You know you should be in bed when…

… your kids are asleep in bed and half an hour later, you realise you’re still watching Jungle Junction on Disney.

I think that is justification enough to declare it vodka’n’coke o’clock on a Wednesday night. Just a small one, for medicinal reasons, you see.

After all, I survived another soft day. The cubs were a bit like caged tigers, fighting and arguing all day over the little things. Crimes like, ‘he looked at me‘ (cub 3 about cub 2) or, ‘stop making that noise‘ (cub 2 to cub 3) and even, ‘don’t fall into my dust pile!‘ (cub 1 to cub 4 when she was sweeping the floor while he twirled to get a dizzy buzz)

Nothing quite surpasses the moment of the monumental crash though, followed by dead silence and then cheeky giggles which quickly faded to ‘oh fiddlesticks mami doesn’t think it’s funny‘ when I walked into the room. I had washed cushions and their covers after the recent illnesses and lice and whatnot and had the clothes horse up with them drying flat on the top. Naturally, cubs 3 and 4 took that as an invitation to climb up it and try to lie down on top. With the result that the whole thing bent crooked, and both fell off and over – thankfully only the clothes horse got injured.

I am knackered though. I went on a run this morning. Only 3km but boy did that wipe me! Suppose that’s what happens when you haven’t really run since beginning of June (a charity ‘mini-marathon’ 10k race) – but I figured I have to get back to it if I want to make it across that Half Marathon finish line in March; and I’d really like to still be running while crossing that line and not crawl across it before collapsing. I’m hoping to do it in under 2 hours 30 minutes. We shall see! I think the main problem is that the training plan is 12 weeks… so no pressure yet to do it. Might just have to find another goal closer to Now to get my arse in gear!

Another thing bugging me is that this month is NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. It’s about the nth year in a row that I had great plans on finally doing it and keeping up. Usually, I manage well enough the first week. After all, just over 1600 words/day is doable. This year however, well it’s day 6 and my word total is a gigantic ZERO. Do I really want to catch up 10,000 words? Want? Yes. But as soon as I even think about sitting down to do it, I’m rather efficiently putting the Pro into procrastination.

Now, before I forget I shall have my little vodka/coke and while I’m at it to get the ice, I might as well take a rat out of the freezer and defrost it overnight for our snake. She is a lovely, gentle corn snake. What does the snake do in our household, you might ask yourself. After all, didn’t I say I live in Ireland? Didn’t that bloke St. Patrick take care of that?

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Well, we found her slithering in the ivy on our shed in the back garden. Take that, St. Patrick. We made the mistake to let the kids name the snake (Snakey! Inventive, huh?) and added the St. Patricia bit on as she’s a girl and it’s so fitting! It is true though that there aren’t any snakes at home in Ireland (only a slow worm!) and she is an escaped (or purposely let loose?) pet. As we couldn’t find the owner, we’ve kept her and she’s now with us for over 2 years! Here she is on the day we found and captured her:

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Snakey St. Patricia. She’s about 4 ft long now and very gentle – all the cubs can handle her (strictly under my supervision that is) and love having her around.

And now, to all a good night!

Three Days of Madness: Act II

Don’t get me wrong: my children are the best thing in the world to me. When they’re up to mischief, more often than not, I’m laughing about it as much as they are. Take Cub 4, for example. His little big sister, Cub 3, came running into the kitchen the other night and shouted at me that Cub 4 is stuck. Of course I rescued him, but what kind of mother would I be had I not taken a picture of him first:

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Fun as they are, boy did they drive me mad yesterday! Every single button they could, they pushed.

After the usual, and expected, Monday morning madness of trying to get the four of them up, washed, fed, and dressed, I thought that I’d get a little break while they’re all in school, preschool, childcare. Well, if by break I meant time to clean the house, put on a wash and do the dishes, then I got it.

The real trouble started when I picked up Cub 4. He didn’t want to go in the buggy. Not having had his full rain gear and it being a rather incessant soft day out there, I made him sit in it anyway, much to his annoyance. From there we went to pick up Cub 3, who cried all the way home as her legs were tired and I hadn’t brought the double buggy (less than 10 minutes walk, but she can make it seem hours!).

By the time I had to get them out again to pick up Cub 2 from school, I decided to drive and get a couple groceries while I was at it. At least cubs would stay dry and no more crying about walking – until, at the supermarket: my car wouldn’t start again!!!! Rather inconvenient that to say the least.

On the phone, sending a message to the husband about the misbehaving car, I try a sixth time, and voilà: the car started up. Typical. (Hubby is going to check it out and fix that little snag, hurrah!)

