Wednesday, 30 January 2008


I remembered to take my "pre-natal" vitamins for two days in a row! I wonder if they sell "post-natal" vitamins... Whether it's that, or just my determination to do the right thing; yeah, it's the vitamins. But I have been better about getting stuff done. AND not losing my temper.

I wonder what it would take to get me to write in complete sentences. (So glad this thing has spell check)


Sunday night we had chicken pot pie and sweet potato casserole for dinner. Yum! I left 1/4 of the sweet potatoes without the crumb topping so Naysh could have some with marshmallows instead (ewwww). Taryn thought she wanted marshmallows, but when I mixed up the brown sugar topping she had a nibble and said "That is better than a marshmallow." Smart girl.
While we were cooking, we talked about the church service that morning. They had a box of flags in the back, and children being what they are, ours kept turning around to watch the flag lady. So after a little bit she came and asked the girls to join her, and they did. Riah about came unglued, so she came back and handed each of the boys a flag, too. They stayed in their seats, but waved the flags around. So, back to cooking; Taryn said it was fun to do the flags, and I asked her if it helped her to worship God or was just fun. She honestly replied that it was just fun. So we talked about worship, and she thinks it doesn't matter how one worships so long as the praise is to God. Hmmm. Most modern people would probably agree with her, but I have a book called How God Wants us to Worship Him. I thought it might make a good study, so when I finished my dinner I read some outloud and Bob gave his input on the subject. The author is "reformed" and goes by the "regulative principle of worship" which says only the things commanded by the Bible are allowed. So we'll see how that goes.


I had a lovely long post but my STU{PID internet, which I had written about, messed up the whole thing! And, apparently if I click on the save draft button it disables the auto save , so the whole other part that I just wrote has diaa apeared.

No, i can't type when I'm mad!

Monday, 28 January 2008

And more potty

Well, I posted too soon yesterday, I guess. Here's the rest of the gruesome details.

While at the store Saturday, we bought each of the boys a belt, as some of their pants are a little baggy (that's trousers to you, Ganieda). So they were very excited to wear their belts to church Sunday. So after the incident already described, when we get home Riah needed to go again. He heads for the toilet, and a few seconds later we hear this terrible wail. Bob goes to investigate, and what do you know? Riah couldn't get the belt undone, and so peed on himself once again. So they mop up and change and come to lunch.

After lunch the children went outside to play. After awhile Riah came in to use the toilet. After quite awhile he headed back out, but stopped long enough to announce, "The reason I changed clothes is because I had an accident." Lord, have mercy. I was trying to catch up on laundry!
We asked him to clean up his mess; he said he did.

Twice more throughout the day we saw puddles in the toilet room and had Riah clean them up.

At bedtime all the children march into the bathroom and get their toothbrushes and stand in line while we come and brush their teeth. They'd just been gone a second when Taryn came back to the living room. We asked why she wasn't in the bathroom. "We are in the bathroom," she replied, "but there is BM on the little toilet, and a spot on the floor, and I don't know how to clean it up." This has to be a joke. We followed her to the bathroom, while she says, "I guess it was Riah." There was a little splatter across the baby toilet lid, and a brown spot on the rug. We sent everybody out but Riah, and Bob questioned him while I cleaned up. Riah put on his soberer than any judge look and denied any knowledge of the incident. So we called in Naysha, and could tell right away that she had something to say. She was going to the bathroom earlier and "had gas." So we explained that these things should be addressed right away for reasons of health.

THEN, after they are all in bed, I discovered a big puddle around the base of the toilet (in the toilet room). As I'm wiping it up I even notice splatters a foot up on each wall. Oh, boy!

I'm very proud to say Bob and I both kept our tempers about the whole thing, though Bob is wondering what special sin he has committed to be repaid this way. ha.

Sunday, 27 January 2008


Caps lock off.

Saturday the bases were having a "boot sale" - not the sale of footwear, but sales out of the "boot" or "trunk" or cars. We were hoping for good things, as military families who are moving tend to get rid of some terrific junk. I'm glad we've learned to be flexible. There were 6 or 8 sellers, and no one had anything larger than a microwave. But we got Ced a raincoat, and got a fan for the summer, which we are sure will come for at least a week or two. We also had grocery shopping to do, but we weren't quite ready to head home.

So we went out to the Anglo-Saxon village that we'd tried on Christmas break. They were open this time. It's a pretty neat place. There is a museum part, with lots of pottery and beads and stuff that has been dug from the area, and then there is the outside part - the village itself. They've re-built, on location, 5 or 6 buildings from Anglo-Saxon times. Each house (or hall) is done a little differently, as the whole thing is a bit trial and error. We were pretty much free to run in and around the buildings.
One building was being re-thatched by a man with shaggy, curly hair. Azariah, whose voice carries quite well, said, "Mama, what is that girl doing?" I quietly said, "I think it's a MAN." He responded at full volume, "It LOOKS like a girl." So much for not offending anybody.

After the village, we bought a bookshelf and some groceries. Oh, and ate at the "nice" restaurant on base, and I had the duck, which was a special for the day. At first it came quite raw, so I had to send it back, but once it got cooked it wasn't bad. Not wonderful, but okay. Tasted like steak.

This morning we went to church at the British A/G in Lakenheath. They had a guest speaker from northern regions. If we listened closely we could understand, but if we got distracted for a minute, several words passed before we could catch on again. Like getting in rhythm to jump into a moving jumprope. But it was pretty good, up until Riah fell asleep. This sounds like a good thing, but Riah sleeps hard. Too hard to wake up when he needs to pee. Or when he has. When church was over there was a damp spot on his chair, and a corresponding spot on his pants. We left as quickly as possible, considering that Bob, Naysha and I also had to use the restroom, and William had blown out his diaper and Ced fouled his. Way too much potty for one church service!

