Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bulldog Jowls aka Lets Lose Some Weight Fatty McFatterson

Lately I have been having this recurring daydream (more like nightmare) that I have gigantic bulldog jowls. I can actually feel the jowls on my face. It is quite an icky feeling. Then all of a sudden this image will come to mind:



This is the mascot for Chruchill Insurance over here in England. Yes, he is a lovable little character. His commercials are hilarious. He seems good natured. The only catch is, I don't want to in anyway resemble his physical appearance. Sorry, Churchill.

So, guess what? Kat is on a major diet now. Starting yesterday, I joined SparkPeople. It is a free diet website. The program resembles Weight Watchers, only without the meetings. You also count calories instead of keeping track of points. It is sensible eating and portion control (two things I really suck at-which I totally blame my father's side family for. No really, thost people can really eat!!). Oh and I am supposed to exercise. We'll see about that. I am not really an exercise girl. Walking to LaLa's school in the afternoon is about all the exercise I can stand sometimes. Maybe once I get a couple of pounds off I will be more inclined to exercise.

Right now I am at *cough* 204 lbs *cough* and by the end of the year I would like to be down to around 160. Being that I am fairly tall, any smaller than that and I would look gaunt. So 160 it is. I will keep you guys updated on my progress, but I in no way want to turn this blog into a weightloss blog. This is just one of the things I am doing right now.

Monday, March 30, 2009

200th Post

In honor of my 200th post I am going to re-post one of my favorite posts I have written in the past. I wrote this post in August, when I had just began blogging. Although it was a good post, I never thought it got the attention it needed.

The Same, But Different

It really and truly irks me when parents say they love their children the same. They may love their children equally but I think it does injustice to say they love them the same. All children are different and need to be loved in different ways. The love doesn't even have to be really equal, as long as the child gets what they need emotionally.

As for my children there is no way to love them the same. On the personality spectrum they could not be further apart. LaLa is a highly emotional and sensitive child, she needs constant attention and approval. KiKi could care less. She is independent and headstrong. The challenges of parenting these two personalities are complex.

My oldest LaLa is the sweetest little girl. She is very loving and she carries her heart on her sleeve. She is also very cautious, high strung, ADHD, and anxious. Sometimes I can look at her and see the energy flowing in her just waiting to burst out. It is like a dam holding back a swollen river. My job as a parent is to funnel that energy into something that is productive. If not, I have a kid bouncing from sofa to sofa, doing forward rolls all over the living room floor or pulling out ALL my DVDs and lining them up in a perfect line across the living room floor. I also have to watch my tone and wording with her. The slightest raise of my voice, even if I am not angry, can make her burst into tears. I have perfected the low authoritative voice because yelling does me not an ounce of good if it is counteracted by hysterics and a complete emotional meltdown on her part. She craves structure and I am the most unstructured person in the world. I have to force myself to plan ahead for her benefit. This complex individual is wrapped up in a beautiful willowy body, with her fathers dainty facial features. She is an exquisite child and I love her so much. She love me too. Sometimes when I am laying on the couch, she will just come up to me and wrap her arms around me and say "I love you, Momma!" and that means the world to me.

KiKi is a mirror of myself. I can't believe how similar our personalities are. Laid back is an understatement. Unlike LaLa, I "get" KiKi. I understand what she is thinking. I can read her without much effort. She is rambunctious, loud, fun loving, and stubborn. Oh Lord is she stubborn! Try to get this kid to do something she doesn't want to do. I dare you. I double dog dare you. My husband call her "the mean one", which in truth she probably is. She picks on LaLa because she has figured out she can. You can see a little glint of mischief in her eyes when she smiles. It is fabulous. She does have a strong sense of wrong and right even at age 2. Even when she does wrong, she understands when I make her apologize and put her in timeout. I rarely get much resistance from her when it comes to her punishment. She needs me, but not too much. She values her independence. She makes me want to be a kid all over again.

I love my kids differently but equally. I see their good and their bad. I see the trials that they are going to have in the future and it scares me equally. I fear that LaLa is going to be taken advantage of. I fear that KiKi is going to be emotionally hard like I am. The best I can do is to prepare them for the future and explain that it is o.k to be themselves. They do not have to fit the mold of the perfect child, they just have to be their own perfect.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bad Blogger!!

I feel like I have been a very very bad blogger. I received 3 awards last week and didn't put them up in a timely manner. Feel free to shun me. Not really. Ok you can shun me, but at least give me a written 2 week notice and maybe just maybe I can win you back before the end of the two weeks.

So without further ado (I just had to look that up to see if it was spell ado or adieu and it actually looks like ado is right which totally blows my mind since adieu looks more proper) the following ladies were entirely too kind and gave me these spiffy awards. Of course they also come with rules and games. Gah it sounds like some of my old high school relationships.

The first award is from my home girl BiblioMom. This sweetie bestowed the Kreativ Blogger Award on me. Thank You!!



