Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Last weekend at work.

What a busy weekend. It started perfectly with Craig giving me a 'lie-in' which before children meant 12 noon but now actually means anything after 8am. I got up to find Craig had taken Mooms and Fre-fre out for a walk leaving me to have a big coffee in the peaceful garden. I love this time of year, it's a bit cool but the mornings are so sunny and quiet and it reminds me of time spent in America. We did our big American trip in September (2005) and did some of our driving in the early morning. This picture was taken driving from Lee Vining to Yosemite and demonstrates the way early mornings can be sunny but lovely and cool.

After wasting time writing a beard post on Friday while Freya had her afternoon sleep, I had to try and tidy up while she was up and about. Thank God for nanny who took her to see the horses and then stuffed her in the bath. Becky's visits are very welcome and low key but I still like the house to have a 'calm' inviting air to it. This means that dirty floors and heaps of plastic toys need to be cleaned up. Everything was straight when she arrived  at half seven, including candles and fire lit.

Luckily, we had Craig's fabulous bolognese for tea washed down with a nice white wine and we watched the Hotel Inspector. Who doesn't love Alex Polizzi? after discovering Becky's new found love of David Mitchell we watched all the Friday night comedy. Had we gone to bed at that point I could have avoided feeling like dog toffee for the rest of the weekend! Instead, we stayed up until half past three in the morning talking about nurses being too posh wash or generally resistant to change with maybe a short interlude on exercise and body weight (we are women after all!)

Becks did offer to get up with Freya next morning, but I think 3 1/2 hours sleep is something that only parents should be exposed to! At least we caught up in the afternoon with a catnap. Craig returned from his night out bringing us Subway sandwiches... Craig always gets turkey, ham with pickles etc on honey oat bread where as I always settle for meatball marinara on Italian bread, yum. This gave Becks and I the energy for 'cheap shopping'... basically going round all the bargain shops in Darwen (you would think that Becky lived in Dubai rather than Dundee the way she snaps up bargain shampoo).

We got back to a roast cooked by mum but served at our house because we have more room! This is where the wheels fell off somewhat...I didn't need to be rushing round trying to clear space for a big dinner before going out on nights. When we had sat down to eat Freya was happily screeching excitedly next to me. I shouted 'for fuck's sake', started crying and asked someone to swap seats. Not so yummy mummy now heh? I cried silently through most of dinner, not for any particular reason but it's just what I do when I am extremely tired. By the time I had showered, tumble dried the wrong uniform and got ready, I felt better.

My last night at work was perfect, I was working with Julie and Sharon D...two experienced and lovely nurses- basically, I didn't need to take charge, supervise or chastise anyone all night. I got all my e-mails sent off and added up my time owing sheet. I had the care of some lovely patients. I left on time which isn't as easy as you'd think. On asking if I was excited, I told the girls that I wasn't really because I knew what hard work I had coming. My last maternity leave involved me sitting round in my dressing gown watching Jonathan Creek for a month and shopping for the nursery. They were the days. Kate gave me some valuable advice which was when the baby falls asleep put it in a room and hide it from your toddler... we shall see if this works!

Friday, 27 August 2010

The Many Beards of Craig Chambers

I can't help but feel the title of this post sounds like an Oscar Wilde novel. I wanted to dedicate this post to my husband's wonderful beard in it's many incarnations. Afterall there is something very sexy about a man with a beard.

So logically, starting with the sans beard look... This photo was taken at Manchester airport before our big American holiday looking pretty skinny at this point too. Craig usually shaves before a holiday just to stop embarrassing tan lines.

The moustache that never caught on (strangely) This moustache never actually got to leave the beach hut we were staying in Thailand.

This 'Ashes to Ashes' moustache also never left the Thai beach hut. There's something about the straight across 'tache that says 70's/80's CID. This would be alright if you were getting sponsored for it during 'Tacheback'- the charity hair growing lark.

One of my all time favourites the 'Laughing Cavalier'. Very reminiscent of Jay Rayner the food critic from Master chef goes large. I think it is dashing but with a sense of humour...

Just to remind you what the original looks like...

Next in line is a bit of cavalier and some Hercule Poirot thrown in. This particular 'do' was for the hospital ball at the Stirk House hotel. It took a fair bit of research to find good moustache wax. The publication 'The Chap' came up trumps in the end. Incidentally, The Chap seems to be a great publication for the gentleman who still wears a waistcoat, pocket watch and a trilby. They have an event every year called the Chap Olympics in London which sounds like a real hoot. Alas we have never managed to go.

