Monday, July 21, 2008

Mahmahwah and bahbahwah

Over the last two days, Jocey has suddenly found her voice.  Since our holiday in Lyme Regis, we've noticed a big change in her.  It was the same with Lauren after out trip to St Malo - I'm not sure if this is just coincidence or whether it is due to the fact that they had just reached that point in their development where they were ready to take off.

Since coming home, Jocey has become suddenly very mobile.  She's no longer content to stay happily in one spot playing with toys.  She crawls at speed around the room investigating every nook and cranny.  However, she loves standing up even more.  She's constantly trying to pull herself up on the furniture to a standing position, and she even walks short distances holding onto furniture.

When she does this, she always looks so pleased with herself and gives us all such beaming smiles.

Over the last two days, I was surprised to hear her suddenly try to talk.  I thought I had misheard the other morning when she said "Mahmah" when I left the room.

She didn't do it again that day so I assumed it had been wishful thinking on my part.

However, yesterday and today we have had many "mahmahwah"s and "wahmahwah"s and even some "bahbahwah"s and "wahbahwah"s.

Jase and I were both very pleased and decided it was a draw.  What a clever girl!  I must try to take some film of her standing up soon.

Country Fair

Last weekend, we went to a country-style fair on Richmond Green.  We had so much fun; there were farm animals, fairground rides and games and stalls of yummy food and goodies to buy.

Lauren absolutely loved it.  She kept calling it "circus" and enjoyed going on the tamer rides.

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We went on a merry-go-round but even I regretted it eventually as it whirled at a frightening rate of knots when it got up to speed.  We were in high spirits when we first got on though...!

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We had a picnic lunch on the grass; Lauren and Jocey clearly enjoyed it.  From our vantage point, we could see the donkey giving rides to the hoards of excited children.  Jocey was really quite fascinated by all the farm animals.

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Later on in the afternoon, Lauren and I tried out some of the circus tricks.  I wasn't up to the juggling; one lad there managed to keep seven balls up in the air at once.  We were all really impressed.  However, the walking on stilts was more our thing.

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Lauren even tried out the plate twirling, and with some success.

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I think you can even see that lad still showing off his juggling prowess in the background.  I only had eyes for my little girl though!

All in all, a good day out.

I'm an Auntie!

I've been itching to report that I've become an auntie!  My sister-in-law Charlotte gave birth to a big bouncing baby boy (9lb 6oz) on Friday morning.  Both mum and baby are fine, although poor Charlotte is understandably still recovering from a marathon labour.

They've called the baby George, and here is a picture I took of him when I went to see them on Saturday.  He's so laid back - just like my brother!  Isn't he gorgeous?!

George 001

We can't wait to see them at home tomorrow.  Lauren is so excited; she already knows his name and was able to tell me who he was when I showed her his picture again today.  However, she doesn't quite understand the idea of a "cousin"; she kept asking me if he was her brother!!

Now that the happy parents have shared their news with the family I can finally publish this post.  Hurray!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Car Jinx 2

We've had really bad luck with cars this year.  It all started in January when we had to take both cars into Kwik Fit on consecutive days with faults.  We had thought that that episode was the end of it but unfortunately we were wrong.

Jase (through no fault of his own) was involved in a nasty accident a fortnight ago and his car was written off.  Luckily he and the girls escaped serious harm, although initially I was worried as Lauren had some seatbelt bruising on the side of her neck.  However, she was fine after some Calpol so I was less concerned after that.

Bizarrely, on the very next day Jase was taking us all to nursery / work when my car developed a flat tyre.  He had to change it by the roadside and limp on the spare tyre to a Kwik Fit in Hounslow.  Astonishingly, we ended up having to get 3 new tyres to replace the flat and the other two which had not been affected by the blow-out back in January.  All the tyres had been developing large cracks in them which would have caused them to eventually blow.

Sadly, all this has meant that we've had to replace Jase's car ahead of time.  After the starter motor was replaced, we had hoped that we would get another year's use out of the car at least.

As you can see from the photos though, the damage to Jase's car was too extensive and would have cost about £3000 to repair.  The insurance people have therefore written off the car and have given us £700 for the wreck.

This does not get you very far when buying a replacement.  We've had to get some money from the bank and from family to buy a new car, as Jase needs a car to commute to work.

After a lot of research, we've decided to buy a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, a 7 seater people carrier.  It's had really good reviews from car magazines and is the greenest car in its class.  The one we've bought is dark blue like the one in this picture.

