Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Dulcie's been getting into the spooky spirit with this "I love my mummy" top, courtesy of her Auntie Kerry.  I hope you all have some spooky fun planned.  We're spending the day with my parents and my sister's family, so hopefully something exciting will be happening, some apple dooking at the very least!  I've never been the best at dooking for apples and always preferred trying to eat a sugary doughnut from a string.  Mmmm!

If you feel so inclined, you can read all about how our family spent Halloween in 1986 here, taken from my sister's diary of the time.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

jamrach's menagerie

I finished reading this book just recently and it was so good!  It's a proper rip-roaring yarn, a real adventure story, but kind of dark and a bit dreamlike at the same time.  I've been reading it while feeding Dulcie in the evenings, trying to get her settled, but perhaps all my gasping and exclaiming is what's been keeping her awake.  I love it when books make me exclaim out loud, apart from when I'm on the bus or something (as happened with Fingersmith) which can be kind of embarrassing.  Upon reading the acknowledgements at the end of this book, I discovered that the two most gasp-worthy moments were actually based on real-life events.  No way!  Now I think, to find out more, I'm going to have to read a non-fiction account of a sea journey, something I swore I'd never do again after struggling my way through Ernest Shackleton's South.  Ah, it felt so good to read something a bit gripping after the last bland (but vaguely enjoyable) bit of fluff I slogged through.

Not that I don't have a huge pile of books by my bed just waiting to be read, but I'd love to hear any recommendations anyone has.  Given how hard it is to find time/space/free hands to read these days, any recommendations had better be good!  No pressure...  :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

sleeping (when she feels like it) beauty

 I wasn't planning to blog tonight, but couldn't resist sharing these photos of my companion on the couch.  Oh, she is so pretty when she's sleeping.  Swoon.
We're still having major sleeping issues with Dulcie.  She will sleep on our sofa, she will sleep in our bed, but she absolutely will not sleep in her own cot.  I'm trying not to worry about it for now in the hope that our forthcoming trip up north will shake things up and sort her out.  If not, I may have to go all hardline on her ass!  I'm not sure I have the necessary mettle.  She just keeps turning me into a big, gooey marshmallow of a mother.  But, honestly, can you blame me?  Awww!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

mad skillz

Not only has Dulcie learned to clap recently, she has also learned the word "clap".  (I mean to listen, not to speak!)  I wonder how much else she is understanding...  I'm trying to convince Graham that now would be a good time to stop swearing within her earshot!  Dulcie is so proud of her new skill.  Since she learned to clap a few days ago she has hardly stopped doing it.  I've even caught her practising IN HER SLEEP.  She is so cute and so happy with herself.

The bedhead she's modelling in this video is becoming a bit of a permanent fixture.  She has quite long hair at the sides that gets all mussed up and scarecrow-like when she sleeps in bed with me, something she has been doing every night again since she had her chest infection.  I'm hoping a few days at my parents' (where we're going soon) will sort her out again like the trip to France did.  The bedhead may be a constant, but her eyes aren't always as bleary and baggy as this.  We'd been kept awake the previous night by our increasingly annoying neighbours singing karaoke from 4.30 - 6.00am.  Grrr!  I think we could all do with a good night's sleep in our house.  We're having a quiet day of coughing by the fire today, watching Innerspace and Come Dine With Me in between reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

p-p-p-put down the penguins

This penguin fabric (on a £5 rail!) drew me into Primark this week.  I battled the crowds of shoppers and bulging rails of cheap clothes to get the pram into the changing rooms with me, only to discover that what I had thought was a dress was actually a wee shorty romper suit.  Darn.  Credit where credit's due, I valiantly tried it on, but it only confirmed that I really am too old/mumsy to pull off a shorty romper suit any more.  Oh well, I snapped a photo of the lovely fabric and saved myself a fiver and half a lifetime in the giant Primark queue :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the youngest swinger in town

Dulcie is hard to keep entertained these days.  Never a great one for naps, she is now a militant nap refuser, meaning she's not always up for long walks in the pram any more, or snoozy cuddles in the house.  Since she's not independently mobile, it's hard to think of things that are fun for her to do and not pure back-breaking torture for me.  This week we have taken to walking to the park and, if she's really not up for snoozing, having a wee play on the swings.  This passes some time quite nicely for both of us and gives Dulcie a good chance to nose at the other park users.  She does get really into parklife and already throws a mini temper tantrum when it's time to go and I try to get her back in the pram.  I do fear for the toddler years with this strong-willed girl...
 "Push me higher, Mum!"
 "Not that high, Mum!"
Here she is in the park this weekend, taking part in her absolute favourite activity - walking.  I thought if Graham and I took shifts to walk her round and round the park then it might tire her out and make her sleep in the evening.  It didn't work, although she did almost fall asleep while swinging shortly after this photo was taken!  Walking like this is all she wants to do when we're in the house and my bleedin' back is killing me, guv!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm cute (as a button!)

