Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Anticipation

My stomach is in knots, my mouth is dry (but that could just be my allergies), my mind is racing a million miles a minute. Will I see everyone I intend to? Will I get lost? What if I miss my train? Will I be able to find a power outlet for my MacBook (I didn't say these were deep thoughts, people...)? Will I fit in?

To meet bloggers one on one is an experience I am well acquainted with. I have met NFAH, Michelloui, Mike, Liz, Jay, and Nappy Valley House Wife in person. This should feel old hat. It doesn't. Each time I meet a new blogging friend the anticipation is overwhelming. It is like seeing a friend for the first time in 20 years even though you haven't technically ever seen each other. You may have been emailing, twittering, and phoning back and forth for the last 3 weeks and yet it doesn't calm; it builds the anticipation.

Now I am to meet hundreds of other blogging mothers in London this weekend. The anticipation level has gone through the roof. I am keeping it together for the most part- arranging travel, accommodation, points of interest. However, I am one big ball of nerves. Needless to say if something goes wrong now, it will make a heck of a blog post.

I can't wait to see all my Mummy Blogger friends at CyberMummy. Also if you are interested in following the Influence and Stats session, I will be live blogging it on Saturday from 12-12:50pm.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nothing Trumps A Good Sense of Humor

LaLa might not have a lot of grace, but she is entirely too smart for her own good and has a wicked sense of humor. Over the past couple weeks she has told me jokes that make me actually giggle, not because they are original, or even that great, but because she told them with perfect timing. That is a gift (you know you have met those people who get to the punchline and totally botch it).

Here are my favorite jokes lately:

Her: Knock Knock!
Me: Who's there?
Her: Dr.
Me: Dr. Who?
Her: You just said it.
(A normal American kid would never tell this joke, but a normal British kid would)


And...

Her: How many legs does a snail have? (she totally asked me this like it was a real question)
Me: Ummm..None.
Her: Yeah, but it has a REALLY big foot. *then she started giggling and snorting just like her dear ol mom*

What are some good kid jokes you have heard lately? You know I am totally going to steal them and use them on her.




Monday, June 28, 2010

Her Middle Name Should Have Been Grace

Let me start off by saying the only thing I regret about this whole episode is that I didn't bring my camera. On Saturday The Man and I were debating something to do with the girls. He didn't want to go swimming because I have a severe dislike of public swimming pools and won't get in them; therefore no help from Kat. I didn't want to go bowling. So we ended up taking the girls roller skating at the roller rink on the base.

Now let's set this scene. I haven't been on a pair of roller skates (4 wheeled variety, not rollerblades) in about 10 years, give or take. My husband hasn't been on rollerblades in roughly the same amount of time. My kids have never gone roller skating ever. Needless to say, you know it is going to be an interesting time; i.e. blog worthy material.

We got our skates and found a bench where we could sit to lace them up. I pulled all of our socks out of the black hole of doom (my handbag) and distributed them. KiKi got laced up. I noticed for safety sake the roller rink had tightened the wheels on her skates to the point that they barely would roll. Then we got LaLa laced up. She was not so lucky on the wheel front. He wheels rolled like they had just been freshly oiled that morning. Well, they would have rolled like that if she could have gotten off the floor.

I took off with KiKi expecting that she would be the one who would need the most help. I was wrong, she took to her semi-non-rolling skates like a duck to water. Then I glanced at LaLa. LaLa was holding onto the padded edge of the rink for dear life in a roller skate induced split. The Man helped her right herself. Step step fall. The Man helps her up. Step step split. Helped up. Step crash.

"LaLa take smaller steps. Don't pretend you're in your socks on the hardwood floors. This is a little different than that, Babe," I said as I skated up to her.

She skated for a minute. Splits. I helped her up. She skated for another minute then down on her butt. At this point I am just shaking my head (and trying not to laugh). After twenty minutes of watching her flounder on the floor I told La I was going to do a fast lap and come back to her. I did my lap and came back to her; she was still flailing along the edges of the rink about ten feet from where I left her. "Are you having fun or do you want to go try something else?" She said she was having fun so I was still game.

I did another lap and found The Man helping KiKi. I asked him to trade kids with me because I didn't know how else to help LaLa. I might have also said something about how we may have the most uncoordinated child I have ever seen. After 2 hours of roller skating fun, LaLa had progressed to the point where she could stay up for about 3 minutes and not fall. In her case I count that as a win.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dear So and So...Chaos Theory

Dear Universe,

I have this theory that if you stick at Great Dane puppy, Cocker Spaniel, two cats and two children together in a house it will never stay clean. I am not saying it can't be done, but the likelihood of it happening are just about as likely as having teleporters in my lifetime (and teleporters would be completely awesome, BTW). What I am trying to say is that my house is a wreck and I don't see it being cleaned until the Great Dane goes home.

