Tuesday, 30 June 2009

missing it

I want to blog. Started to this morning but didn't get far because of headache, and now it's bed time.


topics to consider:
(no) disappointment with God
the other stuff I forgot. :-D
See you tomorrow, I hope.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

still here

Well, I've been slacking on the blog. The only thing that happened this week that I wanted to talk about was Sunday, when a man tried to pick a fight with Bob, and somehow it seemed best if I didn't publicize the event.

Today Bob had a framing class, to get certified to use the equipment in the frame shop (to make his own picture frames). It was from 10-2, on Mildenhall. We waffled a bit and decided we should all go along. We dropped Bob off at the frame shop and went to the BXtra. Wandered around, looking at all the toys, garden furniture, and stuff. The "Faith Girls" dolls were marked down to half price, so I let the girls pick out a new one (they each got one for Christmas, and have been itching for another). I wanted to get tissues and rechargeable batteries, but they had neither. All done shopping, we went out to the bathrooms. Once we got done in there it was lunch time, but Naysha noticed a pack of candy in Cedwryck's back pocket. It was still unopened. So I took him and it back to the store, and made him apologize to the customer service lady. She was very kind about it, and took it back.

So then into the food court, where I was just delighted to see they had installed a ride-on game, and a chance game. Anyway, I parked next to it, thinking it may keep the children distracted while I ordered our food. As it was, the children climbing on top of the helicopter game distracted the Burger King employee and he forgot to make my shakes. :-D SO we ate, and made our way to the car. Just got buckled in when Bob called and asked me to get him some lunch. So I left the children to watch a video in the van while I went back in and got him a taco.

Took Bob his lunch, and got to thinking about Father's Day. I'd noticed that the gift shop in the BXtra was carrying swords again... SO I asked Bob if he wanted to pick out his own gift, or should I go ahead. He told me to do it. SO back to the BXtra, where I bought a Richard Lionheart sword. Yes, I know Father's Day was last week. What are you gonna do?

Then we went to the indoor playground for awhile until the frame class was over. It was lots of fun. As Cedwryck said, they had 3 fun things today: riding the helicopter thing, watching a movie, and going to the playground.

The class wasn't done until 2:30. We then went to the BX on Lakenheath to get a new DVD player. Our DVD recorder has been very irritable lately. I also found two tops for myself, and the batteries we wanted.

Now we are home to rest a bit, and will go do something else involving food before long.

Friday, 19 June 2009

runner's knee

Yesterday after my "scan" appt, Bob had a Dr appointment about his knee. He's had trouble with it off and on for years, occasionally falling down in the grocery store and having moderate to severe pain at different points. He's been to the Dr before, but in typical military-Dr style they usually give him a prescription for Motrin and send him away.

Bob said this doctor actually seemed to listen. He examined the knee, discovering that the kneecap won't move. He sent Bob down for Xrays (which was a fun experience, apparently, with a hospital gown, Xrays on hands and knees, and a female technician). He got Bob an appointment with physical therapy, and gave him a 30 day excuse from running. Doc said the therapy probably won't help much, so Bob can come back in 30 days and get another running pass. He has to do 30 days at a time for a few months, and if the problem persists he can then get a 1 year pass. So at least Bob won't have to keep on making it worse in order to fit into the Air Force PT rules.

We make a fine pair; me with arthritis and Bob with Runner's Knee. Though I must say, with our new be, my hip hasn't been bothering me much at all lately. >thumbs up<

Bob called earlier... The therapist had the Xray results, and turns out that Bob has a touch of arthritis, too. But what makes it all very interesting is that his kneecap is actually sideways. So they gave him a knee brace and wished him luck, but again, didn't expect much to get better; he just has to not use the knee much.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Taryn was wrong

Back when Taryn was about 2, she wanted a baby sister. And then 2 boys. And then "girl, boy; flip, flop." When the next baby was a girl it was pretty cool. Then we had two boys in a row; interesting. Then a girl. So we expected William to be a boy, but the ultrasound indicted a girl, but then he was (is) a boy. So we really were confident that Taryn had it pegged and this one is a girl.

But today we saw clear evidence to the contrary.
I keep playing the video over in my mind to see if it could have been anything else, but I don't know what it would be if not THAT. The ultrasound is the clearest we've seen, so there is little mistaking it for a loop of umbilical cord, or much anything else.

So back to the name lists we go.

Monday, 15 June 2009


A few details I forgot.

Saturday night as we were getting ready for bed I felt my calves getting tighter and tighter, and sure enough, not long after laying down my right calf cramped up front and back. Ouch!