Look what my friend Bernie gave me.  Yes, it's my face... on a button!  Awesome.

Monday, October 22, 2012

little drummer girl

Graham would love it if Dulcie grew up to be a drummer and it seems like his wish is coming true.  Whenever she has two objects in her hands, she will instantly bang them together.  She will turn anything she's given into a percussive instrument of some sort and has even been seen to bang her xylophone beaters together "one, two, three, four" style quite independently.
She turned this old Roses tin into a drum as soon as she found it this weekend.  I should point out that I don't dress her like this for general indoor activity, we were just getting ready to go out in the cold so she was halfway to being wrapped up.

You'll have to turn your head sideways to watch this video (I did try to rotate it but failed).  Feel free to laugh at Dulcie's misfortune and resultant tears.  I was feeling guilty for laughing at it, but Dulcie laughs every time she sees it too.  Vindicated!

I've not blogged about Dulcie for quite a while (well, by my usual standards) and there's actually been been some stuff going on behind the scenes.  I made a rather flippant remark in a recent blog post about Dulcie's weakling premature baby lungs and it came back to bite me on the behind when her everyday cold turned into a full-blown chest infection and she ended up really poorly.  Antibiotics sorted her out eventually, thank goodness, but she really was unwell for a while, not far off how she was during January's Pneumonia-gate.  I'm happy she managed to stay out of hospital this time, but it was a bit of a depressing reminder that she is still affected by her early arrival, just when we were starting to relax and think of her as a "normal" baby.  Anyway, she's on the mend now and has since enjoyed a visit from her Scottish cousins, some extra time with her dad (who had a few days off work) and numerous trips out in the lovely autumn weather.  I'm hoping to share some pictures of her having fun in the park later this week, but her clinginess is back to full force so I am not getting any time to myself other than when Graham gives her her nightly bath.

Some other Dulcie snippets before I go, because I'll never manage to give them their own dedicated blog posts and I want to remember what's going on:

- She has a tooth!  Well, sort of.  She has a whitish lump in her gum, at least, but is not keen to let us investigate properly.

- She has officially stopped sucking her thumb and, in hindsight, we realise this coincided exactly with her stopping sleeping and with her becoming OBSESSED with my boobs, but she will not suck her thumb again no matter how we try to persuade her.

- Since yesterday she's been saying, "Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba," all the time and it's just about the cutest thing ever.

- She is only happy (other than when she's on my boobs) when we are holding her hands/breaking our backs to help her to walk around.  This is no fun for grown-ups, especially when you have blocked sinuses.  Ouch.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

we'll set about ye

Spotted this graffiti yesterday and it made me chuckle.  Come to Glasgow, the friendly city (with a touch of threatening violence).  Glasgow smiles better etc!

Ah, Glasgow, we wouldn't have you any other way...  Actually, a bit less threatening violence might be good when I think about it.  Ha!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


My mum and dad's cat had to be put to sleep last night.  Poor old Patch.  When I say "old" I really do mean old!  We're not entirely sure of Patch's exact age, but I think he was around 22.  For around 20 of those years he was missing a leg too.

Patch was actually our neighbours' cat, but he adopted us in the mid nineties when his owners got a second cat that he didn't approve of, even though there was already another cat in our house too.  He spent so much time in my mum and dad's house that when his owners moved away a few years back, they thought it would be best if Patch just moved in with my parents officially, so he did.  This was meant to be a temporary arrangement, something my mum brought up regularly even though she was very obviously delighted to have him around.  Years later, we never heard a word from his original owners so he became a permanent fixture.

Patch never used to be so much of a people cat, but he got more and more affectionate as he got older.  In his later years, he loved sitting on my mum's lap or being stroked by the fire.  He lost his front leg after he was hit by a car while out hunting, but he never let it stop him from doing anything he wanted. We even saw him hauling a rabbit he'd caught over our garden wall shortly after he'd recovered from the operation.

Apart from the missing leg, Patch's other distinguishing feature was a small nick out of one of his ears.  I'm sure he liked to tell the other cats in the 'hood that he got this during a cat fight, but I happen to know he nicked it on a rose thorn while sunbathing outside my bedroom window when I was about 15.

He was a really lovely old cat, adventurous in his youth and homely in his twilight years as all good cats should be.  I know my poor mum will miss him terribly, but I'm glad Dulcie got to meet him before he went.

Friday, October 12, 2012

OMG, I motherfreakin' made something else!

