beehive, the elder?

Washing machine? Microwave? Car? Phone? Computer?

Am I brave enough to try another challenge?

Funny thing is......the huge pile of ironing is still there!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Naughty, naughty beanie boy!

A whole, plastic container!! I just hope it was organic! I love to wake up to these headlines making the US news!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reptile shoes and underwear!

Love 'em or hate 'em but they are still about. The curse of the croc has finally hit The Beehive. I put off being lured into their snare last year, but have since relented. Much as I thought they were a cheap pair rubber/plastic hell, I have since discovered their benefits, despite being ssssooohh last year dahling!

  1. They let your feet breathe and therefore the stench in the summer of no socks and shoes is considerabbbbuuuullyy reduced aaahhh!

  2. They take all of two seconds to put on, so getting out of the door in the morning (see previous posts!) has become almost.....dare I say it??? *whispers* Quick??? Oh and they are so so Montessori - La Beehive the younger can put them on herself and it is obvious when they are on the wrong feet!! Shame they fall off just as fast!

  3. They wash, so are suitable for toilet training - Little Miss Beehive has piddled over her pair many a time and they can just be soaped and rinsed. The same goes for any other bodily fluid!! Oh and they don't slip either, so if you pee, you don't skid in it - fantastic!

  4. You can put soil in the soles and pack it up and then grow crocuses out of the little holes - tres chic n'est pas? I like to make flower containers out of all my old shoes - Ben, you still have my Doc Martens!!

  5. They make a great pencil holder.

  6. Dogs love to chase and chew 'em - cheap rubber toys!

  7. They come in any colour, so you can mix and match with all your summer outfits! Very fetching for a nice summer wedding??

  8. They make a fair substitute for a baseball. A bit like welly wanging, only croccy chucking.

  9. On a bored afternoon, the whole family of crocs in assorted colours, becomes a family of puppets - they are fab to draw on!

  10. One can drain vegetables or fruit - not tried this hot yet, but working on it.

  11. You can fasten string through the holes, attach it to your belt to make a great Blackberry holder - or substitute purse (english variety!!)

  12. Do the same to hold copius amounts of chocolate!

  13. Do the same as above to hold a bottle of alcohol - actually a full bottle is a little on the large size, but put one either side for great aeroplane-sized wine bottle holsters!

  14. Starbucks coffee holster!

  15. In fact do the same as above for any possesion that is required to be on your person at all times.
  16. Do not use them as a bucket for catching vomit......remembering the strawberry box incident as an innocent student and the P.S. added to this entry!!!

Disclaimer - do any of the following at your own peril - including being a victim and buying a pair. Warning - crocs cannot be used as prevention against any form of sexual disease or pregnancy!!!!!!!

And then to underwear!

So, we are on pair number 4 today, having worn pink for school and poohed, then purple, and poohed in the toy section of the consignment shop, then stripy and peed at home on the patio and then the last pair were fed to the dog! Smiling and through gritted teeth, my little pissypoopy mound is piling up by the washing machine.......I wonder if I can adapt a croc to act as a teastrainer inside Little Miss Beehive's underwear????

And did I mention the telly???- it is STILL off!!

PS: edited to add:

This evening le Grand Mr Beehive was at a playdate, only to become ill. Dashing to his rescue, I picked up only for him to vomit hence over me and aforementioned crocodilia! Thus this evening, I am reduced to watching t.v and drinking chardonnay - weeeeellll the damage has been done for me no amount of tv watching or reduction will save my soul!!!!!! Bairn is now in my bed but still able to "feebly" demand - waaaatter and huuuuggg, everyso often - for effect?????? hmm, 'tis for you to decide!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day three

Okay, so the silence - she had un-potted the bulbs and re-potted them......all over my carpet!!!!! aaaggghhh!

Day three and we are still going strong. No T.V has been watched by Les Beehives petits (yeah, monkey see, monkey don't do! Cold Feet re-runs have bitten me in the evenings!)

Here is a piece of trivia. Did you know that the average household has 2.6 T.V's and watches in a life time - 7 continuous years of TV if they watch between 2 - 3 hours a day from pre-school age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We have one TV so I guess that makes us Luddites!

Yesterday was a pretty easy day what with piano afterschool. Today however, has been a day off school. The weather is a changin' (again!) and we are restricted to the inside of the house a little more.

