Sunday, 26 April 2009


I guess we are getting Anglicized. When we can't think of anything to do, instead of heading to the BX, or driving hours in search of a castle ruin, we go for a walk.

Friday Bob was home and fed by 6, and it was still warm(ish) and sunny. So we drove out to Moulton and took a walk. We parked by the "river" and walked along it til we got to the bridge without steps, admiring the duck families along the way. There were at least three family groups, with varying sizes of ducklings (but all pre-feather).
Then we crossed the bridge and went across the horse field (it's a public footpath) and across the sheep pasture. The horses were on the other side and didn't look twice at us. The sheep were all over, and didn't mind too much until we came between a group of mothers and a group of lambs. Then there was a chorus of bleating and baaing as the mothers got nervous and the lambs starting running.
We did our best to climb over the style (including lifting the double stroller over) without getting the sheep dung from our shoes to our clothes or hands. Crossed the street to the sidewalk, walked past the shop (now closed) and crossed the street again to enter the village green. They had a playground where we let the children play awhile before circling back to the creek and over to the car.

Saturday we tried to go see a minibus (what they call full-size vans), but after calling all 4 on Ebay that we were interested in, and no one at home, we gave up and decided to go to Cambridge. As we were about to leave, one van owner called back (seeing our number on his caller ID) but the phone cut off before Bob was able to pull any information out of him, and when we called again he didn't answer.
So first we went to Mildenhall to look for a rim for Bob's car (he has a cracked one) at the salvage yard. No luck there. Then we had lunch at the BXtra on base, walked through the toy and sports department so Naysha could tell us what she wants for her birthday. We met a lady form the chapel and visited a few minutes. I invited her to my Pampered Chef party after Bob reminded me.
THEN we got gas, and THEN we headed toward Cambridge. We aren't used to getting there from this direction, so we ended up in a part of town we hadn't seen before. We knew where a Staples was, as we'd been before, but we couldn't get there. However, there was another Staples on the street we happened to be on, and it had roof-top parking. So after circling the block we pulled in there and took a look around. We got a package of things - don't know what to call them - page protectors? The box of 200 was the same price as the pack of 25. We will use these to make a portfolio of Bob's pictures.
Done in Staples, it was back on the road to find a parking spot. We actually got one on the first pass; street side meter parking. This street ran parallel to the River Cam. We got out and walked down to the pedestrian bridge, over the river and onto the Jesus Green. The big ones looked at the water while I changed the little ones' diapers. The William started walking, so I followed him, and slowly the rest fell in line. I think he would have gone clear across the green! But we corralled and headed back to the nastiest public toilets I've seen in this country.
Bob took the lead after that, and we headed toward the market area. First we went to the craft market, then looked at a couple of colleges, and then through the regular market. We didn't make it all the way through the market before we started worrying about the time left on our parking ticket (we'd bought the max of two hours), so we called it good enough to have bought me a new headscarf and left the wondrous smelling fruit stalls for someone else.
What with all the walking, and the market smells, we were quite hungry when we got back to the car at 4:25. So it was pay again and walk back, or drive somewhere. We decided to drive. At first we tried to head toward home, but that didn't work out so well, so we decided to go back into Cambridge and look for a chicken place Bob had heard about. We followed parking signs for the Grafton (mini shopping mall), parked in the "parent and child" space and went through the mall and out the other side. Not seeing a chicken place, we went to Chili's. The food was good, except the corn on the cob was a little dry, and I drank 4 glasses of water.
By the time we finished eating the shops were closed so we headed home.
William and I were showing a little sun, but I think we are non the worse for wear. Hopefully I will continue being less sick, and we'll continue getting out.

Thursday, 23 April 2009


I just saw a hilarious video about "large" families. They don't sing well, but it is really cute.

Maybe I should look into the embedding thing. It really is worth a trip over to youtube.

More Ricky

My brother blogged about Ricky, too. He posted some nice pictures, if you'd care to go have a look. Wil's Blog. It seems like my dad wrote a poem about Ricky one time, but I've changed computers since then and I can't find it. Maybe I imagined the whole thing.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Richard the Lionheart

The summer before I met Bob, I met another gentleman who stole my heart. He was a homeless yellow lab. I'd started walking for fun and exercise, and one day, there he was. He was thin, friendly, and had a kingly expression. I named him Richard, and we called him Ricky. He was about 10 months old, mostly grown, but still a puppy, as evidenced by his chewing up all the rotten spindles on my parents' porch rail. He followed me home every day from my walk, and eventually he became ours.

