Monday, 30 November 2009

picture of the crowd

I hope. Bob took this picture of the crowd pushing through the Abbey gate in Bury on Saturday.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

the Bury fayre

What a deal!

We'd decided on Friday that we wanted to go to Bury on Saturday. I was glad to see the sky was still clear when we got up. But by the time Bob got up, it was cloudy. We pressed on. After a "tea party" lunch we got ready to go. By the time we got from the front door to the car door (about 5 steps) we were freezing, but we pressed on. We hadn't made it out of the neighborhood before it started drizzling, but we pressed on. When we arrived at the temporary park n ride, we first saw the big queue of people waiting for the bus, but we pressed on. Then we saw the entrance to the parking lot was height restricted, so we pressed on into town. It wasn't long before we realized we were in a queue of cars headed to the parking lot, so we pressed on. After an hour in queue, we arrived at the parking lot. The main lot was full, but there was ONE spot in the motorhome area, so we grabbed it with the blessing of the attendant/traffic director guy. First thing, Bob went to the toilet and to pay for parking. I got Elijah out of his seat to try to feed him before we got out, but he didn't wake up. Bob came back, realizing that we ahd no money for the parking ticket machine, but we pressed on. He walked across the parking lot to a pub, where he bought a coke and got change. By this time Elijah was waking up, and we pressed on. Bob took the older children to the toilet while William pretended to drive and I changed Elijah and fed him. Then we pressed on. ;-)

All bundled with coats, hats, gloves, and a scarf or two, we headed toward the town center. We went through the Abbey gardens, having heard there were vendors there. Huddled together in a small area near the wall were a couple dozen tents of various descriptions. Selling bread, sausages, pashminas, candle-powered boats, fudge... The area was nicely covered with outdoor carpet for easy passage, and with the people and lights it was much warmer there. Not finding anything to buy, we pressed on. Being a walled garden, everybody in there had to go in and out through the one gate. It's a nice big gate, but there were an awful lot of people. We literally pressed through the gate and up the hill toward the market. There were a couple of rows of vendors in the area that's normally Angel Hill parking lot, but we just went through there and toward the regular market area. It got less crowded as we went, but still more people than a regular Saturday. It was only 3pm, and with all that crowd we figured the market would be going longer than usual, and some were, but the magazine man was already packed up when we got to him. :-( Anyway, we got some fruit and broccoli, and then had dinner at McDonald's. It has been remodeled and now has even fewer tables than before, with the result that strangers share tables. As we take up a whole large table, we had to wait a little to claim one, and then had to fend off numerous hungry people from the empty chairs as we took turns in the upstairs toilets. One old woman just about got in a fist fight with me over Riah's seat.
After eating we went back down the hill toward the fayre. But even with the offer of one adult staying with the children while the other shopped, neither Bob nor I wanted to press through the crowds to check out the tents. The rows were about 6 feet apart, and it was stuffed end to end with people about 8 wide. So after taking a few pictures we went around the concert stage and headed back toward the bus, taking a different route than before, past the carnival rides. After a few more pictures we made it back to the bus, where we were surprised to find it was only 5:15. Elijah woke up on being put into his cold car seat, but quieted down right away, and we had an uneventful drive home.

As it was still early, Bob went up to the BX for the one day specials (a Wii game with steering wheel for $20) while the children did dancing shows for my entertainment. Then Bible time and bed for all but Bob, Elijah, and me. We got to sleep about 1am. Elijah and I were awake from 3-4am, and got up at 6:40. No nap yet, and it's time to get ready for church. Wow! 8:30 already!!

Saturday, 28 November 2009


When talking to a friend a couple of weeks ago, she asked what our plans were for Thanksgiving, and I took it as an invitation. So Thursday we got together for a feast. Their house is bigger, but mine is older and has a yard, so we gathered here - my 9 and her 6. Some might think it would be hard to feed 15 people with a table and chairs for 8 and a two-seater couch, but it worked beautifully.
They brought turkey and dressing, sweet potato casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, and two pies. I made green bean casserole, roast potatoes (both for the first time; turned out great), ham, pumpkin roll, and pudding pie.
We ate soon after their arrival about 2pm, and then the children went out to play for awhile, then upstairs and generally in and out, while the adults visited in the living room. I'm afraid we were fairly dull hosts, as we rarely have opportunity to just chat while the children behave elsewhere, and so aren't very good at it. But I think we were all satisfied with the visit. Maybe we should practice more often.

Yesterday I woke up very tired, and soon crashed on the couch. Bob woke up early, too, but didn't stay long before going back to bed. When he woke up for real, we had lunch and then started getting ready to go. We went to Tesco again, and this time the photo center was open. We got the pictures: cheap, easy, good quality, what we ordered! We shopped around while waiting for development, and got milk and cheese, snack/junk food, fruit. Then brought the cold stuff by the house (and fed the baby and chilled for a little while). Then back out to see if the BX had any sales, and for dinner.

At the BX we each got a scratch card (well, after we proved to the man that there really were 9 of us), winning several orders of breadsticks and two free shirt launderings. I didn't see anything in the sale ad that we wanted, but we walked through just to check. I'd shopped online that morning and found some sales at Sears on boys clothes, and wanted to comparison shop before ordering. Whaddya know? We found boys jeans (in our sizes!) for $8. And the Christmas suits are in, so we got one for Cedwryck for $20. (Riah still has his from his birthday). Asics athletic shoes were half price from 7pm, so I went to see if they had anything. I found one men's pair that fit, and *almost* felt good. After wearing them in store for 15 minutes I decided against them.

I took the children to put on coats and hats while Bob checked out. While checking out, Bob saw a drill he wanted. And when he came out, I checked the receipt and saw that the shirt I bought at 75% off hadn't been discounted. So I took the shirt back in for a price correction and bought the drill, while Bob took the children out to the bus. Then home just in time for bed.

Elijah stayed awake until 1am, woke up to eat at 4, and then I got up at 6:45. Ready to go!! It's 9:30 now and Bob's still asleep. We plan to go to Bury today, as they are having a Christmas Fayre as well as their regular market. Maybe I'll take a nap...

Monday, 23 November 2009

time to talk?

One never knows...

Anyone who has been to our house the last year knows that we had a very sad little loveseat. Two, actually. A blue one that we bought back in '97 or thereabouts, that had very little cushion left, broken boards, no bottom or back... And a green one that was given to us by our neighbors in Cheveley when they needed to make room for guinea pigs. It was pretty comfy, actually, but the cushions were attached by zippers, and most of the zippers were broken, so the cushions were always falling off. Last week while Bob was off work he made two trips to the dump, and now we don't have either of the loveseats.
I have the loveseat we bought soon after moving here, and Bob has his recliner, but the children needed somewhere to sit. So one day we made a trip out to Feltwell to the furniture store. See, I had joked about getting beanbags, and Bob thought it was a good idea. He looked online, and then we went out to the store to see if they had any. Well, they did, cheaper than online, so we got 5 of them - 2 pinks, one black round, and two two-tone long ones. Then we walked through the store just for fun.

While the children took turns in the bathroom, I looked at the refrigerators. There was one by LG, cost over $1000. It had a through-the-door ice and water dispenser. But when I opened the door, it soon became apparent that this wasn't what it appeared. Instead of a little plastic line going through the back to the house water line, providing fresh water on demand through the fridge, there was a small reservoir on top of the fridge door. In the freezer was a fancy little setup for making ice. Not an automatic icemaker, but two mounted icetrays with a lever to turn them out into the bin below, and a system for filling them. Of course Bob didn't have his camera to take a picture of this. I just couldn't get over this top-of-the-line fridge with its stone-age technology.

One thing I forgot to mention in the birth story was the kicking. Elijah was clearly awake throughout labor, and between every contraction he kicked constantly. He is so strong, he literally almost knocked me over a couple of times by the kicking. Made it hard to relax.
On a related note, though Elijah was more than 1 1/2lbs bigger than William, William had bigger feet by nearly an inch. Bigger hands, too, I think, though we didn't measure them.