Thinking that my bad luck for the day was all used up, I started making some bread and while that was left to rise, I dove right into Mt Washmore.

Mt Washmore, you see, is higher than Mt Everest. Believe me when I say it is. I’ve never really managed to conquer it. I fondly remember the days before the cubs, single and more or less organised. I used to wash one dark and one white wash a week. Ah – memories! It took me a solid hour to fold all the washed and dried clothes, never mind putting them into the closets.

Cub 1 returned from school with one of her best friends, and the two of them had a great time. Add another friend and still, all was well. Add Cub 3, who shares the room with her big sister, to the mix: an eternity of screaming, shouting, missiles throwing later, we had tears and tantrums with me left wondering where their tiaras were.

Only three casualties though:

  1. The clock: it fell off the wall (completely by itself, would you believe. No? Me neither…)
  2. The ceramic horse: a bad decision to use that as a missile. It broke a leg, but the husband glued it. I was ready to throw it out. Good cop, bad cop. Guess I’m the bad one again. Sigh.
  3. The beaded necklace: lovely clatter as it was torn apart by the two pulling on it, then blaming each other for breaking it.

Of course, after all that was resolved, and peace restored it still wasn’t the end of things. I’m not actually sure how much coffee I drank yesterday, but it was a LOT. You see, while holding the mug, I’ve got my hands full and can’t go strangle them. I hear that’s frowned upon anyway, so probably better I drink coffee!

I had finished the bread, and gone on to make dinner. You see, I had this gorgeous romanesco in the house still and needed to make something yummy with it. I love romanesco. So much nicer than just cauliflower. I think it’s the texture as well as the look and the slightly nutty flavour.

So I chopped and stirred and created and pre-heated the oven at 200C and then shoved the vegetable bake in. It takes around 25 minutes to cook in the oven.

When I checked it after around 20 minutes I was disappointed to see the veg wasn’t even nearly cooked through. Doubting myself, I resigned myself to having to wait. After a few more checks and at 45 minutes I realised why it wasn’t cooking: Cub 4 had taken to turning knobs and pushing buttons whenever he got his fingers on them. I found the oven at 110C. No wonder it wasn’t cooking!

What else was I to do but serve up the freshly baked bread sandwiches for dinner, accompanied with carrot sticks and a few crisps on the side (rare that I do that, but hey, it was that kinda day!).

On the plus side, today’s dinner’s already done and only needs re-heating!

Of Shards, Trials, Errors, and Porn

Apt, don’t ya think? Another day for the ducks out there… but then, the Irish must’ve lied an awful lot when they were 17. Heh.

Not a bad day at all otherwise today – at least so it seemed. Until, every time I turned around, the little monsters I’m raising got into another thing they weren’t allowed. Like the time I was bursting for the loo and dared to go:

Tiniest man decided he wanted milk. He opened the fridge and brought a glass he had liberated from the clean dishwasher. At least that’s what I’m thinking as no other glasses were within his reach. No matter though, as I only found him when he stood in the middle of the glass shards, shouting, “Oh no! Mami! Glass broken!” 

Shouldn’t have gone to the toilet. *Note to self: Invest in some adult nappies…*

Or the time I went upstairs to get the tiny man out of the bathroom, where he happily played with the running water at the sink – thankfully not overflowing it this time! Came back down within 2 minutes. Did you know that 2 minutes are enough for a 3 and a 5 year old to completely and utterly cover the living room floor with toys? Apparently, she wanted his rocket ship. He didn’t want to give it to her and somehow that meant that all other toys were used as missiles.

Have I mentioned that i had banned all toys to their rooms? Mustn’t have paid enough attention at school during Physics. Only after having children have I realised that living rooms are indeed magnetic. At least where it comes to toys. Those toys might not stick to the fridge, but by golly do they stick to the living room!

And to the bottom of my feet… well, they didn’t stick to them, per se. More into them. Lego, how I loath thee!

At some point during the day between two school runs, I did have a lovely half an hour at a friend’s house, who supplied me with some wonderful chickpea flour – and a delicious coffee before I headed off into the day again.

That chickpea flour was going to be one of the ingredients in my trial for Sunday. You see, I decided to give an Apple Pie contest a go. It’s this Sunday. But, I want to make it gluten free and vegan. Better try it out – and good thing I did!

The pastry I made – didn’t really work the way it was supposed to. Darn tasty nonetheless – besides the funky aftertaste when eaten by itself. Ahem.

Here’s a sneak peek… full details of the final dish, and the recipe, will be revealed on Sunday night 😉 Hopefully, it won’t look like some sort of Halloween Ghost in food form then!