Ricky was a good dog. Smart, quiet, faithful. After Bob and I married, Ricky stayed in the country with my parents, and after awhile we got a puppy - a Shetland Sheepdog. Ricky wasn't too fond of Scottie (Alexander Scott, so named because of his red coloring), and when we'd come to visit Ricky would take Scottie out for a walk in the woods and lose him. It was deliberate, and it worked more than once.

He'd get the remains from our neighbor's deer hunts and chew on them with great delight in the front yard. He was patient with young children and cats, and didn't protest when he was moved from Arkansas to Oklahoma. He had plenty of common sense and always knew to come home for dinner.

Ricky is the kind of dog that people would want to have. My Granny (who has had her share of troublesome dogs) says that is she gets another one, she'd want it to be like Ricky. The last couple of years he's been getting slower and fatter. He got arthritis, was nearly blind, and all but deaf, but he still enjoyed walking with my dad, and would always give a wag when spoken to. My parents have struggled with the thought of having him put down, as he has trouble with the cold and the heat.

Monday, he took that hard decision away from them. He'd gone out for a run with my sister's dog and didn't come home. For some reason he went out on the highway, and was hit by a car (he likely never saw it coming). He was 15 years old, quite aged for a lab. I'll miss him; he was a good dog.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary...

(Funny how, in that rhyme, Americans pronounce "conTRARY" like the British, instead of the usual "CONtrary)."

But this is about my garden. I'm gonna try to add a picture. If not, I'll put them on my Flickr site.

We have a small space that was grass free when we moved in, because the former occupant had a storage shed there. It just seemed like a natural place to plant some things. I have peas and carrots on one side of the path, and strawberries, onions, garlic, carrots, and lettuce on the other side. Last night I took a couple of pictures.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Madagascar 2

Two nights ago Bob and I sat down to watch Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
In trying to think of something to compare it to, the closest match in terms of stupidity and "I can't believe I watched that!" is Mars Attacks. It was super hyper in action and dialog. Constant motion and yammering. Besides that, it was full of foul language and "questionable content." They did get the PG rating instead of G (that'd be U in England), but it was obviously made for children. Except, what about the male - something - meercat, maybe? that dressed up in a coconut bra and grass skirt, and jumped out of a cake in a classic stripper move? Then danced around, making suggestive comments. And I'm sure little children would appreciate the fist fight between the granny-lady and the lion. They probably wouldn't pick up on mama lion turning out the light by squishing a lightning bug... To be honest, we didn't watch the whole thing, so my opinion is unhindered by whatever feel-good stuff happened at the end.
And to think I was glad when the toys hit McDonald's because they were innocent looking zoo animals. I'm glad we don't have a driving need to take the littles out to every animated flick that comes along.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sunny Saturday

Yesterday was very nice. We woke up to sunshine, and decided to go to Bury to the market and the Abbey gardens. It was pretty cold early in the morning, but we hung around until 10 anyway to hit a yard sale that we'd seen advertised.

So we hit the yard sale (and found 3 others), buying a small guitar and a CD case with computer games (that turned out to be incompatible). Bob had a couple of errands to the library and the craft store, and we decided we were hungry. So we went to the BX for lunch, and as we were getting our orders straight we saw our friends from Iceland. They were on the base to get passport photos and shop. We chatted with them for 15 minutes or so, and then had lunch.

After lunch we went back home for the stroller (don't leave home without it!) and headed to Bury. Wonder of wonders! We got a parking spot right in front of the Abbey. First we walked over to the market. Bob got some magazines, and we checked prices at the fruit stands. Usually there are 3 produce stalls; yesterday there were 6. The one on the end was hawking "Strawberries, 2 for a pound!" And they had bowls of stuff for 1 GBP each. SO I got some bananas, zucchini, and strawberries. We pulled over to the side of the pavement and opened the berries. Oh, they were good. We ate the two packs pretty quickly, and bought two more to take home.

Then we went down to the gardens, where we took pictures by the flowers and then let the children run and play. As we'd only paid for 2 hours parking, we headed back to the car and came home.

Oh. We stopped at a book sale on the way to Bury, and got a book called, "How to read churches" and one about herbs. If we'd had more than 5 GBP cash, I'd have bought more. And coming back from the market I also stopped in a couple charity shops, and got a book about "Diggers and 'dozers" and a pair of shoes for Ella.

