Monday, 31 March 2008

Mothering Monday

You Know You're a Mother When........

More often than not, your feet stick to the kitchen floor

If the kids are fighting, you threaten to lock them in a room and not let them out till someone's bleeding

You can't find your cordless phone, so you ask a friend to call you, and you run around the house madly, following the sound until you locate the phone downstairs in the laundry basket.

Your idea of a good day is making it through without a child leaking bodily fluids on you.

In the summer, you consider ice lollies to be a food staple

The baby's dummy falls on the floor and you give it back to her after you suck the dirt off of it because you're too busy to wash it.

You're so desperate for adult conversation that you spill your guts to the telemarketer that calls and HE hangs up on YOU!

In your bathroom there is toothpaste on the light fixtures, water all over the floor, a dog drinking out of the toilet and body hair forming a union to protest unsafe working conditions.

The closest you get to gourmet cooking is making rice crispies bars.

Spit is your number one cleaning agent.

You're up each night until 10 PM vacuuming, dusting, wiping, washing, drying, loading, unloading, shopping, cooking, driving, flushing, ironing, sweeping, picking up, changing sheets, changing nappies, bathing, helping with homework, paying bills, budgeting, clipping coupons, folding clothes, putting to bed, dragging out of bed, brushing, chasing, buckling, feeding (them, not you), PLUS swinging, playing baseball, bike riding, pushing trucks, cuddling dolls, roller blading, basketball, football, catch, bubbles, sprinklers, slides, nature walks, coloring, crafts, jumping rope, PLUS raking, trimming, planting, edging, mowing, gardening, painting, and walking the dog. You get up at 5:30 AM and you have no time to eat, sleep, drink or go to the bathroom, and still managed to gain 10 pounds.....

....and, quite frankly, YOU DON'T CARE!!

So, anybody out there recognise themselves?

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Sunday, 30 March 2008

You are strong...when you take your grief and teach it to smile

You are brave...when you overcome your fear and help others to do the same.

You are loving...when your own pain does not blind you to the pain of others.

You are wise...when you know the limits of your wisdom.

You are alive...when tomorrow's hope means more to you than yesterday's mistake.

You are growing...when you know what you are but not what you will become.

You are free...when you are in control of yourself and do not wish to control others.

You are merciful...when you forgive in others the faults you condemn in yourself.

You are beautiful...when you don't need a mirror to tell you.

You are rich...when you never need more than what you have.

You are you...when you are at peace with who you are not.

What are you?

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

Well, we survived the family day out at the water park and have returned to tell the tale. Only I couldn't tell the tale last night as I had sat up in the kitchen with the Father of This Lot until 4.30am the previous evening and was in a comatose and definitely unfit for blogging state when I arrived home.

And I have to say, it was more of a half-family day out. The Football Fanatic was working all day, and anyway, she would rather gouge her own eyes out than spend a day with a bevy of siblings, and The Singer, amidst much hair-tossing and eye-rolling, announced that she was far to old to go 'messing about in water with a load of babies'.

Three kids then. Oh well, at least it made us look like a more normal family for once, and we could avoid all those pitying comments like 'Gosh, are they all yours? All girls as well? However do you cope?' and so on.

I feel the need to point out here that I don't DO water. Well, I do bathwater and washing-up water, but public water, pools and oceans and things - no thank you. I leave all that sort of thing to the Father of This Lot.

So, naturally I sat about at the side of the pool looking extremely elegant:

Oh.....alright.....I sat about at the side of the pool in jeans and a Tesco hoodie, but you get the idea.

And you'll NEVER guess who was there when I arrived:

That infernal woman gets everywhere. Deserts me for weeks on end, then turns up, bold as brass, wanting to pick up where we left off. Some people have no shame.

So, what with water slides, waves in the pool and the descent of a tropical rainstorm every fifteen minutes, a good time was had by all. Even the injury count was relatively low - a couple of decent scrapes on shin and forearm for The Noise, and that was about it. The packed lunch didn't last long. Actually the packed lunch didn't even make it, since it was consumed in its entirety oh, a good five minutes after we left the house this morning, but that's par for the course with this lot.

On the way home on the motorway in driving rain, they all fell asleep in the back of the car. And a little-happier-with-each-other-than-they-have-been-for-a-long-time Mother and Father of This Lot turned to each other and said

'Well, at least they enjoyed it'

which roughly translates as

'I would far rather have been doing something else, but having brought them into the world, it only seems right to provide them with a good time every now and then'

Quite like old times, really.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

A bit of catching up

I have had some awards which I need to pass on. This one, from Autumn Rose:

...which I am giving to my new blog friend at Journey of Truth. She's a Brit trapped inside an American body. Go over and talk to her. She doesn't care what you say, as long as it's said in a British accent.

