Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Romantic Christmas

Late I have started a new hobby of writing short stories.  Here is my first one.

Rachel tapped her fingers on the trolley as she waited in line at the local grocery store. She couldn't believe she was doing this. It had been three hours since she rang to see if Jessica, the teenage girl who lived three houses down, was home and if she would be free to come and baby sit for a few hours. