Friday, August 29, 2008

P.S.

Does anyone know how to reprogramme the extra button on the side of the mouse?

I've downloaded the mouse-specific software but I still can't get the red button to be 'Back' again!

STRESSFUL DAY

Still no sign of the newish gardener - it started so well, he was helpful and he turned up. August - as I was away for the first 2 weeks I paid him for his time in advance, now, 4 weeks later, he's only managed 5 hours in the whole month rather than the 4 days that I was expecting. We're working up to a biggish party in mid October - at this rate the curtains will be closed so that no-one can see the shambles of the garden!

The paver was here, bright and early, cheeky as ever, working hard - wonderful. He finished this afternoon and the paving looks great!

The electrician was here to create the power supply for the new water feature. Channels were created, cables were eventually threaded through tubing and finally the pump was turned on - to create a TRICKLE of water. I returned to the retailer of the pump, they were shirty until I mentioned mis-selling, then they became helpful, a new part is on order but I'm still sceptical that it will solve the problem.

The computer chappie arrived on time and was here (as expected) all afternoon. He's great and computer is behaving better, but now I have the stress of returning all of those 'non-savable' settings to the way I like them - the pig button to count words in Word etc!

Meantime the house is still a tip, T and I are battling boxes, Alice is trying to add to the chaos with unscheduled unpacking and the fridge is empty and we've run out of bread!

HEART-STOPPING MOMENTS

Today my computer was scrubbed and all the software reinstalled - I've been having techie problems that I don't understand and have been causing big hiccups for over a month.

In preparation I bought a new external memory thingy. I copied all 'My Docs' to it on Wednesday - that took over 2 hours just for the info to transfer. My techie chappie checked it before scrubbing began, fine, before he left he started it copying files back.

Tonight I've been returning settings to my usual things, including the desktop background - ONLY ALL MY FOLDERS OF ALICE PHOTOS WEREN'T THERE.

OH MY G*D . . . PANIC . . . SWEATY PALMS . . . FEELING SICK . . . TEARS IN MY EYES AT THE VERY SUGGESTION OF LOSING THEM . . .BACKUP YOUR FILES . . . PLEASE!

On rechecking the external thingy I found them - but in the meantime it was awful.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

HAPPY TEARS AND A FEW SHAKES TOO!

I've just spoken to SS (Social Services). My SW for Alice's adoption is off sick until November (last week she had been expected back soon) so I've opted to work with a new SW. The head of the team anticipates that my Homestudy should start within the next 2 weeks, wow!

(Note to American readers - UK Homestudies take significantly longer than yours with more visits - Alice's took 8 or more visits, each several hours long and with homework to do between visits!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A PARENT'S PEROGATIVE?!

GFN couldn't believe it when he saw how long Alice's hair was!

INNOCENCE!

It's only very recently that Alice has begun to understand any form of directions. She can follow a pointing finger and is quickly becoming more observant when looking for things (she's always been very observant but until now not so good at looking for things!)

This afternoon, playing with GFN, she was looking for one of the yellow stacking buckets, we told her it was by the trampoline. She was quick to move towards the trampoline and look over, under and behind it, but she simply couldn't find the yellow bucket (yes, the one behind her head!)

Do you think we should tell her where it is yet? ;-)

MILESTONES

This morning we went out in the car and a childrens CD was playing. Alice doesn't seem to respond to these CDs but I keep hoping that one day she'll appreciate that I play them for her benefit, even more than that I hope that one day she'll actually join in. Today she did! Halfway through 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,' I realised that she was droning along at the end of the lines, I cried and replayed dear old Twinkle several times (nearly enough to learn the 2nd and 3rd verses, didn't even realise that there was more than 1 verse until recently!)

Never thought I'd cry to Twinkle or The Wheels On The Bus (reminds me of all the minibus travel in China, I think I sang it on nearly every journey - even had to post to the blog for help remembering more verses!!)

SPECIAL VISITOR

GFN finally made it to see us (having been trying ever since we returned from France).

Alice had a wonderful time with him and he taught her all sorts of things, mostly bad habits! (Eating choccy biccies, throwing balls inside, daftness, etc, etc - they had a fabulous time and it was a joy to watch the fun and share the giggles whilst taking lots of photos.)

The adoration on Alice's face (1st photo) says it all!

GARDEN CHANGES - TODAY!

What? Where? Why?

The herb bed and the large flower bed outside the kitchen have gone, they've been emptied, plants transplanted where possible and beds dug out.

In their place will be more paving and a water feature. Next to the shed (notice lovely shade of green, thanks T!) will (hopefully) be a playhouse for Alice (where the wheelbarrows and sand table are in the first photo). Where the large flower bed was will be more paving with a water feature by the stepping stone across to the grass, the paving will eventually be edged with a box hedge. The water feature will be a frothy plume of water that falls back onto pebbles, stone or slate (to be decided (like the playhouse) once I can get to a garden centre or 3!) I've wanted a water feature like this for nearly 10 years and it should be Alice-Safe as the only area of water is under a grill, as opposed to Alice-Proof - which hasn't been invented yet!!