So far we have (well actually the babysitter did the first one with them as R and I were at school conferences being told how "high-spirited" two of our children are - bet you can't guess which two!):

Planted sunflower seeds and radishes (I am a glutton for punishment!).
The boys have played for HOURS with the new Playmobil that T got for his birthday.
Run around outside.
Later we are off to get W's new glasses and then get some ice cream for tea from Cold Stone and there is a bake sale tomorrow at school, so I am forseeing some mess and cake mix debauchery going on in the kitchen.
T has piano practice and thank you letters to write.

Current level of stress: Low, kids are engaged, admittedly I think they went a little manic for the sitter (*insert small smirky winking grin here*), I don't feel the need to open the wine or drink more coffee and the TV hasn't been mentioned once in three days!!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Check this out!

Only a few more months!!

Turn off the TV

This week is national turn off the screen week (for kids primarily, hence the loophole for me sitting here blogging!!)

To be honest, I am not envisaging finding other things to do with the children an issue as they hardly watch tv anyway. We probably watch a maximum of an hour in the week and then a movie at the weekend, maybe. However, the whole school has taken on the challenge and it is going to be more of a challenge as we also have conferences on Wednesday and Friday this week, so the school is shut for those days!
I can see the main problem is going to be after Wednesday when the weather is due to turn again and get colder. Until then, outside activities will easily lure the children.

There have been sheets of paper up at school inviting us and the children to write their ideas for TV-Free activities. I am going to aim to list our activities here and then blog our progress. Fortunately neither the boys have any nintendo type toys, nor have they yet really discovered the computer, apart from occasionally speaking to grandparents and aunts via the webcam, so you will forgive us if we are rude this week.

For myself, I can live happily without tv, as long as I have access to some form of communication, be that radio or computer. I will probably be the one who falls by the wayside soonest with the tv though as I do like to watch a dvd in the evenings sometimes to chill. This week, however, I am teaching two evenings and really do have an essay to start......I'll let you know how I do.

For now, though, this afternoon's activities have been:

Bouncing on the trampoline and riding bikes.
Putting seed and suet cakes out for the birds.
Planting some bulbs.
Playing with toys.

Progress of my sanity so far - entirely calm and relaxed.
Progress of kids so far - relaxed and engaged in activities (albeit it is a little quiet for the wee Miss B, I think there may be some destruction in the offing!)
Need for alcoholic beverage at this point in time - None

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The mama-daughter bond

Daddy took Little Miss Beehive to school yesterday while mummy went back to see the nasty man that took out her teeth and didn't give them to the tooth fairy, so mummy has no cashback on her investment.

Little Miss Beehive was somewhat glum and down. As she trailed into the class, dragging her coat, she told her teacher:

"My mummy is lost"

At last, someone understands!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

To lack of wisdom!

This week has been a long and tough week thanks to the exodus of two porcelain pearls that I have been somewhat attached to for the last couple of years. Problem has been that there hasn't been the room for, decluttering begins at home, why not start in my mouth!!

Monday morning, bright and breezy, saw me at the maxillofacial surgeon's office (oops nearly typed "orifice" !!) Much as my own bog standard dentist had tried to convince me that this guy was such eye candy that I wouldn't need the GA that I was begging, I hadn't fallen for that and requested (and was declined!) HEAVY sedation.

Gas and Air, yes, ladies and gentlemen, the stuff we take in the UK for management of pain in labour. To be honest, I knew that and that was actually what was making me more scared. When I took G & A for the eldest of the mini Beehives, all it did was make me feel drunk, disorientated and sick........However, Mr Eye Candy was going to put in an IV sedation on top of the gas he was giving me via a rather attractive blue clown nose.

I suppose in hindsight I should have realised that it was working when I told him he inserted needles like a girl and was he strapping my arm to the chair to stop me hitting him! *oops!*

So recovery has actually been worse than the op itself. I am nearly a week on and the bruising is finally subsiding. I still can't eat on one side, haven't lost the pound per tooth I was banking on (ha ha !), do not have the chiseled jaw promised me - the lure and sales tactics are all lies ladies and gentlemen!! AND I have to go back and re-face Mr Eye Candy on Tuesday minus the disguise of drugs!
That is of course, if I am not snowed in or flooded. We are once again, MID APRIL!!! under a severe weather warning. Sick of wet, sick of cold and sick of grey. California looks really appealing right now!

Still, on a high, Mothering magazine have just offered a proposal for a piece of work that I have written. This is not a contract as yet, and they may still not be able to use it, however, it is positive and might be my first paid job!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Beavers and a Cup O Joe

This weekend we have been "over the border"!!

