Friday, 26 December 2008

For my Nutty Celtic friend

I'm gonna try to put in a few pictures.

Okay, the picture is above the text... This is my new Pennanular brooch.

Next... Hmm, that one is above the last! No wonder I don't do pictures in my blog. The label from the box.

Also I have the pennanular that Bob made for me when he took a blacksmithing class while we were in Iceland.

And just for fun, the ring Bob bought me while he was in Iceland TDY earlier this year.

Oy! I was able to move one picture to its proper place, but the others stubbornly remained where they appeared. So from top to bottom:
the ring, the one Bob made, the label, the new one. :-)


We went to the bases today for after-Christmas sales. The furniture store was closed, and the commissaries were closed, but the BX and the BXtra were open. The BX - the main store on Lakenheath - had Christmas stuff 50% off. We found a sparkly silver dress that will fit Naysha once I hem up the sleeves marked 75% off $29. And we got a tub of candy and something for Taryn's birthday. When we went to check out, the candy rang up 1/2 price, and then the checker took off 50%, so the $8 chocolates weer only $2. WooHoo!
At the BXtra Christmas stuff was marked 75% off. Bob got some chocolate covered peanuts and I got a lighted 36" nativity thing (to stand up outside), and a wooden lighted nativity for inside. Once again, they rang up 75% off, and then the checker took another 75% off that. So the $35 nativity came out to something like $3.
They didn't have any shoes in my size, but you can't beat cheap chocolate. :-)

Thursday, 25 December 2008


It was fun.

Last night Bob got off work early, so went into Newmarket to see the lights and sights. We went into a couple of stores and got some good deals at Woolworths, which is closing. Then we drove out to a nearby village to a street that was featured in the paper for having so many lights on display. We parked and walked through; it was nice.
Then we had dinner and did our normal thing.

This morning we opened presents - something like 10 each for the 4 older ones, plus several for me, a few for Bob, and a few each for the two little ones. It took too long. (We've decided next year we will do the presents in rounds. Everybody get one or two, then go play for awhile. Come back later, do another round...) Then we had breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, eggs, and sausage. Then we played with all the new stuff, loaded the pictures on Flickr, and hung around til lunchtime. Lunch was chicken cones - like chicken packets, but I added the stuffing mix to the filling, cooked the crescent rolls in cone shapes, and stuffed them. It was good. And the cheese I bought at the last bazaar with crackers, and fudge with dippers. It was supposed to be fondue, but it wasn't, really. Oh, well, it was all good anyway.

The haul:

New cell phone (his old one stays charged for a few hours)
personal trimmer
dark Lindt truffles
Lakenheath/Mildenhall mug
Burt's Bees chapstick (from Heather)

Coupon for a furniture item of my choice
wireless mouse (my computer fell off the couch on the old one's receiver thing and it's getting pretty sad)
a Celtic/Viking brooch
some candy
blank book (from Heather)

lap harp (from Wil and Marline)
doll (from Bob's Grandma)
dress (from my Mom)
diary set (from Heather)
colored pens
tootsie roll bank
mold and paint picture frames

Nurse costume (from Wil and Marline)
doll (from Bob's Grandma)
Caddoo game (from my Mom)
necklace and mini dogs (from Heather)
star costume
purple fancy dress
tootsie roll bank
mold and paint magnets

penguin costume (from Wil and Marline)
play tool set (from Bob's grandma)
(joint with Ced) Robin Hood play castle set (from my Mom)
giant inflatable basketball (from Heather)
dress shirts
policeman costume
tootsie roll bank
Paint and make airplane

T-Rex costume (from Wil and Marline)
play tool set (from Bob's Grandma)
castle set (joint with Riah)
giant inflatable football (from Heather)
policman costume
Robin Hood costume
tootsie roll bank
paint and make car

doll (from Bob's grandma)
shoes (from Mom and Dad - sorry I didn't give him credit for everyone else's)
little furry dog (from Heather)
farm felt play set

push and go dog toy
blinking flashlight baby toy

I *think* that's it! Never mind the trampoline which will stay apart until after the move. Yes, two weeks and we move. I'm fine, really; thanks for asking. ;-)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

time to check in again

I feel like I haven't blogged in a week or more. Where did I leave off? Oh, yes...

Friday night we made it to the carol service here in town. The church was nearly full, though there was only one other family with children. The meeting lasted about an hour, and it was stand to sing a carol, sit to hear a scripture or poem, stand to sing, sit to read. They sang a few that I've never heard, and a few that we knew but they do differently. In Silent Night, for example, we sing "shepherds quake" and they sing "shepherds quail." Away in a Manger and O Little Town of Bethlehem had different tunes than we are used to. But I enjoyed it and was glad we went. After the program they had minced pies and mulled wine. We were taking pictures of the decorations when a lady brought a tray of pies over, so I politely took one, and a couple of the children got one. I've had mince pie before, long ago at Langshot Manor, and thought it wasn't bad. These were SO strong I couldn't take more than a bite. Cedwryck's first bite had him loudly exclaiming, "I really like this!" but he nibbled around the crust a bit and decided he didn't want anymore after all. We walked toward the front of the church, but the smell of alcohol was so strong we couldn't stay. Growing up teetotalers, it's hard for me to reconcile alcohol and church.

Saturday we went to Bury again. It was much warmer this week. We made it to the market, where Bob got some magazines and I got some produce. Nothing amazing except the price - a pound of cherries for 1GBP. mmmmm. We had lunch at McDonald's, listened to the Salvation Army Band, and bought some fresh-roasted chestnuts (yuck!). Then we went to Tesco where I tried to get some lightbulbs, but I got the wrong kind. Then home, and chocolate gravy and biscuits for dinner.

Sunday was church. They had a baptism, which was cool. They don't have a permenant dunking booth, so they set up a portable pool thing over tarps in the fellowship hall. We had our song service, then everyone filed out to the other room and they baptised. There was a brother and sister, a woman, and then a man followed by his daughter and wife. Too cool. Each person was asked if they were saved by Christ, will follow Him and reject sin, then they were dunked, and then members of the congregation were invited to speak or read scripture to the newly baptised. And we all prayed for them. I've never seen it done like that, but I like it.

After church we went to Lakenheath for lunch. We couldn't decide what we wanted, so we just drove around past the various places. The club had no availbale parking. The BX had no available parking (Bob went twice last week to cash a check at the bank, which is across from the BX, and had to go back to work because there was no place for him to park down there); we really didn't want Taco Bell or Burger King; Popeyes had parking but no tables. So we sat there a minute, thinking, and we saw a large group leaving, so we jumped up and ran in to claim a table. Then we had to wait while they cooked biscuits. There was no ice in the soda machine and no napkins in the dispensers when we got there, but both were filled before we left. They were supposed to have a drawing for a cajun turkey, but they didn't. They said they'd do it later and call the winner, so I guess it wasn't us (or they "forgot").

Monday Bob left for work early, waking me up an hour earlier than usual. As half of his men are off for Christmas, the other half has to work extra to keep the work flow going. I bought the girls the computer game Cake Mania 3 from RealArcade. We cleaned, washed, cooked, played outside, had school... I feel like I acomplished nothing other than lots of stress and fussing as this is my emotional time of the month, but I guess it wasn't a total loss.

Today we ARE going shopping for Christmas day groceries and the ever important peanut butter. woohoo, I am SO excited. (Read that in Ben Stein's best monotone)

Okay, William is awake so I must go. Be blessed.

Friday, 19 December 2008

To-do list

Forgive me for "thinking out loud" here, I'm trying to figure out the next 3 weeks.

(I slept better last night, except I stayed up late and woke up early, so still very sleepy.)

Tomorrow is a weekend. I was going to look up some free stuff and see if anybody was doing something special for Christmas.

Tonight is a Christmas carol service in Cheveley and I want to go.

Next Thursday is Christmas. We have all the shopping done (I think). We are having finger foods that start with "c" (no reason, it just worked out that way) - chicken crouquets (or maybe packets), cheese and crackers, carrot sticks, chocolate fondue. I have to get the stuff for the fondue. I also want to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Should get sausage, too.

Bob works 12s Mon-Wed and has off Thurs and Fri. I'm thinking groceries on Monday - will fruit for dipping keep that long? I want tacos one day - tonight would be great, but I'm out of ground beef so it'll be Monday night.

The week after is New Year's, and Bob is supposed to be off work. Hopefully we will get some things ready for moving. What can we do? On the 2nd FMO is picking up our wardrobes, fridge, and dryer. They all have to be clean - including the dryer lint free. Any tips?

The 5th is Cedwryck's birthday. We need to get him something. Maybe the BX will have an after Christmas sale? He wants to watch a movie and go to the park if it's not too cold. And a race car cake (same as he had for his 2nd). Easy peasy.

The 8th Bob goes to the new house and the movers come to pack up. We will make a trip to the base that evening to take our cold stuff to the new fridge (and eat?). The 9th the movers load up the stuff and take it to the new house. We'll take the stuff they won't. We don't want to pack either vacuum, because we want to do the new house before the stuff gets there, and do the old house after the stuff is gone. We have to make sure nothing that belongs here (like window keys) gets packed, plus our cleaning stuff and fragile/valuable stuff like computers, purses, jewelry. So I guess that all needs to be sorted somehow beforehand.

The 10th and 11th we get to scrub the house top to bottom. I'm wondering if we ought to hire a carpet cleaner. Will it help or be a waste? If carpet cleaner foam doesn't get out a stain when it's fresh, will a steamer thing get it out when it's old?

Also, sometime close to moving out I need to fill out the online forms (or call) to get our final water and electric bills. I've already called BT about the phone and internet - they get an error message and will call me back. Right. It was supposed to be done by this Monday, then Wednesday, then next Monday. I wonder...

Ummm, what else?

I'm afraid I'll forget something very important.

Of course, this is on top of all the daily cooking, cleaning, training, washing that must continue to keep our little family going smooth.

Okay, i think I've got a handle on it now; thanks for listening. And if you have any cleaning advice or whatever, I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Sleep, please

So the next door neighbors have had a security light since before we moved in. It comes on whenever their cat walks by and stays on for 2 minutes. We thought that was bad.


