About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Swim, Swam, Underwater

PrincessE's swim lessons are in the second half hour. This means she gets 30 minutes of swimming around time before her lesson. It also means that the other three get 30 minutes of swimming around time while she is in her lesson.

PrincessE sked me to get in the water with her and we had a very nice half an hour of playing together in the water. Then Noodle, LuLu and The boy child came over. Noodle was feeling ambivalent about the water (okay, she was scared) and so I was working with her. I had her stand on the side and jump in. LuLu was behind me "practicing floating" on her back. I turned to catch Noodle, as she jumped in, and heard a strangled, watery "Mooom". I grabbed Noodle and stepped to where LuLu was all the way underwater.

I pulled her up, spluttering and gasping, and she began to cry. "I was just practicing floating on my back! Just like I practiced in my lesson. The water is the same depth here as it is over there!!!" i said "But what are you wearing during your leason that you arent wearing today?" "Oh. Right. My arm floats."

Oh, Lu. I promise not to run my back on you while we are in the water again. If you promise not to forget you aren't wearing arm floats.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I ocassionally blog directly from my smartphone mostly to utilize pictures I have taken with its camera. However, something happened to the app and (you may have noticed) the photo upload quality for the blog was rubbish!!! When clicked on, the photos look fabulous, but all pixelated when viewed in the post. The app has been updated and now I'm experimenting.

Hike on Christmas Day!

Stones at Avebury.

London Eye.

Parliment and Big Ben.

Hampton Court Palace.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Stained Glass Cat of Westminster Abbey

Dadam and I had the very good fortune of living in the same city as much of our extended family right after PrincessE was born.  My grandparents live there, as do Aunts and Uncles of both of us.  It was really, really nice to be so close to so much family.

As we were getting ready to move, my Nana offered us a set of 12 books that had been hers when she was a child.  (To give you some idea of their maturity, my Papa just turned 80! on Sunday!  Happy Birthday, Papa!) They are a beautiful set of books that have survived many moves and it is lovely to peruse them.  I really like reading from them out loud to the children; it is truly amazing how timeless many of the stories are. 

Over winter holiday, we made a stop at Westminster Abbey.  They very graciously (or wisely, I might chalk it up to self-preservation) offer a "children's tour" of the abbey.  They hand out clipboards, pencils and a booklet with questions the children are supposed to discover the answers to as they get dragged around the abbey with their audio guide listening parents.

Our oldest two were Very Interested, with Lulu's attention flagging towards the end and Noodle's booklet dissolving into a doodle pad almost immediately.  However, we persevered and near the end of the booklet, there was a direction that we should find such-and-such's tomb and look for the cat in the stained glass above.  (Poor such-and-such probably only gets looked for because of the cat!)

While we were standing there one of the priests came over and began to ask us if we knew the story of the cat.  No, we did not.  He told us that the picture was of Dick Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London, and a man who had pulled himself up by his boot-straps with the help, the legend says, of a cat who caught rats and mice and turned poor (literally) Dick, into a wealthy man.  The kids were fascinated and I think the priest was happy to have such a rapt audience.  (He subsequently gave us a personal, behind the ropes tour of Newton's tomb.)

I had sort of forgotten about looking up more of Dick Whittington's story, when I was speaking to my grandparents the other evening.  I told the whole Westminster-child's-guide-cat-in-the-stained-glass-story and as I began to tell about Dick Whittington, Nana jumped in and told the whole story herself!  I asked where she remembered reading that and she said she thought they were in the set of books they had given us!  She admitted that she didn't know the last time she had read them, but she told the story just as the priest had.

Sure enough, I looked up the story the other day.  It was there, in her books from when she was a little girl.  I sat everyone down and read it out loud.  I am so happy she shared those books with us.  I never imagined how connected it could help us be.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's That Time of Year Once Again

(This is mostly a venting post.  It is gross.)

