Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear So and So...Hope Your Weekend is Reasonable

It's Friday! Dear So and So time or as I like to think of it, time to say exactly all the thing that I have wanted to say all week. It really is cathartic.

Dear Radio 2 Presenter Simon Mayo,

You made me laugh so hard last night. For once I have the perfect example of the British understatement. While I was driving home you said "I hope you had a reasonable Thursday" and I seriously laughed so hard it made my belly hurt. It wasn't "had a great Thursday" or "a wonderful Thursday" but "reasonable". We wouldn't want to have too much fun now would we? A reasonable day is all we need. Any more than reasonable would be overkill.

Thanks for making my evening, Kat
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Dear Weight Watchers,

Yeah a I caved and joined your weight loss program. You better keep up your end of the bargain because I am gonna keep up mine.

Hopefully, Kat
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Dear Darling Husband of Mine,

Changing the words of Justin Beiber's song "Baby" to "gravy" actually does make the song a bit more tolerable. *sings* Gravy, gravy, gravy, oooooo! Gravy, gravy, gravy, ooooooo!

Thanks for that, Kat
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Dear Primetime TV,

Could we please start playing the good stuff promptly at 8pm? I have been having one too many late nights lately and I am too darn stubborn to record the shows I like. From now on I would like all the good shows to be over by 10pm. K thanks.

Zzzzzzz, Kat
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Dear Willpower,

Good job these past 2 days. I am impressed.

Love, Kat
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Dear Sam Kitty,

Quit laughing! It really wasn't THAT funny when you tried to run inside the house with a dead mouse in your mouth. In fact, if you don't quit doing that crap I am going to have to restrict you to the house. How do you like THAT bag of apples, eh?

Love That Human That Gives You Proper Kitty Food, Kat
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Dear Readers,

You know the drill. If you have letters of your own, please link up!

Love You Guys Forever and Ever!, Kat

PS- Have a reasonable weekend.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Gallery- Children



This photo was taken of KiKi and I a couple of years ago when we were still living in Missouri. It still makes me giggle every single time I look at it. It is funny how the expressions on a child's face are worth far more than a thousand words.

Submitted as part of Tara's Gallery


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review of Nokia N8 and Ovi Maps Software

This is a sponsored post. I was provided a Nokia N8 handset in order to complete this review.

When I was approached by Nokia to review the Ovi Maps software I jumped at the chance. I am a bit of a phone geek and love fiddling with new technology. I was completely excited when I got my BlackBerry Storm a couple of years ago and truthfully have really been let down by that phone. I wondered how the Nokia N8 would stack up against the my BlackBerry and the iPhone 3GS that belong to my friend that I have played around with. I have now been using the Nokia N8 for roughly a month and I am extremely impressed.

First of all, I would like to say that I love the slimness of the Nokia N8 in comparison to my BlackBerry Storm. It feels more like a phone than a brick in my hand. However, it doesn't feel flimsy and is quite sturdy and has held up to the amount that I tend to abuse my phone. The smoothness in the touch screen transitions was also superior to my BlackBerry. I also liked that the phone vibrates as I touch the screen to let me know that a key has been pressed. I found with the BlackBerry touch screen I had a tendency to "fat finger" the letters as I was keying in words. I have had a lot less of an issue with the Nokia in respect to that as well.

I like the functionality of the email and web software on the Nokia N8. The texting screen is also easier to read than that of my Blackberry because each line has an underline. I have found that it is easier for me to keep track of what I have read or what I am writing with the underline under the text. Think of it like using lined paper when you are writing a letter. Although, Nokia sent me an international sim card to use in the N8, I couldn't figure out how to get it work so I switched out the sim from my BlackBerry in order to test the call and text functionality of the phone. I found that the antenna on the Nokia is a lot stronger than that of my BlackBerry and I get better coverage from my provider on the N8. Also, the speaker quality on the handset is also nice.

I really like the camera on the N8 as well because it is easy to figure out. When held sideways the camera functions just like any hand held 35mm digital camera. There is a zoom feature and a shutter button. The 12megapixel camera takes good quality photos and there is a flash built into the phone for night time photos. I transferred by photos easily to my MacBook using bluetooth.


Photo taken with Nokia N8 camera in low light.

The Ovi Maps software (which is free for Nokia users in the Nokia Ovi Store) is really easy to use. I have used it instead of my SatNav to navigate while driving and also to find locations by foot. I also like that it will help you find points of interest, restaurants and events happening in locations. It is especially nice to have a back up to my SatNav, which I often forget at home, since I am not originally from England and sometimes get "misplaced" when I am driving. I especially like the different ways that you can view the maps on the Ovi Maps software. You can view them in Map view, Satellite view, Terrain view. You can also view them in 3D, add landmarks or in night mode (like when it becomes night time and your SatNav goes to the black background w/the colored lines to make it easier to see in the dark). I have honestly found the Ovi Maps software to work just as well as my expensive SatNav in giving me turn by turn voice directions.

