Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Dressed to kill… sheeps

Going back to work provides many new challenges. For example you cannot dress on autopilot in the mornings any more. Neither can you make noise when picking out your outfit and sneaking out of the bedroom and past Little H’s room. Everything needs to be prepared in advance. And when it isn’t – too bad.
Not long ago this happened:

I had a lunch meeting outside the office and when I prepared to leave work by putting on my jacket and boots, I realized that instead of a young professional office working lady I looked more like a horse manure mucking English lady of the countryside.

I left the office around noon wearing a black hooded parka, jeans and black wellington boots. This had not been so bad if the skies had been filled with rain-bearing clouds, and that I could see others in similar outfits out there. But the sun was shining; smart well-dressed ladies were putting on their designer sunglasses and smugly unbuttoning their fitted suit-jackets to reveal crisp and delicate shirts in this season’s bright colors, whereas if I took of my parka I would reveal a faded H&M brown-blackish tunic. The shame!

I had gone to work wearing a mummy outfit!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Another Family Visit

Last week, during some of the Easter break we had visitors from far far away. Pappa Kas’ cousine Naiara and her husband Alex came all the way from Northern Spain to experience the snow, the cold, the polar bears in the streets and all the other features which adds up to the Norwegian Experience.

Sadly for them it has been between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius and sunny for the past fortnight. Not exactly what they expected, but they just have to come back another year and make sure that it is in cold and dark January. I cannot guarantee a polar bear, but cold and snow they’ll more than probably get. And Pappa Kas will be happy to get some help with shoveling snow from our driveway and delighted by the audience when jumping off the veranda into the soft hills of snow just shoveled.

It is nice having family staying, and especially nice when they bring my special friends Rioja, Serrano and Chorizo along. During my maternity leave I almost emptied the wine-racks, but with these recent visits we are re-stocking and I hope the bottles will last until the next visit from Elorrio (in June). Otherwise I have to visit the “Wine monopoly”, where I have not needed to set my feet in several years.

And it is of course nice for Little H to see family and to get the extra attention she craves. It is much better having four grown-ups applauding her tricks around the breakfast table and to have four people to exhaust when she wants to practice running, but are unable to do so unaided.

So if you want to come and visit we can offer free room and board in exchange for a good bottle of wine and a couple of hours of babysitting.

Hanna and her men 
(this time Pappa Kas and Tio Alex)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

It’s a beautiful day…

Time flies when you are having fun. Well, time flies when you’re working, having visitors from abroad, taking care of a toddler, nurturing friendships, being a (house)wife and so on. In other words: Yes, time does fly when having fun!

Little H is still teething and it is a painful process, both for her and for her parents. Our sleep is interrupted by cries of pain and an inconsolable Little H which we can do nothing to comfort other than to cradle her in our arms, making soothing sounds and drug her with painkillers when it gets too much for us all… The paracetamol is a last resort, I promise.
After a few rough nights and little sleep for Pappa Kas (he is the best, takes the nightshift voluntarily, probably wanting to avoid a bitchy wife, which I am after less than 8 hours sleep), we decided that I was the one to comfort Little H when she needed it during the night, and that I was to get up with her in the morning.

I went to bed early, read a few pages in my book (“Night train to Lisbon” by Pascal Mercier – a real snooze) and fell asleep, only to wake up by Little H’ crying – eight and a half hour later! She had slept through the night. I took her into our bed for a snuggle and managed to get her to slumber for another 30 minutes before we got up. What a morning!
After the morning milk we did a quick hand-over and Pappa Kas was ready for the 2nd shift while was doing some work. At noon, a quarter past, to be exact, me and Little H were jogging in well-known late style down to meet the mummies of little O and cutie J.
It was so nice to see them, both mummies and young ones. It feels like the days of maternity leave were ages ago, and that I have been back in work for such a long time. I think it is six weeks.

