Saturday, 26 December 2009

A very merry Christmas

So Bob was working the night shift on Wednesday night. He got home about 2am Thursday, and woke up about 10am. By 11, we were ready to go.

First stop, Tesco. The pictures were in, so I got those and a jar of Nutella while Bob circled the parking lot. Then we went to RAF Mildenhall. We had lunch there, using 3 "free bread stick" coupons that we'd earned by shopping a few weeks ago. We also used a deal where we bought a $25 gift card and got a free combo meal. So all together it was one of the cheaper meals we've eaten out lately.

Then we went into the store. I'd had an idea about letting the children buy something for each other, and Bob thought it was a good idea, so we went with that. Bob wandered the store with the group, while I took one child at a time to buy a $10 gift for another child. Taryn was indecisive, so it took awhile, but we finally finished. We headed back to RAF Lakenheath by way of Undley, so I could stop at the veg stand there for eggs. It's a little out of the way, but not much, and they have the best and the cheapest (good) eggs I've seen anywhere. (I can get cheaper at Tesco, but they taste like fish.)

We discussed going home to leave the family, and just I going to the commissary, but decided to all go together, as we'd been hours in the BX but not together. Turns out it was a good decision, because they locked up just after we got there. We got the necessary things - milk, butter, grapes, pretzels. :-) Also picked up some chicken cordon blue (I didn't spell that right, did I?) for dinner.

So we came home, cooked the chicken, had dinner... Got the children in bed just after 8, and then our work began. With my back being funny all week I hadn't done any wrapping, so it was all done Christmas Eve. Bob helped. My brother and sister-in-law sent gifts straight from Target, so we wrapped those, our few, and the children's. I also made a coffee cake for breakfast. Elijah (and Bob and I) got to sleep about 1am.

Christmas morning we woke up before 6, and I heard stirring in the other room so we went ahead and got up. First we let the children open the gifts from Wil and Marline, and then play with those for a bit while I fixed breakfast. Then we got dressed and did the rest of the presents. Here's the rundown:

Taryn: Webkinz horse from Wil and Marline, coin purse from Aunt Heather, 2 books from us (Lois Lenski's "Judy's Journey" and "Robinson Crusoe"), lawn darts from Naysha, and a Wii game Littlest Pet Shop to share with Naysha, from us.

Naysha: Tea set from Wil and Marline, coin purse from Aunt Heather, purse and a string of colored lights from us, a small chocolate fountain from Taryn.

Riah: wooden build-a-train kit from Wil and Marline, transformer car/robot from Aunt Heather, a spider robot thing from us, a Nerf ball from Cedwryck, and a Wii hunting game to share with Cedwryck, from us.

Cedwryck: Hot Wheels car track from Wil and Marline, transformer from Aunt Heather Tonka steamroller from us, a stuffed dog from Riah.

Ella: Purse from Wil and Marline, coin purse from Aunt Heather, Faith Friends doll from us, a stuffed horse and a pack of bubbles from William.

William: dump truck from Wil and Marline, transformer from Aunt Heather, a shape sorter gas pump from us, and a "Cars" playground ball from Ella.

All the children got a Wii M&M racing game to share.

Bob: a Wii game "Sports Resort" from me, and a bag of Reese Cups candy from Riah.

Me: a rice cooker/steamer, a bucket organizer, a musical nativity, a snowman on a bicycle, and a box of Hickory Farms smoked cheese with crackers and sausage.

It's a long list considering we only bought 1 thing for each child, plus a couple to share.

In order to maintain peace, we opted for supper instead of lunch. We feasted! Ham with cloves and brown sugar glaze, roast potatoes, homemade rolls, grape salad (3 lbs of grapes mixed with cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar), and stir fry carrots, leeks, and brussels sprouts. I was able to serve everything on Polish pottery, and it looked nice. We ate it all except for 5 rolls and some of the stir fry. We took a little break, and then went back for dessert. We had planned fondue, and then when Naysha got her fountain we were going to use it. But it is battery powered and we don't have the correct size. So back to fondue. I made the sauce by heating 1 c cream, then adding 1 pkg chocolate chips and most of a jar of caramel ice cream topping. WoW it was rich! For dippers we had pound cake, peanut butter balls, pretzels, fresh bananas, clementines, and pineapple. We each got our own small bowl of chocolate, so we didn't mess the whole pot. It was so good.

Then it was bedtime, and we were glad.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

so far so good


Bob is going to retire next year. He went to a pre-separation briefing Tuesday.

This allowed him to come home 'early' Monday night - about 2am.

