Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Winter Holidays

It's a bit late, but this is what we did in the winter holidays:

Visited Kew Gardens in the fog. We have a season ticket, so it doesn't matter if we don't see a lot of the gardens. It was amazing - very atmospheric. We went into the Snow Dome, which sprayed foam everywhere to simulate a snow storm (that's often the closest we get in London) and in the indoor play centre Climbers and Creepers, which was a lot of fun, even for the bigger children. Check out the giant millipedes!

Walked with my husband in Golders Hill Park where I discovered the Hill Garden and pergola for the first time, even though I have been visiting the park since I was a small child and we have lived within walking distance for nearly 5 years! It was so good that I went back the following week with our toddler, who was fascinated to see some birds having a bath in the pond.

Had a family outing to the South Bank, to see the Globe Theatre which was really interesting. We strolled over to the Tate Modern to eat lunch on the benches outside and see this year's Unilever installation Shibboleth We reckoned that it was worth looking at if you are nearby, but not worth going specially, unlike last year, when we had a thrilling time on the slides.

Last cultural outing - to the First Emperor exhibition at the British Museum, which was amazing, although not so good for younger children. It has been so popular that they are opening late in the evening to accommodate all the people who would like to see some of the Terracotta Army.

I stayed up late on New Year's Eve to watch the fireworks out of the loft window. Yes they are a terrible waste of money and inconsiderate as well, but since they are there, I might as well enjoy them!

Extreme hospitality

We always have a lot of people passing through our house ( and staying for a while as well) but the last few months have been record breaking even for us. In the autumn, we had a sort of global village in our loft, with a Swiss, a German and a Pole ( plus an American born baby) all staying at the same time. They all moved out before the winter holidays, when it was so quiet that we were even without my husband for a few days.

However, now the Americans have moved in. You know you have a lot of guests when you have to make a chart to work out who is sleeping in which bed. We have a PhD student living with us while he writes up his thesis, then in the space of two and half weeks, a comedienne, the director of a women's seminary and a roving rabbi, some of whom overlapped. In the midst of all that, my parents in law came for Shabbos last week, followed by our Polish-German friends and their American baby this week. That's not to mention the two young women who are sleeping here for Shabbos, but not eating!

It's not really surprising that my children don't want to go to bed - it's just too interesting here!

Monday, 28 January 2008

I Can List

I found this on A Mother in Israel and tracked it back to Aidel Maidel

Here's my list:

I can type without looking at the keys
I can speak reasonable French and make myself understood in Hebrew and Yiddish
I can cook a four course meal for 90 people.
I can multitask
I can play the piano and French horn
I can recognise a reasonable amount of classical music
I can run a fun and inspirational Shabbos table for my children and guests in the absence of my husband
I can write news articles, feature articles and opinion pieces
I can précis an article of 2000 words+ down to 900 words
I can use the Internet to find out almost anything
I can travel with 6 children and a buggy on the London Underground and get everyone there and back in one piece
I can remember the names of loads of people in my husband’s shul
I can make all sorts of different people feel welcome in our house
I can sew buttons on and do basic mending
I can get all my children into bed eventually
I can ensure that everyone has a clean set of clothes and at least one hot meal every day
I can French plait my own and other people’s hair
I can comb for lice
I can put a double duvet into its cover
I can shuffle cards
I can ride a bike
I can drive a manual car (that’s stick shift to you!)
I can post onto a blog
I can sing niggunim from a range of Chassidic courts
I can get my kitchen from disaster area to not too embarrassing in less than 10 minutes
I can remember to greet my husband with a smile
I can hug my children and ask them how their day was
I can tie scarves in lots of different styles
I can have enough self confidence to go out wearing the scarves
I can imbue my children with a positive self image
I can dance at weddings, even in the inner fast circle, and be mesameach the kallah
I can work to deadlines
I can reach the ninth level of Collapse 2
I can do a week’s supermarket shop in less than an hour
I can get more food into the trolley than I thought possible
I can bake great brownies
I can teach my children to bake so that they can now make all the desserts for Shabbos
I can express myself forcefully and clearly without being aggressive.