Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bird Spotting

Somewhere in the deepest amazon rainforest lives an incredible bird. It looks just like a toucan, but it has a branch growing out of its neck, to carry its babies on. A bit like the birdy version of a kangaroo. No one had ever seen that bird until a tireless five and a half year old explorer from Devon, England descovered it in February 2011. Matilda named her discovery "The Carry Pan Toucan."

Me: Matilda, how many chicks does the Cary Pan Toucan have?
Matilda: 100 and 100!
Me: That's a bit too many... It wouldn't be able to carry them all, or sit on all those eggs to hatch them.
Matilda: But Mummy, didn't you know, it's a VERY FAT creature! A bit like you...
Me: ...........

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mr Happy

Everybody knows that children with Down's syndrome are always happy.... right?

This Saturday Teddy was invited to his first ever birthday party. Unfortunately he fell asleep during the car ride there and as soon as he opened his little eyes and took in the chaos...

... he made it very clear what he thought. I kept putting him down and snapping pictures, because it was his very first party and by golly the occasion WOULD be recorded!

About 15 minutes in he fell asleep again, and slept all through the rest of the party...

... waking up just when everyone was getting ready to leave. He was pretty happy during those last 10 minutes though!
(Hey I can't blame the kid. I always hated parties too.)

(Surely this handome young man can't possibly be little Reggie? And Atticus got a cuddle too...)

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Bored And The Beautiful

Teddy was being such a ham today...

...that I decided it was worth taking some family photographs. Teddy performed beautifully, but Matilda was feeling a bit unmotivated.

Luckily, after I threatened... errr... bribed.... errr... calmly explained to her that when Mummy gets annoyed she doesn't feel like turning her favourite tv programme on, we started making progress.

Friend Bingo

Everybody loves Bingo, but Philip has an especially close relatioship with him. I have always loved dogs and I was determined that my children would also learn to be comfortable around them. Before we got our own dog though, this wasn't very easy to achieve. I admit I was the crazy lady who chased after dog owners to make sure Matilda and Philip got to stroke and say hello to as many dogs as possible. Matilda was generally happy as long as the dog was reasonably calm, but Philip was a lot more apprehensive. Ok, downright terrified. Even small, calm dogs would be observed from a safe distance, and every bark, jump or sudden movement reduced him to a quivering mess.
When Bingo joined us, he was a small, bouncy puppy with very sharp teeth and Philip was really not impressed. Slowly, they both got better and learned how to behave around each other. Now they're inseparable.

Philip calls Bingo his "friend Bingo," and includes him in most of his games. Right now as I'm writing this, Bingo is apparently being a tiger in the jungle. Every time Scrabble gets stroppy with Bingo (and it happens often!) Philip jumps in to rescue him. "Run Bingo! It's a Giant Cat attack!" And Scrabble gets a shove for good measure.

Yesterday morning I was having a cuddle with Philip, and told him my favourite thing is cuddling with my boy. "And what is your favourite thing Philip?" I asked.

"My favourite thing is Bingo."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Princess Stinky Stinks Again!

Last night we were playing with Matilda's hair, putting curly-wurlies in it (I believe that's the technical term, no?) Of course, Philip wanted to join in. So he got two pigtails and he was very excited about them. He was jumping up and down and saying he looks like Danny (Danni? A little girl from nursery he's friends with.) Here he is with his piggy-tails... I'm sorry Pip, you'd make a terrible cross-dresser. I still think he has a very boyish face even with pigtails and a necklace (and the occasional nail polish...Shhhh. It's blue nail polish so that makes it ok!)

This morning we took the curly-wurlies off and Matilda got curly hair:

I think I might try it some time! Until then, I'll just make do with Matilda's cat-eat hair clips. (They're Matilda's right? I just want to make that clear. And I have ever, never wore them outside. Nope, not once.)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Maison Et Decoration.

This is for Evi, because I wub her :) (And anyone else who doesn't have anything better to do!)

I went around the house today and took a few photographs, so here's the virtual tour.

As you go in through the front door, the first room you see on the left is the main bedroom:

Taken from the door:

And standing in front of the mirror you can see in the previous photo. Yes, there are Christmas lights on my bed.

The white wardrobe is from a second hand furniture shop, the drawer cabinet used to belong to Peter's granny. I got the rug on ebay. The bedside tables are from the recycling centre (i.e. the tip,) the blue reading light was Peter's when he was little and the orange one used to be a vase that belonged to my mum in the 60's or 70's, we got it converted to a lamp before I moved to the UK. The bed is IKEA and the mirror is Argos.