This one from Jennie:

....which is going to everybody, because you really all do make my day - and that's something I never would have believed until I started this blogging lark!

And The Fixer's been at it again. This one's going to the bloggers who have...well, Girl Power.

Daryl, whom I'm sure could run New York City single-handedly, CrazyCath, for being the only female in the house, Manic Mother of Five and Shrinky for being almost the only females in the house, Adrienne, because she spits like a hellcat when she doesn't get an award and RC because she's shown quite a lot of Girl Power in the last few weeks.

There's no rules with this one - pass it on to whoever you like!

The Fixer is working hard on everybody else's awards - she'll have to - we've only got seven days left on the free Photoshop trial.

Much as I would love to stay and chat, real life in the form of ironing, a bowlful of dirty dishes and preparations for a family day out tomorrow is calling. I feel obliged to get on with it.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Got Milk?

The Father of This Lot was here today. I asked him to go to Asda for a bottle of milk. He came back with a hoover. This one, to be exact:

Me: What's that?

Him: It's a hoover.

Me: I can see that. What's it for?

Him: You said the hoover wasn't picking up properly. I bought a new one.

Me: Oh right. Thanks. Did you get the milk?

Him: I forgot.

It could have been worse, I suppose. And I did notice that there wasn't any of the usual '...don't see why I should be buying appliances for a house I don't live in anymore...' nonsense.

Perhaps now is an opportune moment to tell him that the dryer's packed up and the dishwasher's been on the blink since last August.

In yet another appliance-buying moment, the Football Fanatic has invested in this:

Apparently it is known as an ipod dock. I was quite looking forward to it's arrival because this lot have broken two of the USB ports on the computer, so to charge the various ipods in the house necessitates unplugging my keyboard. The 'dock' would eliminate the need for this because it can charge everybody's ipod without disturbing me.

Also, there was the sales pitch....

".......a beautiful, compact sound system with an integrated Universal Dock that fills the room with rich, audiophile-quality sound......"

Perhaps that only applies to a normal household. In the hands of this lot the noise reached decibel levels that I am certain are hazardous to human health. The strains of 'Glory, glory, Man United' which wafted up the stairs could only be equalled by a crowd of 76,000 people at Old Trafford. Once they had figured out how to jam the volume button onto full, the music began, and, much as I am used to feeling there has been a minor earhquake in the house, I can honestly say that, two floors above them, the ground was actually shaking.

My usual line of 'FOR GOD'S SAKE, TURN IT DOWN' was useless. Have you ever seen a programme about The Ministry of Sound in Ibiza? If you have, you've got the idea.

I gave it up as a bad job in the end. I can only thank God that we are detatched and double glazed. Otherwise, the neighbours could be forgiven for thinking that they're spending Easter week in a caravan somewhere on the outskirts of Ayia Napa.

Monday, 24 March 2008

A New Addition to the Family


It's not what you think. (At least, I hope to God it's not).

No, the new addition is The Noise's birthday present. A rabbit. Perhaps I should point out here that I am not an animal person. I wouldn't hurt one. I just don't like the idea of sharing a house with one. A rabbit, however, I can cope with, because it lives outside and I don't have to see it or have anything to do with it.

The Father of This Lot is most definitely an animal person. So it was he who was despatched to the pet shop with The Noise on Saturday morning in search of a nice, fluffy, baby rabbit. The Fixer and The Peacemaker were at a loose end and accompanied them.

I knew things had not gone to plan when the Father of This Lot burst through the door sometime later, trailed by various children with a box displaying the legend 'PORT-A-PET'.

Him: Seventy quid that's just cost me!
Him: No. Not for one rabbit. For three rabbits, bedding, a bag of rabbit food and a *@&*ing hutch.
Me: Three rabbits?
Them: Look Mum - we all got one!

And before I knew what had happened, there were three baby rabbits running around the living room floor. I admit to feeling rather queasy at this point and can't actually remember whether I stood on a chair shouting 'Get them out!' or words to that effect.

I rabbit-proofed the kitchen by means of an upturned chair and a broom handle and made a cup of tea.

Photographs by The Peacemaker

Him: What I can't understand about this lot is, when it's somebody's birthday, everybody gets a present.

What I thought was: Well which idiot stood in the pet shop and agreed to it? I'd have pointed out it was The Noise's birthday and made sure nobody else got anything. No whining, no complaining. Home.

What I said was: 'Well, that just shows what a nice, kind Dad you are, doesn't it?'

What I then thought was: Don't come crying to me mate, on the next birthday, when you've got to cough up for five presents. You're on your own.