Another feature on Ovi Maps that is really nice is that you can record and upload your own voice or your kid's voice to give you directions. There are also a lot of other voicepacks in various different accents to pick from to give you directions. My favorite so far is the pirate voice. Who wouldn't want to have a pirate give them directions? It is much nicer than that bossy lady on my Garmin SatNav who gives me directions now!

For those who are looking for a touch screen smartphone I highly recommend the Nokia N8. It might not be as hyped up as a BlackBerry ,iPhone, or Andriod, but it has great techie features like the ability to connect it to your home theater using an HDMI cable, watch on demand WebTV (BBC iPlayer, CNN, E!, and National Geographic come on the phone), download music, download games and applications from the Ovi Store, or record HD videos. I just can't see myself switching to an iPhone now like I had intended. I have been converted into a Nokia fan. I hope Steve Jobs doesn't find out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ill Fated Coffee Run

I had two things on my to do list this morning that really needed to be completed. The first order of business was coffee. I needed caffeine this morning and there was a disturbing lack of it at my house this morning. Monday mornings need caffeine. That is a rule. Dammit. The second order of business was I needed to get my car washed and detailed on the inside because, well, kids are gross and the inside of my car will testify to that. Easy peasy, I can get this done.

First stop- the car wash on base. I removed my radio antenna, put the $7 into the machine, pulled my car into the car wash and waited for it to work it's magic. Only, it didn't. Why isn't that machine working?!?! Was there a button I was supposed to push? Oh yeah...So I walk back to the machine that took my money outside the car wash and press the button and RUN FOR DEAR LIFE to get back into my car before the spiny washy things start to wash my car. Barely. Made. It. Back. To. My. Car before the machine started. This was my first mistake of the morning and why I should have made my first stop Starbucks. After the machine stops and my car is gleaming on the outside, I pulled out of the car wash and put my radio antenna back on, cranked the tunes and headed to the Starbucks on base.

Second stop- Starbucks. Venti skinny mocha no whip cream. Thank you very much. Mmmmm delicious. Caffeine in system. I only drink half of it because I know I will be standing outside while my car is getting detailed at the next stop.

Third stop (and this is where things start to go really pear shaped)- car detailing place located on gigantic roundabout called the 5-ways (always has really hot Turkish lads working). So, I pull in pay my £10 to have the inside of my car vacuumed, the trim wiped and polished, and OH DEAR LORD I FORGOT THEY USE BABY POWDER SMELLING AIR FRESHENER.

(For those of you who don't know, I hate the smell of baby powder. Actually I have a physical reaction to it. It makes me hurl. Logic? Baby powder reminds me of baby bum, poo comes out of baby bums, gag. So, the smell of baby powder in my head smells of poo. They may as well have rubbed baby poo all over the inside of my car and been done with it.)

Now, I have to drive home in a baby powder smelling car. My worst nightmare come to life. It might only be 5 degrees C outside but all four windows are down on my car on the way home. I am trying not to spew my Venti skinny mocha no whip cream on the freshly vacuumed floor boards and oh hey lookie there a police officer just pulled behind me so there is no chance of speeding home. I had to drive 30 mph for 10 minutes before the police officer finally turned, meanwhile I am about 10 shade of green and considering hanging my head out of the drivers side window like a dog to avoid the smell in my car. I get out of the 30mph zone and hit the 50mph zone that goes to my house. I floor it. I could not get home fast enough. I pulled into my driveways and barely got the car into park before I jumped out of the car and took a deep long breath of non baby powder smelling air. For the record I didn't spew.

Lesson learned? Watching hot Turkish guys vacuum out the inside of the car is not worth the drive home. From now on, I will quit being lazy and vacuum out the inside of car myself.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dear So and So...Today Is Canceled

Dear Everyone,

It has been a rough week. KiKi was sick on and off all week and then was kind enough to pass it along to me. Therefore, I have declared that today is canceled. You can have today if you like; I am going to lay on the couch and watch Ghost Hunters all day long. I might fold the two baskets of laundry sitting in my kitchen too. I also might do the dishes that are in my sink. Oh who are we kidding? I can't cancel the day, but I sure would like to!

Love the Runny Nosed One, Kat
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Dear KiKi,

Thanks for sharing. *cough cough cough*

Love, Mom
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Dear LaLa,

Inside voice please. Just cause Mom is sick, doesn't mean she is hard of hearing.

Love, Mom
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Dear Hubby,

Yes, I will make your sandwiches for you so that you can have dinner at work, but if you come down with this cold it is your own fault. Consider yourself warned and pray you are immune to this crap.

