Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Everything I need to know I learned from Harry Potter

So most of you know that Elle is a Harry Potter addict.  I am truly wondering if anyone has read the books (all of them) as many times as she has.  Most mornings I find her with a Harry Potter book on her lap smiling and reading.  She reads other things -- even other things multiple times.  But HP is the air in between.  She can't breathe without a book -- and she burns through them.  Our last trip to the library she checked out 14 books.  The limit on her card.  She was done in 3 days and back to HP. help.  Everything relates to  HP.  I was explaining something about the government and the prime minister. Elle interupts "Oh, right mom. I know.  It's like Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry of Magic."  I wish I could remember all the times that Elle has said that "Oh right.  I know. It is just like in Harry Potter where...." Is it ok if a child grows up with an alter reality because she lives in a book?
Anyway, if you ever have books suggestions for one ravenous reader... please pass them my way.

Something funny Ava said:  "There are 2 things I always remember how to do -- even if I haven't done them for awhile:  Riding a bike and swimming.  I always remember.  But there is something I don't remember if it has been a long time: blowing up a balloon.  That is super hard."

And 2 Rock funnys:

He is playing with something and India comes up and is trying to play with him.  He moves and she moves and sidles up to him again.  This happens a couple of times and I'm worried maybe he is going to finally push her away or something but instead he says "Inya (which is how he says her name)! GOD says (dramatic pause) "PLAY ALONE!"  :) I guess it is the 11th commandment?

One night we were walking home from an outing from the tube station through the park.  It was evening and shadowy.  Rock walks next to me and says " Bears and 'piders and bats! It's 'pooky out here!"  Then he stops and sniffs the air.  "Mom.  Do 'mell summat? -- I 'mell (sniff sniff)... I 'mell (sniff sniff)... Ghosts!"