Mothering Monday

Mother Quotes

'If you've never been hated by your child, you've never been a parent'
Bette Davis

'There's a lot more to being a woman than being a mother. But there's a lot more to being a mother than most people suspect'
Roseanne Barr

'My idea of Superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors'
Bette Midler

'There is no such thing as a non-working mother'
Hester Mundis

'A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie'
Tenneva Jordan

'Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease'
Lisa Alther

'Being a mother is a profession just like being a doctor or a lawyer, except that if you have several children, it's more like being an Indian chief'
Author unknown

'The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until the children are in bed'
Author unknown

'When you're a mother, the odds of going into a store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one'
Erma Bombeck

and my own personal favourite:

'It's not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it'
Dorothy (The Golden Girls)
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Sunday, 23 March 2008

I'm Back!

And so am I!

Without a doubt, this has been the longest Holy Week of my life. I can't go into detail, but there has been something big going on with the Father of This Lot, and there have been times during this week when I have felt that I have been carrying a cross myself.
Still, with Easter Sunday comes renewal, and while I am not certain that we have got through this latest crisis, I think there may be, for now at least, some light at the end of the tunnel. More of a flickering candle than a halogen lamp, but a light all the same.
On the upside, I am a stone lighter than I was last Sunday. Well, the Football Fanatic thinks that's an upside, but then she thinks Kate Moss has the perfect figure. Personally, I am avoiding the mirror, as I think I look woefully thin and somewhere in the age range of ninety to a hundred and ten.
And even though I have not been commenting much, I have been lurking a bit, so I am off now to catch up with everybody and see what I've been missing! There's nothing much else happening today.....oh, except a marginally important football match against Liverpool which kicks off in fourteen minutes. Not that I'll be pacing the floor or anything.........
In the meantime, I wish everybody a Happy, Holy and Peaceful Easter.
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Saturday, 22 March 2008

Noisy Nine

Happy Birthday to a Noisy Nine year old!

Quote of the Day:

'I've waited YEARS for my birthday to be on a Saturday, and it's happened on one of the saddest days of the year!'

Never mind kiddo, it's Easter Sunday tomorrow!

I will be out for the rest of the day, entertaining several friends of The Noise at TGI Fridays.
What joy!
Any volunteers?

Thursday, 20 March 2008


My soul is sad, my heart is breaking tonight
Could you not watch and comfort me until light?
Am I alone, surrounded only by night?
Could you not watch one hour with me?

Could you not keep awake for one hour with me?
Is it so hard that you should do this for me?
I die for you, that you might always be free
Could you not watch one hour with me?

And so I weep and there is no-one to hear
I am in pain, will no-one witness my tears?
I am your God, and as my Passion draws near
Could you not watch one hour with me?

Francesca Leftley

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Last Chance....

...for a puzzle before Easter. Sorry but I am on a roll cleaning wise and you never know when the feeling will hit

Can you work this one out?

Romeo and Juliet are found dead on the floor in a bedroom. When they are discovered, there are pieces of glass and some water on the floor. The only furniture in the room is a shelf and a bed. The house in is a remote location, away from everything except for the nearby railway track. What caused the death of Romeo and Juliet?

Good Luck!

Answer: I'm afraid this one was a bit of a trick question!

Romeo and Juliet were fish in a bowl. The rumble of the train caused the bowl to smash on the floor. All the water spilled out, leaving poor R & J flapping about until the end......

Quite a few of you knew the answer though!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


......of conversation I heard this evening from the floor below.

'...sounds like somebody'd been clattered with that guitar....'

'.....I didn't mean to squirt you with tomato sauce......'

'...OW! She's just thrown a ladder on my foot......'

'.....Put a cold cloth on it......'

'....Hit her back, you big girl.....'

'...YOU PSYCHO!!........'

'......Can I help it if the dolls' house fell on you?....'

'....I'm moving out of this house.......'

'.....I think she's packing a suitcase......'

Why would I lie? You couldn't make this stuff up.


Nanny needed for five delightful females.

Apply within.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Mothering Monday

Things Your Children Are Bound To Say...And Your Likely Response

'But she started it'
'I don't care who started it - I'm finishing it!'

'I didn't do it'
'Well, someone must have done'

'Why can't I have it?'
'Because money doesn't grow on trees'

'That's so unfair!'
'Life's unfair'

'Daddy said I could have it'
'Then Daddy can pay for it'

'Johnny's mummy lets him do it'
'Good for Johnny's mummy'

'Because I said so'

Sound familiar?
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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's Céad Míle Fáilte to friend and to rover

That's a greeting that's Irish as Irish can be.

It means you are welcome, a thousand times over

Wherever you come from, whosoever you be!

Ssshh! We're not even supposed to be having St. Patrick's Day today!

(Can't have celebrations in Holy Week).

For my Dad.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Palm Sunday

Okay, let's get this over with. As you know, I am a lifelong practising Catholic. I love everything about my faith. I love the church - the rituals and the traditions, the bells and smells. I love the seasons and the feast days, everything about it really.