Love, Kat
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Dear Readers,

If you have a letter please feel free to link it up!

Love, Kat
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Dear So and So...Thank Goodness We Made It To Friday

It's Friday! Time to get those gripes, complaints and compliments that you never said out loud on the table.

Dear LaLa,

I know that following directions, listening, and focusing are not your forte so to speak. Yesterday was such a complete joy when you saw the new schedule you kind of took to it like a duck to water. You asked what time it was and knew exactly what you were supposed to be doing. I know it was a big struggle for you and you tried so hard to stay on task. Thank you for listening and trying.

Love, Mom
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Dear Anyone Who Expects Me to Be Online Today,

Sorry! My buddy Amy from The Bitchin Wives Club is coming up to visit me! We are probably most likely going to sit around and gossip and talk about things such as the fact that I am obsessed with the train wreck that is Charlie Sheen's life, her audition for Britains Got Talent, and the expected "Things I miss about America" that all American expats talk about. Then we will go get lunch before she has to drive back home. So yeah I won't be online today is what I am saying. If you know me well enough you have my phone number if you desperately need to talk to me.

Love, Kat
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Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters, you know the drill, link up!!

Love, Kat
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

At A Crossroad

These are some of the quotes I have heard about LaLa since the day she was born:

"Does she ever slow down?"
"She is a lovely child, but how do you deal with the energy?"
"I don't know how you do it. I couldn't."
"I wish I had half her energy!"

Believe me, I wish I had half of her energy too! Here's the thing, I for a long time have suspected that LaLa is not like most children. She is impetuous, has a ton of energy and frankly, the attention span of a gnat. I have also chalked a lot of that up to her age. I have told myself over and over again, "She'll grow out of it," and "A lot of kids can't sit still when they get home from school." Then I see her at a party of her peers and she is still running circles around them. The last party was a disco and she didn't stop dancing a single time. Most of the other kids took breaks from time to time to socialize, La only stopped to get a drink and then carried on dancing, sometimes by herself and sometimes with a group of her girlfriends.

Those of you who have read my blog for a long time know that I have long suspected that she has ADHD, but I am extremely reluctant to medicate. I don't want to change her personality and zombie her. However, upon her recent "well child" appointment with her pediatrician, he brought up the subject of her over activity. I can't remember his exact quote but it was somewhere along the lines of "Wow, she is a darling child but I don't know how you deal with this level of energy all the time!" I wasn't offended by the statement, because as I said, I have heard it before and I have often asked myself the same question. Then I brought up the fact that at 4 years old she was seen by a child psychologist in the US who thought that she may have ADHD, but it was dismissed by her teachers once she started school in the UK. On top of that she makes very good grades, but is a nightmare at home with her behavior.

Understand, I love love love love my daughter. I love her with every fiber of my being. I just don't understand her motivation 99% of the time. I don't understand why when I ask her to get her sock and shoes on so that we can leave the house she goes in her room, forgets why she is there and then comes back with her Barbies, ready to go out and about completely forgetting shoes and socks are required. I don't understand why she can't just walk instead of twirling as she walks all the time. I don't understand why when I ask her to do a small thing she doesn't do it or forgets that I asked her to do it. I am tired of shouting. I am tired of her telling me that I shout too much. I don't want to be the shouty mom. I don't want her to grow up to hate me because I didn't shout at her sister nearly as much as I do at her.

Here is my problem, I hate the idea of medicating her. My husband doesn't believe in ADHD and flat out refuses to even entertain the idea of medicating her. Right now though, I am in a downward spiral. I don't know what to do. Do I let her continue on because her grades are great or do I have her tested for ADHD. I don't know the answer. I don't expect you guys to give me the answer either. I just want to yell it off of my little cliff into the great void of cyberspace.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No Heat...Once Again

If it isn't one thing, it's another. That's the saying that most closely resembles my life at any given moment. Apparently, Murphy (as in Murphy's Law) has decided to take up residence in my house once again. Fortunately, we don't have any heat at my house right now, so maybe he will take a hike. I doubt it.

Yes, you did read that right. We have no heat. Again. This time I can't even say it wasn't my fault because if I had been observant I would have noticed that my hot water was set to be heated all day, thus depleting all my gas supply in around a month's time. Yes, all my gas, what should normally last 2-3 months, gone. I am guessing that one of the kids hit a button on the boiler controls and set it to heat the water "all day"(usually I heat the water a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours at night). To top it off the gas company says they can't make a delivery for 7-10 days.

So right now we are in a mess. We have hot water because I can run that off my electric, but we have no heat. Last night I spent the night at my best friend's house, but I don't want to move in and take over her house. So, I am weighing my options and trying to decide what to do and hoping that the gas company comes through and we get our delivery before they say we will.