Yesterday the neighbors across the sidewalk got a security light. It comes on whenever I wiggle my toes in my bed, stays on for 3 seconds and then flashes on again. Besides that, it is pointed straight at our house. Even with blinds and blackout curtains, it kept me awake all night. It wouldn't have been worse if one of the children was at the foot of my bed with a flashlight. On, off, on, off, on... Like sending morse code on a telegram or something. Gahhhh!

Is there a polite way to tell your neighbors their light needs adjusting? Cause if their bedroom is the one on the back of their house, they probably don't know. I wish we had a BB gun - that might fix it. :-D

Anyway, today I'm making more cookies for Bob's airmen. Wednesday he took some to the spouses of the deployed - Chocolate with oatmeal, Kix peanut butter cookies, and ginger snaps. The airmen get the choc and ginger, plus a cinnamon/orange, and maybe one other that I'll think of before too long. I've never made ginger snaps before, but I liked this recipe when I tried it at an Icelandic Christmas baking thing that we went to WAYYYY back in 2000 - yes, I've sat on the recipe for 8 years!

Time to get William up.

ETA (that's "edited to add" not "estimated time of arrival): Upon waking properly, we discovered that it isn't our motions setting off the light, but the vine growing up the wall that it's mounted to. Every puff of wind wiggles a leaf in front of the sensor and turns the light on. blah.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

the rest of the story

Sunday was Bob's birthday - he's 41. We decided to go to the church Christmas dinner, and that was nice. Then for a special birthday treat, Bob got to stay in the van with the children while I went in the commissary for milk and other WIC stuff.

Monday (he had the day off, remember) we opened up the barber shop and gave all 4 boys a haircut (and shower). William was a real trooper while having his head buzzed. He thought it tickled. But he still doesn't like baths. To make up for the trauma, he took a really long nap afterward.

After lunch we went to Bury St Edmunds. We took the back roads (we usually do) and ended up going a different way than ever before. But coming into town, I checked the van's compass and quickly figured out where we were. We got a parking space in front of the cathedral (usually overfull) and walked down to Jessops (a camera store). We stopped in a charity shop and I bought a skirt, a puzzle, and a book. Then on to Jessops, where Bob got himself a birthday (and Christmas) present - a new Nikon D700. This has a bonus of making a present for me - his old Nikon D80. :-) I tried to talk him into switching, but he's not buying it. The new one uses the same battery as the old one, and most of the same lenses. The only lens that doesn't work is Bob's favorite one. Ah, the thorn amidst the roses!

Then we went back to the car (stopping at another charity shop where I bought 2 skirts - one for me, one for Taryn - and a notebook) and headed toward Lakenheath. See, the camera bodies are cheaper in England, but accessories are cheaper in the States. So we went to the base to get a memory card for the camera (it uses a different kind than the old one does). We also got Ella a couple more presents - socks and shoes - as I'd realized that morning that she only had 3 things compared to the others' 8 things. We saw leggings on sale, so I grabbed 2 pair, and took the children to sit in the food court while Bob checked out.
When Bob came out he handed me the reciept and asked me to check if it was right. Sure enough, it wasn't. One pair of leggings (shorts, actually) rang up $6.79 and was marked $3. Yeah, I figured $3.79 was worth going back for. So I took the stuff back to customer service while Bob and the children ordered and ate dinner. Yes, it took that long. As I was waiting I realized that under the $3 price sticker was a 75% off sticker, which would have made the total price about $2.25. So when my turn came I asked the guy about it and he gave me the lower price. Sometimes AAFES people get it right in spite of store policy.
Anyway, after I ate and Bob played with his camera we headed home.

Today Bob is back to work and so am I... catching back up on laundry, dishes...
Which reminds me. For the church dinner I was asked to bring a dessert. I asked Bob if he wanted me to make a double cheesecake and take up there (his birthday cake is always choc swirl cheesecake) or make his for home and another for church. He opted for the latter. So for church I made a peanut butter-filled choc bundt cake. Except it broke when I turned it out. SO I set that aside and made a choc sheet cake. And then I made the cheesecake. And then at the dinner there were gobs of dessert and the sheet cake only had one piece taken out of it, so I brought it back home. So we have a house full of excited children and dieting adults with 3 cakes and stacks of dishes. yay.

Umm, back to my list for today: laundry, dishes, school, cooking dinner, baking cookies for Bob's airmen, cleaning bedrooms...
Which reminds me. Sunday morning Riah came out of his room dressed for church. ha. I can't believe we didn't take a picture. He had on heavy stone-washed carpenter jeans (with a rip above the knee), a tee shirt with a clip on tie, and a button-up cordoury shirt over that. hmmm. So we sent him back to change (of course) and he came out in overalls. Oh, well. In the process he dug through his drawers and closet, and all the extra clothes are now in the floor.

So anyway, I have lots of work to do and should get off the computer.

Sunday, 14 December 2008


Yesterday we had a goal of going to the market in Bury St Edmunds to get Bob some photography magazines. One of the regular merchants there sells back issues of all sorts of magazines for a good price, and Bob got a photography one there a few weeks ago that he can't find other places.
It was just above freezing, and very windy, so we all bundled well. The boys had sweats under their trousers, the girls had hose and leggings under their skirts, and we all had on two shirts under our coats.
As we came into Bury on the industrial side, I asked if we were going to the Warehouse superstore there. Sure, why not? It was just opening as we arrived - perfect timing. So we walked through the store (stopping at the toilets, of course), and got a long handled squeegee for washing the house windows. Bob wouldn't let me get flower bulbs for the new house. :-( We looked at furniture (I want a book shelf for Christmas) and basically wandered through. Then Bob took the children to the car while I went back and got some Christmas presents.

At this point it was raining pretty consistently, and still really cold, so we decided to skip the hours of walking outside. We went to Mildenhall for lunch, and finished the Christmas shopping in their toyland. Wow, that sounds so simple in print. It took just over 3 hours.
The shopping Saturday was to buy things from the grandparents, who sent money for the purpose.

I think we are set for a good Christmas, and it cost us very little out of pocket. I did spend some time on Ebay, but it was well worth it.

Today is Bob's birthday, and we are going to the church Christmas dinner after meeting today. (And then to the commissary for milk etc). He has tomorrow off work, as a thank you from the Capt for Bob's help with the squadron Christmas party.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Things America does well

So here's the sister post to the last one.

What America has right:

Private bathrooms. In people's houses, the majority of American bathrooms have cabinets which is really handy for keeping little items in, like towels. Also, there are power outlets, which are handy for, oh, I dunno, HEATERS and hairdryers and curlers and radios and....

On ramps. On a multi-lane divided highway, on and off ramps are very convenient.

Road signs. Except for slummy neighborhoods where the cool kids steal them, most streets have their actual name written on a sign, posted at every intersection, so that one can know, at a quick glance, what street one is on (or approaching). Also, the highway department has a standard method of signage, so whichever town you are in, you can be pretty sure that the major streets will be marked enough ahead of time for you to do something about it (like change lanes, brake, etc).

Tumble dryers as standard. Often, right next to the washer!

Central A/C. Sometimes, it just gets hot and you want to do something about it.

Parking lots. Just about every store has one, so that one can actually drive to the location of one's choice, park the car, and go in. They don't charge for it, either. I hope it's a long time before I complain about having to walk across a parking lot (as opposed to walking across town).

Electricity. America has a building code, so that every plug is wired the same way; every lightbulb and switch have the same wires and connectors. Also, we use 110 voltage which is less lethal than twice that, and all American plugs fit in all American sockets (except really old houses which sometimes have ungrounded sockets) - you won't find a myriad of plug adapters there. AND, every room has its own circuit so that if you ever do blow a fuse it doesn't turn off the whole house (and you are much less likely to blow one).

Garage sales. Depending on the town, you can stick a sign up in your front yard and thow a bunch of junk out on the lawn any time you want to.

Advertising. (another weird one to mention) Americans know how to get the word out. If there is an event, a sale, whatever, chances are people are going to hear about it. Stores have signs, which does clutter the view, but it makes it a lot easier to find them.

Restaurants. They're big, and there are lots of them. We only had to worry about getting a table if we went to certain popular places at 7pm on Friday. And even then it was a matter of waiting for a clean table, not a matter of them not having room for 8 people.

Churches. There are more of them, more choices. And since people actually go there and pay tithes, the churches don't have to resort to becoming a book store or a day care or renting out to the boy scouts to stay afloat.

(Disclaimer: on both of these lists I have resorted to a lot of generalizing. Of course not EVERYthing will be true of any country ALL the time. And some things are true of both, to an extent - I know America has radiators up north. And the list is by no means all-inclusive. I've already thought of another thing to add to the England list.)

Also, as I'm making my lists, I find that something I really like is conformity and standards, which is funny for a libertarian-leaning type like myself. Hmmm. I'll have to ponder that further. And there are a lot of issues I'm just not going to touch, like media and health care, because I don't have sufficient knowledge of those things. So anyway, I hope you all enjoy.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Things England does well

I wanted to do this as a side by side comparison of things England does and things America does, but I guess it'll do as a stand alone (since I have no formatting skills) - anyway, this way I can talk more about some items if I want to.

So, after a year of living here, this is my list of things that England has got right.

Public bathrooms. (This may come as a surprise if you have read Dave Barry's travel guide, and it takes some getting used to, but...) Not every store has a toilet, but nearly every town does - often at the parking lots - and they are actually open to the public (though some do charge a fee). The coolest thing is that the stall doors actually overlap the door frame, so there isn't the 1-inch gap that people walk by and look at you through. The doors also come down almost to the floor.

Roundabouts. Except for on major highways, roundabouts are very efficient at moving traffic.

Front-load washers as standard. They are quiet, small, efficient, and gentler on clothes.

Fireplaces. Most houses have one, and they are small enough to not be drafty.

Radiators. In my opinion this is a nice way to heat a room - non drying, no blast of cold air when the heater kicks on, and each room can be set to a different temperature.

Pedestrian areas. Every city has a pedestrian zone where you walk from shop to shop. It's personal, healthy, more fun and interactive.