Just Thought You Should Know,
Kat
-------------------

Dear Hubby,

I hate this new schedule you are on. It makes you a complete Grumpy McGrumperson. Go back on night shift or day shift.

2nd shift sucks,
Kat
------------------

Dear KiKi,

You toilet prowess is amazing. You are not only going and ACTUALLY wiping yourself (except for poop), but you even made it through the night without a pull-up!

Looking To Save Money on Diapers,
Mom
------------------

Dear Elizabeast,

Don't worry baby, you're not being replaced by Bella. She is going home today.

Love,
Your Human Mama
------------------

Dear Readers,

Add your link if you have a Dear So and So... Have a great weekend. Don't drink and drive. Wear your seatbelt. Don't run with scissors. If I have told you once, I've told you a thousand times, quit hitting your sister. You weren't raised in a barn, close the door. Oh and don't make faces at me or they will stick.

(Consider This Your Weekend Safety Briefing) Love,
Kat
---------------

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lost In Translation

Picture me in my kitchen dancing around with my iPod on doing dishes. LaLa walks in and asks me a question so I turn off my iPod to respond.

Me- "What did you say?"
LaLa- Mom, can I have some of those wrinkles?"

I take the actual ear buds of the iPod out of my ears to make sure I heard her right. Surely not.

Me- "Those what?"
LaLa- "The Wrinkles"
Me-- "The what?"
LaLa- "The Wrinkles! You know, those chips that come in a can!"
Me (in a fit of laughter)- "Yeah, you can have some Pringles"


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This Could Be A Really Bad Idea

Meet Bella.


Bella is a horse 100 pound Great Dane puppy. She will be living with my family for the next week as a favor to a friend. This will bring the animal count in my house to four. Here are some things I have learned since having Bella in the house (in the first 18 hours)...

1) Bella finds cats really fun. The cats don't feel the same way about the Bella.
2) Carrying a drool cloth is a good idea.
3) Bella is exceptionally drooly after drinking water.
4) Elizabeth gets a bit snappy when her butt is being constantly smelled.
5) There is no fear like being caught between a HUGE playful dog and a really pissed off cat.
6) The quickest way to your hearts desire is over an obstacle; especially if the obstacle happens to be a small human.
7) 4 year olds and male parts are no match for Bella's tail.
8) Do NOT pick up a really pissed off cat.
9) Sometimes Bella forgets that Elizabeth isn't a large squeaky toy.
10) When I lay on the couch and Bella wants to get my attention she towers over me and drools.
11) See thing #2
12) Sometimes the quickest way to your hearts desire is going under Bella (ask my 4 year old).
13) Big dogs equal big poop.
14) Bella barks REALLY loudly
15) Having a year old Great Dane puppy who is out of sorts in your house at night is kind of like having a baby in the house. I only got 4 hours of sleep because Bella was pacing to find a good place to sleep.

I can deal with numbers 1-14 but lets hope she sleeps better tonight. I can only do so many nights of not getting any sleep.

Monday, June 21, 2010

We Might Be A Little Competitive

Almost every weekend for the past month, The Man and I have been playing cards against another couple. It has gotten to the point where it has become a bit of a competition between households for bragging rights. Well, Saturday we took bragging rights to a whole new level. We now have this:



Yes, that is a toy wrestling belt with two cards super glued to the center. Also, we retained the title Saturday night. Go Team Bungalow!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Live Blogging CyberMummy

Hiya! I just wanted to let everyone know that I am a member of the CyberMummy 5. No it isn't a gang, so we won't be doing things like donning costumes and tagging the Hotel Ibis Earls Court with red lipstick like a bunch of criminals. What the CyberMummy 5 will be doing is live blogging each session of the CyberMummy conference for those mums who can not attend the conference and for the other mums at the conference who are in different sessions. This way the whole MummyBlogger community can benefit from the sessions offered at CyberMummy. It is the next best thing to actually being at the session.


The session that I will be live blogging at CyberMummy is the Influence and Stats session. This is a session about how to grow your influence in the blogging community. It will also be covering how to maximize Facebook, Twitter, and SEO to drive readers to your blog. It is going to be a really interesting session that will benefit all my readers and I can't wait to pass all that I have learned along.