And India is a total spunk these days.  So funny. Just the way her body moves and her eyes blink and her facial expressions.  Her personality is really coming through.  One of my favorite words that she is says is "loo."  She has been expressing interest in potty-training -- and so I ask her "Do you need to go to the loo?"  So she will nod and say "Loo." She says it so purposefully and she is so small -- it sounds hilarious. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Note to self:  You live here... so stop eating like you are on vacation!  Chocolate and bread and cheese... oh my!  2 words: Hob Nobs.  2 more words:  Dark Chocolate. 
Ok, but not just the eating... I have this thing about being in Europe:  I just love it.  When we first arrived, we had some serious jet lag.  Rock was in a crazy cycle.  He would literally sleep all day and then be awake all night.  So, guess who else was awake all night.  Me.  But guess what... from my hotel room I could hear each chime of St. Paul's historic bell!  Rapture.  Why does that thrill me so much? Being awake at 4 am looking at your alarm clock: sick.  Being awake in London at 4am and hearing cathedral bells: romance.
 I am pretty crazy.  People tell me that the honeymoon period will end... but there is something about me and old buildings that just doesn't ever get old. :) oh dear.
Anyway, we are here.  It is a week past the month mark -- and we feel quite settled.  The house is working out great.  Our little pocket (I like to call it) which is a street that is secluded from all other streets and has a gated enry, an archery course on one side, a gate to the footpath to the park on the other, and a church steeple rising over the hill, and is so quiet and perfect I feel like I had a divining rod to find it.  The girls got a place in St. James' Church of England Primary school, which feels like another miracle when you hear all the horror stories from everyone else about getting a school slot.  It is a small school with just one class per grade, a small little run down looking old building just 0.3 miles from the house.  It has been a school since the 1800s.  And the secretary in the office still uses pencil and paper for everything -- no excel spread sheets there!  But on our visit there we found it to be warm and welcoming.  Elle went to see her class -- and they were sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for her and had made her welcome cards!  Plus -- and this was a great priority on my list -- they get to wear uniforms!  Elle is already working on her accent to go with it.
Let's see... we've already ticked off a few "must sees".  Nathan took the girls to "Wicked" -- which inspired them beyond the rainbow.  We went to Hampton Court Palace where India insisted on wandering freely -- as if she owned the place.  The girls especially liked the maze in the gardens.  We have been to the top of Primrose Hill for a 4th of July picnic with some fellow ex-pats... where the view of London was actually quite clear. We walked just a bit through Hyde Park -- but need a return visit for better exploration. We found Portabello road and managed a walk down and back at closing up time before consuming huge Nutella/strawberry crepes.  We also took the girls to "Wizard of Oz" this weekend which had some American accents that made us laugh.  I think they may have studied the Minnesota dialect instead of Nebraska -- "Some-weaRR oveRR the RRainbOH!"  But so fun to be at the theater.  In a few weeks we have tickets to "Shrek" the musical.  Should be interesting.
And then there is the Olympic excitement.  I had quite a mis-adventure as I tried taking the kids out to see the torch pass by.  Let's just say it involved a very long bus ride to a very crowded venue, where the kids waited and waited and at the last minute were blocked by people moving out in front of us (we were keeping the rules darn it!) and the kids missed the torch passing by!!! I said "Hey did you see it?"  "See what?" they said --  Followed by sobbing.  Then we were stuck way out there -- with all the buses running crazy and late because of the torch route.  So we walked and walked and walked and waited and waited for a bus.  Finally getting one -- which terminated randomly, and then we had to find another... tired.  hungry.  missed the torch.  Well... I tried.
The rest of the Olympic hub-bub has been so thrilling.  We stayed up late watching the opening ceremony -- hearing the fireworks (so LOUD!) from our house -- miles and miles away from the stadium.  Watching the amazing athletes on TV and feeling the great excitement of every GB announcer.  We see people dressed in Union Jack everything -- headed out to see games.  And we got to be one of those people -- a family in our ward gave us tickets to an Olympic Football (soccer) game.  It was just a playoff game between Gabon and Korea.  But the stadium was huge and the energy was electric.  76,000 people!  And then we all came out together and made a thick carpet of  human mass to the train station.  That was a crazy clautrophobic moment... but again everyone was there for one reason -- just to be a part of it... a part of the mass of humanity cheering for people who have worked hard, who represent hopes and dreams of a nation and of all people. 
Rock has been fascinated by the swimming (Just today he told me as he put the books on his shelf "mom, this one is my princess book -- for Saturdays.  And this one is my special one that Michael Phelps gave me.  Yeah, he my friend.  So he gave it to me.")  And the gymnastics.  I am having a hard time doing anything else -- to be honest.  I can't take my eyes off of the runners and the swimmers and the tennis players.  So amazing.
India loves to "Go".  Since we don't have a car, our day usually involves a walking outing -- to the park, to the store (although I usually have my groceries delivered --which is the norm here -- love), errands here and there.  She is always trying to persuade us to "go" -- she finds everyone's shoes and hands them out.  Then she points to her jacket (usually appropriate) and wants it zipped up with the hood on.  Then she heads to the door. "Go! go! Go!"  She likes the life here.  Rock then usually takes the stroller seat and India wants to walk.  She would walk everywhere if we could afford the time!  I do let her walk if I can, but she has to pick a leaf from every bush -- so we have to be in no hurry. 
Rock loves the moving jungle gyms here, i.e. buses and trains.  He likes to hang on the bars and practice his balance and then lick his hands and the windows!!  Bleh. 
When we first got here he kept telling me we were not in London.  We were in Mexico, or Egypt.  Not London.  It was as if he couldn't possibly bear to think that we would drag him away from his "park" in Texas for this new crazy rainy place!  We must have gone astray... we must not have made it to the promised land yet!  He seems to be settling in better now.  Although he will still occasionally say he wants to go home to Texas when he is feeling down.
Ava's favorite part of our new surroundings is the bakeries.  She is alwasy trying to find an excuse to go to one... she has a willing party in her mother.  She told me she wants to do a "bakery tour" of London.  Anyone want in?  She and Elle had been developing their walking endurance.  They walk alot... I mean ALOT.  But they are getting better at it.  It isn't easy for Ava but she is getting stronger... complaining less.
Elle is enjoying all the new things.  She likes to study and compare -- talk about contrasts and reasons for things that seem "different" than we are used to.  She is chomping at the bit waiting for school.  And she is getting to be a great help with the kids.  The other night we had a neighbor girl come babysit for us while we went out to dinner with the partner Nathan works with... Elle did all the work.  Put the babies to bed, got herself and Ava to bed... what did the babysitter do? got the easiest 6 pounds an hour ever.
Nathan enjoys his new office and office environment very much.  His commute is about the same door to door as it was in Texas but at least he gets a nice healthy walk in there -- and can sit or stand and read or email on the way.
All  in all we enjoy being Londoners so far.  Much more to say -- about our ward and everyday happenings with the kids... but that is what more posts are for.
Here are some pics!  Phew...

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Monday, August 6, 2012

According to Rock -- part 2

Mom:  "Ok Rock... close your eyes now and go to sleep."
Rock:  "I am! (pause) I'm keeping one eye open just in case." 

Mom:  "Have a good sleep..."
Rock:  "I am going to dream about going to the zoo and then coming home and play pbs kids, and then read books.  That's what I want to do."

In the car Elle is talking about what she wants to be when she grows up.  Right now she thinks she wants to be an eye doctor.  Rock jumps into the conversation.
Rock:  "You know what I going to be when I grow up?"
Mom:  "What?"
Rock: (big smile on his face)  "A GRANDPA!"
Mom: "Oh yeah?  What do grandpas do?"
Rock:  "They have white hair and they read books and play hide and seek."
A few days later in the car Rock tells me again that he is going to be a grandpa when he grows up .  Then he asks:
"What are you going to be when you grow up mom?"
Mom:  "What do you think I should be?"

Rock: (very seriously) "A Baby.  And Elle is going to be a mermaid." 

Monday, March 26, 2012

3rd Birthday!

His Birthday "suit" -- new shorts and shirt and vest and hat and Batman!

With best friend Gracie...

Three is going to "Rock!"

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Yep, I got it all done!

This is what I found upon inspection, after my girls assured me that
all their clothes were picked up and put away.  Ha!

In their defense, their drawers are sort of hard to push in and out because Rock climbed them --
and they do have too many clothes.
But still...
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