Home again now for a relaxing afternoon.

Friday, 25 January 2008

>Clever title goes here<

It's hard to be tired and wound up at the same time, but I do it a lot.

Yesterday I got the idea to start taking Ella with me to the bathroom. We haven't got one out of diapers before age 3 yet, so why not try something different? We have a little plastic toilet in there; may as well use it. So in one episode she learned the word "potty." Smart girl. Next time I took her she watched me wipe and said "stinky" - sorry! But she is happy to trot along with me, will flip open her lid and sit down (diaper still on, mind, I'm not crazy) beside me, chatting all the way. She'll get up and down and say "potty" and "stinky" and "hot" (about the towel warmer), and jabber about everything else in the world. But maybe she'll get an idea or two.

We are off desserts during the week now, and exercising. But Friday starts the weekend, so I made a chocolate chip pie. That thing took 2 hours to get done. I don't know what I did wrong, but the children had to go to bed without any because it was still very soupy then. It's good now....

Naysha decided to clean her room today, which I can't complain about, but the boys' chest is in the girls' room (movers got confused and we haven't bothered with it yet as it's all short sleeve stuff). She decided to clean it out. So when I went to put Cedwryck to bed tonight it was covered with a big pile of clothes. Sigh. Kid gloves on, as Naysha has been a little emotional lately. "Naysh, next time you want to start a big project, clear it with me first, okay? I sure am glad you wanted to clean your room; it looks good."

We have a "Hooked on Phonics" set that we'd bought at an auction a few years ago, and I've been going over it with Naysha and Riah for their schoolwork. Cedwryck asked me today if we could "play a card game." Kinda puzzled me, as he isn't really big enough for UNO, but he was wanting to do phonics. Memories being what they are, he may have it down before Naysha does. She's smart enough, but just doesn't pick up on things the same way as the others.

Anyway, not much going on today. Hopefully we will have fun tomorrow.

I got a few pictures yesterday, and Bob put some on Flickr. Tonight he took some of the children, too. But he did a google and found his pictures on a dozen different websites. I think they are all Flickr related sites, based on the tags, but it bothered him anyway. He made the pics private, but it didn't change anything, so he'll change it back again.

guess that's it.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Monday night Bob and I decided to make a schedule. I'm sure I've suggested it before, but Bob listened to this tape and it sounded right to him, so we are working on it. Basically we tried to right down what our day is "normally" like and make a few improvements. So Tuesday was the first day of following a schedule, and Boy! did it stink. I'm not a good leader, and so my children are not good followers. By 10:00 I was ready to shred the thing. Went to bed grumpy, woke up grumpy Wednesday.

Wednesday I said fooey on the schedule, and we had a good day. So it needs a little work.

Before we even got to England, I'd found out that one can get organic vegetables delivered to one's doorstep. Now that we have an address, I've been looking at the idea pretty hard. So a few days ago I ordered a box, and it came Tuesday. You'd think the children had never seen another person before. They jumped up and down and squealed the whole time the van was parked in our driveway. The delivery guy thought it was pretty funny to see children so excited about vegetables. I paid 20GBP for a box full of veg, a box of fruit, and a bag of garlic. (I checked later at the grocery store online, and it would cost over 30GBP for the same items from the store.) We got, in the fruit box, kiwis, bananas, apples, and oranges, and a mango. We like all of that. In the veg box I got a broccoli, a cauliflower, a Hispi cabbage (maybe - the description said it is pointed and mine wasn't), a bag of carrots, some sweet potatoes, a box of mushrooms, some chickpea sprouts, and 2 swedes.
I'd never heard of a swede before, but in looking up recipes I discovered that it is what we call rutabaga, or yellow turnip. I've never eaten such a thing before, as far as I know, and I'd never have bought it if I had a choice. But since we had it, I thought I'd give it a try. Found a simple recipe for Glazed Swede: cut into 3/4" cubes, boil 15 minutes, drain, add 1/4 c butter and 2 T brown sugar; stir to melt; sprinkle with nutmeg. Well, that was too much butter, but I really enjoyed it. Taryn thought it was like potato and didn't like it, Naysha wasn't crazy about it but ate her spoonful, the boys thought it was yucky. Bob ate 2 helpings. So I wonder if we never had it because it's expensive in the States, or Mom didn't like it for some reason.
I also would never buy mushrooms, because I don't like them, but Bob likes them, so I will cook some for him today.
All in all I like the "veg box scheme" and will probably sign up for a regular delivery.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I wanted to put some boxes in the garage, but couldn't find the key. Called Bob to see if he knew where it was (he didn't, but we figured it out later), and he was pretty abrupt on the phone - said they had a "situation." I wasn't worried because I knew if there was a security breach he'd tell me somehow. When he called at 4:30 saying he was still there and would be for awhile I knew it was a bad day in the fuel shop. Turns out someone lost a tool. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you think about it, it is. If the tool was left in the fuel tank or some engine compartment on the airplane, it could cause serious damage. So both planes they had worked on last night were grounded until they could find the tool, and a grounded aircraft looks bad on the whole base.
Long and short? Bob will probably be put in charge of the tool room. This is a job he's had off and on since he was a E-3, and as an E-6 he feels it should be someone else's job by now. But he'll do anything to not have another day like yesterday.

