Winter’s Nearly Here, Hooray!

Well, after last weekend’s shenanigans, this weekend has been just spot-on, thank you very much! To be fair, it doesn’t take a lot to please me:

  1. It was gloriously sunny on Saturday
  2. Found some very cool, el-cheapo royal blue/violet nail varnish in Superdrug that dries in a minute. I do own cool coloured nail varnish, but it takes ages to dry. About as long as it takes one of the minxes to get up to mischief. So this’ll do brilliantly. It’s not great quality, but what do you expect for £1.79? And it’s fun!
  3. On Friday The Boss and I found the perfect doll for Midi Minx for Christmas: Chou Chou’s Mummy’s Little Patient. I suspect she’ll be able to operate all the medical toys quite perfectly. She’s certainly had enough experience recently!
  4. Dundee Cake

    Wow, this tasted good. In fact, I might reward myself with another wee bit...

    On Saturday I found a great dolly buggy at half price in Argos. I’d been worrying I’d left all my Christmas shopping too late to get good discounts – panic over.

  5. Midi put buggy and dolly on her Christmas letter to Santa today – perfect!
  6. The Boss took Midi and Maxi to a train model exhibition in Elgin while Mini slept at home and I cracked on with knitting, cleaning, putting stuff on eBay – EVERYONE was happy.
  7. I baked a Dundee cake (recipe here) and The Boss made Steak & Kidney Pie – yummy!
  8. I got to the bottom of the washing pile today for 15 minutes.
  9. The Boss bought a huge ironing board with all kinds of doo-dahs on in, el-cheapo from Aldi. For *himself*!!!! He’s trying it out now as I type, cackling to himself. Bless…
  10. Midi graduated from a baby pillow to a proper adult pillow. She loves it! Now for the proper sized bed…
  11. I had a bit of a lie-in on both Saturday and Sunday. OK, so all 3 girls were squirming around in bed, bickering and playing and singing and elbowing me in the stomach from *before* I normally get up, but what the hell, it was lovely being able to wake up slowly and not have to jump to immediate Action Stations as usual.
  12. We noticed that Midi calls Brussels Sprouts ‘Special Sprouts’ (her hearing is still duff). I laughed like a drain.
  13. Mini’s vocabulary has expanded from “I want that-I want that-I want that-I want that” to “I want that, down there. There! There! Over there, Mama!” (pointing to a dropped segment of clementine).
  14. Mini toddled up to me mid-morning, signed for milk. I gave her some, and she signed thank you, before toddling off to the living room. Awwwwww!

But the 2 best bits of the weekend were this:

1. Today, we went for a walk to collect pine cones. I think the plan is to get the girls to paint them, coat them in tat and glitter, and put them on the Christmas tree next month. What was great about it was that all 5 of us had a lovely time, just bimbling along, pointing at mushrooms, toadstools, dog poo (!), berries, just chatting away. The only time I raised my voice was to call to one of the elder girls disappearing into the horizon to return and stay close to Mini as her legs are so small (and she gets cross when she can’t keep up). We collected a big bag full, then had a huge long chat about trees: how could you tell some had been cut down, how could you tell which ones had fallen over, how could you tell how old the tree had been, how could you tell which direction was the sunniest, blah, blah, blah. We even had time for the swings afterwards. Best of all, they all got tired out in the fresh air and Mini snuggled into my back in a sleepy doze in our Connecta.

2. On Friday we had our bi-monthly treat: fish and chips from the van! Oh my word, they’re good! And I finally, finally captured Mini’s reaction to her Daddy coming home. She shrieks, drums her feet, clenches and shakes her little fists, and generally gives The Boss a massive hero’s welcome. Hope you like it!

General Minxiness

Just a bit of an update post, really.

