Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Today I got to catch up on laundry! My new machine has a handy 30 minute cycle for lightly soiled clothes... If only the dryer had one of those... This without Taryn's aid, as she slept poorly last night, woke up with a headache and was vomiting most of the day.
He didn't get the mobility thingy job, so after his class this week he will return to the fuel shop - on day shift. He also didn't pass the CLEP test he took during his last training, but we didn't except him to, really, since he hadn't studied at all. SO he still needs a math credit to get his Associates degree.
Bob got home at 2:30 today, and was wound up about digital camcorders. He's wanted one for awhile, but we recently started really looking at them. So we compared the two decent ones the BX has, and a lot of the features were about the same, so we decided the decision would come down to how it felt/looked/operated. Since we needed to grocery shop anyway, we packed up and went to the base. Looked at the cameras, and were toying with some ideas when an employee walked by and said the JVCs go on sale Friday. huh. He even found us a sale ad. So the JVC with the same size hard drive and same number of pixels will be $120 less than the Sony, which has a touch screen that Bob doesn't like anyway. Therefore we decided Bob will go to the BX on Friday and buy the JVC. Model GZ-MG 330 if anyone is interested.
After that we had some pizza, and I went to the commissary for some necessities. Didn't make it to Tesco, so I'll probably make bread tomorrow. (Tesco has whole wheat bread for 39p!)
Oh, at the BX we noticed a long line at Baskin Robbins, and Bob remembered today was $0.31 scoop night. I hadn't bothered to remember the date since I knew we wouldn't come in for ice cream, but since we were there anyway... The children had some crazy-looking purple swirl stuff, and I had chocolate with cookie dough. Bob didn't want any.
It's 10pm and I'm still wound up from drinking coke at dinner.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
She was vaccinated several years ago, but it seems to have not helped.
#2 Sunday, when the neighbors were over, the little girl had to use the toilet, and while they were showing her, Cedwryck decided to go, too. He came running out of the house shouting, "I went to the loo!" We usually say "I went to the bathroom," but he picked up the British word from the neighbor.
#3 Riah's pull-up leaked Sunday night, so his sleeping clothes and his blanket (in which he had wrapped himself) were all wet and had to be taken to the dirty clothes pile.
#4 Yesterday Cedwryck had to use the toilet, but Riah chased him down the hall and pestered him so he didn't make it in time. I heard a wail, and there was Ced with his pants and the rug soaked, plus a little spray around the toilet, and the best part - someone had been messing with stuff in the bathroom and got the box with toothbrushes off the shelf and in the middle of the floor; you guessed it, it was full of pee, too. I took the whole box and threw it away, picked up both rugs, took Ced's clothes, wiped off the toilet and floor.
Remember we don't have a washer right now?
#5 That afternoon Riah came in from outside to use the toilet. He didn't make it in time, so his clothes had to be added to the growing dirty clothes pile, and the "little bathroom" had to be mopped.
#6 (Yes, it keeps going!) After dinner, Ella took off her diaper, unbeknownst to us. As I sat down to read Robin Hood, she climbed up on my lap. After a second, I noticed a nice warm sensation on my leg, checked, and saw it was wet. hmm. So I got up and Bob asked if I needed help. He cleaned off the couch while I and Ella went to change. My skirt, slip, and shirt all went to the dirty clothes mountain. Then we took Ella's dress off and discovered it wasn't a leaking diaper, it was a missing diaper.
I think that was all... Can't wait to get the new washer today.
Monday, 28 April 2008
We had lunch before church, as it starts at 12:30, so after church we walked over to the BX. Someone said the school supplies were on clearance, and we thought we might stock up. But they weren't, so we didn't. Bob tried to look at the digital video cameras, but that isle was very busy, and it was HOT in there, so we didn't stay long.
Home for a bit of relax, then it stopped raining so I wanted to go out and plant the potatoes. The boys were bored, so I took them with me, and the girls decided to go, too, so we just all went out. I took the trash can (rubbish bin) and a shovel out to the compost pile and Taryn and Riah helped me fill it about 2/5 full of leaves and grass clippings. Then we buried the potatoes in it and gave the speech about not messing with it and we'll have potatoes to harvest.
Then the children played ball with Bob, and I trimmed the hedge (I guess this is an ongoing job with manual clippers). The neighbor girl was in her garden, and the children wanted her to come play. So Bob told Taryn to go ask, and she did. A few minutes later the girl and her father came around to the gate, and came in. She played shy for about a minute, then went to run and play with the others. She's almost 4, and quite tall. Considering how our children are tall for their age, I'd figured the neighbor girl to be 5. The father talked to Bob and I continued trimming. Then after a few minutes the mother and baby boy came over, too, and Bob got out a few chairs and I came over and we all sat down together to visit.
I didn't catch her name, and I wonder if I should publish the others' on a public blog. But anyway, they are "our age" - between 25 and 45 - and have some similar interests (using 'they' very loosely here - the men talk and the women sit and smile and add a few details). We are planning to have a BBQ sometime.
They finally had to go, and we also came in for dinner.
So that was a nice day.
Saturday, 26 April 2008
Friday, 25 April 2008
I had a dentist appointment at 1pm, for a filling and cleaning, so I woke Bob up at 12. We got on the road by 12:30 - I drove since he wasn't quite awake. While I was scraped and poked and drilled, Bob started some laundry (our machine stopped spinning, so we took our clothes to the laundry mat), went to the education office to check his CLEP score (they said it was at Mildenhall), dropped off a few pictures to print, and got the mail. After the dentist (an hour and a half) we met a lady at her work to buy a used electric skillet. Then back to the laundry mat, where the clothes were dry. Bob and Taryn went in to fold, and I fed William in the car.
Then we met another lady at her home on base, and she gave me two board games - Guess Who? and Battleship. It was about 4 by now, and everyone was hungry, so we went to Taco Bell for an early dinner. Then Bob dropped the girls and I off at the commissary, and he took the boys to the BX. I got groceries, and he picked up his photos and bought a new memory card for his camera, since the old one died and he could only find one spare.
