Anna and John inspect the freshly snowed upon drive here in Clydach http://t.co/iZR630yY
Feb 04 2012
Anna and John inspect the freshly snowed upon drive here in Clydach http://t.co/iZR630yY
Nov 23 2011
Taken Anna & Ira to music group. Tim in front of a weir (?? man made mini waterfall type thing) here in Clydach – http://t.co/SCmraG8r
Nov 13 2011
Shot yesterday (12th November 2011), here we have Irina, Tim & Anna along with Gwen here at home. I’ve just noticed there seems to be a problem with the resolution, I’ll have to fiddle with some settings on the phone, sorry about that.
Oct 27 2011
Yesterday Tim’s umbilical cord stump finally fell off, meaning putting his nappy on will be a lot quicker (they won’t need to be folded down around his now-forming tummy button) and I’ll not be convinced I’m torturing him each time we have a hug!
One of the other changes to everyday things due to the brilliant arrival of a new baby (still no middle name selected just yet) has been our car. Previously if I was driving, Irina would be in the passenger seat, and Anna’s car seat occupied one of the three seats in the back. Tim has a lie-flat car seat, which takes up two car seat spaces. So, if we drive somewhere as a family, we now have no spare seats for friends or family. As a Mondeo isn’t exactly a narrow car, we will just have to hope we can still properly fit Anna’s & Tim’s car seats into our slightly narrower car in Kazakhstan (Ford Mondeo vs Suzuki SX4).
If we have a couple of friends over, then trying to seat all everyone as well as the family, sofas run out of space now, as well! That said, I find lying on the floor actually helps if my back is aching. It would appear that my gym sessions earlier in the year didn’t do very much at all to strengthen the back muscles that invariably seem to get pulled when holding a baby for a few hours in a row. The furniture itself here in Clydach has largely escaped milky stains (and smells) so far, as Tim seems to dribble excess liquid onto his clothes, rather than with any great velocity. Famous last words!
The health visitor and midwife both seem to be perfectly happy with his progress, and Tim has already demonstrated baby boys’ ability to sprinkle surrounding furniture with wee. Karen (a great lady who we were also lucky enough to have around when Anna was born). Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid a shower so far.
Oct 10 2011
Just a quick post to keep people updated with how things are going here for Anna. Since we moved over from Astana, we have been trying to make sure that Anna was slowly getting used to behaving like a little girl, rather than a large baby!
The first thing we did was to stop using her special high chair at meal times. Now obviously we were not looking for an armchair or lounge chairs to place at the dining table, but given that she isn’t quite tall enough to comfortably sit on a dining room chair and reach her food easily, we originally put a few folded up blankets under her. This was OK for a couple of weeks, but then she decided that sitting like Mummy, Daddy, Nana and John would be her preferred position.
I’m writing this post having just returned from taking Anna swimming again. Although we took her to lessons in Astana almost two years ago, that was in a huge paddling pool, and was really just to get her used to being in the water. Over here we are taking her to a lesson each week (when possible) and/or just some free time in the pool.
Although she has had her own “proper” bed to sleep on (rather than a cot/crib) in Astana for a while now, this visit was the first time she used a big girl’s bed here in Clydach. Other than moving the bed-side table further away from the bed (in case she falls out, having a wooden corner to break her fall didn’t seem to clever) we haven’t had to make any other furniture based changes.
Yes, OK, I admit that I chose that picture because I think it will cause a few of this site’s male readers to actually read the post! Anyway, why are we trying to ensure that a lot of Anna’s behaviour and accessories from her baby years are altered or removed? Because when her little brother is born (he was due a couple of days ago!), and eventually starts using them himself, we didn’t want Anna to see this as her brother stealing “her” things, but rather him going through the same processes as she already has. “I’m a big girl who doesn’t need these things” rather than “My little brother arrived and now I can’t do lots of things I used to be allowed to!”. If I’ve not spoken with you recently, and we’re not connected on facebook, this post may be the first time you have heard Irina is pregnant; everything is going fine, no problems so far, and although her due date was a few days ago, that is using the UK ETA – Kazakh doctors reckoned she wouldn’t give birth until a week later.
Finally, we have potty training (round 2)! Although Anna had used a potty first thing in the morning since she was able to sit up unassisted, when we took her back to Kazakhstan, she straight out refused to sit on one! Rather than forcing the issue, we had originally hoped she would warm to the idea on her own. We now have a combined step/potty/toilet seat adapter, and during the daytime she now wears big girl’s knickers (with only a couple of accidents so far), though night time or long car journeys would probably be asking a bit too much too soon of her, so nappy supplies are still on hand. The step is used to reach sinks (so she can wash her own hands) and kitchen surfaces when she cooks etc.
