Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Archive for the category “visitors”

Bruiser Turns One

I can’t quite believe it, but it is true. Somehow we seem to have made it round the Sun again and Bruiser has officially been with us all the way. He has changed from a floppy, ever feeding bundle in need of constant carrying; to a waddling, ever feeding toddler in need of constant watching. He is full of smiles and love, and we feel very lucky to have him as part of our little family. The love and adoration between Diva and Bruiser is especially perfect. Not to mention all the love and wonderfulness of the fabulous family and friends who all came to help us celebrate. People are great…or at least the people we like are great…I’m not sure about the rest of them.

To celebrate the momentous occasion of Bruiser’s first year we decided to have a party. We also like to multi-task so we combined his first birthday with a Welcome Ceremony (non-religious alternative to a Christening). The planning for this began a long time ago and involved many different things that should not be attempted by a non-party planner on a limited budget. But when we like to dream in this family, we like to dream big! We also like to dream of dinosaurs, fairies and rectangles, according to Diva.

I stole the concept from a friend of mine who had arranged a circus theme for her son’s first birthday. We chose to do a traditional funfair idea and I made a variety of games for the children and adults to enjoy. We had a tin can alley, face painting, bean bag toss, hook-a-duck, candy and popcorn stand, a home made photo booth and a ball pool. We also had balloons and bunting and prizes. For the adults there was proper afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches, scones and cake….so much cake.

The idea was that we would arrive at the hall half an hour before the guests to set up, the kids would play for a bit, we would make speeches, everyone would eat stuff, there would be photos, I’d do a puppet show (I do that sometimes…ask anyone), everyone would help tidy up to be nice and we’d go home.

The reality was that our morning birthday brunch we’d arranged over ran and everybody arrived while we were still setting up. I immediately put everyone to work and had the teenage sons of one friend untangling the five bunches of balloons I’d brought. Other friends and family were made to hang up bunting and fill a tub of water for plastic ducks. My poor parents spent the entire party preparing cream scones, serving tea and collecting empty cups.

Ten minutes in the children had played all the games that had taken me several hours to prepare and wanted to know what the prizes were. One of my lovely friends spent most of the party face painting after being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hubby had to make an emergency trip home when we discovered the kitchen had no cutlery and the ball pool was missing the pool. Bruiser had barely slept and needed to be taken for a walk so that he would stop screaming at kind relatives. We nearly forgot to do the toast after friends and family spent ages handing out plastic glasses of champagne. We did forget to do the photographs. I lost all feeling in my legs crouching behind a small puppet theatre. We forgot to bring bin bags to tidy up at the end.

I think people had a good time. I spoke to a couple of them and nobody was crying. Diva certainly had a good time playing with all her favourite people in the world. I loved having all my friends and family in one place and finally getting to introduce Bruiser to some people. Our chosen Godparents were marvellous and made me very proud of our awesome family, as well as our ability to delegate parental responsibility.

However, I think I’m definitely more of an ideas person. Next time I need to hire a full team to do all the actual work for me. This may require me to become substantially more rich than I currently am, so I guess I’d better work on the money making side of things too.

Bruiser also received some really lovely and thoughtful gifts. Thank you. Occasionally Diva lets him play with them.

Thank you everyone for helping to make Bruiser’s first birthday one to remember.

Full of Surprises

Today we had friends come to the house. We do not live in a very big house so this doesn’t happen very often. Diva was initially not sure about the idea of sharing her toys with others and requested that we go and play with their toys instead. She even listed all the better toys each of her friends owned that could be played with at their houses. However, once they got here, she was very excited.

I’d attempted to set the kitchen up with some activities including play dough, chalk board, painting, and colouring. This worked fine, other than the usual arguments when all four girls wanted to do the exact same thing at the exact same time. Thankfully they all eventually settled down around the table to produce some fabulous modern art in crayon and ink.

Meanwhile, the mothers and babies were in the adjoining living room with the musical toys and biscuits. At one point I was invited to come back in the kitchen and see the, ‘art gallery’, the girls had produced. Impressed with their creative flair I entered the kitchen to see many brightly coloured pieces of paper displayed all over the kitchen cupboards. They had been busy.

While I was handing out the praise and giving each piece an in-depth critique, something occurred to me:

“Girls, how are all these pictures stuck to my cupboards?”


Flying Solo

As I mentioned before, Hubby is currently away with work this week. He’s in foreign lands arguing about intergalactic space problems and stuff (my words, not his). Meanwhile, I am experiencing my first try at looking after both kids, and dog, on my own. This is my third night alone and I think I can definitely divide my time between a series of successes and…unsuccesses (failures seems too mean).

We are all still alive.
Bruiser has had two daytime naps in his cot.
Uncle M has been for a walk.
We had a lovely visit from Aunty J and the kids.
The kitchen and living room are pretty clean.
Hoovering even occurred.
I have finished three cups of tea.
Diva made it to Nursery on time and was collected on time.
I have had some enjoyable phone conversations.
All of Diva’s toys ate their breakfast.
There has been painting, on purpose.
There has been chocolate.
Everybody has had food at some point in the day.

