Monday, March 30, 2009

Ciara is four today, so I gathered a few wee pictures over the past four years.

A day old still in hospital...

Chilling out at 7 months

Having a yoghurt experience

Making her own 2nd birthday invites

With her lovely Daddy:

Being cheeky:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We've all been working a bit hard, and needed a bit of a chill out, so we booked an impromptu night away in our favourite mountain resort town. We drove up early Sunday morning and somewhere along the way my tiny DPN slipped out of my hand and down the small gap beside my seat. Gah, much as they might look like bamboo kebab sticks, they're not priced as such PLUS I had socks to knit, so we had to find somewhere to stop, and someone with little fingers to get it out. Ciara saved the day, and rescued my needle and we had a great time exploring a Forest reserve and picking about 10 ripe, wild blackberries. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the 'feast' even if I sustained numerous scratches during my foraging.Our hotel was as luxurious as we hoped with a big spa bath, wee patio with outside furniture and separate room for the girls. We had a picnic lunch in the forest, after Brendan tried to drive us down a mountainbike track , and then chilled for the afternoon. After an early dinner, we headed to the pools for a lovely, warm swim. Staying in for about 90 minutes was luxury after the last couple of attempts (with smallish babies) where I have been lucky to have any swim, and generally not more than about half an hour. The kids went to bed really well and Brendan and I had a lovely relaxing evening. On the way to the pools we had discovered an ENORMOUS blackberry patch, so the next morning, while I cooked a slapup breakfast Brendan and the girls picked some blackberries for our French Toast, and then after we checked out we headed back and collected these:

The container would have been fuller if it hadn't been for... this wee cherub.

When we got home we transformed the goodies into three jars of this...

which are going down rapidly.
And Ciara proclaims it delicious!

Finally, before we came home we went for a blat around town on one of these:
And just to add to the excitement, Issy fell asleep about 500m from the place where we were handing the bike back, so we finished looking like this.
In her relaxed state her wee feet dangled and both her shoes fell off. We didn't notice until we stopped, so then had to spend half an hour finding them. All in all it was a thoroughy enjoyable night away, and we're all looking forward to planning another one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Chinese Lantern Festival.

The girls and I went to the Chinese Lantern Festival on Sunday evening. It wasn't supposed to start until 5pm, however we turned up around 4pm and there was still heaps to see and do. We took the bus into town, then the tram down to the festival site. We walked around looking at all the animals and lanterns and it was vibrant, bustling and interesting. We bought some Chinese food from the food stalls for dinner and sat and ate that by the river.

Ciara was fascinated by the Foo Lions, and she wanted some ladies walking along the path to 'be lions'. The ladies were very obliging and gave some good growls.

After dinner we had a Vanilla Ice sundae, which while not Chinese, was exceedingly yummy. We caught the tram back to the bus station and then the girls roared around and ran up and down the yellow lines painted on the floor for the fifteen minutes we had to wait until the bus came. We'll definitely make this a yearly event, as it was heaps of fun, and we're looking forward to being able to stay late enough to actually see some lanterns lit up!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A haircut called 'Brave'!

I have to record this event that had Brendan and I laughing so hard this evening our cheeks were hurting. It involved an imaginery pair of scissors, an imagination and Ciara!

Just before Ciara went to bed she decided to brush my hair, and then to 'cut' it. As she moved around my head gathering the hair up and pretending to cut it, in much the same way that I cut hers, Brendan commented 'Wow, that's a great looking cut, what do you call that style?' After a short pause, Ciara says 'Um... ...Brave!'

Well, that started us all giggling, and then I jokingly said 'Brendan can you please grab some scissors for Ciara so that she can really give my hair a haircut.' Ciara's wide eyes and giggle at my 'Just kidding' was a treat. Brendan laughed and commented that she was doing a really good job, and then he went a step further and said 'Just imagine you are having a nap one day, and then you wake up to the sound of snip, snip, snip as Ciara cuts your hair.' I laughed (secure in the knowledge that I never nap when alone with the kids), and I laughingly cautioned Ciara 'Don't even think about it'.