Then we got gas and headed home. It rained off and on yesterday, and on the way home we spotted a full, but faint, rainbow. So Bob stopped to take pictures. Speaking of pictures, the lady at the photo hut asked Bob if he would take pictures of their car. It seems her hubby has some snazzy car he's been working on, and wants to have pictures to send to a magazine. Sounds exciting, but he probably won't be finished with it until next year. So we have some time to work on ideas and come up with prices.
The children were SO wound up when we got home, and the sun came out, so I sent them outside. After Bob left for his photography club, they began trickling back in, so I called my parents (who'd been gone 10 days to my aunt's house) and let them talk a bit. But that didn't calm them down any, so I put them to bed. Then I tried to cook some chicken I'd got out to thaw, but it didn't work. I'm not convinced I like my new non-stick skillet. Anyway, I should have done the first batch in the iron skillet, and I should have breaded the second batch differently, but I didn't, so neither of them turned out right. So that was an hour well spent. Then Bob came home to get ready for work, and I got ready for bed. What a day!
The home owner decided to get a new washing machine rather than fix the old one, and it will be delivered on Tuesday. I wonder if we can make it that long without washing - I usually do two loads a day.
My potatoes have sprouted, and grown a little mold, so I'm loathe to use them for cooking. I'd really like to plant them and show the children how that works. But, no place to do so, and I'm afraid they'd dig them up. Taryn suggested just plant them in the "compost" pile behind the house, but I'm not sure that would be smiled upon by the neighbors (it's a communal area). As I was taking them out of the package, I saw that it said to keep them in the fridge. I'd never heard of refrigerating raw potatoes before.
Tuesday night Bob took me up to Tesco in Newmarket, and I got milk and a few things there. It's funny about organic stuff. In America, organic produce, milk, etc usually costs 2-3x the regular stuff. At the commissary, it's about that much for most things, but produce is about 5x the price. In town, it's just a few pennies difference in price. I wonder why? Supply and demand? England does seem to demand more organic, fair trade, free range type stuff. But I know a lot of Americans that would buy it if they could afford it.
Cedwryck is over the chicken pox. He only had one that got a little sore, and that was the first one, before we realized what it was, and he asked for (and we supplied) a bandaid on it, which held the pus in and aggravated it. So far no one else has got it.
Children are waking up, so I better close.
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
We played at the park for an hour, and then came home for lunch. I'd wanted to walk on down to the shop and get a loaf of bread for sandwiches, but the children kept running out ahead of me and I was afraid they'd get out in the road. So they had crackers and cheese, and I ... to be honest, I had a batch of "no-bake" cookies.
After lunch we did schoolwork and computer time, and made BBQ meatballs for dinner. Once they were in the oven (Ella was in bed) I took the children out to the "front" yard to pull weeds from the rock bed. I took an old quilt to lay William on; he didn't like the bright sun in his eyes, fussed a bit and then fell asleep. But then Cedwryck jumped on the blanket and hollered, "William's asleep!!!" which of course woke him up. But we got one bed weeded. Neighbor Bob was out, weeding around the pathway between our two houses, and he got to talking (as usual). Then it was time to go in and check the meatballs.
Bob woke up in time to take Riah to work on his car (Bob's car, not Riah's) for awhile before dinner. After a filling dinner (for all but Ella, who took one bite and quit) we went back out for awhile. Bob trimmed the hedges and I trimmed a potted vine beside the house, and the children played.
Spring? Let's hope so.
Monday, 21 April 2008
Let’s be clear: a John McCain Presidency will be no better than a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama Presidency. In fact, in many ways, a McCain White House will be WORSE than a Democratic one.
On many issues, there is virtually no distinction between John McCain and any potential Democratic candidate. John McCain is no friend to gun owners. He is no friend to pro-lifers. He is no friend to fiscal conservatives. He is no friend to property owners. He is no friend to "family values" voters. He is no friend to America’s blue-collar workers. He is no friend to small business owners. He is no friend to opponents of illegal immigration.
what we are actually faced with is not the "lesser of two evils" but "the evil of two lessers." (To quote a good friend of mine.) And the reason John McCain would actually be a worse President than either Obama or Clinton is because of the manner in which conservatives go to sleep whenever a Republican occupies the Oval Office.
I can hear readers screaming at me now, saying that voting for a third party candidate is a wasted vote. I strongly disagree! Casting a vote for a person who you know is unfaithful to your principles is a wasted vote! Voting for someone who you know will keep our borders and ports open to illegals, continue George Bush’s preemptive war doctrine, and facilitate a burgeoning hemispheric government--not to mention someone who will increase and augment a burgeoning Orwellian police state--is a wasted vote!
I am convinced that only a miracle can save America now. And I am expecting God to grant such a miracle. Beyond that, I am willing to do my part to place myself in a position to let God use my voice and my vote to accomplish this miracle. And if that means voting for someone who "has no chance of winning" in order to let God take the glory for whatever victory results, it is the least I can do. So, who will join me?
I was planning to go to the St George's Day festival at Kennilworth Castle, but then discovered that it's next weekend, not this one. (St George's Day is this Wednesday, so some places had things this weekend and some, next.) SO that took the wind out of the sails.
We deliberated some, and after lunch Sat we went to the base to get Bob a haircut. Wandered around a bit, had supper at Taco Bell, and came home.
Sat night Bob stayed up til 3, so he could sleep in Sun so he can go to work Sun night. So Sunday he slept til 11, and as we weren't all ready to go when he got up, we didn't go to church. I ironed his uniform and he played with his camera. The children played their computer and ran around.
Cedwryck's chicken pox are all but dried up, and as of yesterday he was clearly feeling fine. I did a phone consult with a nurse, and he said basically not to worry about spreading it, because most people are vaccinated, and those who aren't will get it sometime anyway; may as well get it now.
This morning Bob is supposed to see the commander about the other job. He's trying to convince himself it will be a good thing to have.
A note to ebayers - if you have a bunch of items about to close out, be online and check your messages! grrr. I bought a 'lot' of jeans for Ced, and the same person had another lot, and a PJ set that I might have bought, too, but she wouldn't answer my questions about combined shipping. That's the worst part about ebay lately - the shipping prices people charge. Anyway.
