Saturday, 30 May 2009


Well, today was supposed to be full, but we added to it as we went.

First thing was to clear out our bedroom to make ready for the new bed. This included stuffing our old queen size mattress onto the girls' full size futon bed to make it bigger and more comfy.

Then I headed to the commissary for the "case lot" sale. It was a bit of a bust, but I did get a couple of things.

When I got home Bob loaded the old box springs on top of the van, put the empty boxes in the back, and we went to the recycle center to dispose of it.

Next was to get the new bed. Bob had a guy from work offer to help with his pickup, but he didn't answer the phone. So we went on to Feltwell and gave the warehouse guy our receipt. He came back with a stack of new mattresses, so Bob had to point out that we'd bought a 'second' and the guy had to call and find out where it was, and go get it. We put that up on the van, and he went after a box spring. He got it half-way on the van and noticed it had a couple of spots on it, and asked if we wanted a discount or another one. We opted for the discount, which meant he had to call again and settle that, and I had to walk around to the front to get the money - $27. Bob got it all strapped down, and home we went.

As we headed into Hockwold, I was talking about the way the mattress was positioned, remarking in a very roundabout way that it looked all right. Well, Bob tried to check his mirror, and in doing so he veered a little into a side road. I saw he was headed to the curb ("kerb" over here) and hollered, "Curb, CURB!" But by the time he heard and reacted it was too late. Bang, POP, grind. We blew out the front driver's side tire ("tyre" over here). So Bob backed into a pub parking lot just across the street, and proceeded to show me how to change a tire on this van. It's really cool how the jack handle works to lower the spare, take off the hubcap, unscrew the lug nuts, and still crank the jack up and down.

So on home. Unload the mattress and springs, get the tire size and call the car care center. They had our size in stock! But the mechanic was "leaving" so we rushed over in time to get the new tire mounted on the old rim. Now!

Over to Mildenhall to shop for Naysha's birthday presents. We walked through, didn't see too much, and went out to eat in the food court. After eating I went back to buy. Everything I found was made in China, which I'm doing my best to boycott. So I didn't get the hula hoop or the horses or the sidewalk chalk... I found a game made in USA, and some stickers.

On the way home, I remembered passport photos. Before we can rent a car in Inverness (in 7 weeks), Bob has to have an international drivers license, which has to be issued by the home country, which I found a mail-in form for, but takes 6-8 weeks to get here. And it has to have a passport-size photo. So we went back onto Lakenheath to the picture place at the BX. As we were waiting for Bob, I decided to go in, too and see if there was something there that Naysha would like. No sidewalk chalk, no pretty hair things, no lip gloss... I guess the game and the skate party will have to do.

We finally made it home. Now we put the children to bed and I get to finish the cake. And maybe take a shower again since I feel dirty as well as sneezy from being out in the dust and pollen all day. At least I get a comfy new mattress to sleep on tonight. Yeah, after we take it upstairs and make it up...

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


We've been getting some odd sleep patterns lately.

Sunday night Bob had to work from 10:30 to 3:30. So Sunday afternoon he took a nap. He left while I was still awake, so I stayed up later than usual (about 11). Monday we tried to keep quiet so Bob could sleep in. Somehow, between the sush-ing and the videos, I fell asleep on the couch.
I woke Bob up at 9:45 and we went to Cambridge for a Memorial Day ceremony, which meant no naps for the little ones. The children went to bed at their normal time Monday night, and I was asleep on the couch by 9.

Riah and Cedwryck were awake all night. Bob got up twice to turn off their light and tell them to hush. I tossed and turned most of the night, either too hot or too cold.
This morning Bob went to work, and I got up at 6:30. Usually the boys are playing by 6, but today they were still asleep. I had no pity, but pulled the big two out of bed, leaving William to snooze.

William didn't wake up until 8:45 this morning! So he didn't get his nap at 9:30. :-) And here I am, trying to stay awake.

I'm ready to get back to "normal."