Stay tuned to this space on July 3rd. I will be updating frequently about what I am learning at the conference as well as probably commenting about how Liz Jarvis, the moderator, doesn't have the posh accent I imagine her having.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hey You!

Yeah, you! Remember my weight loss blog "Back Away From the Donut"? Well I have moved it to WordPress with the help of my partner in weight loss crime, Susie (she writes over there too and is pretty dang fabulous). It is over here now.

I have started working out. I know, right? Miracles do happen. I started last week going to the gym with The Man. This week he is on a different schedule then me so, get this, I WENT TO THE GYM BY MYSELF. Yes, I willingly worked out ALONE. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and 30 minutes on the treadmill and burned roughly 500 calories. YAY ME! Now, where's my cookie?


Saturday, June 12, 2010

C'Mon England!!!!!

In turncoat fashion....



Muhahahahahaha!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dear So and So...Happy Birthday KiKi!

Dear KiKi,

I can't believe you are four! It seems like only yesterday...cliche cliche cliche...blah blah blah. No, really. You are such a special child. You make me laugh daily with your antics (although sometimes I want to rip my hair out, waive a white flag and admit defeat). The way you love your sister and try to copy each and every move she makes makes my heart melt. I love that you girls adore each other. Your wicked sense of humor it second to none; only you could find ways to make fart jokes fresh and funny. Actually I love that you actually get that jokes need to have a punch line. You must get that from my side of the family; especially your MiMi. You know what you get from your dad? Your sense of determination. I love that side of you. Your willpower is stronger at four than mine is at *cough* nearly 30. I know where you get the stubbornness too, that would be your Great-grandma Edith shining right through; Edith Jr. Your giving spirt is down to your other Great-grandma, Granny. You and your Granny would give a stranger the shirt of your back. Your PaPa gave you your inquisitive side and your YaDa gave you your practicality. You know what all these things made? An awesome kid. One heck of an awesome kid.

I Love You, KiKi.


Forever Your Mommy (whether you like it or not), Mom

-----------------------------

Dear Readers,

Have a great weekend! If you have Dear So and So... letters don't forget to link up. Now, I need to go take KiKi to nursery so I can wrap her presents for her party tomorrow. Take Care!

Love, Kat
---------------------------

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Pleasure to Read

In March LaLa was bullied on the bus. I wrote a small blurb about it on one of my Dear So and So posts, but I didn't really get into the specifics. That day seemed like any other when the bus pulled into my driveway, only when I caught La's face through the window, I knew something was wrong. As La hopped off the bus she burst into tears and was crying and trying to tell me what happened. La's best friend was also trying to explain but it was all coming out too fast and all I caught was the bully's name. When LaLa and I got inside I was trying to calm her down and sooth her and getting the story at the same time. La had been bullied about her reading level. The bully had spied her reading book from the school library and had announced to the whole bus that La was a baby and read "baby books". My heart broke into a million tiny pieces as I heard the story.

Right then and there she and I decided that we would work really hard on her reading and we would try to read everything in sight in order to help her. I of course also explained that she was not a baby and the book she was reading was not a "baby book", but that the bully was a year or two ahead of LaLa and was reading tougher books.

Since this incident I have been doing everything I can to help LaLa's reading. I have bought several books on her reading level and she has finished them with no problem. We work reading the books already in her home library but I think she doesn't so much as read them as has memorized the stories from them. A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a childrens book company called Bayard Press who asked me if I would be interested in working with their company. I did my research on the company (because I am like that) and decided to give it a whirl. Jo, who is representing Bayard Press, sent me one of each level of the Bayard Press books to have my children try out.

StoryBox is geared towards children aged 3-6, AdventureBox is for children aged 6-9, and DiscoveryBox is for children 9-12. Each box contains a story, activities and games to promote learning and reading. When I received them I was honestly shocked at the quality of the books. The covers are made of high gloss cardboard just like a standard children's book. I thought that because the books are sent to customers monthly like a magazine that the quality of the paper and cover would be of a lower standard but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was wrong. These are books that I would expect to find in a school library or classroom.

When LaLa and KiKi received the books they were extremely excited and poured through them looking at the pictures. It was funny, the book that excited KiKi the most was the DiscoveryBox book which is supposed to be for much older children. This month the DiscoveryBox book was about having a "Garden Search" and was filled with pictures of animals. It also had a history section about Rome and a geography section that focused on the country of Argentina. KiKi really enjoyed looking at the map of Argentina because it had pictures of denoting cultural activities that take place in each region of the country.