Oh, I forgot to mention Tuesday's crowning glory. Bob came home and said he had bad news. In a week or two he will be moving to mid-shift. I was mostly grateful he didn't say he was going to the desert (around here they call it "down range"), but still! How is that supposed to work? He'll get home about breakfast time, while William is still asleep in our room, wanting to go to bed. Then we have to stay quiet all day while he sleeps. Like that can happen. Plus, he is light-sensitive, and we aren't allowed to hang curtains without written permission from our landlady, besides that curtains that will actually block light are quite expensive. And, how an I supposed to clean house and put away clothes while he's asleep in my room? And, Ella takes naps in the crib after lunch. So we'll have to move it somewhere, but where? William still eats in the night, so I'll have to get up and dress to go wherever we put him to feed him. Still grateful, but the logistics gets me. Not to mention he's 3rd ranking in the shop and should have his choice of shifts. Not that I'm bitter.

Anyway, I'm sure I have work to do.

Oh! William rolled 360* yesterday. Back - front - back again. He also gets up on his elbows pretty good, and is trying to push with his toes already.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

So called holiday

Monday was a day off work, but not holy, so I hate to call it a holiday. Martin Luther King day, was it?

Our friends from Iceland (an American Airman and his Scottish wife) called us about 9am and said they would be on RAFMildenhall by 11:00. We were a bit excited to see them again. Excited to talk to anybody, really, but extra because they were old friends. We had a very nice lunch together, our children showing how much they can eat if they can.
Bob and I each had a sandwich and soda from Burger King. Cedwryck had a giant slice of pizza, an order of french fries, and a taco (something from each of the eateries), and still wanted more. Riah and the girls each had 3 tacos and a few of the fries.
They have two children, a 6 yr old girl, and a boy, 3. The boy announced right away, "I'm a robot!" so I tried to steer clear of him. My children told me later that he was also Superman, sometimes. The girl was deprived of oxygen during birth and has a little learning disability, but seems to be doing very well.
One or more of our children misunderstood their family name, so for future reference they shall be called "the Owls."

After lunch we shopped a bit and then stopped for dessert at Cinnabon. It smells good when they are baking, and we've heard good things about the company, but personally, we weren't impressed. Our sticks were cold and the taste just wasn't all that. Nothing like homemade. So now we know, and won't be tempted anymore.

Well, everyone is awake now. I hope I can catch up a bit more later.

Sunday, 20 January 2008


I really feel a great deal of peace today. We've been going through the pains of waking up spiritually, after 2 weeks of no TV it's like the lights are coming on. But after some ...uh... conversations, things are starting to make sense again the last couple of days.

Saturday was Taryn's Princess Party. She made an invitation for the boys on Friday that was pretty cute, asking them to "dress as hansom as posible" and to be on good behavior since this is a princess party. So after breakfast I made the chili while the boys got dressed and headed out. They bought a tire for the van and tried to pay the phone bill and took some pictures. We cleaned the dining room, made strawberry cupcakes (from a mix), painted our nails with glitter polish, braided our hair, decorated the cupcakes with 10 kinds of sprinkles and 4 tubes of colored gel stuff from the store, changed clothes, set the table and made punch. It was fun, and I got to teach a little about being beautiful inside and out.

When the boys got back they came in and bowed to Taryn and handed her gifts. Bob had also bought flowers for us all. Then we had the most polite dinner ever. We all played at calling each other "sir" and "ma'am" and "lord" and "lady."

After lunch we went for a drive. First into Newmarket to pay the phone bill, then to Cambridge, to Waterbeach, and back through Newmarket to home. If it hadn't been raining the whole time it would have been a beautiful drive.

William is regularly rolling onto his stomach now, but hasn't yet gone from belly to back.

Today we couldn't quite decide where to go to church - we've seen a few online but they all have some reason why we shouldn't go. So we dug out a praise and worship tape from Cabot, Arkansas, and sang along. Then we listened to a tape from The Godly Home II set that we got from Charity. Good stuff.

This afternoon we will go to Lakenheath for milk and cereal.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

A bit of quiet

Good morning Cheveley. After a much-disturbed night, I am enjoying a bit of quiet before the family wakes up. Oops! I hear a child.

William rolled from back to front yesterday, chasing his hand. He didn't get over his shoulder, so it was easy to turn back.
Last night he got his fat leg stuck in between two slats on the crib. Plus waking to eat 3 times. Not to mention Riah coming to knock on our door for no reason other than he woke up. Plus, I guess cool whip keeps me awake now? We had peanut butter pie for dessert last night, and I don't know if that did it or what, but trying to sleep I felt like I'd had 3 Cokes.

Things have been fairly calm since Bob started working regularly.
He got the van's lights changed to UK specs, and went for the inspection yesterday, but failed because we need a new tire. Our phone bill is past due as of today, because we have to pay in person, and Bob doesn't want to go anywhere after he gets home from work. I am NOT driving anywhere by myself just yet.

Bob got an email from some friends we met in Iceland. They are stationed at another base nearby. We thought they were in England, but Bob tried to look them up before we came over and had no success. I guess they found us when their Christmas card was returned to them. Anyway, we were going to meet them today, but yesterday their daughter got sick, so it's been postponed.

I filed our income tax return yesterday. Thanks, Wil, for blogging about that; it reminded me to look at it. I used TaxAct online - free efile for people in our income group. Took about 15 minutes, and we do get a bonus this year, too. Bob is already looking at new lenses.

Ella has cut 6 new teeth since Christmas.