He got home from the briefing in time to take Taryn to her Dr appt. It's not infected. Then he rubbed my back. my hero!

Tues night he worked from 5:30pm to 5am. Then today (Wed) he slept on the couch while I took Riah and Elijah to Cambridge for Riah's Dr apt. Riah has a faulty valve in his heart, and he goes once a year to a cardiologist to monitor it. Things looked the same as before; he's still "healthy" but needs checking on. It was my first time driving to Cams, and it turned out fine. Traffic wasn't bad at all; being holidays I guess people are getting up late. Snow is still on the ground, but the roads off base are clear. Sunrise over the snow-covered horse pastures by Newmarket was amazing.

After the dr we stopped at Tesco in Newmarket in hopes of picking up pictures we'd ordered online. They were promised done by noon; I was there at 11 and "the delivery man hasn't come yet today." I asked when he was expected. "When he gets here." At my incredulous look I was told that there isn't a set time, and anyway with this weather it would be unpredictable. She did say "sorry" though so I guess it's all okay. In the states this type service would be out of business in a month. But here demand far exceeds supply so any sorry sort of service will get all the customers it can stand.

We made it home just before lunch; Bob ordered pizza. He went to bed about 1, woke up at 4:30, and to work at 5:15. He hopes they will get off at midnight as they should.

My back still catches in some positions, and I can't lift anything, but just walking isn't too bad.

Did I ever post that we had a WIC apt on Saturday? It was originally for today, but we rescheduled when Riah's dr apt came in, and WIC was open Saturday to help out before Christmas. As Bob was working anyway I decided it would work. Bob even got off for lunch and met us down there. That was my first time driving on snow. I kept it nice and slow, and everything was fine. Anyway, Elijah (at 6 weeks) weighed in at 13lbs 1 oz. Wow. I think Taryn was 6 months old before she weighed that much.

Elijah has a cold now. :-( He is hoarse and his cry is so pathetic. Good thing he doesn't cry much anyway. He has a phlegmy cough, and a stuffy nose. Appetite isn't bothered by it, though he is sleeping more.

And now, as we are planning to do the shopping tomorrow that I was going to do Mon and Tues, I'm supposed to do my Christmas baking prep tonight. so I'm off.

(Sorry about the abbreviations and etc; Elijah is asleep on my lap and I'm trying to hurry.)

Monday, 21 December 2009

oh boy

So since y'all like my griping...

Bob had to work 7am to 8pm Saturday and Sunday. Then he had to go see the commander today at 7:30am, and he works tonight from 7pm to 7am.

Yesterday about 12:30 I was changing a diaper and turned slightly, and my back went out. I barely made it to my couch, and stayed there til Bob got home at 8:20. Well, I got up once for a drink, and decided that was a bad idea, and I lowered myself to the floor and back a few times to change more diapers.

Taryn is my right hand girl; she got dinner for us, and helped around a lot. But she has an earache, and eventually it got her down.

This morning we decided to try to get Taryn an appointment in case it's infected, and after 20 minutes on hold I got through and got an appointment at 9:30. I hoped Bob would be back by then.
But now, about 8am, Bob called to say his meeting is at 8:30, not 7:30. So I'm now on hold again to cancel the appt I just made!

So here we are. Bob's unavailable, I can't walk, and Taryn doesn't want to... Easy fix foods are running low... Christmas is in 4 days... AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And Elijah is stuffy now, and I've gone hoarse as of yesterday. lovely.

Friday, 18 December 2009


The temperature dropped along with the snow all day yesterday. (It finally got down to freezing early this morning.) After dinner the snow began to accumulate, but mean ol' Mama wouldn't let the children go out. I knew they wouldn't stay long, and I didn't want to deal with the mess for such a short play. So I told them they could go out in the morning if the snow was still there. It was nice to watch the snow blow by from the warm, dry house.

The humidifier died. It was one I bought at Goodwill several years ago, and I liked it because it was hot mist; very helpful in the winter, which is when we usually want one. (Does that make sense? Most modern humidifiers are cool mist, but winter is when I usually use one, and who wants to make things colder in the winter?) Several times it has smelled hot, and we just unplugged it for a day or two, but last night I heard a pop, looked up and saw a cloud of smoke coming from it. Yikes! It blew the circuit breaker, which is probably what I heard. Made the house stinky for awhile, but didn't set off the fire alarm.

Bob got to come home on time, thanks to the snow. The people who live far away got to go home early.