Some madness encased us and we decided to join our friends from the UK and drive up to Niagara Falls. Of course, first case in point, we are in fact Brits.....we haven't got a CLUE how far places are. The furthest we can drive is from John O' Groats to Lands End and there aren't many folk that'll do it in a day (if at all really!) so why on earth would someone choose to drive from Edinburgh to London in a day with three kids????? Easy, they are British and clueless!

Day one:

Left home after school at 4.15 on the drive to Syracuse (had my sensible head on this time and had booked us all into a Motel halfway!)

4.20, returned home........we forgot the travel cot for I.!!! We are getting really really skilled at this now and tend to just do it for effect!

4.25 set off again

This first part of the journey, as one would expect, was the novel part..........road trip, kids packed in the back with colouring, dot to dot, fruit leathers, music and......the new addition to our family - the dvd, for when times got really tough.

5.25 - things were getting tough! *cringe* I knooooooooowwww!

6.30 - give or take we decide to stop for dinner. So did the rest of New York state at the same diner. Being unable to park, we choose then to follow signs to Pizza Hut and turn left following it.

6.32 - in some dead end town (I kid you not!) no Pizza Hut, turn around and return to original signpost, yes, it said left. Repeat said journey only 100yds to find another sign for Pizza Hut pointing in the OPPOSITE direction!. In between the signs there is not even the sign of a salad!! Maybe, says my dear other half, they are going to build one!!!!!!!! Okay, well, we'll just wait shall we??

6.34 - Back on the road ready to stop at the first diner.

6.45 - Yay! sucess we find a great diner, practically empty.

7.15 -We now know WHY it is empty. It is being run by George and Mildred! He is deaf, she is nearly dead! Poor couple. They do an excellent job on being invaded by 5 hungry and impatient children and their even more impatient parents. Coffee is desperately required by F and C. Going against all warnings.......they order "diner coffee" !!

8.30 - we finally get all bairns back into respective cars and pyjama-ed on the hopes they might sleep.

8.45 - Two down, one to go

9.15 - Still to go

9.45 - OMG - GO TO SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9.50 - Arrive at Motel with a look of horror to discover people carrying in sleeping bags - mild case of panic and flashback to years of backpacking and staying in dormitory style accomodation at YMCA's - have I f****d up big time? Are we all going to be sleeping without bedding, well apart from I. of course, she has her travel cot and all required bedding? Can I squeeze another child in there? Did I wash the car blanket after the dog threw up on it last time? Yes, I think so!

10pm - Phew! All blankets and bedding provided Zzzzzzz

Day Two

7.30am - Breakfast! Yay, coffee!!!


Okay, note to all potential Motel users, if the orange juice comes out of a machine the colour of dirty, diluted dishwater........DO NOT TRY THE COFFEE! Motel breakfasts vary considerably, but hell, you get what you pay for and for $60 for the night for all of us you can't expect miracles!For the kids it would have been an absolute sugar rush (had they not been with parents having to endure peeling them off the car ceilings for the next 3 - 4 hours!!) Chocolate donuts, pastries - chocolate, drink - hot chocolate, sugar coated crap and cereal aagggh get me out of here!

By 8.30 we were back on the road! First stop change the car of our companions at the local Hertz dealer, unfortunately the one they had hired earlier in the week in JFK had had the power sockets disconnected for fear of them taking it to cook drugs as it was hired in NYC! (I kid you not, this was the reason they were given!!) By this time, 24 hours without coffee we were all wishing we had had the incentive to darn well DO that!

9.00 - On the search for a Starbucks - it will be an easy task on an American Interstate! They are two a penny!

10.00 - Really, it's quite easy to find a Starbucks..............

11.00 - Unless of course you are going towards Canada !

12.00 - Reach Passport Control and greeted by somewhat hunky Canadian - mmm nice first impression! Wants to know if we have any wine!!??? Okay, so he might be beautiful, but he is stupid - LOOK at the cargo - three children and we are associated with the two behind too - you think we have no alcohol for the weekend?????

"Just a couple" says R.

"How many is a couple?"

"Two" I say
"Six" says R !! SIX????

"We are travelling with the car behind!"

Nice man grins understandingly and waves us through!

To car behind us .....

"Are you with the car in front?"


Ooops - well we thought they were behind us!!

12.15 - Another nice Canadian. Silly husbands asked US to go and check in as we were early.

12.17 - All checked in and both families upgraded to suites!!!!!!!!!!!! Well....we were tired and deserved it!!

2pm - FOUND ONE! All present stumble into Starbucks and order coffees - the one thing that is ridiculously expensive - probably double the US prices!!

