New costumes for ‘T’ and ‘A’

With the little ones entertained at their other preschool on a Thursday until 3pm, it gave me a chance to go out shopping for new Halloween dresses for T and A ((Tara and Amritsar). Amritsar wanted to be a witch on Saturday when we go on our trick or treat hunt with two of the neighbours families. Tara on the other hand wanted to be a Vampire. So one Black cobweb and one scarlet wenches dress later, we finally have suitable attire for Saturday. Thor will remain with his ‘pumpkin’ look and Aaliyah and Caleb are dressing as the witches cats. I also found the time to do a bit of Christmas shopping along the way. The girls are doing a school related outing to another local school, something to do with their extra curricular life skills classes. Sindy is with them and I am entertaining the little ones at home, who are insisting on wearing their costumes whilst indulging in Children’s BBC. I really don’t know how earlier generations coped without the multitude of small children’s programming and the sheer abundance of children’s channels.

I gave Sindy a packed picnic for the girls homeward journey and plan to feed the little ones pasta bolognese, the same as what John and I will be eating later. I’m getting bored with the quality of beef mince the supermarkets serve us up with. For an edible sauce, the beef needs up to three hours cooking time in order to tenderise! Firstly whilst frying the meat gently, the sheer volume of water that the meat releases, essentially steams the meat and then the amount of fat the beef exudes over the extended cooking time, shocking really. Well thankfully we’ve always plenty of kitchen roll to absorb what amasses on the top of the saucepan. I noted in France a much more tender cut used for minced beef for bolognese sauces. Perfect bolognese in 30 minutes. I finally came to the conclusion here at home to just use pork mince (with a similar cooking time) and lots of garlic. Perfection is reached and we all eat very well. Time to put on the penne and heat up a treat, with masses of the finest parmesan cheese.

The bottom of the log basket

Well, the pumpkin pie went down a treat. That is, with everyone except Aaliyah. Dinner was my take on a bacon and egg McMuffin. The children had a Lancashire muffin. It is basically a soft bap, bread roll, with bacon and a fried egg cooked in a metal mold to make a perfect circle. Everyone ate with haste, that is everyone bar Aaliyah. Kicking up such a stink, several threats of eating up or the ‘Thinking Chair’, she chose instead to scream and scream and scream. She really has been so good of late – the very naughty girl she was just A few months ago, seemed to be a thing of the past. But tonight the ‘Old Aaliyah’ raised her rather belligerent head. She was partially marched, then taken under arm up the stairs to their bedroom. The ultimate in punishment is to be sent to bed and usually, at this point they will willingly walk themselves up the stairs. But tonight it was a lift and a walk for me with her held firmly but gently up the two flights of stairs and directly to her bed – the screams and screams continued. ‘I hate you Dadda,, I hate you’. I know she doesn’t, but it saddens me to hear such an angry little lady filled with such scorn. Thor remarked, once I returned to the kitchen ‘Aaliyah can be so naughty Dadda’, ‘yes she can’ I replied. ‘Pumpkin pie anyone’? Everyone (bar Aaliyah) enjoyed. The little ones and the girls are all asleep now. No dramas, probably due to the fact that they are all trying to be the best behaved that they can be, given Aaliyah’s behaviour. The living room is cold, we have just lit the fire. The log basket has been emptied and Aaliyah’s favourite PJ masks character has been found at the bottom of it. No doubt Caleb had hidden her there. John has taken the basket to the bottom of the garden to fill with chopped logs. Owlette the cartoon character has been placed in Aaliyah’s place at the kitchen table. I’m hoping it will raise a smile in the morning and we will once again friends… the ups and the downs of family life. Another day await us in the morning. Nite nite all.

Pumpkins

An obvious choice for today’s title! There is at present a large chair with a laundry basket on top, stood outside the front door. Why you might just ask? Well, they are draped with a white sheet and a scary pumpkin head adorns the top. In fact it is the largest pumpkin head I have ever seen! It arrived a few days ago, a gift from Sindy in fact. She in turn was given it by a family she is friendly with. It seems that the family grow super sized pumpkins and give them quite freely to friends and fellow villagers, where they live. How very kind of them. There were two other, slightly smaller pumpkins sent off to preschool this morning accompanied by a little bat named Caleb. We actually have a family of bats that live very close to the house. Every dusk they are to be seen flapping ferociously around the house for maybe thirty minutes before heading out for their nightly feed. I very much hope Caleb does not join them this evening. The smell of pumpkin pie is wafting through the kitchen and into the rather cold living room. A fire is made up in the grate for later this evening. It won’t be the first fire we have lit this season. That was on Sunday evening when we first felt the chill of the weather changing. It was a great excuse for toasting large wedges of chunky bread over the open fire, lavished with melted butter and Dadda’s home made black cherry jam. A real treat. There is a little heat coming from an electric radiator one of our neighbours, James has leant us. He and his family were without heating these last five days. Though their predicament was due to a boiler malfunction and not like us, simply running out of heating oil. One thousand litres has just been ordered, arriving on Friday. They put us down as a priority as I did mention the five children were already feeling the cold. The few Halloween decorations are up, thank you Auntie Sara for those. A few years ago she visited and said ‘my kids are a bit old for Halloween now’ and ‘you’ve got it all to look forward to’! I now know what she meant. Pumpkin pie and trick or treat. That’s family life for you. We’re not doing anything tonight, rather saving it for Saturday evening with some of the neighbours and their children. Better order large volumes of sweets in, though I’m inclined to say bah humbug, but humbugs are sweets as well I guess. At least we’ll have a heated house Friday onwards.

More photos to come tomorrow

Sorry to anyone who might have made comments on my photos as I just deleted the pics realising all of the meta info was still attached, giving locations etc. I will try to resolve this tomorrow and start loading some more very cute pictures of the children in their baby and toddler years.

