Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Super hero, Birthday Baby

I've got lots of photos to post (about four months worth), but my sweet mother-in-law asked for a shot of Rose. So, here we are. My little super-hero opening a birthday present on (the day after) her big day.

Priscilla Rose turned one on Easter. There's something pretty neat about that. What's more neat is that suddenly my baby isn't a baby anymore. In the two weeks that have passed since April 12th, she's become more vocal. She clearly says, "yeth" when she's affirming something & is figuring out how to say "no." "Nana" is her favorite fruit and she is very emphatic when she tries to grab one from the fruit bowl. She laughs at Cami & Graham, yells with urgency when she wants a drink, & has figured out how to climb stairs.

She still doesn't walk, but that's just a matter of time. She's much more controlled in her balance. She's determined when she stands & deliberate when she lowers herself back to the floor.

Rose loves with an open heart & helps us all be happier. She's flown away with our hearts.

May I Help You?

For years Jason and I have lived in uncertainty. He was a student in a field where solid jobs were not guaranteed upon graduation. But it made him happy. And we've been blessed that he didn't just get a good job, but a great one with built-in tenure. Now we've got stability at a time when many we know do not.

A few months ago, I started to hear about friends and family members who were being laid off or were worried about their jobs disappearing. So, I offered to resurrect my old job title: writing consultant. The title is a bit misleading -- I, thanks to training from my awesome brother-in-law, worked as a resume writer. I got some positive feedback from friends, some of whom didn't know about those latent skills I keep tucked away in my brain & on my computer. So, I'm going public.

If you yourself or somebody you love need some help writing or rewriting a resume, cover letter, or CV, let me know. I'm offering with no expectation of payment. I realize that means I might be taken advantage of, but I'm willing to share what I have with those who could use some help.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scariest Thing I've Heard This Year

I overheard the following conversation at the park yesterday.

Girl to friend, "I think she is."

Friend, "Yeah, me, too."

(to Cami) "Where are you from?"

Cami, "America."

"Really? Are you here on holiday? It isn't very nice here. It rains a lot more than in America."

Cami, "No, I live here."

First girl, "Where?"

Cami, "In Horsforth."

First Girl, "You are lucky you're from America. That's where Britney Spears is from."

(I'm so glad Cami didn't know who the girl was talking about.)

Impediments to an Outfit

Graham was getting dressed in his Sunday best. Usually, he makes due with a white button-down shirt & dress slacks. But he made a special request this morning, "I want my racecoat." I didn't understand. "My racecoat," he insisted. Jason figured it out. "He wants his waistcoat."

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Graham wanted me to cut up his waffle at supper (we've been gorging on waffles during the mid-term break). But he didn't just ask for help eating his supper -- he revealed a genetic propensity for mixed up geometry. "I want squaretangles!"

I've Found Home

I have so many great things to post about, but I must write about today's adventure. When we got up, Jason suggested going to Harewood House which has been on my "we must do this" list for a couple months. Even though I really want to go to Harewood House, I had woken up with a different plan in mind. Bolton Abbey has been on our list almost since we first got here. We'd gone to see Thomas when we'd first arrived in Leeds, but hadn't traveled out into the Yorkshire Dales beyond that. Jason was enthusiastic about the idea, so that is where we spent the day.

And where I am ready to spend a lifetime.

It's stunningly beautiful. And there was a much-needed simplicity to our day. Hiking in the hills, walking along the river, sitting in the sun (we even got mild sunburns), and playing games that the kids devised & chasing the sheep (Graham wanted to "soft them" -- a family term for gently touching a baby that has expanded to petting animals). I needed this day.

Now on to the task of house-hunting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Opposite of a Forehead

We're having a lazy, post-vacation (I'll post on our trip to St. Albans later) morning. Jason is making waffles, about half of us are dressed for the day (Rose & Graham are still in 'jamas), and it's a cloudy, rainy view out the kitchen door.

But no lazy morning would be complete without a tearful three year old throwing himself on the floor. He's become aware in the eight months that we've lived here that a tile floor is not the softest place to crash his head when he throws himself down. It's very funny to watch Graham spread-eagle himself on the floor with violence & then gently lower his head to floor-level.

He just started crying again, post-tantrum, insisting that I take Rose off my lap, so he could occupy it. When he climbed up, he told me, "I need a kiss. My back-head hurts."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Early Morning Conversations

Graham just came down the stairs into the kitchen, 'jamas still on & paci in his mouth. "Mama, I was looking for you in the bathtub."

"In the bathtub? Did you find me there?"

"No. I found Daddy and Rose in the bathtub."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So Close, But So Wrong

Cami has become a very accomplished reader. She still wants me to read to her, but if she really wanted to, I think she could manage most stories on her own. Her skills are probably between an American second and third grade level, but mistakes do happen.

She was just sitting next to me, looking at a DVD collection that Jason had left out from last night. "Hm, it's India Jones."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What I Think When I Wash Dishes

I keep thinking about the Old Testament "promised land" that the children of Israel waited generations to occupy; and how in the Book of Mormon Lehi & his family left Jerusalem some time later to travel to the "land of promise."

Jason and I feel that England is where we are supposed to be. That this is where the Lord wants us to be. But that doesn't mean it is always easy. There are days when I think, "Why are we here?" Those are usually days when I'm missing my king-sized bed. Or my enormous clothes dryer. (Really, those are the only two things I really miss.)

We gave those things away. In early December I was really feeling angry about the dryer. It was only 18 months old and was the largest dryer one could buy for use in the home. It had a few bells and whistles that I used & a bunch more that I didn't. So one day when I felt like I was drowning under laundry, I kept questioning "Where's the blessings? I gave this great dryer to a family who by all appearances were in a lot better financial shape than us. And now I live in a house that doesn't even have a dryer. . .and it rains 50% of the time." It seemed incredibly unfair.

A few days later, a friend emailed and said that the family we'd given the dryer was losing their house and had to move two weeks before Christmas. Definitely one of those, "I'm a jerk. Thanks for humbling me" prayer moments.

After years of student life, followed by student-with-kids life, Jason has a solid job with built-in tenure. The only way he'll lose his job is if the British Educational System collapses and that's highly unlikely. We are being spared a lot of the anxiety and anguish that plague many people we know and millions that we don't.

We still can't live extravagantly. It's our promised land, not our paradise. There's a lot of work that goes into realizing the potential that a promised land contains.

So, back to the laundry & dishes.