If you read my posts on Facebook you'll know that I've been walking 'most every day. There is an open grassy area behind the houses with a sidewalk around it, that the children have been calling "the square." They like to go out there and play ball with their friends, but we've been concerned about having them out of sight for long periods of time. SO I combined my need for exercise with their need of supervision, and I walk around the square with William in the stroller while the other children play or skate or ride bikes.

Taryn and Naysha both have inline skates now, courtesy of the thrift shops. Taryn is pretty good.

I bought some local honey at a farm shop Saturday morning, and am eating a spoonful per day in hopes of allergy help.

Other little things like not being able to change my password on Paypal, and getting automated responses when I email them, the boys knocking down the clothes rail in their closet, getting the upstairs shower fixed (hopefully), rearranging the living room because of the sunshine...

And big things like deciding when to retire and what to do after that. Bob can get college help with the new GI bill, but there is a 'cap' on it, and the "perfect" college that I found yesterday has tuition rates high above the cap.

Life goes on.


I am sorry for having neglected my blog so much.

This last week I've been fighting extreme tiredness, often falling asleep on the couch during the day. I've also had a HUGE burst of allergies; Friday I literally sat with my eyes closed and my mouth open for much of the day, just trying to breathe and not rub my eyes. Not that I'm making excuses.

The children are in a constant state of excitement from the summer weather, friends getting out of school, and grandparents on the way. Wednesday it came to a head, and we had to call a "no computer" rule until I can get them back on track. Of course, no computer for them means very little computer time for me, as I have to watch carefully and talk way more than I want to.

Friday was a family day or goal day, anyway Bob was off work and the sun was back out after 2 weeks of clouds. We planned to have breakfast at Rugby's - a little restaurant at the club on base. I'd noticed one day that they have waffles at breakfast, and that is a real treat for Bob (I used to make waffles every so often, but with 8 hungry people it's hard to keep up at home). So we showed up at 7:30 ready to eat. (They claim to open at 6:30 M-F) They were closed. Very disappointed, we got some sausage biscuits at Burger King. I see now that their website does say they open at 11 on family days. Naturally! On the one day that active duty would be able to go out for breakfast, they don't have it. But that's assuming all active duty has to work like maintenance, and we all know that's not true. So what can we learn from this? Study hard, go to college, so you can get a 9-3 desk job and have little perks like time.

Anyway, we also went out to Mildenhall to see if they had a booster seat at the thrift store, but it was also closed for the family day. That, I can understand better, as it is run by volunteer wives, who would like to have some time with their spouses when they are off work. We went into Mildenhall town to take some forms by the estate agent's office (yes, 5 months later, we are finally all done!) and to check the market. Then we went to Newmarket to get some prints at Tesco. While waiting for that we went into town and looked in some charity shops and an "everything's a pound" store - got a sprinkler and some gift wrap. On the way home we went through Isleham and picked a couple of 'punnets' of strawberries - just over 4 pounds.

Friday night I had an awful time sleeping, and was in fact up on the computer from 1:30 til 4:30. I kept waiting to get sleepy, but when I saw the sun come up at 4 I thought I'd better get on with it.

Saturday (up at 6:30) we hung around all morning. Let the children play outside, let William nap. After lunch (at home) we headed to Cambridge. They were having a "thing" in one of the parks, celebrating 800 years of colleges or something. We wandered around out there for a few hours, checking out the steam tractors, sheep, shops, and wishing the bouncy things weren't so expensive. It was "very hot" (our car thermometer read 77*) and bright. We applied sunscreen and drank lots of water. When we'd seen the whole thing we decided to go downtown to the market area. It was such a crowd on the way over that by the time we got there we were worn out and headed to the bus stop to go back to the car. We thought about eating in town there, but nothing sounded good, and it was quite crowded everywhere. So we headed home, blasting the A/C. By the time we got back to the base we felt better and were hungry, so we went to the BX for dinner. All but Taryn had Charley's; she had pizza. Then we went into the store where Bob found a couple of nice shirts on clearance. So then home and to bed.

Makes me tired just writing about it.

Sunday we went to church, where I had my first major theological dispute with pastor. He was preaching about Jesus as the model child, and while he kept repeating "100% God, 100% man" he then went on to explain how Jesus stopped being God while he was on earth. Um, no, don't think so! Sounded very "oneness" to me. I almost got worried about Bob because he said he agreed with the sermon, but after a little friendly chat in the car I realized that it's all very tricky in definitions, but Bob does believe in the deity of Jesus and we are all good.
On our way out of church a lady stopped me and invited us over for lunch next Sunday. !! We haven't been invited to someone's house for a meal since...oh, Riah was a baby. We can't next week because Bob has weekend duty, but agreed to the week after.