On an unrelated matter, we are out of heating oil and it’s going to be a very cold night! All showered yesterday, so no immediate problem. I’ll keep you updated on this slight situation. Fingers crossed a delivery can be arranged as soon as possible.

Almost bedtime, sorry – it is bedtime, as Sindy is just now marching them up to get ready for bed. It’s getting cold, so long sleeves tonight and a warning from me to stay under their duvets where it is snugly and warm and no staying up late and running amuck. Thor has just returned to the living room for a second ‘Kiss and Hug’. Just Remus, Gracie and myself now. Remus let’s out an enormous sigh, as if to say, finally some peace and quiet! He usually does his sigh when one of the children is being naughty – I have to smile, he seems rather human at times. Woof woof (night night).

Screaming from the top of the house

With Sindy our nanny off for her midday break, the little ones fed and watered. I now hear the patter of little footsteps in the bedrooms upstairs. I’ll give it fifteen minutes to investigate. It might just be worth waiting until they either tire and settle or there’s been an event! One can only wait to find out the magnitude.

I gave in to the dogs whining for their dinner. I simply wasn’t in the frame of mind to listen to the constant whines of Remus and Grace for another hour plus. They are now settled in front of daytime TV. I put it on for them as if they are in a quiet room, they bark at the slightest sound.

The voices upstairs have escalated and Caleb is crying ‘Aaliyah’, so I had better go up and investigate… Well, they were all crashed onto Thor’s bed with Aaliyah’s light globe illuminating little stars all around them. Caleb seemed rather discombobulated, ‘Where’s my book Dadda, my book’? He had left his library book from preschool on the kitchen table downstairs. I told him he could have it later when he came back down. ‘Everybody to bed’ I said in an assertive manner. Aaliyah started to run back to her room only to be stopped by Thor. ‘Don’t forget your light globe’ he says, she totters back and grabs it, then turns to go back to bed. Thor shouts ‘you didn’t say thank you’, she returns and says ‘Thank You Thor’. Thor is happy and I come back downstairs. All is quiet upstairs once again for now, that is.

Back to school

The girls started back to school yesterday and today it’s the little ones turn to rejoin their preschool term. It will be a quiet morning though at present I am having a coffee in the kitchen and waiting on Sindy to arrive. Thor has been chatting to himself upstairs for some half an hour and now I am hearing Amritsar and Tara’s voices along side his. There’s no major screaming going on, so I guess Aaliyah and Caleb are still sleeping. Remus has started his whining. He starts it fairly quietly, but over the next twenty minutes it will slowly up its volume and by the time there is the pitter patter of footsteps on the stairs, he would have reached his crescendo of whines, interspersed with yelps. Added to this will be the scratching sound of Gracie’s paws, clawing frantically at the closed living room door. Sindy has just arrived and ascended the stairs. The chatter up there has become more audible as they all fight to tell Sindy about this and that. Now, they’re all good talkers, even Caleb has joined the ranks. He was the quieter of the bunch until recently. He has been the slower developer out of the five. Even being a twin with Aaliyah, she crawled six months before him, though he managed to drag himself using just his arms for quite some time, before finally getting up to speed with a real crawl, raising his bum and using his knees. There’s nothing wrong with being a late developer. Because once you have caught up, you might just even surpass the rest! Well at least that’s what we’re hoping. He walked six months after Aaliyah as well. But when he did get up and do three steps in a row – the sense of achievement on that little boys face. It was magical. So talking is Caleb’s final hurdle to being a regular little boy. Not so long before all three of the little ones start at the girls junior school. Next September is not that far off. Hopefully Caleb’s speech will be up to scratch before then. A lot of his words are legible now. Also, he is making sentences that are appropriate to the situation. Just six months ago, quite the opposite. I found myself straining to understand and mostly just nodded in agreement and smiled. He has had a couple of meetings now with a speech therapist. She is helping, but just having four siblings to debate with helps a lot also. Big sister Tara always tried to finish sentences for him (given their special friendship) which didn’t actually help as it made him a bit lazy with his own assertions. This doesn’t happen so much now, which is great as his communication skills are progressing steadily.

Breakfast now at an end, just one small altercation with Aaliyah as she screamed at me having a naughty cigarette on the terrace, ‘My shoes Dadda, my shoes’, waving her big girl, buckle up shoes at the back door. Sindy intervened and buckled them up for her. I came back into the living room and the shoes had been removed and with no screams she asked ‘My shoes Dadda, my shoes’. We put them back on, along with Caleb’s and Thor’s. All is now well and they are being snugly adorned with hats and gloves as it’s cold outside and time to fill up the Shogun in preparation for the school run. Five sets of ‘Kiss and hugs’ later and the house falls silent, just Remus and Gracie staring up at me. Now free until 11.30am so I feel one of ‘Dadda’s Jams’ mornings coming on.

Inserting Pictures on my Blog

Are pictures a good idea? Well I have just uploaded a couple. Obviously being new to blogging, I am still treading with care. On Facebook I only used to post photos on high days and holidays. I seldom actually wrote anything but the mean basics. But blogging isn’t just an account of the occasional day out or Birthday, is it? From being a fairly private individual, I realise that this blog has thrown caution to the wind, not to mention exposure to ‘the third person’ and their potential reactions to what I have to say. Well, as a writer, one needs an audience and being a moderate, reasonable man (I like to think), I have decided that pictures have to be part of this experience. I know that Worldpress have made creating your website relatively easy, with various templates and the customise options etc. So I have vowed that I will get there in the end. I will try to insert a gallery next time and see where that leads me. I wont be publishing recent pics, but I don’t see any harm in the occasional use of images as we are very real people and have very real lives that we are embracing. Hoping that all made sense. More to follow later.