The extra paving will make room for a table outside the kitchen and still allow space for the water and sand tables without blocking the path!!

All of this is completely dependent on the weather - the paver started 2 and a half weeks ago (the digging out and moving of plants had already been done, all the paving was done today because of the lousy weather we've had this August.

We've got a family celebration in early October - both the paver and the gardener have been warned and I'm hoping things will be finish and tidy well before then!

GARDEN CHANGES - JUNE 08

(Look at the background, not the subjects!!)

GUESS WHO'S IN THE DOGHOUSE?

. . . Fusspot - now known as 'Pink'!

HOME IMPROVEMENTS - A CATALOGUE

(Warning - This is really a post to document for Alice, not really interesting unless you know the house and even then it's pretty boring!)

I inherited my home nearly 5 years ago. Before 2003 my parents had lived here (with me too sometimes) for almost 13 years since converting it from a barn and outbuildings during 1990.

In the 13 years that they owned it they did a few modifications, some big but mostly small. As I remember them:
  • Redecorated the downstairs bathroom from Laura Ashley's sweetpeas to a cloud and hot-air balloon paper - it's not as bad as it sounds but I still prefer the original and my opinion matters on this one as it was my bathroom (and the downstairs loo) whilst I lived here!
  • The reception rooms have all changed - the drawing room is smaller, the original sitting room is now a study, the original dining room is now a playroom, the dining room is now at the narrow end of the drawing room but was a sitting room at one stage too, confused?!
  • The kitchen was enlarged and the utility room was moved into the dog room.
  • Nothing changed upstairs. The only bedroom to have a change of colour scheme was mine (and that was downstairs).
  • The garden was ripped out and replanted in 2002 - along with the kitchen this was Mum's project after Nick died.
In the past 5 years, I've had:
  • an upgraded burglar alarm installed,
  • a doorway created into the drawing room,
  • totally redecorated the master bedroom and the nursery,
  • refitted the main bathroom and put in a power shower (major improvement!)
  • redecorated all the reception rooms and the hall,
  • ripped out, shuffled and refitted the kitchen,
  • had a lot of work done on the garden and more paving added,
  • installed garage doors,
  • had more cupboards built in the study, hall and kitchen lobby,
  • replaced all (bar the kitchen) windows and doors in the house, upgraded to hard wood frames and double glazing (and still the gas bill rises, ugh!)
But all in all this house feels like the 4th Road Bridge!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

CROSS

Yesterday I tried to get out of the house for groceries, couldn't get that far from a bathroom so I ordered groceries online. I ordered the basics and then made the most of the delivery and stocked up with the bulky necessities that I don't like dragging home from the supermarket.

It arrived a little while ago, 40 minutes into the 2 hour slot. It always seems to be a new delivery driver, so I asked him to bring the crates to the baby gate that goes across the inside back door. He brought the first (of many) crate in and I found that the whole delivery was loose in crates. No way. The kitchen wasn't tidy enough to cope with loose groceries everywhere. I rejected the delivery. I'm cross that they got it wrong. Home shopping is supposed to make things easier - this delivery wouldn't have. I spoke to Head Office and explained the problem, they've refunded the delivery charge.

Next time I'll use a different retailer - I love online grocery shopping, it's quicker, easier and cheaper (less browsing) but I can't stand incompetence. As for today (we're both feeling a bit better) so we'll be off to the supermarket as soon as Alice is up from her nap (luckily I was able to go online and print out a list of what I'd already ordered!)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

MY GOOD GIRL

. . . and my girl for good.

CLUB FEET

If (as anticipated) my next (and sadly last) adoption is from Thailand, then if will be for a child with Special Needs (SNs).

One of the SNs I'm considering is club feet. If anyone can share their experiences of this SN I'd be most grateful. I'd also like to hear about blogs (from anywhere in the world) who have children who have been treated for club feet. Most of all I'd like to know about possible treatments and approaches used by UK medics. Please leave comments or links, thanks.

SWINGING AGAIN!

(You'd never guess that 5 minutes after this Alice needed a complete change of clothes, ugh.)






BUT BEAR HAD FUN!

Alice has always loved cuddlies - Bear is one of her current favourites. (He's been out of commission since the last tummy bug - with unmentionable on the back of his head, luckily he survived the restoration process of the washing machine!)

Today Bear had to be wherever Alice was - having breakfast, playing in the playroom, gallivanting in the garden and even enjoying the swing!!

(What I didn't manage to capture was Bear listening to the stories, rocking on Mr Croc and watching the television!)

HAIRY GONK?

. . . no, just Alice - she always has to sit in her car seat when she sees it, regardless of whether or not it's actually in the car!