Mail. The Royal post is efficient (I keep using that word...). Mail is delivered the day after it's sent. Packages are sent quite cheaply.

Home delivery. Groceries ordered online (or bought in the store) can be delivered to your door when you like for a small fee.

Organics. Organic produce and dairy aren't much more expensive than "regular" stuff.

Farming. Small, local farms are highly encouraged, and people actually go to the farms and buy directly from them. All the animals I've seen around here are "free range."

Boot sales. Sort of a flea market/garage sale where one sells from the boot of one's car (or laid out on a tarp). Prices are usually terrific and they are held nearly every weekend all summer.

Churches. With one standard denomination, every village has a church and it is part of the village. Most churches are open for people to just walk in, and many of them have an honor-system book store in the back corner. Also, churches have graveyards.

Not such a good ending point, but I think my list is getting long enough for now.

Monday, 8 December 2008

not much

Just little things going on...
Friday was Bob's squadron "holiday" party, so he didn't get home until 9:30 or so.
Saturday we pulled some stuff out of the storage building and boxed up some movies. See, military movers have to count all your movies and cds and list them separately from your other stuff, so we thought it'd be handy if we just took that ourselves in the van (as we'll be driving back and forth anyway to clean/eat/etc).
Then, after lunch, we went out to run some errands. A man in Beck Row was giving away a trampoline (had an ad on the base web site) and we got to it first. (I'm not celebrating yet since we haven't got it together yet and I'm hoping all the parts are there.) Then we went to the BX and Taryn and I each bought a pair of dress shoes - $8 total. The store doesn't go far toward meeting our needs, but sometimes they have good clearances. Then I popped in the commissary for diapers and sour cream, and we came back home.

Sunday Bob woke up with a migraine. He is used to "cluster" headaches but this was different. The lights and sounds were making him sick to his stomach, so after a few minutes he went back to bed and didn't get up again until after 11. So we missed church. But I got to bake a little for a breakfasty lunch and that was good therapy. Bob still wasn't feeling terrific, so I took Naysha and Cedwryck with me for the rest of the trampoline and gas for the mower. Got back in time for dinner of canned biscuits and smoked sausage.

Today Bob had a dentist appointment - for his teeth gaurd, I think. At his regular check-up they noticed he'd been grinding his teeth and so fitted him for a thing. Anyway... I called BT to transfer our services, as the website said to give them 14 business days notice, but the guy said he was getting an error message and they'd have to call me back. I wonder if the currant occupant of our new house hasn't cancelled yet. At 2 we have a mover guy coming to see how much junk we have so they can bring the right amount of boxes.

And that's that, I think.

Friday, 5 December 2008


Thursday I wasn't full speed, but recovering. Taryn was iffy, Naysha was recovering. So I let them watch videos in the morning while I made cookies for the party. We did get the living room tidied, but the kitchen is a lost cause.

The Christmas party was listed as 2-4pm, but we got there at "1:30" (we nearly made it) to help set up. It was pretty much done. Bob managed to get away from work to come help. Thinking about it later we decided the thing would have worked better if more men had been able to make it. There were crafts, snacks, and friends to visit with. A game or two, a "program," and door prizes. What more could one want?

Our children behaved very well, and I told them more than once how proud I was of them.
The program started with a string quintet, and then a little girl got up to read Luke 2:10-12. When Riah saw how nervous she was, he about lost it. He didn't want to say his "rememory" verse. But there was plenty of time for me to calm him down before his turn came. We decided that I would go up with him and hold the mic, and he could just say it to me. He did fine. Then they all sang "I'm in the Lord's army" and then "We three kings" - they sang the first and last verse together, and Riah, Naysha, and Taryn each did a solo on the kings' verses. Then Cedwryck said his verse, a few other people did things, and Naysha said her verse. Ella (who is used to saying a memory verse at home) jumped up and said, "My turn!" and was rather upset to find it wasn't. She tends to try for cute instead of just saying her verse. Anyrate, as they all started to sing the first song, she was saying her verse on her own.

Sorry if this doesn't make any sense. The children are VERY interupty this morning. I guess they used up all their good behaviour for the week yesterday.

After the party we had dinner at Burger King and I went in the commissary for a minute to get milk and fruit.

Now I just have to clean up the kitchen...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Bob had off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, so naturally we took a trip.

Thursday morning we got up at 5 in an effort to beat the traffic on the M25, and we almost made it. We stopped at Tesco for bread (for lunches) and doughnuts for breakfast, and were on our way. Drove down toward London, then around the M25 toward Heathrow, and headed west after that. Yes, we could have gone straight south-west, but it would have added an hour or more to the trip.

First stop, Bath. They have a "park and ride" system, but the "park" part of it wasn't working properly - the lot was overfull when we arrived - so we drove on into town and eventually found a parking lot there. Then we walked. Past the Royal Crescent, past the Jane Austin center, to the baths. The pedestrian signs didn't quite point the right way, but between them and the map I'd printed before we left home, we managed to find our way. The Roman baths cost a LOT to go see, so we contended ourselves with shopping at their craft fair and using their toilets. Bob bought a hand carved (from local limestone) nativity set for me.
We ate some lunch at Burger King, but no one got full. We walked through the Christmas Market and down to the river. There was a green there and the children ran around while Bob took pictures and I rested (I need new shoes). Then back to the car where we had some peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and chex mix.

From there we drove to Plymouth, where we had a hotel booked. Once we got parked and found our way to the front door, checked in, and put our stuff in the room, we asked where to eat. They pointed us down the road (nearly a mile) to a local pub that was good and cheap. It was also small and crowded. We tried to order so the food could cook while we waited for a table, but they wouldn't let us order without a table number. Maybe they should charge a little more and hire people with brains. So we walked all the way back, hoping to get a phone book and order some pizza or Chinese, but the staff was gone to bed. (It's a 'small' hotel.) So we went up to the room and had another peanut butter sandwich and went to bed hungry.

Friday we took full advantage of our included-with-the-room-rate breakfast. Everybody had a glass of juice, a bowl of cereal, and then a "full English." There was nothing left on the table except a few beans. Then we went to the quayside and saw the Mayflower Memorial. We also got to see a lock in motion.
After that we drove out to Tintagel and visited with King Arthur a little while. The tide was coming in as we got there, so Bob quickly climbed down to the caves while the rest of us stayed above. It was sunny when we arrived, but raining by the time we started up the stairs. The children ran around in the rain and *didn't* climb on the walls while Bob and I sat it out in a little bus-shelter looking thing. It stopped raining and we walked around on the hill and watched the waves, the rainbow, and the birds. Then back down the stairs (about 100 of them) to our waiting stroller, which was now wet, of course. We put William in anyway, on a blanket, and let Ella walk.
I can't remember where we ate lunch or dinner Friday. hmm. Must be the stomach bug.
Then we drove to Bristol to a Days Inn hotel for the night.

Saturday we went through Avesbury to Stonehenge, eating lunch at a pub on the way. At Avesbury I felt a lot of confusion at the stones. At Stonehenge I mostly felt cold. :-) And then we came home.

So that's the short version, I guess. You lucked out this time.


Well, it started with William, then Ella got it, and I was next. Cedwryck picked it up this morning. With the Christmas party tomorrow it has to stop there.

From about noon yesterday I didn't feel well, and from dinner last night I've been running to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Yay. Now I know why Ella was crying yesterday, saying "my back hurts" while rubbing her front. :-)

I did get Bob to stay home from work today and take care of me. At 5 this morning I could hardly walk to the bathroom. I'm not sure if the bug is passing or if it has simply run out of ammunition.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

catch up

I want to do a detail trip report, but first I guess I need a follow up on my last post.

We have been on the base housing waiting list since last November (30 days before we got here), but everything indicated that it would be 3 years before a house would be available. As we were only planning to stay for 3 years, getting on the list was seen as a mere formality.

The desire to really move on base began to grow as the season changed, and Bob found himself driving to and from work in the dark. Then it got cold and we realized the bathroom radiator, always iffy, wasn't heating at all. We could call the estate agent, but if they decide we did something to it we'd have to pay the plumber. A cold bathroom may seem like a little thing, but it really wears on us.

Then Bob had some new guys at work who were getting houses right away - 4 bedroom houses - on Lakenheath. So we got to looking, and it turns out that when we arrived and had to pick the areas where we'd like a house (as "base housing" ranges from actually on base to as far away as Thetford and Ely), not knowing anything about the areas, we'd picked Mildenhall and Feltwell but not Lakenheath. I really think the people told Bob there weren't 4 bedrooms on Lakenheath so he may as well not put it down. Anyway, he updated the selections to include Lakenheath, and we waited.

One day (the day after I had to order more heating oil for this house) Bob called with the news - we've been offered a house. It's in the area known as Lord's Walk, and used to be within the confines of RAF Lakenheath, but they've recently re-drawn the boundaries so that it now lies just outside the fence. So it will be easier to get in and out - don't have to stop and show ID - but still close enough to consider things like riding a bike to work.

There was a catch with the offer, though. The house is occupied, and the owner was not available until mid-December. But we had to decide if we wanted that house (or wait for another offer) within 24 hours. They gave us the address and a floor plan - why would we need to see inside? At the very least, Bob wanted me to see the location, so I drove up to meet him after work and we went to walk around the house. Whaddayaknow? The current occupant was in the back yard. So we talked to him for a little while, and he eventually decided to let us in. It's doable.

The house is smaller, as we will lose our second living area, but there are two full bathrooms, and all but the master bedroom are bigger. The kitchen is bigger by square footage, but there are fewer cabinets and bigger appliances. But there is a hot pantry - I'll have to think about what I put in there (it's right next to the furnace and we were warned that chocolate will melt in there). The yard is bigger, and flat, so more opportunity for play equipment (I've been wanting to get something, but here it would have to go on the stone patio, which is bad for falls, because that's the only flat space). Also there is a sidewalk behind the houses where (I suppose) the children could ride bikes.

The whole thing will be an adjustment, but that's how life is. I'll miss my convection oven with broiler, but I'll be able to use my toaster oven. I'll miss the front-load washer, but it will be nice to have dryer right next to the washer instead of in the other room. I'll miss my larger sink, but will enjoy free water. And so it goes.