Next is the straight forward goatee, nothing too exciting but a good everyday work beard nonetheless.

Here is the fancy dress cowboy 'tache, grown specifically for Fran and Paul's party. Craig was a little weirded out that everyone had had their individual fancy dress chosen for them. I personally thought we were lucky to get cowboy and bordello girl chosen for us. In my opinion, Craig was a little disappointed not to give his Moses costume a second wearing. It was a really good costume consisting of a Gandalf wig, scratchy wool blanket, shorts, sandals, a wooden staff and a slate placemat for his commandments. Religious stag do's eh?

This is the full on Zac Dingle beard. These photos demonstrate when this beard is particulary useful. Firstly, when you have just had your first baby and you can't be arsed shaving because everything is all up in the air. Everyone's too busy looking at the baby to notice the growth anyway...

Secondly, is when the weather gets very cold and the fur keeps your face warm. This picture looks like Craig is telemarking in Norway. Actually, it is just Darwen Moor with the freaky snows we had earlier this year.

Finally, the face furniture that inspired this post. Craig is out tonight with a mate from Sony Ericsson so decided to fashion this creation at half eleven last night. I think he looks like Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame, while Craig feels that it is more reminiscent of Metallica's James Hetfield. Either way, a sexy look.

They all work for me. Have a good night tonight. X

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Ten to nine...absolutely pooped. Just finished loading dishwasher and sorting washing. Craig is cooking Spag Bol. Bizarrely he is watching Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason while he does this (now he's decided to 'man-up' and watch Fight Club- more like it). Craig is so sweet, he is cooking Spag Bol knowing that I will be able to eat some tomorrow night while he is out on the razzle. Probably a good thing because I would only eat a bowl of cereals otherwise.

Freya's bedroom is coming together nicely. The plan is: I will hoover and wash the carpet, then stock it with her toys and books, with a view to her 'getting the keys' on Saturday night. That will be one less job to do before 'Baldur' arrives. This is the name that Craig affectionately called the bump last night. We have been toying with Norse names (Freya, obviously) but Baldur is a step too far,me thinks, a) it sounds like 'Boulder' when you say it and b) there is also a role playing game connection.

Here are the 'before' shots of what used to be our grown up spare room, which is about to be overwhelmed with brightly coloured plastic crap. Oh well as long as she loves it and there is room for me to crash out on the nights that she might not be well in the future.

I can take a hint.

Whilst watching my five millionth episode of Dr Who this evening, John Simm was rudely interrupted by Davina Macall working out. About ten minutes from the end of 'Sound of Drums' it morphed into a workout DVD (it's always sad when DNLA lets you down) maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. I fought back...instead of thinking a bit of exercise might be good... I took Mooms to mum's drank some wine and ate pistachio nuts.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Pretend play.

I finally got round to buying Freya a tea set- seeing as how she is so British and is thoroughly obsessed with the drink. We took it for it's first test drive at nanny and grandad's. Mum was great and she got all Freya's soft toys involved and Freya got the idea straight away...who'd have thought, entertaining at 19months (my little Martha, maybe all the Martha Stewart stuff I read and watched while pregnant crossed the placenta?) She's still a bit clumsy with it but mum said that it will improve when she gets to use water, outside of course.

A word about children's tea sets. You can really go to town and spend a fortune if you so wished. My aspirational tea set was a £26 Emma Bridgewater set that I actually bought for Elodie on her first birthday. My sensible head told me to go low key and cheap because it will only end up buried in the garden at some point. So I gave myself a £20 budget for tea set and fake cakes! We ended up with an £8 early learning tea set but splashed out on wooden cakes (£15) et voila...

We went to the park today and we saw a family with three children, one crawling baby, and an older brother and sister. Freya was in love with the baby and the older sister. She kept crouching down to look at the baby and introducing herself loudly as 'Freya' to the brother and sister. I hope this bodes well for the future. I want her to have a great experience of being a sibling just like myself.

Her love of music continues... current favourites are California Gurls by Katy Perry with Snoop Dogg and Candyman by Chritina Aguilera. Although when we were sorting out her butterfly clock in the nursery, System of Down came on the ipod and she loved it (much to my dismay and Craig's amusement).

Monday, 23 August 2010

I should really be in bed.

It's 9.20 am and I have just got back from a really busy night shift... nothing that I couldn't cope with but a little like a nightmare where you are running through thick treacle and not getting anywhere. Nevermind- only one more shift to go. Woop woop.