Mini Minx is now proudly standing on her own 2 little (long, thin, banana) feet for up to a minute at a time.  If me or The Boss don’t see her standing tall, she’ll shriek till we look over, then beam with delight as we cheer madly.  I predict that she’ll take her first steps by the weekend.  Then I will need eyes up my bum, as she moves so blooming quickly, and usually towards the nearest point of danger.  She can exploit potential minxdom in anything she finds, that child…  She still only has 2 proper teeth and one just poked through.  Her hair is still a strange colour (ginger / brown / blonde / see-through), and she still enjoys being wrapped.  We’re getting fast at strapping ourselves together so I can do things with both hands (separate her sisters from a fight, clean up mess, put out kitchen fires, that kind of thing…).  It’s not so much that she likes being close to me – it’s so she can pull my ears and rub banana / baby snot in my hair and down my neck.  She knows fine what she’s doing – she usually giggles just before she rubs some mushy substance where it really shouldn’t go.  Her favourite song right now is “Eyes, Nose, Cheeky-cheeky, Chin” and she claps along to anything with a beat.  Tantrums aren’t far away – she got really frustrated yesterday at not being allowed to ‘help’ me change her sisters’ bedsheets, so yelled through clenched gums, buried her face in the sheets, and pulled her head back with the sheets between her gums/teeth.  Biting in frustration?  Already?  Oh hell…

We had ice cream cones tonight after dinner, pressed into chocolate sprinkles.  Just as Mini sank her 3 teeth into hers, The Boss remembered that brand of ice cream had egg in it.  As he whipped it away, to Mini’s indignant protests, Maxi commented kindly: “Gosh, I hope R isn’t going to get another egg infection!” 🙂

Midi Minx has taken a bit of a stretch.  A few weeks ago her feet were a 7H; they’re now 8H.  I’m looking at her latest new shoes and wondering how the hell she can walk in them without falling over – they’re like flippers.  I ordered absolutely everything Start-rite did in an 8H (both pairs!), so Midi plumped for her favourite ‘Meg shoes’* instead of the cute red ones with butterflies and sparkles on.  Still, the cute red ones had a sole that’s so much wider than the already-wide shoe that, never mind flippers, she looked like she was wearing snow shoes!

*So-called because they’re black and look like witch’s shoes to a 3 year old (‘Meg’ as in Meg, Mog and Owl)

She’s now in the same nursery room as Maxi Minx, and is suddenly quite happy to go to nursery again.  (I’m not sure I am – she returned home on Friday with one hell of a big bruise on her vulva that the staff obviously hadn’t noticed occurring, or they’d have mentioned her falling of the play equipment.  Surely?  Thank goodness Maxi is a spot-everything tell-tale).  She’s just had yet another ear infection, and her speech went very murky for a bit.  For the first time, too, she managed to say to me, “Say it louder, Mummy: I can’t hear you!”  My heart sank, as I’d been speaking quite loudly and clearly to her, but on the other hand I was very proud at how well she can now articulate her needs.  Though right now her needs usually involve requiring a Mummy-huggle every time my hands are full or I physically can’t. 

Midi made a chocolate bird’s nest for Easter, but calls it her ‘Eagle’s Nest’.

Just as the Earth’s magnetic poles have and may (allegedly) suddenly reverse, Maxi and Midi have suddenly reversed their fear polarities.  Midi, who normally knows no fear, got scared climbing the steps to a slide.  Maxi, meanwhile, swarmed over tall cargo nets, steep ladders, fast roundabouts.  Her usual scaredy-cat wail has gone.  I asked Midi if she wanted to go on the big swing with her sister and their friend.  “Nooooo”, she replied, “It makes me bery sad.”  Eh?  Why?  “Cos it does”.  Oh.  “But this chute makes me bery, bery ‘abbeeeee!” she grinned gleefully*

*translation: she was very happy

Moray Coast Trail Walk

Mini loves her sisters very much.  She especially loves their hair.  This evening Maxi and Midi sat on their little chairs in front of a Mr Tumble DVD we’re reviewing, waiting for dinner.  Mini zoomed over to Midi, stood up, and carefully started trying to comb her big sister’s hair with a little toy comb.  Of course, it got stuck in Midi’s bobble and tugged, making Midi yelp.  Fair play to my little thug, she gently moved Mini’s hand away rather than shove her over.  On being looked at by her idol, Mini immediately started to blow kisses to Midi, beaming at her all wide-eyed and toothless, gummy grin, with the new added twist of a wrinkled nose. 

In other news:

Mini sometimes forgets that she can’t stand on her own and does, for a few seconds at a time.  She’s obsessed with posting things in holes – God help our video player.