For dinner the children wanted to go to the club - to the "real" restaurant with bread, silverware, and tablecloths. We hadn't been there in a while, and now we remember why. The service was decent, but the food is just lacking. Pricewise it isn't terrible, as child's dinners are $3.50, and they spend that much at Taco Bell; adult entrees are $12-15. Then there's the wait, which is a bit touchy with young children. Anyway, we made it back home at 7:15, got the children in bed by 8:30, and then I went back up to the commissary to get milk for breakfast.

Long day, but I was only sick for a few minutes before lunch, and I sure enjoyed the outings. The trees are blooming all over the place, there are baby lambs in the field, and the world is just beautiful once again.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Growing up

The girls have taken matters into their own hands, and have been taking Ella to the toilet. She has frequently asked to be taken this week. Today, for the first time, she did a "#2" in the toilet. WooHoo Ella!!! Yea, Taryn and Naysha for helping us all out in this regard. She may be my first to train out of size 4 diapers.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Grand central

Most days, I get oh, zero phone calls. Zero knocks on the door. Zero conversations with non-family members.

Today it was non-stop.

First thing, the postman knocked to hand me a package we'd ordered. Well enough; we'd been expecting that.

A few minutes later there was another knock. This time it was a Jehovah's Witness lady. She assumed right away that I was a believer, so just chatted briefly about the Lord's loving care, handed me her paper and went on her way.

Then the phone rang - Bob wanting the number of the Filipino place in town.

Then we got shoes and headed out. Had lunch at Pizza Hut, went to the post office. The line was out the door (it was lunch hour, after all), but I braved it out. A woman in line behind me started chatting with me. First she commented on my hair - she wants hers that long. The woman in front was herding her two little girls, and I said I knew what it was since I had 6. She supposed it got easier when they started school, and I said it didn't really, as we homeschooled. So the woman behind asked why we didn't use regular schools. I said, "Honestly, it's Biblical. The Bible says to teach your children as you get up, eat, walk, etc. There's just no way to get that time in if they're gone to school all day." Then she commented that she was agnostic - she agreed with parts of many faiths. I just nodded, but the man with her gritted his teeth and begged her to not get started on religion as it would get people upset. I promised not to preach. :-) Then she asked about the way I was dressed, and what religion did I claim. I replied that I just try to do what the Bible says. Then she asked if I was against leather and lipstick. I said "leather's okay" which got a good laugh from the man behind her. I would have said the same for lipstick, but it was my turn at the counter.

Back home again, there was another knock on the door. A lady in the neighborhood was curious about where we got our toddler slide, and mentioned a local ad website (looked it up; it's great!).

Then WIC called to remind me of my appt tomorrow. I called Bob to ask if he had a pay statement for this month.

Then Bob called to ask if I went to the hospital today (I'd been to ask for my records). Someone had seen me there.

Wow. Now it's 4:30 and I wonder if it's done yet. I bet the Avon lady comes tonight. ;-)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Dare I say it?

The Lord is teaching me to be happy/peaceful/content/grateful/worshipful despite my circumstances.

On other news, the worship band really rocked yesterday. The Scottish piano player was there, and I think he nearly knocked the keyboard over a time or two. The youthful bass guitar player found his groove about half-way through, and really got going. I haven't heard bass like that since John Harst in our church in San Antonio (when the other guy was there playing lead and singing. When John had to lead the singing he didn't play very much.) Our old people (unlike the ones in SA, who would turn and glare at the sound man) danced and raised their hands and enjoyed it as much as the youth. Most of the congregation worked up a sweat - I know the musicians did.

There was an egg hunt after service, but we high-tailed it out of there. I don't mind public egg hunts, but grouping it with church is nothing short of sacrilege. God was pretty specific about us taking pagan things and using it to worship Him. We tried to have lunch at Burger King (since the roast chicken wasn't ready yet) but the grill was broken and all they had was fried chicken (nuggets, strips, etc), so we went to Taco Bell. Yum. The Oreo cake was very nice (if you don't mind the ants).

Oh, and I know no one who reads this lives in the UK, but for the record, don't try to order picture prints from Tesco. We've tried twice and it didn't work either time. This last time I had a lovely conversation with "customer service" in which he was very sorry but he couldn't do anything helpful, and I decided to go somewhere else.