C4 Grand Picasso

Initially I was quite intimidated by its size as close up it looks absolutely massive.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that despite being a big car it handled and accelerated well during the test drive and was comfortable, even in the third row of seats.

We pick up the new car this Saturday and we are all very excited!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More climbing frame fun

Last week, I took Lauren and Jocey to Bramley's on my day off as the weathermen had forecast rain for most of the day.  We braved the buses and tube trains again, much to Lauren and Jocey's delight.

When we got there, Lauren instantly disappeared for several minutes into the depths of the climbing frame, and even found some little girls to play with.  She really enjoyed following them around and crawling in and out of the giant tubes with them.

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Since our last visit, Jocelyn has learned to crawl and to stand up so even she was having fun in the soft play area exploring the different toys.

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They both had lots of fun playing but after a while got quite grumpy and wanted to eat.  I ordered some cod goujons for her with chips and baked beans whilst I had a chicken burger with salad.

To my surprise, Lauren took an interest in the baked beans by dipping her chips into the sauce (although she wasn't too keen to eat the actual beans).  For a long time, Lauren had not been too keen on tomato sauces, thus my surprise.  I was even more surprised to find that she then wanted to try dipping her chips into my tomato ketchup, and that she liked it. 

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Despite my best efforts though, she was not interested in the fish but did end up eating most of the chicken from my chicken burger.  I was left to hoover up the scraps she didn't eat!

I suspect we will go more when the weather takes a turn for the worse in the autumn and winter.  It was a fun day out for us all, even if we were all knackered when we got home.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sun, swimming pool and sand

It's been a glorious sunny day today; odd, because the forecast was only for 25 degrees Celsius but it felt a lot hotter than this out and about.

The girls and I have had a good day.  We met up with some of my friends this morning for coffee in Chiswick.  I was very proud of Lauren and Jocey - they were well behaved and only got restless after about an hour.  I then had to bale out and say my goodbyes to let Lauren run about in the Park Club.

She loves going to the Park Club.  We were there at the weekend with Jason and Charlotte; they've just joined the club because they were also really impressed with its facilities and activities for children.  Charlotte is almost at full term now in her pregnancy but hopefully will be able to manage a few lazy days by the outdoor pool before the baby comes.

I tried taking some pictures of the girls in the swimming pool when we went on Sunday.  I did manage to get some lovely ones of Lauren with Jase.

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Here is Lauren splashing!

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However, it wasn't long before I got told off by the lifeguard who told me that there was a no camera policy in the pool, even though I was taking pictures of my own daughter and no one else was in shot (or even close!).

When he went off for a drink, I tried to take some of Jocey but the poor girl was not happy in the pool and cried on the photos.  I wasn't able to get in the pool on Sunday because I was on call for my department and I didn't want to be in the pool if I got called by work.  I think she wasn't used to the fact that I wasn't in with her.

Today, we followed our usual Tuesday ritual of going to play in the large sand pit at the Park Club, which the girls greatly enjoy.

Park Club 001

Both Lauren and Jocey spent quite some time building and destroying sand castles, making sand "cakes" for me to eat and digging holes.

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The sun was blazing down and I made sure they had plenty of sun cream on; however, getting them to keep their hats on was a bit more challenging!

After lunch Lauren and I went to play on the climbing frame whilst Jocey had a snooze in the shade.  Whilst we were there Lauren made friends with a little girl called Sophia, who was there with her nanny (her mum appeared to be somewhere in the club but doing other things - at one point the nanny pointed the mummy out somewhere in the distance).

Sophia was five and very keen to show Lauren how to do everything.  She encouraged Lauren to go on the big slide, the swings, the trampoline thingy and they even tackled the assault course together.  Lauren had lots of fun and talked to Sophia quite a lot.  By four o'clock though, Lauren was getting tired and I had to take her home.  Sophia was really sad to see her go, but I told her and her nanny that we would be back there next Tuesday (and indeed most Tuesdays).

Do children grow up lonelier these days?  I remember as a child playing with our neighbours' children on the street and being allowed to go by myself to friends' houses even if their houses were several streets away.  Obviously, I wouldn't let my children do this, even if they were a bit older - not in London anyway.

Maybe it's not only our children; I have found it harder to keep up with friends whilst living in London as everywhere is so difficult to get to and life is so frantic. 

Strange that you can feel alone even when every minute of the day you are surrounded by people.