rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
... instead of the piles of clothes that have been obscuring them.  I think about 18-24 months' worth of outgrown children's clothes, plus a lurking stash of rags, and a surprise stash of clothes which I must have put aside for Nicholas to grow into - they happen to fit him perfectly now, hurrah!  He is very excited about them.  I filled 2.5 Really Useful Boxes with size 8-10 years clothing, have several packages to send to smaller relatives, another bag of recycling, and a half-full Bag For School which can go in on Friday week.

Sorting out the clothes was a blocker on the big job I really want to get done this weekend, which is moving Nicholas into what was our spare room.  Sharing a room is triggering a lot of arguments between the children, and we always intended to give them a room each eventually, we're just advancing the timetable. But so much stuff to move around to make it work, ugh.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
1. I was just saying to my boss this week that I was quite proud of keeping my migraines under control more lately; guess what I got yesterday? So annoying, especially as I'd been looking forward to a friend's party that I ended up missing.

2. I am very slowly beginning to tackle the backlog of Stuff I Kept Putting Off While Studying; this week has been all about the clothes / fabric. I have assorted piles of worn-out clothes and out-grown clothes accumulating around my room. I pulled out all the actually worn-out stuff, and bagged that up to go to recycling. I bagged up two sets of bedding we never use for the charity shop. I bought myself some underwear that doesn't have holes in, and added all the ones that did to the recycling bags, along with my oldest & least useful bras. I sorted through my socks, and chucked a good few pairs in the recycling bags, and a few others into the charity bag. Finally I ended up sorting through my stash of pretty scarves and wraps and kept only the ones that I really love and may actually wear more than once a year. (I sort of aspire to be someone who routinely wears pretty scarves etc but in practice I am never that put-together very often.)

3. I took the charity bag to the EACH shop, and came back with a very shiny pair of not!DMs and a metallic blue stripey hat. (Amusingly, I had been whinging this week about needing new shoes for winter, and hating shoe shopping, so that was very well timed.)

4. Last Saturday I watched Robocop with [personal profile] fanf . He was inspired by this post (linked by [personal profile] andrewducker ), and I'd never previously watched it - not on purpose, just never got round to it. It's very very Paul Verhoeven isn't it? Gratuitious mixed-sex shower scene, gory violence, horrible-future-media & horrible-future-adverts. Although my reaction to the project manager with the huge glasses was a. love those glasses b. you are really enjoying imagining watsisface having his hand broken c. please tell me watsisface dies horribly after forcing a kiss on you and taking credit for your work (spoiler - he does). Watsisface really is a walking example of the unwarranted confidence of the mediocre white man.

5. Nicholas saw Trolls at holiday/after school clubs and asked for his own copy. It's not awful, and I like the music, but after sitting through it with him three times in less than a week, I think I have had enough of it for now. The trailers on it include Home (based on The True Meaning of Smekday) which I've been meaning to watch, and Nicholas is keen to do so too, so hopefully I'll enjoy that more.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We were away just under 22 days and we've been home a bit over 48 hours, and work / holiday club start up again tomorrow, plus I have to go get a bone marrow sample (bleh). We got the unpacking and post-opening done Saturday evening.  Yesterday and today we have been mostly going splat and chilling, with a shopping trip for me and the children this afternoon. (Build-A-Bear, new school shoes for Nicholas, and then a bunch of new sleepwear for both of them because they were smitten as we walked past on the way to the shoes.)

The holiday was much harder on the children than I'd expected, to keep changing location so much.  The journey legs themselves mostly went well, all with their share of Children Are Bored, but also all with a fair share of Children Finding It Exciting.  The bigger problem was that settling into a new place to sleep every few nights was Too Much for them, and Worldcon was too big and intimidating. They were stressed, which stressed the adults too. So we did a lot less tourism and a lot more chilling-out and going-swimming than I'd envisaged, and I did a whole lot more emotional labour than usual (from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs, etc) and everyone got home a bit tired and fed up with each other and very, very glad to be back in our own territory.

In terms of lessons identified:
  • Charles doesn't want to go to another convention again unless he's sure it's on topics that interest him. Unfortunately most of the children's track at Worldcon didn't work for him, and by the time we realised that, he was in a place where he didn't want to engage with me trying to find things of interest to him, he just wanted to stay away from the con.
  • While the rail-trip approach works for me and Tony, the children really just want to go to a place, stay there, do a gentle mix of touristing and chilling out, and go straight home afterward.
  • Three weeks was probably too long for everyone, though it's hard to separate that from the problems of moving too frequently. Two weeks is probably a good maximum for future family holidays.
  • Multi-room apartments with self-catering capability is definitely preferable to hotel rooms, and Airbnb worked well for us. (There was some difficulty getting into our flat in Stockholm, which is its own story, but the Airbnb customer service were helpful and supportive and once we were in, everything ran smoothly.)
  • When I'm not working, and not studying (much), even with the extra load of looking after my over-stressed little family, I have SO much energy. I only had 2 migraines the whole time away (one during Worldcon, one on our last day) and both were controlled by sumatriptan. In another two weeks I'll have finished studying entirely (for now).
I'm glad we went.  If I were to plan it all over again I'd do it differently, but I didn't know then what I know now.  I particularly want to go back to Copenhagen for longer, and to see more of Stockholm than we managed.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Both children love swimming. Charles is a competent casual swimmer, Nicholas is still in beginner swim lessons and needs the full-time attention of an adult whenever out of his depth. So I like to take them swimming whenever possible, and made sure to pack swimming things for this holiday.

So far we have managed 2 pools in Helsinki, 1 on the ferry, and 2 in Stockholm.
Read more... )
Today we arrived in Copenhagen and our current airbnb in Fredericksberg is a very short walk from another local pool, plus there are a number of others I am investigating in case we have time for a second one ...
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
The first week of school holidays; a big to-do list to get done at both home and work before Helsinki; in particular a big code push early on Tuesday morning.  I had a whole carefully worked-out schedule of when Tony and I would be at work and on leave and working from home and doing childcare runs.

Early on Monday morning, I woke up very suddenly and proceeded to have a very thorough stomach upset for much of the day.  My boss is the best boss, for taking over and sorting out my Tuesday work for me.  I had to reorganise the cleaner, and my routine bone marrow appointment due today (because taking a potential stomach bug into a ward of cancer patients is distinctly antisocial) and completely redo the who-is-home-when plan for the week.

But I was at least able to work today, and (fingers-crossed) I'll be back in the office tomorrow.