Moral of the story: cut your kids fingers off keep an eye on the gas levels in the tank and check the boiler settings every day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Addiction

I have a confession to make. I have an addiction. It isn't one of those addictions that you can make a trip to "The Betty" (Betty Ford Clinic) for. I am addicted to books. I read constantly. When I go on a reading bender you might not hear from me for days or weeks even. Some weekends I won't leave the house because "OMGoodness I just got this new three book series and I have to read it now now now!" And I will read it. The entire series will be done by 9pm Sunday night.

When I get into a book, my husband knows that I will be unavailable. Well, I will cook dinner and attend to the children, but that is about it...and I will do it grudgingly. (DON'T YOU KNOW I AM JUST NOW GETTING TO THE SUB-PLOT!!!) Sometimes The Man even threatens to do the unthinkable to get me to do housework during a bender. He threatens to hide my book. When the last Harry Potter book came out, when I was pregnant with LaLa, I locked myself in my bedroom and only came out for bathroom breaks and to eat- once. I finished the book in 6 hours. Thank goodness cause I was getting hungry.

My addiction isn't even picky. I will read it all- mysteries, chick lit, trashy romance novels with half naked vikings on the cover, memoirs, suspense, science fiction, fantasy. It doesn't matter. I really haven't found a genre that I don't like. I have been on a vampire kick lately (and I really didn't like the Twilight books if you're wondering), but I am sure that will pass. I hear that this apparently is a "fad". I would also like to remind you of Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton, who were writing "vampire books" well before Twilight and True Blood became all the rage. So maybe it won't pass.

I just know I love reading. I will always love reading. It is part of me. Even if my husband has put me on a physical book ban- "no books can come into the house until another book has left the house" or "use your Kindle that's what I bought it for". I will persevere in my quest for words and stories that move me. I might need a new book shelf soon though, it seems my current one is a bit full.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dear So and So...Good Morning Pfft!!!

It's Friday! Time for Dear So and So... Are you ready to get out your weekly frustrations as much as I am?? In the words of the immortal Diddy "Let's Go!!!!!!"


Dear 7am,

I hate you. I hate you with the fire of 1000 suns.

Still Sleepy, Kat
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Dear Alarm Clock,

You and I have a tenuous relationship to say the least. You wake me up in the morning. I cuss you out. You forget to wake me in the morning. I cuss you out. You keep bugging me every five minutes. I cuss you out. Just remember, no matter what I say I am actually grateful that you wake me up and I really hate 7 am more than you.

Sorry for the Foul Language, Kat
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Dear Weather in My Part of the UK,

Why is everyone else getting snow and I am getting rain? I am starting to think there is some sort of unusual weather phenomenon that is occurring and my part of England is destined to say unsnowed upon. It isn't fair. I want a snow day. See previous letters for the reason why. (I'm looking at you 7am).

Love, Kat
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Dear KiKi,

If I catch you riding your scooter in the house one more time I am going to give it to the charity shop. Actually, I'm not, idol threat. I will put it on top of the wardrobe and not let you even look at it though! HaHa take that mouthy four year old!

Love, Mom
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Dear LaLa,

If I had known that threatening to not take you roller skating on Friday would get you to actually go to sleep on time and stay in your own bed all night I would have used it a lot sooner. I can't believe it took me this long to figure it out! Well played, La, well played.

Love, Mom
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Dear Readers,

I hope you all had a really Happy New Year. If you however have some gripes about how this year is starting off so far, be sure to write your own Dear So and So letters. If you have already wrote your letters be sure to link up!

Love, Kat
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Is It Wednesday Yet?

No? Only Tuesday? Drat!

This is how I generally feel at the end of school holidays. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. I just love my kids better when they are in school. There is a rhythm to our life that happens when they are in school. The come home bursting with interesting things to tell me about their day and what they have learned as opposed to fighting every three minutes about who is playing with what toy. I don't care who is playing with it just quit fighting!! I like having the freedom to do all the chores I have for the day in the morning without having a child underfoot. I want my house back in some sort of form of organized chaos as opposed to just chaos.

I do love the beginning of school holidays. I love having my babies home to watch movies and play games. I like to do a bit of drawing with them. I actually like taking my kids out with me to run quick errands at the beginning of the holidays, ya know, when they still have their listening ears on from school. Then as the weeks roll by, two of them this holiday, my nerves start to fray. Their actions become more cheeky. My voice apparently starts to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher. And then I start looking at the calendar on my wall like the enemy. It taunts me with it's numbers and the label of "Beginning of Term". That calendar is an a-hole. My kids are heathens who need to be in school. Mommy needs a break.

Thank goodness school starts tomorrow.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 In Photos



Happy New Year, Everybody!