Saturday, 19 April 2008
The main characters are Horton the friendly elephant; the mean, controlling, "if you can't see it, it doesn't exist," self-appointed boss of the jungle Kangaroo; and the Mayor of Whoville.
Horton hears a noise from a "speck" floating by, and soon discovers the speck houses the whole city of Whovile. There's a bit of faith-in-things-unseen dialog from Horton and the mayor. Turns out the Whos need Horton to save them by finding a safe place for the speck to stay. Horton is an honorable elephant, and he pledges his word. So that's all good.
However! Kangaroo is such a complete control freak that her joey is "pouch-schooled."
The mayor has 98 children, and though he and his wife are kind and loving, they treat the children to an assembly line of 14 second conversations each day, and obviously none of the children are individuals or having their needs met. This is seen as not too bad, because only the son has a problem with it - the girls all seem quite happy to be herded. But the son (yes, there's only one) is a goth. He is misunderstood. His father tries to (gasp!) impart vision to him, but it doesn't suit the boy to follow in his ancestors' footsteps.
Horton's pro-life statement is repeated "A person's a person, no matter how small" but [the messages were also given] be sure you don't have too many of them, and just in case you wondered, only a mean-spirited, fearful mother would homeschool.
Besides that, there is the typical animated name-calling, pseudo swearing, and hyperactive slapstick violence.
I'll stick with the book.
Friday, 18 April 2008
... while eating an ice cream bar.
Got my order in from Tesco, and included among the packages was this ice cream. WOW. I just sat down and savored every bite, thinking to myself, "THIS is why people eat ice cream."
I remembered liking Icelandic ice cream, and I knew at the time I thought it was good, but I'd forgotten how it was. Now I have another experience to help me remember what good ice cream is like.
I'm sure there are spiritual parallels somewhere in there.
Thursday, 17 April 2008
But the change I'm talking about is a spiritual one.
I've been noticing a few gentle nudges lately about my attitude. It's so easy to gripe and groan and ask, "Why me?" But that is not the Christian attitude I ought to cultivate. I need to make an effort to be thankful, joyous, and overcome.
We finally got Bob's Resurrection Day present from Vision Forum - they sent it Priority Mail so I have no idea why it took so long - and there is a DVD set called the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp. I watched the first one with the children last night, and Doug Phillips was talking about an entrepreneurial spirit. He said that no matter what your situation (if you are a master or a slave or servant), Christians ought to have the "can-do" work ethic that transforms, makes the best of, and sees around present circumstances.
I read a blog a few days ago about a woman who is learning, and making improvements in herself and her household, from difficulties in her pregnancy.
I'll probably never be able to explain how those things are related!
The most simple way I know to put it, is the attitude needs to be looking up.
My Dad would say here, "Your attitude determines your altitude."
I've tried really hard to not ever know anything about airplanes, but in spite of myself, I know what this means.
So no conclusion, just thinking out loud.
Whaddya know? It's 10pm and I was gonna make lunch for tomorrow before going to bed, because tomorrow I have to make BBQ sauce and a cake for Bob to take to work when he leaves at 1:30. I still don't know what to fix. hmmm Pancakes? Shouldn't be too fattening without any syrup... It's hard to get fat on what you won't eat...
Yeah, when I'm talking to myself and trying to make jokes and then I don't 'get' it, you know I'm too tired to be typing.
Cedwryck appears to have chicken pox.
Bob is going to mid shift next week, and day shift (classes again) the week following that.
The sideview mirror on the van fell off again.
Bob may be leaving the fuel shop. Either he or one other guy will go be the mobility something-or-other. That is the person who checks the paperwork of those deploying and makes sure they have everything they need.
Now that we have all the important stuff out of the way...
We put William in his highchair at lunch (to get him used to it), and I fixed him a sippy cup of juice and water. I tried to give him a drink and he turned away, so I went into the kitchen to get the food, and when I came back, Riah was holding the cup for William and he was sipping away. Oh well.
We over-reacted for the home "inspection," I think, but it's all good. Those stacks of things that we couldn't quite figure out what to do with suddenly found homes. The stubborn spots on the kitchen counter finally came off. The girls found a place for all their clothes. The place looks really good for now. Well, actually, for up to an hour prior to now.
After "the guy" left and Bob went to work, I realized we were "caught up" and so we went to the park. (It's 45* and partly sunny). Riah had to dump all the shoes out into the hall in order to find a pair. Then, after playing an hour we came home to eat, and all our coats are laying on the floor. Cleaning while children are young is like shoveling while it's still snowing.
I grocery shopped online today. It felt good to not go to the commissary. I'd looked at the website a couple of times in the last few days, but it was really slow and so I just moved on. But this morning I got an email from them for 10GBP off an order of 50 or more, so I tried it, and today it was running smooth. We'll see how it goes; supposed to deliver between 9and 11am tomorrow.
The children are "still hungry" so I guess I'll chat later.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Homeschool family RAF Lakenheath Mildenhall Feltwell support group fellowship Christian children
How's that? I'd really like to meet some homeschoolers in the area just to hang out and fellowship with. There is a home school support group on RAF Lakenheath, but they are very hush-hush. You pretty much have to join the group before they'll even tell you what kind of meetings they have, and even though it's just $20 per year, I hate to pay in just to find out I'd never be able to go. But Taryn really wants a friend, and I think it'd be a good idea for them to see other children homeschool, too. I don't want them growing up thinking we were off our rockers or something.
The base has one advertising thing, which is on a secure website, and it doesn't allow any meetings or services to be posted. It's like they're afraid people would actually help each other. The reasoning behind the rules is something about making money off a military-sponsored thing, but give me a break!
I'm not looking to start an official function, I just want to meet some people.
So Sunday morning I was worried about gas (I guess that sounds funny to my Oz friends, but you know that's what we call petrol), so suggested we go to the base and fill p (and buy more underwear for the boys, and have lunch) and then go to the "gospel" service at 12:30 in the base chapel.
But for some reason we had a hard time getting up to speed, so we only had time for gas and a snack before church. The service wasn't bad. Chaplain even said, repeatedly, that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to get to God!! They had an altar call!! Pretty bold for a chapel service.
