Friday, September 18, 2009

Research sabbatical

The DwL management team and junior staff are off on a week-long sabbatical to research a piece about traveling by car to Scotland, and life in a self-catering holiday home in the Highlands.
Look out for the piece to be published here on our return!

Happy birthday today to Amy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Late afternoon photography

The gadget obsession shows no sign of waning, so my new tactic is to help Blake do self-portrait photos so that he can then look at the instant result. Here's our first shot of this afternoon...

Tonight was so autumnal; we ran out of printer paper so I had to run down to Sainsbury's and on the way down at 7:15 I had to have the headlights on...oh no, where did the long days of summer go?!

Happy Birthday, Clara!

Katie and Tom's little girl Clara is one today - hope you are enjoying the big 0-1!!

Genie, genie, genie!

It's Sunday night, just gone Monday morning, in fact, and I've just tried to calculate how many extra hours I would like in my day. I started with 6 and then upped it to 8, allocated something like: 3 extra for sleep, 1 extra for blogging, 1 extra for reading to Blake, 1 extra for general improvement of home (i.e. cleaning the bathroom), 1 extra for reading, and 1 for catching up on correspondence and long-term projects. I probably should have in there something about doing a little more work work, but I just spent a few hours on my work laptop so I'm ditching that for now. At any rate, it's all theoretical of course, but oh, how nice it would be!

Since it's been a while, here's a general update from us; I'm going to try to do more specific posts on these at some point! I spent a great weekend in NYC last weekend with the Dartmouth girls to celebrate the marriage of Hae-seon and Jeremy. We were all there apart from Beth, who had brought twins Alex and Cecily into the world the week before - after a slightly rocky couple of first days, they now all seem to be doing well, and they were not far from our thoughts the whole weekend!

Back in the UK, we had some exciting news on Wednesday in the form of an accepted offer on a house in West Dulwich/West Norwood (SE London). It was a relief to think that we might now have a plan, although there is of course a lot ahead in the process - we need to now get a survey done and hope that things don't fall through, as they could do. I have started to get really excited though at the idea of moving, discovering a new place, having a place where Blake could have a sandpit and where we could hang our laundry up outside...simple things, really!
Crucially, I also saw a nursery near the house which seems good and has spaces available, so that seems promising.

Today we went down to Tom and Lykke's to celebrate our niece Emma's 2nd birthday a few days early - we're off to Scotland for a Highland Holiday so we'll miss the actual party. Blake had fun stomping around on their wood floors and playing in Emma's toy Bob the Builder house. I waited until Emma woke up from her nap before trying to get any photos, so this was maybe not the best time for photos:

Blake also then sat on her while I was trying to get a better shot, which led her to cry profusely (I would cry too if some big brute sat on me!); Blake was very puzzled at what he'd done, which I found funny:

I finished Julie and Julia on Friday and had a few overarching thoughts - how in the h*ll did she manage to cook all those recipes (and did they have to throw a lot of food away?), and how lucky is she to have had her blog discovered?! As you know, I so often dream of spending more time on my blog (and having more interesting things to write about!). I also had never imagined that Julia Child would be so eccentric, but I'm now hoping that the local cinema the Lexi will have the movie on sometime soon.

Federer is on the tv signing autographs - my word, the second-to-the-last point in the match with Djokovic was UNBELIEVABLE! How does he do it?! I also happened to notice that Kim Clijsters' daughter Jada was born the day before Blake, and then felt like a great big cow that I can't even exercise once or twice a week let alone get fit enough to be beating Venus and Serena and about to win the US Open! Sweet Matt reminded me that tennis is Kim's job, though. That made me feel a little better. Thanks, honey.

Other thoughts/events from the week: Michelle and Adam welcomed a daughter, Jessica Elizabeth - congrats!; autumn definitely has come to London, although Saturday brought the tease of an Indian summer with beautiful sunshine and a warm breeze (today it felt cold!); Lucy and Ernesto have set a date for their wedding next year; I bought my first pair of Wellington boots today (doesn't every British citizen have a pair?!). I'm sure there are many other things that I would like to write about, but for now, I would like much more to be in bed - so with that I bid you good night.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A right royal party!