The movers will start packing us on the 8th of January, as Bob is on base getting the key to the new house. On the 9th they will finish up here and deliver to the new house. As that is Thursday and Friday, we will have the weekend to clean up the old house before turning it in on the 12th. Our housing allowance stops on the 8th, but we get a "partial dislocation allowance" to help with the out-of-pocket expenses and stress, etc. It's a rip-off, but we'll manage.

And that's that, I think.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

trying something

I found this video the other day and thought it was excellent. This is the song that brought William to me. Hope the video works.

This isn't Ditz, is it? Made by a teenage girl in Brisbane.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

been awhile

Sorry for the blog lapse.

I've been:

helping to plan the homeschool Christmas party

nursing Cedwryck through a cut on the head (minor)

keeping up with housework

doing regular school

reading the Bible every day

doing Christmas shopping on Ebay

getting some applications for my Facebook page

That was last week. Today I:

planned and packed for 2 nights out for Bob's 4 day Thanksgiving weekend

prepared a miniature Thanksgiving dinner

posted my oil receipt to my landlord

tried to order prints for Bob's first "real" paying customer

found out that we will move out on the 8th of January.

Were you paying attention?
So my future schedule looks like this:
Christmas party, Bob takes a PT test, Bob's birthday, Christmas, Ced's birthday, move, Bob tests for promotion, Taryn's birthday. That's at the rate of 1.5 per week. Anybody seeing a problem here?

So why are we moving? To put it at the most basic, we want a heated bathroom. Other bonuses include a short drive to work (maybe even a bicycle ride), proximity to homeschool activities, free electric and water, a bigger yard (that maybe I can dig up part of). There are drawbacks, of course, but it'll be good for us.

Time for dinner.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Praise the Lord for internet!

I thought I was done for...
Ella got one of our picture CDs (our family pictures burned to CD for safekeeping) and marked all over both sides with a permanent marker. Yes, I let her have it. Yes, I cried. Yes, I had some chocolate. And then I googled "how to remove permanent marker from CD" and the first result was a yahoo answers that linked to WikiHow. Apparently there are several methods - the one I went for was white board cleaner - and it worked. The Cd reads fine. The marks on the top will have to stay because if I cleaned it, the labels would also come off.


banner on my sidebar

I hope y'all notice my snazzy "banner" over to the right. That is the link to the book's very own webpage. Book? Some virtual friends of mine found an old book at a library sale, and did it up all new and fancy and got Vision Forum to publish it. I haven't read it yet, but I'm trying to win a copy. :-) Apparently it's a story of a Godly, feminine, 8th century princess who was brave and faithful and all those things we hope our daughters will be. So go take a look if you are interested.

As to my recent activity, maybe I'll blog later. But I'm staying busy as always.

Monday, 17 November 2008


To pick up where I left off...

Bob called about 7:30 Saturday to ask when I was coming on base to meet him. As I'd just sent Azariah to the bath tub, we agreed on 9 at the BX. So I rounded everyone up and went to meet Bob. He had to be more or less available until noon-ish, but wasn't tied to the office or anything. He wants a tripod for photography, and decided to look good and hard at the BX's offerings. So we went in, opened boxes (they had two kinds) and examined. One was too short so we were looking at the other when an employee came by. He said it was no good - if we wanted a good tripod we should go to the pro shop in Cambridge. Bob was all ears. After all, we've searched for camera shops anywhere within a hundren miles. SO he told us the name, and gave reasonable directions (but I didn't write them down because I thought we'd look it up on google maps and print it out and all). So we put the tripod back in the box and went on through the store. Didn't find anything. Decided to get some lunch (we made it all the way to 10:30) and then do the bazaar.

Ate at the food court on Mildenhall, and Burger King was broken - no beef or grilled chicken, so we ordered a pizza and a dozen tacos. Yummy, and healthy too! (not) Anyway, somewhere in there Bob got back with his drunk guy and finished that business up, so he was free. And so we decided to go to Cambridge and see about a real tripod.

We made the first 3 turns, but missed the last one, so we drove around town a bit, back out, and stopped at a gas station where Bob and the Indian attendant both had to translate to English and somehow worked out that Bob wanted the Yellow Pages. He found the store listed, got the number and address, and came back to the car to call. The number didn't work. So we went further out of town to the new Tesco, and he went in and asked someone there. They told him where it was.

So we went back into town, found the street, found the building, found a parking spot, and Bob went to see. They were closed. No information as to opening hours or phone number or anything, just the doors all locked up tight. As it's in a metal building there are no windows, so it's hard to tell if they are still in business. Grumble.

So we headed back toward home. Went through Newmarket, but couldn't think of any reason to stop. Stopped at the park here and let the children play awhile. They did the playground, and then they climbed trees. Then we came home for dinner and etc.

Sunday Bob had to go back in to watch the drunk guy get yelled at. He was there just long enough for us to miss church. :-( We'd left his car on base Saturday, so he had to take the van in Sunday. Then he came home and relaxed a few minutes before we went back in for lunch, the Bazaar, and the commissary (I didn't get WIC when I was there Thursday because this month's coupons stated Friday). Burger King was still broken, so we ate tacos. The bazaar wasn't bad. They had the hangers heated this time, and had one hanger set up for eating in (a good idea, even if we didn't use it). I bought some local specialty cheese, and Bob got his mother a Christmas present.
I went to the commissary while Bob took all the children to the BX. Woo-hoo! So WIC is a funny deal. They've recently changed things so I can get fresh fruit and veg on a voucher (up to $6 worth), and I have vouchers with milk, cereal, bread, peanut butter, juice, cheese, and eggs (less juice and eggs than before) all together on one transaction. So first I picked out the fruit and veg. The commissary sells carrots in 3 ways - bunched, with tops, bagged, and bulk. Bulk carrots are 30cents per lb. Bagged is $1 per lb. Bunched is more than that. So I picked out the bulk - KWIM?
Then I went through the shelf stuff - cereal, juice, etc. Got to the milk isle, and they are out of whole milk (which I get for the babies). Fine, I'll get 2% (reduced fat) - nope, out of that, too. So I decide to just get the one voucher's worth of skim milk, which means I have to put back the bread, juice, cereal that came with the whole milk. Bah.

So then I go to check out, and guess what. The bulk carrots won't scan on WIC. I can go get the package instead, except then I'd be over the price. So I tell her to give me back the voucher (if I got it without the carrots I'd be throwing away $1, and it's totally impractical to try to go back and get 50cents worth of some other thing while the checker stnads there and people wait in line) and she's like "I already started." So I say "cancel it," and took the voucher back to use next time. So I got the skim milk and stuff, bought a bag of halloween candy for 25cents (I had a coupon), and was out of there.

Of course this whole time Bob is sitting with the children in the food court, playing "I spy." I went back and got them, Bob got his car, and we met in the empty parking lot behind the hospital. Bob and I switched cars, and I drove his right-hand drive, stick-shift, sports car around the parking lot a few times. Seeing how easy it was to drive, I went ahead and drove it home. I tend to let off the clutch too slowly, revving the engine, but I was getting the hang of it by the time we got home. Didn't kill it. Even backed up into the parking spot at home. So now I know I can drive it, if the need arises.

Breakfast time.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

just stuff

Thursday was the homeschool group's Thanksgiving party. I took the sugar cookies to paint as a craft and snack. There were several other crafts there, including noodle necklaces, leaf rubbing, and foam stuff ordered from Oriental Trading Company. Somehow I got the idea, and it worked out really well, to have a set up for each person. So when I arrived I set a table with paper plates, and on each plate was a cookie, a paintbrush, and 4 mini-muffin liners each about half-full of different colored frosting. For about an hour I was busy setting out new plates and rinsing out paintbrushes.
In between busy times at my table, I chased William and Ella, helped Riah with a craft, and visited a few minutes with the other ladies. After the first hour we were called to the other room for a skit the teens had been working on. They were all just reading their lines, but it worked out pretty well.

After the party we went to the commissary for a "few" things that added up quickly. I got all expensive stuff - diapers, batteries, meat... At the checkout (we did self check because the children think it's fun) I saw a barrel of candy bars - Big Mo' - have you seen it?- for 5 cents each. So I got a couple, and told Bob about it later. He went back yesterday and bought 15 of them. :-) I try to not buy much because I have no will power about eating it, but he is able to just have a bite a day.

Yesterday Bob took a crock pot of chili (that I made) to work for a chili cook off and dinner to raise money for his squadron. He said it was good, but very little else. So I guess I didn't win. Can't be good at everything. :-)
It was sunny and warm yesterday! I went out in just my short sleeve shirt, but the little ones did wear a jacket. The children played in the leaf pile and I trimmed the hedges. They will be good for the rest of the season now. Naysha took the old camera outside and started snapping - when they came in and loaded the pictures up there were about 250 of them! Maybe 20 are really good.

This morning Bob and I both woke up about 5-5:30, and it's just as well. At 6 Bob got a call from work. One of his airmen got a DUI (driving under the influence) this morning. The man's supervisor was supposed to go meet with him, the "first shirt" and the commander, but when Bob called the supervisor, he was in Dover for the weekend. So guess who got to dress up and go in to work. Yay! Anyway, maybe it won't take all day and we'll still be able to go walk through the "holiday bazaar" at Mildenhall. Or something other than sit around all day.

Bob got an email from his mother last night, saying she and her hubby are planning to come over in June. He was pleased to hear it. The children will be "over the moon" (as they say around here) to see Nana.

Thursday, 13 November 2008


How do you like my new look?