There is another room that is a similar size to the main bedroom and it will be my mum's when she moves here, but for now it's essentially a store room, so no pictures of that one :)

Next, you go one floor down, and find yourself here:

The dining/computer room.

I got the table second hand on ebay when we moved to this house. It is extendable so you can get 3-4 people on each side when fully extended. The chairs are miss-matched and from a used furniture shop, but I like the style. The mirror came with the house, the rug is from ebay (bought together with the one in the main bedroom.) The sofa is also second hand (originally IKEA,) bought together with the matching one you'll see later in the lounge. I got them both for £70 or there abouts. The computer desk is from the recycling centre (the tip.)

The door you can see in the picture leads to the lounge:

Here's the view from the doorway. (Ignore the Christmas tree. There's a reason why it's still up. Yes, really.)

The armchair was my gran's and then my mum's (now covered with a removable cover, which is a bit of a necessity in this house!) The cabinet behind it belonged to Peter's granny. The table behind the armchair is a Singer sewing machine table (complete with the sewing machine hidden inside it) that was my granny's too. It's one of my favourite things.

In the photo above you can see the other second hand sofa. The rug was a wedding present :) The red cushions are from a charity shop (they match the red sofa!) and the stripy/dotty ones are felt patchwork, made by my granny. You can see the door leading back to the dining room. (And yes, Teddy is watching television. It's a singing DVD and I was trying to get him to have a nap.)

Go down another floor, and you get to the kitchen (converted basement.)

This table was our main table in the previous house. Now it's very handy when the kids are having breakfast or a snack. The wall behind it is a partition built around two load-bearing pillars in the kitchen... I'd rather it wasn't there, but oh well. Podge's hutch is down there too, until I get him a more suitable indoor cage. Then the hutch and run will go in the garden for him to enjoy when the weather is good.

You can see the layout better in this next photo:

And just to keep it real, here's what's behind the partition wall. You can see my piles of washed clothes (folded in different piles for every member of the family! How neat am I! :P) and random stuff on the counter top that I'm in the process of sorting out / throwing away.

And finally, if you make your way aaaaall the way up 3 flights of stairs to the top floor, you have the children's bedrooms and our second bathroom. (Yay! A second bathroom! I'm still giddy thinking about it...) Both the kids' rooms are a bit of a work in progress.

This is known as "the girls' room."

Bunkbeds and a cot bed (in bed mode) in the alcove under the window. I got the curtains on ebay to make the room more girly for Matilda. They match the lilac wall quite nicely :)

Stuck between the cot bed and the bunks is a toy chest from Ikea, that has all their dressing up clothes in it. Also useful as a stepping stone when they jump from one bed to the next.

It might be the girls' room, but this is actually where Philip chooses to sleep (or should I say "Princess Stinky!")

The view standing in front of the window:

We finally got some dedicated shelves for all their books. Although I think we'll need to get some more soon. Check out the Flower Fairy frames (we still need to hang them.) The frames are from the charity shop, the pictures inside them are illustratins cut out of a book, also bought from the charity shop. Matilda chose which fairies she wanted:

And finally, "the boys' room." This is where Teddy sleeps at the moment. It's the smallest room, quite narrow and an awkward L-shape.

The view from the doorway:

The drawer tables are from the tip again, but I painted the handles with metal paint to make them look brighter. The Globe was a Christmas present for Philip... It lights up, and it's one of my favourite things. I love looking at it in the dark.

This bed was second hand. It's got a tent-hiding place underneath. (Also a good place to put a second mattress for sleep-overs.) I need to glue a new velcro-strip on the side to hold the curtain in place, but it's great fun and the children love it.

From the foot of the bed, looking in the shorter part of the L-shape. This is where Teddy sleeps. The mobile in his cot was from his birth parents and he's had it since he was born.

Finally, no photographs of the bathrooms (the camera batteries died,) but I'll close with my favourite tip find of all times. Storage was a big problem in the bathroom until we found this:

Where the towels are there was a broken cupboard door, but we took it and the hinges off. Now we keep all the clean hand towels there. Cosmetics, toothbrushes, bottles etc go at the top, toilet paper, nappies and other bulky stuff at the bottom. It could do with a coat of paint as it's a bit scratched, but it's wonderfully solid. For £25, now I just need to figure out what colour to paint it!

And there you have it, our house!