Sunday, 31 October 2010

Getting back to "normal"


It has taken us a while to settle and get back to normal after our recent trip to Spain. We normally return with our suitcases full Tupperware filled with home-made Basque cuisine, such as squid in its own ink (Chipirones), Cod in green sauce (Bacalao ala Pil Pil) and baby eels (Gulas).

Since our freezer is broken, we could not bring all of Sergio’s favorites and settled for more widely enjoyed delicatessen such as Chorizo,different hams and Manchego cheese.
What we had of extra space in the suitcases, where my wine bottles were supposed to be, was this time stuffed with Little H’s presents. I managed however to force in a few bottles and thanked the airlines for the extra kilos you’re able to bring when you are travelling with a toddler.

Now, six days after our return I am trying to recap what has happened since we were picked up at the airport by very eager Granny B and Grandad G, who had abstinences from not having seen Little H in two weeks, and cut their holiday one day short to greet us at Gardermoen. I am forever grateful, not only for picking us up, but for stopping at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere so that we could give Little H food to see if that could stop the high pitched “singing” from the back seat. Worked a treat.

 Monday was spent unpacking. On Tuesday we were back in Pilates, ran into class as the last one as usual, had timed the feeding wrong, so spent most of the time giving little H the bottle while watching the others do push-ups, some while breastfeeding. I am still amazed by the multitasking of the other mummies; I can barely give the bottle and wiggle my toes at the same time.

After the class I was tempted by an invitation to go for lunch, but not sure that I could join in. Reason being that Granny B had offered to take Little H for a couple of hours so that I could do some housework. How could I go to Condelica with the yummies and their angels without my own little H? The temptation proved too strong and after the hand-over to Granny B, I jogged to the café where I joined the others. I was not sure I would be allowed to enter without a pram, but I managed to sneak in and order my usual, but I definitely felt stares in my back and heard fragments of whispering. Some of the words I am sure I deciphered were: “without, shame, here at this hour, dare”. I will never go back alone.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Little H loves Porridge

Here's another small video for family and friends.

I guess not everyone is interested in seeing little H eating porridge, but it is quite fun- promise.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Two weeks visiting the small Basque town of Elorrio, where  Pappa Kas was born and raised, are nearly over. Hanna has met about seventy-three relatives, thirty-one of Pappa Kas’ closest friends, twelve neighbours,  eleven ex-neighbours, forty-five colleagues and friends of various relatives, ninety friends of friends, and about seventeen unknown ladies who has randomly hovered over the pram at some point to admire “La chica mas guapa del mundo”. She has also proudly been introduced to the Major (who also was our wedding photographer).

Despite all the wonderful hospitality and her minor celebrity status, I think that it is time for Little H to go home and get a change of environment. She is getting very spoilt, and I am starting to suspect that some of her closest relatives are having a bad influence on her.
Over the last couple of days she has started squealing like a cat in distress quite randomly and often in not so appropriate situations, for example when being on a show-off stroll around the town square with Amama/Granny Socco.
On Wednesday it got so bad that Pappa Kas looked at me early afternoon and said: “Please go and get us some aspirins- I can see that you are coming down with a head-ache and mine is already here” (how considerate is he? – He’s the best). Then Little H had been “at it” for what felt like hours, and we started to think that the neighbours might call Pet Rescue to report animal abuse. On this “new talent” we blame Tia Eli. I do not know how she has done it, but her and Little H was rolling around on the floor one afternoon when the high pitched screaming started, and ever since, especially when Tia is close, Hanna’s “chat” increases both in volume and intensity, and transforms into these horrible shrieks.

One of the other special traits she has picked up in recent days is to point her tongue as far out of her mouth as possible and wiggle it in a variety of ways to many a young relatives delight and to her mothers embarrassment. We can blame no other than Tio Ini. Every split second Little H and Tio spend alone they are up to no good. I just know it. Uncle’s are always teaching their nieces naughty tricks and he is no different. I am sure that behind my back he is constantly pointing his tongue to little H and teaching her all kinds of grimaces.