Sunday, 24 May 2009

other weekend news

Saturday we had a yard sale, and got rid of a bunch of stuff, and made nearly $100. Cool. Also, Bob grilled cheddar wursts and hot dogs for lunch.
At 1, I went to my neighbor's Tupperware party.

Today I discovered my first pea! I took a picture.

Friday the girls came down from their room very excited. There was a baby bird on their window ledge. Apparently there is a nest in the gutter above their window, and this youngster (had some feathers and some fluff) had fallen out or missed while flying back up. Anyway, there it was, cheeping away. It seemed agitated by our presence, so I closed the blinds. After a while the girls looked and it was gone (no splatters on the patio beneath, either). Whew. I'm glad it didn't come in. I didn't get a pic of that.

William is beside himself as he hasn't napped today. I better go feed him. :-)

new mattress

We bought a new mattress today.
Our current mattress is less than 10 years old, but we didn't get a new box springs when we bought it, so it faded faster than it should have. We went out to the furniture store (AAFES in Feltwell) a week or two ago to look around. They only carry Serta brand, but that happens to be my old favorite. We found one regular mattress we liked, and one "Vera Wang" that was equally comfortable. Vera's was more than $300 higher than the other. In the back room there was a Vera Wang (the kind we liked) marked down for "dirty marks" to near the price of the regular mattress. So we went home to think it over. On the way out the door I picked up a sale flier.

The next day I checked the flier and guess what! Mattresses were going to be on sale starting the 22nd. So Saturday after the yard sale, and naps, we went back out. We got there just a few minutes before closing so we didn't have time to do much more than verify that we still liked the same two, and found out that the mark-down wouldn't qualify for the promotions of free sheet set and free counting sheep. Bummer.
Last night I did some looking up (again) and found that Sertas are made in the USA, that Vera has a much higher coil count than the regular one, plus a 20 year warranty as opposed to 10. Oh, and it's covered in organic cotton. So we pondered.

Today after church and lunch we went out. The marked-down mattress was still there. We pulled it out and laid it on the floor. As far as we could see there was one tiny smudge on the corner, and the rest looked and felt fine. I'd discovered that damaged goods don't qualify for the warranty, but that really we would nullify it soon anyway, as any stain will also disqualify it. Plus I'd read that it was difficult to get Serta to do much about a bad bed. So I went up front to negotiate. I figured since the new beds were on sale, the clearance one should be more on sale. All I had to do was ask. The manager said they'd take another 25% off the sale price. Which brought the total to lower than I'd intended to ask for. Cool! We got a new box springs, too, which were also on sale, and a mattress cover.

So maybe we'll be sleeping better soon. We did opt to pick it up ourselves rather than have it delivered for $100. SO no cute plush sheep, but we saved over $400, and I think we got a good mattress.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

London town

Monday was a "goal day" for Bob's squadron (flight, wing... whatever) and we wanted to do something. I have these "deal tokens" from Tesco worth 20GBP, and I knew they would be enough to get us into the Tower Bridge, which I thought we would all enjoy. So that's what we planned to do. Please realize I use the term "plan" loosely. We thought we knew what we were doing...

We set the alarm for 5:30, but somehow we didn't get up until 6. Bob showered while I woke up the children, and we all dressed, found socks and shoes, and were out of the house at 7. It was sunny, no clouds at all, and already over 50*, so we didn't bring coats. We went up to the shoppette for gas and breakfast. They have Krispy Kreme doughnuts delivered fresh on Monday, and while they aren't our favorite brand when there is a choice, they are pretty good after a year without any doughnuts. So Bob pumped gas and poured windshield washer fluid while I picked out doughnuts and a bag of jerky (I brought fruit from home).

The roads weren't bad as we headed south, but we couldn't help noticing the clouds were gathering. As we neared our exit there was a message on the highway notice sign: "Queues on slip road" (In American that means traffic on the exit ramp). So we got in queue with everybody else headed toward the tube station in Epping. It was 8:15 when we arrived and the parking lot was already full and closed for the day. I'm not sure what everybody else did, as the only other parking lot in town is short term, and the whole place is painted in double stripes so there is no street parking, but what we did was drive on down to Loughton, which also has a tube station and parking lot. The spaces there are tiny, but there were several open, and Bob managed to squeeze the van into one. WooHoo! Here we are! Parking was even cheaper than at Epping.