The most exciting thing this week has at least gone to plan so far.  My dad made a flying visit today to collect Nicholas for a long weekend at WOMAD. His first time away from home without a parent in tow; not his first time away from both parents though, and it should be a lot of fun for them both.  I look forward to hearing all about it on Monday.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last Sunday (after Saturday's epic dog chase where I lost my keys) I woke up feeling the most hungover I have in years.  And I didn't even get drunk first!  I did manage to pull myself together by early afternoon, and we successfully hosted Nicholas's birthday party at the Little Gym in the late afternoon.

Yesterday was tiring, but for a much more pleasant reason. I took Nicholas to see My First Ballet: Cinderella at the Peacock Theatre, and for icecream at Ruby Violet afterward. We walked to Ruby Violet through pouring rain with bright new umbrellas, and had the whole shop to ourselves.  By the time we'd finished eating it was bright and sunny for the return walk to Kings Cross.  This morning I was thankfully free of hangover symptoms, but did (need to) spend the morning in bed again.  (Reading fanfic and re-reading All Systems Red; there are worse ways to spend a Sunday morning.)

The shiny new phone runs Pokemon Go and on Friday I let Charles talk me into installing it and going for a daily walk with him. The first evening, we passed the charity shop and saw the biggest Angry Bird toy I have ever seen.  Charles bought it at opening time the next morning.  Today our walk took us past the noticeboard in the park - where someone had hung my lost keys!  About five minutes later, we met one of the people who'd put them there, who said they'd found them about 5 minutes after I'd gone home last week from grumpily trawling the park!  I thanked them profusely and asked them to pass it on.

Nicholas says he wants to be called Nick rather than Nico, and I'm slipping up far too often, but at least making sure other adults taking care of him are made aware, and giving him some standard reminder phrases to use on me and others. (It's really not my preferred version of his name, but it's his name not mine, so I need to get over that.)

School has finished for the summer, and in less than two weeks we will be in Helsinki!  I have so much to do between now and then ...
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I took Nicholas to see the Northern Ballet production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears at DanceEast in Ipswich. Partly because the tour wasn't coming to Cambridge, and partly to see how feasible the journey is if I want to see other things on at DanceEast.  It's an 80 minute train journey each way, but the train wasn't crowded and I enjoyed looking at a landscape I haven't travelled through in years.

It took us about 20 minutes to walk from the station to DanceEast, but that was at a four-year-old's pace.  We took a path alongside the river which was a bit scruffy but quiet and very pleasant in today's sunny spring weather.   It's not very wide, so I spoke quite firmly to my fearless four-year-old about walking sensibly next to me, and the undesirability of falling in.  We made it both ways without incident.   Overall, it was probably a bit longer than going to a theatre in London, but considerably less crowded, noisy, polluted or stressful.

The production was excellent and Nicholas was very focused on it.  An adaptation of it will be on CBeebies next weekend, and I shall try to get a recording, as last year's is still among Nico's favourite things to watch.  I did notice that the audience was very noticeably gender-skewed, both children and adults, which made me a bit sad. 

Back in Cambridge, I took advantage of having to change buses in the centre anyway to take Nico for passport photos.  As we weren't in any hurry, I indulged his desire to ride all the escalators in the Grand Arcade and John Lewis.  We just missed a bus home and I opted to spend the twenty minutes before the next one on a gentle walk across the park to the next stop on the way home, which did the trick of keeping the child of infinite energy entertained. It did not noticeably tire him out.

I, however, am very tired out and have done almost nothing since we got back, but I think I will be ok tomorrow.  Go me, matching my exertion to my available stamina.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Yesterday I took Nico shopping for new school shoes after his dance classes.  We returned with:
  • a grey snood with soft fake fur lining for me
  • a sparkling purple hat with yellow stripes for him
  • a fleece-lined grey hat with earflaps and a rainbow space invaders stripe pattern for me
  • a new dressing gown of incredibly soft fleece for him
  • new Peppa Pig slippers for him
... oh yeah, and a new pair of school shoes.

(The first three items were from the local charity shop, which I sloped off to while he was in class, which is possibly cheating.)
Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/676110.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
3 trains booked for the epic nordic holiday
2 stroppy letters regarding school attendance written and ready to print out and drop off in the morning
1 dance school dress rehearsal stewarded today (Nico is on stage for about 4 minutes; I stewarded an entirely different group; my respect for the head of dance school has shot up several magnitudes after watching her organise this)
0 working days lost to migraine, and a new prescription request filed online

Also posted at http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/673553.html with comment count unavailable comments.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
A few weeks ago I was trying to find a blog post I remembered Tim Harford writing about research into different perceptions of gift-giving depending on whether you are the giver or the recipient.  Along the way I also found that he'd written about Maria Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and rolled my eyes a bit (I have read enough of my friends' reactions to the book to be sure I would personally find it intensely irritating), but was interested to see how he pulled out three principles of economics that Marie Kondo is illustrating:
  • status quo bias (Kondo says throw it out unless it "sparks joy", which Harford sensibly changes to "a compelling reason to keep it")
  • diminishing returns (the tenth pair of jeans is less valuable than the second, which is why you tackle all the things of the same type in one go)
  • opportunity cost (if you can't find a beloved possession under all the other things you have, you can't enjoy it)
So this inspired me a bit to start tackling the chronic mess in the house, a lot of which is down to the fact that things don't have a home, because we haven't got room to put them away, so they don't get tidied away.  I started with the toys in the living room, because they were causing the most friction, and I also thought they were the best case of things that really should "spark joy".  (Clothing rarely does for me, for example, and I doubt the children's school uniform does either.)   It took me a good couple of hours, I did most of the work of division, with the children occasionally challenging my choices in one direction or the other, and at the end of it I had 2 carrier bags for the bin and another 9 for the charity shop.  I reckoned we removed roughly 2/3 of the toys by volume; and what remained is small enough that we can keep similar things together when tidying rather than finding it too overwhelming and shoving everything away anyhow (and making the problem worse).

Nico spontaneously spent ages over the next week playing with some specific wooden jigsaws we literally hadn't seen in months if not years, which rather gloriously illustrated Tim's point about opportunity cost.

I've done several more sessions since, especially in the last few days.  It needs me to have time and energy and inclination to spend several hours at a time sorting through a category of things, because I haven't figured out a way to bitesize it without causing even more disruption to everyone else and/or having my work undone again.  It is tiring to keep making decisions, especially potentially emotionally-fraught decisions.   I found a fourth economic concept coming to my aid: in management accounting I learned the concept of sunk costs, that is, when making decisions it doesn't matter what time and money have already been spent, what matters is the future costs/benefits that will result from the decision. 