The Christmas schedule was finally decided. Bob has weekend duty this weekend, and will work 12 hours (at night) on Mon-Wed next week, but be off Christmas Eve and Day. And he's supposed to be off all New Year's week, while those who were off Christmas week have to work 12s.
It dawned on us that that means I will have to take Riah to Cambridge by myself on Wednesday for his Cardiologist appointment. yea-a. I think I'll do Park and Ride, and really it won't be *that* bad. I just have to allow an extra hour for traffic and bus times.

Monday I'll probably take the children over to the BXtra, as they want to buy presents for each other. That will at least give Bob a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep. Don't know what to do Tuesday...

SO I was wondering, and I'd like as many opinions as possible, do I complain too much? How does that make you feel? I have an acquaintance with a blog, and every time she writes it is negative and depressing. Makes me want to slap her around and tell her to toughen up and get on with it; life isn't ALL bad. And then I wondered if I have the same effect on other people. I could give excuses and explanations, but I really just want to know what you think.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

irritants and good stuff

Sunday night we went up to the BX to get more Polish Pottery at 50% off, and they were closed. It was the staff Christmas party, planned for months; they just failed to notify the customers.

So we went on to eat, and everyone except William wanted Popeye's chicken. They were closed, too. So we ate at Burger King.

Monday we went back to the BX, and all the pottery was gone. Taryn says I should be glad I got what I did, and I am, but still! I was gonna get something for my sis and sis-in-law.

Monday night Elijah wouldn't settle down to sleep, so I brought him downstairs so Bob could sleep. I eventually got a couple of hours with him on the couch. And yes, it is hard for a person of my size to get comfy on a loveseat.

Tuesday Bob was on day shift, and when he got home we went to Newmarket to Tesco for prints, as he had a photo shoot on Saturday. I looked before we left, and their hours are open until 8pm, depending on staff. No phone number to call and check first. So, of course, they were closed (the photo center, not the whole store). So we ate at Burger King in town, and came home.

On the plus side:
Burger King in town makes awesome burgers.

It's cold enough to snow, but a lot warmer than "back home."

Bob is going to day shift in Jan, and signed up for a college class. It should be enough to get him an Associates degree.

My new dishwasher is really cool. (oh, non-facebook people, on Monday Uncle Sam gave us - and everyone else on our street - new appliances. Stove, fridge, washer and dryer were pretty similar to the old ones, but the dishwasher is a top-of-the-line Bosch.) Instead of a silverware basket, it has a silverware drawer on top of the other 2 drawers.

Elijah isn't bothered by the cold that everyone else has.

The cream puffs were really good.

I've found a new preacher to listen to. Makes me think.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

honorable mention

It has occurred to me that I don't talk a lot about Elijah. There's a simple explanation; he's no trouble!
At 5 weeks old, Elijah has developed a nice routine. He goes to sleep about 10:30pm, wakes up twice in the night to eat. (If I wake him up on the way to bed we are awake until 12 or 1am). I get up at 6:30, bringing him downstairs with me, where he sleeps on the sofa a good deal of the morning. (Sometimes I do, too). He alternates naps and awake time throughout the day. Every time he wakes up he stretches and dirties his diaper, and when he's done with that he wants to eat. (Some babies want to eat as soon as they wake up, and poo while eating or immediately after.)

Elijah fusses remarkably little. He lets me know he needs something, but doesn't cry just for the fun of it (as SOME babies have done: not to name names, but their initials spell T-a-r-y-n and R-i-a-h). :-D He enjoyed his first bath the other day, and is just generally a very good baby. Sigh of contentment. Cedwryck was my first "good" baby, and they seem to get better each time.
Elijah is also a polite nurser, not chewing or fussing at all, and he eats at reasonable intervals (more in the evening as he gears up for a long sleep). What else can I say? He has peed on us a few times, but that's not really his fault. Anyway, he gets Bob a lot more than me. :-D

My pelvis is still not back to normal. I'm trying to work up to making a Dr appointment, maybe get some X-rays... And working on eating healthier. Bob is hoping to go back to day shift, which would make it easier for me to have a balanced dinner. But that thought leads down another path, which isn't about Elijah, so I'll hush for now.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

not quite as planned

Okay. So we got a couple of orders for prints from the Christmas party. While our printer did a good job on the 4x6s, we thought we'd better send off for 8x10s. And, my friend wanted to go to Bury and I thought we could all go together. So Monday night Bob tried Jessops for the prints. The upload and order system was much easier to use than Tesco's, and I thought we had a winner. Then it came time to pay, and that was a little complicated, but finally worked. Also, more expensive than Tesco. (Right, because Tesco in Bury doesn't have a photo lab, and there is a Jessops there. Jessops is a national chain camera store.) The site eventually (after much digging) said that the sizes we ordered would take 1 day.