Then we popped over to the BX for boys' underwear, and had pizza after that.
Sunday is my regular weigh-in day, and let me tell you, I was scared of those scales, what with cake and McDonald's all weekend, but I'd lost 3 pounds last week. That was pretty exciting. Must have something to do with carrying an assortment of children up and down stairs for two days. :-) That makes for a total of 9 lbs so far (I'd gained 5 lbs on Resurrection week so had to re-lose that), and I think it's all off my face - at least that's the only place I can tell it. I read a statement last week that has helped me through several cravings.
"Nothing tastes as good as thin feels."
Yesterday the landlord (well, the agency) called to schedule an inspection. Yikes! By Thursday we must try to get everything in order.
William tried baby cereal last night. It didn't impress him much one way or the other. Ella ate most of it.
Sunday, 13 April 2008
When we got home he went to download Saturday's pictures, and though the computer showed 150 files, 20 of them were pictured from Friday that he'd deleted, 1 of them was a picture from Sat morning, and the rest were unloadable. He tried - I tried - they wouldn't show up as pictures.
Yikes!! He was about to be sick. Finally he got a recovery program and it recovered the pictures, and he could see thumbnails, but in order to save or work with them he'd have to pay 25GBP for the full version. SO I did a search for free file recovery and got one. It wouldn't download on Bob's computer. Anyway, we let it run for an hour or more (while I slept on the living room floor), and it recovered over 200 files, including some pictures from Sea World last summer! At last, the pictures were usable. What a relief.
We think it was the memory card getting old, and not being formatted lately.
Anyway, just had to add that.
"Why don't you see if you can find us a good deal on a hotel for Friday night?"
So I logged in to Priceline.com (the US site, not the UK site) and looked around. I got a room at a Holiday Inn just outside of Ashford, Kent, that had 2 double beds and some floor space (according to the picture). Holiday Inn - children stay free! I wouldn't pay that much for a room in the states unless it was pretty snazzy, but for England it was a good deal. (It was about 11pm by the time I got the reservation made.)
Bob got home about 11:30 and we went to bed. I figured he would sleep in, then we would pack, and it would be after lunch by the time we left. But Bob was up by 7:30, and by 9:30 Friday morning we were ready to go (helped considerably by Taryn, who was very excited at the prospect). Since our check-in time was 2pm or later, we decided to drive straight on to Dover Castle. I'd printed out directions from Google maps, and was ready to navigate. We pulled up to High Street (at the end of our road), and I said, "Turn left." Bob said, "You mean right?" (Sometimes I get my directions mixed up.) "Yes, it says left." Bob said, "I know how to get there by going right. Do you want me to go the way I know, or try to follow the map?" So I figured to let him do what he knew how to do, and tossed the map in the back seat (NOT out the window!) and prepared to relax and enjoy the ride. We stopped to pray first.
Well on our way, we decided to exit the M25 (the London Orbital car park) at the M2 instead of the M20, because we'd been down the 20 before. But there was construction, not to mention heavy traffic... I saw a sign that said the M2 was 16 miles... about 1/2 mile later we noticed the M2 exit, on the far side of a few big trucks. So we went on to the M20. :-) Finally, finally made it to Dover. Got to drive through town, found the castle easily enough. It was about 2 hours, and Bob was about worn out. He's decided Americans are better drivers than British. We certainly have better road systems.
We found a parking space, got out; coats, baby pouch, shoes back on Ella, etc, and went to the ticket counter to wait in line to show we were members. Everybody got a sticker to prove we'd paid, and we went in search of a toilet. Had to ask a blind man where they were. Really! He was an employee there. Oh. I didn't know beforehand, but they were having an even day to celebrate the end of the "Easter break" where the local school children are off for 3 weeks. As we were getting our stickers, a worker asked the children if they would get their faces painted - that was our first clue (Riah said that face-painting was for girls). After the toilets, we went back to the car to eat lunch.
Now, on to the castle! It was COLD and WINDY!! We looked through the church which is totally cool. Richard Lionheart camped out there before leaving the country on his crusade. Then we walked up to the inner bailey and the keep, etc. A man was shooting apples with a toy crossbow, and let each of the children "have a go." The keep here is huge - the biggest we've seen so far, but it was also the most crowded. Sorry to disappoint you, Ganieda, but the English don't "queue" anymore. What with the crowds, cold, and rudeness, we really didn't enjoy ourselves as much as we wanted to. (Besides the stress from the drive.) But it is a really neat place, and in better circumstances it would be a blast. We skipped the "secret wartime tunnels" and most of the outside parts; there is a LOT there.
So, we went down to the ocean and watched the waves for a few minutes, then decided to drive on up north a ways. We took some back roads and tried to relax a bit, and wended our way toward Deal. Arrived at Deal castle about 5pm. William was asleep, and the boys needed to use the toilet again, so Bob took them in and I stayed in the car for about 10 minutes till William woke up. Then I called Bob on my cell phone (I am glad we each have one) and he met me at the entrance, and we all toured Deal castle. It is interesting, being made of a circle surrounded by 6 semi-circles, designed to deflect artillery shells, and it looks very short from the street.
When we left there we drove on through Canterbury and down to Ashford where we hoped to find dinner and the way to our hotel. Ashford is under construction. Not a road in Ashford, but the whole city. Once you get into town, you are trapped in one-way and dead-end streets, and there is no way to get out. Plus all the shops are closed by 7pm on a Friday night. Finally we found an outlet mall that was open till 8pm. We drove slowly around the parking lot, hoping to see an eating place. Hey! They have a food court! We park, get out, and the children ask if they can play on the playground between the parking lot and the food court. Umm, it's 30 minutes till closing, and it's COLD and WINDY! Inside, we find the place we wanted to eat at has stopped cooking already. So we ate from Mcdonald's, even though Bob has learned that they have also signed a contract with GLCC - the same as Wal-Mart- so we won't go there if we have a choice.