The rules for this one...6 Things that Make me Happy and tagging 6 Bloggers. Man I hate rules. I will try my best to follow the rules.
6 Things That Make Me Happy
1. My family.
2. A clean house.
3. My awesome friends here in the States, England and in Bloggyland. I love you all. Eww not like that!
4. Reading a good book. Hell sometimes any book will do. Trashy romance novel? Yes, please.
5. My dog. Despite her recient piddling incidents I still love the little hooker. I love Sam, my cat too but he isn't so much a cuddler. He is more of a start pawing the doors at 1am to annoy me type guy.
6. Old photos. I love finding old photos of my family. My Auntie A (the one who comments here sometimes) just sent me a lot of old photos of the family and I love them. They make me smile.

6 Bloggers Everyone Needs to Check out
1. Mike H from Post Cards from Across the Pond. (He is a real live published author ya'll!)
2. MomoFali (go there now!)
3. Not From Around Here, another American in England.
4. Larkin from Still Just Me- Her cat is so large I was afraid it ate her.
5. Jenn from Sprite's Keeper. You may have heard of her once or twice. She does that little thing called the Spin Cycle. You should check her out.
6. Church Punk Mom from Embellished Truth and Polite Fiction. 5 kids. Seriously.

The second award was from Bella Foxx at Bella is reading...
Apparently Bella is one of my incognito readers. I really appriciate the award. It is the Sisterhood Award

.

Now the rules. What is up with these rules?
  1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
  2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award
Ok so I have to nominate UP TO 10 bloggers. I think 3 will do.

1. Yaya from Yaya Stuff.
2. Sarah from Brit Gal in the USA
3. Michelle from Confessions of a Desparate Housewife.

The third award I recieved was the Hottie Award from Cammie at Life in the House of No Sleep.
I am a hottie? If you say so!



I am supposed to pass this on to 8 people, but I am done following rules!!!! I am giving this one to everyone. Take it and spread the love. Maybe you can follow the 8 people rule. Also please visit all my nominees. They are all awesome people and awesome bloggers. Kiss kiss. Love ya. Mean it.




Friday, March 27, 2009

Can't I Just Have One Uneventful Evening?

I didn't blog yesterday *gasp*. I know, I know you guys missed me. Or at least that is what I tell myself. Anyhoo, yesterday my hubby worked day shift for the first time in umpteen months and I was looking forward to actually being able to relax a little in the evening. HA!

In order to start my evening of not doing crap I ordered pizza for dinner. It was fabulous. Really. Dominos here in the UK, I don't know what they do differently but it puts American Dominos to shame. Seriously. So after dinner I watched a little t.v., the girls played all around the house and The Man played a little guitar back in the "office" (which isn't really an office yet- it is more like a storage room for all the crap we have that we don't know what to do with here in the new house).

Now, you guys all know my trampy dog "the beast", well she was in an especially frisky mood and wanted to play. I was more than willing to oblige. I got her nice and riled up. She was barking (which she rarely does), rolling over, jumping on me, jumping from couch to couch, yes she was sufficiently wound up. Then when she was sitting on my lap and wagging her tail nub with enthusiastic gusto, KiKi came over and petted her. The dog peed on my lap. Yes you read that right. She peed on me. She was so wound up and excited that she peed on me. Not a little bit. A lot.

Ewww Ewww Eww. Get it off me! I ran to the bathroom and stripped off my clothes. To which my husband gave me this look like "Dude, what the hell" to which I responded "The damn dog just peed on me!!" Washed myself off and I changed clothes. Still can't believe she peed on me. Then I went back to watching t.v. on the couch (sans dog). Lovely loafing about ensued.

After the kids took a bath I was getting them into their pjs. Then this lovely conversation happened.

LaLa- *pointing at her chest" Mom look at my nipples!
Me- What about them?
Her- I want them to get bigger!
Me- *silence*
Her I want them to get bigger!!!!
Me- Um..well they aren't going to right now. Lets get dressed so you can go brush your hair and teeth.
Her- Nipples Nipples Nipples!!!! (she thinks saying that word is hilarious at this point)
Me- Ok LaLa (I had finished dressing her by now), go get your teeth brushed.

Why dear Lord are these girls trying to give me gray hair early? I am not a prude by any stretch. But I really did not expect the "I want bigger boobs" talk to happen at the age of 5. Maybe at 12. I don't know that I actually handled it as much as avoided it. Eh. Oh well. She can talk about this with her therapist when she is older.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What is Right for Your Kid

Being a military family over here in the UK we have some decisions to make when it comes to schooling. These decisions will not just affect our years here in the UK, but will affect our children's lives once we move back to the States. One route to go is to put your child in DoD (Department of Defense) schools. The other route is to use the UK school system. We chose to use the UK school system. There were many reasons for our decision. The first is that the UK schools are extremely structured. With LaLa being the type of hypersensitive child she is, the stability of the school's schedule and the year round schooling was important to me. The school she attends is also within walking distance of my house. This was important to me in case of car failure. My husband has got to go to work one way or another and I have to get LaLa to school one way or another, this way if one of the cars dies I don't have to 1) wake up ridiculously early to take him to work 2) get the kids up in the middle of the night to pick their dad up from work. We can just walk if all else fails. We know that their will be some adjustments to be made once we get back to the States such as making her drop the u's out of the word colour and that tire is not spelled tyre. Overall they are minor adjustments that we think she will make with ease when she is a bit older. Another reason?