We got out of the van and noticed it was cold and windy. We scrounged around in the van and found a sweater for William, a sweatshirt for Naysha, a jacket for Riah, a blanket for Ella, and another blanket that Taryn used as a shawl. Cedwryck had brought a jacket because he'd just got a new camouflaged one and he's been wearing it non-stop. Of course we all needed a toilet, and of course there wasn't one there. So up our first flight of stairs to the platform, which was out in the wind. And then the announcements started. All trains were suspended because of a customer-related incident at the St Paul station, and we'd be told more soon. I considered going back down the stairs and across the parking lots to the grocery store toilets, but decided I could wait. It wasn't long before we were informed that the hold up was a woman giving birth on the tube. Well! What do you say to that? It wasn't too long before trains started moving again, and we got on one with just enough room for the stroller at one end, Bob and I standing, and the other 4 children sharing the two half-seats on the rear wall of the car. Every stop as we went closer to downtown, more people got on than off and it was soon to the point where we didn't have to worry about falling over because there was no place to fall.

We had to change lines at Mile End station, so off we got. We almost hurried and got on the wrong train, but decided to wait since it was crowded. That gave us time to really read the signs and see what we needed to do. Of course what we needed to do was go up stairs. In spite of the crush on the trains, the station itself was not crowded. So up stairs, across the track, and down stairs to the other platform. This station didn't have a toilet either. We hopped our train, which had empty seats (yea!) and on to Tower Hill stop. Tower Hill didn't have toilets either.

So up stairs and out on the street, where it started to drizzle as we figured out which way to go. The best way to the Tower bridge was, of course, down a flight of stairs! Maybe this is a good time to mention that the stroller itself weighs 15-20 pounds, the babies together are over 60lbs, and we had the bag of fruit, drinks, and the diaper bag hanging from the back. Total it was well over 100lbs. Going up stairs was more weight on Bob, but going down it was more weight on me. Twice in the day the whole weight rested on a spot on my forearm, which I'm sure will be a lovely purple by the end of today. Somewhere between the station and the bridge we spotted a cafe, and Taryn went in to ask about a toilet. There was a pay toilet around back. We found it with someone inside and a man waiting. The man finally gave up and left, but we waited. A man came out and held the door open for us so we wouldn't have to pay. :-) We all took it by turns, though Cedwryck didn't see the door release button and I did have to pay once. Greatly relieved, we all ate a piece of fruit.

Anyway, we made it onto the bridge, which of course is lovely even though it was being renovated. Across to the first tower, where the exhibition starts. Before we even got in the door we were met by an employee who informed us that the lift was not in operation, so we'd have to navigate the stairs. I asked (assumed, really) about leaving the stroller at the bottom, and he said we couldn't do that. Oh. So now what? The one thing we'd planned to do was out, and it was about this time I realized that our map of London (which we'd bought last time down) was still in the glove box of the van, for our convenience.

So we looked around a bit. The Tower, yeah. The HMS Belfast? It was *right* there. Sounded good. Now the funny thing about the Thames is that it isn't really at street level, so when we crossed the bridge to the Belfast's side of the river we still couldn't get to it. There were stairs down, but I wasn't convinced they led anywhere other than the engine rooms, part of the bridge exhibition. So we walked down the street and around the block and through a garden to the riverside. Then down to the boat. Children are free, so it turned out not TOO expensive, and they had a place to park the stroller. We spent the next couple of hours exploring the ship. Up and down ladders (fun for someone who doesn't like heights and had to carry a baby so she was going down ladders with one hand), in and out of all the rooms... It was fun. We were getting pretty hungry and almost cut the visit short, but I saw a sign about a cafe. So up another deck to the cafe where we had sausage and mash, ham sandwiches, rarebit with bacon, and a scone. The sandwiches and rarebit were a bit heavy on the mustard, but we were hungry enough to eat most of it anyway.