The children have learned to trust that I won't take something away if they say they really want it, so at least now let me get on with it until I'm ready for their review, which has sped things up a bit.  And slowly the living room and bedroom spaces are becoming nicer for them.  I've finally removed enough stuff from the children's room that I can actually tidy / reorganise what is left.  This morning I asked Charles if he would rather I took him out to the cinema today, or continued working on their bedroom and he chose the latter.

And for all it seems a bit weird, I've found it sometimes helps me to let go if I say thank you to things as I put them in the discard pile.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
My youngest brother arrived Christmas Eve and was drawn into a conversation with Charles about Transformers before he even put his bag down.

Finding all the presents I'd hidden as I bought them over the past half year, working out what was for who and whether there was a reasonable balance between the children.  Then wrapping them all.  I had managed not to go as overboard as in some previous years, but wrapping still took far too long, even with Tony's help towards the end.

Failing to wake Nico for the evening meal after he'd nodded off with his uncles earlier in the day.  Being interrupted about an hour after the meal by a furious and tired Nico, and spending some interminable period trying to help him through the meltdown enough to try the merits of warm milk and a cuddle.  And then staying up with him until after midnight because Christmas is too exciting!

Tony tweeting: "Father Christmas brought me four packs of coffee and a book of Cambridge barber shop tales. What is he trying to suggest?!"  (It is an open secret to everyone but Nico that I am Santa in this house.)

Calling Charles away from Minecraft to ask if he would like sparkling orange juice for elevenses like the rest of us.  He walked right up to me, paused significantly, and said "No."
"How about salmon on bread?"
"No"
"How about opening your presents?"
"Maybe"

Opening presents together: 4 adults, 2 children, approx 90% of the gifts by volume for the children.  So much fun.

Lovely food by Tony.  Pulling handmade crackers from my aunt as we all sat around the table.

Remembering that I took my last (ever, I sincerely hope!) ATRA dose last Christmas Eve.

Taking a little walk around my local streets in the evening to stretch my legs, and enjoying the variety of decorations on display.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
It's the kind of work week where I take a break from fixing something terribly urgent in order to fix something else terribly urgent. (And yes, I get a kick from being good at fixing stuff, but it's very wearing when it's non-stop urgency.)

Meanwhile at home and in studying I am behind on everything, so they're both heading into constantly-firefighting territory too. Argh. On the other hand I'm just about getting enough sleep again, and I'm having that lovely feeling of wellbeing that comes once one is fully over a cold, and I remembered to get some vitamin D supplements for this winter.


Three things that amused me recently:

1. Nico knows about high fives, and high tens, but this week he offered me a fist bump and said "High Zero!"

2. The romance novel genre has many many subgenres: regency, shapeshifters, billionaires, SEALs, shapeshifter SEALs, werewolf marines, etc. This week my kindle app offered me "Billionaire Aviators" which tickled me immensely (and reminded me obviously of Top Gun, which I watched at a very impressionable age).

3. We had a team-building thingy at work where we had to anonymously write down something about ourselves and the team had to guess in turn which person had written which thing. The trouble with this is finding a Thing that isn't really obviously me AND that I'm happy to disclose at work. I gave up on being hard to guess and just wrote "My favourite superhero is the Hulk". Surprisingly few people guessed right, several more were like "of course! how did I not guess you!", and then I looked down and realised I was wearing Hulk socks.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Between the end of the cold, and last week's travel to see family, and working full time this week and getting an OU assignment in, I am pretty shattered. I declared it a weekend off, or as much as I could manage, when I got home on Friday.  Yesterday I took Nico to dance classes and a birthday party and then went to bed for the rest of the day.  Today the only thing I have to do is take Nico to gymnastics.  Charles is having a friend over, but Tony is in charge of supervising them.  I may get some of my to-do list done, but only if I really want to.  I may just read this week's acquisitions: The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London 6) and Penric's Mission (thanks [personal profile] davidgillon for tipping me off to the latter).

Dance classes plural were because Nico took a trial tap class after his existing ballet class.  He was a bit reluctant to go in, so I sat in the studio with him (with the teacher's permission).  He joined in a bit and then came back to me and said tap was great but he couldn't join in again until he had his own tap shoes that fit properly.  I rewarded this excellent negotiation with a trip to the dancewear store and the entire tap class uniform, not just the shoes. 

The dance school is on the top 1.5 floors of a 3-storey building on our nearest main road.  The dancewear store takes up the other half-floor, and on the ground floor is a cafe and a paint/wallpaper store.  All the businesses are independent, but being a student at the school gets a 10% discount on dancewear, and (I discovered yesterday), spending money in the dancewear store gets us a 10% discount in the cafe.  That made me smile.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  • I still have a cough.  I've progressed to the point where I am no longer stupid ill with it, I just ... cough a lot.  I'm not getting enough sleep as a result, but I'm definitely getting better.  Just slowly.
  • I went for my quarterly bone marrow sample on Wednesday; it was probably the least-unpleasant experience yet.  I got the doctor who is particularly skilled at taking them.  I'm pretty certain if there was anything to worry about I'd have had a phone call by now, so I am not worrying.
  • The children had half-term off school, and we sent them to holiday club for 3 days and took 2 days as family holiday to Sheffield where the newest and tiniest cousin is.  As usual, the highlights of Sheffield for the children were, in order: a) trams b) Ponds Forge swimming pool c) their family (especially tiny cousins).
  • I took the children swimming twice in Sheffield.  Charles's birthday party earlier in the month was the first time I've been swimming since getting ill, and I had almost forgotten how much I like it.  Taking them to Ponds Forge is more walking-around-in-water than swimming, especially as I was solely responsible for non-swimmer Nico, but it was fun anyway. 
  • Between cough and holiday and sleep deprivation I am behind on everything and have an assignment deadline on Thursday.  Essay crisis ahoy!
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
In which I discovered that the size 3-4 trousers are still too long, but Nico insisted he would rather wear trousers with the cuffs rolled up than the dark leggings that also meet the school "dress code". Why do I forget that my children are short in the leg for their height?

A frantic online shop later, all the supermarkets start at 3-4, but M&S had some 2-3 school trousers, so they are on their way. (What this says about customer demographics and expected-age-of-first-uniform I leave as an exercise to the reader.)

Anyway, have two pictures (second behind the cut). And if you want to compare, here are the ones I shared of Charles 5 years ago.