The biggest surprise however was the story in the StoryBox book. It was about a child named Mustafa who was bullied by children in his village. His uncle helped him over come being bullied and every one lived happily ever after (of course). It really hit close to home. LaLa hasn't been bullied on the bus since that day, but like Mustafa's uncle I never want it to happen again. Although I received a trial subscription of Bayard Press Box Magazines for free I am signing up soon as it runs out to receive them monthly. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are good quality, the kids love them and most of all the promote learning and reading in a fun manner.

*This review was not paid but I did receive copies of the books to give to my children to review.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Cup Fever

World Cup Fever as I like to call it has struck the Bungalow. Well, as much as World Cup Fever can hit a bunch of typical Americans. As most know, Americans just aren't really into soccer; as we call it. Yes, I know, it's football. If you say football to an American though you are going to be met with questions about first downs, touchdowns and receptions, not penalty kicks, goals and corner kicks. Sure, we have youth and high school soccer teams, we even have a professional league, but as a collective Americans don't pay attention to soccer.


The first game that England is playing in the World Cup is against...tadaaaa...the USA. Of course the first time the US plays against England since 1950 I would be living here. LaLa today came home talking about the last time the US played England that the US won. I really didn't believe her. I mean come on...really? I had to look it up. And yes, it was true. Even when it happened back then people thought it wasn't a joke or misreport. In fact it only made the news in one newspaper back in the United States (yep, that's how excited they were about the victory).

On Saturday after KiKi's birthday party (yes, she is turning four!) we are headed over to my friend's house for a World Cup barbeque. They are England supporters of course. Another American family will be in attendance; most likely supporting the good ol US of A. Me? I am on the fence. Yes, I hope my countrymen do well. I have a hard time having an emotional attachment to the team though. I don't know any of the players (remember I have very little footy experience to draw on here-though I hear some of them play in the UK). So, I figure I will support England. At least if I support England I will know the name of the coach (Fabio Capello) and players (though don't ask me what position Wayne Rooney plays...). The final thing that made me decide to hang my hat on England, at least their country gives a damn about football.

photo credit: Photographer: Salvatore Vuono

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Side Of Myself

One of the things I have come to notice about myself since I moved overseas is that I really am more independent than I ever realized. Sure, when my husband was in Guam for five months I knew I could cope without him but I never really went far away from my house. I had a three year old and an eighteen month old at the time and the thought of taking off to Kansas City for the day just scared the ever loving bejebus out of me. The last time he was gone I didn't venture far from the house but I would go to the local bigger towns for days out. I went to Cambridge and Bury St Edmonds many times and didn't bat an eyelash.

In recent weeks I have travelled to Saffron Walden (an hour away) and Stowe Landscape Gardens (two hours away) to meet up with fellow expat bloggers and I had a really really good time on both accounts. I even took my kiddos with me to Stowe and didn't have a single incident that made me cringe.

Now, I am looking forward to a trip to London in July, not for CyberMummy, but to meet yet another blogger, well several bloggers. I am bringing KiKi with me and it doesn't seem scary at all. In my old life before I moved I would have been petrified, which now seems silly. I can do this. I can spread my wings and explore. I can do this. While I wish my husband had a work schedule that would allow him to explore with me, I am not daunted by the thought of doing it on my own.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dear So and So...With Days Like This

Dear Everyone,

With days like this...


this....


and this....


How can I complain about anything?

Love, Kat
----------------

Dear Readers,

To lodge comments, complaints and compliments to the So and So's.... in your life, link up! Have a good weekend!

Love, Kat
------------

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Friendship

Sometimes you just need a friend. You need a friend who understands, a friend who will call just to say hi, a friend who just wants to make sure you are OK, a friend who laughs at you as much as with you, a friend who doesn't mind if you cleaned your house, a friend who can listen, a friend who is patient and a friend who likes who you really are. I am so lucky that I have so many friends like that.

I am so thankful for all my friends. I am so lucky that I have found the blogging community to expand my circle of friends. The Expat Bloggers who I get to be a dorky American with and the Mummybloggers who I can ask "is it normal for my six year old to do this?" and not get given the stink eye. I am just so lucky.

Today I am going to be lucky enough to have Michelloui over for lunch at my place and tomorrow I am going to get lucky again and meet Amy from The Bitchin Wives Club .

To all my friends: I love you. That is all.