Anyway, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Anna will continue to (overall) happily shed her baby habits and furniture, so when the newest Merriman addition arrives, no ill will will surface towards him from Anna.
Sep 29 2011
I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write some posts for this site. I’m hoping regular readers will forgive the lack of text-heavy posts recently, but now we are mostly settled into life in Clydach. In around nine days’ time, there is likely to be another temporary blip in output levels. Tweets will continue where possible, but this family will be very busy around then, so please don’t be insulted if I take a while once again to reply to IMs/e-mails. See facebook for a visual clue as to what I’m skirting around right now.
Anyway, I’ve some interesting articles bookmarked about what is happening in Astana right now, so today or tomorrow I’ll start drafting some posts on that. For now, I have been thinking about how to try and earn more money when back in Kazakhstan. I could take on more pupils, as there are never enough English native speakers in Astana with the time to teach. This however obviously means being away from Anna & Irina more often. The pay isn’t bad (especially compared to some other jobs), but this one definitely requires a careful balancing act.
Although I’m fairly certain I can predict what Irina’s reaction to the idea would be, I do sometimes wonder about schemes that involve information analysis, investing (or gambling) and then waiting to see if your predictions came right. Something like Fantasy Football but with real money to be made (or lost obviously). People who understand sports well dabble with spread betting, but I’m not too hot on following teams.
As with sports, Financial Spread Betting Online doesn’t reward a gambler/investor for simply choosing a binary result (a team wins or loses), but rather on how much they won or lost by. For example, with sports you might predict that your local rugby team will win, and be prepared to spread bet £5 per point. IF your team wins 37-12, you would gain £125 (£5 per point above a draw), HOWEVER, if your team lost 9-74, then you would lose £325. The same applies to the financial/stock market based schemes. Rather than winning or losing a match though, share prices can obviously rise or fall.
However, before looking at trying out this form of financial pattern detection, I obviously need to have some money to gamble/invest. Other than teaching English, I also work as an IT consultant sometimes, with a wide remit covering technical support for faulty hardware/software, constructing custom-built PCs, training people, designing websites and servicing slow computers. Whilst I definitely enjoy fixing computers and helping people, the taking the money side of the matter has always been a slight fly in the ointment for me at least. This is why I often work in conjunction with a local company who sort all the invoicing and paperwork – I just assess the hardware/software/wetware, fix or build what I can, and then leave still happy!
Over the past five or so years, my final income stream has occasionally included doing some media work for a government department in Kazakhstan. This was mainly suggesting re-writes for the English version of the script as well as providing the actual voice over material. This sort of work was probably the easiest, however they haven’t made contact in a while.
Dec 01 2010
Today is Con’s birthday, so from everyone here, and back in Clydach I’m sure, a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you dude. I thought I’d published the rest of this post already, but it was just sat there in my draft folder, waiting to go live. Sorry for the delay…
DJ Hydrophonics (our friend Con of Rescued Entertainment in Australia) has released a new mix, his first non-Drum n’ Bass one apparently. Click the big play button below to listen to it.
If you want to leave a comment click the link to see the mix at the original web site. All criticism (hopefully constructive 🙂 happily received.
Sep 24 2010
The 20th of March 2010 saw Anna enjoying a chocolate dessert in Clydach with somewhat predictable results!
Four more posts will see us reach Anna’s photos where she is back in Kazakhstan, and I’m set the somewhat arbitrary deadline of publishing them before Mum gets here to Astana, early Sunday morning. I also have quite a few Kazakhstan based posts to write, but I’ll catch up with Anna’s UK photos first.
Sep 15 2010
This is (almost) it! Four more photo based posts and this site will be up to date with pictures taken during our last trip to the UK! All the videos have been published already, and if you check out this site’s YouTube channel, you’ll see I’ve already uploaded the last 4.5 months worth of videos recorded in Kazakhstan. This means there are now 538 videos there! I will try and increase the amount of posts written per week until we get close to real time publishing again. I still need to go through and title most of the recent videos, and select which photos to use and then process them.
Anyway, these photos were shot on the same day (15th of March 2010) as the A Promenade Around Cheltenham Promenade post. Since March, she is now happy (sometimes too eager and wants to go solo) climbing stairs, and can almost manage all of the four floors up to our flat!
Apr 06 2010
These were shot on the 15th of February, and show a cuddly donkey that Anna spotted, and John bought, on the way back from Heathrow airport to Clydach.
ROTFTD? A bastardization of ROTFL – (Rolling On The Floor Laughing becomes Rolling On The Floor Tackling Donkeys). Anna took a couple of days to become comfortable walking around Mum’s house in Wales (as she had only just started walking unaided back in the more familiar landscape of our flat in Astana). When she had had enough of walking around, she would sometimes totter up to the poor donkey and literally dive onto it…
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