First day of school

Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
It's Nico's last day at nursery today, so I've made my last commute run there this morning and said goodbye to the staff I've got to know well over the last nearly-four years.  Nico now has a long weekend before starting school next Wednesday - one day with me and one with Tony to do Fun Stuff before the big day.  I'm looking forward to walking both legs of my commute instead of cycling nearly 3 times as far on one of them.

Mid-morning I had a text from my brother-in-law to say that his wife had gone into labour and they were headed for unplanned c-section as baby was breech.  Less than an hour later I had photos of my newest nibling and two happy parents, and found myself having a wee emotional moment in the office.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I went to a short meeting at school to confirm arrangements for Nicholas's start in September.  They are being more flexible than when Charles started: for the first ten days of term, they are offering half-day drop-ins for the new starters, but leaving it up to parents which days and how many sessions to sign up for, suggesting a minimum of two.  Then they are starting the children full time, in three waves.  Nicholas is in the last wave, presumably because he's among the youngest.  So we are able to start sorting out logistics, what days off we will need, giving notice at nursery, and so on.

Charles's class ran an assembly for the rest of the school, showing what they've been working on.  One of those things was filming and editing montages of themselves doing sports, and Charles's montage was one of the ones selected to be shown.  I was terribly proud :-)

Tony and I began our couples counselling with Maggie's Wallace, which seemed to get off to a good start.

I went out and socialised last night with lovely people.

Although I was very tired this morning, I have managed to be sensible and pace myself and get essential things done but not exhaust myself.



Bird of the day: Lesser White-Fronted Goose
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We just got back from a week in Llandudno, in this rather nice pair of holiday apartments, with my mum, stepdad and my younger two brothers.  It was spacious and nicely presented, a short walk from the station and almost next door to a well-equipped play area.  I know the area fairly well from many childhood visits to my grandmother, who lived in Rhos-on-Sea, and I'm enjoying introducing my own children in turn.

We originally planned and booked this holiday last July, when we were all at my mother's home for a long weekend, and not even the earliest signs of my cancer had appeared.  I've been looking forward to it ever since it became likely I would be well enough to still go.  It was a little experimental: we've not done a holiday in this mode with extended family before, and there was a bunch of admin and planning beforehand to make sure things went fairly smoothly, but I think it paid off well.  An adult:child ratio of 3:1 definitely made things easier!

Highlights for me were:
  • a trip on the Ffestiniog railway to Porthmadog, where we spent a few hours with my aunt and her partner, who'd driven over from Machynlleth
  • seeing Bill Bailey at Venue Cymru
  • spending several afternoons in bed resting/sleeping, knowing there were lots of other adults to play with the children, and feeling so much better as a result
  • discovering a little model railway on the West Shore
There were a whole load of other things I would have liked to do were I fully fit, but I am working on accepting my current limits and it was really very easy to rest and relax and sit around talking with my family and all that good stuff.

One less fun thing that happened was that Charles got temporarily lost while I was on the way to the seafront with him and Nicholas one day, but he did exactly the right thing once he realised he'd got separated from us.  He went up to the sales desk in a large shop and asked to use their phone, gave them my mobile number (which he memorised some years ago), and got through to me to tell me where he was.  The shop turned out to be signed up to a lost-child protocol for the whole town, which meant shortly after I arrived at the shop, so did the local police.  They noted our details and gave me some very polite but firm advice about keeping my children close in a busy tourist town, and agreed with me that Charles had been very sensible.  I was moderately embarrassed on my own account, but very proud of Charles and made sure he knew it.

The other less fun thing was that I had an OU exam in Cambridge on Friday morning.  I came home alone on Thursday evening to get a good night's sleep, and went straight from the exam to the railway station.  I left Cambridge yesterday lunchtime in grey gloom, and arrived back in Llandudno in glorious sunshine just in time for dinner.  Nico and Tony met me halfway back to the house - I heard a small voice shouting "Mummy! Mummy!" and was then obliged to carry an armful of excited three-year-old all the way back while he told me in detail and at volume all about his day.

(I also ended up getting into a really interesting and pleasant conversation with the person sitting opposite on the train from Chester to Llandudno; I love it when that happens, and the journey flew by.)

I'm quite tired now, after the third long train journey in as many days, but hopefully I'll be fine again after a good night's sleep.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Nico has been accepted by the same school as Charles.  It's what we were expecting, but there's a difference between "very likely" and "formally confirmed".  Now I can move on with a bunch of medium-term planning.  First step, finding out if there's room in the afterschool club for him.

Once we get past the initial reception settling-in phase, our weekday logistics will be a lot less complicated for the next two years.  But in about a year's time I have to start evaluating secondary schools, eek.

(If you want to know how the schools application process works, it's all here: http://www4.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20059/schools_and_learning/363/applying_for_a_school_place/4)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Nico developed an ear infection that got nasty enough yesterday evening for me to call 111. Saturday evening of a 4-day weekend is a rubbish time to access healthcare: the 111 computer systems were running slowly with the overload, but the screening nurse did her job carefully and referred us to local urgent care.  Urgent care did follow up assessment, but we agreed on an appointment this morning rather than me dragging Nico across town late at night.

He woke at least twice in the night in some distress, both times when he was due a new dose of painkillers.  (Ibuprofen is pretty effective; paracetamol, not so much, though better than nothing when it's too soon for more ibuprofen.)  It is dramatically obvious when he is in pain by the way his entire personality and demeanor changes, and when the painkiller dose is taking effect by the way he returns to his usual sunny self.  I am so glad the ibuprofen is so effective.

It was a bit of a struggle after the rough night, but even with stupid clock changes, I managed to get us out of the house and to his appointment on time.  To my complete lack of surprise he was prescribed a short course of penicillin. I asked about open pharmacies and was told airily "oh, Boots, Tesco, ASDA, I'm sure at least one of them will be open", so I biked over to them in turn (they are about 5 minutes apart) ... all closed. A quick google established that there was one (1) pharmacy open for the whole of Cambridge today, between 10am and 2pm only, and even further from home than we'd already come.

When we got there, it was a little local pharmacist and it was heaving with people queueing to hand in prescriptions and waiting to get them dispensed. Thankfully Nico was still cheerful and treating it all like an adventure, and I managed to keep him entertained for the 40-odd minutes we were there. I suspect the impulse purchase of a microwaveable Bagpuss helped:




In total I cycled over 14km today (normally it's ~6.5km to work via nursery). For some reason I slept most of the afternoon and have been fairly useless the rest of the day.

