This is goodbye from this blog.  It had fallen into disuse anyway – too little time with 4 little ones, homeschooling and normal expat life.  (But you’re still popping by and checking the site – I can see that on my stats.  Thank you!)  Now I’m back in the UK and life is almost unrecognisable from our overseas one just a few months ago.

This blog is my reminder of that part of my life.

This is actually part 2 in the saga, but part 1 happened before I resumed blogging.  So facebook friends may have gathered that there’s been an invasion in my kitchen, but others of you will have been blissfully unaware…

Part 1 recap:  All my bags of flour, crawling with weevils.  Makes me shudder just thinking about it.  Did some research and discovered I could kill them all by putting the bags in the freezer.  Put them in the bin instead.  Bought new ones and put them in the freezer.  So glad we have two fridge-freezers these days:  I have plain flour, several bags of self-raising flour (brought from outside the country as it’s not available here), a bag of semolina and some bags of bread flour (M is still hopeful we’ll get and use a bread machine one day before we leave), all now in the freezer.  Cleaned cupboards thoroughly and put anything that was in a packet into a jar instead (I’m thankful for M’s coffee-drinking now it’s provided so many big jars!)

Onto part 2…  Why didn’t I think of the boxes?  We have a few boxes of risotto rice and some lasagne sheets too.  I looked through them yesterday.  Have you ever looked at a foodstuff and realised it’s crawling?  Only one box of each seemed to be weevil-free and I put those in the freezer anyway as a safety precaution!  Spent quite a while sifting the weevils and baby maggoty weevil things out of a previously frozen jar of risotto rice.  Have perfected the technique of holding a few grains in my hand and blowing gently (frozen weevils and their younger relatives and their munched-up rice residue are all lighter than the grains.

Three days of freezing them good and proper and then I’ll have a fun weekend sifting.

But will I want to eat any of it afterwards?  And should I?

I was not looking forward to yesterday afternoon/early evening.  E received an invitation to her classmate’s birthday party last week and as soon as I saw the timing of it (5pm – 7pm) I knew it was going to be tough.  M was away, so there was no chance of dropping her off and getting the others to bed at a reasonable time.  We all had to stay.  The location?  A fast-food joint.  Oh joy.

Well, the children thought it was great (to begin with, at least).  A sound-proofed soft play area for the kiddies and loud music and attempted conversation for the parents.  (Who’s got the better deal?!)  After a while, it began to dawn on them that it’s sound-proofed and the adults aren’t actually watching…  Of course, it dawned on the boisterous boys before my younger daughter realised, but with a ball-dealt bruise just below her eye (hang on, I thought it was soft play?), she got a little upset.  Poor girl, she wanted to tell the boys off for playing too roughly and was quite aggrieved that they wouldn’t listen.  Then she was quite confident that I could tell them off instead.  I hate to disappoint such trust in me to right the world’s wrongs, but I told her it wasn’t my place.  Was I unreasonable?  I didn’t think I really had a case to report it to the birthday girl’s parents, given that R was riding on the back of her older sister’s invitation.

Well, that was the party, really.  Time passed.  Children emerged for water and popcorn (there were also nougat-like sweets, but I cast doubt on the child-appeal of the taste and they were not touched!  I’m not sure if it was my suggestion of the look of them) and went back for more energetic play.  R appeared with a nose bleed, sat with a tissue and popcorn, and went back.  G noticed my camera and had fun taking lots of photos so that the battery went dead just after the cake and singing (shame, as I was just about to take a photo of birthday girl wandering around with sharp knife in hand – it was removed by a more responsible mother as I put my camera away).

And time passed…

At half past six, one girl had to leave.  Others mentioned hunger to me, very quietly.

At ten to seven, food appeared.  Chicken nuggets, chips, bread rolls. And the cake, of course.  Plenty of food – it’s the thing here to provide more than can possibly be eaten.  It’s a sign of generosity, but it does lead to overeating and a lot of waste.  I shared a kids’ meal out between R and G, only to be thwarted by our hosts who distributed extra portions of chips to each child!

And at five past seven, the face painting started.  Cue fights and tantrums about the unfairness of a mean mum who wouldn’t let her children have their faces painted at the end of a party so that they could go home in the dark and have it cleaned off straight away at home.  Washable paints not even common here, so plenty of good ol’ scrubbing.  To give them their due, they settled down fairly quickly once in the car, munched on the leftovers of the food and started thinking about E’s party next month.

And L?  She went to sleep very quickly once we were in the car, no doubt dreaming of friendly scarf-adorned faces, hennaed hands and Coke bottles with straws – how do I get the drink out of there?

As for me, I made it through.  And I did have an interesting conversation with the father of the birthday girl.  He was telling me of his sadness about the likely future of the country.  He loves the fact that his country is so diverse.  I have not heard that quality appreciated, but then I don’t often speak to people who live here permanently, still less about such things.  Wish I did now…

The party was still in full swing when I left and BG’s dad said that most children here don’t go to bed till midnight.  Wonder how long it all went on for – and if there were more tears in the soft play area…

I’ve had a good day today. Given that this seems to be unnaturally cheerful these days, I thought I’d tell you about it.

