When we moved at the end of last summer, we promised Eve and Leah a playhouse. They have been lusting after one of these since a playdate at their friend Maisy’s house, hers even had wallpaper.
The Easter break was going to be spent decorating our living room but the playhouse took up a lot of time, even with two willing helpers. First there was building it
Then painting it – a compromise between their two favourite colours, pink and green.
Lots of finishing touches
Then kitting out the interior – most of these toys have been packed away since we moved so the girls were very happy to see them all again
Leah says the vibe is cafe/shop/hotel/pool house.
And finally, two weeks later, playing in it
This captures a first – a two hour play session with no input required from us, no squabbling and no tears.
Last year Valentines was celebrated with heart shaped pancakes and less traditional but by no means unappreciated mouse slaying. How to follow that up this year, now that we live rodent free?
Mr Rush Hour spent an hour of a very wet afternoon digging me three eighteen inch holes in which to plant three Darcey Bussell rose bushes in our largely bare new garden. Bunches of roses and fancy restaurant bookings are for amateurs, bare root rose bushes and a bag of manure equal true love for me.
Bit of a late greeting and not such a great new year for us because I have been ill for the whole of this month with a hat trick of diseases, first with pneumonia, then with pleurisy and finally with an MRSA infection picked up during my first stay in hospital. Thankfully I am now almost better and can begin returning to work next week.
I don’t think I will ever take being healthy for granted now and I am truly appreciating small pleasures like going for a walk, being able to sleep lying down and wake up without pain, playing with the girls and being able to cook and eat dinner.
Hope your 2013 is a happy and healthy one!
Three weeks, about a thousand pox, two bottles of Piriton, one of Junior Calpol, one of penicillin and our biggest work/home juggling act to date. We’ve spent pretty much the whole of November playing host to the chicken pox virus and now the twins are back to full strength in body, if not complexion, I can feel grateful Eve and Leah can cross this off their ailments to-do list.
Here’s what I learned from the experience:
- Jung was right – personality is inborn. Observing identical twins having the same illness is the perfect proof of this because how else to explain why Eve treated the whole experience as a comedy and found her spotty face hilarious, but for her twin it was a tragic melodrama. Leah insisted on being covered at all times with a muslin cloth like a Victorian smallpox victim, lest she accidentally catch sight of herself in the mirror
- Liquid Piriton is a miracle drug (note: not drawn to scale above). It completely eliminates the urge to scratch and means you don’t need calamine lotion, unless of course you want the retro thrill of seeing those blancmange pink spots on your own offspring
- Americans do the right thing immunising against chicken pox. It might not be life threatening but it’s distressing to see your perfect babes covered in ugly blisters and in Leah’s case it really did make her extraordinarily miserable
Anyway it’s done with now and we’re thankful it’s not going to spoil our Christmas festivities.
I know, I know – I haven’t written anything in over two months. Life has just been so busy bedding down into my new job, moving house, settling the girls into a new school year, doing up the new house and richocheting between autumn illnesses. Anyhow it’s now the end of half term and I’ve had a whole week off work and so here’s the blog entry I’ve wanted to write all these weeks.
The main news is the move which happened at the end of August. It was emotional saying goodbye to the old house and all its memories of Eve and Leah’s babyhood and toddler years. They came back to this house as week old babies and most of their milestones took place here. On our last morning I walked around the empty rooms remembering their first taste of sweet potato, first wobbly steps, first ‘mama’, first drawings, all five birthdays and six christmas’. So many happy times and six lucky, wonderful years, probably the happiest of my life. But time to move on, we simply need more space and a proper garden. Eve and Leah need enough space so they don’t have to take it in turns to hoola hoop because the garden was too tiny for them to do it at the same time and despite trying everything bar a cat we never managed to eradicate our little mouse problem.
So goodbye little house and thank you for keeping us safe and happy.