Argh

2016-03-16 09:59
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I was over the cough enough by Thursday to work from home the rest of the week, and to take Charles around some Science Week things on Saturday, and to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] beckyc for Bolshoi Ballet at the cinema on Sunday (all of which kind of deserve their own post) and I was gently cracking on going to work in the actual office this week and then ...
  • I managed to take the only set of bike keys with me to a thing at the hospital yesterday afternoon, and Tony needed them to collect Nico from nursery
  • so I tried catching a bus back to work after the thing, which in theory takes about 20 minutes, and in practice after an hour in horrible rush hour Cambridge traffic I disembarked and hoofed at speed to the nursery instead, and got there 10 minutes before closing, go me
  • and then I managed to coax a 3yo to walk nearly 2km home, go both of us
  • I have an essay crisis this week and really needed to work on it yesterday evening, and the whole bike-bus-nursery palaver didn't help.
  • and then Nico would not go to sleep 
  • and then started crying like in pain and saying his ear hurt, and we checked him over for signs of illness and injury but found none
  • so we gave him paracetamol anyway, because he was in pain
  • and he did go to sleep almost immediately after that, and though he woke up an hour later pain-crying some more, he went back to sleep fairly quickly
  • and this morning he was his usual full-of-beans happy self
  • so this morning I took him to nursery and mentioned the ear thing
  • and got sent home with him because the rule is no nursery for 24 hours after a dose of paracetamol
And argh, I appreciate the reasoning, and I want the nursery to be as minimal an infection source as is possible with large numbers of small people with no sense of personal space, and I would hate it if Nico got suddenly iller and made the other children ill, but it was a sudden and unexpected inconvenience.  Mostly I wish I'd known/remembered the rule before I cycled to nursery and back.

Working from home while in charge of a healthy and active Nico is pretty difficult at the best of times (looking after an ill Nico is actually easier because he tends to be quieter and less mobile) so I am not even trying.  I have asked for an emergency day's leave instead.

(and it might mean I get something done on my essay? who can say)

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Having a working immune system is great.  My cough is nearly gone and today I went on several buses, and to a place inhabited by large numbers of children, and I might do something similar tomorrow. 

Louise and I took the children by bus to the Funky Fun House; normally I do this by bike but that didn't seem sensible yet.  It's two buses with one change on the edge of the city centre and a short walk at each end.  The children were mostly cooperative and sensible on the journeys, and clearly enjoyed hurtling around at the play barn for hours until I declared time to come home before we got caught in the rain.

Cambridge buses are much less stressful to use if you are in no particular hurry to be anywhere; the long tailback on the way home due to cars queueing for the Grafton Centre was merely a bit dull, and at least we were warm and dry.

When we got home, Nico spent over an hour being entranced by CBeebies Stargazers, which delighted me by having Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock co-presenting.

Louise goes home tomorrow morning; the children and I have a vague plan to do the long bus ride to Cheeky Monkeys once she has departed.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
1. I've taken my last dose of anti-cancer pills this morning, hopefully ever.  Nice timing.

2. Yuletide opens tomorrow.  I discovered this huge fanfic gift exchange four years ago when I was pregnant and rottenly ill with it.  One of my dwircle/LJ friends (don't even remember who!) linked to their gift .  Over the next week I found myself working through the collection as a welcome distraction and bulwark against how miserable I felt - one particular long cold train journey was made bearable by the stories I read on my little smartphone as we trundled along.

I've participated a couple of times now; not this year because for obvious reasons I didn't think I could commit to writing anything (I was right). But the amazing thing about the gift exchange is that all the stories are available to anyone to read.  I now have a little routine: I download all the fics that look interesting in the fandoms I know, and load them into my ebook library held in Calibre.  Then I browse my way through the still-anonymous fics, clicking through from the handy end link to kudos / comment / bookmark as appropriate.  I never ever finish doing this before authors are revealed (and I get emails for all the authors I'm subscribed to), but it means I can continue to read fics anonymously throughout the year.  And of course I look out for recs by others and follow those too.  It's one huge indulgent reading festival, and it starts tomorrow.

3. My children are both SO EXCITED about Christmas; I think about 90% the haul of presents under the tree, and 10% the promise of lots of indulgent food.  It's due to stop raining soon, at which point I'm dragging them to the playground to work off some of their energy.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
First, a picture of me, showing off my new SHAWL (made to order for me by [personal profile] killing_rose / RavenYarnworks - it is the cookie monster shawl on the Etsy page, only with different yarn):

Showing off new shawl

Some closeups of the knitting (click through for bigger photos if you are keen on this kind of thing):

Shawl detailShawl detailShawl detail



And finally, two lovely photos from my dad's visit on Saturday. The children were persuaded to pose together to update the background photo on my dad's tablet from one of Charles holding a baby Nico:

Happy siblings posing together


My dad spent some time helping Nico paint, to both their apparent satisfaction:

Painting together


Charles was also kind enough to supply me with a new icon. I seem to be quite good at provoking his facepalm lately; we are clearly reaching "MUM, you're so EMBARRASSING" territory.


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
(Maybe I’ll expand on these at some point, but on past experience probably not)

Acoustic Festival of Britain in June: I met [personal profile] jae  and really liked her! I saw Show of Hands with her! I enjoyed listening to live music and also a night and a day responsible to none but myself. I was really impressed with young Welsh singer Kizzy Crawford. I also realised I really don’t enjoy long-distance driving any more, but I did at least have the audiobook of Ancillary Sword to keep me going.

Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
For one thing, I had enough sleep.
For another, yesterday Tony and I reached 10 years of being married, and while I was grumpy it wasn't because of him :-)
For yet another, Nico is THREE today. Three years old! Have a recent photo, blurry but fairly typical:

Nico lunging at camera enthusiastically
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I've just been ill, and busy, and ill some more.  Did you know that it's entirely typical for coughs to last up to three weeks? Well now I do.

Studying is mostly progressing in bitesize chunks; I've missed a few days while ill, but also picked up once my brain came back, so that's passed the first test of "is this really sustainable?".

My colleague's funeral had a very gratifying turnout; the funeral service itself focused heavily on the afterlife I don't believe in, but I drew a lot of comfort from fellow attendees, and exchanging stories at the wake.   Her family very kindly let me pick out some of her things from the flat they were clearing out.  I focused on books on topics we had in common and came away with more than I would have expected: I was amused when one of the business texts I'd picked out was referenced in my studying a few days later.  Now I just have to find time to read it before finishing the course.

Running is on hold until I stop coughing, which cannot happen soon enough.  Also I missed the 20th anniversary alt.fan.pratchett meet / Pratchett wake, but at least Tony and Charles got to go.

