Thursday, 29 January 2009

Up Hill Both Ways

The girls can factually say they walk to school up hill both ways in the rain. Only when they are really naughty they walk without shoes.

Weekly Report 3

I'm a week behind but catching up...

We have a car! I was very eager to learn drive at 16, at 35 I am scared to death to relearn. I even asked the delivery man to move it in front of the house. Brent drove it twice. The first time to the store. We decided it is really not worth driving for short trips. The second was to Dover. Once on the highway things were not that different. It is just arriving to the highway alive!

Brent went to Frankfurt. He did not see much of the city. And brought a cold back with him.

I am embracing delivery of all goods. After paying for bus or taxi fare they practically pay you to bring the items to your house. You name it they bring it. I could never leave the house.

We are eating at home again! I'm happy to be back in the kitchen. It is a luxury to eat home cooked meals. Basically the food here is not good. It needs salt and flavor, the combination of ingredients is strange (note the wacky chip series) and it is difficult to yell at the children in restaurants. On the positive side ingredients are fresher and more whole. I've tried a couple of recipes from the newspaper with good results. I'm on a leek kick.

We took our first road trip to Dover to see the white cliffs and countryside. Details in a following post.

As we settle in we are finding more things we did not ship and wish we would have sent. I recall the intent was to be convervative and live with less. We also did not have a clue at to the size of our housing. We decided to buy UK electric items rather than try to use converters since converters can cost more than the item. But it is difficult to live without a skillet or more than 4 bath towels. Lesson learned.

Wordless Wednesday (Thursday)

The first installment in the Wacky Chips series...


I see vomit on a sidewalk everyday. So do Londoners puke more or do Americans puke in their cars so the public does not have to see it?

Weekly Report 2

The school and work week was uneventful. Brent did not have to go out of town. Mary Kate started football (soccer) club. We were all very happy to ride the Tube to school for the last time on Friday!

The highlight of the week was moving into our housing. The move went without a hitch. Except as I anticipated…the internet was not installed as scheduled. I tried to beat them at their little game but internet providers are universally poor at customer service. I will spare you the details of my hissy fit but you can imagine. We went to the mobile phone store and they set us up with a mobile internet card. Not fast but at least we have access. I am limited on the number of pictures I can post until February 5th – the supposed date of internet installation. We finally had enough documentation for them to trust us with a mobile phone. At first I thought I may not be smart enough to master the phone but I’m slowly getting it. If you Google talk please let me know your account name. It is free texting!

The house is great. It greatly exceeds our expectations. We surprisingly have strong water pressure with plenty of hot water. The dishwasher is full size. The stairs help you to be more efficient to save trips. There are gates and bars on the lower floor windows and doors. I’m not sure if I feel safe or frightened. I gave the girls a lesson on how to open the gates in the event of a fire. Mary Kate said all the fire safety was freaking her out. There are dozens of keys for doors and windows. The girls promptly gathered them in one place. We discovered in the village on Saturday evenings one must have a reservation for dinner unless you want to eat at McDonald’s. The girls are excited to sleep in their beds. We are beginning to crack the code on the bus routes.

I am back in the kitchen! Sunday we had our first home cooked meal in weeks. My little Foodies were glad to help.

Sunday evening we had a wonderful village experience. We walked up the high street and down the lane to church. The church is tucked into a row of attached houses so you might not notice it is a church from the outside but inside is beautiful. It was interesting to see all the other parishioners walking home too. On the way home we stopped at the crepe stand for a snack. There was a line so we were hopeful. Buttery crepes with oozing melted Belgian chocolate and nuts. Super rich and worth the wait in the misting rain. The crepe stand is now on the must do list for all our guests.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My Wordless Wednesday may not be wordless...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

It Just Keeps Getting Better...