UNICEF rankings of educational systems in the world's richest countries, indicating the percentage of 14 and 15 year olds scoring below a minimum level in literacy, math and science.
1. South Korea 1.4 percent
2. Japan 2.2
3. Finland 4.4
4. Canada 5
5. Australia 6.2
6. Austria 8.2
7. Britain 9.4
8. Ireland 10.2
9. Sweden 10.8
10. Czech Republic 12.2
- (tie) New Zealand 12.2
12. France 12.6
13. Switzerland 13
14. Belgium 14
- (tie) Iceland 14
16. Hungary 14.2
- (tie) Norway 14.2
18. United States 16.2
19. Germany 17
- (tie) Denmark 17
21. Spain 18.6
22. Italy 20.2
23. Greece 23.2
24. Portugal 23.6

I have however ran into some American parents at LaLa's school who are pulling their children out of this school once they are old enough to attend the American DoD elementary school next year. Although that is completely their decision, I don't understand putting the child into British schools to start with, and then moving them to an American school. The teaching methods in British schools are extremely different than in American schools and it just seems like it is going to be confusing to the kids. For instance in British schools when children are learning their alphabet, they learn the sounds the letters make as opposed to the names of the letters. The names of the letters are mentioned of course, but not emphasised like in American schools. This actually lead to my friend Domino's little boy to be extremely confused when he first entered British schools, but now he is straightened out and is caught up to his class and excelling.

I asked one of the American parents why he was moving his kid out of the British school and I got the most ridiculous answer. "Well he has to learn the Pledge of Allegiance somewhere." Now while I agree that learning the Pledge is important to Americans, I don't know if it is a reason I would move my kid out of a school. This is something you could teach your kid at home. Also if you are worried that they won't have the "typical American experience" of saying the Pledge at the beginning of the school day, remember, they are young enough that by the time you return to the States they will still get this experience when you return.

Now, if the DoD schools were better than British schools I would move LaLa. However, I have heard some iffy reviews of the school. Whereas I have seen the progress that LaLa is making here in her English school. She is sounding out words, adding, and becoming quite the little artest. I can't argue with results. She is happy. She loves going to school. She is learning. I see no reason to pull her out of this school, even if she isn't learning the Pledge of Allegiance. That is what Mommy and Daddy are for at home.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Extreme Times Call For Extreme Measures

I am sick of laundry. Seriously I do laundry ALL the time. Every time I get it to a manageable level all of sudden dirty clothes come out of the woodwork and attack me. Right now my house looks like all of my closets and chests of drawers have puked all over my house. I am D-O-N-E. Today is going to be spent doing laundry and weeding out old clothes that we either don't wear or we don't need. I have even considered chopping our clothes down to 7 articles of each item of clothes i.e. 7 shirts, 7 pairs of trousers, 7 pairs of underpants, etc. and then donating all of our other clothes to charity. Either way something has got to give around here. I am not a Wash-A-Teria.

In other news, I have been given 3 awards in the last week. I feel so bad for not getting to them and passing them out properly. I promise ladies I am working on it, I just have not been able to get my head out from underneath the pile of clothes that I am under.

Oh and Mama Dawg is having a contest over at her place. Go there and try to win something!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Did It All For The... Marshmallows

You would think marshmallows would be a relatively easy thing to locate in a store. Apparently I peeved The Man Upstairs somehow and he decided it would be fun to send me on a wild goose chase for the gooey fluffy confection. Oh yeah sure, it started out as a simple enough request from the 3 little girls at my house who wanted nothing more than to roast marshmallows over the fire in the backyard. Did I particularly feel like leaving my house that evening? No not really. Would I do it for them? Yeah, sure. I needed to out anyway and get more wood for the fire, surely marshmallows would be an easy enough request to fill while I was out.

First stop. The BX. Wood, check. Now surely they will have marshmallows in the Shoppette next door. Nope. Check the watch. Five minutes to seven. The commissary closes at seven, we can totally make it there in time. J (my cohort in marshmallow procurement) and I make it to the commissary with three minutes to spare. Go to the doors. Locked. Are you kidding me? There are customers still inside but the powers that be are mallow blocking us! By this point I have a feeling that God is looking down and is laughing His omnipotent booty off at us while pointing and shouting "Suckers!"

I half considered going back to the house empty handed in defeat. Then I thought of the wrath I would face from the three little girls back at my house. Oh hell no, I am not going back there without the goods. Do you know how whiny little girls can be when they don't get what they are expecting? It is like when women don't get what they want, only in a higher pitch and decibel level. Perhaps a little more stomping and crying is involved as well. Oh and for the rest of the night you will not hear the end of it.

At this point I have two stores in mind where the target might be obtained. The first is a convenience store in my little village. It has a limited selection and exorbitant prices. There is not guarantee that there will be marshmallows there but it is fairly close. The other option is the Sainsberry's in the next town over. It is a national grocery chain and it is guaranteed to have marshmallows, however it is further away and we have already been gone a while (like 30-45 minutes at this point) and we still need to go to J's house to get her son some different socks and shoes. Judgement call. We decide on the convenience store.

When we entered the convenience store it was like the gates of heaven had opened up. Marshmallows were literally sitting right in front of me on the first display in the store. I am surprised there wasn't a ray of light spotlighting them and a choir of angels singing. I grabbed them and paid my £1.80 and then headed to J's house. When we finally got back to my house I am sure we had been gone well over an hour the first thing I heard when I got out of the car was J's little girl asking "Do you got the marshmallows?" Yes, we have the marshmallows. 3 stores and over an hour later, we have the marshmallows. You girls better enjoy every single bite of them too. And they did.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are you Crazy?