After church we went to Mildenhall town to pick up a booster seat I'd seen advertised for sale. After that we decided to get some Chinese. Bob wanted to try the Thai place, too. So we parked in the one lot they have, and Bob walked over to order while I sat with the children. The Chinese place was closed, so we all got food from the Thai place, and took it home to eat.
After lunch the children went outside, and it wasn't long before someone asked if we could get out the slip'n'slide. (Our neighbors who moved out last week gave it to us since they didn't want to move it.) We agreed, and it wasn't long before a dozen other children were lined up in our yard eager to get wet. Not a huge problem, but a few of the girls were in bikinis. I almost asked them to leave... We don't go to public pools so we don't have to see that mess, and here it was coming to our yard. Frustrating.

And here we are to Monday. My parents will be here in 4 weeks and a day, and we've only got one thing crossed off our list of things to do. Not that I'm panicking yet. :-)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Proud of my boys

A few days ago the children were playing outside, and one of the neighbors hit Riah with a metal rod. He cried, got over it, and was playing again when the child hit him again. I heard him cry, and watched through the window. He stayed very calm, and quietly went around to all the children, collecting all the rods, which he then brought inside to me. He didn't yell, lose his temper, strike back... I was very proud.

Our next door neighbors are moving out. They have given us an outside play castle/slide thing, and a few small toys that they didn't want to move. The day they were packing out, Cedwryck came up to me and said he wanted to give the neighbors something since they had given us so much. I explained that they didn't want any *thing* as they were packing, but we did offer to take them to dinner. What a guy!

Two nights ago, as we were tucking in the boys, William said, "Love you, Daddy." His first sentence, and what a doozer!

Brain fog

I've heard rumors of "pregnancy brain" and now I believe it.

Friday I was checking our bank account online and saw a mystery charge. Labeled AAFES (the military-sponsored store chain), but with a different code than I'd seen before. (Each store has its own code that shows up on our bank charges - AAFES LK M is the main store on Lakenheath; AAFES BK is the Burger King.) So I looked at the transaction details and it was posted on Saturday. SO I racked my brain for information on Saturday... We went out to Mildenhall for dinner, and I bought Naysha some presents, but neither of those was that much. I asked Bob, and he couldn't think of anything we'd spent $x on. Finally I checked my blog and realized that Saturday we'd bought a new tire for the van. DUH! Panic over, it all makes sense now.
I nearly did the same thing yesterday, when a charge for $y showed up at the main store. What could we have bought there for $y? It was Bob's new memory card for his camera.

Yesterday about noon I was thinking of what to fix for dinner. I wanted to have some of the snow peas, but that's hardly a meal even with my reduced appetite. So I decided on BBQ beans and homemade dinner rolls. (I like having rapid rise yeast on hand.) I figured how long I'd need to fix it, and went on to something else. About 3:30, my time to cook, I headed to the kitchen wondering what on earth to fix along with the snow peas. >smack self in head< Oh, yeah! I'd already figured that out.

Today I'm wondering what to fix for dinner, and we're going to have pizza at the homeschool "end of year" party.

Let's just hope I don't do something really dumb.

Do you think it might be worse because I'm getting 7 hours of sleep per night? Is there a baby-safe vitamin that would help?

Sunday, 7 June 2009

How to buy a van in England

Now that we've got it done, I thought I'd offer a few tips.

1. Figure out what to call it. Over here, a "van" means a vehicle of any size with seats in the front and panels instead of windows in the back, with an open cargo space. If you want a "minivan," look for a "people carrier." If you want something with more than 9 seats, it is called a "minibus."

2. Check Ebay motors everyday. Craigslist hasn't caught on here very well, and the base lemon lot doesn't see any minibuses.

3. Forget trying to see a vehicle on a weekend. The owner is either working or away for the weekend and isn't available to show the bus. Also, lower expectations about email response time. Selling the bus isn't a priority - if you don't make it, someone else will.

Now that you have these basics down, you can make some progress. :-)

We found a cheap 15 passenger on Ebay, and were "watching" it. Wednesday Bob happened to get off work by 3pm, so we contacted the owner. They finally replied, and we high-tailed it down to the village of Braughing. It was just over an hour's drive, through a couple of lovely villages. The minibus looked in good condition for the age and price, so we decided to buy it. Only one problem - it wasn't taxed. Now taxes here are a bit different than in the states. Here, the tax is for the privilege of using the road; you can pay 6 or 12 months at a time, and as receipt you get a little "disk" to stick in the window. The tax disk is for the vehicle, not the owner/driver. But... To pay taxes on a car, you have to have proof of insurance and ownership. And we weren't sure at the time about grace periods for new owners.
So, it was decided that the previous owner would put the bus back on her insurance, just for a couple of days, and pay the tax online. This would put it in the database, and if we were to get stopped the police would see that we had paid the tax, just the disk hadn't arrived yet. Bob took some pictured of the ducks, we ate at McDonalds, and went home to bed.

