Monday, May 28, 2012

Building works supervisors

The boys were really excited this morning when this enormous truck started depositing things outside our house this morning. I loved seeing them standing in the doorway looking on at the activity outside....

 

The playground and the after-effects

Apparently being 4-year-old and 2-year-old boys is tiring business.

I love this one of Blake trying to gets paper airplane into the hoop.
 

Weekend at Bishy's

We escaped to Bishy's this weekend where we had truly the most glorious weather imaginable. Finally! That's what we've been asking for...!

The boys had fun in the garden, with Blake helping to plant some seeds and Noah alternating between causing mischief and sucking vehemently on his bottle. We went to a nearby National Trust house where thankfully they served ice cream to calm down the hot and tired troops.

It was nice to get out of the dustbowl of our house and the weather could not have been more wonderful - it was such a boost to our spirits!

 

It's one of those posts....

By one of "those" posts, I mean, where to begin to catch you up on our recent happenings? And by that I mean, since I am not sure how many of "you" there actually are reading this, where to begin to remind myself of where it was I lost my head in the past few weeks!

The biggest news in our immediate vicinity is that our kitchen is now just a great big hole full of dust and rubble, and we have relocated the kitchen - with mild success- to our living room. Thus far the finest meal served there in the approximately 6 days since the work began is the meal that was most often enjoyed in that same room anyway: breakfast Cheerio's. It feels slightly crazy to have your refrigerator, microwave, and toaster all sitting just a foot or two away from the sofa and the tv, but I'm sure people have had to endure worse! In theory it should all last about 6 weeks, but we're expecting it to go over since that always seems to be the way with these things.

I think I'll post a day-by-day photo history to keep the progress and the photographic evidence straight, so stay tuned for that to come.

In other, much more big, much more exciting news - there are new babies to announce! Terri and Duncan welcomed their twins, Dexter and Margo, last Thursday, and four days later, Anna and Chris brought a little daughter - Clara- into the world! Everyone is doing well and those little babies sure are cute from the pictures we've seen. It seems almost surreal for me to try to think back to that time of having a newborn - it's so crazy how time just passes, and memories (especially ones experienced under extreme exhaustion) just fade. I have been trying to appreciate the hugs and cuddles from both boys, when they get hurt or are really tired and curl up in my lap. I know that time is just going to feel like it's speeding up as life stays busy and they get bigger.

On a related note, I had to fill out the forms for Blake's school entrance in September, and it just so happened that as I was reviewing them, I spilled my drink all over them. The drink couldn't have been mere water, or juice, oh no. It was a bottle of beer. It just seemed to sum up the current state of affairs - and I am very lucky that when everything dried out, I don't think it was too smelly. I can assure that when you're plotting your child's time at school, you really don't want him to be known by the administration as the son of that sloppy beer-drinking American woman. But if that's the case, well, so be it. Make mine a pint please!

 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Historic Dockyard at Chatham

We had a long weekend last week, with Monday as a public holiday. Although the weather was still somewhat dismal, the good news was that it wasn't raining and that it was slightly warmer than it had been. We didn't really have any plans, so we went down to an old restored dockyard in Chatham, a place Matt had picked out to visit some time ago.

It was so cool! Maybe it was because I was starting to hear CBeebies presenters in my head even when the tv wasn't on, or maybe it was that I actually do harbor (excuse the pun!) a passion for historic boats - but it was definitely a great outing for us.

There was a huge building with lots of old lifeboats, an old ship where we could see the cabin's quarters, a submarine which we didn't go into, along with a little steam train, a play area for the kids, an outdoor playground, and a van selling ice cream - what more could we need?! We had lunch in the cafe, where Blake made some friends who seemed to be trying to pick a name for a dog and his eyes just seemed to light up when he heard their suggestions and offered his own.

The boys loved the whole day - we all did, really, and I got some pictures of them being cute. It reminded me a little of Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT, and got me excited for our trip to Clinton in June!

If you are looking for a fun day out, head to Chatham docks. I think you'll enjoy it!

https://picasaweb.google.com/102031279289159649677/ChathamDockyard?authkey=Gv1sRgCOq8h42m7uP52gE&feat=directlink

 

Monday, May 14, 2012

My "running commentary" with myself

During my last two runs, I started thinking about all the various ways that the thoughts and lessons one has and learns during running can be applied to many aspects of life.  I am not claiming that any of the below is original in its thought, but I bet this is the first time these thoughts will have been organized together in such a way that I could call them my own.  I'll keep updating these "life lessons" as they come to me...!

Start with a goal in mind
If you do, you will know at what date you need to start actually doing something so that you are physically able to participate, let alone accomplish something. In my case, I am signed up to do a 5k with work on July 12 so as of last week, I sort of needed to get cracking.

If it hurts too much, it probably isn't right
We all know the phrase, "No pain, no gain," but I think there are times when you need to give yourself a break. If you really hate something, or you really don't feel at your best when you're doing the activity, ask yourself whether there are other ways to meet your goal and if this is the best route for you. Maybe take a break and see if with a bit of rest and time to think, you're renewed after the break.