About a week ago, The Man, told me that he was going to have today off work. I had visions of sleeping in late and a lazy late breakfast dancing in my head. Not to be. He burst my thought bubble with one word. Paintball. Yes, he got up early this morning donning his finest old BDUs (cammo for those who don't speak military) and went to go get shot at by a bunch of other guys in his shop. He offered that I could come too. My response? "So you want me to run around and get shot at? I think not."

Personally, paintball sounds like a "sport" (and I used that term very loosely) that you would only invite your worst enemy to. I mean, you run around and shoot each other with paintballs. Oh it sounds fun enough. However, you have to remember paintballs are actually quite hard. It is like shooting each other with bouncy balls (hahaha I said bouncy balls) at over 100mph. Sure at a slow speed they probably wouldn't hurt, but add a bit of velocity on that sucker and bruises are going to happen. Not only that but there is the risk of injury from the obsticles on the course. Keep in mind that I am a complete klutz. I can just see myself tripping and injuring myself in a nonpaintball induced way. I am sure that a broken bone or stitches would be the result.

So I am sitting here waiting on my husband to return, hopefully all in one piece. I know he is gonna be a mess of bruises and complaining almost as bad as when he has a "man cold". But then, he is gonna tell me how awesome it was and that he wishes he could do it every weekend. Then, I am gonna call him a dumbass and go get him some Advil so he will shut his pie hole. Cause I am a loving and caring wife like that.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Retrospect...I Was a Mess

Lately I have been feeling fabulous. No really. It is like someone has taken a set of jumper cables attached them to my butt and gave me a jolt of energy. I am happy. Very very happy. Although my family has faced many tragedies in the past couple of months, we have banded together and are healing together. That makes my heart happy. Thinking about it, I haven't been this happy or content with my life in a long time.

You guys wouldn't know this, but I was going though a bit of a personal rough patch about two years ago. KiKi was 6 months old, LaLa was 3 and I was tired. So so tired. Tired of everything. I was sick of my kids needing me twenty four hours a day, I was sick of my husband not being around when I needed help, I didn't want to do any house work, I didn't really want to hang out with my friends, and I was a pain in the ass to be around. I am pretty sure I was clinically depressed, but I didn't want to admit it. I made plenty of excuses for my behaviour too.

"If they would just give me an hour by myself" "If he just helped me out more around the house" "They are just too busy to hang out, I don't want to bother them" "I just need a good nap"

Yeah it was all excuses. I was completely full of crap. In retrospect I probably needed some professional help. I was just too stubborn to admit it. It almost ended up costing me my marriage. I was a pain to be around and I was picking fights with my husband left and right. Oh yeah, I was a treat to be around. We got to the point where we were sure we were going to get divorced and had pretty much divided all of our personal items and were trying to negotiate custody arrangements for the girls. It was a terrible situation. Finally we just decided that we couldn't go through with it. We loved each other and the girls too much. We just had to get back on track.

I am not sure how I turned the corner and got out of my funk, but I did. Things got better slowly. My husband and I started making more time for each other. Things are back to the way they should be. We are working together as a team and as a family. It is awesome.

Now I know what to look out for and know how bad depression can really be. I don't ever want to go back to that place, but if I do, I will seek professional help. I am not willing to make myself or my family go through that again. To those who stuck with me through that rough patch, thank you. Oh and if I ever get like that again, kick my ass and tell me to go to the doctor. Seriously.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday


Elizabeth is back from the home for unwed doggy sluts...uh I mean Domino's house. All the puppies have been weaned and were basically stalking her around the house and pestering the hell out of her, so it was time to come home. She greeted me last night by being so excited that she wee'd all the way from the door of the kitchen clear across the floor to the sink as she shook her tail. So basically she pissed all over my kitchen floor from the excitement. No matter. I was just happy to have her home.

Oh and why didn't people tell me before I moved to England that Steak and Ale pies are absolutely addicting? I have 3 years and 7 months left to learn how to make the perfect Steak and Ale pie or I am completely going to be missing a little piece of me here in England.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Preview of What's to Come

I got a brief glimpse into the future this morning. Frankly I am petrified. Follow me here; I have two daughters. Do you know what this means? Well besides the fact that I am going to have to pay for two weddings, buy at least two prom dresses, and scare off at least two boyfriends I don't like. It also means double PMS.

I woke up this morning extremely chipper. Quite surprising since I had only had roughly 6 hours of sleep and I usually need about 8 hours. I didn't complain, I just went with it. I had actually laid LaLa's uniform out the night before so I just told her to get dressed and I hopped in the shower. Once emerging I hears shrill cries. Thought to myself "For goodness sake what now?" Started to dry off and yelled from the bathroom to find out why she was melting down.

"I don't have panties out here!!!"

Umm ok. Well she knows where her panties are. They are right where they have always been since she has been potty trained. Top drawer.

"LaLa, top drawer. Go get some." I continued drying off.

She laughs and then skips down the hall to get some underpants. Holy hormones, Batman! My 5 year old already has PMS.