Okay, now it's after 8, and time to find the hotel. Did I mention Ashford is hard to get around in? After twice turning around, we decided to get on the M20, and exit after we got around Ashford, then get on the A20 toward the hotel. So far so good, but when we got off the M20, the signs only indicated A20 going the wrong way. We drove around the roundabout twice trying to figure out what to do, and finally decided (keep in mind we were tired, stressed, William was screaming, and we'd had too much caffeine) to get back on the M20, go to the NEXT exit, and then come BACK on the A20. It's about 16 miles to the next exit - all the way to Maidstone. When we got there, the signs only showed the A20 going further west. This time we figured it was worth a look, and followed the sign to A20 west; upon arriving at the road we saw that it was not a problem to go east there also. So BACK to Ashford, 14 miles on the A20 in the dark, and really hoping the hotel has a sign up. It did. William fell asleep a few minutes before we arrived, so our nerves began to recover.
The room looked just like it did in the picture (how often does that happen?), and the baby bed was all set up for us. We did what we had to do to get ready for bed, and settled in to listen to Ella fuss and try to get up, and William kick and laugh. About 10:30 we were starting to nod off.
The friendly check-in lady told me they had breakfast if we wanted to charge it to the room - 7GBP for continental, and 13GBP for full English. Yikes! Funny thing, people from some regions can't say "th," and I could tell she was trying to talk slowly and carefully so I would understand, but it still came out "frirteen." (We brought milk and cereal with us, so we had that for breakfast.) William woke up at 5:30, ate, and went back down till 6:45, at which point others started waking up. Woo-hoo!! I'm gonna start drinking coffee!
We didn't have a plan for Saturday, so it was all winging it. We decided to go to Rochester Castle, in Rochester. So, driving along... Arrive in town and start looking for the castle... Well, there's a sign for Upner Castle, let's go there! It was a little way out of town; not far, and easy to find. The car park is a short walk form the castle, and as we were walking we met an elderly man. Bob said, "How are you" and he seemed pleased enough to be asked. Then he asked if it was our "First time in the village" and wished us a nice visit. Sigh. THAT's the England I remember. Small towns, friendly people. The weather was much nicer Saturday; there were scattered showers, but sunshine in between, and much warmer and less windy. We walked and climbed and ran and shouted our way through Upner Castle. Someone was going to have a wedding there later in the day, and one room was set up for it. Upner was last used to store kegs of gunpowder, and they had a room full of replica powder kegs. In the wedding room, several kegs were set up with a red cushion on top of each, for chairs for the wedding guests. I wondered what kind of character would choose that for a wedding!
When we were leaving, we asked the front desk clerk how to get to Rochester Castle, and she tried to tell us. We tried to follow her directions, but ended up in an industrial park on the wrong side of the river. Oh well. On second attempt we saw a McDonalds and decided to get some lunch, as it was about 1pm (and we'd won 3 free sundaes the night before). There was a stretch limo parked out front! Got some lunch (Taryn ate 3 cheeseburgers), tried to get out of town, drove around a bit, finally found the motorway.
On toward home. But wait! Bob wasn't done! So we exited at Epping and found the Tube station. Epping is the farthest north-east of the London underground, and we'd been told that it's the cheapest way to get into London. It was 4pm ish. We paid the 1GBP to park, went in and bought Bob and I each an Oyster card, which is pre-paid travel card. There was a train ready to leave, and we got on. Taryn was so excited she couldn't sit still. The underground is actually aboveground for quite a few stops, but it finally went down. We rode into town, got off at the "Bank" station, climbed out, and walked to St Paul's Cathedral. It was raining again, so we went back down at the St Paul's station and headed back out.
We got off at Stratford, where there is a shopping mall, and walked around before getting supper at Subway. This is a big Muslim area, apparently, and the Subway is certified Hallel (sort of Islamic Kosher). The children got a "Subway melt" with turkey, turkey ham, and turkey bacon. They said it was really good. We decided to take the sandwiches and eat on the train. Going out of town the trains were a lot more crowded, and the first leg of the journey I actually had to stand up (as did Bob, with the stroller). But it thinned out as we progressed.
Back to Epping, where we discovered the street signs actually give you all the needed information. I think I like that town.
Then we wended our way toward home, arriving about 7:30. Wow, what a day.
As we sent the children to get ready for bed, Cedwryck made it right up to the toilet and wet himself.
This morning Riah announced that he'd "leaked" last night and his sheets, pillow, and blanket need washing. Also they were out of underwear.
Lots of laundry tomorrow!
Congratulations for reading the whole thing! My fingers are sore.
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Yesterday William reached 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding. That's always my 'goal' - to nurse for 6 months - but this is the first time I've reached it. Taryn was introduced to the bottle too early, and liked it better; Naysha started on cereal at 4 months; Riah was grabbing for table food by 5 months; Ced (may I admit to drawing a blank? Does that make me a bad mother??); Ella was losing weight because of my pregnancy with William and so we shoved anything we could find at her.
Yesterday I "went to town." Now, having always lived "in the country" I was not aware of the implications of that phrase until I was 15 or 16 and I told a friend that Mom and I were going to town. To us it just meant a trip to the nearest grocery store.
We were nearly out of some key ingredients like milk, tuna, and diapers, so it had to be done. Also yesterday was the last day to use my WIC vouchers. So, Ella being already fussy, I put her down to nap at 1:30. At 3:30 we were all ready to go, so I woke her up and we headed out to the door. Some phrases you might have heard, had you been here:
"no, you cannot take that with you in the car"
"where are your shoes??"
"Can we watch a movie in the car?"
"get back in the house - William isn't in his seat yet!"
"No, *you* cannot take *that* with you."
"Where's the keys?"
"Do you have the list?"
So, carrying the diaper bag, the car seat, holding Ella's hand, and with keys out in my free hand to lock the door, we were ready to go. (Reminds me of one time at the grocery store in Texas, the guy asked if I needed help with my bags. I replied, "This is easy! You've seen me in here before, holding all 4 children at once.")
So enough with the attempts at humor.
First stop, post office. I admit it, I left the children in the car while I went in.