And hello new house
I never thought I’d fall for a modern house but I spotted this one a year ago on my Saturday morning round trips to take Eve and Leah to their performing arts class. ‘There’s a house with interesting potential’ I thought, giving the windows and concrete fence a mental makeover and reasoning a detached house would be harder for mice to get into (true, as it turns out). After a few Saturday’s of this I looked it up on-line and saw it was within our budget and persuaded Mr Rush Hour we needed to go and see it. We viewed, made an offer which was rejected, put our house on the market, made another offer which was accepted and successfully applied for outline planning permission to extend sideways and upwards. Then there were a few stressful months where the whole thing looked like it was going to fall through, but it didn’t and now here we are. The photo above was taken on moving in day and already the windows have been painted and the garden is starting to take shape.
Here’s the ceremonial tree planting we did in our first week. This olive tree had spent the last four years squashed into a pot it had outgrown and now it’s thriving in its new spot with space to spread out and grow deeper roots. Us too.
or the Olympics as they are more commonly known by the non lisping over-5’s. They have been an amazing experience for us and totally worth the sacrifice of a summer holiday. We’ve immersed ourselves fully in events – Mr Rush Hour has been busy at work with The Road to 2012 , I have been volunteering – tiring but fun, Eve wants to be a synchronised swimmer and Leah’s done a TV interview and is possibly big in Serbia now, and we’ve also shared the experience with friends and family visiting from Australia and the USA.
We were lucky enough to have tickets to two events, beach volleyball and synchronised swimming. Both selected by me last summer based on what I thought two 5 year olds would be able to endure for two and a half hours. This was not a problem, they both loved every minute and Mr Rush Hour had a pretty nice time too – having seen nearly a 100 gorgeous girls in their swimwear in the space of a long weekend.
It’s been a fabulous two weeks in London and I can’t wait to do it all over again for the paralympics. “Please don’t ever forget this” I have been whispering into Eve and Leah’s sleepy ears as I say goodnight to them, I do so hope they won’t.
First Sports Day! Isn’t it good to know that there’s still fun to be had with sack and egg and spoon races? I think I had imagined that 21st century sports days would be high teck wii type events. The chilly, grey weather, slightly too big plimsolls and nylon shorts added to the nostalgia and are surely character building.
Admittedly it’s taken me several years longer than most of the parents I know but I am now 110% at the point where quite a lot of the time I want my girls to shut the heck up. They were both late to talk, Leah was three and a half before she uttered her first sentence, a melancholic “I’m not happy Mummy“, and I have to admit that I have always liked that this was different from your more usual “hello da da‘, even though I suspect this will be much analysed on some future shrinks couch.
By now they both really know how to talk and do so with a zeal and enthusiasm that feels like making up for lost time. For the past couple of years I really have revelled in their every utterance, but here’s the thing, for a start there’s two of them and lately they have begun not just asking questions but interrogating and oh boy are they tenacious. And it’s not just my motives which are under constant surveillance (“Why are you wearing that skirt again Mummy?”), it’s those of complete strangers too, (“Why is that man over there going into the shop? Why does he look sad? Is he ill?”). I can never get away with a simple and truthful “I don’t know” because they will say “But why don’t you know?”, then they start their full on nice cop/surly cop routine with one of them suggesting various scenarios, “Is he going to buy bananas?” and the other homing in with a menacing “YES or NO Mummy???” until I cave in and confess to a motive I really have no idea about. Mr Rush Hour and I joke that MI5 are missing a strategy in not employing five year old little girls to interrogate suspected terrorists and spies, we reckon they would be begging for mercy and confessing to anything.
This year I’m making my summer window boxes entirely edible and have planted them up with cherry tomatoes, basil, marojam, thyme, alpine strawberries and geraniums, nasturtiums and marigolds, the latter for their petals to liven up a season of salad eating. They have a lot of growing still to do but even so I think they look just as nice as last years more decorative floral boxes and I’ll be able to take them with us when we move.
Eve and Leah are still deep into their love for the Wizard of Oz, so I hereby declare, by the power invested in me, that today Mr Rush Hour you are King for a Day for outstanding services to fatherhood. Furthermore it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, Chevalier class, is awarded for excellence in entertainment (crowns and miscellaneous headwear) and endurance during the recent rainy half term holidays.
Happy Fathers Day xxxxxx