Woke up to the sound of “Do you want to play with the plasticine?” Leapt out of bed, stumbled bleary-eyed into the kitchen, confiscated said item, returned it to its cupboard which should’ve been locked, locked it, looked in horror at the mess already in the house and returned to bed. Feeding L five minutes later, I heard whispered tidying up and sure enough when I emerged bravely from my room again twenty minutes later, all was vastly improved. Bless them…

I have discovered that Friday mornings are a good time to take the children out into the garden and watch them play. So we had a nice hour or so with them on the climbing frame and the trampoline before it got too hot and we came inside again. Our garden is a great place to spend time: it has enough big plants to provide plenty of shade and keep the temperature down, but it’s all rather overgrown and left to its own devices – so there’s really not much that can be spoilt. It’s therefore the most relaxing place to be with three year old G… The girls are getting more adventurous on the climbing frame (thanks, I think, to the example of their mother who surprised them – and herself – by doing a roll over one of the bars last week). It makes me feel less bad about not being able to take them to playgrounds.

Inside again, and we spent most of the morning with varying amounts of popping corn on the kitchen floor (spilling out into the main living area – or rather, swept out there by an enthusiastic small boy wielding a brush). I opted for the “smile serenely and think of all the enjoyment it’s giving them” approach, as they all mucked in to help clear it up, only to be thwarted when one of them decided it had been so much fun they should do it all again… We did wash some to cook for a snack – but the rest had to be binned in the end (it was coated with oil, dust, glitter and more). I was certainly naive when I walked out of the room without hiding the corn that had already been picked up (and the more so for doing it more than once – d’oh!), but on the plus side, they had lots of fun and nobody got cross.

We also had fun doing a little photo shoot with all four children, the results of which I am off to look at now. One more day to go – and by next weekend, M will be here and all will hopefully be easier…

I have been wondering recently whether it’s time to start this blog up again…

Two reasons why I haven’t so far: firstly, life with 4 children and an oft-absent husband and getting the house the way I want it now I finally live here with the rest of the family! Secondly, have been feeling a little negatively toward this place – the heat, the little everyday difficulties, the lack of things to do and people to do them with…

Really, the final problem should not be a problem at all. There are so many expats here for a few months or years, looking for friends to while away the time with. They tend to fall into one of two categories, though. First there is the development group. They are busy, up-to-date with current affairs in the country and their lives are wrapped up in their work: the frustrations, the concerns, the people, the meetings… I have sat in so many conversations recently which I have no hope of understanding. The second group is the missionaries. They are here because they have always wanted to come here; they get to know their neighbours, have local friends, use the market and public transport, speak a little of the language. It’s not really me…

So here I am, and it’s Thursday again and I’m dreading the weekend. Again. Two days to fill. Would love to take the children swimming, but with just me to look after them it’s just about possible but not much fun for them. And if I ask someone to join me they end up helping out and I feel guilty!

Wondering about inviting people round and worrying that no-one will come…

A gorgeous little girl, born six weeks early on 25th February, by emergency caesarean, weighing 2.03kg (4lb 7oz).

I’m off the hideously awful drug – yippee!

She’s gaining weight steadily – hooray!

And we’re out of hospital and back in the real world – which takes a little getting used to after over eight weeks “inside”.

Oh, and she’s getting a lot more sleep than I am…  Just as well this is our last baby.  🙂

Hello all!

Just popping in while I’m home from hospital – on day release as it were – for a few hours to let you know how I’m doing.  I was admitted to hospital (for the third time this pregnancy, second time in the UK) four weeks ago today with high blood pressure.  Putting my already considerable medication up by 50% seemed to fix that eventually and after ten days in I was allowed home.  Well, I managed four days before I got sent back!

This time my blood pressure has been misbehaving quite dramatically – enough one evening for me to be moved up to Labour Ward – not for labour but to be monitored more closely.  Seeing the midwives worrying and calling the doctors, who then worried and called my consultant, was a little unnerving.  The arrival of a senior doctor who wanted to look deep into my eyes (to examine the blood vessels at the back for damage) did little to make me feel in less danger, until he pronounced there to be no damage and said this was probably a big fuss about not much.  Soon after, my consultant arrived, grumbling happily about missing dessert and coffee at the restaurant he’s been in when he got the call, and calm was restored.  (He also said it had made him look important, a martyr to the call of duty in front of some colleagues, so I wasn’t to worry at all!)

The problem is that high blood pressure in pregnancy is a symptom of pre-eclampsia, which can be horrible and very dangerous, so they have to respond urgently.  So far my body has been stubbornly pre-eclampsia free, although it could develop at any time.  The baby seems completely unaffected, and at this stage would probably not have serious problems if I developed pre-eclampsia tomorrow.

My other consultant (I have two!  Actually, at one stage I had three – one for weekends so that the first one could get some rest!) came to see me the following morning and prescribed another hike in medication and I returned downstairs just before lunch.  The next three evenings brought enough further worries for the doctors to be called, who asked lots of silly questions about awful symptoms that I might just have but not have thought to mention – as if to say, “Well, things could be a lot worse, you know” and then prescribed one-off doses of familiar and unfamiliar drugs to make sure I still rattled every time I moved.

Fortunately, a tweak in medication and banning of the machines that were reading inaccurately high has helped a bit and I can now go three or four days before my BP misbehaves, but this is not quite good enough to send me home.  So I am in until delivery, not many more weeks now …

The days are falling into some sort of pattern:

0800   –  wake, take tablets, go back to sleep

0900   –  eat cereal, go back to bed

1000   –  eat toast, read paper

1200   –  tablets, round 2

1230   –  lunch

1400   –  tablets, round 3 and visiting time

1500   –  snack, puzzles, read, maybe CTG (listens to baby’s heartbeat for ½ an hour, done every day)

1730   –  supper

1800   –  more tablets, then TV, book, maybe worry a few doctors

2000   –  tablets again

2200   –  last tablets and bed.  One BP check in the night and plenty of trips to the loo as I’m currently drinking 2 litres of water a night, thanks to the tablets.

It will all be worth it in the end!

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