I'm not sure I want to get started about prints. Oh, it's frustrating! We have got prints from Tesco before, and they usually turn out well. But now we don't live 5 minutes from a Tesco and things get more complicated. They have online stuff, where you can upload photos and order online for pickup or delivery. But they don't use cookies, so any change or delay in the order and all information is lost. Also, their crop tool thing (where you can preview and choose the crop) doesn't work on Firefox (our browser of choice). And, last time we tried it, one picture file (out of 20 that we were ordering) was "corrupted" and it canceled the whole order. So it's not easy to use. Anyway... I ordered some prints from Snapfish about two months ago, and they arrived last week. Can't really blame them for the delay, as it went through military mail. But. Instead of cropping the digital files, they stretched the images to fit the print size. So everyone looks tall and thin, with long heads. And one picture of Cedwryck in a red checked shirt turned out with about 1/4 of the squares black instead of red. What's up with that?? So that was disappointing, and I won't order from them again.
Well, we did those football pics, and got some orders, so we have to print them somehow. Started with Tesco online, but wanted to check the crop. So Bob opened IE, and found the order was gone, so he loaded up again. Looked good; went back to Firefox to place the order, but the page had refreshed, logging him out and erasing the order. And then we saw that the wallets would take 5 days or more to process. So we tried plan B. Loaded the pics onto a flash drive, and went to Brandon. Of course it started to rain as we were getting ready to go. Drove out there, parked, and walked up to the picture store (the rain slowed down). The guy there was very friendly, and worked with us to get everything organized. I hesitated when I saw the posted prices, so he added up everything and gave us a discount - quoted a price of 11GBP and change. So we left the order with him and went to the charity shops and back home. Bob went alone to pick up the prints, while I got the family ready for the homeschool party. When he got back we took a look. 5 of the pictures were ruined by some dirt that apparently fell on them while still wet. The pictures we'd ordered multiples of only had single copies. The pictures Bob had worked to size to 5x7 with white borders to allow for trimming to fit into our frames, were printed out 5x8 and no borders. And the guy had charged 15GBP. So yeah, beyond frustrating.
So Saturday we decided to go to Tesco. Thought we'd check out the one in Bury. It's a bigger store than Newmarket, and less crowded, but they don't have a photo center. So we drove on down to Newmarket, where we discovered that the photo center was closed. As it was only 4pm, Bob asked what the hours were. Turns out they don't even have regular hours now, and just open it whenever they have someone to work. Right. So here we are over a week later, and Bob going back to work, and no prints to deliver.

Oh, how I feel.
When I got up to shower off after delivering Elijah, the first thing I said was "Wow, it feels different to not be pregnant." Though exhausted from lack of sleep, I feel SO MUCH better than I have for the past month or two. My pelvis hasn't gone back to normal yet, and it hurts to turn over in bed or to lift my left leg more than a few inches, but movement is much easier without 15 lbs of direct pressure. I can sit on the couch or a chair. I can bend over to pick up things off the floor! My body has responded faster than my brain, and I still have some re-training to do, to remind myself that I can do things myself rather than having to tell someone else to do it. Another funny thing is that if I stand bent over (at a counter or changing table, for instance) for very long, my lower back goes sort of numb and tingly. hmmm. My appetite has returned, but I'm not ravenous. Acne has returned and body odor has escalated.

Today is the beginning of our new normal, and so far I haven't made a good start, spending all morning on the computer. But I had some catching up to do! I hope to start walking today. There's also school and house work, grocery shopping, and Thanksgiving on Thursday. :-) Maybe we'll do normal next week. Either way, I need to get off the computer.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

things I want to post about

Just a reminder note to myself. :-)

1. the fridge at the store

2. how I feel while not pregnant

3. getting prints

4. bean bags

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Couple other pregnancy/birth details:

1. I gained a total of 22 lbs this pregnancy. So far I have lost 16 of that.

2. Elijah was born without any birthmarks or abnormalities, except one. When I first held him I saw what I thought was a piece of fuzz from the blanket stuck in the fold of his eyelid. I couldn't get it off and asked Bob to. He gave it a tug and announced that it was connected. Sure enough, Elijah had one eyebrow hair about an inch long. Bob cut it, but I'm afraid it's growing back again. 8-O

Sunday, 15 November 2009


Fair warning: this is the birth story, with as close as I can get to all the gory details. So if you don't like that sort of thing, just skip this post.