There was a pause, then her whole body gathered in on itself and tensed as her eyes grew like saucers and she exclaimed with a squeal and a giggle 'OOOOOOOOOH! That would be SOOO BAD!!!', then 'I DID think about it.' We were both watching her and realised that she had totally transported herself on my words 'Don't even think about it' to an imaginery place where she was cutting my hair while I napped. The thrill of defying my caution combined with the vision of herself as Mum's secret hairdresser was the kind of 'whole body experience' that three year olds are just so good at!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It finally happened!

The thesis is finished.

At 5.30am Brendan stumbled into bed having worked all day and night and following a month of very late nights, and months of working day and evening on the beast! He was a bit tired when he had to get up at 7.30 a.m. to take the file to Dad for printing.

You might think that this is a sure sign he has left it all until the last minute, but in fact, he has been very disciplined about the whole thing. The fact that he picked a HUGE study topic didn't help, which meant his final product is 50% longer than many. He has also been extremely thorough and done some groundbreaking work on new techniques which is very exciting - but extremely time-consuming as well, because you're forging a new path yourself.

We celebrated by taking the girls along for the ride to drop the file off, then into Drexyls for breakfast. Yummo. The pelting hail which started just before we left just added to the excitement of the morning for Ciara.

When we got home Brendan went to bed for a couple of hours while I did puzzles with the girls and Brendan and Ciara have just popped out on the bus to pick up the printed copy.

The enormity of the project really came home to me when I realised that Brendan has been working on this project for half of Ciara's life! And all of Isabella's life. Ciara doesn't remember a time when Daddy wasn't disappearing out to the garage office to work on his thesis.

Now, we can relax a little, tidy the house, do a bit of gardening and just chill out for a wee while before he starts the next wee project.

His PhD.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Adoring your big sister.

Isabella loves and adores Ciara. It is so plain to see.

In the mornings if we are up earlier with Isabella (Ciara has been sleeping in this week) she is a bit scratchy until Ciara gets up, and she would be off down to Ciara's room like a shot, waking her up, if we let her.

Since Ciara 'taught' Isabella how to wash her hands, Ciara can no longer go wash her hands by herself, she has to have her wee buddy up on the stool next to her washing her hands too. It's often quite a wet process, for me too, seeing as I have to stand behind and make sure Isabella doesn't fall on the tiles.

This morning Ciara and Brendan were joking that Ciara was going back to bed straight after breakfast. Ciara was wrapped up in her duvet, and brought over to Isabella and I so that we could 'say ni-night'. As soon as Isabella thought Ciara was going back to bed she started crying, and she wouldn't be consoled. It was only the reappearance of Ciara a few minutes later that stopped her crying, and even then, she couldn't quite bring herself to look at Ciara without little sobs escaping for a few minutes. It's very sweet.

I used to think 'subsequent' children must miss out a bit (on that one-on-one that the oldest child gets for so long), but I was wrong. In fact, they seem to be enriched by the two-on-one, or three-on-one, and in Isabella's case she seems to really miss Ciara when she is temporarily absent.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The magic of lasagne.

Why is that if you call something 'lasagne' you can pack it full of all sorts of inedible ingredients (to a 3yo) and it still disappears as if it were a bowl of hokey pokey ice-cream!

We had lasagne for tea. It was combined effort between Alison and myself. I borrowed her basic ideas but made it my own, and it was still wolfed down by all. Feeling very virtuous about all the coloured veges that the kids had consumed I followed it up with self-saucing chocolate pudding and hokey pokey ice-cream.

In case you're interested it went something like this: Cook some brown lentils until soft (I usually stick some in a pot first thing in the morning, bring to boil, turn off, leave an hour or so, bring to boil again, turn off and leave until soft). Throw in food processor with a tin of tomatoes, a roughly chopped onion, a packet of any sort of soup (I used tomato), some basil and oregano, 5 big cubes of defrosted frozen spinach (or huge pile of fresh if you have it), 1C hot water. Whizz.

Layer in crockpot with lasagne noodles then pour over 1C milk, with 1Tbsn cornflour and 1 egg all whisked together. I threw the grated cheese on once I took it out because I find it sort of burns in the crockpot.

Ah, the magic of lasagne, wonder what flavour we'll have next.