All are awake now.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Taryn's birthday

Taryn is now 9 years old.
We'd decided to celebrate her birthday on Saturday so Bob will be here all day. But she wanted special treatment today, too. No school, she got to pick the daily video, etc.
She wants a "princess" party. We will send the boys out for awhile, make cupcakes, fix our hair and paint our nails, decorate the cupcakes, and invite the boys in to "tea." Only her meal of choice is chili and Fritos.

Today we were out of milk, so when Bob got off work he turned around and took us all back to base. Shopped, ate, shopped. While I was getting groceries, he went to get an entertainment center. Someone is leaving and gave us their old cabinet. It's in good shape. Quite heavy. Bob paid the guy to help him get it on top of the van, and when we got home we worked together to help it fall slowly. Bob did most of the work; I'm not as strong as I used to be when Wil and I armwrestled every night.

It is good to be online. I hope we figure out how to pay our bills so we can stay online. hehe. BT isn't the easiest company to figure. I think I know what is meant now when people say the British don't like success. It isn't just brilliant people they don't like; they really don't expect things to work out right.

Anyway, it is time for bed.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Spiritual Stuff

Bob found this pamphlet we have by Michael Pearl called “Justification and the book of James” and we’ve been reading it. Interesting. He makes the case that Biblically, “justification” doesn’t (or at least, doesn’t always) mean “made right.” It means “proven.” There are scriptures that speak of God being justified; obviously He isn’t made right, but rather is shown to be right. So Mr. Pearl goes on to say that our works are simply proof of our faith. Okay, so far it makes sense and I’ll buy it. But his conclusion has left me quite frustrated.

He says that a saved person will have a new nature that naturally wants to do the right thing. That any time we have to “try” to do right then we are not in God and we are trying to add to our salvation or something. He likened it to hanging apples on a tree as opposed to letting an apple tree grow apples.

Forgive me, but I have to work at doing the right thing. My nature would have me eating cookies and reading or playing games all day, with the occasional walk outside (in nice weather) to poke a few seeds in the ground and call that “gardening.” I don’t WANT to do dishes or vacuum, and I sure don’t want to be nice to other people; they should leave me alone and let me indulge myself.

So does this mean I’m not really saved? Mr. Pearl would imply so. But on the other hand he deplores those “faith and works” salvation people who don’t ever know if they are saved. Faith only people know they are saved because they have believed and that is enough. Big sigh. I know I believe. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He came to earth as a baby, lived sinlessly, died in my place, rose again to earth and then to Heaven, where He sits at God’s right hand. I believe that. And Biblically, having believed and confessed that truth, I am saved. So a great big raspberry to Mr. Pearl, and I’ll keep trying to please my Father because I ought to, even if I don’t want to.


Monday I attempted to establish “normal” once again. We had school, cleaned house, did dishes and cooked dinner.

Today, Tuesday, I woke up at 5:30 with belly ache. When I got up at 7, I turned on the light in my room and they flickered. (It’s a dimmer switch.) So I turned it up more, thinking it would come on, but the switch made a sizzling sound and stank. I turned it off quick and thought, “what do I do now?” First things first – I got William into the living room. Then I turned the main power off, as we didn’t know which circuit breaker went to what. Keep in mind it stays dark until 8. No candles, no heat. But no fire. I kept checking to make sure the wall wasn’t getting hot or anything. I called Bob on his cell phone but he was in a meeting. When I finally got him he suggested I call the estate agent; don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that. The guy there said he’d get an electrician, but in the meantime I could see if one circuit was flipped and turn on the rest. Well, none of them were, but they are labeled, sort of – 2 lights, 2 power outlets, and one each stove and boiler. So I turned the lights off and the main back on. No sparks or anything, and the house started to get warm again.

The rest of the day I mainly played computer games and ran to the bathroom.

The electrician came about 5pm and changed the switch. Bob had already taken it out and looked around a bit, and decided it was the switch, and figured which circuit is for that bedroom, so we had lights in the dining room for dinner. We are hoping the agency pays the electrician.


Saturday we went to Feltwell and looked at sofas. The furniture store doesn’t have heat, so it was interesting, to say the least.

Sunday we went to church in Cheveley. It is supposed to be a United Reformed Church, but they are part of the Church of England parish. I’m not sure how that all works out. Either way, they are “without a Vicar at the moment” and so they just “muddle through” the services (according to the lay leader). This was ‘family day’ at Cheveley – they alternate weeks with the church in Wooditon. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We thought about walking, but the weather kept looking worse and worse, so decided to drive. It took about 2 minutes, so we were a little early. Arriving just ahead of us were the bell-ringers. They rang the bells for about 5 minutes; very nice custom, I think.
So then we got out of the car and walked through the graveyard to the front door, entering a large room with rows of benches, and a large area in the back covered with toys. A young man greeted us and said they meet around the corner. Almost to the corner we met his mother; she greeted us warmly and showed us in.

