Monday, 27 October 2008

birthday weekend part five - summary

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

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

birthday weekend part four - home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

birthday weekend part three - hungry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

birthday weekend part two

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

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

Back on the road.

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

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

Part 3 to come.

birthday weekend part one - get a room

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 24 October 2008

Big Boys

Just a quick note.

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

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

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

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

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

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

Monday, 20 October 2008

party of the people

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Wisdom of children

So yesterday in the car Azariah started talking to me.

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

That's right, Riah.

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

Need I say more?


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

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

Friday, 17 October 2008


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


So much for getting back to the blog on Thursday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 9 October 2008

All roads lead to Deborah

Well, today is William's birthday, and a whole week since my last post, but maybe I'll get to that later.
In my morning reading and blog-hopping, I saw this article about Sarah Palin and Deborah.
If you are following US politics, the connection to Palin will be of interest, but if you aren't (Ganeida), just skip the intro and conclusion and the part about Deborah is interesting.

I personally liked this quote from John Knox
...particular examples do establish no common law. ... But who hath commanded, that a public, yea a tyrannical and most wicked law be established upon these examples? The men that object the same, are not altogether ignorant, that examples have no strength, when the question is of law... For of examples, as is before declared, we may establish no law, but we are always bound to the law written, and to the commandment expressed in the same. And the law written and pronounced by God, forbiddeth no less that any woman reign over man, than it forbiddeth man to take a plurality of wives, to marry two sisters living at once, to steal, to rob, to murder or to lie. If any of these hath been transgressed, and yet God hath not imputed the same: it maketh not the like fact or deed lawful unto us.

How many arguments have I heard (while at a particular Christian chat forum) that tried to do precisely that - say a thing is lawful because someone else has done it!
So anyway, there's my 'meddling' done for the day. Hopefully I can come back later and chat about William's birth and growth.

Friday, 3 October 2008

snappy title goes here

A few thoughts:

I got my absentee ballot last week and sent it in Monday. I voted for Chuck Baldwin for president, and in other slots I voted for male libertarians or republicans (where there wasn't a libertarian).

I'm not updating my "weekly weight loss" every week because I don't have a loss every week. I'm not sure what has caused the loss-stop, but we're working on it. Bob and I each ordered some diet pills from, which claims to pay $1000 for before and after pictures. Bob got his pills yesterday and the flier included in the package says they'll pay $750. Either way, it sounds like a good deal. Even if they don't pay, if the pills help it will be worth it.

Bob has weekend duty this weekend. Today he is "official photographer" at two events. He is trying to study for his promotion test which will probably be in February.

Riah's smashed thumb nail is almost ready to come off. He went to the pediatric cardiologist in Cambridge Wednesday. The Dr. said pretty much the same as the one in Abilene, except he was a bit more specific about what action may be needed "years and years" from now - "replacement" in early adulthood. Kinda scary, but I know Who's in charge. For now, regular but infrequent monitoring, and let him be normal and active. (Um, for those who don't keep track of my family medical history: Riah has an "incompetant aeortic valve" - where normal hearts have three flaps that close over the valve, his only has two, so it doesn't close all the way. Therefore a little blood trickles through even when it's 'closed' and so his heart has to work harder and pump a little faster than a healthy one in order to maintain the blood flow. At least, that's my basic understanding.)

Which reminds me. Wednesday after the Dr we went downtown and walked a LOT and went to a couple of shops but didn't buy much except lunch. We stayed out all day (about 7:30am to 7pm).

Bob showed me his son's myspace page a couple of days ago... (name withheld for privacy - I'll call him SS of StepSon)... SS put the wrong city of birth, which could be an honest mistake (as most babies don't remember their birth) or (which gives me some hope) he might be giving misleading information, so I don't know how much credence to give the following, but... He listed his "orientation" as "bi" and his "religion" as "Wiccan." Everything else was good - he says he doesn't drink or smoke- but those two things really jumped at me (Bob hadn't noticed them). There isn't a good word to put on how I feel about it, but "heartbreaking" comes close. Bob's words, not mine: "I don't think [my mother in law] knows how much she messed up when she took [SS] away from us." Since SS wasn't to be completely ours in action or spirit, I think it has been better for the other children to not be close to his influence, but my heart aches for him. Either way, he's 18 now, and what's done is done, but there is a future and a hope.

Today the homeschool group is going bowling. I'm still undecided about going. I want to go only if the house is clean and Taryn has some bookwork under her belt.
So I guess it's time for me to move on with my day.