The house looks like crazy, dirty people live here but it has been a nice weekend with Craig and the girls. I got up on Saturday to find that it was a beautiful day... Freya and I hung out and had breakfast before sitting in the sunshine in the garden- she really is the most easy going companion to have around at the weekend. Craggy finally joined us at elevenish for a 'cuppa tea'. Everything seemed nice and quiet so I suggested that we opted for a weekend at home rather than galavanting around beaches and monuments etc, so we took a mooch down to town and found that it was Darwen Gala weekend.

Darwen Gala basically involves a small amount of fairground rides and tombolas etc set up on the green opposite the park. We took Freya down thinking that there might be rides small enough for her but alas, it was all a little too big. There is also a procession through town for local groups and clubs i.e kids dance troupes etc.

Freya seemed to enjoy the party atmosphere and there were some cool vehicles to see. This is a little Tuk-tuk advertising home brew of all things.

We did a lot of travelling around in these scary vehicles when we went to Thailand with our friends Nicola and Nick in 2006.

Before watching the parade we had gone to 'Gibbo's' the hardware shop to get some brushes for our final push in decorating Freya's new room. We were in town at about 12 so the logical thing to do was stop and have some lunch. The only place that really fitted the bill was CJ's which is a small cafe in the centre of Darwen. It is really unpretentious and kind of like going to someone's mums for tea. They do glasses of squash, toasted tea cakes and milkshakes made with crusha. It may not be cosmopolitan but it is cheap and cheerful, plus we had mooms with us so could hardly venture inside anywhere. Freya had come out in t-shirt and shorts and proceeded to cover herself in quiche and pop. So I had to dash to the charity shop where I picked up a pink velour tracksuit for £2 (bargain!) and then next door to Superdrug for wipes. Will I never learn about going out without baby stuff!

A pleasant day anyway. Followed by me making Annabel Karmel's cottage pie whilst watching old episodes of Martha Stewart. A.K's recipes are fabulous but contain fifty different covert vegetables... so my whole mise on place thing takes forever! Craig also painted Freya's cot.

Sunday saw us taking a trip to IKEA Warrington to pick up final bits for Freya's room. It was good to have her with us as she was all over stuff. We could really see the stuff that she liked, which included any small beds. I am excited about doing the room up. I bet Craig's not excited about the flat pack issue... we'll keep you posted!

Definitely off to bed now, don't want to pick Freya up late from mum's as they have company today.

Friday, 20 August 2010

TFI Friday

After feeling generally sorry for myself yesterday, I am feeling so much feistier today. Craig has been his usual wonderful self. Whenever the metaphorical wheels fall off he's always optimistic, supportive and comes good with a plan despite having a tendency towards negativity at times. A well timed chips and 2 eggs (definitely no side of beans) and a couple of hours of ironing helped to lift the fog. My shift last night was also relatively easy despite excessive shortness of breath (mine!)

So, I dropped Mooms down at Anubis, the doggy beauty parlour. The place is run by this fabulous young woman Sam, who loves dogs and has a soft spot for Mooms. She used to groom at Crufts but luckily has set up base in Darwen. She always seems busy and I am pleased for her (and slightly jealous as it seems like a nice job) 

In three hours Moomin has been transformed... bath, haircut, nails done and the piece de resistance: anal glands milked! I wish I could say that I didn't know what this entailed but I once performed the service for my sister's dog Bailey. This rather cute chihuahua looking thing...

We then headed up to mum and dad's to pick up Freya. She seemed as happy as ever at Nannies because she does get spoiled rotten. She had been playing with her mini toadstool doll's house, making everyone a 'cuppa tea' and a new thing that she has started which is trying to 'get into' her toys. After chatting with Craig we decided that we would finally knuckle down and get her new room set up this weekend. She is currently still in the nursery which is a bit dull for her inquisitive mind. She's so keen to pretend and help us with chores etc... putting her own nappies in the bin and sweeping etc. So plenty of opportunities for play kitchens etc.

Welcome to the weekend. Craig has cracked a Leffe Bruin (or Browwwnn as our friend Hannele would pronounce it in her delicate Nederlands accent)  after having done the Friday goodies shop... on the list this evening brown booze, rhubarb crumbles (for the lady) brownies (for the gentleman) and a DVD of The Boat that Rocked. So will be signing off to find something nice and non-alcoholic to drink hurumph.  Maternitini it is then... Mix 42 grams of raspberry sorbet, four ounces of freshly squeezed OJ and a squeeze of lime. Smashing.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

They said it would be hard work...