Friday, 10 April 2009


Title says it all, doesn't it?
We weren't going to say anything until my parents got their plane tickets, because we didn't want them to change plans one way or the other on my behalf, but Cedwryck was talking with Papa today and just happened to mention it. SO here we go.

I've known for a few is due Nov 3rd. I have a British midwife and we are planning a home birth. I had my first check up and my blood pressure is low - something like 55/80. Got a finger stick for an iron count today; won't get those results til next week. We are anticipating a girl this time, and if so she will be Carolyn Ruth, after Bob's mom and my grandma. We'll have to work on a boy's option.

So now I can say the reason we haven't gone anywhere for the last two 3-day weekends is that I've been nauseous and motion-sick and Bob didn't want to try for it. I am hoping this stage passes quickly.


Yesterday we did a very modified passover celebration. I bought some matzo, and we had chicken with bitter herbs. (Not planning ahead, I had no lamb on hand.) We were also out of grape juice, so I made some berry-flavored kool-aid. The one "traditional" thing we did was break a piece of matzo, wrap it in a white cloth, and hide it until after dinner. This is just SO symbolic of Jesus, even Cedwryck got it. In spite of a raging headache, Bob led us in a meal-long discussion about passover, Jesus, covenants, etc.

We are teaching our children that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday (that gives us the holy day on Thursday, Friday to buy and prepare spices, Saturday sabbath, and a total of 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb), so we aren't doing anything special today. In fact, Taryn and William had dr checkups today. After that we went out for lunch, and the children told everyone they met to have a "Happy Resurrection Day." :-D They got a couple of "what?"s in reply.
(With the timeline we have, Jesus rose late Saturday night. The Bible doesn't say he rose on Sunday, but that it was early Sunday morning when he was discovered to have risen. That's when the celebration began. When you read the gospel accounts together, this is the timeline that makes sense. Kinda messes with the Sunday sabbath theory a bit, but that doesn't bother me because the early church did meet on Sunday - probably after going to temple on Saturday - and the Bible teaches that there is no significance to keeping one day or another, as long as you keep it to the Lord.)

Sunday we plan to have garlic/rosemary roast chicken, and Oreo cake for dessert. Not sure of the sides yet.

Anyhow... I've made two baby hats. The dishwasher and bread machine are running, the babies are in bed... happy happy.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

fun stuff

I don't have the brainpower for a proper post, but there are a couple of things I want to mention.

We didn't go anywhere this weekend. We did something, but I can't remember.

Sunday, William was clapping his hands in church - with his thumb still firmly embedded in his mouth.
Riah kept turning around to holler at me that he could read a word from the overhead.
The Colonel (spelled right, this time) that bought our fridge sat behind us in church. Bob recognized that he'd been there once before - on the first visit Bob introduced himself and when he turned back to me he said, "I bet he's an officer."

We are going to have a booth at an upcoming craft fair on base. I think we might sell a few prints of local scenery. We'll also have business cards out, and maybe someone will schedule a portrait session. IF I get on with it, maybe I can knit a few baby hats as well. In looking through the pictures Bob took over the last year, I've gotten excited about going out more again. This country is so beautiful.

Lunch time.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

April already

I stayed offline yesterday, having been warned of a major virus being launched for April Fool's day. I guess I didn't miss much.

Another computer related issue: Bob's wireless mouse got lost a few days ago. We've looked everywhere and it has not been found. So he used my OLD notebook wireless mouse for a day and that was enough to finish it off. So he stopped and bought a new one. It is the same brand as his old one - in fact, I think he's still using the old receiver with it. But for some reason, now he gets interference from my laptop wireless mouse. He was browsing Ebay, and I was 10 feet away, playing a game, when he noticed portions of text being randomly highlighted and the page began scrolling. It was me. So now when Bob is home I have to use the built in touch pad.

Bob gets another 3 day weekend starting tomorrow. I wonder if we'll make it out this time. I'm thinking Lincoln is worth a visit, but we'll have to see how things go.

Meanwhile I'm still waiting for my parents to get their plane tickets so I have definite dates for planning the summer excursions. Bob and I hope to get away for a couple of days - we will fly up to Edinburgh and walk around a lot. And we will all go on a road trip to Holmfirth because they are big fans of "The Last of the Summer Wine." We might even go from there on up a bit, through the Lake District and to Hadrian's Wall. That will be a trip to remember.

For now, Taryn needs help brushing her hair.