On Wednesday night, Matt and I went to Chris and Anna's for dinner. I hadn't seen either of them in a while so this seemed a totally normal plan, so imagine my shock when the door to their flat opened to a sea of red, white and blue balloons, the stereo belting "God Save the Queen", and a collection of our London friends wearing "British" fancy dress and waving English flags, all in honor (honour!) of my recent official entry into Britain! All the costumes were brilliant - Anna was a simple (but very elegant handmade) teabag; Chris was the superhero cricketer Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff; Lucy, Maid Marion; Ernesto (and his friend from NY who had just arrived that evening and was probably a little puzzled as to whether this was normal Wednesday night behavior), football supporters in Arsenal and England kit wrapped in flags; Heidi sported another elegant and spectacularly hand-stitched outfit as the Pearly Queen; Becks represented all of Britain, in tartan (for Scotland), a bowler hat (for England), and carrying a leek (for Wales) and a potato (for N. Ireland); Doug was Paddington Bear (new wife Annlou was evidently a Geordie); and best of all, Chris had ordered costumes for Matt and me - the most amazing outfits of King and Queen! He also got a toddler Darth Vader outfit but Blake wouldn't let us put it on him, perhaps the only real disappointment of the evening!
There was an array of British tasty treats: crustless sandwiches filled with ham, cucumber and cream cheese, and cheese and tomato, cheese and pineapple on toothpicks, crisps and dips, and sausages followed by scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, washed down with Pimm's and hot cups of tea.
We had a few congratulatory telegrams from Down Under (Will and Raina) and Down Over (Russ from Bristol), which was a special treat. I tried to make a speech but with little preparation, I did not express my gratitude as much as I would have liked to, although I did perform one knighthood ("Arise Sir Penose") using Maid Marion's sword. As the last tunes of Chris's Britpop compilation died out, we called it a night. But what a night to remember! Now with the ceremony behind me, and Britain: The Party firmly etched in my mind as one of the best surprises of my live, I can now say I officially feel welcome by this great commonwealth. Although with friends like these, I've felt welcome for quite some time now. Thanks, guys-it was awesome!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A long day

So my pervading thought throughout most of the day today was, Why do I have the most exhausting child on earth?! Now I'm sure that's not a true statement about Blake, and I'm sure many mothers also feel this way, but man, he is high-maintenance these days!
We were back, yet again, in South London, so I give him that this is not exactly the most exciting way to spend a day, but even when he was free to wander in between our viewings, did he just appreciate the situation for what it was - a chance to explore a new sidewalk, new twigs on the ground, new pieces of stuff to look for? No, he headed straight into the road (even though he knows this is off limits!), and when he wasn't doing that he was wiping his hands all over the hubcaps of the car and then wiping his hands on his face!
We went to a lovely pub near the house where I would like to live, and they kindly provided crayons and some paper for him, as well as a huge glass of orange juice with a straw. What did he do with them? - dumped the crayons all over the floor, and then kept dunking his (hubcap-grease-covered) hands in the orange juice glass. This was just the build-up to smearing his mashed potatoes all over the sides of the high chair. On the ride back he napped, so that was nice and peaceful (apart from the fact that I'm driving in the middle of London around all these curvy parts that all of a sudden in the middle lose their lane markers), but then as soon as we pulled up in front of home, he suddenly started wailing his head off. I ignored him for as long as I could but the noise was hurting my ears so I gave up and gave him a bottle.
We then went off to Queen's Park (still one of the loveliest parks I know...I am sure going to miss it if we move) and despite my saying about 5 times, "Should we go to the sandpit?", did he actually want to go to the sandpit until the very moment when I said that we needed to go home to dinner (and because of its also being only about 60 degrees out!)? Of course not, and then as he was sprinting away from me, he tripped and scuffed his palms so then proceeded to wail the whole way home. Fortunately Daddy was home then and I just handed him over (a la "Here's your son") before I went to the laundromat to dry some clothes in peace.
I am off to NYC tomorrow to celebrate Haes and Jeremy's wedding, and I'm leaving the boys at home. I am sure I will miss them desperately (first overnight without Blake) but I think my mental state will appreciate the break from times like today. No doubt Blake will be very good for his Daddy and his Granny Lyons who is coming on Saturday to help. In fact, maybe he's so smart that he acted the way he did today so that I would be ready for a break from him! I like that thought. Somehow I doubt it, though...