Would you know, with only one public toilet in the whole city, there were two on the boat? So we left there feeling much better, but not really knowing what to do next.
There was a sign/map thing that we looked at, and it mentioned a church just down the road. We went down, across, over and back before we found it. Not very attractive, and locked up tight. So we headed back toward the river. We went back across and headed toward the Tower. Might as well. That thing is HUGE. By the time we got around it Bob's knee was hurting so badly that he didn't think he could make it through. So we watched pigeons and people for while, but the rest didn't help either. I wasn't going to say so in case Bob did decide to go in, but my hips were pretty sore, too, so I didn't mind when he decided to call the day.

So back to the tube station - up stairs, down stairs, down again. Ouch! Onto the tube, where we got seats and Cedwryck nearly fell asleep before our change. We all nodded off on the longer ride back out to Loughton. Between Epping and the Motorway is the McDonald's with a playplace. It's almost obligatory that we stop there for dinner. And we were home in plenty of time to unload and prepare for bed.

Friday, 15 May 2009

victory is HIS

For those who follow the blog but don't Facebook,
The list of promotions came out yesterday, and Bob wasn't on it. As I said to him last night, I'm disappointed in the results, but I'm not disappointed in him. Bob has been growing a lot recently in the patience department, and I'm proud of him. Through the grace of God, he is victorious. Praise be!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

upside-down thinking

So I got to thinking Sunday, about God's ways being not like our ways. We were singing a song about how the church was always victorious or something, and my mind flashed back to Ganieda's post about the Holocaust (and something else I'd recently read, forget what now) and I thought, "How was that time a victory for the church?" But rather than sinking into a depression and calling God a liar, I remembered that God doesn't look at things quite the same way as we do.

In God's "economy" (as they say), the martyrs won. In man's eyes they lost; they died horrible deaths. But they kept their faith, they finished the fight, and they overcame the devil and the world. What greater victory is there?

So, back to the holocaust for a minute. I remembered Schindler, and got to wondering about him. I just read a short bio on Wikipedia because, other than the name, I knew nothing about him. He was a Catholic, who joined the Nazi party out of nationalism (now there's a good argument for Anabaptists against getting too attached to your world), and used his position to gain wealth, with which he protected some 800-1200 Jews. He may not have been the ideal Christian, but he did have a good victory even in horrible times. And there were many others who sacrificed much to overcome the world.

Anyway, I'm not very eloquent, but hopefully I make sense at least. What sparked this again today was reading the following foot note in my Geneva Bible (1 Corinthians 1:17):

The reason why he used not the pomp of words and painted speech: because it was God's will to bring the world to his obedience by that way, whereby the most idiots among men might understand, that this work was done of God himself without thee art of man. Therefore as salvation is set forth unto us in the Gospel by the cross of Christ, than which nothing is more contemptable, and more far from life, so God would hace the manner of the preaching of the cross most different from those means, with which men do use to draw and entice others, either to hear or believe: therefore it pleased him by a certain kind of most wise folly, to triumph over the most foolish wisdom of the world, as he had said before by Isaiah: that he would. And hereby this we may gather, that both the doctors which were puffed up with ambitious eloquence, and also their hearers strayed far away from the end and mark of their vocation.

Which also reminds me of Ganeida's post on scouting, and Bob's comments on the story of Jesus and the 153 fish - "Throw your nets on the other side" - don't do it man's logical way, do it God's supernatural way.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


I got my watch on Flickr.

Bob found his phone that I got him for Christmas and he lost in January. It was in his blues pants pocket, but he hadn't worn them for ages, since an exception was made for him to not have to wear it every Monday, since he still has to go out into the hanger. But today they are having a blues inspection, so it came out of the closet, and there was the phone! I wonder how many messages he has. :-)

Got to go, lots to do today.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Mother's Day

Living over here we get two Mother's Days - the British one in April and the American one in May. American Mother's Day was yesterday. Bob had forgotten about it until Friday, and to be honest I wasn't sure about it either until all my Facebook buddies talked about getting stuff for their mothers.