Don't pay any attention to what others think of you
For instance, if you're approaching an intersection while running and you hear from the backseat of an Audi station wagon, "Mom, is that an albino bear running toward us?", just remember children have very active imaginations. And that sun damage is bad. And, well, maybe you could shave your legs the next time you shower - but only if you want to be more aerodynamic.

Fresh air is a wonderful thing
Dogs feel quite liberated by this, as well, though, so watch where you step as the best way to ruin 20 minutes in the open air is to trod in dog poo 30 seconds into your run.

The downhill can be as hard as the uphill
I kind of am never really relieved to get to a point in my running where I am going downhill, because my knees don't really like the pressure. If you're "coasting" in a situation you're in, it can indicate that you need to reset your goals and introduce some challenges for yourself

Don't cross a busy road except at a traffic light
Too many idiots drive around reading Kafka on their Kindles these days...I'm kidding - they're TEXTING or TALKING ON THEIR PHONES, neither of which I approve of while driving. So just go find a safe place to cross the road - you can make up the 30 seconds it takes for the lights to change later in your run.

Root for yourself
Anytime you're doing something on your own, especially a solitary activity like playing Solitaire on your computer, you need to believe in yourself that you can achieve whatever challenge you have given yourself.  Tell yourself that you can do it, and you most likely will.

Bring in the bread loaves

It is with great relief that I declare my "wheat ban" over!  For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you'll know that on the second weekend in, I caved and had Friday night Papa John's with the boys.  Although I was pretty good for the next two weeks, I started cheating a bit more and having wheat when I felt like it.  The main reason for this is that I am pretty sure - drum roll, please...that wheat and I are ok together.  Yes, that's right - can you visualize the image of me lounging on a piece of toast in a bowl of Fruit and Fibre, giving a group of assorted dried pasta a hug?  No...?  Ok, yeah, I guess that is a bit weird. 

Anyway, I didn't really feel any better once I cut out wheat, and I might argue that I actually felt worse at times during the course of the four weeks!  I have several theories on this, the strongest one being that going from 46 days of my alcohol fast, straight into the wheat ban, coupled with just about the most miserable weather month known in my living history, did not set my mind up to be very tolerant of any sort of further deprivation.  The timeline was something like this: I wanted wine - I got non-alcoholic beer.  I wanted spaghetti - I got pasta made out of corn (which wasn't actually bad).  I wanted sunshine - I got rain.   It was just a bit too much for my brain to cope with.  When the weather is foul, think about what you'd want to eat...I bet a lot of it would involve wheat.  Soup alone just is boring, but with toast it's a hearty and warming meal.  Cheese on toast...yummy.  Melted cheese on a rice cake?  Not so good. 

So anyway, it's back on the toast (did I mention that I love toast?) and I feel a lot better for it.  The other change, however, that the wheat ban made me realize, is that it isn't really enough to cut something out and expect to lose weight!  I knew this already!  So once I found that I didn't lose any more around my middle than what I should have lost by discontinuing my doughnut-a-day habit, I got a bit disheartened.  But then last week what I decided that what I prefer over self-control is simply control - in a good way, in that I'm going to control what I do in the way of exercise.  My company is doing a 5k run in July so last week I turned my running shoes from the "iconic fashion item for modern mothers" that they had been, into the sports accessory that they were designed to be, and hit the pavement. 

And I'm feeling good!  I can say that I'm very sorry for people who do have a wheat intolerance - or any allergy or intolerance, really -  but it's very encouraging that so much progress in the food industry has been made to allow those with allergies and intolerances to enjoy a wider range of items. 

So, what food do you think you couldn't live without?  I am not recommending you try it to see, just being curious...!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

It's a beautiful Sunday morning here, and Blake and I have been playing frisbee in the back.  Noah woke me up at 6:00 and I thought about making a special Mothers Day breakfast for us, but then I had a bowl of Cocoa Pops instead (bought for and subsequently spurned by the children).  The best gift is being with "my" three boys, and being thankful that another great man met a wonderful woman back in the 1960's, and that those two people went on to be my wonderful parents.

Happy Mothers' Day, Mom/Granny Karla!  We made you some drawings and thankfully due to the amazing power of the Internet, you can pick up your greeting card at the Walgreen's on 127 after 1:17 pm today!  (I hope it will still feel like a gift even though you will have to pay the $2.15 because the site didn't take my international credit card!).  While you're there, if you haven't tried Snickers Almond, I highly recommend that you pick up a pack of the mini ones - they are yummy!  I hope you'll also see the card creation as a sign that you have passed on the values of determination, creativity, and resourcefulness to me - along with of course, that greatest gift of love.
We love you!
And also to all of you who are mothers or have mothers  - what an amazing thing it is to be loved and to love as mothers are and do.  x

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

May is a birthday month!

Happy birthday to Granny Bishy, urban family "cousin" Scarlet, and "uncle"
Chris!
Bishy is away on holiday so just in case you get to see this, here are the boys singing to you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgHwgWhDcc0

Hope you all had great days!