Fast forward 15 minutes. KiKi is dressed but doesn't have her socks and shoes on. I toss her a pair of socks and let her get to work putting them on. She gets them on and I toss her shoes to her. Not two seconds later she is crying and slamming her shoes on the ground. She can't get them on.

My mind flashes forward 12 years to when she is 14 years old. Sitting at the kitchen table doing homework and having a meltdown because question number 7 is too hard. Slamming down a notebook and crying and telling me how unfair her math teacher is because he doesn't explain the work well enough.

I am in for a world of hurt people. Pray for me!



Don't let this scene of calm fool you!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

We got a lot done this weekend and had a ton of fun doing it. The man room has finally become a place of beer and fun as opposed to the gigantic storage area it was. Well it is still a storage area but we have at least carved out a "Man Corner" as my husband calls it. He got the dart board hung and the furniture situated so that he has a nice place to put the computer for some tunes. We are going to get a stereo for out there, but that is gonna have to wait for a couple of weeks.


On Saturday night we played a couple of games. I had never actually played darts before other than screwing around and trying to hit the bullseye. Well apparently there are actual rules and different kinds of games of darts. Who knew? I lost all the games we played but by the end of the night I was getting the knack of at least coming close to what I was aiming for.


Enlarge for my commentary on losing. Yes I am a sore loser.

We also found a game that keeps the girls occupied for more than 5 min.



Who ever invented the fishing game is a genius! The version my kids got has more fish in the middle but this picture gives the gist. They actually sat there for over an hour playing this baby and didn't even lose any pieces.

We also bought a fire pit for the back yard. Hurry up summer we got some backyard get togethers to get to. Now we just need a propane tank for our grill. Mmm steaks! *drool* I am just so excited that the weather has finally started turning around here. The days are getting longer, the flowers are starting to bloom and today for the first time ever I took LaLa to school and didn't wear a coat. Spring is springing!

Finally last night we went to our friend's house for dinner. We got to let the kids play with kids that are near their ages and got some adult conversation time. Also J's spaghetti was awesome. I need to find out what kind of spices she puts on the hamburger when it is browning because it was so yummy. The Man actually ate all his spaghetti and he doesn't even "like" spaghetti. When we got home I gave him crap about it of course. "So you will eat all J's spaghetti but you won't eat mine?" His response was that hers tasted different and he liked it. Which means of course that I am gonna have to steal her "recipe" so I can make spaghetti like most other normal households.

So that is what happened around the Bungalow this weekend. I hope you all had spectacular weekends as well.

New LaLa Brit Phrases.

Bits- Mom there are little tiny bits in this.
Well done- Well done KiKi!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thank You!

Last night I was sitting down, lounging if you will, and I got an email. It was from a guy named Nick. I know I don't know any Nicks so I figured it was one of those Nigerian Banking Fraud junk emails, but I decided to open it. Glad I did. Apparently Nick is an British Ex-Pat who lives in America now. He was looking for photos to use on his webpage and had stumbled upon (from Mike H's blog Post Cards from Across the Pond)(Oh and that is the name of his book too, you guys should buy it! It's on Amazon.) my photos of Cambridge and was asking permission to use them. I was stunned. First that he liked my photos and secondly that he asked permission (not everyone is that thoughtful and will steal your photos quicker than you can say lickity split). I was honored and told him that he was more than welcome to use the photos. He was also kind enough to repay me by linking from his site to my blog. You can find his site, BritPages.org here. Head over there for all things British.

I then recieve an award. I was Gobsmacked. Joanie from over at Jonie's Random Ramblings was kind enough to give me this little beauty!


The Lemonade Stand Award
For when life gives you lemons you make....Lemonade!

Of course this honor is not with out rules. Kinda like this:



So here are the rules:

Post the logo on your blog.

Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude. Link to the nominees within your blog post.

Notify the recipients of the award by commenting on their blog.

Share the love and link back to the person from whom you received your award.

Here are the recipients from me:

Amy from Bitchin Wives Club

Mariah from Manic Mariah

Chad from Us and Them

Myshka from My London Eye

Bobby G from The G Spot

Jess from This Life is Mine

Petra from The Wise Young Mommy

Mama Dawg from Two Dogs Running

YaYa from YaYa Stuff

Cat from Zipbag of Bones

Cammie from Life in the House of No Sleep

OK I did 11. Pass the love on my lovely bloggers!






Thursday, March 12, 2009

So Many Things in My Head

I have a load of things running through my head today so bear with me. First off I would like to say Google, yes Google, the Google, you suck. I know I live in England and you want me to use google.co.uk. but I want to use just regular old Google. Not that the UK version is bad, but when I go shopping, I want to see things in dollars not pounds. Things sometimes are just not geared towards those who live in a particular country, but deal with the financial system of another. I have had this problem with iTunes as well. Because I live in England, I generally hear the music that is popular over here. Go figure. However iTunes US doesn't have half the songs that I want to download. I tried to switch to the UK version of iTunes, but because my bank technically has a US address not a UK address (even though there is a branch here on the base in the UK) it won't let me. This means my favorite song right now, I can't download it. I have to go to youtube every single time I want to listen to it. Pain in the rear I tell ya.