“Around the corner” was a small room with 3 benches against the wall, a dozen folding chairs in front of that, and about 6 electric heaters. I don’t know why they bothered with the heaters; we could see our breath all through the service. They were all very nice and glad to see us, and the service wasn’t bad, but a little liturgical for our tastes. And though the prayers were said, and the Bible alluded to, not one scripture was read. Afterwards they served coffee and biscuits, and we got to chat a bit.
One elderly lady lives on our street. One woman has 4 children and 3 dogs, and invited me over for coffee sometime. One couple lives in Wooditon and actually follows the family service around the parish. They all know or had known someone from the base, but said not many Americans have lived in Cheveley. There was one family, across from the shop, and they were very mysterious – kept their curtains drawn all the time. Nice folks, but Bob was right; the meeting wasn’t quite our style.

catching up again

Sorry about the whole mess of posts last week. I guess it’ll be the same this week.
Friday Bob did have off work. I made a WIC appointment for the 4 youngest children and me for 9:15, so that was the start of the day. We each had to be weighed and measured, had to fill out paperwork for each, and got the talk of how to use the coupons and so on. Ella weighs just 20.5lbs. William, at 3 months, is 14.5lbs. I think Ella was 14 when she turned one. I like the program here better than in Texas. For one thing, I can get organic milk. Woohoo! For another, I can get the Tropicana Premium orange juice that I’ll actually drink, not just the cheap frozen stuff. I don’t have to get everything on the list if I don’t need it. I can choose to get a package with more milk, or one with more cheese. I can choose each month to take dry beans, canned beans, or peanut butter. And the checkout is just as quick as regular stuff. At the Dyess commissary, every item was run as a separate transaction, totaled, and the WIC coupon run through a printer. And at that, every transaction had to have to start and end date on the coupon, plus a dozen other things, entered in the computer. Here they just ring it up. We used two of this month’s 12 coupons and saved over $50.

That lasted to 10:30. Then we went to Mildenhall for lunch and shopping at their BX. Got curtains and poles, trash can (as ours didn’t make it to the new house), floor mats, and Taryn’s birthday presents. Then we went to the play center and let the children climb and slide while we got online. Then back to Lakenheath to their BX to get underwear for Azariah (as we lost his) and Taryn (as she has grown). Then to the commissary. Wow. We were there about 2 hours and filled two carts plus the WIC stuff. Part of the time Bob sat with the children in the cafĂ© area while I shopped. I ended up with $300 worth of stuff, including over $20 in coupons. Finally we limped home.

Oh yeah, going home. Hehe.
I was driving the van; Bob was driving his car. I did my best to follow him, but when we got onto the ‘A’ road (a dual carriageway, no less) we got separated. I’ve been down the road a few times, but there are at least 3 ways to get to the house and I’m not sure of any of them. I was trying not to swear, trying to drive properly (I’m a nervous driver in the best conditions, and a left-hand drive car in England, on an unknown road, at night… Not the best of conditions), and wondering which exit to take. I saw a car up ahead that MIGHT have been Bob, so I told myself if it took the Red Lodge exit, I would too. It didn’t, so I went on toward the Moulton exit. It’s easy to miss, and farther than I wanted it to be, but I found it. Waiting at the end of the off ramp was Bob. Phew.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Friday, Jan 11

Hey! We are on base to do shopping, and stopped by a wi-fi spot to catch up.
If you want to read all I've written the last week, scroll down a ways; I made a post for each day.

No time to write now. Be blessed.


Whew. Caught up again.

Bob got the van. >doing the happy dance< He said it looked good except for one light cover was cracked, and he’s getting paid for that right away. He’s supposed to get an entertainment center from someone who is leaving. Good thing, since we didn’t bring ours as it won’t fit through British doorways.

The fever is all gone, leaving sore throats.

Cedwryck is wanting to be potty trained, so we are working on that.

I called the WIC office (they have that overseas now) and oh, yeah, we qualify. So tomorrow we’ll go up there and sign up. WIC is a government program that gives milk, cheese, cereal, juice, and peanut butter to pregnant and nursing mothers as well as children up to age 5. Prices being what they are here, we decided to sign up. IF it proves too much a hassle, we can always stop again.

Time to get the clothes sorted.


Today I carried a bunch of stuff out to the garage, and otherwise straightened the front room. It looks a lot better now; almost like a house.

I got a “voice text” from BT (isn’t that an oxymoron?) saying that our internet will be operational by 6pm on the 16th. Yikes! Another week without internet?!

I called Mom and Dad and talked a long time, and let the children talk.

Bob got the message that our van will be ready to be picked up on Thursday. Woohoo! Also, Friday is supposed to be a “down” day, which means he won’t have to go to work.

So lots of good things happening today.


Today was the day to get the books sorted out. We have school books for the next 2 years, that were in our storage building, but they got reboxed in the move, and were all mixed in with this year’s books. So I went through all that pile, plus a stack of misc. books and papers, and got them onto shelves. Yes, that took me all day.

I also did school work with Naysha, cooked dinner, made bread washed dishes, kept the babies happy, etc. But not a lot to show for the day.

Oh, the bread. The machine wants everything at room temperature, so I had the butter, yeast, and egg sitting on the counter – actually on a plate to avoid bumps. Then the boys came in to watch me fix supper, and didn’t leave when I did. A few minutes later they tracked me down. “Mama,” says Riah, “Cedwryck broke the egg.” “No I didn’t.” So here I go back to the kitchen. Sure enough, there is the egg on the floor. By the time the next egg is warmed up and I get the stuff in the breadmaker, it is nearly bedtime. When we went to bed there was an hour left on the timer. I thought I’d wake up and get it, but didn’t. When William woke me up at 2:30 I did go dump out the loaf, but it was already tough by then.

Monday pt2

Where was I?

Ah, yes, the day of the black smudges on the carpet. I did mention that the estate agents were very detailed about damage, right? And we will have to pay for that.