I have had a couple of days getting it all done... dog walking, various stimulating activities for madam, home cooked food and chores etc. This flurry of activity is quickly followed by  what marathoners call 'hitting the wall'. I laid down several times during an hour long ironing session just get through it last night. I crawled into a hot bath at ten, which worked wonders. I did a big sneeze during said bath and heard a sleepy little voice saying 'achoo' through the wall. When I got out of the bath feeling better I looked in the mirror to see Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 staring back. The pigmentation on my face means it always looks kind of grubby and tired... must have a search for some brightening products next time I am in Boots.

Have just started reading a book by a mum of four who ran a marathon. I really want to start running again. It feels unachievable at the moment (obviously the next ten weeks are off limits anyway). I seem to be busy from the time I get up until half eight by which time I am exhausted and just sit on the couch. That's without a new baby and the whole breast feeding lactic acid thing. This woman (Julia Williams) has the argument that it is stress relieving and some of the only time she gets for herself. We shall see how things pan out when junior arrives...

I feel proud that I am managing to achieve what I do without cleaners and nannies etc. The worry is that when I have run myself into the ground and develop some dreadful illness will it have been worth it? I think I am just feeling sorry for myself because I am working a night shift tonight... bugger.

I should try and get some sleep really. My mum is an absolute life saver, she has taken Freya for the afternoon while I rest before the night shift tonight. I'd better not waste the opportunity. Be back tomorrow to show off Smelly Bill's new hairdo! Here's the before picture...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Continuing dry spell

This is a beautiful picture of one of our local reservoirs, 'The Entwistle'.

It was taken in May last year. We have been experiencing a real dry spell... not lovely hot weather you understand just the absence of real rainfall. I have been walking around the Entwistle regularly for a couple of weeks now. The route is flat which is great for me with the heavy buggy, sciatica and grumbling SPD pain. It has also seemed necessary to increase the distances that Moomin walks to try and get rid of her holiday bulge (courtesy of nanny Pat!) This is the view of the reservoir today, considerably lower...

It makes you appreciate the rain we are finally getting!

We have had a couple of days where Freya has only slept an hour or so at lunchtime (grrr) however, today whilst Steve and Jackie had their concrete drive jack hammered she slept for over two hours and I had to wake her to be in time for swimming.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Just a regular day...

I am writing while Craig cooks curry. I have had to leave the kitchen as the strong smells are knocking me sick. I have been less nauseated this pregnancy so maybe it is a boy on the way? We can just hear Freya over the baby monitor shouting Cameron and Aimee alternately. Maybe she is missing her cousins after a weeks holiday with them.

After having a beautiful day of sunshine yesterday with Freya playing in the sand/water pit, today has been a yet another rainy day. It has been my mission not to let the rain stop our adventures so with sowester and waterproof dungarees etc we still walked the dog around the park.

As is often the case, we bumped into nanny, Benson and Buster. After a good mooch and Moomin eating her weight in duck food we retired up to nanny's for a cup of tea. We just managed to see dad as he went out on one of his ancestry trips to Wales. He's just finishing uncle Clive's side of the family. It's nice to see Dad enthusiastic because his mood tends to get low with the rubbish weather.

I justed managed to get Freya's lunch down her before she fell asleep in her high chair. Which leads me to my painfully short but favourite part of the day. I had a snooze whilst catching up with Dr Who (I always fall asleep before Craig at night!) After sleeps, it was a trip to Sainsbury's. Freya kept shouting 'cuppa tea' when we hit the kettle section! I can't even decipher what she called cucumber but an amusing trip anyhoo. Must dash to get my curry which smells a lot lovelier now that it's cooked!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Words we have already lost

Just thought I'd jot down a few words that Freya has used in the past that have already been replaced by the proper words, or something closer to them...

Es = flowers
Das = glasses
Kundi = I want (to get down, that biscuit etc.)

First Post

I have decided to write a diary after several years of not quite being able to remember stuff, unlike my sister in law Sally.

It's great finding old travel postcards that Craig and I never got round to sending as it gives you such an insight into what we were doing in Barcelona 2004 (for example). With Freya changing day by day and the new baby on the way it will help to preserve the insignificant things that make us giggle.

The diary will only be available for us to see... as I think blogging is probably quite a vain thing to do, unless you are cycling around the globe like Craig's friend Bill or an American housewife with a sewing machine and nice ideas that I can pinch!

Happily it is also a chance for Craig to correct my grammar!