I’ve said it jokingly, but I really feel that I was in “early labor” for at least a week. I’d become increasingly uncomfortable; Elijah was sitting low, head engaged. But the first real, painful contractions came on Thursday afternoon. Even after they stopped, I didn’t feel well, and Bob came home early.
Friday morning I had contractions for awhile, but they stopped when I lay down, again. Then things started rumbling again Friday evening. I was busy getting the children to bed and so couldn’t lie down for awhile. I’d just got them settled, and was coming into the living room to rest when I noticed Bob’s computer was on. I asked Taryn who turned it on, and she said, “Daddy.” Then I saw his bags. He’d snuck around to the bathroom when I went through the kitchen for a drink. Home early again! (we hadn’t talked on the phone or anything) He kept trying to talk to me about football pictures, and I just kept trying to not have contractions.

After sending Taryn to bed at 9, I mentioned to Bob that I was feeling things. We decided to watch the latest “Smallville” and then see how I felt. It was a good show, but didn’t stop labor. So about 10:30 I told Bob to go ahead and call Jo, as things were going slowly, but going. I headed into the den and lay down. Jo came, took my vitals, and settled down to watch. She couldn’t tell when I was having contractions by my reactions, so asked me to let her know. The next contraction, I told her, but then didn’t bother. We decided it might be awhile.

Bob got Jo a pillow and blanket; she settled on the couch; he went to the living room; I zoned out as much as possible on the floor. A clicking noise irritated me no end – perhaps the heater coming on and off – I finally ‘woke up’ enough to mention it to Jo, who apparently asked Bob to put on some music. We’d had some on earlier, but it was a “bonus DVD” (iWorship) and only had 3 songs on it – Creator King, Days of Elijah, and All the Earth Will Sing. So I suggested Ginny Owens, knowing where the CD was, and Bob kept them alternating the rest of the night. The tv was our source of light and music; I had the space heater on in the bathroom; everything else was dark and quiet.

Not long after, I went to the bathroom and actually worked a Sudoku puzzle. I lay back down, trying to stay relaxed and let the contractions do their work. I nearly dozed off a couple of times, and thought about everything and nothing, including my virtual farm on Facebook. Contractions were lasting about 90 seconds, and every one brought strong pressure on my pelvis. Finally I had to do something, so tried to use the toilet again. This time it didn’t go so well. When I got up the contractions and the pressure were so intense, I lost nearly all control of myself. I couldn’t sit on the toilet, but squatted over it and cried. Jo was wondering if I was going to deliver there. I noticed I was bleeding a little, and thought Jo should know, but as I was freaked out she thought I was freaked out about the blood. She checked, and reassured me that it was nothing to worry about. While I was in the bathroom, Jo and Bob laid out the shower curtain, sheet, and absorbent pads. Anyway, I managed to stumble back to the room, and came down on my knees in front of the couch. All 3 of us thought I was going to deliver there, and I fussed a while. But after a time of clutching the couch, and crying and sweating on my pillow, things calmed down again.

I lay down again, and Bob and Jo followed suit. Bob actually fell asleep on the floor. When he woke up he stepped out of the room. I was using all my physical and mental power to remain calm. Contractions became shorter, but closer together and more intense, if less painful. I had a couple of “pushy” contractions, but did my best to ignore that. When it came to the end, my stomach decided to push more than my head did. Either way, I gave a bit of a push and my water broke, soaking through all the pads, my gown, the sheet… Jo jumped up and asked if she should check or call Bob. I told her to get Bob.
I became very emotional and out of control again. I was lying on my side, and there was no way I could move. I could feel the head needing to come out, and pushed. I knew I needed to open my legs, but just couldn’t make them move, so spat out, “lift my leg.” Jo and Bob both pulled on it, but my muscles were clenched so tight they couldn’t move it. Finally that contraction ended and I was able to relax enough for them to move my top leg up. It seemed a long time, but was probably only a minute or two before the head was out. I sobbed, “Thank you, Jesus,” expecting to feel a bit of reprieve before the shoulders came. But through all my crying and yelling, I could tell something felt different. My belly kept pushing, so I gave a push and Jo did some things. Then something else came out – I was expecting it to be the shoulder, followed by the plop squish of the rest of him, but the squish didn’t follow. So I pushed again, and this time it all came out. Another, “Thank you, Jesus” as I got to lay my head down and be done.