Next, I planned to eat at Burger King before it got crowded, and then go to the commissary afterwards while other people were eating dinner and it wasn't too crowded. First we had to sit in the car and wait while the national anthem was played. Then we went to Burger King, all got out and danced across the parking lot, amidst a chorus of "can we play?" So they started into the kiddie room while I found a table. Naysha came with me to get a high chair, but Taryn didn't think Naysha was capable, so she came, too (thus leaving the little ones unsupervised in the play room). So Ella came out, too. So I left the bag and highchair to come re-establish them in playing. Only then I saw that William had a dirty diaper, the girls had to go to the bathroom, and Riah was crying about something. So we all went to the bathroom. Then back to the dining room, where it all began again. So we left. Cedwryck had a good cry about it, and when he was done we went to the commissary.
Have I mentioned before how little I like the commissary?
No matter what is on my list, no matter what I do or do not buy, I always spend $100.
The isles are crowded, the employees are rude, it isn't well organized at all, etc. I guess the same could be said about most grocery stores. Anyway... They had one of those super carts with 3 axles and no steering, with a toy truck thing stuck to the front of it. I thought it would be easier to keep up with the cart than with the boys, so I got it and they got in. I put William's seat in the basket, and Ella sat in the seat by the handle. Then Taryn got a regular cart to put groceries in.
Somehow or other we made it through (me carrying William half the way and pushing the super cart with one hand), including the maze that they call the checkout line. It actually wasn't very busy at checkout. I pull up to the register, and the guy says, "Can you put everything on *this* side [of the conveyor belt]?" I gave him my best "You have got to be kidding me" look, but said I'd do what I could. Wouldn't you know it, the juice I got lost week on WIC wouldn't ring up this time. They guy holds it up and says it won't go, so I say I guess I won't get it then. He stood there and held it for a minute, then asked if I wanted to go change it. Umm, it $3 worth of juice... it's the STORE's mistake... I'm standing here with 6 children, 3 of whom are crying, obviously worn to a frazzle.... Taryn, who is holding WIlliam so I can unload the cart, says she'd go get something else. So the guy asks her if she'll take back the other! I wanted to slap him, but she didn't seem to mind.
Anyway, we got checked out, and as the (work only for tips, but you can't refuse the service) bagger gets his cart ready to take out to the car, I try to ask the little ones if they need to use the toilet (intending to let them go while I load up the car, and then come out to me) but Ced is crying about something and won't listen to me, so I just start out. They all follow me, and I hear someone else start to cry, too. Turns out its Naysha, who left her coat in the cart. I finally convince her to go back and get it while the bagger (sacker?) tries to figure out how to get the stuff into the back of the van. Will someone explain why the cargo area in the back of a van slopes toward the back open door? Why can't it be level, if not indented slightly or tilted in? He/we finally decided to put a couple of the bags up front. I paid him and he left. Then I get in, where the children are crying and buckling and asking to watch a movie. I nursed William and explained about going to the bathroom, so they all unbuckled and Taryn took them back inside to use the toilet, then they finally came back out and rebuckled.
I did put on a movie for the way home.
We got home at 7, put away groceries and ate dinner just in time for bed. I think they all slept good last night.
Cedwryck is doing good on potty training. He did have one accident yesterday. He had a nap on the couch, and just after waking up he said, "I forgot to go to the bathroom ." I was nursing William and so didn't want to get up, so I told him to go wipe up and change, but as he started walking he splashed with every step. So I had Taryn bring him a towel and he stripped right there, wrapped up in the towel, and then went to wipe up.
Then, while everyone else was eating dinner, he went to the toilet by himself. After a looooooong time I went to check on him. I opened the door and he said, "I shouldn't have done that." He had used at least a whole roll of paper (thankfully throwing it in the trash can instead of the toilet) and had managed to paint the entire toilet seat.... I decided to just give him a shower and get it over with. Then he ate while I cleaned up the room.
But over all he's doing really good. He's been dry 3 nights in a row, which is pretty cool, especially as Riah still hasn't been dry 2 nights in a row.
I had an appointment today to get more WIC vouchers, but we never had our blood drawn to check iron levels, and they won't do it without that, so we canceled the apt.
Bob has off tomorrow, so we are tying to find something to do.
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Bob, age 40 - born in Arkansas; married once before I knew him with a son, Zach, now 18; lawfully and Biblically freed from that union long before we met; a hard worker who always tries to do the right thing; a budding photographer; a real handy man who can fix anything
Me, age 30 - born in Japan of American parents; homeschooled as a child; multi-tasker
Bob and I have been married 11 years
Taryn, age 9 - born in Arkansas; avid reader; bossy little mama; singer; talker
Naysha, age 5 - she and all the rest were born in Texas; curly hair; server and helper; cuddly; reserved
Azariah, age 4 - serious; 100% boy and 10% bulldozer; deep thinker; perfectionist; a little shy; great with babies
Cedwryck, age 3 - jokester; ready for anything
Elisabeth, age 1 1/2 - small in stature but big in attitude; everybody's darling
William, age 6 months - roly-poly baby; extremely good natured; my surprise boy (sonogram said he was a girl)
Some of my frequent readers and commenters are:
"mums" - my mother
"JC" - my aunt
"SaintSeminole" - my brother
"S.A.M." - my sister-in-law
"Ganieda" - my friend from Australia, who I met on a Christian forum online
"Kimba" - a real-life friend of Ganieda
and a few other blogger friends
Everybody shake hands!
Monday, 7 April 2008
First and foremost - Preach the Word.
Preferably King James
Second - Male leadership
(Sorry Ganieda, you know how it is. Love ya, sis.)
Third - Covering
Ideally the women would cover their heads and the men wouldn't, but I'd be happy if both genders just covered their private parts.
Fourth - worship
I'd like to have at least one song I know.
Since we're talking ideals here, I'll go ahead and include a desire for talented musicians/singers and a decent sound system.
Fifth - order of service
I don't really mind if they have things printed out on a paper or displayed on a screen, or just announce what they are doing. I don't even mind if they have communion once a year or once a day. What I would like to see is proper time and place given to each thing, meaning communion should take longer than announcements; prayer needs should be considered and "prayed through," a time should be given for proper exercise of the Gifts.
Sixth - children
They should be welcomed in the church and not shuttled off to a back room to watch a video and keep quiet while the adults have "real church." On the other hand, parents should be encouraged (not condemned) to train their own children to behave in church (maybe even participate!) and learn in meeting and at home.
