08 February, 2008

Rafe Notes, etc.

"tank ew"
"unn uu ree or fye sih se-en ay"

Rafe doesnt talk much, not as much as other toddlers. But the words are there. He picks it up, uses it for a few days and disgards it again. Eventually it will all come together. His sister was much the same.

He is very quick. He understands practically everything. He will do exactly what you ask him(unless of course he doesnt want to!) Whether it's to find something, put something away, pick something up. And frequently he suprises me with the things he knows how to do. While making dinner tonight, he came in the kitchen wearing his wellies, having been barefoot only a moment before. They were of course, on the wrong feet. His sister, alas is much the same.

He is picky. He likes baked beans, toast, spaghetti, Mullers Rice, yogurt, and pancakes. (Fluffy sweet american style!) He ate 5 pancakes on pancake day, the little pig! Everything else is just not worth bothering with.

His sister left a dolls brush lying around one day and Rafe picked it up. His blonde hair is so long now that he loves to carry around the brush and brush his hair! It's very sweet.

As far as the rest of us- Olivia has attended her first funeral this week, for a teacher who recently passed away from breast cancer.

David has sold a picture to Sky, which we are very excited about!

Devon is on pins and needles waiting for Valentines day as he has a lovely necklace to give his "girlfriend", S.

I am taking a business course, and thinking of having my own bagel shop, ala Einsteins Bagels. I believe the idea is sound, but I'm not sure I'm the one to do it.
I enjoy working for my current company, anyway and don't really want to leave, though lately the job is incredibly stressful. For every person who is very nice and thanks me for arranging their payment plans, or working to reverse an insurance decision I get 3 people who are upset because I havent sent their insurance claim off fast enough, or haven't written a letter fast enough, or returned their call soon enough. Today I had a client on the phone who was just incredibly angry because it had taken one month to get her insurance settlements. Keep in mind that most clients can expect a wait of between 6 weeks and 6 months! She accused me of lying to her about the claims being sent at all, making up information, and then told me how awful our/MY customer service. This is a client who I have spent altogether about 3 hours on the phone with over two weeks, doing EVERYTHING I could to help her. And here she was just laying into me for god only knows what reason. Not to mention the two letters over the week which suggested my ability to do my job be reviewed. Of course being on the phone with an unhappy client for an hour meant I wasnt sending out insurance claims or writing letters... It was such a hard week that more than once I considered just getting up and walking out the door, crying myself to sleep knowing I would have to wake up and go BACK the next morning.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, next week we are interviewing for another person to step in and take some of the load. I suppose I won't start baking bagels in earnest quite yet...

13 January, 2008


Cleaning is a chore for which I have no patience for. I am busy, with my job and my children and my life and frequently the things that are not vital and are not easy simply don't get done. The evenings are for dinner and homework, reading with the children, putting the baby down. Saturdays are for swimming lessons, laundry and the illusion of "rest". Sundays are family days, dedicated to long walks, roast beef dinner and board games before bed.

So you see, scrubbing walls and washing windows and all the rest is of no use to me.

Alas, occasionally even I must look around and see the state of things. So I berate myself without sympathy and resolve to clean up my act.

And so, we clean. I vaccumm and clean carpets, scrub walls, wash blinds, clear window sills of junk. And then, despite my disdain for the act of cleaning, I take a step back and can't help but marvel at how very nice it all looks, this state of cleanliness. And I assure myself that I will force my family to do more REAL cleaning every day, and I will not let it get to be a mess again.

And so it goes.

11 January, 2008

Rafe Notes

His vocabulary grows every day. He says "Uh Oh" and "Ow!" and today- a very sweet, very angelic "no". Sadly to be a very stern, very loud "NO!", tomorrow.

I teach him things now. Some would say I should've broken out the flashcards long ago, but he's happy and smart, and so I'm happy. We talked about an orange elephant today, and said goodnight to the trees and wind and rain. We said goodnight to his legs and arms as we slid them inside his pajamas.

He smiles a lot, and likes to play peek a boo, still. He enjoys the way the game can be played anywhere. He can hide behind his crib at bedtime, or in our closet, he can pull his blanket over his face, or even put his hands over his eyes. The perfect game, so fun, so simple- it makes me laugh out loud every time

I hesitate to take him out, as most mothers of toddlers hesitate- but he proves me wrong every time. Yesterday an unexpected trip to the dentist proved almost enjoyable. He sat in his stroller while I read him a story in the waiting room, sat in his stroller and ate a biscuit while I was hacked at in the dentist chair. And smiled and yelled when we raced down the ramp to the car park in the rain. He subsequently cried all the way home, but at least he didn't do it at the dentist's!

Tonight he kissed his stuffed panda bear at bedtime, perfectly, right on the end of his snout. And then he held it up for Daddy and me to kiss as well. Sometimes just looking at him makes my heart swell and tears come to my eyes, I am so lucky.

09 January, 2008

13 Years Ago

Thirteen years ago...

I was thirteen. I had a boyfriend named James Riddle, who sang just like Noel Gallagher, from Oasis. I loved to listen to him sing. He was adopted and his family was very nice. I forget what his dad did. I remember their car though, it was long, like a station wagon, but not quite. And it was beige. The roof inside was coming to pieces and we used to reach up and peel bits off, as if we just couldn't help it. He loved The Beatles.

He was crazy, or at least he liked to boast that he was. He said he was schizophrenic and more than once he had to be hospitalized because he had done something. I visited him one time in the hospital. He didn't seem himself, but that's all that I remember.