Well, when Bob had last vacuumed he’d been delighted to discover that the vacuum fit in the kitchen “cupboard.” That’s where the “boiler” (hot water heater) is. He worried about that at first, but checked the pipes and they weren’t terribly hot. So after dinner I went to get the vacuum to clean up the crumbs, and the hose looked kinda funny. (It’s a canister, not an upright.) It had melted around the pipes. There was a 4 inch section that was totally flat on one side, all blobbed together. After a bout of self-blame, Bob went to showing his genius. I wondered if we couldn’t splice it, or use the hose from the old vacuum, but he took a piece of pipe from the floor lamp that got broken in transit, and used it to lengthen the hose. It is just the right width so no clamps or anything was needed; just pushed one end of hose on one end of pipe, and the other on the other end. Works like a champ.

Monday Jan 7

Bob’s first regular day at work.

Taryn has had a fever since Sunday, and is headachy. Ella is 90% better – nose still runny, but she is smiling and “talking” again. By bedtime everyone else has fever, too. Sigh. I’m ready for a healthy household.

Yesterday we’d got out Zach’s old keyboard (electric piano type), and it has been a big hit. Today I’m in the kitchen and the boys are playing the keyboard, but it’s getting pretty loud, so I go to turn it down. What to my wondering eyes should appear? (Besides Cedwryck jumping up and down on the keys) 6 big black tarry marks on the carpet. The keyboard used to have non-skid feet, but they’ve come off, leaving the tar that used to hold them on. So I spend the next 20 minutes blotting the carpet with some all-purpose cleaner I’d bought before we came out. I thought it was looking some better, but after it dried it darkened back up.

I cleaned out the closet corner of our bedroom – got his clothes in the wardrobe and mine in the closet, put the towels in the bathroom and the rags in the kitchen and the sheets in the “airing cupboard” and the boys’ and girls’ clothes in their rooms and the papers on the desk and the trash in a bag. Remember I said the movers were just dumping everything?

We sorted out the sitting room enough to get out the “tunnel” toy that Gram gave the children a few years ago. It was longer than they thought, but smaller around than Taryn remembered.

I found a temp conversion chart that tells me where to set my oven. But it’s convection as well as metric, and that makes it different, too.

Funny Children

While we were in Cambridge I picked up a brochure of things to do in the area. One castle sounded cool, so I read the description and showed the picture. The picture had the castle keep in the background and, in the foreground, two men-at-arms, full armor, with swords raised. Riah took one look and said, “I don’t want to go there! Those men will cut me with their swords!” I told him the men were not mean, they were just defending the castle. He was still worried, so I told him we could wave a white flag so they would know we were peaceful and then they wouldn’t cut us.

I had forgotten all about it, but yesterday the boys found their foam swords (that Gram gave them for Christmas a couple years ago) and were playing with them. Riah chased Cedwryck into the living room; Ced was screaming, and Riah was hollering back that he didn’t “have his flag up.” Turns out he remembered very well what I’d said about waving a white flag.

The girls know that breasts are for feeding babies. A few days ago as we were tucking them into bed, Taryn had a question. “Sometimes when the boys take their shirts off it looks like they have” and she hesitated and indicated her chest area. So I said, “yes, boys have nipples, too.” “Why?” Good question. “For decoration, I guess.” I then told her I’d heard that in some cultures men occasionally nurse, but I’m not sure I believe it. Bob is sure he doesn’t believe it.

Sunday Jan 6

Not too much today. No transportation, so we didn’t go to church. There is a United Reformed Church in Cheveley, but we didn’t think it would be our style. We had a devotion, and spent most of the morning trying to get books on shelves. After lunch (sandwiches) I put Ella to bed and Bob took Riah to town. I made bread in the breadmachine, the girls helped me make rocky road brownies, and we tidied a little. Bob came home with a dryer vent hose and a toilet brush. He attached the hose while I started supper – BBQ chicken and, well it was supposed to be biscuits, but I had to keep running out to help other people, so it was stuffing mix, and pork and beans.

The dryer: there is no place for it in the house, but there is a little back entry thingy that had an outlet (they call them power points), so we put the dryer in there. We’d asked the estate agent about getting a vent hole, but he said the owner didn’t want to put in any work on that room because she plans to tear it off eventually. So when we got the dryer we just laid the hose on the floor, and opened the outside door and window when it was running. Still, the floor stayed wet that way, so we got another hose and now it runs out the window.

The rest of the evening was spent looking for the wet wipes. We KNOW we have a refill bag of wipes, but if they are in this house they are invisible. So I am now changing diapers with toilet paper or wet paper towels.

Bob also rearranged the girls’ room, because with the bed in front of the window the ladder was against the wall. He had to move the chest out into the hall to turn the bed, then moved the chest back in. Now the girls can climb into the top bunk rather than being lifted up.

Saturday Jan 5

Cedwryck’s birthday!

I woke up early to make Bob a to-do list. There were about 4 stops and a long grocery list. When he saw the list he tried to rent a van so I could go too, but he had no luck. So he took off toward the base. Had to get gas, go to the library to check email and order internet, go to the BX and look for several things, go to the Shoppette to get Ced a birthday present, and go to the commissary for groceries.

While he was gone I took care of the children, sorted the kitchen, got the piles out of the hall, did laundry, sorted books, cleared a pile out of the living room, and fixed lunch.

He came home about 3, bringing armloads of sacks. First thing he said was “you better get this (Ced’s ice cream cake) in the freezer; I was in line about 45 minutes.” Poor baby. He’d bought a phone, some more plug adapters, a line splitter thing to use the phone jack for both phone and internet, and a vacuum cleaner. The vacuum was cheaper than a big transformer, and it is dual voltage. There was a cheap vacuum that he was ready to buy, but a woman walked by and said she had that one and it was a piece of junk.