Bob and Jo exclaimed over how big the baby was, and said he was healthy. I asked if was really a boy, and they said it was. He didn’t cry much as they wiped him down, and then Bob brought him to me and he quietly lay and looked at me. Jo gave me a shot to expedite delivery of the placenta, which came quickly as the weak shakes overtook me. Jo asked Bob if I normally shake so much, and he assured her I do. After I calmed down again, Jo helped me to the shower where I rinsed off while she picked up the mess in the den. And it was all over. I learned later that there was meconum in the water, but as there was nothing one could do about it, Jo didn’t worry about it. I also learned that Elijah’s left hand was up by his head at delivery, known as a compound presentation. This, together with his size, could explain the intensity of labor, and certainly explains the odd-feeling delivery. Elijah was weighed and dressed, and we sat around and waited for morning.
Jo left about 5:30, and by 6:15 the children were waking up. Their reaction was very much like a Christmas morning, as they all straggled in and were overcome with the “new baby.” By 7:30 I was in bed, but couldn’t stay asleep for long, and then Bob had a turn. The children all sat around Elijah all day, just looking at and talking about him.
This isn’t my best piece of writing, as I’m doing it in pieces and have had little sleep this week, but taken together with the notes Jo made I think I have a pretty good record of what happened. And that’s all for now. Maybe I’ll do a note on our impressions of a home birth some other time.

football pictures

Wow, we made it to another photo shoot! Bob has a guy at work that is a coach for a base football team. They had tried to get a professional photographer come in, but things got hung up in the paperwork stage, so the man asked Bob to do it. We we scheduled for last Saturday, but Elijah didn't think that was a good idea. :-)

The shoot was to take place at the youth center. So we got there about 12:30, and found out we were in the gym area. We unloaded the bus in the rain and went to set up. There were about 50 children and 4 adults running around the gym, throwing balls and eating (always a good combo, especially when one adds a few thousand dollars worth of electronic equipment). The ball-throwing was supposed to be confined to one half of the room, but with no walls and minimal supervision, balls and children occasionally went over the line. Next to our designated area were several tables of food and drink.

Anyway, we got set up, did a couple of test shots, and waited for someone to start things. First there was an "awards" ceremony, where every player got a medal. Then they were to come take pictures. One by one the coaches got their teams together (3 teams); we did a team shot, and then took individual pics of the players. The first team was a bit of a rush, and I took in 3 orders while Bob took pictures. The next team didn't make any orders til they were done, and then only 1. Then the third team, where most of the players left without getting individual shots. But then some people came back and ordered more, and a couple requested special takes - one boy with his little brother, another with his mother.

When we started packing up, the people all left, and the youth center workers started cleaning up. They had lots of food left out, and kept giving stuff to us. We got half a chocolate cake, two big bags of single-serving chips, two boxes of sports drinks, and a single-serve bag of cookies for each child. (Over $20 worth, all told.) About when we were done, Elijah woke up, so I sat on the bleachers and nursed him while Bob and Taryn loaded the bus. Then we were done.
Bob discovered that he has some work to do on his pictures, but most of them are fixable.

We rested for a few hours, then we went out for dinner and a little shopping. We found shoes and a nightgown for Taryn, a coat for Naysha, and sweats for Ella, as well as a cake pan for me and vitamins for the children. I figured it would be a good idea for the winter, to have vitamins around. sigh. Children's vitamins tend to come in two varieties - Flinstone and not-Flinstone. Flinstone brand has various combinations, including one with iron (which William needs, and was why I thought of getting some in the first place), but they are all made with artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners. The other brand that the store had was the gummies that have no artificial ingredients, but they also have no iron, and less than 100% RDA of the stuff it does have. grump. I got the gummies for now, but intend to keep my eyes open for something better.

Anyway, time to wake up Bob and get ready for church.

Friday, 13 November 2009

life with a newborn

I've been working on my birth story, and updating on Facebook, or I'd have been posting here.