Not unusually for this time of year, there are plenty of "bugs" going around.  Many, many people we know had the dreaded lurgy (as I have heard it nicknamed) over the winter holiday.  Somehow, we avoided this.  I'm actually quite unsure how we avoided it, as I can't tell you the number of people I heard on the public transport in London who sounded as though they ought to be on a course of treatment for TB.  Plus, we were all exhausted from late nights and marching all about London and The South sightseeing.  However we avoided it, we did. 

Until, of course, now.

We've been back to school for a week and a half-ish.  And we have the dreaded lurgy.  Lu-lu was the first hit, with a high fever.  Then, this morning Noodle came in our bed, burning like a little ember.   She actually begged to go to school, as though I was punishing her by not allowing her to attend! 

As of bedtime this evening, Lu-lu had no fever, but Noodle was still burning up.  A dose of ibuprofen later (just to help her sleep a bit easier) and she was snoring upstairs.

Truth is, I can deal with fevers.  But the barfing, which Noodle did twice today, I could live without.  And I could really live without her aspirating on her vomit, while I'm driving, with not only my children but a guest child, in my car. 

Tomorrow will be better, right?

Monday, January 10, 2011


The wind was bitter cold. And the ground was frozen.

But the sun was shining for the first time in weeks. So, we went out!!

We climbed on rocks.

And slid down them.

We scaled the peaks.

And found houses of sticks.

We even ice skated a bit, on the frozen muddy puddles.

Ah, fresh air and sunshine.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh Dear

It is the New Year.  I hope you all have noticed.  I certainly have, as we spent that holiday in London which was an experience all to itself.  But what I have been lacking, as evidenced by December's record, are updates to this blog.  Bleaugh.  I've completely skipped over the last half of December, which includes a fantastic trip to "The South" and sightseeing and visiting.  I also did not post any pictures for yesterday's "Wordless Wednesday."  Thinking back on yesterday, I could have easily snapped a picture of my four little fishes preparing for the start of swim lessons.  But now the moment has passed and I am without.  My words will have to do.  I'll go ahead and blog for current events and it will be your responsibility, dear reader, to go back and see what I have written about the past.  I'll post a note when I get them up.  (Please do not hold your breath too long, as I still have yet to write about our whirlwind visit to America in September.....)  First resolution, catch up on blog completely!

My children do not know how to swim.  This is not safe.  I have been trying to get them into lessons for a while now, it was challenging in NOVA as there were few lessons after school hours and I kept having babies and here in England we were struggling to find someplace that didn't require us to pay a membership fee (on top of the lesson fee).  But I finally found a program that was recommended highly and we could use!  I emailed back and forth with the director and we got a time arranged.  I privately began to panic.  

One of my faults is that I am a control freak.  This can be, ahem, problematic.  I have been panicking quite a bit lately about the kids not knowing how to swim.  I felt very, very uneasy about them lacking this basic safety.  I was really glad to get them registered for swim lesson.  Then I was a bit uneasy about the swim lessons themselves.  What if something bad happend while we were AT the lessons?   I was pretty nervous and asked Dadam if he would come with us the first time, I didn't think I could handle it. 

Of course, Wednesday arrived and it was sheer chaos.  I never even remembered to ask Dadam again, and it turns out he couldn't have come anyway.   I left us plenty of time to get to the lesson, we found our way and got changed and the teachers were amazing!! 

Noodle was quite hesitant, but by the end was definitely getting in to it.  Lu-lu was enthusiastic and excited about everything.  "I put my face all the way in the water!"  The Boy-child was definitly challenged by all the requirements to put his face in, but he is working on it.  "I nearly almost drowned during my swim lesson today when I had to put my face in the water.  But it was fun!"   And PrincessE was amazing and got moved up immediately to a more advanced class.  She did backstroke for a width of the pool and was about bursting with pride. 

It really could not have gone any better.  I am so relieved and happy.  The instructors were fantastic and the kids rose to the challenge.  My mind is at ease.  And they are going to learn how to swim.