So Wednesday morning Bob got up early - 9:45 - and we got ready to go. I called my friend, and she wanted to go to Brandon first, so decided to drive herself and we'd try to meet up in Bury. Then I thought we'd better check, so we looked on Jessops' website, and the pics were printed, but hadn't arrived in store yet. Oh, now it tells us that it's 1 day to print, and 1-3 days to be delivered to the store. thanks. So we stopped to think and decided that we didn't have a compelling reason to go to Bury (especially as we'd be going Thursday or Saturday to get the pictures).
In the meantime, Referral Management called with Riah's cardiologist appointment - Friday morning! I told Bob and he said no can do on Friday; as he has a 12-14 hour shift every Friday night he didn't want to get up early and take us to Cambridge in the morning. So I called them back and had it changed to the 23rd. Which was when I'd had a WIC appointment, so I still need to change that.

Well, there we were all dressed up and nowhere to go. That would never do! We decided to go to Mildenhall to look for Fry's chocolate for my dad. We got parking downtown, and the first store we tried had it, though a little higher than I expected. Wanting to keep our change for parking next time, we used the 5pound note I'd got for Dad to buy his candy. Oops. I'll have to look again for a new fiver and send it in a card.
Then we went on to the two thrift stores in town (didn't get anything).

After that we went to RAF Mildenhall for lunch at the BXtra. After a decent lunch (Riah spilled water and Ella spilled chocolate shake) we spied another friend and had a little visit, and then walked through the store. I got some new kitchen washcloths, as I'm now changing them out every day. But that took too long, so we were unable to go over to the bowling alley to sign up for Cedwryck's birthday party, or get gas, or take the long way home and get farm fresh eggs at the roadside veg stand (which I suspect is owned by church people - they have a farm on that road, anyway). So we came home and Bob got ready for work.

I put the littles down for a nap, but it was nice and warm so I let the big ones play outside instead of doing book work.

After an early supper we got our shoes and coats back on and headed out. I had a big list of things to do, so kept whittling down to a manageable list. But as I went by the post office it was still open, so I put that back on the list. Okay, first stop, thrift store (open in the pm on Wednesday). I got a snowman puzzle (because you know I'm always doing puzzles, with so many babies running around), a travel book, and a wraparound skirt (that's for Taryn to play in). Going in there I couldn't find my envelope of ones that I'd put in my bag. When I checked out I realized I forgot to bring my bag full of shopping bags I'd planned to take up there for their use and my kitchen space.
Then a run to the commissary for one more item to fill Mom and Dad's Christmas box. Then out to the car to tape it up. But I ran out of tape, so back in for tape. Then back to the post office, which was now closed. It bothers me logically because they didn't close on an hour (it was after 5 when they were open, and before 6 when they were closed), but I was okay with it emotionally because I'd already decided I wasn't going to get that done that trip. Then I took the paperwork for the MR2 to Bob at work, because one of his "guys" is buying it. Bob asked me to get him a new photo magazine. Elijah was waking up, so I stopped at the shoppette and nursed him in the car, in the parking lot. Then realized it's the other shoppette that has the magazines.

So Elijah was happy again, and we went to the BX. Everybody had to use the toilets. The British gift shop didn't have anything I wanted to buy, to get a fiver back in change. So into the store, where the first thing I see is 50% off the Christmas pattern Polish pottery. Oh, yeah. As the cart was already full of people and coats and bags, I got another cart, made a bed in the back for ELijah and started piling pottery in the front. :-) As it turned out, the big pieces were already marked at half price, and the cashier took off another 50% at checkout. So good deals. We also may or may not have found something for Bob's birthday. At checkout Elijah just lay on my arm (he'd got fussy earlier and I picked him up) and looked around. It impressed the cashier no end.

Then we went to the "Shoppette without gas" to get a magazine. I left the children in the van, and it's just as well, since they have expanded their porn selection without expanding the vision barriers. grrr. Anyway, I got two magazines and a sudoku book. And home again in time for Bible and bed.

ANd now Bob's up and we ARE going to Bury. Maybe tomorrow I'll make it to the bowling alley and veg stand. :-)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas parties

Saturday was Bob's work Christmas party. He'd been asked to take portraits, and agreed. That's when we bought the light kit and backdrop stand. So anyway, we asked friends (she comments here as "Mom" and "kitchenqueen") to come supervise our oldest 6 children while Bob, Elijah, and I went to the party, and they agreed. Mrs. and 3 of her children came to play while Mr. took their baby home for a nap. Bob and I high-tailed it outta there.