Moray Pebbles

Moray Pebbles

Today (Friday – I held off posting until I could upload pics) was the last day of The Boss’s holiday from work.  The threatened rain disappeared into glorious sunshine, so we went for a walk along the Moray coast.  First off though was lunch at the Covesea Golf Club because The Boss had seen a good menu there once.  Well, my word, we ate like royalty!  We shared a half-lobster salad and a baked potato and smoked haddock.  Delicious!  No wonder it was heaving, with loads of oldies waiting in their cars outside.  I reckon they form a co-operative: 5 or 6 oldies go to different eateries around Moray.  One starts the chain text: “They’re doing Cullen Skink at the Garden Centre!” and the rest all descend on the place.  We gave some creamy sweet lobster to Mini, but she preferred the wholemeal bread and <shudder> margarine.

BWCC Ruck Tibetan

Back Wrap Cross Carry with rucksack straps and a Tibetan finish. I think. (I hope)

I braved putting Mini in a back-wrap in public. Well, on the grass beside the carpark just in case she fell.  This time she didn’t wriggle or complain – maybe she’s finally sussed that the rainbow wrap flapping about means an hour or 2 of Mummy-cuddles!  This wrap was a new one again: Back Wrap Cross Carry with rucksack straps and a Tibetan finish.  I preferred yesterday’s front cross BWCC even though it flattened my miniscule bust even further.  And by the way, I do own more clothes than that old red fleece and waterproof grey trousers.  Hell, I even wash these ones!  But they’re so practical that I do wear them most days in early spring / winter.  Really.

Moray wild primrose

Slap-bang in the middle of the Moray coast trail, a little outcrop of prettiness

Anyway, we walked around the trail from the lighthouse towards the west for 45 mins, then onto the sand and a bimble back (at high tide too).  The gorse is really starting to come out.  I hear tomorrow is going to be pretty calm, so the scent should be heavenly.  I can’t wait!  It’s my biggest and most favourite Spring treat, breathing in the gorse perfume.  We also came across some wild primroses which I’d never seen before.  Lovely!

Chop-chop, Busy-busy, Work-work, Bang-bang

Unidentified Fish

Fish to identify in the poll below ->

What a day!  The Boss is off work for the rest of the week, so after yesterday’s day of catch-up (tons of laundry, clean-up, shop-shop-shop) we were determined to be properly outside today.

Kelp fishing

Kelp fishing to the Max-i

All 3 minxes ate a big breakfast, so obviously all that lovely fresh air and exercise in Orkney has had a bit of a lasting good effect.  Quick scatter of a ton of dried-in mud from 4 pairs of wellies onto the clean hall floor <rolls eyes> and off for a 10 minute walk to our own little spot of beautiful windiness – rock-pooling just along from the local maltings.

Rock Pooling

Midi Shower

As usual I found the stripey stones and boulders there mesmerising, while the girls preferred to slither amongst the seaweed.  The Boss searched for sea glass (he’s a bit obsessed…), which Maxi helped him with.  But it was meeee who spotted the purple bit <preen>.  I also found a freshly-dead fish, but I’m not sure what it is – little mackerel?  Sprat?  Little herring?  Maxi beach-combed for shells, kelp and sea anemones, Midi dug industriously (for what I don’t know – a bigger, deeper hole?) and Mini settled in happily to our first proper back-carry in the wrap. 

Back Wrap

Bomb-proof (?!) back wrap cross carry

We tried a rucksack carry around the house last night, but I wanted something more reinforced for today.  It was so comfy for us both that she fell asleep and I kept honking on to The Boss about how brilliant it was, and how much more comfy it was than a front carry.  It was just so wonderful to be able to carry Mini but still have my arms free to play with my big girls.  The only not-so-wonderful thing was her rubbing her banana piece into my hair…

Scary Monster

Limpet Monster

We were only out maybe 90 mins or so, but by golly we needed the scooby snacks (kids – smarties and banana pieces) and hot coffee (grown-ups).  That wind was stronger than ‘gusting 30’ and it was bitter.  So we traipsed back, pondering over how bees are born, and watching a lorry fill up with malted barley at the maltings, ready for a distillery.

