Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well Heeled

I have a love/hate relationship with footwear. I love getting shoes for my kids -- and Cami loves getting them. Bobux began it all. . .the very first shoes Cami would wear became the very first shoes for all my munchkins. Then Cami found the sparkly shoes at Target -- five colors of sparklies (including a pair of athletics) have crossed the ocean to decorate her feet.

Graham loves his wellies. He got his first pair in NJ, but they got lots of compliments from the English, because they had pull-on loops -- a design feature that you don't find here. But those died & he currently wears a pair of English-designed fire engines, complete with flames.

Rose is too little to express opinions about her footwear, but she gets lots of compliments on her koala, strawberry, and bunny-decorated Bobux.

But, there's a hate-half to this relationship. I don't like adult shoes. I take that back. I have shoes from my past that I liked. I cherish the memories of these shoes. But, I wear shoes into the ground and I don't like clothing shopping in general, so replacing shoes is painful. Unfortunately, wearing the Sketchers I bought when we first moved to England is also painful. They are so worn that the soles slope, causing my back to hurt. So, I've made my first foray into the world of on-line shoe shopping.

I bought a pair of Converse through Amazon UK. I thought my odds of getting ones that fit would be pretty good. After all, I've bought Cons before and I know they fit. So I figured out my UK shoe size & ordered a pair. Problem: my UK size-8 Cons are UK size-8 guy Cons. So when Cami came home from school & asked if those were my new "trainers," I told her they were Jason's.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's a cool, cool summer

I just googled "It's a cool, cool summer," thinking it was by the Bangles.  Wrong  girl band, wrong lyrics.  Apparently, the phrase running through my head should be heard "It's a cruel, cruel summer" and the group is Banarama.  Must be the English accent -- here in Yorkshire the "r" is practically silent.

Anyway, it is a cool, cool summer.  Or, more accurately, British Summer Time.  The clocks did their springtime fling forward yesterday, but it's not known as "daylight savings."  Jason's theory is that summertime must be announced because otherwise no one would realise that the 40-degree highs were significant. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Graham's Recession

Graham just climbed onto the sofa next to me & Rose. I noticed that he had his pacifier in his mouth, the very same "paci" he'd thrown in the garbage just two days before & which Jason had rescued for emergency purposes.

"Graham, what is your paci doing in your mouth? I thought you were a big boy now."

"I not a big boy. I a baby. Ga ga."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Paying for my Pride

In early February I realized that I was nearing my 33rd birthday & I wondered if I could still do the splits. I hadn't tried to do them since Rose was born. In fact the last time I could definitely say I could do them, I was pregnant with Graham. So, I gave it a go & found out that it was still possible, but not as comfortable as when I was still in my twenties.

So, I set a goal: splits without pain by my birthday.

And as soon as the goal was set, I found myself with a head-lice epidemic to fight, chicken pox, and a teething baby. Stretching daily was not big on my mental map, even though it would have been a great stress relief.

Still, I already knew I could do them. So in a weird conversational moment, I mentioned to some of the Primary kids on Sunday that I could. And that was as if I'd just made the most exciting announcement ever: a Primary leader who can do the splits! They insisted on a demonstration and I obliged. And my body has been protesting ever since.

But, I'm now stretching every day.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Anybody thinking I'm a bit mixed up with the calendar? That's what I thought when all the English folk at church started planning the Primary activity/gift for Mother's Day.

So yesterday, I tried making Martha Stewart's easy, yet time consuming recipe for truffles with 13 children. Doesn't work so well when using Cadbury's Milk chocolate -- it has to be better quality.

Nonetheless, I got numerous cards from Cami & Graham (school & church both supplied opportunities), as well as breakfast-in-bed, a card depicting a very pretty dress (which I will never own) & box of good chocolates from Jason.

So, I wonder what will happen on American Mother's Day. Oh, yeah. I'll call my mom.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

At Least You Came

Cami did not want to come on our after-church walk today. She was allowed three minutes of complaining before we left (we set a timer) & then dragged her feet as we explored some "secret passages" and alleyways near our house.

Yet as we were nearing home, she told Jason, "This has been a nice walk. But I still don't want to be on it."

A Bug by any other Name

Jason and our friend Tyler used to observe that you could turn any word into an insult by adding "head" to it.

Rose was fussing on my lap and Cami came up to give her a kiss. "Don't cry sweethead."

I immediately told Jason about how she'd found a loophole to the "head" rule. He proceeded to create ways in which the rule still applied. "If someone is overly cute, 'She's such a sweethead'," etc.

Cami walked into the kitchen & told him, "I didn't turn sweethead into an insect!"

Semantic Savant

Do you know the knock knock joke, "Who's there?"


"Boo, who?"

"I'm sorry I didn't mean to make you cry." or "Don't cry. It was only a joke."

I came downstairs to find Jason on the sofa with all three kids piled around him in low-grade chaos. "Starr, listen to this: Graham, knock knock."

"Who's there?"


"Boo what?"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Air, I Need Air

We were doing our usual eat-&-run-out-the-door Friday night routine. Unfortunately, the "we" involved is not me & Jason, but rather me & Cami. I reminded Cami to brush her teeth, because the other girls at dance class wouldn't want to smell her "stinky breath."

Cami announced, "No, I just won't breathe."

While Jason was spelling out b-l-o-g, we heard Cami gasp for air.

She brushed her teeth.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Real Imagination

Thinking Graham was following Cami's lead in having chicken pox for the second time, I've kept him home from nursery (preschool) the past two days. Honestly, I've been enjoying having my little man around so much I wish I didn't have to send him back tomorrow.

He's getting so he really lives inside his imagination. And he often welcomes me into that world. He loves to cook -- when I asked, he said he's "the chef" -- and today there was a fire in his room where we could roast marshmallows. He handed me a "stick" and put on a marshmallow. He explained that there were only two sticks & two marshmallows & then turned to Rose. "Rose, you can't have one, 'cause you are tw-oo little."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bragging on my Boy

It's 12:25 a.m. We'd been out at a birthday party (thanks, Julie & Martin -- it was fun!) & I came in from parking the car when Jason asked me to read an email. I asked if he'd gotten a publication & he simply said, "Yes."

But it isn't just a publication: Jason is the winner of the Young Metaphysician Prize. This is a big deal -- this is a career-making achievement. This will definitely kick up his odds of getting a promotion in the very near future. The Lord loves us.

When I told him that I'm proud of him, he mentioned that the idea for the paper he submitted came when he attended a conference. I often refer to his conference attendance as "playing with his friends." It's hard -- he gets to do the thing he loves and travel to do it while I stay home with the kids. But he works hard, even when he's playing, and I'm very happy for him. . .and it's wonderful to see the happiness bubbling out of him. He is content with the world.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

His Letter Arrived

Graham just received his school admission letter. He'll be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. We are to take him King's Cross Station, London, on 1 September.

Wouldn't that be fun? Jason thinks he's a Gryffindor. I think that's mostly true, but some Slytherin tendencies manifest themselves sometimes. For example: he has a pet "snake." It's the tie-back on the drapes in my bedroom, but I find the snake all over the house -- even in the car. So, maybe, Graham is actually the person Harry Potter would be if he'd grown up with his parents.

Fantasy aside, Graham did get his letter. It was pushed through the mail slot, just like any other bit of post, rather than delivered by owl. But it's a relief to know where he'll be attending school six months in advance of the first day of class. And even though he's handsome in his green & grey nursery uniform, I think he'll be happier in blue & red.