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I have to say, when it came out of the oven, it smelled divine! It didn’t look the part, but hey, I was willing to follow my nose and ignore my eyes. I carefully poked it with a fork, before it even cooled a little bit, and took a bite. Two words:

FOOD PORN

It was delicious!!!! So delicious, I immediately called the cubs to try and rejoice in my creation. First cub up was the 5 year old boy cub. Who immediately pulled a face and wildly gestured for a tissue to spit out the offending food. He then proceeded to claw at his tongue and asked for a drink to get rid of the taste.

Next cub up was his little sister. Same reaction.

Tiniest cub made it a hat trick.

Everyone’s a critic!!

Then, the 9 year old girl cub to the rescue – she took one bite and immediately declared it DELICIOUS and wanted more. So I shared the rest with her.

Is it wrong to have favourites…? *innocent whistling*

Well, ya couldn’t make it up!

Finally, it’s Wine o’clock! And the fire’s blazing to make it toasty warm!

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It’s been one of those days. You know the ones. Where you feel like you’re in a Stephen King novel: you get up and the birds are chirpy and all seems fine in your world, but by lunchtime you feel the hair in the back of your neck stand to attention and come evening you wonder how on Earth you survived.

Well, let’s start this morning: All four cubs got up. All four cubs got dressed (well, okay, I dressed the 2-year-old), they all had breakfast, brushed their teeth and got to school on time. A miracle in itself, really.

Yes, it rained like it was trying to prove a point (see my earlier post on puddle jumping) and yes, I got soaked to the bones bringing my cubs to school and into crèche. But then I got a nice hot cup of tea while getting some time to update here and do some housework. See, all was good in my world.

Come lunchtime, I had picked up the two small ones and was now going to pick up the 5-year old from school. By car (which is something I rarely do, only living a few minutes’ walk away from the school!), and that’s where the trouble started.

It was also the only thing that started, because the car didn’t. And, of course my husband had the second car with him at work. So, conscious that I was now late for the school run, I quickly unbuckled my two and re-buckled the tiniest one into his stroller. Which he hates, but he had to live with that, and his little big sister got to complain about her tired legs all the way.

Frazzled and late, I finally got to school to pick up the big boy, who I now had to break it to that the promised trip to the toy shop to spend his birthday money was cancelled due to the car (at least his teacher complimented me on his school lunch – *proud moment* – leftover Quiche from last night).

Cue 3 unhappy kids and that 10-minute walk home felt a LOT longer. Not only that, but the next problem I had was that I had banked on that toy shop run, because I needed to buy nappies (diapers to some of you) and above all, tomorrow morning I need to get to work (I do irregular work as a voice over) and that date couldn’t be moved. I was in a right dilemma!

However… things then started to look up, just for a tiny bit:

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My husband, who wasn’t even supposed to come home today as he was meeting friends after work, sent me a message saying ‘Driving home now‘ – he left work early. He’s a superhero!!! Not only did he drive home and leave me the second car, he also fixed the main car and even filled it up! Hurrah!

The roller-coaster was going up. I should’ve known that it wasn’t going to last.

So, after dropping the husband to the train so he could get back to work, we went to The Toy Shop after all.

Only in a toy shop can even the happiest parents lose their will to live. I could see it on other parents’ faces and they could see it in mine. After the fifteenth time (yes, I counted!) of my 3-year-old trying to see if something 60+ Euro would fit into her 10 Euro budget (all the while I was trying to stop the little man from pulling a guitar off a shelf!) I had a wee second of ‘I’m either going to laugh out loud or strangle her‘. The latter is at least frowned upon, so I decided to laugh; which resulted in a very sympathetic mum turning to me and saying, ‘I know, I’m right there with you.

Half and hour and two toys bought later, it appeared to all go well again – until: ‘Mum, why are we home? I thought you needed to buy nappies?

I wanted to bite the steering wheel at that point.

Instead, I pulled out of the drive again to get the groceries needed. Finally, an hour later than intended, the dinner was cooking. Just as I was about to drain the pasta, the 3-year old comes into the kitchen to inform me that her little brother had taken his vest off. Okay, let him be cold. I continued to drain the pasta, add the pesto and stir through the peas I had steamed over the pot. While I put the food on the plates, she came in again, saying that he’s undressed himself.

I should have known then. I think I did know then.

I still wish I could bleach my brain.

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I walked into the living room to find the tiniest boy had not only taken his arms out of his vest and pushed it off his shoulders; he had pushed it past his hips, and also pushed down his trousers and his nappy.

Which was open and hanging off him, full to the brim.

And not with wee.