Seventh - Fellowship
A support group of homeschoolers would be awesome. Available mature ladies and youth to form a core of people who care for each other in times of need. A time (maybe even a place) to hang out and chat.
Oh well, I think that's the high points. Now we just have to find it, or the next best thing.
So we almost were prepared for Sunday. I looked the church up online - Ely Christian Fellowship - and knew the address and start time. I also looked it up on the map and thought I knew where it was in relation to the cathedral and car parks. We figured we'd go through the cathedral after church (they have free admission on Sunday), so I also looked up places to eat in town. Didn't find much, so we brought a bag of chips to at least tide us over till lunch.
We made it to Ely in less than 30 minutes, and looked for the church. Bob went pretty much the opposite way from what I thought the map said, and right as we were both convinced we were utterly lost, there it was! Next step, parking spot. Two laps around the block, and we found a spot on the far side of the cathedral. With the babies in the stroller, the boys (as ever) in their rain coats, and Naysha carrying an umbrella "just in case," we were ready. It wasn't far to the church, and we found the door (it wasn't on the front of the building) and went on in. The back row was nearly empty, so we parked the stroller behind the chairs and took our seats.
It's a pretty big room - maybe 200 people (I'm a bad guesser). The worship wasn't bad. Riah was distracted by the flags hanging from the ceiling, and he was grumpy because he didn't know the song (the first song, which they sang several times). The music was good, and the lead singer - the pastor's wife - was talented, but I was slightly distracted by the bare midriff of the backup singer. There were lots of children in the room (some noisier than others). The service followed the order I am most used to: Sing, offering and announcements, sing, communion, sermon. Then the typical English tea and coffee after service. The children (not ours) were sent out for the preaching.
The sermon was titled "eat the fruit" and was a little hard to follow, as he talked about Adam and Eve as well as the fruits of the Spirit. It was mostly good, but Bob did have a few points to address on the way home, as he preached that you don't have to "try to be good." I understand the points:
1. Good works don't save you
2. You must be born again
3. Holy spirit indwells and equips.
I don't understand the conclusion:
4. So don't worry about doing "the right thing."
(Are we too critical?)
The people sitting near us visited with us after service, and no one tried to talk us into sending our children out of the service.
Anyway, when that was over we walked over to the Cathedral to look around. As the car was on the far side of it, we left the chips for another time.
Ely Cathedral is pretty impressive. It suffered very little in the reformation - instead of destroying the whole thing the reformers just tore up some of the statues/icons. The stained glass is in great shape, as is the structure itself. It was the first Christian presence in the area, established by St. Etheldreda in 670something. So we walked around and oohed and ahhed over various features from the windows to the ceiling to the tombs from 1220 and up (maybe earlier than that, even). We were getting pretty hungry, so we didn't go upstairs, but we did use the toilets 3 times. Something about young children...
We then went to Mildenhall for lunch at Taco bell (by the way, I know someone found my blog by googling "Mildenhall Taco Bell"). As we were leaving we saw a family that talked to us at church that morning. It was about 3, so we came on home.
Oh, I forgot to mention when I got up Sunday morning it was snowing. Not cold enough to stick on the ground, but it dusted the shrubs.
That afternoon I started some laundry, and the girls cleaned their room. They tend to leave dirty clothes out, and the room gets pretty stinky. eww.
Cedwryck stayed dry except for one accident. Another day of pull-ups and he will be in underwear. Yay!!!
By the way, Bob is on the list to deploy early next year for 4 months. Subject to change, of course. I say it's a pretty good time to go if he has to go. I'll be settled by then, he'll be home for the holidays and back by summer.
Guess that's it for now.
Sunday, 6 April 2008
It was cool and breezy, but sunnier than Friday.
I had looked up tides and such Friday night, because Ced wanted to go back to the beach when the waves were there, and so I knew high tide would be at 10:50. That would mean a timely start to the day in order to see the tide come in. I really didn't want to drive 2 hours just to walk on the beach for 30 minutes, and we didn't have anything else lined up for the road out, so we decided against that.
We realized that we didn't get curtain rods for the drapes we bought Friday, so decided to go to Mildenhall BX to get some, and after that we'd find something - maybe go to Ely Cathedral.
So we packed up and went to get rods. We found some we both liked for $11 each. The children played a bit on the play house display, and we looked at toys and patio furniture.
After a trip to the toilets we were headed to the food court for lunch, when a lady standing at the cell phone place caught my eye. I smiled, and she said, "I saw you at the BX yesterday." I replied, "We're not organized enough to do it all in one trip." And so we started talking. They've been here just a month, but were here before, so know their way around. She asked about church, and we admitted to not finding a home yet. She said she knew of a couple of "plain" folks in the area, and also mentioned a pentecostal church in Ely. I gave her our number and she promised to call.
Well, as we were getting settled, they came into the food court, too, and sat down to lunch at the table next to us. We continued talking as we ate, and really enjoyed the fellowship. I hope she does call.
After lunch we drove to Ely, and finally found a parking spot. We walked over to the Cathedral in between rain showers, and then decided to go to the tourist info center to see what else was in the area. The TIC is also Oliver Cromwell's house, and there is a museum thing behind the TIC shop. So we walked in the door, and the lady said, "Can I help?" and Bob said, "We just wanted to see what you have here." So she said, "You can't take the pushchair in, because of the stairs, but I can park it for you." Oh, she thought we wanted to go through the Cromwell museum. So Bob and I shrugged at each other and decided to go. I didn't realize it was a charge, but it was about $25 for the family.
We got the audio tour things and went on our way. The rooms weren't labeled for the audio things, but it wasn't too hard to figure out. There was a short film in the first room, then the larder, then kitchen. Then we went upstairs to a family room, where the children tried on period costumes and played a game or two. We weren't quite done when a couple came through, so we hurried on to let them hear their audio tour. The next room had some war stuff - swords, armor, and info. Then the study, followed by the bedroom. Just for fun, the bedroom was dark and spooky, and there was a recording that came on automatically about how Cromwell died, and then how he was dug up and beheaded for treason, and something about the house being haunted... but we shuffled out before that got too far. I'm sure the devout protestant would be thrilled to hear that part!