LaLa got invited to her first birthday party here. A little boy in her class is having his birthday at indoor playground over in one of the neighboring towns. I am really excited. It is the first time she is really going to get to play with kids her own age outside of school since we got here. Of course she plays with Domino's kids, but her youngest is a year older than LaLa and her older one is in middle school. The oldest is really in more of a babysitter/older sister type roll. Not that she minds because she has fun doing things with LaLa. The younger one is a boy though and ewww girls are dumb and gross. Yeah. I hear ya on that one buddy. Just keep that in your head until you are old enough to get married and are out of your mother's house. I am sure she will appriciate not having to worry about you as a teenager.

Have I ever mentioned that LaLa is passive aggressive? Yes, she is the queen of passive aggressiveness. If I say "hurry up" she slows down. Every. Single. Time.

I really want to go to a blogging conference like BlogHer, but there is no way I could afford the airfare. It is too bad that most of the "good" ones are in the USA. Would a blogging conference in London be too much to ask? Then I could take the train down, get to relax, not fly across an ocean...wishful thinking.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dear So and So about So What and So Forth...

Dear KiKi,

Yes, it's that time again. A lovely note from your mom. Now, I know you are contractually obligated and at a stage in your development as a human where you are supposed to be ornery, petulant, and generally a pain in my rear end. You're two. It happens. But seriously, can we knock it off? At bedtime, when you tell me "Mommy out!" I know it isn't because you are wanting to be self sufficient and go to bed on your own. It is because the minute I walk out the door you are going to get out of bed and start doing whatever the hell you want to do. I mean, you aren't even being slick about it; you turn the lights on. From now on, lay down, go to sleep and hush your mouth, cause frankly I don't care if you pitch a fit, you are still going to sleep.

Also, quit hitting your sister. She is a sensitive kid and will totally take it upon herself to rat you out. It would be in your best interest to start picking on kids who are A) much bigger than you or B) can't talk and therefore can't tattle on you.

Love, Mom
------------------------

Dear Interrupter-One Upper-Close Talker,

I now know the heights of all 3 of your children. This isn't because I took a measurements of my own, it is because you say stuff like "Well my oldest, you know the 5 foot tall one, she yadda yadda yadda yadda" Couldn't care lady. Also could you back up just a smidgen when you are making a point to me, because, well, you're in my bubble and I might have to take evasive defensive actions if you get any closer.

Regards, Kat
-----------------------------

Dear LaLa,

You. Crack. Me. Up.



Thanks for the laughs, Kiddo.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Bet it is Like Berkeley...Only With A Better Accent

When you think of Universities in England the two that come to mind are Oxford and Cambridge. I live really close to Cambridge. It is about a 30 min drive away. It is an absolutely beautiful city, with an obscene amount of bicycles. Yes, bicycles. Everyone uses them and they are not afraid to run over small children.



The day we went to Cambridge I kept LaLa out of school. I didn't know what time we were going to be back and I didn't want to leave the poor kid stranded at the school. We got there about 10am and it was cold and windy. Cambridge has the river Cam running in between the different Universities that are located there. So, when you tour the University grounds, you are also walking along the Cam. There are also boats that punt on the Cam.



Did I mention it was cold and windy? Yes? Oh well lets add the wind coming off water into the mix. Yeah that sounds like a good idea! But oh, it is so beautiful!



The chapel at Kings College was gourgeous.





Spectacular.

Besides the cold and the wind and the insane bicycle riders, I was impressed with the beauty of the area. I am sure I will be back soon on a warmer day, sans kids.

More Pics

Enlarge to spot the student prank in this one! (look closely at what is in the King's right hand)







Monday, March 9, 2009

Framlingham Castle

The day we went to Framlingham Castle did not start off well. I was driving the Jeep with my handy dandy GPS and The Man was following in the Fiat with my dad as the "spotter/navigator". OK for this to make sense I need to draw a diagram...hold please.

Click to enlarge.

Not 5 min after we began our journey we got to the 5 Way. It is a large roundabout with 5 exits. It strikes fear into most of the American's hearts around here. Not me. I have been to this rodeo more than once in my quests. The GPS told me to take the 5th exit. I checked my mirrors, made sure he was behind me and entered the roundabout. As I got into the round about I counted the exits, took the 5th exit, checked my mirror and saw he was not behind me. He had taken the 4th exit. SHIT! Look for mobile phone. No phone. Left it at the house. SHIT! I drove up the road about a mile. Look there is a phone booth! Well at this point I was so pissed off at his driving and my dad's navigation skills that I litterally could NOT remember his mobile number. What to do? Well surely they will just go back to the house when they realize that I am not on that road and I don't have my phone. We will just go back to the house and try this again. I proceeded th unleash a tirade of cussing all the way back to the house.

I got back to the house and located my phone. Dial The Man. My father answers the phone.

"Where are ya'll?"
"Oh we are just getting to Bury"
"WHAT? Why didn't you guys turn around? You don't have a GPS. How are you guys going to get to the castle without directions?"
"Well I did study the map lastnight. I think we'll be OK. Meet you at the castle."
"Whatever (note this is the whatever that means I hope you wander all over Suffolk get lost and have a really fun day of seeing nothing but the countryside and no castle)"

After I got off the phone I got back into the car hell bent on seeing a frickin castle that day. Well we arrived at the castle about 5 minutes after my dad and The Man did. They, unlike most men, did stop and ask for directions. And although I had wished a day of fruitless wandering on them, I was glad to see that they had made it. Plus they had LaLa in the car with them and it wouldn't have been cool if she had missed the castle.