Tuesday was Veteran's Day and Bob had the day off. He got on a shopping kick, and we decided to go to London to see the new mall (the largest indoor shopping center in Europe). So we got the tube stations written down and got together and drove to Epping. Except, we thought it was on the Motorway exit sign and it wasn't. So we missed our exit. The next exit was for the M25 (London ring road) and we took it, thinking it would be a giant roundabout like most highway interchanges, but it wasn't. So we ended up on the M25 heading east. It was a good 5 minutes to the next exit, which DID havce a roundabout, so we turned around, went back to the M11, back to the Epping exit, and went to the tube station there. As we arrived we noticed a sign in the parking lot entrance - "Full. Do not enter." huh. So we drove around the neighborhood, but it was all marked 'no parking' (though cars were parked there, we knew we couldn't get away with it). SO we went back into town to the town parking lot, but it was also full. In the high street there were a couple of spots, but it was marked 1 hour. So we went back to the station, where a gaurd was walking toward the sign. Could it be? He moved it to let in one car, and then put it right back.

Can you feel the frustration building here? Add to this that we started with just under a half tank and were worried about gas, plus the weather was inand out, plus the traffic, etc. Oh, and we'd stopped by Tesco for a chocolate croissant, and they were out.

So we headed back out of town, and I suggested we stop at the McDonald's on the road to the Motorway to "fall back and regroup." It was 11 anyway, so we went on in and got some lunch. Suprise, suprise! They had a playplace. So the children played while Bob and I looked at the map.
We found a "major shopping" symbol at Braintree, so we decided to go that way. No trouble finding it, easy to park (free!). It was cold and windy, but we braved it. Bob and I both need new shoes, so we went into 3 shoe stores (it was an outlet mall thing) and found nothing we liked in our size. sigh. But we did see a Cadbury factory outlet store and went in there. Yumm. They had Fry's Chocolate by the 6 pack.

Felling rather beaten (and cold), we went home from there.
I made supper while Bob and the children cleaned the house.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the children and I went down the street a little bit to a public grassy area and raked leaves. It was community service with a perk - we brought the leaves home and made a pile for them to jump in. :-) We also baked a double recipe of sugar cookies for the homeschool party today.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Help for Growing Families - line up!

One of my Fav blogs (which I don't think I've added to my sidebar yet) is doing a weekly Help For Growing Families, and I'm trying to help.

One thing I know of that we do "right" is how we go out in public. I put "right" in quotes because I'm quite sure there are several right ways to do this. But I say we've got it right because everywhere we go we get looks, smiles, comments - usually positive ones.

So, how do we do it?

We line up. Bob goes first, leading the way figuratively and literally. The children are in order from oldest to youngest in a straight line behind him, with me in the back to catch any stragglers. When we don't have the stroller, one of us will carry William and the other will hold Ella's hand. When we have the stroller, they are both in it, and I push it. This does put some distance between me and the two boys, so sometimes we'll have one of them walk at the front of the line to keep them separated.

This works because everyone knows their place. And because we aren't all bunched up, it is easier to get through narrow isles, work through crowds, etc. Sometimes people cut through the line, but this is usually only when we are straggling and there are big gaps.
Being at the back of the line, it is funny for me to watch people's reactions as they realize we are all together (and hear them counting).

It's really cool when I can tell them to "stay in line" and walk past the children to consult with Bob about something and they all stand there looking angelic but bored. :-)

Yes, there are times that they forget to line up, and we have to remind them frequently (especially the boys, who tend to climb and touch), but in general I'm happy with the system. We practice at home if anyone needs a reminder.

If I have to take the children out without Bob, I go in front and Taryn (my oldest) takes my place at the back.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Cambridge and Bury

Friday Bob got off work early to go to Staples in Cambridge to get green paper for the squadron holiday party. (They are printing play money to run a casino. Get this - Bob designed the money by scanning in real bills, and changing the faces and mottoes out with local 'celebrities,' and when he went to print them, his $5 bill - the least realistic one - only printed 1/2 way and then he got a warning about counterfeiting. I'm not sure how this was resolved.) We all went along for the ride.

Staples has a parking lot, which was pretty cool, and meant we didn't do the "park and ride" this time. I also have a project up my sleeve, as the homeschool group is having a Thanksgiving party this Thursday and I am bringing sugar cookies to paint. The only thing I needed was paintbrushes. If I'd thought of this in advance I could have had my mom send me some, but I didn't. Anyway, Bob got his paper, but they didn't have paintbrushes.

So, having seen on the map that we weren't far from a shopping center that we'd been to before, we decided to go on down to it. We found the parking garage with a little trouble, and were off. In Poundland - basically like Dollar Tree in the US - I got some toothbrushes, mini Christmas crackers, and... There was a package of long handled paintbrushes that I hesitated over for awhile and finally got two of. There are 12 brushes in the package, 6 of which will be usable, I think. We also went into a department store to look for gloves for my dad, but their sizes aren't the same as they used to be. At this point we were hungry, so we went to Chili's.

Chili's in Cambridge isn't IN the Grafton shopping center, as we'd been originally told. Go out the back door - at the bus stop - and Chili's is across the street.

The menu is pretty much the same as in the States; the tables look the same; the dining room is HUGE. This is the biggest restaurant I've seen in England. Get this - they even offer free refills on soda!! We were early for the dinner rush, so there was no trouble getting a big table, and the service was quite good. In all, it ran us $80 for the meal, but it was nice.

Saturday we went to Bury St Edmunds. (Every time we say "Bury" it makes us think of the TV show "The Last of the Summer Wine" with poor, hen-pecked Barry.) First we went to the Warehouse Clearance Superstore (which also has a parking lot!) - it's kinda like Big Lots in the US. Bob got a string of 15 battery-powered Christmas lights to put on his desk at work. Christmas lights here are very expensive. There, at the discount store, a string of 200 cost 20GBP. Last time we bought lights it was at WalMart for $3 per box, I think. We wandered around looking for paintbrushes, and finally found some that could do, in a pinch. And then we found them - MAKEUP brushes! A pack of 10, 7 of which I could use, for 1.25GBP. So all together, I think I'll have enough brushes.

Then we left the store by a different road, and found our way downtown. Since reading that Mary Tudor was burried in St Mary's church, Bury, we've wanted to go. It is right next to the Cathedral so it's easy to overlook, in spite of being one of the largest parish churches in the country. It is a really beautiful church, with lots of history and interesting things around every corner. We want to go again.

It was lunch time, so we moved to a big parking lot close to the city center (we'd been in 1 hour parking on the side of the street behind the church) and unloaded the stroller, etc. Walked down to the McDonald's for a cheap eat. We even splurged and got ice cream. Then we walked through the market, but the good cheap strawberries were not to be found. I did get some produce, and we got two shirts for Taryn and some photography magazines for Bob. Turns out the shirts aren't going to work like I thought, but maybe she can use them to layer.

Then we went home and gave the boys haircuts and baths, and had chocolate gravy and biscuits for dinner.

Friday, 7 November 2008


Thanks, Mom, for emailing me about my last post. Maybe I should have clarified a bit...

I don't think McCain winning would have been any better, and in some ways would have been worse as it would have continued the Christians' complacency. The only hope for real change in American policy would have been in a third party (which is funny that I continue with the false name "3rd party" as there are at least 5 national parties). But such is life.

On a more interesting note, (Aren't you glad I'm not egotistical?) I drove myself and the 6 children to Tesco yesterday. HA! I tried to order online, as I've done before, but when I hit the "checkout" button, half my stuff jumped out of my shopping basket.I went and got it again, and the same thing happened a second time. So I decided I'd just have to go.
I thought it would be less crowded in the morning than at dinner time, but it wasn't.

I got a wide parking spot in the "parent and child" lot behind the store, and grabbed two carts (here they are called trolleys). One baby and one boy in each cart, and away we went. It was quite an adventure, lasting over an hour, but we made it out with everything on our list (despite having left the actual list at home) except for the cheap bread, which they were out of. The bread isle is set up funny. Instead of shelves with a place for each brand, they have rolling stacked carts. So if one gets low they wheel it out and put something else in its place. As a result, the bread isle always has someone working in it, and nothing is ever in the same place (compounded by the ceiling support post on that isle) so bread is hard to find at best. But I'm quite sure they were out of the cheap whole wheat bread.

Another thing that is kinda funny, which we've been noticing since we got here but have just started to put together, is the ... selfishness of people. I don't know what else to call it. I think they think it's respecting privacy or something, but people just pretend like they don't see anyone else. When someone wants to stop and think about a purchase, they park their cart in the middle of the narrow isle and stand beside it so that no one can go around. Then, as I'm standing back, waiting for them to get done and move out of my way, another person will come up the isle, maneuver their way around me (as if it was my fault) and all but bump into the isle-blocker, thus making it more difficult for them to get out of the way (if they should ever happen to do so). They drive the same way.

Well, I can't remember if that was the caboose to my train of thought, but it has now jumped the tracks.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A Sad Day for America

Well, sometimes God has compassion on a nation and gives them better than they deserve, and sometimes he has compassion and gives them what they ask for.

Yesterday, America got what she asked for. I think this will be a case of "Marry in haste, repent at leisure." We are already practically bankrupt, and we picked a man who promises billions more in spending. We are already overrun with illegal "immigrants" and we picked a man who will lay out a welcome mat. We are already engaged in war, and we picked a man who undermines our strengths. Oy! I could go on, but what more do I need to say? Obama, who sued a bank for not giving out loans to people who couldn't afford it, who wants to leave attempted-murder victims to die, who intends to "spread around" wealth that has been earned by private citizens or companies, who is a favorite of Islamic terrorists as well as American ones.

God, have mercy!

I am at peace. My hope is in Christ my saviour.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Help for Growing Families

Mother Hen started this linky thing and I decided to join in. I don't know how to copy the banner so, anyway.

My advice for the week is to watch your attitude. (Profound, I know!)
Seriously, when I foster (or is that fester) a bad attitude then my peace gets all upset and I'm not a good mother (or wife).

I'd like to expound a bit, but circumstances remind me of another profound piece of advice:
Seriously. Reading (or writing) child-training advice while the children are awake is right up there with not being able to decide for whom to vote because "this election is so important."

Sunday, 2 November 2008


I forgot to mention.

I have been feeling domestic lately, I guess. I pulled a pile of mending out of my closet last week, and have sewn holes, mended hems, tacked down collar linings. I also have been using the Nifty Knitter that Lorella bought for me. (Not all in the last week) I've made Taryn a shawl, Naysha a poncho, Riah a hat and a scarf. I am now working on a scarf for me. Naysha made a hat for Cedwryck. She's pretty careful and methodical, and enjoys being like Mama, so it turned out pretty well.