Then there was the groceries. He got 3 of everything on the list so he wouldn’t have to go back. I got that put away while he unpacked the vacuum. Duel voltage, but American plug. So we still have to use an adapter. Cedwryck wanted potatoes, but that wasn’t on the list, as we seldom eat them. So I decided on hamburger chow mien and rice. Plugged the rice steamer into the kitchen’s transformer, turned it on, and nothing happened. Decided not to fiddle with it and cooked the rice on the stove. While the meat was browning I tried to start the dishwasher, and nothing happened. No lights or anything. SO I got to thinking that maybe I’d tripped the circuit breaker. Bob went to check, and sure enough, we had dishwasher lights again. But it didn’t fill up with water. I’d tried it Friday, and the “salt” light came on, so I thought it wouldn’t run without “dishwasher salt” that you put in a compartment on the bottom, but Bob had found some at the store and I’d filled that. So Bob looked at the pipes – there’s a valve under the sink for the dishwasher, but it looked ‘on.’ He flipped and pushed buttons, and got it to come on. Phew.

We went to set up the phone, and the plug doesn’t fit the wall jack. Tried and tried. Read the instructions, tried again. What finally worked was to plug the line splitter thing into the wall, get an American phone cord that we’d brought with us, and use that to connect the phone to the DSL slot on the splitter. I don’t know what we’ll do about the internet when we get it.

So dinner. The girls set the table up pretty with party plates while I shoved presents into sacks. Bob got a book and some “party favor” type gifts as that is all that’s available on Lakenheath. Ced was pretty excited and would hardly eat. But we finally got finished, and had the ice cream cake. Not bad. Cedwryck pulled a long face half-way through the cake and said, “This is not the birthday I wanted.” I said. “Oh, no! Why not?” The problem? He wanted to eat with his fork and not his spoon. Easy fix. Then lots of fun with the toys and balloons.

Friday Jan 4

After a quick breakfast we got right back to opening. The movers came (just 2 this time) and started putting the beds together and picking up the papers. They wanted to leave, and come back for the boxes, but Bob insisted they unpack. So the one guy started opening boxes wherever they sat, and dumping the contents onto bed or floor. The other guy was better; he’d put books on shelves and things. Bob wasn’t happy so called TMO and they had the mover’s boss call them. They slowed down some after that, but it was still a mess. They were just finishing up when the quality control guy came by. He walked through with Bob and apologized for the few goofs, and said they weren’t allowed to put things away. So papers signed and away they went, leaving piles of books, clothes, toys, etc all over the house. It was 3pm and we were hungry, so Bob went up to Cheveley to see what was there. The pub close enough to walk to is closed for the week, but there is a little general store next to the post office. He bought some ham, bread, Pringles and a coke. The ham was fresh and fatty and very good; the bread was heavenly. Each slice was as big as two regular slices, the crust was thin and crispy, and the center was light but chewy. Having learned the hard way that English bread doesn’t have preservatives, I put the leftovers in the fridge.

The rest of the day was spent looking and sorting.

We found the vacuum cleaner, which was wanted because the house had pet hair all over, plus the dirt and dust from the boxes. I plugged it into the transformer, turned it on, and it went wizzzzzz, slience. Tried again, same result. After checking things over we discovered that the vacuum requires 12 amps, and the transformer only gives 10. We’d blown both fuses in the transformer.

Bob had called twice before about our van that we’d shipped over, and was told that is would be here on the 5th. Trying to decide what to do on Saturday, we called one more time to see if we’d be able to pick up the van. Oh, they say, the ship comes in on the 5th. They might not unload it until the following Thursday, and then it’s 24 hours before we can pick it up. So there’s another expectation shot down.

Thursday Jan 3

We got up this morning at 5:30. Got everyone dressed, packed up what was left (including toiletries and food stuff), and went to Mildenhall. Dropped off the Honda at the rental place, drove out to Cheveley in the rental. Unloaded into the house and finished the inventory. Then Bob took the rental back to Mildenhall to be there by 9am. Got it turned in and paid for, then drove his car back to the house. We’ve got everything as unpacked as we can, I’ve done a load of laundry, and here we sit at 11am with no movers in sight. They have “from 8-5” to show up, but with the pile of stuff we have, we’d figured they’d want an early start. Guess not. I hope there wasn’t a problem, since there is no way to get in touch with us.

Ella is asleep on Bob’s chest, snoring away. She still doesn’t feel well.

Time for lunch.

Thursday pt 2

After lunch we started to suspect something wasn’t right.

(background: Dec 22 I’d called AT&T to get my cell phone unlocked so we could get a SIM card and use it here. They said I’d get an email by the 31st with the code. The night of the 2nd (Wednesday) I called again and asked if they had it yet. After a while I got the code, then transferred to tech support to hear how to put it in. Turns out we have to put in the new SIM card first, then push a sequence of keys, then enter the code. They emailed me the sequence.)

So, Bob went to Newmarket to buy a SIM card so we could call to find out about the movers. Got a card and came back. In order to insert the SIM, I first had to take off the back of my phone and take out the battery. Hahaha. We pushed and pried on that thing! Bob finally got out the butcher knife and pried on that awhile before it finally came off. Got the new SIM in, turned it on, and realized that the key sequence was online and we had no internet. After about 5 tries I got it. Entered the code, and it was wrong. Tried twice more; still wrong. I was laughing, as there was nothing else to do, when Bob says, “Try my phone.” His battery comes off all the time, so that was easy. No key code required, that is easy. The code to unlock that was supposed to be for my phone worked on his. Yay!