For once, my clean washing wasn’t bombed by seagulls (horrible vermin generally splatter on my washing at least once a week, and once got me and baby Mini when she was 4 weeks old – half-digested fish and ammonia, bleurgh), so in a fit of sunshine-induced vigour I decided to mow the front and back lawns.  Well to give you an idea of how much the grass had grown, I completely filled the (vast) compost bin and the big brown wheelie bin…  Quick zoom down to the village and back with Mini in the buggy to post some parcels (paid-for eBay sales – hooray!), then collapse on the living room floor – sooooooore back!

Mini is a happy wee sausage today.  She’s properly cruising along the furniture and can walk holding onto Midi’s toy keyboard stand on wheels.  Mini’s just discovered how to make Maxi’s harmonica work by sucking as well as blowing.  I’m not sure all the drool is helping the sound much, but when it burbles too much she just squeals and shrieks with delight anyway.  No-one can hear much for a minute or so after Mini squeals – too bloody loud.

Another Mini first – she can drink out of a normal cup with handles, no lid.  I just kept refilling it with a wee dribble of water in the bottom.  I’ve already warned The Boss that we need to let her feed herself completely now, even the sloppy stuff, because (a) she can, and (b) she gets furious when you ‘baby’ her.  Shields up!

So Excited!

Tomorrow morning at the crack of sparrows, we’re driving to the Orkneys for a few days.  I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks.  I’m excited about the drive to Wick, the ferry, the drive over all the causeways, exploring the main island, the lot.  I am like a kid on Christmas Eve.

I primed the girls a fornight ago and showed them some bits of the journey on Google Earth.  We talked about the wildlife we might see (and The Boss saw some dolphins on his way to work the day before yesterday, so hopefully there’ll be more further north!).  Today the kids understood that it’s only one more sleep till we go.  So they apparently talked non-stop at nursery today about: the long, long drive, the ferry, the puffins and the owls.  <Screech.  Reverse> What?  Owls?  I don’t remember talking about owls!  I remember showing them photos of puffins and seals, otters and dolphins, The Old Man of Hoy and the beach near where we’ll be (my word, it looks even better than our incredible local beach at home – did I tell you how excited I am?!).  So I did a quick Google, and luckily there are apparently lots of owls on the Orkneys.  But the puffins won’t be there till May.  So I guess Owl Lover Midi will be happy, but how to break the puffin news to Maxi…

I’ve spent the whole night printing out spotter sheets of birds, leaves, trees, beasts, bugs, that kind of thing.  I feel so inadequate when Maxi or Midi ask “what’s that tree / bird / animal / plane?” and I don’t know.  Now, ask me what that cloud is, and I’ll tell you its name, estimate its cloud-base and forecast the probable weather over the next hour.  But on normal undorky things, I fail.  This website is bloody amazing for that kind of thing.  The minxes are too young for the games and activities, but it won’t be long I’m sure.  Example, here is a link to the ‘picnic’ activity pack: it’s got links to spotter guides, games, site to find your nearest bluebell wood, etc, etc.

I can’t be faffed with taking a buggy, so spent the afternoon practicing back carries of Mini in the woven wrap.  I studied photos, YouTube videos and just bit the bullet and experimented.  My first Rucksack Carry was a lot neater and safer than the second attempt.  Or third.  Or even 4th.  The Reinforced Rebozo (?) looked like a right bozo (me) tied it.  Still, it kept me out of trouble, and forewarned Mini Minx of Events To Come.  (She didn’t like being on my back, but did a very funny comedy-double-take when she looked down and saw my face from round behind my neck.  She obviously didn’t realise that ‘Behind Mummy’ is still Mummy, not some strange creature.  Honest.

Anyway.  Orkneys.  Fingers crossed that we see no evidence of the forecast 800 times <faint> the normal number of midges.  And to anyone who’ll be on the ferry tomorrow, I’m so, so sorry in advance.  Sorry for the mess and the noise and the squealing and the chaos (Mini’s latest trick is to chuck everything she can reach, in a fine overhead lob).

See you in a few days with tales of Orcadian minxiness, I bet.