Also, we got our new school books in, so all 4 big children are doing school work now. :-)

goings on

Sorry I am so long between updates.
Bob had off Friday and we went to Norwich. We took the park and ride, and walked to the market and over to the cathedral. After that we drove on out to Great Yarmouth and looked at the ocean and had dinner. It was a fun day with lots of walking. I'm just not feeling very talkative right now.

Saturday Bob fixed the light in the boys' bedroom (They'd pulled it out of the ceiling), the baby bed (the hinges had been bent and so the flap wouldn't stay up), and the VCR (it had a giant crayon, a paper, and a flower in it and so wouldn't play right). hmm. I guess we aren't perfect yet. :-/
Then we went to the base and did a little shopping.

Today we went to Brandon Full Gospel church again. They are a little excited about their children's programs, but if we can get past that we might have a winner. I could really feel the Spirit there today. I know that's a dumb thing to say, as God's Spirit is wherever His people are, feeling or not, but however you want to put it, I was glad to be there. :-)

Monday, 27 October 2008

birthday weekend part five - summary

To read the whole story, scroll down the page to Part one, and work your way up. I didn't think of posting in reverse order til it was too late.

Even raining, it was so beautiful, and I'm glad we went. We got to see some wonderful Fall colors, bought a few things, went in the cave, wandered old castles... It was a nice birthday, even without a cake. Anyway, I had plenty of sweets.

birthday weekend part four - home

Oops, I forgot to mention when we got back to our room we saw that it hadn't been serviced. The stinky trash was still there. The dirty towels were still on the floor of the bathroom. So we made do with the towels, but I tied up the trash and put it out in the hall, and opened the window. It kinda soured me on the whole hotel.

I also forgot to mention, after leaving Burger King, I went in the grocery store and got some strawberries, bread, and muffins for breakfast.

Okay. We woke up Sunday morning after a more refreshing night's sleep than the day before. Still unable to get online, we looked closely at our road map to find a route and an attraction. Bob found a town with a castle, and I found a Bede house and Kirby Hall. So we packed up and were on our way. (You know it was that easy, too, with 6 children and dirty clothes and food and etc).

Bob drove again and we went to the town with castle. We got a parking space and went to check it out. Admission was free, but it didn't open til 1pm on Sunday. Anyway, the actual castle was long gone, leaving a bulding that had been used as a courthouse until recently. Oh, well. We went on to the Bede house in Lyddington. It used to be the palace of the Bishop of Lincoln, and the little back road was once the main road to Nottingham. We got there at 10:30, and it was supposed to open at 10, but it was locked. As we stood there and looked at the sign, it occured to me that Daylight Savings Time ended a few hours ago. Oh, it was only 9:30. So we went back to the car and drove through town, but there wasn't much there. We hung around a little, and then finally it was 10, so we went in. (This also an English Heritage property.) The house was interesting, but not terribly exciting. Out front was a huge apple tree that was just loaded. The lady said we could have some, so we each picked one. They were pretty sour, but the children enjoyed theirs anyway. At the gift shop we saw the guide book for the Midlands, so we completed our set. I also got the boys each a dress-up felt helmet that was on sale.

From there it was a short drive to Kirby Hall, once a grand house, but now in need of major repair. We got the free audio guides, and that was a mistake, as we started trying to listen and follow the "guided" tour instead of finding the toilets. Riah mentioned once to me that he needed to go, but then he wanted a piece of bread that I was handing out to keep us til lunch, and then he went in another room with Bob and I forgot about it. A few minutes later Bob and Riah came back into the main courtyard thing where I was, and Riah's pants were wet. Argh. So Bob took him back to the car and dug in the suitcase full of dirty clothes. Riah's clothes from Saturday were all mud, so he got to wear Cedwryck's clothes. They almost fit. Anyway, I had time to look at the 'map' and found there were toilets, back around behind the house. So the rest of us went over there.
I was getting antsy, as I wanted to see the place, but felt rushed because it was past noon and I knew everyone was hungry. Once Bob and I stopped for a minute and talked it over, things were much better and I was able to relax and enjoy myself.

We got through the house and headed toward RAF Alconbury again, as we were getting low on fuel. We were coming at it from an odd angle, so had to backtrack a little, but we made it there with our tempers intact. I called pizza, so that's what we had. Not terrible. Then we stopped at the commissary for ice cream. Oh, we popped into the BX there on our way out, and Bob found a jacket that he can wear with his blues (like a suit), so he was pretty glad about that. The clothing store on Lakenheath is pretty bad about running out of critical items.

I drove from there back home, on the A14 around Cambridge, and through Newmarket to home. Not bad, just crowded on the 14.

And we made it in time to wash Bob's blues' shirt for him to wear to work today (a new rule that all the office people have to wear blues on Monday instead of the normal camoflauge uniform).
I tried to figure out what went wrong with the internet, but BT is so unhelpful that I filled out a complaint form and had to leave it at that. There just isn't a way to make it work. I also don't know why my bank card isn't working. It was also denied when I went for groceries that time, but Bob's works fine.

birthday weekend part three - hungry

Saturday morning we were up bright and early. Bob went downstairs and bought a litre of milk and 2 bags of doughnut type things. I thought that would help us get on the road, as we didn't want to eat at the Eat In again.

The night before, I had Taryn look in my "Where to go in Britain" book and see what she liked. She picked out the National Tramway Museum in Criche. We looked at their website, and they were having a haunted tram ride thing on Sat night. We thought it was worth looking into to see if the daytime rides were acceptable.

Anyway, we got on the A50 (the road our hotel was on) toward Derby. About where we were to turn up on the A6, Bob spotted a McDonald's. As everyone was still hungry, we exited. This McDonald's was at a sort of shopping center. I haven't seen a worse organized one since we tried to get to Fry's electronics in the DFW area. It was a big place, with a Toys R Us, an electronic store, and some other stuff. Lots of parking. But each section was separated from the other by roundabouts and one-way roads. The McDonald's was backwards to the rest of the place, so we had to drive all the way around it and then turn in at 180* to hit the parking lot. But there was a parking lot. And empty tables inside. So we went in, got a table, and went to order. >insert shocked emoticon with buggy eyes here< They don't have biscuits. Pancakes (which in England is considered dessert, so don't tell me biscuits don't translate), McMuffins, and bagels. Hum. Oh, and there was a "bacon roll" - bacon on a roll - with your choice of "brown sauce" or ketchup. So Bob and the children got bacon and sausage egg cheese McMuffins, and I got the bacon roll no sauce. The bacon is really smoked ham. At least we were mostly full.
We made our way across the parking lot to the grocery store, and Bob went in to get a soda and candy bar.

We found our way out of the place, back on the road, and headed to the tramway museum. I went in to see what it was like, and all the employees were in dracula costumes, and were busily hanging witches and ghosts around the room. So we decided to skip it. I think my parents would really like to visit this place with us when they come, so we can wait til then.

On our way there we saw a tower, so we went to see about that. It was a war memorial thing, and cost 1 GBP per car to go in. So we went. High on a hill, it was very windy and cold. (I can't remember if it was raining already at this time or not.) Oh, and I forgot to mention on part 2, that we noticed Ella didn't have a coat in the car. I know I'd got out 2 for her, but they didn't make it. So she wore Naysha's sweater, and here I also put my sweater over that, tied up at the bottom, and she had a hat and a scarf. We walked around and admired the misty views and got wet and cold.

Back in the car, Bob asked me to drive. We were headed to Castleton, in the peak district. It was past lunch time, so I pulled into a pub in a picturesque village. It was pretty much deserted when we went in. We found a couple of tables, made our order, and Bob showed the children how to play pool while we waited for the food. Other people came in, and they sat in the other side of the building. :-) I followed William around, and looked out the back door over the "beer garden" and down the hill to the river. It was very pretty. The food finally came, right before the pool game was over (Naysha hit the winning shot). We sat down to a decent lunch, and then (after, of course, trips to the toilet) we went out the back to see the river. There were ducks. And yes, it was raining, but it was so pretty we didn't mind.

I drove on to Castleton, which was less crowded than in the summer, but I still had a hard time getting a parking space. Got parked, and walked across town and up the mountain to Peveril Castle (also written about by Scott). I had William in my "pouch," and that extra 20lbs on me was a good reminder of the weight I've lost. I don't want to go back. It is a long, steep track up to the castle, and I got out of breath. Bob was just strolling along like it was nothing. Which reminded me how important regular exercise is. At the top of the hill there were great views over the town and surrounding hills, and some castle remains. Then there was a bit more hill, to see the main part of the ruins, which I was sure contained more stairs. So I sat on a bench that didn't look too wet and talked to William while the others went on up. I was nearly light-headed from the climb, and really needed to rest. It stopped raining as we headed back down, so that was nice.

We collected the car and went to the cave on the far side of town: Speedwell Cavern, a former lead mine. There wasn't a line this time, so we went on in. We paid the fee, picked out hard hats and waited a minute for the crowd to gather. Then we went down 105 steep wet steps into the mountian. Bob had Ella and I carried William. The stairs were made a little worse for the fact that the ceiling was low and we had to bend over. But we made it. Bob slipped once, and Cedwryck slipped once to a hard sitting down, but caught himself by his grip on the rail. At the bottom of the stairs was a boat, about 4 feet wide, and 6 seats long. We climbed in, and went down a little river/cave about 4 1/2 to 5 feet wide, and about 3 feet high (above the water line). There were occasional lights along the way to break the darkness. At the end of the journey we got out in a large-ish cavern and looked bown the "bottomless pit" and up at the stalactites. Then back to the stairs. Our guide tried to make things interesting and dramatic. At one point Riah asked him if the boats ever sink. He laughed at how serious and worried Riah was, but reassured him it was all very safe.