The public library is just around the corner from our house!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Weekly Report

Brent started work on Monday. Things are swinging into high gear quickly. He scheduled a trip to Brussels for this week. He was told working 35 hours per week was plenty. Not much of a chance that will happen. Work does not start until 9 or 9:30. His phone was quickly delivered

I had my first doctor appointment with Mr. Leitch. Very odd calling the doctor Mister. He is very nice and I think we will work well together. He claims to be on call 24 hours a day. I called his cell phone after hours and he answered! Shocking! I will have an ultrasound or scan at every appointment. The baby was moving all around. The tech tried for several minutes to take measurements because the baby would not stay still. It was a great relief to see an active baby with a strong heartbeat is really in there.

The girls are doing well in school. At home it can be touch and go at times. This is all a big adjustment with more to come. Fighting and general disagreeableness is constant. At least they are well behaved at school.

Mary Kate went to her first London birthday party. It was not very different from US parties. However, the disco theme was a new one for us. The entertainer Ali Baba had a mixing board and disco ball. He did a few magic tricks and held dance contests. The girls had a grand time dancing! They were all sweet and well mannered.

Things are set to move in to the terraced house this weekend. We are looking forward to being a 10 minute walk to school compared to the 45 minute subway/walk now. Eating dinners in will be a welcome return to normal. As will the girls sleeping in separate beds.

All in all the weather has been better than expected. Once I needed an umbrella. Naturally I did not have one with me. We’ve had a couple of days of sun. Sunday it was sunny all day. We prepared for the colder weather with the proper gear – coats, gloves, etc. So it has not been that bad.

It is funny how just saying one word reveals I am American. Or maybe it is my teeth? At times I do not feel I am even speaking English. No major miscommunications this far.

Monday, 12 January 2009

First Day of Work

Today is Brent's first day at work. Sorry to say I missed the photo opp. I will miss him and his doing the laundry.

Where the Queen Lives

Stop two on the tourist route...

Buckingham Palace

St. James Park & ducks - Caroline's favorite spot in all of London.

Eye Flight

Our first tourist outing was to the London Eye. We booked tickets at opening to avoid the long line. The view was amazing. I get a bit anxious with heights. So I will watch from the ground if you want to fly when you visit.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Buckingham Palace

Big Ben and Parliament

This is great!

Sound it out

We bought a box of pretzels from the Netherlands with only Dutch writing on the box. Caroline asked me to read the box to her. I said I can not read it. She suggested I sound out the words and then I could read it.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Basic Needs

Upon arrival we realized I failed to pack a basic need for Brent. My current state has caused me to be lax in this area. Luckily the corner food store helped us out of a real crisis. Under the "BASIC NEEDS" sign next to the aspirin and sewing kits we found this:

Certainly this is a basic need.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Found: housing

We found a period townhouse on a very English sounding street three doors from the pub and two blocks from the High Street. It is set over four floors and has a garden.

The study is through the doors and forward is the reception or living room.

We will have to do all the cooking on this wood burning cookstove.

There is a regular one too.

The en-suite bathroom might be larger than the attached bedroom.

Friday, 9 January 2009

First Day of School

LOVE the hats!

Scootering to school.

The girls are off to a great start at school. They were both very excited and were brave on the first day. Mary Kate says she likes it a little better than Texas. Caroline likes the no nap policy.

For any of you dreading leaving your little one on their first day of school, I highly recommend a stomach bug to take your mind off the sad day. Focusing on staying upright was very distracting and I only shed a few tears.


I am breaking my puking disease forced blog silence. I hope by tomorrow I will be operating at 100%. Thankfully I was the only person hit. I'm so glad to be healthy again.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Email Notification Is Here!

Look to the right...what do you see?

We try to accommodate all of our reader requests. I am happy to spend half my birthday figuring this one out.

To receive daily updates as they are published: enter your email address, wait for the confirmation email to arrive in your inbox, click on the link and you will receive the email notifications. Oh I love technology!

Jeanette - this one is for you!


Caroline: I'm so excited we get to wash our clothes in the kitchen now.