Now we discover that the 1GBP worth of minutes included is only to activate; we have to “top up” to make a call. So he went to the post office in Cheveley to top up. THEN he was able to call TMO (Traffic Management Office) – 2pm by now- and they said somehow we didn’t get in the schedule. After some thinking they said the movers would come out tonight and just set up the beds, and then do the rest Friday. Oh, sure.

So I go to make supper, and had it just finished when the movers show up. Of course all the bed pieces are scattered throughout the 6 crates, so they just brought it all in. Wrapped in packing paper so that nothing was recognizable, all these bundles and packages were quickly stacked in the living room, hall, and bedrooms. The mattresses were hard to miss, so they were placed on the floor (some in the wrong room), and the guys said they’d be back about noon Friday.

We had our dinner and started “opening presents.” By bedtime our second living room was knee deep with paper, and there was stuff all over. So to bed.

Wednesday Jan 2

We got our house!

First, Bob went to Mildenhall and paid the estate agent our first month rent and deposit, and got the “inventory” and a form to get direct debit. But he didn’t have enough money because our paperwork was wrong. So then he went to the car rental place and rented a station wagon, as they were out of vans. Left his car there, which was packed to the brim with boxes and bags and stuff, and brought the rental to the room. We squished into the rental, back to the agents to pay off the rest of the deposit. Back to the rental place. I got into the Honda, Taryn got my seat in the wagon, and the others spread out a little. I followed Bob to the house in Cheveley.

Got out, Bob pulled out the keys, and none of them opened the front door. Hehehe. We could get in the back door, but still couldn’t open the front because it requires a key on the inside as well. So we unloaded the car through the back door. Then Bob and Taryn got in the rental and headed back. Went to the agent’s office and helped them look for the keys. Then back to our room to fill up with more stuff, then back here to unload. We’d just started going over the inventory when the loaner furniture people got here. The base will loan us a fridge, clothes dryer, microwave, 4 transformers, and 4 wardrobes for as long as we are here. Everything except the transformers are brand new. I don’t think I will plug anything expensive into them.

We tried to unpack our boxes, but can only do so much with no furniture in which to put stuff. Then we started the inventory. These people wrote down every dent, scratch, and spot. Well, they missed a few, but the list was very detailed. So we got mostly through that, but were getting tired.

So back into the cars, back to base. I parked Bob’s car at the room and squished back into the wagon for a ride to dinner. After dinner Bob dropped me off at the commissary to get bread for lunch today. The bread isle was bare, except for 2 loaves of Jewish Rye, and a note saying bread will come Thursday. Thankfully the bakery had made a few extra, so I got 3 packages of rolls.

Then we went back to our room for one last night. After we got the children to bed we called BT to have a phone set up. It should be ready on the 4th, after which we can get broadband internet. Woohoo! We got the international option, which is 5GBP for unlimited calls to America and a few other places. We’ll get our money’s worth out of that, I can tell you.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy new year

Well, I have been falling behind! Our internet will connect for about 2 minutes and then disconnect without warning, and not get back on for several hours.

What a time!

William is still congested and wakes himself up coughing. Otherwise I think he'd sleep all night now. Ella started running a fever yesterday. I hope it is from her teething (she's breaking in molars) and not an earache. We all started coughing and sneezing more when we moved apartments. I bought a Febreeze Allergy reducer and plan to spray down the new house as soon as we get there.

Today is the day to gather up our belongings; tomorrow we get our house. I've got the water and electricity set up, but we haven't got the phone yet. There are many companies that offer phone service, but to get any of them you have to have service with BT (British Telecom) already. So I found a number to call from their webpage. There is the regular number, and a different number for people who don't have BT yet, but the house does. SO I called it and a man answered right away (no computer menu) and asked if he could take my order. Kinda threw me off. So I tried to say what I needed and he said something unintelligible. I asked him to repeat it, and he did. So I just said "Yeah" and there was a click and we were disconnected.
So I asked Bob to try. He never got an answer on that number so called the other one, and got through, told them what he wanted and got all the way up to the credit check and was disconnected. We haven't got around to trying again yet.

We had the brilliant idea of getting our cell phones unlocked, buying a new SIM card and doing pay-as-you-go. I called AT&T on the 22nd; the guy was real nice and said no problem, he would order the unlock and the tech guys would send me an email in 7 days (which somehow added up to the 31st). Well, yesterday came and went with no email. So I get to call them again. I don't like making phone calls.

But anyway!

This last year we:
Had a baby
Got orders to England
Bob turned 40
I turned 30
(Neither of us had any kind of fanfare as we were busy moving)
Abilene saw record rains
Abilene never got up to 100*F which is remarkable
went to Sea World
went to Six Flags Fiesta Texas
visited our first time share resort
blew up an engine
bought a new van
Granny turned 80 and we went to the party
flew to England
rode a train
went to Dallas twice
bought membership to the Abilene zoo and went a dozen times
saw the most awesome display of wildflowers
bought Fredericksburg peaches from a local
won first place in the fair (for pecan pie)
gave away a pickup
bought a Honda
had a yard sale
had a booth at a flea market
got Bob a Nikon d80
opened the Flickr pro account
got this laptop
paid off all debts
sold a house
loaned out a dog
Naysha lost her first 2 teeth
Riah was potty trained
Naysha had her first haircut
Naysha learned to write her name
Taryn started multiplication
etc etc

And you know there's more.