Saturday after the craft fair (which was fun, but we didn't make any money) we went over to Mildenhall and Bob got me a present. We also looked for bike tires (since we finally checked the size on Naysha's bike) - they were out - and got some sunscreen.

Sunday morning Bob gave me my present, which I will take a picture of for Flickr - a pendant watch (can be clipped to something - in my case the inner zipper of the diaper bag, or hung on a chain like a necklace) in pewter, with a Celtic knot on the front. Very cool.
Then we went to church, which was good as ever. William slept most of the service on my lap, and Cedwryck fell asleep in his chair next to me, and then Ella dozed off on the other side of me. I had a HARD time keeping my eyes open in the midst of all that.

After church we skipped the pot blessing and headed home to change clothes and grab the picnic lunch I'd packed earlier. It was the Medieval Fair in Snailwell! We went last year on Saturday morning, and ended up so hot and dehydrated that we went home before the joust. But we'd enjoyed it and wanted to go again.
It was 1:30 when we arrived, so we sat down out of the way and had our picnic. Before we'd finished eating we saw two families that we knew. After lunch (peanut butter sandwiches, pears, drinks and sweets) we walked around to the various tents and displays. Bob chatted with the blacksmith for awhile, the boys tried on every piece of armor and lifted every weapon at the armory, and we met another family that we knew.
Then it was time for the joust. It wasn't actually a joust, as in two horses riding at each other full speed while the riders try to knock each other off, but rather a skill display/competition. While lots of the reenactments advertise a "Henry VIII" jousting tournament, this one featured a rather more favorite king of mine, Richard I. His opponent was a Templer. They went through several tests of skill, spearing 5" diameter rings at full speed, running down the announcer, and hand-to-hand combat on horseback. The sun was out the whole time, so the horses (and riders, I'm sure) were getting a bit warm. They paraded around a bit for pictures and interviews, and we went on around the grounds.
Bob stopped (without any prodding from me) at the fudge stand, and bought some caramel/chocolate fudge. It was VERY good. I shared a little bit. Next stop was the costume tent. We got a dress for Taryn and for Naysha, an archery kit for Riah (since Bob broke his bow from last year), and a "diablo" toy for Cedwryck. We looked at the adult clothing, but anything that was worth wearing was quite expensive. Then the announcer announced the children's tournament. Ours missed out last year, so this year they were eager to go. A hundred children were armed with foam sticks and sent out to battle a half-dozen knights in armor, but with no weapons. The knights were beat down by force of numbers and the children were victorious. :-D
One last purchase, at the fabric merchant. Bob got two sheepskins for 20GBP, and I got some interesting material at 1GBP per meter. I'm going to try to make a medieval peasant dress. The snag is that I'm trying to figure how to make it a nursing dress without making it complicated.

The fair closed at 5, and we were hungry again (of course). Having smelled all the good food at church that morning, I wanted "real" food as opposed to burgers or sandwiches. We settled on a Chinese takeaway in Mildenhall. It was the best Chinese we've had locally, so we will be calling on them again, I'm sure. The chicken with pineapple was a little bland, but the chicken with ginger and spring onions was awesome. Riah and Bob both bit into a slice of ginger, which was a bit much, but the chicken was very good.

The children played outside a while, and then we tidied up and went to bed. So it was a good, full day.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


Yesterday I went for my ultrasound, which is known over here as a scan.

To be honest, I was a little worried, going in. At first, I'd had a funny feeling it was twins. Something had brought the idea to my head way early in the pregnancy, and then the symptoms have been so bad... And lately I've started to worry that I haven't felt movement yet...

So it was a relief when the woman flipped the monitor around and said, "One baby, with a heartbeat." Little one was laying all stretched out on his/her back, kicking away at my bladder. I don't know if it was that the machine was pretty clear, or just the unique posture of this child, but Bob and I both felt a lot of personality coming through. No confirmation on gender, but whoever this child is, it sure is a cute one.