Except Holy Week.

This week, which starts today and ends next Saturday.

I know, I know. It's the pinnacle of the faith. It's what the Church is built on. And I absolutely dread it, every single year.

Ever since I was a little girl, Christ's Passion has horrified me. When we were learning about it at school, I would put my fingers in my ears and pray that it would end soon. And that feeling never went away. I'm not a little girl any longer, but I still feel the same. For me, it is the worst week of the year, and I cannot wait until it is over.

I found this Palm Sunday reflection here. It's longer than my usual posts, but I urge you to read it.

After spending the last few weeks in the desert of Lent, suddenly we find ourselves in an oasis, clutching long leaves of palms.But like so many things you see after being in the desert, it’s a mirage. What we see, or think we see, is about to shift before our eyes. Soon enough, the palms will be whips. The leaves will be thorns. Jubilation will become jeers. That is the paradox and the mystery of Holy Week.

The liturgies of this week are powerful and primal. In the days to come, there is silence and smoke, fire and water, shadow and light. We are a part of something both ancient and new, and what we do this week reminds us of that. The altar will be stripped. The cross will be venerated. The tabernacle will be emptied. The Blessed Sacrament will be moved. Bells will be stilled.And yet here we stand, at the gates to Jerusalem, palms in our hands and hosannas on our lips, beginning the arduous trek to Calvary.

This week, take the time to wonder about what we are doing, and what we are remembering.For close to two thousand years, we have gathered like this, in places like this, to light candles and chant prayers and read again the ancient stories of our deliverance and redemption.

But are we aware of what we are doing? Do we understand what it means? Do we realize the price that was paid? A proper accounting is impossible. The ledger—His life, for our souls—seems woefully unbalanced. So try this. This week, take a moment in each day that passes to wonder: What was He doing during this time of that one week all those centuries ago? What was crossing His mind on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday? What sort of anguish? What kind of dread?

Has anything we have ever worried about, or lost sleep over, or agonized about, even come close? He was a man like us in all things but sin. He must have been terrified, His mind buzzing with questions. Long after the others had drifted off to sleep, did He stay awake and worry? Maybe He sat up alone, late at night, whittling a piece of wood, the way His father had taught Him, until a splinter sliced His skin, drawing a rivulet of blood. He might have flinched and thought: Well, this is nothing. And still it stings. How intense would the pain of death become? How long would it last? How much humiliation would He be forced to endure, stripped and bleeding? And: What about His mother? Is there anything He could do to spare her from this?

As you shop for Easter baskets and dye, think of this. Ponder this. Wonder about it. Make it a kind of prayer.And then, remember what we are doing, and why.

Because, of all the calendars in all of human history, this is the week that changed the world.

Originally published in the bulletin of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church, Forest Hills, New York,
on April 9, 2006
(Palm Sunday)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

To answer your question.......

Blimey! I didn't expect that many questions! I can't possibly answer all these in one post, because you'd all be bored stiff by the end of it, so I'll start with the easiest ones.

akelamalu, swearing mother and a mother's place is in the wrong asked 'What did you make for tea?' Here's the recipe:

  1. Using a food processor, reduce the day old loaf to breadcrumbs. Put it in a little bag marked 'Breadcrumbs' and consign it to the depths of the freezer, in the vain hope that the next time you need some, you will remember where it is

  2. Split and butter the hot cross buns and hand them round as a stop gap whilst you......

  3. ......put the two tins of tomatoes back in the cupboard and nip out to the chip shop, where, for an amount of money surpassed only by the debt of a small African nation, you can purchase fish and chips for six people.

    This recipe is not subject to copyright. Feel free to use it anytime.

dottie and daryl e wanted to know how old the kids were, how do I manage with five daughters, do they all get on well and would I swap them for boys.

Easy bit: Football Fanatic 19, Singer 14, Fixer 12, Peacemaker 11, Noise 8 (till next week)

People with large families are often asked how they manage it, and the truth is, most of the time you just get on with, because, let's face it, what's the option? You start off with one, and then they just keep turning up, and you just sort of adapt really, without noticing.

It's true that I did things differently once the house was full of kids. For instance, when the Football Fanatic was a baby, I was obsessed with keeping her clean. If she happened to get a smear of chocolate on her face, I would immediately rush upstairs and clean her up with her own snow-white facecloth, dry her with her own snow-white towel and probably change her clothes as well. By the time I got to The Noise, dirt was more of a feature around the place, and my cleaning up babies routine had diminished to either a bit of spit on a hanky or the dishcloth dunked in the washing-up water.

Like I said, I adapted.