Back to the car. I drove on around the hill and toward home. As it was getting dark, and no restaurants in sight, I pulled into a grocery store and Bob went in for a loaf of bread to tide us over. William had about 4 slices on the way. Bob drove after that. One town we drove through was VERY crowded. Stores were open, people massed on the sidewalks, parking lots had men in reflective vests directing traffic. What was going on? Then I saw a sign at a shopping area on the edge of town - parking for the fireworks display would be charged. Ah! Fireworks. We kept going, not being crazy about crowds (or standing around in the rain).

We sort of accidently ended up back on the A52 at Derby, and there was the same shopping center we'd had breakfast at. Why not? I suggested the Pizza Hut, but it was packed. So we tried to get to the Burger King, but missed a turn and were on the highway's onramp (going to wrong way)!!! So Bob took control of the situation, and did a tight U-turn back into the shopping center. We got to Burger King, which was completely empty. We sat down, and I got high chairs while Bob used the toilet. He said there was blood everywhere, like someone had gone in there to wash a cut. So I took the boys to the girl's room, but it was out of paper. So I took the girls to the handicapped toilet. It had everything.
Then we ordered, but they were out of fruit bags. Anyway, the Angus burgers were delicious. They were also out of napkins in the dispensers. I think we embarrased the manager, because we kept finding all these things that weren't done. He was personally cleaning the dining room as we ate.

We found our way back to the hotel, and settled in for the night. Only one snag - we got booted off the internet (which is part of our home package to have unlimited service in hotspots), so we couldn't look up things for the next day.

birthday weekend part two

On our way up to Derby, we had a couple of stops planned.

First, we had to go up to RAF Alconbury to fill up with gas since I hadn't had the van on base since we decided to go out and it wasn't full. Gas was down to $3.50 per gallon. Woo-hoo! (then I got an email from my mom saying it's $2.15 there) As it was past lunch time already, we also ate there. We drove around the base a bit, but there aren't many choices. Commissary, for sandwiches. Pizza thing. Subway sandwiches. Club. Bowling alley. Hmm. We chose the bowlling alley. It wasn't too bad. The only thing was, when they called our order as ready, my BLT wasn't there. So I reminded them nicely, and they made it. But I got all the bacon crumbs instead of actual bacon. So basically I had toast and a little salad with bacon bits. But everything else was fine.

Back on the road.

Our next stop was at Ashby de la Zouch castle. It's an English Heritage property, so free admission for us. This castle was made famous by it's mention in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe. Bob thinks there was an "Ashby" in one of his old computer games (return to zork, maybe?). We had to park in the town parking lot, but it was close and not too expensive. Ashby was a big place. The kitchen looks as big as my house. Then there's the great hall and the front room and the VIP room and the chapel. And over on one side is the private castle with its own mini kitchen, great room, VIP room, and lots of closets. The castle grounds used to extend all across the back of town. EH is doing a "haunted trail" thing for Halloween, with little ghost clues all over, but we managed to ignore it. There is an underground tunnel/secret passage thing from the main kitchen to the private castle, and that was cool. Riah was the first one down it, and he impressed me by not being scared at all, though it was quite dark.
We stopped at the gift shop on the way out, and they had little guide books to the free sites (the ones that don't have visitor centers and gift shops), divided by region. They were on sale for 2GBP each, or all 8 for 10GBP. They were out of the Midlands book, so we got two of East Anglia (I figured we'd use one up). And we were on our way again.

Traffic was pretty terrible on the A14, and it was a dead stop on the M1. We got to our hotel about 5:30; checked in and settled down pretty quickly. There was no way we were getting back in the car to find a place to eat, so we ate downstairs.
See, in England, they have these places called "motorway services," so that as you are whizzing along the motorway (or major divided highway) there will be a "services" exit. You go down the ramp (they call it a slip road) and there is a little island with a gas station, restaurant, shop, and hotel. There is one way in (from the motorway) and one way out (back on the motorway); though they are usually built with one for each direction of traffic, there is no way to cross the road from one to the other.
Our side had an "Eat In" restaurant, which advertises "Kids eat free." We figured they meant children, and asked about the children's menu. After a brief consultation, they decided that the choices were chicken or chicken nuggets. Yay. So Taryn and I ordered the gammon steak (ham), Bob got fish and chips, and we got 4 chicken nuggets (3 of which were free). There was a communication gap, as the two ladies working there are from Eastern Europe and didn't speak clearly or loudly. But we eventually got it ordered. We had to pay for ketchup. We didn't get any drinks. But we got more or less full.
Back to the room for more settling in with beds, toilet trips, etc. Naysha coughed all night. Bob was alternately hot and cold, as I played with the settings on the heater. Once, after we were all asleep, Ella started fussing, "Stop it, Naysha! Lay down!" I tried to hush her to no avail, so got up to check. Naysha had rolled over on top of Ella. No wonder she was fussing.

Part 3 to come.

birthday weekend part one - get a room

Well, I am now (even accounting for time zones and everything) 31 years old.

Since my last two birthdays were spent working (one building a shed at my parents' house, and the other watching movers pack up my stuff), I guess Bob decided to do this one up big. He took off from work on Friday, and we did our best to make plans.

I was pretty ill from a cold, starting Monday, and ached and didn't rest well, etc. But by Wednesday, when I got the news about Friday, I was feeling a little bit better. So, to make a long story longer, I started looking stuff up online. I saw that Nottingham was having a "Robin Hood Pageant" and thought it looked interesting. From what I remember of Nottingham, and what I've read in Wiki and hotel reviews, etc, it's not easy to get around in. So we thought it would be just wonderful if we got a hotel room with free parking included in town. Not as easy as it sounds. But I finally found one on Priceline, and booked it. Except, it wouldn't process my card. So really, I didn't book it. But I tried. With my old card and my new one. 4 times each. So I went through the English Heritage partner site, and booked it.

Then I went to Google maps and got our route. I went to "print" and "maps" and adjusted each step's map so it was exactly how I wanted it. I even had a side trip thrown in. Then I clicked "print" and my printer spit out 9 blank sheets of paper, with just the google address on the bottom. Okay. Lord? So I said well, let me print my room reservation info. As it was printing (it worked fine), I got an email from the hotel. So I went to look, and it said, #1, my credit card was declined, and #2, they didn't have any rooms with a sofa bed as I'd requested. So I wrote back and said sorry and thanks but no thanks. SO here I was.

I just left it for awhile and figured we'd find something to do.

Thursday night we tried to look a little, but were still having mental cloudiness.

So Friday morning Bob said he'd really like to go away, so we tried again. I'd seen ads for and thought I'd try it. They had a place near Derby for 39GBP per night, about 1/2 of what we'd looked at the day before. Bob said, "book it!" and I did. He printed maps (it worked); I found things to look at on the way, and the children packed the suitcase. We left the house about 10:30am.

(Now it's breakfast time, so I'll have to do my story in parts.)

Friday, 24 October 2008

Big Boys

Just a quick note.

Wednesday William went walking. hehe. He took his first step, finally. And then he took two, and then three. Thursday he didn't, as far as I know.

Cedwryck has been sleeping in his underwear for about a week now. He'd been dry in his pullups for months and months, but we'd put underwear on him and he'd "leak." SO back to pullups, and we'd go around again. But I think he's converted now. (Azariah has only had about 3 dry nights in his life. Just for contrast, so you know where we are.)

So we are supposed to 'do something' today, but our planning abilities seem to have been lost with the colds. We'll see.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

good service??? at AAFES??????

Last night was the weekly Bible study at the chapel, so we went. I had a few errands to run first, and then we met Bob at Burger King for dinner before the study. We ordered our burgers, and just got tap water to drink. They have special cups for water, so they can tell if someone tried to get coke for free (self-service coke dispenser). So I handed Taryn the cups and sent her to fill them. She got the ice, and then saw that the water faucet thing was broken off. Both of them. So she asked at the counter, and apparently they don't have water taps for the drive thru either. So the lovely lady working there actually opened up bottled water (sells for over $1 each) and filled our cups with it. I was pretty impressed, and told Bob "I'll have to blog about this." We don't expect the AAFES sponsored stores to go out of their way, as it's a government contract job and doesn't rely on keeping customers happy.

Monday, 20 October 2008

party of the people

In America, it has long been understood that the Democratic party is 'for the people' and the Republican party is 'for the rich' or 'big business.' hmm.

This weekend I read an article in the Air Force Times about the candidates' children in the military. On the Republican ticket, there is Palin's son, who is, I think enlisted Army; then McCain has two sons in - an enlisted Marine, and a student at the Naval Acadamy. On the Democratic ticket, there is Obama, with no children old enough yet, and Biden, whose son is the Attorny General of some NE state, and on the JAG tem of the National Guard.

Now you tell me which sounds more like "the people" and which sounds more rich/elite. ??

(Please don't take this as endorsement of McCain/Palin. I think both big party nominees are very wrong, and I voted for 3rd party candidate Chuck Baldwin)

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Wisdom of children

So yesterday in the car Azariah started talking to me.

"Mama, the devil doesn't have God in his heart; he is just full of himself."

That's right, Riah.

"And, Mama, if I was full of myself, I wouldn't be a Christian."

Need I say more?


So are you tired of me verbally drooling over the good fruits yet? If so , maybe skip this part.

Yesterday we went to the market at Bury St Edmunds, just because. To keep it short (haha), I was looking at a fruit stall and the man called out "2 for 2 pounds on raspberries and strawberries." So I took a look - similar amounts of strawberries were on sale for over $4 at the commissary yesterday, and here I could get 2 for $3.40. SO I bought two packages and we walked on. Later we were hungry, so I opened a pack and handed everybody a berry. WOW!!! It was SOOOOOO good. They didn't look like much - pink more than red - but if I've had a better berry it hasn't been since we were in Iceland, where we'd buy a pack every time we went to the walking mall in Reykjavik, and Taryn, age 1 1/2, called it "ice cream." We quickly consumed the whole package, and went on to the playground, but on our way back through the market I bought two more packs. I also got a cauliflower - a big, pretty one - for 60p, and a pineapple for 1GBP, and 4lbs of bananas for 1GBP. Can't beat the prices, esp with the currant exchange rate of 1GBP=$1.72.
We ate another carton of berries when we got home, and I had most of a third for my bedtime snack. I can't wait to go back next week and see if they have more. :-) I wish I'd thought to ask where they are from, or if he knew the variety. I would plant fields of them if given the chance. Better than ice cream. Wow.

