Oct 26 2011

Anna Through The Glass – http:…

Category: Anna's Photos,TweetsChrisM @ 12:24 am

Anna Through The Glass – http://t.co/y7Gv5c7Q

Anna Through The Glass

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Oct 10 2011

Anna’s Progress

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 9:33 pm

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.

Relaxing In A Chair

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.

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Sep 17 2011

Out of nowhere,a hankering4 sn…

Category: Tweets,VideosChrisM @ 9:10 pm

Out of nowhere,a hankering4 snakebite&black appears!
Also Irina 🙂 Back in South Wales once again. Where’s the Ribena? http://t.co/4OV5zBwn

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Nov 20 2010

Burgers And Cocktails

Category: Anna's Photos,Eating OutChrisM @ 2:19 am

Not a lot to add about this photo, as I think I mentioned it all in the previous video. Again, they were taken on the 20th of April at TGI Friday here in Astana. For newcomers to this blog, I don’t combine photos and videos of the same event as this causes problems when Anna’s website automatically imports those posts.
Looking at her pictures now, it is sometimes easier to see how she has changed over the last seven months, as when we see her each day, so very little changes over night that you don’t really notice certain features developing. Anna that is, Irina’s face hasn’t changed that much (other than getting a little bit more beautiful) since April 🙂

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Nov 20 2010

TGI Was My Birthday!

Category: Anna's Videos,Eating OutChrisM @ 1:01 am

After taking Anna to the playground in the morning, we went to TGI Friday here in Astana. Although some friends comment on the prices, occasional staff attitude issues and better alternatives, I hadn’t tried the Astana branch at this point (20th April). The burger was tasty, the cocktail (custom ordered as the menu didn’t match what I remembered from a UK edition) well made and just right ratio of ingredients. Irina’s Mum came with us, Anna was very well behaved (I was a little concerned she’d try throwing the big girls ceramic plate on the floor) and by the end of the meal I was very glad we went there, and perhaps a little tipsy 🙂

We have since visited again once or twice, and given that there are other expensive restaurants in Astana, and sometimes you just want a Western style burger, I’d happily recommend you try it at least once – if nothing else you’ll at least be able to criticize from personal experience, if you don’t end up liking it 🙂

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Nov 19 2010

Irina’s Turn In The Playground

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 11:21 pm

Onto some photos taken on the 20th of April this year, my birthday and I think one of the first times we took Anna out to play in the playground just round the corner from us. The environment isn’t exactly the safest, but no worse than many parks I used to play at as a child in the 80s in terms of sand as a floor, and the equipment has holes to bolt it to the ground, but it isn’t.
The weather now is a little colder than it was when we shot the videos, so I suspect if we haven’t already had our last swing and slide trip of 2010, we will do soon. Our neighbours’ hearts can only take so much (they tend to wrap children up a lot warmer here, even during comparatively mild weather), and to be fair the metal poles will soon get too cold for Anna to hold on to for any length of time.

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Nov 09 2010

Ira is working late… spaghet…

Category: Anna's Photos,TweetsChrisM @ 8:17 pm

Ira is working late… spaghetti hoops on toast (with chicken pie) for tea it is then 🙂 Anna being a good girl http://yfrog.com/2ril6j

Anna, Mors, Spaghetti On Toast And Chicken Pie

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Nov 05 2010

Scanning Your Blog

Category: WordPressChrisM @ 11:51 pm

This is it! The last WordPress plug-in review for a little while at least, as I have reached the end of the list of plug-ins I use across my different sites. If you don’t run a blog, apologies for this barrage of posts on a topic that doesn’t necessarily interest you. If you’ve come here expecting news about Kazakhstan, I’ll be trying to revive that category soon (though nothing controversial for about 6 months as I need to get my residency permit renewed next yet). If you have been waiting for more Amsterdam based posts, you’ll probably be waiting a few years for any personal reports from that city (see a post from earlier today). Finally, if the “Aware Or Conspiracy Nut” or book review categories were the reason you started coming here, I agree they’ve both been very neglected in recent years. I’ll try and revive them too some time.
Anyway, back to the reason for this post’s existence – WP Security Scan. It is a plug-in written by the same author as the All in One SEO Pack I mentioned a while back. Instead of trying to get you the best possible results in search engine rankings though, it scans through the files, folders and settings of your WordPress install, and draws your attention to any errors, lax security rules in place or other settings that need your attention. Some are automatically corrected, whilst others will require your manual intervention. If you want to ensure you reduce the likelihood of your blog being hacked, download it today, and make sure you follow the author’s advice when it comes to changing settings.

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Nov 05 2010

Living Room Investigations

Category: Anna's VideosChrisM @ 11:15 pm

The 11th of April saw us back at Ira’s parents’ house again, and the first video is of Anna once again terrorising a poor defenceless stuffed animal. However, when she saw that Babushka had a shiny thing with lights on it, the dog was abandoned with haste…

Upon being told that the camera wasn’t a toy, Anna decided to protest by changing channels on the TV…

And then trying another attempt at camera grabbing.

It is strange to look at these videos from just seven months ago and realise how much Anna has changed, both in terms of her face & body, and her increased confidence in walking around.

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Nov 05 2010

Amsterdam Page Updated

Category: Amsterdam,In The MediaChrisM @ 12:29 am

Someone (who I assume wanted to remain anonymous) e-mailed me asking for my POI (Points Of Interest) files for Amsterdam. Although these still haven’t been tidied up (they were originally only intended for personal use), I had already put links up for the KML formatted versions of these files on the Amsterdam page here at this site. As this person wanted them for his TomTom, I have converted the latest versions to OV2 files, as well as GPX (as he requested), and added links to these on the page.

As ever, you are welcome to the files for personal use, however if they are to be used for profit in anyway, please do contact me for further discussion first.
Since Anna was born, trips to Amsterdam have been off the table, so any updates could take a while to get done. If anyone wants the files updated more quickly, and would like me to do it, please cover the cost of : flights (TSE<>AMS), accommodation, a full time nanny for Anna whilst I’m away and the biggest bunch of flowers, box of chocolates and a meal out to try and persuade Irina it is a good idea (99.5% joking) 🙂
If you plan to visit Amsterdam, and the number 420 means something to you, you may well want to visit sooner rather than later, as reports are coming in that the government over there is once again attempting to tighten controls on the grey area of selling something that is decriminalized for personal use, but still illegal to trade large amounts of. See here for a BBC article on the subject. There have been similar reports for years, but as the number of CS slowly decline, there may well come a day when my GPS files are of no use at all 🙁

Oh, and before I forget, I’ll be posting up the video that some kind soul has put on YouTube of Karra’s TV appearance, and also posting more Anna photos and videos very soon. If not tonight, then tomorrow.

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