I would be guilty of lying if I said they all got on well. The two teenagers appear to despise one another with a passion, seem unable to say a civil word to each other and often have to be physically seperated. I am cheered slightly by the fact that many people have said to me 'I HATED my sister when we lived together, but now we don't she's my best friend'. Hmm....let's wait and see. Perhaps I should point out that whilst they feel it's perfectly normal for them to say and do the most horrible things to each other, they will not let anyone else say or do the same. On occasions when this has happened, they have each turned into tigresses in defence of the other sister and are quite happy to fight one another's corner.

The Fixer and The Peacmaker are probably best friends. They are quite close in age and when they were little they had a secret language of their own. This was fun for them but infuriating for me when all I wanted to know was what they wanted for their dinner. Often, they let The Noise play with them, although this can be quite annoying as she does like things done HER WAY. The Noise has no concept of fear, and will fight any one of the other four. She has even been known to stand on a chair and take on the Father of This Lot when feeling particularly aggreived. In my experience, it's easier to give in.

Would I swap them for boys? Let's see. Well, I have no experience of boys, but I have heard that having a houseful of boys means:

  • Television viewing is limited to Match of the Day or Sky Sports News
  • Dirty clothes, towels etc. are strewn throughout the house
  • They are obsessed with food and constantly eat you out of house and home
  • There is always a fight going on somewhere

Swap them? What would be the point?

Okay, I reckon I've bored you long enough. I'll answer some more tomorrow. (This could keep me in posts for a while - keep adding questions)!

The Fixer's award of the day is 'You Crafty Little Blogger'

and goes to Jennie and Kitty in honour of various dolls, bunnies and Sock Monkeys!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Question Time

I'm afraid today's post is a bit of a cop-out. Maybe I am coming down with something, but today I fell asleep for most of the afternoon, only just waking up in time to pick the kids up from school!

As a result, there is nothing for tea, the house has taken on an air of 'shabby chic' and from the banging and raised voices coming from downstairs I can only assume that whoever The Noise has conned into playing with her is probably not doing things her way!

So, faced with too much to do in too little time, coupled with a complete lack of inspiration, I have decided to host my own version of 'Question Time'. I've seen this sort of things on other people's blogs.....actually, now I come to think of it, they were far more popular blogs than this one........oh, well, too late now.....

So, if you have a question you've always wanted to ask me, (though why on earth anyone would I don't know)....ask away. Ask two if you like, or even three. I'll answer them all. (God, I hope nothing too embarrassing crops up)!

The Fixer's award for today is 'This Blogger Tells a Good Tale' and goes to:

Don't forget to pass them on - she's rigging up some sort of tracking device as we speak, to see where they end up!

I will be back later. In the meantime I shall be in the kitchen, trying to make a meal out of two tins of tomatoes, a day old loaf and three hot cross buns.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Full of Grace?

I abandoned my usual Thursday night prayer group tonight in favour of a compulsary attendance Year 9 Options Evening with The Singer.

I will leave you to imagine what a jolly time was had by all. Soaked, due to a deluge which descended the minute we set off, tea in a polystyrene cup and the best part of thirty quid in taxi fares with a driver who obviously honed his skills on the dodgems at Daisy Nook fair last Easter.

Still, at least the options are sorted:
  • History
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • ICT
  • German

If anyone can think of a suitable career which encompasses all these skills, please let me know.

I am tired and fed up, and I would go to bed, except that I promised The Fixer that I would distribute her latest award 'Full of Grace'

So, even though I feel about as full of grace as Onslow in 'Keeping Up Appearances' I would like to give this award to those blogs which are far more graceful than this one:


Tomorrow I shall be back to normal - and there's another award on the way! Sorry they're coming thick and fast, but we've only got a 30 day trial so the kid's working flat out!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Time for.....

.......another brain teaser.

We are having a massive Lenten Mass at church tonight. (This isn't the brain teaser, by the way, this is just the explanation of where I'm going). I have spent the entire morning sweeping, mopping and pew polishing, in readiness for the eighteen priests and visitors from five other parishes who will be attending.

All the candles have been replaced, cups and saucers are at the ready, someone has been despatched to Costco for cream cakes and scones and Fr. J has given us his rendition of 'Danny Boy' over the mike to check the sound system is working properly.

The Peacemaker is doing her bit with the Year 6 choir, and apparently, the Father of This Lot will also be in attendance to offer his support. (Clearly, God thinks my life is not stressful enough, and that I need to be sitting in a pew near the front playing Happy Families whilst worrying whether the temperamental urn in the vestry will boil the water in time or whether we'll have to invite them all to the pub up the road when it's over). Even the Football Fanatic has turned down the chance of attending a Reserves match at Old Trafford, so you can see what a big occasion it is.

SO......seeing as I won't be here for a large part of the evening, I am leaving you with this:

Four men were in a boat on the lake.

The boat turned over, and all four men sank to the bottom of the lake,

yet not a single man got wet!