According to The Man (and I don't believe this for one second) by the time they had got into the 5 way they had lost sight of me and just took the exit that they knew went semi towards the direction that they needed to go. I mean, how to you lose a LARGE, ORANGE, SUV? We did see the castle at Framlingham. It was lovely.


View from just inside the castle gates


Mom coming up the stairs to the castle wall



On top of the castle wall



The Girls on top of the castle walls

Align Center
The view of the countryside

After the 5 ways debacle, it was a great day. We had a really good time. The girls had a great time running around the lawn inside the castle gates. I got to enjoy the scenery and The Man got his history fix. The drive home, thankfully, was much less eventful.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Family

My family. What can I say? We are closer than most. We have a unique bond. We feel the joys and pains together, as one. When one person hurts, our hearts hurt just as bad. When one feels joy, all of us are joyous. Every bump in the road, we are there together, no matter how many miles separate us. All it takes is one phone call to be made to bring us all together, if not in person, in spirit. I love my family.

Upon hearing the news of my Uncles death, I was greatly saddened. However, I felt comfort, even in the depths of my sorrow. I knew, we will as a family would weather this storm just like we have weathered countless others. We will find strength in each other and with the Lord, we will endure. It is what we do.

To those who sent messages of condolences and prayers the past couple of days, thank you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. My family reads my blog and they appreciate all the well wishes too. From them, thank you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Youngest of 9

My great grandmother had nine children. My Granny is the oldest. Adam was the youngest. He was 49. The same age as my mother. He died this morning. Melanoma, was the culprit. They had found it last year and removed it. They thought they had it beat. Then on a routine scan about a month ago, they found it had spread to his lungs, and other internal organs. He was stage 4. The doctors gave him up to 4 years to live if the treatment worked. However, because of a heart attack a couple years ago, they didn't know if the treatment would work or kill him. He wanted to live and decided to get the treatment. The treatment caused him to start throwing blood clots into his lungs a couple of days ago and until this morning he was in the ICU. This evening I received a phone call from my dad telling me that Adam had passed away. My Granny's youngest brother, a good man, a husband, a father, and a friend lost his battle with cancer.

Please know the signs of melanoma and screen yourself. Look for moles that are asymmetric, that have scalloped edges, that are not a consistent color, or are larger than a pencil eraser. Moles that are melanoma may also bleed, itch or look inflamed. Use sunscreen PLEASE.

Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers. This is going to be a difficult time for us but as a family we will make it through it.

Don't send out a Posse

I have spent the last 5 hours laying in bed trying not to die. I have some sort of mutant cold virus. It is seriously kickin my butt. After I pick up LaLa I plan on crawling onto the couch and remaining there until it is time to put them in bed, then I will go back to my bed. That is the grand plan. Until I am better I am going to leave you with a couple of random pictures of England

.
Framlingham Castle


Chess Playing at the Castle



Primroses





Thatched Roof






A church on the way home

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Wanted to Melt into the Floor!

My kids had not had McDonalds in 4 months. They hadn't had much opportunity here, since unlike in the US, there is not one on every corner. Well actually there aren't many corners here anyway, more roundabouts than anything. McDonalds is one of their favorite restaurants EVER. I can just barely stand it myself, even though I get a craving for a Big Mac every once in a while.

We had a been in London for the day walking around. Everyone was hungry, everyone was tired and it was starting to get a little dicey in the attitude department on everybody's part. We couldn't all agree on a place to eat and I remembered that there was a McDonalds around the corner from our hotel. Everyone can eat McDonalds, even if they don't like it. They can grin and bear it and shut their mouths so that everyone is fed. When I mentioned McDonalds the kids were super psyched.

Ok here is a the lay of the land in this McDonalds. The place to order was when you entered. It was jam packed with patrons. The small eating area was located downstairs in the basement area. I am assuming that the floors above it were probably flats. My mother and I went to order while my dad and The Man took the girls downstairs to stake out a table to eat at.

When I got the food I realized that there was no way that I could make it downstairs in one trip so I took the first tray with the girls Happy Meals to the table. Then I went back upstairs to get the rest of the food. When I got back to the table I notice LaLa was FREAKING OUT. By freaking out I don't mean crying a little. No, she was wailing. Complete meltdown mode.

"What is her deal?" I asked The Man.
"There is ketchup on her cheeseburger"
"Crap! LaLa just eat it. It is only ketchup."

Apparently this was the wrong dang thing to say. Loud scream. The Man grabs her arm and she flings herself backwards out of her chair. The Man had absolutely nothing to do with the trajectary of her motion, she was just losing her damn mind right there in the McDonalds dining room. The Man picked her up and announced that if she was going to act like this then she wasn't going to eat at McDonalds at all. He marched her up the stairs.

I took one bite of my burger and then started feeling really bad for the poor kid. I mean have you ever had a time where you were expecting something, really craving something so bad that you were just fixated on getting what you wanted and you were looking forward to it so so bad and then you got it and it wasn't what you wanted. Pure devestation. Now I know all she wanted was a PLAIN cheeseburger. No ketchup, no onions, no mustard. Just a plain meat, bun and cheese burger. I had failed her because I forgot to order it plain. It was completely my fault.