Eastercon is imminent; my mother-in-law arrived tonight and Tony and I will leave the children from Friday morning to Monday evening.  I've not even been away from Nico overnight yet; I have been away from Charles a few times for the length of a conference, but Tony was with him for all of them.  I am nervous and excited and hoping it all works out well.  Mobile phones make the prospect a lot more bearable.

rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
Nico is on fine form today.  Singing the "alphabet song" he concluded

"now I know my A B C, next time sing ... Let It Go"

complete with appropriate change of tune, and then enormous giggles.  Apparently Let It Go is his favourite.


(He has been ill for over a week, in a "not very serious, just keep treating the symptoms" kind of way that just keeps dragging on, and he woke up in a foul temper this morning, but he is pretty cheerful right now.)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
In a stroke of genius, my inlaws Lucy & Simon bought matching jumpers for the four children. It took quite some effort to pose a baby, two toddlers and an 8-year-old together, and parents had to be in there too to settle them down, but here, see the cuteness that is my children and their cousins:

Four cousins and their mothers


We kept the jumpers on our two for the journey home. It's my experience that dressing them alike gets an "aww cute" reaction which gives us rather more slack for them being children in public. Anyway, the two of them in matching jumpers holding hands through the non-accessible bits of the underground was a sight to behold. If I hadn't been carrying a buggy up and down flights of stairs, I would have photographed it for you.

(In fact any way of playing up the "aww cute" is helpful, which I first realised during Eastercon when C was a toddler. We got a lot more approval and a lot less annoyed huffing when he was running around dressed up as dragon or spider than we did when he was "just" a toddler running around.)
rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
On Saturday we went over to Beaconsfield and back to meet up with two of Tony's sisters plus spouses and offspring.  The travel was tiring and crowded (we managed to avoid the horrors of Finsbury Park, and were just stuck on a standing-room only train to Liverpool St, and just-about-enough-seats for all the other legs).  We were all rather zogged yesterday as a result, and I was very deliberately letting Tony sleep in as long as possible, and trying to keep the children occupied elsewhere.

Nico and Tony have developed a bit of a tradition on weekend mornings for Nico to "help" Tony with his morning cafetiere.  By about lunchtime, Nico had clearly decided Tony was slacking, barged into the bedroom and marched up to the bed saying "Come on Daddy, do coffee!"    I am afraid I was laughing too much to intervene as Nico ruthlessly pulled the covers off his father and repeated "Coffee, Daddy" until Tony emerged and got the kettle on.
rmc28: (wedding)
I fell asleep sometime after midnight.  At some point after that Nico woke up and came into my bed.  Charles woke me up at 5am, but was persuaded to go away again.  And at 6am.  And at 7am.   At 8am I finally felt ready to wake up properly.

Nico got much more into opening his stocking this year; Charles mostly resisted the urge to play with all his brother's stocking-contents as well as his own.  As last year, I put the (excessive number of) presents behind the fireguard in front of the unused fire to keep them out of curious toddler hands.  Mid-morning there was a little present avalanche and the fireguard fell over.  We put it back up up but further out from the fire, and left the presents where they had slid.

I'm wearing a tshirt with Olaf from Frozen, with the slogan "I'm All Out Of Shape".  We've had a mellow morning eating treat breakfasts and too much chocolate, and Nico playing Let It Go and dancing/singing along.  Now Tony has made the salmon-on-bread and poured the bucks fizz.  Charles is wearing a Santa hat and preparing to hand out presents, and all is well with the world inside my home.
rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
I discovered Nico playing with the power switch to the house router, singing "switch it on, switch it off" to the tune of Let It Go.
rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
I realised that although I have told several people this anecdote in person, I never got around to blogging it.

In the summer, the four of us went to Sheffield for a few days to meet up with my nephew the mustardseed and his parents.  On our last evening, we were having supper at their home, and Nico was bimbling around their garden and fiddling with a couple of pieces of smooth gravel.  All of a sudden I spotted him shoving one of these little stones right up his nose, just too late to stop him.

Luckily the children's hospital with an A&E was on the bus route back to our hotel, and we were shortly to depart in that direction anyway, so we just hurried up our departure, and I took Nico in while Tony and Charles continued on without us.  Monday evening in A&E is quite civilised and we didn't have to wait long before a nurse saw us and attempted to teach me how to blow the blockage right back out again.  It took me about a dozen tries and the supervision of a more senior nurse, but eventually I succeeded.  We were on our way again less than 30 minutes after arriving and I felt quite the hero.

The next day, at lunchtime, something reminded Nico of this, and he chattered excitedly to me and Tony about his visit to the hospital. 

I said "Nicholas, do we put stones in our noses?"

"Yes!" he said, grinning and nodding.  I sighed.

"Nicholas, should we put stones in our noses?"

He shook his head very solemnly. "No."
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Three years ago I bought us a new artificial tree, and spent a Saturday afternoon in bed gestating, while Tony and Charles assembled and decorated the tree.

A year later, Charles did the tree mostly by himself and roped Tony in to help, while I looked after 6-month-old Nico.

Last year, we opted not to try for the tree at all, given how mobile and unreasonable our 18-month-old toddler was.

This year, Charles helpfully pointed out that if we waited until 1st December we would be rushed because it was a schoolnight, and therefore it would be much more sensible to put the tree up today. This time we included Nico until his "help" became too difficult for Charles to handle, and I took Nico off elsewhere to distract him while Tony and Charles decorated the tree.

So far, Nico is being fairly sensible around it, but presents are still going behind the fireguard to reduce temptation.
rmc28: Face of toddler smiling (Nico2014-11)
Over the last months, Nico has gone from singing along occasional words with Let It Go to singing entire lines both with and without the original, to singing a recognisable Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, to a little repertoire of recognisable nursery rhymes.

And he likes to change the words.  So for example he has a whole song about Yellow Yellow Ye-e-low, and another about Daddy Daddy Da-Da-Dee (both to Twinkle Twinkle) and additional verses to The Wheels on the Bus where Mummy goes cuddle-cuddle-cuddle and Daddy is either fast asleep or goes snore-snore-snore.  (Not the fairest division of labour, I feel.)

Yesterday was the most complex yet, where he was singing about an orange plate to Let It Go.

Meanwhile, C just about tolerates N singing the wrong words but Tony and I are absolutely not allowed.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Someone (and I don't remember who, I'm very sorry) on my DW / LJ follow lists linked me a few months ago to this amazing "Mass Bolero" - a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Torvill & Dean's Olympic gold. The dance was re-choreographed to work on land, and broken into 10-second segments and all sorts of community groups across Nottingham learned one 10-second segment each, and then it's all filmed and stitched together beautifully. I think my favourite is the rugby players, but I love the whole thing, the huge variety of bodies and backgrounds, sizes and shapes.