Comment moderation is on, for THE CHEATERS!

I could name names, but you know who you are!!

Good luck! See you later!

(Oh, and I know there's only two men in the picture, but you try finding a retro graphic with four men in a boat when you're trying to remember whether you moved the crate of Christmas decorations out of the confessional box).

ANSWER: Not a single man got wet because......

Comments back on so you can see who all the clever people were who got it right!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Mother of All Awards Ceremony

I am ashamed to say I have had these awards for over a week and have not passed them on yet. In my defence...well.....actually, I haven't got a I'll just get on with it.

This first one came from Maggie May, who believes me to be a very busy person. I suppose I am quite busy, but I did notice during the weekend, when the internet was playing up, how much busier I used to be before I started this blogging lark! It's amazing how much housework you can get done when there's no computer to distract you......

Anyway, I would like to pass this on to David, who has got to be the busiest blogger anybody has ever met. Also, it's quite nice to be able to give him an award that he can actually accept, rather than the 'Wonderful Woman of the Web' award that I bestowed on him last time.

This one from Casdok, assumes I have a 'quick wit' - possibly gained from years of dealing with the Father of This Lot. I am passing this one to Milla, Swearing Mother, Pig in the Kitchen and Kitty, all exceptionally witty and probably wise, wonderful and lots of other complimentary adjectives beginning with W.

And you remember how desperately I wanted to make my own award? Well, I am nothing if not a trier. I downloaded a free trial of a graphics programme and after hours, weeks even of poring over the help screen, a lot of clicking and much trial and error, I have come up with this:

Actually, that was a complete and utter lie.

The Fixer knocked it up in about three minutes. Anyway, that's not the point. The thought was there on my part. I just lacked the wisdom, knowledge and technical expertise of my twelve year old child needed to finish the project. I'd quite like to see how far it gets though. The only rule of passing it on is it has to go to a mother, so I would like to award it to Casdok, who is a mum in a million, Grit, who manages to homeschool triplets and Laura, who's got more kids than I have!

But wait......there's more!! The Fixer has decided that she is making more awards. Enough, in fact, so that everyone who has ever commented gets one! She is studying the blogs of all commenters and she's determined to make something to suit everyone!

So, if you didn't get an award today, DON'T PANIC!! (That means you, Adrienne)! Because, before the week is out, there will be something for everyone.

My sincere hope is that The Fixer is only using royalty-free images and that we're not going to get hit with a £100,000 copyright bill.

In the unfortunate event that this does happen, I will do what any caring mother would do in the circumstances.

Deny all knowledge and lay the blame firmly at her door.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Mothering Monday

Lies Your Mother Told You


'The Mums' Book - For the Mum Who's Best at Everything'

by Alison Maloney

If you swallow chewing gum it will wind itself around your heart

If you don't wait an hour after eating to go swimming, you will get a cramp and die

If you pull ugly faces the wind will change and you'll stay like that

One hundred strokes with a brush is good for your hair

Eat your carrots - they'll make you see in the dark

Don't crack your knuckles - you'll get arthritis

Feed a cold, starve a fever

If you eat all your crusts, they'll make your hair curl

If you go out with wet hair you'll catch a cold

Chicken soup is good for colds

(Actually, this one's true. Chicken soup is thought to boost the immune system by stopping the movement of white blood cells that stimulate the release of mucus. Also, it's packed with nutrition, is easy to swallow and will keep you hydrated).

So, how many lies did your mother tell you?

And more importantly, how many have you told?

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Sunday, 9 March 2008

Checking in.....

....for a minute to let you know I'm still here! My internet connection has been going on and off all day. I have spent several hours chatting with a 'TalkTalk' engineer in Bombay, who is doing his best to maintain a steady connection!

See you when the revs pick up a bit!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Taking Care of Business

This is a very good representation of what I looked like when I came back from 12 o'clock Mass today. My state of grace lasted for approximately five minutes - the length of time it takes to walk from church to home.

You're intrigued now, aren't you? Did I have an argument with someone on the way back? No. Had I met the Father of This Lot on his way to a pub, yet again abandoning all parental responsibility? (This often happens on my way home from 12 o'clock mass, but surprisingly, not today).

No, the cause of my indignation and ill-temper was the chaos which met me on my arrival. Not only did the house resemble one of those buildings in Iraq which both the US and British armies have been in and trashed, but a cat-fight between the Singer and the Football Fanatic was in full swing. I use the term 'cat-fight' loosely, because that would give the wrong impression and conjure up a picture of a girly twosome engaged in a little scratching or hair-pulling. Think Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather and you'll have a much better idea.