The last room was the 'tithe' room, still decorated as originally with dark wood panels all around. But a nice big table in the middle with papers and crayons for the children to make their own coat of arms. They had fun with that.
Well, our car park had a 2 hour limit, and we decided against spending more money to go to the cathedral in the rain, so we headed back out of town.
Stopped at Tesco in Newmarket and bought some Nutella and 2 chocolate pastries, then home for dinner and play time.
Ced wore a pull-up and stayed dry all day! I'm pretty pleased with this effortless toilet training.
Time to get ready for church. We're going to the Ely one the lady mentioned.
We woke up Friday morning and it was raining, albeit lightly.
Bob was up fairly early, and we started trying to think of what to do. Finally we decided on staying local - getting some errands run, maybe getting a tube pass for going to London Saturday. After a lunch of cinnamon biscuits, scrambled eggs, and bacon, we were ready to go.
So I'll make our list and tell how each thing worked out.
1. Check mail and buy stamps.
2. Go to ITT (Information, Tickets, and Travel) and find out about Tube passes, maybe look at ticket prices for some attractions.
They were closed in honor of the wing goal day.
Explain this to me, please! How can they sell tickets if they are only open when people are at work?
3. Go to VAT office to get road tax refund.
Also closed for goal day.
Oh, wait a minute, let me go back a bit. Before we started anything, I called to see if Ced could get a "same-day" appointment to look at his ear. I figured the phone system was messed up because no matter what I pushed, it took me to the nurse answer line which is only open a few hours a week. When Bob got up I told him, and he said that the HOSPITAL was closed for goal day. What is goal day? That is a reward for pilots, crew chiefs, and MAINTENANCE for making the goal number of flights for the month. These guys work their tails off to make the most ridiculous goals, and the whole base gets a day off.
4. Try one more time (Bob had been twice the last two days) to pick up some used flower pots that a person was giving away. In their ad they said to just come by and get it - first come, first serve.
But when we go by the house nothing is sitting out. So Bob went to knock on the door, and the neighbor pops out and says that she works at the school and won't be home till later. So the school is still in session, thus ensuring that "family day" is enjoyed by all.
5. Go to BX to get a hand mirror and a power strip/surge suppressor/ whatever you call it for the desktop computer.
I went in, found a mirror. But then I couldn't remember if we wanted a British power strip or an American one. So I went back to the car, and Bob went in. William was starting to fuss, so I got him out thinking to feed him. But he just sat up on my lap and started talking to me. I think he was trying to say "daddy." Anyway, Bob got the plug.
6. Had the brilliant idea of going to Mildenhall's ITT, since they obviously didn't get a goal day, as the planes were flying every 5 minutes.
7. Had an appointment to look at a high chair in Midenhall town, but it was over 30 minutes away, so we stopped in the shoppette for a minute.
Then to the "back gate" for a short drive to the house. Back gate is closed. So we had to drive ALL the way around the flight line to get to the other gate. Finally got off base to find road construction. It was 20 minutes after our set time when we showed up, but the lady didn't seem to mind. We bought the highchair.
8. Go back to the car parts store in Mildenhall because the radiator cap Bob got yesterday was too small.
Friday is market day in Mildenhall, and the market is in the one small car park the town has. So we drove around the loop 3 times and finally found a spot. Part exchanged successfully.
9. Go to a town not far away to look at some lined drapes for sale.
To get there we had to go through Brandon, which is a small enough place, but it has one road through town, and that road is also the most direct path from Lakenheath to points north. So we sat in traffic for 30 minutes. Found the house, bought the drapes. On the way out, we asked the man the name of some flowers he had out front (we see them all over). He couldn't remember the name, but said they are a good spreading ground cover, and pulled up a clump for us to take home. Cool.
That was the end of the list, but now it was after dinner time, so we went back to Lakenheath BX for pizza, wings, and a sub.
Then got the great idea of going through the store and looking for clearance clothes. Taryn is now too big for girl's clothes. We did find her one top in the ladies section, size petite small. Also got her some pantyhose.
After a few trips to the toilet, we were ready to go home.
Speaking of toilets (and you know I will!), Thursday night Cedwryck said to me "If I tell you all the time when I need to go potty, I can wear a pull-up." That's right. (We'd been over this before. He wants to wear pull-ups to be a big boy, but he'd go on wetting himself anyway, and pull-ups cost at least twice a regular diaper.)
So first thing Friday morning he told me he needed to go. He stayed dry all day Friday.
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Anyone noticed my counter widget? (the thing on the upper right with numbers - it counts how many people visit my blog)
Today a wasp of some type got in the house, and Ella stepped on it. I already told Mom and Dad about it, so it doesn't seem very exciting now. She cried for quite a while, ad learned a new word - "bug." I don't think she likes bugs.
Naysha caught a ladybug, and they decided to keep it as a pet. (need the eye-rolling smiley face)
It is named Gabriel. I think it's in the back entry, which has an open window to outside, so she can leave anytime she wants to.
Cedwryck has a bit of an earache. He woke up crying at 1am about his eyes not working. I figured it was a dream, but when I patted his head it was hot, so I got him Tylenol and a drink. This morning he said his ear hurt. But he'd rather go to the beach than to the doctor tomorrow.
Yes, tomorrow. Bob has the night off! Those jokers cannot make a schedule to save my life. Er, I mean, their life.
Today I let Taryn make bread (in the bread machine). She got it all right, except she forgot to put the mixer paddle in first. I've done that before, myself. So I squished it through the flour, etc and got it in, and the bread turned out okay. It fell a little, but that just happens sometimes.
Basically the children grow up and I try to keep up.
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Monday was the first day of the work week and the last day of the month
Tuesday was the second day of the work week, the first day of the month, and Bob's last day of school
Wednesday was the third day of the week, the second day of the month, and Bob's first day back at work!
I got my tooth-hole filled this morning, we got lunch at Taco Bell, and Bob went to work. They decided to have 3 shifts again now that he and the other guy are done with school, so he's working 2-12 ish.