Thursday morning the lady emailed, saying it was too expensive to insure, even for a few days, so she gave me the info so I could insure and tax it. Fine. I tried to get the insurance online, but as our company (USAA) is based in the US it didn't recognize the British style VIN number. So I called, even though it was 3am Central time, and got transferred to a live person with an Australian accent. It was no problem to get the insurance; she emailed me proof of insurance to print and take with me, and sent a hard copy in the mail. The bus owner said it would show up on the database in 24 hours, so I waited impatiently for a day.

Friday morning I checked the database, and the bus wasn't listed as insured. The result came back with a big warning that if we drove it uninsured we would be stopped and the vehicle destroyed. So I called USAA again, and they said it usually takes "several days" to get in the database. The woman was helpful, and tried to find some other way for me to get the tax disk, but we didn't come up with much. I got my insurance letter in the post Friday. So some things work better over here.

After a few frantic emails to the bus owner she (or her husband) had a thought, and we got it sorted rather quickly, as follows.

Saturday morning we met at the bus. We had the proof of insurance and the money. She had the V5 (sort of the title) and the proof of MOT (inspection) which we also needed. She hopped in her car, and we followed her through three villages to her local Post Office. She and Bob went in, she signed over the V5, showed the MOT and the insurance, and Bob paid the tax. Viola! We were all done. Bob got the tax disk, and we should get the new V5 in our name next week in the mail. Phew.

On the way out to the minibus we stopped a few times and took pictures - Bob has a few on his Flickr.

Bob drove it home, I followed in the minivan, and we stopped at McDonalds again for lunch. Bob also got some petrol at the station there. Once home, Bob took the wheel of the minivan again, and we went to look for car seats. As part of the SOFA (standard of forces agreement), we have to use American certified car seats in American cars, and British/European car seats in British cars. So everyone but Taryn has to have a new booster seat. We went to the thrift shop on Mildenhall, but they didn't have any. Stopped at a yard sale, but they didn't have any. Bought a Spirograph. Went to the furniture store in Feltwell, as that is the AAFES branch that sells baby stuff. They had a dozen models of American booster seats, starting at $20, but only one British seat and it was $62. So we decided to check the internet.

Back home for naps, play, and dinner, etc.

I did find a few seats on Ebay. I think Bob bid on a couple of them just now. And so another misadventure has come to a close, and we can cross one thing off our list of "Things to get done before Mom and Dad get here."

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Yeah, I'm not so good at titles.

I've been doing little mini-updates on Facebook and so haven't been blogging as much.

Friday was Naysha's birthday, and I made her requested dinner of BBQ meatballs and Macaroni. She also got to watch Robin Hood, and didn't have to do any work. But cake and presents had to wait. She wanted a skating party, and the best time for that is Sunday afternoon. So after church Sunday we came home to change and have a lunch, picked up the presents (after I wrapped them) and the cake and ice cream, and went to the skating rink on base. Bob, the children, and our guests (those that came, anyway - one family simply didn't show up) skated for an hour, and then the pizza arrived. So we ate, had cake, opened presents, and skated a couple more hours. It was fun for all, but Monday I was completely wiped out (and I didn't even skate!). My little brain is still skipping Monday - I can't comprehend that today is Wednesday.

I already talked about Saturday...

Yesterday I was going to run some errands, and the car wouldn't start. Click, nothing. I was hopeful that it was simply a loose connection, but couldn't make out anything, so we all came back in the house. I put William down for a nap and I took a walk and picked peas. The peas almost need picking twice a day, they are producing so much. I'm going to try to freeze some, I guess.
Bob got home and looked at the van. We were digging for jumper cables when the neighbor came home and offered to help. So I came in to cook dinner and let them have it. Turned out there was some corrosion on the battery wires/posts, and a little baking soda was all it required.

This morning I ran errands. Got some free flowers from the housing office's "self-help" store. Mailed some stuff, took Bob our coffee pot since he broke the one at work, got my med records from the clinic, and got a few groceries. Came home, had leftovers for lunch, and went out to make a flower bed. Anything is an improvement over nothing, so it looks pretty good to me. I mulched the bed with landscape fabric and rocks that were given to us, and now I feel very grimy from the rocks and dirt. Also, I need to look at the pictures I took of making the cake and flower bed.