Uncle M, Diva and Bruiser have all kicked off at regular intervals during the night resulting in a distinct lack of sleep.
Bruiser has chosen this week to discover falling forwards whilst sitting.
Bruiser is teething, again.
There was a brief stand off between Diva and cousin L over Mr. Tumble’s bag, but I think that may have been resolved- does that mean it should be in successes?
No jobs have been ticked off my ever expanding list of jobs.
I have been battling a threatening migraine for 24 hours and the outcome does not look good.
I have resorted to enough bribery that News of the World employees would blush.
All food eaten has been out of a freezer or tin.
I have let six cups of tea go cold.
Uncle M has only been on one walk.
The upstairs of the house is a complete disaster of fallen clothes and discarded toys.

All in all, things have gone better than I expected. The days have been fine, other than the fact that I am exhausted, and the nights have been awful. More than anything, I miss having Hubby to share the humour and the stresses each evening.

Unfortunately he’s only back a few days before he’s off again for even longer. I have already booked in to stay with his parents. I may be proud of surviving this week, but I have no wish to repeat it quite so soon. I also know that there are lots of people who do this all the time. I’d rather not.

Happy Mother’s Day

What makes a great Mother’s Day…

Having a great mother that comes to visit and helps look after your kids.

Getting to spend time with your own parents and your own kids.

Receiving a handmade card with a squiggle that is translated to mean, ‘I love you Mummy’.

Having your brother and his family arrive for a surprise visit.

Enjoying a fabulous lunch in the Hollybush in Witney.

Watching your daughter dance around in a coat and hat your grandma made for you when you were three years old, which makes her look like she’s starring in a costume drama.

A baby that decides to take a two hour nap.

Speaking to your own grandparents and your other brother and family via Skype.

Eating a giant Fondant Fancy.

Getting a laminator as a gift (Hubby knows me so well).

Rugby Commentary

My parents are visiting us again this weekend and Grandma decided it was time to train Diva up on Welsh rugby. For those of you not in the know, today was a Grand Slam match between Wales and France. Here is Diva’s commentary on the match.

After Grandma explained the teams…
We like the red ones. We don’t like the blue ones (said over and over again).

Referring to a French player…
Oh no the mean one has it!

Referring to another French player…
Oh no the naughty one has it!

Referring to yet another French player…
Oh no the ugly one has it!

Referring to a Welsh player…
He’s wearing a hat so they don’t pull his hair.

Referring to a scrum…
Uh oh, they’re fighting.

Referring to a try…
Oh no he dropped the ball!

Referring to a conversion…
He did it! Now he can put his hat back on.

30 minutes in to the match…
You need to read me a story now, Grandma.

After several stories with Grandma and a couple of games with Mummy…
Look they won! Yay! They have cuddles now.

I don’t know a lot about Rugby but she seems to have understood the gist. I’m sure Grandma feels very proud…apart from the rude remarks of course, they were unnecessary and not at all funny and we will be sure to tell her not to do that again.


Normally, this is what happens in our house:

Diva: Mummy, I want a snack. Put the tele on, Mummy. I no want to play with that toy, I want to play with that toy that’s difficult to reach/is broken. I want a snack. Where’s Daddy? I no want to go out. I want to go out, Mummy. I no want to hold your hand.I want to paint. I no want to paint anymore…humph. I want a snack, Mummy…please.

Bruiser: (a translation) Pick me up! Give me milk! Walk me around! Wave shiny things at me! More milk! I want sleep but I don’t want sleep. Don’t even think of putting me down! Smile at me while I’m bouncing! Where is the singing? I want singing. Milk, I tell you! Push me around in this wheeled chariot! Let me sleep! Pick me up! Milk…please.

Uncle M: (translation) I want to go outside and bark at stuff. I want to come inside. Outside. Inside. Outside. Inside. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. I want to sleep on you. Can I come with you? I will follow you. Here is my lead. My lead is here. I will show you my lead. This is my food bowl. Can you see my food bowl? I like food. Food…please.

This is what happens when The Lovely Mrs. P visits:

Diva: Thank you for coming to visit me. I would like to colour that. Please may I eat fruit? Let’s go out, wahoo! Can I hold your hand? I like you. You are my friend. I would like to play with that, thank you. Let’s share. Shall we tidy up? This has been a lovely day. I will colour a picture for you.

Bruiser: Gurgle. Giggle. Gurgle. Smile.

Uncle M: (translation) I want to go outside and bark at stuff. I want to come inside. Outside. Inside. Outside. Inside. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. I want to sleep on you. Can I come with you? I will follow you. Here is my lead. My lead is here. I will show you my lead. This is my food bowl. Can you see my food bowl? I like food. Food…please.

At least someone’s consistent.

Thank you for a lovely day, The Lovely Mrs. P.

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