Monday, June 29, 2009

Sopping Wet

August 2006. Graham's first trip to the beach. Jason was out of town, it was Graham's birthday week (age 1), and my friend Celine invited us to participate in her wonderful family's yearly beach holiday. Rather than braving the waves, though, Graham climbed into this tub filled with ocean water & shells & played happily for quite some time.

Spring 2007. My friend Kristin left as message saying that she wanted to see the photo of Graham after he fell into the goldfish pond at Rutgers Gardens. And since she's the one who took the photo, I made an effort to find it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jason thinks Zukania is where zucchinis come from.

Captain Hook chased a crook
All around Australia.
He lost his pants in the middle of France
And found them in Zukania.

Cami just told us this little rhyme. We had no idea where Zukania was, but Google is amazing at helping us learn the things we do not already know.

Captain Cook chased a chook,
All around Australia,
Lost his pants in the middle of France
And found them in Tasmania

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fresh Strawberry

A photo of Rose didn't make it into the "Summer Tradition" post, so here's something to prove she was there. . .and apparently enjoyed it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Breakfast Baking

I just had to tell Graham to shut the oven door. Despite having seen me put the dough inside, he was curious about what was baking.

"What is in there?"


"Banana? Or just bread?"

Summer Tradition

Summertime means strawberries. Moving to England means a shorter, later season. But that season is now & the trip to the pick-your-own-patch was today. Supper was German pancakes with strawberries -- yum.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Old Photos from Jersey

I was just glancing through photos on the hard drive & thought I'd share a few photos from when we lived in New Jersey. . .all of these images are at least two years old. The kids sure are bigger now.

At Rutgers Gardens. Frogs live under the paving stones where Cami is standing. And Cami & Graham both fell into this pond at least once. I'll find the shot of a soaking Graham & post it someday.
I almost never put photos of myself up (obviously). But here's a random shot that one of the kids took. I miss that lamp in the background.

In her "third (fourth?) birthday" dress from Quinter. She still wears it for sleeping.
My little guy in 'jamas. I see this expression on Rose's face now.
It always made me laugh when he'd climb into the easel.

Rain & Shine

Graham had the day off school yesterday, so after I dropped Cami off at class, we headed to my much loved outdoor space, Bolton Abbey. We climbed up the hill opposite the Abbey & through the fields. The clouds threatened rain & just before lunch we got pretty wet, but I have now confirmed that I love the Yorkshire Dales even when the day isn't gloriously sunny.

The hiking trails we took went through this farm. I saw the roses climbing above the door & told Jason, "I want the life that goes with this house." (The Kodak image life of spending the days hiking & then having gloriously simple dinner parties on the patio with friends & laughter.)
Just before lunch and just after the rained stopped.

Graham sat on this "stair" in the wall while he ate lunch.
The beginning of our hike. Two hours later, on the way down the hill, Graham aided erosion at this very spot.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Longer My "Random Bit of Trivia"

I just spent the last few hours filling out a job application. It's the first position I've applied for since 2001. I forgot how exhausting it is to try to get a job. Not only was there the application to fill out, but I didn't even have a resume. Ironic, since the most recent job I held was "Writing Consultant/Resume Writer." I guess I can't use that as the "thing you'd never guess about me" item at parties anymore.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weather I Love

It's raining. Not the constant, classically-English drizzle, but real rain with lightning, thunder, and the clatter of drops hitting concrete. The windows are open & the air smells amazing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How Much is it Worth?

"They are very aware that you can make things yourself and that those things have value." Brook Williams said this about her children in this interview.

I've been thinking about how I treat things. With all the moving I've done since I left high school, there have been many things that have entered my life which have been left behind. There have been many things that have entered my life which were dragged from coast to coast and then across an ocean.

The quote from Brook Williams somehow connected with my thinking about whether or not I value the things that I've spent money on. Jason and I have been talking about what it is that we really value about being in England -- we value travel, both exploring new places & returning to family and friends. Family and adventure. Really, for me, that matters more than items that fill up space in my house.

But what about the things that get used in my life? Do I value those things enough to take care of them properly? When clothes get torn or stained or a piece of electronica short circuits, do I miss the item or do I miss the entertainment it provided or do I just regret the money spent that could have gone to purchase something else? Like plane tickets.

And what about the things that I've picked up, intending to do something with them? I'm great at seeing the potential in something & then not doing a thing about it. Why do I value the time on the computer, trolling for inspiration, rather than actually doing what it takes to try to create beauty? What do my actions teach Cami, Graham, and Rose?

We came to England in part to teach the kids that the world can be their home, not just North America. I hope we can also teach them to create something beautiful, not just consume beauty, in all parts of the world.

I'm not saying this well, because my thoughts aren't perfectly clear. But I hope that I can be a creator, not just a consumer -- even when consumption is needed to create a beautiful memory.

Monday, June 8, 2009

aka Pizza Hut

I caved & got a Facebook account. It's been pretty good, so far. Anyway, I got a "friend request" from a high school acquaintance & was looking at her profile. Cami walked up & saw the photo. "Who's that?"

"Somebody I've known most of my life, but haven't seen in years."

"Is her name Pizza Delivery?"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Who I Am

Graham was just helping me spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture onto cinnamon roll dough. He was doing a really good job of putting the mixture on bare patches, so told him, "You are a good cook."

Then, remembering that he'd told me recently, "I the chef!" I asked if he was a good cook or a good chef.

In his cute little boy manner he patted his chest & replied, "I not a cook-chef. I Gam. Just Gam."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mind the Gap

Guess who gets a visit from the Tooth Fairy tonight?

Wet/Dry Vac

Rose, as established by Cami, is a vacuum cleaner. I was just cleaning up a milk spill. When I put the cloth down, she grabbed it & started to wipe up, too. "What a good helper!" I praised. Then she began to drink the milk from the cloth.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Step, Two Steps

Three running steps toward Jason. Then Rose collapsed at his feet. But the walking barrier has been broken. Yea for Rose!

(Keeping the kids quiet during church just got harder.)

What Appliance are You?

Cami just called to me while I was in the basement, "Mom, I dropped the grapes before I washed them & Rose is eating them -- she's like a vacuum."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The State of the Economy

One of my favorite things about living here is how easy it is to avoid chain-store shopping. Even in the States I preferred to shop at locally owned stores: the florists who knew my little family & loved to show Cami how they wrapped up her flowers; the gift shop & toy store owners that were siblings. And my favorite way to spend a Friday: Highland Park farmers' market.

Now we have a bigger range of mom-&-pops. There's the local fruit-&-veg stand where the owner always gives the kids raisins, dried apricots, or anything else they want to sample. The coffee shop/import food store where we grab last-minute cheese & pasta & they have researched how much it would cost to order Torani vanilla syrup for me. The hardware store whose owner bought a house on our street in the 1980s for 17,000 pounds. And the sweet & stylish grandmother at the "dress agency" whose tiny granddaughter had chicken pox at the same time as Cami.

I really value that personal connection. And it isn't always social. Being able to chat with the proprietors has proven educational. Like today. Jason and I went to the butchers. I tend to ask questions of the experts. Today it was whether or not the special price for minced beef was available. And the answer was it isn't. I asked if it was because of the was season: now is the time for spring lamb. The butcher smiled & explained that normally the spring lambs have a peak price early in the season, but since we are heading into summer, they have usually dropped by now. But because the British pounds is low compared to the Euro, French buyers have bought up all the lambs, keeping the local price up.

I've never before gone shopping prepared to buy beef & had world economics determine that I'd come home with pork.