We arrived at the "O Club" and went in to look for a place to set up. Hmmm. One corner was taken by the live band; the other corner was a doorway in front of the bar. The main room was solid tables. There was *some* space alongside the buffet, but we were hesitant about that. The kind ladies working there really tried to find a solution. Finally we settled on an unused room just down the hall from the main party. It was roomy, quiet (that live band was getting loud in their warm-up), and there was a lovely tree all decorated and ready to make a nice prop. Phew, that was settled in time to avert an all-out panic. But then we looked around and realized that the room only had 220v outlets. We purposely bought 110v lights because we want to take them back home with us when we leave here. The ladies started racking their brains for where we could get a transformer - they didn't have one, but maybe the "E club"?? Bob was ready to run over to the BX and buy one ($100), when one lady said, "why don't you unplug the Christmas tree?" Sure enough, it was running off a transformer. Oh, sweet relief. I'd really thought Bob was about to cry.

We'd just got set up when people began to arrive. We prepared for a rush, and got nothing. The people at the front table kept forgetting to tell people we were back there. The ladies who helped us get started posed for a group shot, and then a few others came in. We never got swamped, but we did a few. I even took two shots myself, as Bob went for a walkabout in the main party room. We processed the pictures as we took them, and printed out a 4x6 for each couple. It was fun to be working (and have it work!), to be out with just us, to talk to adults.
The children called at bedtime, because William started crying for mama. :-( He's so precious. We finished up, tracked down the couples to get their prints (and hopefully order more), then packed up and came home after stopping for a Cinnabon at the BX midnight madness sale (nothing on sale).

Then Sunday. The morning meeting was a children's service, where the different classes show what they've learned, and the children's minister got to preach a little. Then we came back home for a couple of hours, and back to church at 4pm. It was the church Christmas party. The dining room was carefully guarded, so we joined the mingle in the sanctuary. One couple was taking portraits of each family, and Bob got his camera out to get our own copy of our family. Instant camera envy! And a good deal of bonding; Bob told me later that a dinner invitation is in the works. :-D Anyway, after the pictures and visiting, it was time for dinner.
We were shown to our table (place cards and all), all glimmering in candle light. To keep a long story less long, we were served in stages. First, soup and bread. Then roast organic turkey with yorkshire pudding, stuffing balls, roast and mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. After plenty of time to eat there was a break where each table offered an entertainment. The Bible school table took turns singing Jingle Bells, each in his native tongue. The youth did a rap. The drama team did a 1 minute skit. The family to our left had their two infants breakdance on the table. We sang Wil's "Christian Jingle Bells." I was afraid we didn't have enough volume, but when the rest of the room joined in on the chorus I knew we had a winner. Then came dessert - "Christmas Pudding" (bowl-shaped fruitcake) and "chocolate cheesecake" (no-bake cheesecake with chocolate curls on top) served with both pouring cream and custard (vanilla pudding). Then came fresh fruit salad. Yeah, not where I'd have put it, but the children devoured ours. Next was cheese and crackers (we wished the cheese had labels so we could learn what they were), and finally coffee and chocolate candy. Oh yeah, and those round after dinner mints. Believe it or not, we didn't feel painfully stuffed. I suppose this is because of the time intervals between courses.

Once, Ella decided to go to the restroom by herself. We figured it was all right; Taryn was already there, and Ella was familiar with the building. But the setup must have thrown her off, because she went prancing past the door to the hall and toilets, head held high right past the serving counter, and into a storage closet! I just laughed, but Bob went to her rescue. William thought it was all a little weird and wouldn't eat anything other than his bread. The grandmotherly lady to his right couldn't stand that, and tried to help him out. At first he resisted, but before long they were good friends and she'd taught him to blow kisses.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

or this...

You're I, Robot!

by Isaac Asimov

While you have established a code of conduct for many generations to
follow, your demeanor is rather cold and calculating. Brought up to serve humans, you
have promised never to harm them, to follow orders, and to protect yourself. Living up
to this code has proved challenging and sometimes even drives you mad. If you were a
type of paper, you would be pulp.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.


You're The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman!

by Laurence Sterne

You are a fan of many people, but most of all, you like yourself.
A whole lot. Easily distracted and generally unfocused, you have a hard time
communicating anything clearly or directly. However, most people find you funny
and engaging despite your tendency to wander off subject. Though later
generations may think of you as ahead of your time, most of your contemporaries
think you're an idiot. If your life were a movie, it would star Will Farrell. In
a wig.

Take the Book Quiz II
at the Blue Pyramid.