Each of the children like to watch it with me, I think they are getting different things out of it. Anyway, after we'd watched the tribute a few tens of times, I looked for a video of the original. In contrast to the mass community production, this is the very specific hair-raising beauty that comes from very talented people who have practiced very very hard to get everything just so.



And just for fun I found another 30th anniversary version, this time from ITV's Dancing on Ice. Just how good and how practiced those two athletes still are:


rmc28: (silly)
Nico has a new consistent and very clear word: Poo. 

Charles finds this very funny.  Ok, so do I.

Also Charles has begun asking daily when we are going to have another baby.   He doesn't like the answer "Never".  This is the stereotype one expects from one's mother-in-law, not one's beloved firstborn.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
1. New words.  New words all the time.  New phonemes rather less often, so guesswork is frequently required.  On the other hand, the most recent new word is a very clear "Hey!" complete with indignant intonation.  Yesterday I was well impressed with "toc milk" i.e. chocolate milk. 

2. No.  Alongside all the new words is a lot of no no no no no.  "Do you want a cuddle?" "No" "Do you want a drink?" "No" "Time for a nappy change." "No".  Sometimes complete and furious meltdown when he isn't getting what he wants.  Two is clearly hard.

3. He's currently utterly fascinated with putting the DVDs in and out of the player.  Sometimes he doesn't even want to watch them very much, just establish which one they are and then get a different one.  As he's got more stable and careful, I've become more relaxed about letting him be in control of what goes in.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I woke up a bit after 4am to find both children had come into my bed during the night, despite neither starting the night that way.  I snuck downstairs to watch the end of the Scottish referendum results.  No more than 15 minutes later, Nico turned up next to my chair looking very sleepy.  About 15 minutes after that Charles turned up looking worried and very sleepy.

I've spent the next hour or so fielding questions about the election from Charles e.g.
"What does 'united' mean?" 
"Why wouldn't Scotland want to be independent?"
"What's a nation?"

Meanwhile Nico is playing with wooden blocks and ignoring the tv.


ETA: well, that was a disappointment
rmc28: Rachel with manic grin holding up wrist with new watch on (watch)
Charles and Tony made me a birthday cake yesterday:
Nearly ran out of candles

Yes, I did blow out all the candles, but only just, and then sucked in a breath full of candlesmoke, so it took a while for the spluttering and coughing to calm down. But then we had cake to eat, so it was all good.

There was a bit of a theme of the children "borrowing" my gifts yesterday:
Roll roll roll

Charles takes a turn

Otherwise I celebrated by going out for a run and by catching up on some of the Enormous To-Do List.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We spent most of a week in Sheffield, which was nice and sunny when we arrived and when we left, and rained most of the rest of the time. 

Our accommodation was a family room in a travelodge, very near the Ponds Forge swimming pool, which we visited several times and enjoyed greatly.  There's a little toddler pool (strictly under-8s, constant supervision), and a big main pool with an intermittent wave machine and a 'river' running all around the outside.  There are also two flumes but I was engaged with N on my first visit and they were shut on my second.  N went from terrified of the pool on his first visit to gleeful wading and sliding until he was turning blue with cold at the end of the last.

For getting around, we bought week-long "Citywide" (for adults) and "Getabout" (for children) train+tram tickets, which did the job nicely (except I made a mistake on the first day and bought the wrong sort for a day, which was nearly £20 we didn't need to spend, sigh).  Travel to and from was by prebooked trains, with sets of four seats reserved each way on the long leg from Sheffield to Ely.  Strictly, we don't need to buy a ticket for Nico as he is clearly under five.  Practically however, he doesn't sit on anyone's lap for long, and it's much easier to manage both the children if we have a set of four seats to ourselves, rather than trying to work around a complete stranger in the fourth seat.

Apart from swimming and riding trams, our main bit of tourism was visiting the Kelham Island Steam Museum, which was a real delight.  Charles was absorbed and looking around at everything for most of two hours.  Nico was particularly engrossed by a couple of the exhibits (one where you turn a handle to make light/move a train, another where you have to work out which additions to steel are appropriate for which purpose, against the clock).  He also loved watching a large gas-powered engine spinning, and did lots of spinning himself in response.  We made sure to time our visit to see the enormous River Don engine in steam, which held a whole mass of visitors completely enthralled.

We had a bit of drama in the visit at a point where I thought Charles was with Tony, and Tony thought he was with me, and of course he was with neither of us, having got engrossed in a particularly interesting exhibit.  I was helping Nico who was finding the steam-themed children's play area a bit too challenging, when a member of staff found me and brought me to a scared Charles in the reception area.  Both children promptly burst into tears and clung on to me while I simultaneously tried to soothe them, reassure the staff, and answer a phone call from Tony.  The museum staff were completely lovely about the whole thing, and I'm very grateful to them.

Sheffield being a lot closer to my mother's home than Cambridge, we took the opportunity for a day trip to Leeds midweek to meet up with mum and my stepfather Mick.  Mick's grandchild Sophie came with them, which suited both her and Charles very well.  We had lovely curry at Mumtaz (now licenced as 'Chandelier' to sell alcohol), and then ambled across for an hour or two in the Royal Armouries.  I confess, I primarily treated it as a free dry space with somewhere to sit down with my mother and Nico, though the rest of the party did some actual looking at the exhibits.   I mainly got to enjoy the amazing staircase lined with weaponry, while letting N wear himself out climbing it.

We deliberately didn't try to pack too much into any one day, and came home on Friday so as to have a whole weekend to catch up before returning to work.  As a result I'm feeling about as rested as I ever manage, given toddler.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I bashed the little toe on my right foot this morning by walking into my own bedroom furniture (I have form for this).  From its state this evening I suspect I broke it.  NHS Choices assures me that there is little to be done but strap it up and wait for it to get better.  I am supposed to be running another half-marathon in 2.5 weeks, and doing a long training run this weekend.  Humph.