Other things I would like to blame someone with, such as always peeing when naked, the constant drooling and nasty smelling spit-up, the snoring and so on, I am afraid I have no one else to blame but myself. Everyone says Little H looks exactly like her mother as a toddler, unfortunately she has not only inherited the blue eyes and heart shaped face but most of my not so charming baby-traits as well. It is only normal that some of her mannerisms come from the other side of the family….

NB! The video below is only for the ones with a special interest. Two minutes of Little H "making conversation" with Tia...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Little H learns who's boss

Hanna is throwing admiring glances at her 
slightly older cousin June...
Little H: "Hola June, nice to finally meet someone at my own age!
               This lunch is a bore, don't you agree?"
H: "Ai, don't take my dummy. use your own"·
J: "Look Ama, let's show little H who's boss"
H: "Aaaaaa, give it back"
J: "Are you talking to me, eh? U talking to me?"

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Castro-Nyhus family goes south

The day was finally upon us when we were going to Elorrrio in order to show off Hanna to our Basque family and friends. We booked the tickets back in June, when October seemed so far away, but here we were.

We, or I to be precise started packing several days before, well ahead of schedule. Normally I pack two hours before leaving the house, but now, trying to be a responsible mother and wife, I was eager not to use the iron to dry my jeans with the airport taxi waiting outside – not that something like that has ever happened.
Apparently I did such a good job with packing my own and Little H’s stuff that I had to pack for Pappa Kas as well. He did a last minute check and most of the items I had chosen was approved, and I as the fashion police did not have to veto against any changes in the outfits choosen.

The day of our departure arrived and little H seemed in great spirit, unaware of the long and strenuous journey awaiting her. She had presented us with less spit-up than normal and her morning delivery was already done, so we hoped that the two changes of clothes we had in the hand luggage would be sufficient for the travel ahead.
Ten minutes before the taxi was due to arrive we were lined up outside the house with bags, suitcases and Little H. And I was thinking that if travelling with a toddler is going to make me plan ahead, pack smarter and be ready on time- bring it on! I'll take Little H on city breaks once a month. Pappa Kas can come if he pays...

Needless to say the travel was not such a breeze. I will not go into details, but here is a lesson learnt:
A carry-on bag for necessities (book to read on the plane, glossy magazine, water, fruit, a delicious sandwich and a small bag of toiletries (essential travel stuff: 8 hour cream, hand cream and Multi vitamin Recovery face mask and, and, and… )is no longer required.
Bring instead:
A large canvas bag containing: wet wipes, dry wipes, cotton wipes -WIPES! More babyfood, diapers and changes of clothes than you can ever imagine (do not forget an extra change for yourself as well as for the small one) pain killers (for when your stress related headache sets in) energy bars for food on the move and change in various currencies for shots of espresso whenever the opportunity arises. God forbid that you forget the small annoying toy which plays music as soon as anything gets near it. You get the drift...

Well, we arrived in Elorrio after having taken 1 taxi, 2 trains, 1 bus,  2 transport buses out to the planes, a stopover and flight change in Frankfurt.

Now a few days and a few bottles of wine later I am trying to convince myself that travelling with Little H was not so bad. I need to get home again - right?.. 

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Goes bananas - the domestic way

Happy Hanna
I have many talents, and I would like to believe that some of these are domestic. Sadly cleaning, polishing and ironing are not amongst these, but I can bake… So the question is – can baking be seen as house work?

Instead of using my extra energy on dusting behind the bed, cleaning toilets or scrubbing the kitchen floor, I tend to bake, believing that I am doing necessary domestic duties that way. Pappa Kas craves his buns as much as I do, so a devoted house wife prioritizes.

This weekend was no exception. Friday afternoon I discovered banana-flies hovering over the fruit bowl. Upon closer inspection three bananas were turning from yellow to dark brown, and were heading for the compost bin almost all by themselves. Would I help them on their way to become reincarnated as plant fertilizers or was there another alternative?

Then I remembered back to our Glasgae days when even dark brown ethanol smelling bananas could be an ingredient in delicious dishes for a recently graduated poor student. Banana loaf! I could not remember the original recipe, but after a quick search I found a slightly more complicated recipe than the one I used in my younger days, but this is absolutely delicious and moister than the one I used to make.

If you want to do like me- here’s the recipe: low-fat-oatmeal-banana-bread
 On Sunday I made apple cake to avoid the ironing, but that’s another story.

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