Friday, 17 October 2008


So yesterday was my dr appt. I signed up for a "physical" and when I arrived everyone asked me what exactly I had in mind. Just a checkup.
The Dr was nice, very encouraging and wanting to help. Mostly we talked about my weight, and some about my joints. Since Bob is my only reader who lives with me, this bears a little explaining. Every time I bend my knees (to squat, climb stairs, whatever), they crack and pop and grind horribly. I also have had hip trouble (off and on) since late in my pregnancy with Azariah, and there is a place in my ribcage that goes to aching at times (last week it was awful). So anyway, I officially have arthritis. But he said I still have cartilage in my knees, and weight loss will help a lot, as will good shoes. He prescribed something to help with inflamation, and said the OsteoJoint pills I've been taking are good stuff.
For weight loss, he said first get blood work done to see if I'm healthy (we think I am), and if I don't lose anything in 4 weeks of committed diet and exercise he can prescribe a metabolism booster. He also offered to get me an appointment with a nutritionalist. He was very positive, said it often takes 2 years after having a baby to recover, said I'm doing good to have lost 21 lbs already (yes, the side bar is behind. I gained 4 lbs in one day last week), blah blah.
So I think that is all good. I didn't get to talk about my funky toe, but I guess that can wait (it's been over a year already anyway).

After that we stopped by the thrift store, but didn't find anything. Then we went to the commissary where Bob grabbed some grapes and water and headed back to work, and I wandered around a while. I wanted something "different" for dinner. I finally decided on a package of Mahi Mahi fillets. I'm not a fish person, but I've heard Mahi Mahi is not a 'fishy' fish, and if it was yucky Bob could have mine. :-D I also grabbed a box of egg rolls, and got the children frozen pizza and corn dogs. (And just for good measure, I got a pack of swordfish fillets, too. I've had that before and know it isn't 'fishy.')

On the way home I pulled over at a house just outside the village. They have had a box beside their driveway for a couple of weeks now, marked "Apples. Help yourself." So I did. Thanks, neighbor! The children couldn't wait to get the groceries in and have an apple. They said they were good. I had one today, and it was FLAVORFUL. A little sweet, a lot of tart. Not my favorite apple taste ever, but it was really strong, and crisp and juicy. So how cool is that, that people have so much they just give it away. I'm still in awe at the abundance of blackberries. God has blessed this country. (By the way, I checked Bob's pictures, and the blackberry season has lasted over 2 months. In Oklahoma we are lucky if it goes 2 weeks.)

So the children had pizza or corndogs for dinner, and I got a recipe for ginger-glazed mahi mahi off Bob and I had fish over rice, with pineapple and egg roll. I also had cucumber, but Bob doesn't like that. (the children also had cucumber, carrot sticks, and pineapple) The fish was okay, nothing great. I had a couple of bites that were a little fishy, but not bad.

Today the sun is shining, which makes us all restless, but it is cold. Maybe we'll do 'something' tomorrow.

I'm thinking about going to Nottingham next weekend for the Robin Hood Pageant. It will cost 18GBP for the family, plus hotel and gas, etc. I'm undecided if it will be worth it.

To wrap up, I am back on the diet. These last two weeks have been miserable. I just took a break, since I hadn't lost anything in a month, but then I gained those 5 lbs, and I felt every one of them. I can't afford to gain another pound. I can't really afford to maintain. The fat has got to go.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


So much for getting back to the blog on Thursday.

So... William turned 1. He is my "best" baby so far. :-P He is very good-natured, likes Bob and I equally, isn't overly clingy, hasn't been sick much at all (even with Chicken Pox he did very well). He is also the only one to NOT be walking by this age, and as he immediately followed our earliest walker, it stands out a little. He doesn't talk yet, either, but he's working on that, too. William was a "good" nurser (as was Riah) - he didn't bite or scratch - and he weaned easily. Now he is almost entirely self-fed (he likes that better than me feeding him with a fork). He shows left-handed tendancies. I figured it was bound to happen, with left-handed ancestors on both sides of the family. So even with 5 older siblings, he is one of a kind.

William's birth was interesting, too. We'd been told we were having a girl, and just accepted that as fact. Baby boy clothes were packed away in anticipation of our coming move to England. After Ella's 1 hour labor we weren't taking any chances, so when I woke up at 2:30 the morning before the due date, with a contraction, we headed on to the hospital. I knew it wasn't urgent, but we wanted to be prepared. We thought about just hanging out in the waiting room until it was time, but met a nurse in the hallway who said they were pretty busy and we'd better go get a room. So we checked in and I got the initial exam, and then my nurse came back with the I V. I looked at Bob, looked at that needle, and said, "Is there anything I can say to convince you not to do that?" She gave the expected answer about hospital policy, and we said something about signing a waiver, so she asked her supervisor. They came back and tried to talk me into it, but in the end said I could do without it. YAY!!! I had Bob take a picture of the full bag hanging there in the corner, as a symbol of victory.
Then I got comfy and - I suppose some would call it self-hypnosis - but I calmed my mind by singing "How great is our God" over and over and over to myself. It started to wear out, so I did change things up a little with Jesus Loves Me. After an hour or so (how one loses track of time!) the nurse came back to check my dilation. I knew it wasn't time yet, and I knew I'd be able to give fair warning. So in the fog I saw her putting on her gloves, and I tried to turn over, but it wasn't happening. So I said, "Why don't I let you know when I'm ready?" And she snapped off her gloves and said, "I guess you can do whatever you want," and left the room. Hehehe. I didn't see her again until it was time, but I know she came in to check the machines.
I let people know when it was time to deliver, and with a couple of pushes and a shout, there was a baby. Bob's famous first words were, "Somebody fibbed to us." AHHH! What? "It's a boy." A nurse turned around and asked the Dr to confirm, and he mumbled something. Bob told me later that he'd said, "I don't know, I haven't looked yet." Sure enough, a boy. We had no name, no clothes, no plan. We settled on William (after my father) pretty quickly, but still didn't have a middle name picked out when the birth certificate lady came by. So he is officially just William. We added Arthur a couple of days later (Bob's maternal great-grandfather).

This Thursday Bob worked long and hard, so he wasn't even here for dinner, but we saved the cupcakes and the singing until Bob was home. We didn't get any presents, as we didn't think William would notice.

Friday William had a checkup at the base doctor, and had to get a finger stick for an iron count. After that Bob was off work (a little early), so we met at the playground where the children were enjoying the sunshine, and then went to Mildenhall together. He was supposed to meet someone about a blender, but couldn't remember at which building, so that fell through. We went through the BXtra and got a bouncy ball "for William." Then we had dinner at the club there (hadn't been there before). The food was okay, but the waiter was kind of rude. He never spoke to us, never offered anything. He was slow. He picked up Ella's coloring paper that she'd dropped and (instead of handing it to her) threw it away. grrr. He didn't get a big tip, and probably thought he was justified in not wasting a lot of time at our table. Oh, well.

Saturday our friend Chloe turned 1, and she had a birthday party at the bowling alley. So we went, and bowled two games, ate, had presents, and watched the first quater of the OU-TX game. I wanted to stay and see it through, but Bob couldn't think of anything to take the children to do while I did, so we came home. I watched the scores online (not quite real-time, but close) and TX won, so I guess it's just as well I didn't see the whole thing. On the way we stopped in Moulton and walked around and saw the Fall colors, and picked blackberries beside the path. Ella fell while running down the Packhorse Bridge and cut her hand on the gravel. The blackberries were very good, all the more as we expected them to be finished for the year.

Sunday, being unhappy with the base chapel, we decided to go with the weather. If it was nice, we'd go out, and if it wasn't, we'd try some other church. It was nice. So we went to Castle Rising Castle again. Bob wasn't happy with his pictures the last time we'd visited, and it isn't too far away. We got picnic fixings, a preaching tape, and the usual gear and headed out. We had a picnic on the grounds, then toured the castle, and bought a few things at the gift shop. Then we went on north a little bit and found a beach with a parking lot. The tide was out, but there wan't much sand - a big stretch of mud, then gravel and shells. We collected a lot of shells, scooped up sand, and generally ran around and had a good time. Bob's knee was hurt from the bowling, so I drove home. We went into Newmarket for dinner, settling on fried chicken. We got a meal deal at KFC which included chicken, fries, sides, soda, and ice cream. They don't have biscuits.

Monday was Columbus Day, so Bob was off work. I'd heard about a "Warehouse Clearance" store in Bury St Edmunds, so we looked it up and decided to go see. We took winding back roads over, and at one point Bob pulled over and he and I got out and picked blackberries on the side of the road. They were so thick! And so sweet, there was almost no flavor other than sugar. We dug out an empty doughnut box from the back of the van and quickly filled it for a cobbler/pie. On to the store. They had Christmas cards for 1GBP per box, and knitting yarn (they call it wool, even when it's polyester) 4 balls for 1 GBP. As a GBP is only $1.70 now, it was a good price. I got some yarn for a hat and scarf for Riah, and some cards, and YAY! - lettuce seeds. For the price of one salad, I can eat it all year. After that we decided to suck it up and get some groceries, so we went to Lakenheath, had dinner at Burger King (which cost more than the one at KFC in town, and no ice cream), and then to the commissary. Even so, we got home before dark.

And that's what I've been up to lately. Today it's catch up on laundry and school, dishes and dinner, knitting and blogging. Tomorrow we have a WIC appointment (for more free milk), and Thursday I have a Dr checkup. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to catch my breath.
Bob's not much better at work, as his supervisor has been away all week taking care of the affairs of an airman who died in a car crash. Another airman in the shop was court-marshalled for drunk driving, and Bob had to see him through the court proceedings, and now has to visit him in jail. Not to mention Bob wanted to see about getting his pasport, and check in with the housing office. (After a week of cold weather, we figured it would be nice to have free heat, after all, so we're going to see about updating our housing preferences. Not sure if it'll do any good, but it's worth a try.)

So now that you've read this far, congratulations. I'll quit now.