To cheer myself up, three good things:
  1. ALL THE BLOSSOM.  There are multiple trees in blossom outside the window of my office.  SO LOVELY.
  2. I actually used "On your left!" appropriately while cycling past a pedestrian on one of the shared-use paths on my commute.  Then I felt terribly self-conscious.  But I will probably do it again when appropriate, because it makes me giggle inside.
  3. The children are being lovely: Nico is using "Dada" and "Mama" consistently, and Charles is being very solicitous while I sit with my foot appropriately raised.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Today was so warm I wore sandals. The children voluntarily went out into the garden. I took them to the playground this morning, an idea greeted with enormous enthusiasm:

Setting out on a sunny day
[Two children grinning at the camera in bright sunlight, in front of some crocuses]

They were especially keen on the swings, either with me pushing them both:

Round swing 2
[Same two children sitting together on a large round swing, one looking up, one looking down]

or with Charles playing big brother:

Swings 2
[The older child is mid-push of the younger in a baby swing; in the background all the play equipment basks in the sun]
rmc28: (wonderfrown)
This week I have been to "Christmas songs" featuring Charles's year group at primary school, and "Nativity Play" featuring what seemed to be the entire enrolment of Nico's nursery.  The two events have left me filled with
a) delight in the enthusiasm and creativity of children and the teachers and childcarers
b) increasingly homicidal rage towards other parents/carers who keep standing up and blocking my view of a)

Being British, I expressed b) by folding my arms and frowning slightly at their backs while internally vowing to turn up at least 15 minutes early next year so I can sit in the first couple of rows.

I'm having a similarly split attitude towards Christmas in general: where my family and friends are concerned I've been enjoying the planning and the choosing of gifts and the social events and the getting ready, but as far as people in general are concerned I basically cannot wait for the point where I get to go home on Christmas Eve and shut the door on the outside world for at least a couple of days.

I think my lurking misanthropy stems from being deeply tired: work is busiest from August through to November, so I have just started to catch up on things-not-instantly-urgent.  I am struggling failing to keep up with my study schedule, and the children are both being clingy and demanding in different infuriating, entirely understandable, age-appropriate ways.  A week off work isn't going to fix any of this, but it will help. 

Charles is very excited about Christmas, and Nico is just old enough to start appreciating that something special is happening - he was rapt and delighted by the decorations C & T put up yesterday.  I have bought both children far too many presents (which need wrapping, argh) and am very much looking forward to watching their reactions when they get to open them.
rmc28: (rmcf+fcdf-3)
I approve of this modern fad for teaching signing to children in places of childcare and education.

Charles has been demonstrating his school "Christmas songs" to me, complete with signing.
Nicholas can communicate "food", "nappy", "please/thankyou", "full", "more", "sleepy" and (as I just discovered) "cuddles".

It's not that we don't have toddler communication frustrations daily - but it makes the basics So. Much. Easier. I tried teaching myself signing for Charles, without much obvious success. The nursery staff are much more consistent and so both Nico and I have learned to be.
rmc28: Rachel speaking at a lectern with microphone and part of the slogan "Stronger Economy Fairer Society" in shot (libdem)
Nico & I were away from home from Friday afternoon to Wednesday night, attending LibDem conference in Glasgow.  I took yesterday off, with the intention of resting up a bit, and maybe actually blogging / emailing / otherwise following up all the ideas that Conference invariably leaves me with. 

Instead I had to go to the GP in the morning for a mildly embarrassing medical complaint (*) and to school in the afternoon for a conference with C's teacher.  I did at least rest a bit too, and create my new icon from a photo taken of me speaking on Saturday.

Today I worked my usual half-Friday.  Almost my whole department is moving offices over the weekend and the old office was organised chaos as last minute packing-up got done.  Along with a few others, I got my desk set up in the new building and confirmed I have phone and network there, and will be able to work on Monday. 

That was pretty much all I managed, apart from the last "helpdesk hug" in the old building (scrum was too unfriendly for the manager who'd read about Agile and set them up) and goodbye to one of my team who is off on maternity leave.  We were supposed to have food and "a few words" from the boss at noon.  The food didn't arrive until nearly 1, about the same time as Tony did with Nico.  Nico charmed a number of my colleagues, the boss said his stuff, we all ate as much as we could and I brought a doggy bag home.


(*) Nico has oral thrush and so I have nipple thrush, which is making breastfeeding almost impossibly painful.

rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
Nico now reliably says "uh-oh" when appropriate. Like when dropping food on the floor, or escaping through the living room gate.  (Compare with Charles, who started with "oh dear" and about six months older.)

Also if I shout at Charles, Nicholas often bursts into tears.  If I cuddle Charles, he comes barrelling over to get into the cuddle.  He babbles a lot and is climbing on everything.  Also the shelves that were out of his reach 2 months ago aren't any more.  Time to move everything upward again.

This Nico icon is a bit out of date!  There are oodles of more recent photos ... on my camera memory card.  Maybe one day I will sort them out, perhaps as procrastination for studying?
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
+ On Tuesday we found Nico has two more teeth, at the back of the mouth, making a total of 10
- Also we found he had an ear infection
+ Which we took to the GP surgery in Llandovery, who were willing to work with the railway timetable to give us an appointment yesterday morning
+ And prescribed antibiotics whrich have already had an effect within 24 hours
+ Meanwhile Charles went swimming for the second time and loved it

- It is our last day at Seren Loft
+ But the weather has gone back to gorgeously sunny
+ And it has been a good week

I've done a bit of study but not as much as I hoped; we've all chilled out quite a lot, we've had good excursions to Llandovery (x3) and Llandeilo and Llandrindod Wells, and we may even have some social time with our hosts this evening.

Travel tomorrow and a weekend to recover and then back to work / kidsclub / nursery respectively.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Last weekend we went to Paris for 4 nights, to kick off our family summer holidays. We managed to coincide with a peak in the local heatwave, in a hotel room without air-conditioning. Ouch. We managed, but it was hard work at times (loud room with windows open or quiet-but-roasting room with windows shut).

What we did in Paris )
We were back home before 7pm, and between us had just enough oomph to get unpacked and everyone fed and into bed. Although it was still warm in Cambridge, it wasn't as fierce as Paris had been, and our house is easier to keep cool than that hotel room.

We then had a couple of days at home before coming out to Wales for a week at Seren Loft. So far we are enjoying it very much - the hot weather was with us on Friday and the first bit of Saturday but we've had lots of rain since. I commented to Tony that my many childhood holidays in Wales have led me to associate "rain falling on wooded hills" with feeling relaxed and happy (so long as I am somewhere safe and warm looking at it). The children like the Loft a lot, and Charles is especially enamoured of the artists studio beneath it. I have brought my OU textbooks and am vaguely thinking of spending a fair bit of time in the studio studying while Charles Does Art, and Tony has lots of baby time.

rmc28: (wedding)
Eight years ago today I got married. Yay.

One year ago today, I spent a warm afternoon timing contractions and resisting the hope that I would actually go into labour and avoid the next day's surgery. (Spoiler: I didn't.)

In recovery

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

October 2017

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