Elijah was/is upside down on his days/nights. Of course Friday night we were up all night. I went to bed about 7am Saturday for about 2 hours. Saturday night Elijah finally went to sleep about 3am, and I had to get up at 6:30 with the other children. It was pretty much the same way each night until last night (Thursday), when he (and I) slept from about 11-3, and again from 4-6. What a relief!

People from church have been bringing us dinner each night, and that has been a great blessing. We are getting behind on the eating of it, actually.

Wednesday we went to Bury St Edmunds to the registry office to get Elijah's long form birth certificate. It was kind of odd how that worked, as I didn't have to show any ID; just gave info and paid the 3.50GBP. But he's now on record in the UK; Jo says he IS a citizen, though I haven't looked it up yet to make sure.
After supper we went to RAF Mildenhall to borrow the ballroom at the community center to set up our studio and get pics of the children.

Thursday Bob went to work to fill out leave paperwork (he gets 10 days, but they let him have Mon and Tues as well - Wed being a federal holiday). After that was finally done we went to the place to get Elijah registered with the US government. We sent off for his US birth certificate, passport, and VISA, and SSN. TO get this application in we had to provide my passport, Bob's birth certificate and divorce decree, our marriage license, Elijah's British birth certificate, photos of him, signatures, and $65. Then across the hall to DEERS - the military system that keeps track of all beneficiaries. Then upstairs to outbound assignments to add Elijah to Bob's orders. But they need his birth certificate, which we just sent off (for 12-16 weeks!) and some other stuff we didn't have. THEN over to the hospital to sign up with the military insurance. They also wanted his birth certificate, but Bob nearly came undone and they signed him up anyway.

This morning I called the hospital and got Elijah his "2 week" well baby appointment and circumcision scheduled for Monday. It will be his 9th day rather than 8th or 14th, but it's close enough, I guess. :-p This afternoon Bob took the bus to Royston to get it inspected. I decided not to go, because I'm still sore from the last two days driving around. He'd gone Monday to have it done in Lakenheath, but they don't do "class 5" vehicles - anything over a certain weight or passenger count. He then called the base auto center, and they don't do it, but thought a place in Brandon did. He called them, and THEY don't do it, but gave the number of a place in Downham Market. He called them and got an automated telephone system. So we thought of taking it to the place that did the previous inspection; called and made today's appointment. He's still not back.

Tomorrow we are supposed to do pictures for the base football teams, since we canceled last Saturday. But the weather is looking pretty bleak, so we'll have to see what happens.

And I think that catches us up.

oh, Jo came today for a little check up. Elijah is nearly back to his birth weight already. My blood count (taken on Monday) is better than expected. So that's all good and we only have one more checkup next week.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

he's here!!!!

Elijah Ruben was born at 3:30am, Nov 7, 2009. Labor lasted about 7 hours. He weighed 10lbs 7ozs! and was delivered with one hand up beside his head. Everything is looking as good it can after a whole night of no sleep. Maybe I'll do some nice details later. Bob put pics on facebook; haven't checked flickr yet.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Still going

Well, it's 3 days past the "due date" and I'm still "all in one piece" as a lady from church put it. I felt some rumblings yesterday and today, but things petered out with a little rest.

The cold has come back to most of the children, and myself. >sniff<

The Army base where my sister-in-law works was a major crime scene yesterday, with a gunman (or two) causing injury to some 40 people. She was uninjured, but had to work late (she works at the hospital)and go through a vehicle search on her way home.

Oh, we got the muffler fixed on the bus. Sorry, Mom and Dad, if we'd known how easy it would be we'd have done it before we took our trip(s). Get this: they fixed it the SAME DAY that we took it up there. No pre-booking. Cost was very reasonable, and it came with a two year warranty. When we tried to get the muffler done on our Suburban in Iceland, we left it with a guy for two months and never got it done.

I know there's other stuff going on, but right now I'm consumed with watching for signs of labor and can barely remember to eat. :-)

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Lovely post from my friend! Skip down to the red "warning" line, and be ready to get an earful about halloween. I couldn't agree more. Every year I am grateful to my mother for stepping back and re-thinking what most people take for granted, when I was about 7, and learning that halloween wasn't for us.