Enter the Mother of This Lot, stage left. And, boy, did I let them have it. Both barrels? ALL barrels. They didn't know what had hit them. There was complete and utter silence. (Another sentence I thought I'd never write). So while I had their attention I took them on a round-the-world guilt trip. You know the sort of thing.....I don't ask much.....nobody ever thinks about me....nerves are in if I don't have enough with your father.... It was worthy of an award. It could even have been made into a film. In fact it was:

Since I appeared to be on a roll I decided to take full advantage and assign some cleaning duties. Furniture was pulled out, floors mopped, carpets hoovered, windows cleaned, wooden surfaces polished to within an inch of their lives and anything that was left lying about was given five minutes to live before being condemned forever to the depths of a black bin bag.

Yep, things are definitely changing round these parts. From now on, we live by my rules:

All in all, a good day.
And tomorrow, girls, we'll tackle the upstairs.

Now, who fancies the bathroom?

Friday, 7 March 2008

I Need A Hero!

I've been tagged by Crazycath - and a particularly difficult one it was too. I've got to say which Superhero I am most like. Well, apparently a Superhero is 'a character of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to acts of derring-do in the public interest'. Good God! Derring-do? Derring-don't, more like. And the only thing I do in the public interest is church cleaning on a Friday morning. (Although I must admit, I do it rather well).

But believe me, I am not like any Superhero. They are all far too energetic for my liking. All that leaping and whizzing through the air and scaling skyscrapers by means of spider's webs. No thank you. And the quiz which was provided to help was no use at all, seeing as I emerged as The Green Lantern.

So, I've tweaked it a bit.

Whilst I have no desire to embrace anything that smacks remotely of exercise, I really wouldn't mind having a few magical powers - the sort where you don't actually have to move much to get things done. So, I've picked a few characters that I would quite like to swap lives with for a day, and since you know me quite well by now, I thought you could decide which one you think I would be most like.

I spent a large part of my childhood desperately wanting to be this character:

'Samantha Stevens - a good witch married to an ordinary man...'

But then again, there was:

'Jeannie - more than two thousand years old, she can control any situation with the blink of an eye....'

And of course:

'Mary Poppins - practically perfect in every way'

So now it's up to you - which one is most like me?

I tag akelamalu and Beth

Bella - DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT - you've got too much packing to do.

(Thanks Cath, I enjoyed it in the end)!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Merits of a Good Education

I had a phone call from the Football Fanatic at 6.32am this morning.
(She works an early shift at a department store in town before her University day starts)

Her: Mum! I can't get in my locker!

Me: Why not?

Her: Because you didn't put my locker key back on my pants!

(Her locker key is attached to one of her belt loops by a chain)

Me: I did!

Her: You didn't Mum - it's not there!

Me: (the oh, so familiar light dawning) I put it on the other side.

Her:...(pause) it! See ya!

Now, it may be just me, but you'd think you'd be aware of a key chain jangling from one of your belt loops even if it wasn't on the usual side, wouldn't you?

I know. She's a dumb blonde. I know this because she's blonde and...well...dumb.

But hang on, let's backtrack a bit and look at the evidence.


(A* grades coming out of her ears)

4 AS levels

(including full marks in 2 of them)

4 A levels

(including 100% in History and Theology modules)

In addition, at some point she was put forward by the Head of Sixth Form for 'The Oxbridge List' - a list of pupils deemed suitable candidates for Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Once your name is on this list it is apparently more difficult to get it removed than it was to get out of Colditz during the war, but in an unusually quick witted moment (realising that this would mean she would have to give up her season ticket at Old Trafford) the Football Fanatic threatened to leave there and then, taking her grades with her, and becoming in the process, one of only two people who have ever managed it.

Having just completed her first semester exams at University, she has stunned students and lecturers alike who have realised looks can be deceptive, and that she is far more academically inclined than is obvious at first glance. I think they've also been stunned by the fact that she can eat more than five nineteen year old boys put together, but that's another story.

It's hard to credit isn't it? Ask her to explain the terms of the Apostolic letter at the Jerusalem council and she'll write you an A grade essay in twenty minutes. Ask her to identify which side of her body the jangling noise is coming from and she hasn't got a clue.

It's like I've always said:

No common sense.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Father of Girls

Great title for a song, don't you think? I wonder if Neil Sedaka's actually reading this?
Lastnight the Father of This Lot took the family out for a belated Mother's Day meal.
Well, when I say the family, I mean four of the kids. He's not speaking to me, so I wasn't invited. I know, Mother's Day without the Mother. Hey, stick around, it gets a lot stranger.

Now, before you all start hiring hit-men on my behalf (although if anybody knows a good, forget that), please believe me when I say I was not remotely bothered about this arrangement.