It was good to be back amongst the mummies, and little H smiled and was delighted over company her own age. It lasted about 20 minutes before Little H’s behavior got back to “normal”, and we had a few tantrums. The play-date ended up with me having coffee stains on my shirt and scarf, Little H having lost a dummy (in a chain fastened to her jacket- how does she do it?), and Little O being scared to death by getting a very wet kiss from a certain little drooling lady.

Well, that’s just life for me and Little H isn’t it? She was singing (high pitched screaming) all the way back home where we woke up Pappa Kas who had been sleeping on the sofa.

What a great day!

Yum yum gimme some...


Life's great eh?

Monday, 11 April 2011

Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung and I have started running again, but this is not what today’s entry is about. I just wanted to show off by saying that I have been running again, it’s a big deal for me. I did it by my own free will, without new running shoes, a fancy new pair of tights; I did not even have a new playlist on my Ipod! So it was quite a hurdle…

Back to the spring. With the lovely weather our intentions were to spend last weekend outside, and on Saturday we went walking on the paths in the hills of Drammen together with Little J and his parents.

The excursion had been planned for days and the back-packs were full of goodies. We had chocolate bars, hot chocolate, waffles with jam and with cheese, watermelon, oranges, grapes, bananas and juice, water and ice coffee to drink. I am sure we had more edible stuff, but that was as far down in our bags as we got.

Inexperienced as I am (in all ways of being a mummy), Little H was dressed to sit in her pram and look cool. She wore brown funky trousers (Pappa Kas always sings MC Hammer when he sees them), and a white woolly cardigan. On her feet she had leather soled socks. Well, the hat was on and I had put sun cream in her face so all was not bad. Had forgotten her sunglasses though... Can't remember everything.

We walked along the snow-free paths and found a playground / outdoors nursery complete with a sand box and swings. Little J jumped into the sandbox dressed in his appropriate waterproof all-in-one suit and Gore-Tex boots. What could I do? Little H was whining in her pram desperately trying to free herself from the straps keeping her from the mud and sand.

I said “ehrmm well, Little H does not really have the appropriate clothes on does she?”, while I lifted MC H. Junior down and into the wet sandbox, trying to place her on a wollen blanket I had brought, hoping she would sit still for a little bit. Nope, she wanted to walk, to crawl, to steal Little J’s shovel, to eat sand and all other activities that her mother should have foreseen a little girl of ten months would want to do…

“ I guess I need to get Little H one of those suits if she is going to play outside now during spring” I said and little J’s mum replied: “I never put on him anything else, could not be outside playing without such a suit this time of year”.

I took Little H, with her before so “funky” outfit now full of sand and dirt, under my arm and went to eat waffles on the bench where no specific outfit was needed.

Who's having the most fun?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Visitors from far far away

They arrived on Tuesday. Two almost three months without Little H was enough. No video calls via Skype, photos or telephone conversations could satisfy the need for touching and squeezing Little H, so they packed their bags and off to cold and snowy Norway they went. Who? - Amama Socco & Axitxe Sebas of course.
They left sunny Elorrio and flew north to spend a week with us here in Lier. Well, ‘us’ I write, which is not entirely true. I am sure that they would not have noticed if me and Pappa Kas slipped off for a day or two. The attention is all on Little H, and who can blame them?
Little H is of course overjoyed. Having an audience all day is probably what she was craving, not being enough with Pappa Kas during the day and me when I get home from work in the afternoons. We also get distracted by the silliest things, like making dinner, keeping the house tidy and watching the news on TV. Now she has her grandparents undivided attention.
She gets to “sing”, clap, bathe and sleep with an audience, and she does her best to keep them entertained. As I am writing this I can hear her chatter from the living room downstairs and her grandparents’ responses. It warms my heart.
And tonight me and Pappa Kas are going out for some quality time for the second night in a row.
Thank you – Socco and Sebas!

Happy grandparents out in the snow

and of course - Little H is a happy bunny as well!
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