Later that day we went up the Skylon Tower which was a great view. We could see Toronto as the sky was so clear! Following that we then walked along to the falls by the side of it and it was fantastic, no tourists (well, apart from us!) so we had front row seats!

7.00 Fed the kids from the best we could find! Why is it that whenever you go away to places like this "kids menus" are all the same or a derivative of; nuggets, hot dogs, pizza, burgers and tons of chips. Has no one heard of a vegetable? So intensely bored of this bollocks, we sought somewhere that we could get soup and sandwiches for the children.

8.00 - Kids in bed and all snoring the minute their heads hit the pillows - ah bliss!
Now for adult time.............

8.10 - Monarch of the Bleedin' Glen is on the telly - the boys are out getting curry (which we later discover came via a small detour to the "pub")

1am - It is actually time to go to bed........weariness has set in!


5am - smalls are bathroom visiting - feel my insides tense up as I know this means they will not go back to sleep now! aaaggghhh

7.30 am - Wake with a start!

7.35am - Hear the wardrobe door so realise in my semi-conscious state en route to bathroom that there must be a child messing around in there. Don't turn on lights for fear of waking baby. Open the door to see a shadow of a child. Gently put my hand in behind his head and guide him out only for him to fall completely flat to the floor, like a dead weight. Panic, get down beside him shouting "get up, are you alright, what's wrong?" or words to that effect.


You little bleeeeeeep! Have to say, for 6, that was a good one! I. is now awake with all the laughter! Decide to get my own back later!

10am - After breakfast and much fannying around we are off to go under the falls, on the "fairy wheel" and lunch at the Rainforest Cafe (well more of the same I expect!).

With images of people in yellow plastic ponchos standing under the falls I suggest we might want to purchase a few of the delightful season's fashions in spectacular white plastic with Canadian flags all over them! Much guffawing ensues, primarily from R and C, who proceed to do "comedy cape" for us all! (Photo to follow!)

So apparently we are under the falls in a concrete tunnel, one passage is completely blocked by ice and fallen rock and the other by Korean tourists!!! We hedge our bets and opt for the Koreans! It is freezing under here and the tourists may give out more heat than the icebergs! I. is snuggled up asleep on my back under the plastic raingear and probably has the best seat in the house! The boys on the otherhand are frozen. Our stay here is pretty short lived.

On the walk back up for lunch the heaven's open...........thank heaven's for the ponchos (finally! some use for them!)

Of course, no visit to a high end Hicksville would be complete without the usual attractions such as haunted houses, Tussards by the bucket load, Guiness book of records, sex and lingerie shops and tattooists blah blah! Blackpool - oops! I mean Niagara, is no different! The older boys decided that their afternoon entertainment was going to be a trip to the Haunted House - yup, you have read that exactly right, T. and D, our (nearly) 7 year olds, who HATE and by that I mean, even the opening part of NEMO has him behind the sofa FFS wanted to go around the Haunted house. I don't know if that was one not wanting to be out done by the other or if it was a genuine desire to see this? So, reluctantly they were escorted by daddies whilst us laydies (and a wee chap too, who couldn't decide what he wanted to do, so opted to not go, then threw a tantrum after the boys came out talking about it!) went to the shops!

3pm - All pretty shattered, not least me for carrying 36 lbs around all day and the kids from having small legs and walking about 3-4 miles, we opted to go back and chill, put on a film for the kids and maybe one for us.

3.30pm - F. and I went to the mall. The choice of adult film was Borat and the kid's was Nemo (what with dentists and me having my wisdom teeth out next week, no thanks!) within 10 minutes of the guys hooting with laughter and far too much Borat flesh, we opted out!


We had decided to drive back in a day.

Dontcha just love a grumpy passport official?

"Roll down the back windows please."

We oblige, but in doing so, have to turn off the child proof lock otherwise we can't get the window down.

I and W both then choose to play up and down with the windows

"Dontcha have a child proof lock for the window?"

Er, yes, but you wanted the window down so we had to turn it off!

"Where have you been?"

Are you serious? Er, Cananda?

"Just Niagara"

"Who were you visiting?"

Great Aunty Mary four times removed!!

"Just staying at a hotel."

"What was your business."


"Tourist stuff"

"Whaddya buy?"

"Two t-shirts!"

A Kalashnikov, sixty bottle of gin, 15 dozen packs of fags and a prostitute!

"You want fries with that?"

He must be bored

"Have a nice day" - can you imagine this said in the most dead pan of ways ever...........

Welcome to America!