That part of the day went quickly, and the children were well accommodated for (as opposed to American prenatal visits). But then I went to have blood drawn, and there was quite a waiting list there. So Bob took the children out to the van to watch a movie while I waited. I hate having blood drawn, and it took awhile to get myself calmed down. Then I went back, and the woman was fussing at me for the way in which my midwife had filled out the form. Um, this is something I know nothing about and have no control over. I was afraid she would be rough because she was upset about the paperwork, but it was the gentlest stick I've ever had. Didn't even feel it when she switched vials on me.

After that we had lunch and bought a new shower curtain, then come home for naps.
After naps we took off to Peterborough to look at a "minibus" we'd seen on Ebay. It was 1 1/2 hour drive, and we didn't get the van. It was older, and had a few issues, and the guy wouldn't negotiate on his price. On the way home we stopped a few times to take pictures, and to use the toilet at a kebab place (Bob got a doner kebab and it was gross to me, but he ate some of it). Home for bed.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


I closed the PC party last night. Thanks to a couple of last minute orders, I far exceeded my expectations and got $90 worth of free product. Yippee! I got every single item on my want list (I did have to buy one of them). To keep it quick I won't get into how many things I *wanted* but didn't put on my short list because they are made in China. The one thing that got my goat was that the "feed America's hungry" special trivet is made in China. Yes, the $1 per sale is a nice donation to charity, but wouldn't it feed a lot more Americans if it they paid Americans to make it?

The dinosaur park yesterday was a lot of fun. It's basically a HUGE themed playground. They had a maze, mini golf, a petting farm, pedal-go carts, climbing and digging equipment... All the children did VERY well; no fussing or fighting. I found it with no trouble. The fly in the ointment was that yesterday was our first rainy day in a LONG time, and it was pretty damp until about 1 o'clock. We left about 3, as I was tired and Ella had a leaky diaper.
Got home to pot roast in the crock pot and had time for everyone to get grumpy before Bob made it home.

Time to get ready for my ultrasound.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

a whole week

Can't believe it's been so long!
I had my Pampered Chef party Friday night; had 9 ladies and 20 children (only 6 were boys). It was a lot of fun, and the food was good. Didn't get a huge amount of sales, but I will make my goal.

Saturday we went to the community garage sale at Lakenheath High; bought a dress for Naysha and a few books and a Game Boy with game and batteries. Then we went to the Bazaar on Mildenhall and bought nothing.

Throughout the week we fought illness, cleaned house, had some school, and Bob worked a lot.

I still don't have my voice back entirely, but it doesn't hurt to talk now.

This coming week will be full. Tuesday we are going to a Dinosaur Adventure park (Monday going to get bread for sandwiches) with the homeschool group. It's about an hour away and I will be driving without Bob. Wednesday Bob will take off work to go with me to Newmarket for my ultrasound. Thursday I have an appointment with my midwife. So far Friday is free. Saturday we will set up a table at a base craft fair to try to sell some photos and get portrait business.

Last night I put William in the bathtub without having him cry. (First time ever!) He likes to stack blocks, and we have bath blocks, so first thing I did was play blocks with him on the floor. Then, one by one, I threw the blocks in the tub. Then I put William in the tub and he stood there (holding on to me) and we figured how to stack blocks in the water (harder than it sounds). Eventually he relaxed enough to bend over to reach the blocks. Then, finally, I sat him down. He did cry at that point, but stopped crying to stack a bit more. Realizing that he was getting bored with the blocks, and the water was cooling off a bit, I went ahead and washed him, which did upset him a bit. He liked naming his chin as I washed it, but after that it was all bad. Well, it's a start.

Right now he and Ella are sitting on the floor, whispering to each other. It is so cute that they are playing together and being such good friends already. How many 19 month olds know how to actually play with another child?

Okay, stopping now before I let the floodgates all the way open.