I saw him again. Maybe, 9 years ago? He was married, his wife wasn't very nice to me. He had a baby, not quite the same age as Devon was. I don't remember if it was a boy or a girl. The baby was very dirty, and had dirty clothes on. He was different. Or perhaps I was different.

He was no longer JAMES. He was a guy who needed a shave, and a job, and needed to give his kid a bath.

I've always been amazed at how once you grow up, once you come out of that naievty that is childhood, you begin to see people for what they are. And suddenly, they don't hold the same appeal as they once did. I suppose that's good in a way, it's growing up, isn't it? But it's also sad, as well. It's like having your rose coloured glasses ripped off, only to reveal a very cold, bleak landscape.

08 January, 2008


Well over the weekend I developed a very nasty migraine that I couldn't shake until late last night. It's been awhile since I've had one and I thought maybe I had kicked them altogether. Nope. I felt as if my head was being ripped open each time it throbbed. My wonderful husband came to the rescue though with some codeine/paracetamol pills I didn't think we still had, I took two, went to bed and woke up two hours later feeling just amazingly better. It's still there though, hanging around in the back of my head. I can feel it waiting to pounce. A few extra strength ibuproefen got me through the day, which included a business meeting and my appraisal.

I've been agonizing over this appraisal. *sigh* It's very dissapointing.

In other news, Rafe now says "uh oh". And today Olivia was rewarded with a chocolate bar in Netball club, for being "dynamite" and always working her socks off and trying very hard. She's also decided to go for basketball club instead of singing this term, and football club again. But what is becoming pretty standard for the guy in charge of the football team, he keeps promising her a permission slip and not producing it. Similar to what he pulled with my son when he tried for over a year to get onto the football team. (He still hasn't been given a place on the team)

The weather is much the same, cold, windy and rainy.

Pulling for Hillary, for some reason Obama just doesn't sit right with me, maybe because he is SO popular... if Clinton fails, than I'd like to see McCain pull ahead, despite his republicaness...

05 January, 2008

Ah Love...

Devon has his first crush. When he brought home a certificate from school for being the "most improved in behaviour", I knew something was up. The next he day he brought a Christmas present home, from Sian. A week later he asked if we could get her a diamond necklace for Christmas, "because she's always wanted one".

Yeah, well, me too kid. You buy your mother one first, ok?

He listens to her favorite music on repeat. I tell you that kid is GONE for her. It is so cute. He is only ten after all.

Olivia's arch nemesis, Brooke *please, say it with dripping disdain* has moved away over Christmas and she couldn't be happier. Brooke's sidekick, Kimberley has apparently "gotten used" to Olivia, now. BUT, there is a new girl at school, Lauren, who is very nice but who Ebonie says that Olivia can only play with on alternating days. My advice that she tell Ebonie to shove it was not gratefully received and so I told her she should tell Ebonie that she likes her very much and wants to be her friend, but that they can all play together, she doesnt think it's very nice of her to tell her who she can or can't play with. Which is the nice way of saying "Shove it, Ebonie."

Rafe continues to be a toddler, doing toddler things. He won't let us feed him any more, and is very particular about what he does eat. Fruit? No. Meat? No. Veg? No. Chocolate? Yes. Toast? Yes. At Grandma and Grandpa's he won't eat unless he's fed and it's on toast. No talking yet. We do get the occasional "Kitty" and "Mummmmm", sometimes he says "Da"

We've had a cold snap the last week. They were forcasting snow, but only Scotland and the Yorkshire area enjoyed the white stuff. We endured bitter temperatures, freezing wind, and plain old rain, down this way. I had to laugh when I went to wash my windshield at a gas station at 3:30 in the afternoon and found the squeegie was encased in a two inch thick block of frozen washer fluid.

And finally, we took the Christmas tree down last night. The poor thing had expired at somepoint in the week, despite daily watering, and everytime I brushed it, millions of pineneedles fell to the floor. A thoroughly depressing site.

Now, we ready the house for inspection in two weeks. *sigh* Renting Sucks.

05 December, 2007

Rafe Notes

He likes to babble. He joins long strings of nonsense sounds together and just goes with it. I had started to worry about this lack of real speaking, but lately I've caught words. "Mum? Mum? Mum! Mum!" "Hell-o!" "niceday" That last one threw me for a loop! "Did you have a nice day?" "niceday!"

He likes to cuddle and give kisses. Suddenly he'll just be there, planting big sloppy kisses on your face! He also gets a kick out of putting his hand under my chin and shoving my head back- yeah, great fun- that one...

Lately he enjoys dancing- if he hears any kind of music he'll stop in tracks and start turning in circles and grinning like a mad thing. His favorite is the christmas pillow that has a pull string that plays "Santa Claus is coming to town". He'll stand in the middle of the room, clutching this pillow to his chest and pulling the cord repeatedly while turning in jerky circles (one foot seems heavier than the other) and grinning at us!

He's very independent and doesnt like being told No!or not getting his way. I had to finally introduce timeouts this evening. He didn't like it, but I stood firm and he went through two one minute stints. He didn't get it, of course he didn't. But it plants the seed that when he is naughty, he will be put in the chair and mommy will be cross! Even after these time outs he still wouldn't help clean up, or even come near me! He hid behind the chair from me! A "Rafeeey- I SEEEEE you" brought a smile to his face, but it was only when I brought out the big guns that he was deafeated. "Rafeeey? Do you want some milk?" That boy came running! He was annoyed that he didn't get some right away, but it only took him a few seconds to realize he could have his milk once he had picked up his toys, and he got right on it and picked them all up!

Still blond hair, I keep waiting for it to darken, but he may be lucky a few years longer. He's losing that baby look around his face and so frequently I look at him and he doesnt look so much like a baby anymore....