I went upstairs to see if my husband had really removed her from the premisis. He hadn't. They were standing in line to get a plain cheeseburger. I was relieved. Once she got her burger she was happy as a lark. Ate the burger faster than she has ever eaten anything and was extremely grateful.

"Daddy, that was the best cheeseburger since Missouri!"

Glad you liked it little girl. Next time though, could we spare the dramatics?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Banham Zoo/My Birthday

Tuesday was my birthday. The big 2-8. Yeah I know, almost the big 3-0. Not that I am really paying attention or anything. We decided to keep things pretty low key around the Bungalow. I sent LaLa to school as usual and my parents, KiKi and I went to the Banham Zoo, which is about a 30-45 min drive away. It is just a small zoo, nothing big and fancy. I wouldn't consider it a "small town zoo" though. It didn't lack for animals at all.


There were Monkeys



Penguins!



Fur Seals!



Meerkats!



Camels!

My favorite thing from the whole day was the Tigers! There was a mother Tiger and two male cubs. They were entirely too cute. The cubs were pouncing on each other and their mom. Running and biting each other. They were just like two little boys who were rough housing to blow off a little steam. It was great to watch. I also got some great shots of them.




They were so much fun to watch. There were also giraffes, zebras, beautiful horses, tons of birds of prey, lemurs of all sorts, kangaroos, and leapards. It was an absolutely beautiful zoo. I really wasn't expecting much when we went there, but I got so much more than I expected. I actually think it was better than the Kansas City Zoo. Shhh. Not because of the animal selection, but because the animals were actually close enough that you could see them. There was also not a ton of walking distance between the animal enclosures. This made it a lot easier for KiKi to walk through and she didn't get cranky until the very end. That wasn't even because she was tired. It was because she was hungry. We could have got refreshments there, but we were close enough to the house that we just headed home and caught some lunch at the Bungalow.

To round of my birthday we went to the Bird and Hand. It is one of the local pubs. Fantastic food. I had the steak and ale pie. It was soooo yummy. Domino got me a really beautiful candle holder for my mantle, The Man got me a new belt that I desparately needed, and my mom and dad got me a new flat iron and blowdryer with English plugs. It was such a great day overall. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday messages here on the blog and on facebook. Love ya'll!


My own Tiger.
Hello Sam Kitty, what are you doing in there?

Monday, March 2, 2009

London

"Flowers are as common in the country as people are in London."- Oscar Wilde

Our weekend in London was actually pretty uneventful despite the coke on the table incident at Burger King. We only had one more incident that would have been considered out of the ordinary really. While we were at a pizza place a woman came in begging for money. She was promptly asked to leave by the wait staff. When she left the restaurant she went up to a man to tell him she got nothing (or that was what it looked like). It was kind of strange. Having lived in DC for several years when I was growing up it was normal to see street performers and the poor panhandling but I had never actually seen anyone enter a restaurant and ask for money from the patrons.

While we were in London we did the normal touristy things. We saw Parliament, Big Ben, West Minster Abby and road on the London Eye.








By the end of the day we were exhausted. We went back to our hotel room. The bed was lumpy and really low to the ground. But it was a bed. The next day we woke up semi refreshed and ready to take on the big city once again. We rounded up the girls and found a little cafe for breaky. Belgian Waffles yummmmm. It was really good, but really slooooow service. I think I could have gone behind the counter and made breakfast quicker than I got it. There was another traveler behind our table who ordered coffee. It took them 15 minutes just to bring him his coffee. I am pretty sure they had to go to Colombia to get the beans.

Next we headed to Kensington Gardens. There was a pond in the middle that had loads of swans and ducks. The girls loved feeding the swans bread and running around in the park.







I think this was actually the girls favorite part of the whole day. They loved being able to run and play. KiKi loved that I didn't have to hold her hand. Those busy streets make me nervous with her. The Underground was so crowded that I was afraid that I would lose her on the platform or she would fall onto the tracks. So I was holding her hand or was carrying her a great deal when we were in London.

Funny/gross story about the Underground though. We were on the train coming back from one of the museaums, LaLa was sitting next to my mom and a younger professional woman. They were all holding onto the same rail to stedy themselves. The next thing my mom knows she hears the lady say "Darling, you shouldn't lick that pole!" LaLa was sitting there licking the pole she was holding on the Underground. Ugh! My stomach is turning just thinking about all the germs that were on that pole. It is a wonder the child didn't get sick.

We went to the Science Museaum and the Natural History Museaum, but they were so crowded that it was hard for us to enjoy ourselves.


We decided to high tail it out of there and go back to Kensington Gardens so that the girls could see the swans. They seemed to enjoy that the best anyway. Overall we had a really good time in the city. It was fairly easy to navigate, people were fairly helpful when you would ask about directions or certain attractions. I plan on going back soon, when I don't have to tote the kids along.

Here are a few more pictures I took in London. Enjoy.
Mom and Dad with the girls in the background is Big Ben.



London seen from the top of the London Eye.


Kensington Palace.
Princess Diana's home for 15 years. Also where Queen Victoria was born.