Over five years after printing out the pattern for these crocheted cowboy boots, I have finally made a pair.  In my defence, I didn't know how to crochet when I originally found the pattern.  I made these bad boys while we were away in France, sewing in the ends etc. once we got home.  One boot is a bit misshapen and wonky (I kept getting distracted when I should have been counting stitches!) but I am living with it.  For now.
I'm glad Dulcie the shoe refuser is willingly wearing them as I was starting to feel bad taking her out in cold weather wearing just her socks.  You can probably tell from this picture that Dulcie (and I) came home from France with a horrible cold.
She's really feeling rotten, but put on a brave face while modelling her boots for the camera, bless her.
And here she is genuinely happy because I was letting her play with the remote control for the TV.  Isn't her jacket lovely?  My mum bought it for her (at a second hand baby sale in France) before she was even born and she has finally grown into it at just the right time of year.  This jacket used to look so huge to me!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

les vacances

We're just back from a holiday to France and Switzerland, staying with my sister and her family.  We kept seeing these groovy signs for les toilettes everywhere we went.
The main purpose of the trip was so that the Glasgow branch of the family could finally meet baby Elsie and so that the French branch of the family could finally meet baby Dulcie.  As well as being the reason behind the trip, Elsie and Dulcie were also the reason why it didn't happen sooner - Dulcie with her weakling baby lungs that wouldn't allow her to go on a plane when she was tiny and Elsie with her constantly changing name and resultant lack of passport.  Both babies turned out to be worth the wait though!
You couldn't exactly call it a quiet trip since there were ten of us (five children and five adults) all staying in the house, but we didn't really do much in terms of outings etc.  We did go to an apple festival in a nearby village and, naturally, we had a day of charity shopping (more on that some other time) but other than that it was really just about hanging out and catching up with everyone.  My sister has four chickens and a swing in her garden, both of which were a big hit with Dulcie, so she was pretty much guaranteed to have a good time.
Elsie and Dulcie are very different babies, both in appearance and attitude.  They would have been born just one month apart if Dulcie hadn't been so early, but it still seems funny that Dulcie is so much smaller when she's the elder by three months.  Dulcie wanted to make friends with Elsie straight away, but Elsie spent the first few days giving her the this-town-ain't-big-enough-for-the-both-of-us look and then (since she can crawl already) mostly just pottered about doing her own thing.  I think they'll get on well in the future though and Dulcie certainly enjoyed playing with all Elsie's toys.  Do you remember how exciting it was to play with different toys in someone else's house when you were little?  I think even babies must get that feeling, judging by Dulcie's reaction.
Dulcie was well received by her three other cousins and really liked all of them, I think.  She had a particular soft spot for Angus, but we could all understand that, since he was so sweet and gentle towards her and was constantly dancing around and making faces to entertain her.  The first day we were there, he was overheard telling his mum that Dulcie was much cuter than Elsie.  My sister advised him never to compare babies in their mothers' hearing again.  My eldest niece Kim, ever the diplomat, immediately sought me out to say, "Dulcie is really cute, but Elsie is really cute too."
The holiday was also a good opportunity for Dulcie to spend some quality time with her dad who had no reason not to spend time cuddling most days, unlike at home when he nearly always has cat puke to be cleaning up!  Dulcie's behaviour changed drastically the minute we arrived in France.  Not only did she start sleeping most of the night IN HER OWN COT (hooray!) but she also stopped freaking out whenever I left the room, so I managed to pass her onto other people and enjoy a little break from her now and again.  She has continued sleeping in her own cot since we got back, so I'm tentatively hoping that the change of scene did the trick.  I don't imagine Supernanny would have advised anything quite so easy had I contacted her!
It was just so nice to see Dulcie joining in and making herself part of the action with all her cousins all week...
... even if she didn't enjoy every moment of it!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

OMG, I motherfreakin' made something!

 Stop the press and shock horror, I am blogging about something I made!  Seriously!  Ah, it's just like the good old days, isn't it?  For the first time in around two years, I did some embroidery.  I started this during my mum's visit, getting about 95% of it done in two sessions, and then took weeks to get the remaining 5% done.  I had a strict deadline so was snatching every minute I could to get it finished, wrapping it up while the glue on the back was still wet.
Can you tell who it is?  Please tell me you can tell who it is!  It is perhaps not my finest work, but hopefully I'm wasting valuable time by typing this - it's Doctor Who!  About a year ago, my sister asked me if I thought I could make her an embroidery of Matt Smith as Doctor Who in the style of my EastEnders embroidered portraits.  It's her birthday today and this is her gift.  Fingers crossed she likes it.  (I'm typing this from the past, so don't yet know what her reaction was, if you see what I mean.  I went to see a film about time travel today, or two days ago, so that sentence with its multiple tenses has left me very confused!)  I'm sure I'll at least get some brownie points for trying.  I don't watch Doctor Who all that avidly, so it was a bit trickier to get him looking recognisably like himself compared to Dot/Pat whose faces are practically tattooed on the backs of my eyelids.  I even stitched his bow tie in completely the wrong colour and had to pick it out and do it again.  I figured that would be a problem to a hardcore Doctor Who fan, right?

Anyway, he's done now and is my first post-baby craft project seen through to completion.  This, combined with my recent craft room clear-out, has got me itching to do more.  Watch this space (patiently)!