our girls


When our friends the Scotts moved back to America, we inherited their fish. This was only fair, because Katie once tried to kill the fish. Not on purpose, really, but she did pour half a jar of fish food into their tank. This was a bit too much food for fish who are supposed to get 10-12 grains a day. It took the Scotts a long time to clear out all the food. The fish survived, but somehow we have a debt of responsibility to them.

So, we have pets now.

We did pretty well with them, except we lost Star a week or two ago. This was a bummer, because I liked her best. Amadeus is a big bully and Georgia is a bottom feeder (no, really, she is). Today I went to Pets at Home and bought two new female mollies to keep Amadeus company. I chose two of different colours so we could (hopefully) see genetics in action. I chose a white one and a gold one, brought them home and let the girls decide on their names.

Katie chose to name the white one Sparkle, and Buffy has named the gold one Little Star in homage to the Star we lost.

It's hard to feel attached to fish, but I am really pleased to see how the girls and Andrew have taken to these creatures. I hope we even get some science lessons out of it with the arrival of some babies. Should be fun up to the point of explaining why Amadeus ate the fry. (I don't know.. he's a jerk?)

Not a good day for fabric

Earlier this week in a pique of motherly love, I bought my girls some treats from Noa Noa: some tights for Buffy, and a top for Katie. Katie has worn it every opportunity since. She even wore it today when she was colouring... and thinking... and itching... and scratching. She scratched that indelible black pen right on her brand-new, sky-blue, lace-edged top. I was livid. Absolutely through-the-roof angry. I was so angry, in fact, I had to walk around the block to cool down. I came back in to reassure her I really did love her more than the top. Then I ate some food to stabilise my blood sugar and everything was happy again.

This evening I was nit-combing my way through Buffy's now-luxurious locks (no nits, hooray!) when Katie stomped downstairs, "Buffy drew on my bed!" She could well have added, "Again!" Naughty Buffy, always drawing on things. I wish I could be like the Casson family and give her a wall to decorate, but I'm not. I prefer she colour on paper. So does Katie.

I half suspected something was up when she came down with both hands and one cheek tattooed in swirls and squiggles. She explained she had just found the pen and had done it just before coming downstairs. I confiscated the pen and told her to wash up. She'd only done it to herself, so that was that. I guess I was wrong. (Again!) I know realise she had been in bed covering herself in ink and had inadvertently made a mark on Katie's sheets. How do I know? It's all in what she wrote on Katie's bed:


Katie's skating at Somerset House

Two short mobile phone videos of Katie skating at Somerset House last weekend. I think it's pretty obvious which one is Katie!

They're very short and more than a little bit rubbish. But doesn't she look good?

Isobel's birthday

"So, Daddy, it's like Isobel's birthday, which is the twenty-oneth of December."

"The twenty-first of December, Buffy?"

(big sigh)

"No, Daddy. The. Twenty. Oneth. Of. December."

Twelve Treats of Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We are now in the playing with presents phase of the holiday. The girls are working together beautifully on a Doctor Who puzzle from Gramma, Andrew is trying his hand at some Chopin from Gramma, our bellies are all full of cinnamon rolls, and I am feeling reflective. Lest I start to forget our 2009 Christmas, I thought I might write down twelve treats of our family's holiday season. Part of me insists I won't forget, but that part of me didn't remember the presents hidden in the office until midnight last night. Silly that part of me. So, here they are: Our twelve treats of Christmas!

1. Katie focusing so carefully on her recorder playing at the Christmas concert and singing Santa Lucia in Swedish so very sweetly. My favourite of all was in the rehearsal in the weeks leading up to the concert in which Buffy would join Katie. I know the Swedish lyrics just strings of weird syllables to Buffy - as they are to me - but darn it if Katie didn't teach her every one of those syllables perfectly. Love it!

2. Buffy's nativity. She was a little angel and asked me with big eyes if I could make an angel costume for her. What sewing-mad mom could refuse? I modelled it off of the beautiful clothes of Eden's Bouquet and Sophie's wedding dress from Mamma Mia. Buffy wore it proudly on stage. She would have been happy in anything, though, once she got on stage. The girl adores an audience. As soon as her foot hit the stage, she spun around and grinned at the audience. Her audience. The angels were expected to stand during all of the songs and sit during the dialogue. One little angel didn't like sitting very much, so she stood far longer than any other angels. At some point someone must have said something to her, because she started instructing all of the other little angels when to sit and stand. She even pushed one angel on the head to get her to sit down. Then she stood back and grinned at her audience.

About halfway through, though, something changed. Our perky, proud little angel crumbled into a very sad little mess. She sniffled and cried through the rest of the show. We were worried what had happened. It turned out she had ripped her dress. Oops! Maybe we should have bought the cheap plastic Disney dress afterall.

3. C's Christmas party. Andrew was supposed to go, but Buffy got an earache, so Katie and I went on our own. It was wonderful. A grown-up centric party for once. Everyone looked glamourous and told witty stories. It was a proper evening, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

4. Ballet! Sweet Granny always gets a pair of tickets for Katie and Daddy to go to the ballet together. This was their third year watching The Nutcracker, which they always enjoy. I think Katie really benefits from hearing the same music from year to year. I know I did as a child, and I know the music from that ballet better than any other by far. It's lovely music. Katie came home dancing around, which I remember doing too. I take it as a sign that the ballet really touched her.

5. Les Miserables with Katie. In the past few months I have been slowly introducing Katie to the music of Les Mis. She asked if we could ever go see the show. Well, yes, it's easy enough to do in London, but I warned her it's not a happy story. Some people are mean, then some people die, then things get much worse, more people die, then it ends. She assured me she was okay with the sadness, afterall Harry Potter has sad parts and she loves that. Good point, I thought. I idly looked for tickets online, but my credit card wouldn't go through. I did notice that there were lots of available seats on the 23rd, so I hatched a plan. Katie and I would go to the TKTS book in Leicester Square and try to get half price tickets on the day. I wouldn't tell her very much about it, in case I couldn't deliver.

Fortunately, they had seats available, and amazing seats at that. We were bang in the middle of the front section of Dress Circle. Our view was perfect. The show was amazing with brilliant performances from all, notably Javert and Gavroche. Little Cosette was nervous and her voice cracked, but that only added to her charm. It was sweeping and wonderful, and my sweet Katie loved it. A fan is born.

6. Mince pies and mulled wine. It is tempting to have these out of season, because they're so delicious. I think that might detract from their specialness, though, which is not worth the risk.

More in another post.

Our silly girls

The girls and I have had nits. I just found out last night that I've got them too. It really was only a matter of time in our cuddly/hairy household. I guess I'm surprised it took that long, and that I only found one. Still, ew. This all has led to some sweet moments, though. Last night the girls were entwined on the rocking chair, Buffy sprawled over Katie. Katie then idly started nit-picking through Buffy's hair. It was such a sweet moment. They didn't need me or Andrew. Just each other. I hope they always have that.

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