There were two reasons for this:

1. United were playing in a European cup match, and the prospect of having the house to myself (the Football Fanatic being at the said match) to watch it, as opposed to running around a restaurant trying to find someone with a phone that receives live text updates was just too good to miss

2. The Father of This Lot has always enjoyed the thought that he has a lot of children. He has always enjoyed telling people he has a lot of children. However, his idea of parental responsibility and mine differ slightly, in that he believes that his starts and ends with paying for them. The actual 'down and dirty' of parenting has never held much appeal for him.
So, the thought of him trying to manage four of them in a restaurant for a three course meal......well, wouldn't you have done the same?

Actually, I've just thought of a third reason. I've been to this place before. I've seen the chef out the back having a smoke, and frankly, some of his personal habits leave a lot to be desired.

Anyway, this lot had a good time. Their Father looked rather ashen-faced when he brought them home. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

And the match?

Manchester United 1 Lyon 0

A good result all round.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The Tradesman's Entrance

I am sitting in the loft at the computer.
From the floor below I have just heard the following conversation between the Football Fanatic (19) and The Fixer (12):
Football Fanatic: 'Can you hang this on my wall?'
The Fixer: 'Hm...I'll need panel pins.'
Football Fanatic: 'Have you got panel pins?'
The Fixer (giving her a withering look): 'Course I 'ave.'
Football Fanatic: 'Where from?'
The Fixer: 'Bought 'em at Tesco.'
There followed a lot of banging and hammering and shouts of 'it's alright, it's got a rubber handle' until.....
Football Fanatic: 'Hey! That looks great!'
The Fixer: 'Course it does. Anything else?'
Football Fanatic: 'Well...that hinge is loose on the bottom of the door.'
The Fixer: 'It'll cost you.'
Football Fanatic: 'How much?'
The Fixer: 'Two quid.'
Football Fanatic: 'Done.'

I'm thinking of buying her a grafter's belt for her birthday.

I blame the father.
Wherever he is.

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Monday, 3 March 2008

Mothering Monday

Well, I promised you a 'Mothering Monday' and here it is.

Taken from 'The Mums' Book - for the Mum who's Best at Everything'

by Alison Maloney

Things You'll Never Hear a Mother Say To a Child

Be good and I'll buy you a motorbike

Don't bother wearing a coat - it's quite warm out

How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far away?

Let me smell that shirt. Yes, that's good for another week

I think an untidy bedroom is a sign of creativity

Yes, I used to play truant too

Just leave all the lights on. It makes the house look more cheery.

Could you turn the music up louder so I can enjoy it too?

Run and bring me the scissors! Quick!

Just turn your underpants inside out. No-one will ever know

No, I don't have a tissue with me. Just use your sleeve

And that's just the first page! What do you think? Shall we stick with it and do another one next Monday?

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Sunday, 2 March 2008

Happy Mother's Day

While it may not have stretched to breakfast in bed, I did have a lovely Mother's Day, and I hope all you wonderful mothers out there did too.

The house is full of flowers and presents, and the Football Fanatic managed to find me a card which could have been custom made. It read:

Without a Mum like you,
I'd be sad and I'd be blue
Like a lace without a shoe...

And not only that...

I imagine the only other people who bought this card were big, strapping, teenage sons.

The Noise went to great pains to point out that I can only wear her present....

....when I am cooking with her, ON HER OWN, WITHOUT THE OTHERS.

These were from The Fixer....

...and The Singer....

....and this from the Football Fanatic, which, let's face it, I'm never going to see again after today.

And then, there was this, from The Peacemaker. Now, not only will buying a book entitled

'The Mums Book...for the Mums who are best at everything'

get you endless Brownie points, let me tell you, I have flicked through it and this book will keep me in blog posts for months! In fact, I'm already mentally writing tomorrow's post. I think we'll call it 'Mothering Monday'. Yep, that's got legs...I can see a series.....

And if you thought that was it, think again. I nipped over to Bella's only to find this:

For always knowing what to say, no matter who she’s speaking to…..For keeping her sense of humour in situations when I would have lost mine, and so much more…For making me laugh, out loud, again and again; and then hours later, all over again…For sharing her strength and determination to make the next day better than today - for yes, that thought quietly shines through for those of us who really hear her words…Five daughters. One Mother……Jackie - You Rock!

I haven't commented yet. I don't know what to say.

Bella and I have never met in real life. In fact we've only 'known' each other for a couple of months, but I do know that if we ever did meet, we'd have a fantastic time! Now, I often read about blog friends meeting up and becoming great 'real' friends, but that is unlikely to happen with Bella and me, because very soon, she's moving to the other side of the world. I'm really glad for her, because travel and adventure is in her blood, because she's starting a new life, because New York is the most exciting city in the world.....but I'm sad too, because I would have loved to have had a mocha with her just once!

So, just for you, Bella, here's one for your sidebar.

Have this one on me!

And FINALLY......scroll down two posts for the answer to the puzzle!

Note to self: Never again do a post with this many pictures unless you have three and a half hours to spare.