ROTTEN DAY

Day 7, my tummy bug got worse again yesterday afternoon - for the first time I was up multiple times through the night and I've felt rough all day.

Alice wasn't 100% last Sunday, but she's been fine since until today - so many dirty nappies that she now cries as soon as she sees a nappy sack or a clean nappy. Despite the soothing creams her bottom is red raw and obviously sore, poor button.

To make things even worse we should have been having a social weekend - GFW and his family are home, it's M's 8th birthday party today and GFN was threatening to visit. Tomorrow we were due to go out and about with C - looking at playhouses and pebbles (for the new water feature). So now not only do I feel ill but I'm also sad to missing seeing our special friends. Surely a week's enough to get over a tummy bug, I hope tomorrow brings some relief.

GROWING UP - COTS

Alice has a cotbed. She loves her bed (cot) and so far has shown no inclination to climb out. It's plenty big enough for her (something has to be!) I can't see any reason to change it into a bed yet but I'd love to know of the experience of others - when did you move your child into a bed and why? Please vote in the polls and if you want to add further insight PLEASE leave a comment, thanks!

Friday, August 22, 2008

2 MONTHS - AND ANOTHER GROWTH SPURT!

ALICE - CHANGES IN A YEAR


TYPICAL MEALTIME

Alice, eating well, self-feeding, food everywhere, dogs looking on hopefully!

A NEW SWING

Alice loves her swing, she'll stay in it for 45 minutes or more, sometimes more than an hour. She's never happier than when she's swinging - the higher and faster the better - you know when it's wild enough as she starts to squeal!!

The baby seat that came with our park is now a little too small for Alice, she gets stuck as you lift her out as space is tight. I've been looking for a new seat for her - as she's not mature enough to cope with the flexible seat that is the next stage up. So a larger, but still baby/toddler seat was needed. I finally found one in France - we tried it at the gite and then I found one in a supermarket and bought it - only to discover that it was significantly cheaper than anticipated. It's now installed and Alice tried it this afternoon - an obvious success, great! A great side-effect from the new seat is that there are now 2 baby seats hanging from our park - so Alice and her small friends can both enjoy the swings at the same time.

DOG LOVE

. . . a little over a year ago, 11th July 07, the day Alice came home, she was screaming, terrified, rigid with fear when she first saw the dogs. Luckily her fear didn't last long - within 5 minutes she was screeching to try and entice them close enough for her to touch them!

(When I remember those early days at home and Alice's huge courage at so many new (and completely different) situations I continued to be amazed at her strength and saddened that I could do so little to reassure her.)

Now, when I watch her with the dogs it brings me such pleasure to see her active love and delight to be with them and the contrast in the time since she's been home. Such pleasure that we both enjoy our dogs and our home.

MORE PLAYTIME

Simple pleasures - spending time playing with Alice!

(How'd she get so grown-up again?)





THE BALL IS ROLLING . . .

After several messages I managed to get through to SS this morning. I had a useful conversation with the team leader and afterwards I wrote a letter. After I'd sealed the letter I asked Alice if she wanted a little sister, she said no and then tried to crumple the letter!!

I'm still not feeling too great and forgot to take it to the post when we went out - but with a Bank Holiday on Monday there won't be a delay.

I've asked for the same SW, but she's off sick for a couple more weeks - hopefully she'll say yes. This Homestudy will cost 50% more than Alice's - but it's still much cheaper than some of the charges in England and it includes all the paperwork - homestudy, reviews, PPR etc!

I hope that this adoption will be SN from Thailand, but I've yet to ring Thailand and confirm that they'll consider my application (they were matching this week so 2 days were out and I haven't been up early enough!!)

How am I feeling? Excited, hopeful, nervous, patient(?). I've always wanted more than one child. I'm quite happy with just Alice for now but I want to have another child, I want to love every change, I want that babyhood time again (and relish it even more next time!), I want Alice to have a sibling but I want her to be a little older so that she'll understand what's going on and to be more independent. I'm anticipating that this process will take at least 2 years, so probably Little Sis isn't born or even conceived yet.

Maybe Little Sis won't be so young, maybe she won't be Thai, but whoever she is I want her to know that she's already dreamed about, loved and wanted.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

LATEST PLAYTIME FAVOURITES

The stacking buckets are one of Alice's fav toys since we've returned from France. She loves to stack them and the moment the final bucket is in place you'd better watch out for the right hook that knocks them down!

She also loves to talk into them and listen to her distorted voice. They're also great for carrying things and for pouring things between different buckets.

She's also (finally) showing interest in puzzles - only the single piece type. Yesterday we were playing with animal puzzles (a lovely John Crane one that the pieces are really chunky, the animals are painted on both sides and in the holes), we (T and I) were trying to show her how to wiggle the piece into place, but everytime we said 'Wiggle!' she would wiggle!! Alice would wiggle herself, not the puzzle piece. Baby steps in puzzle development but a lovely memory!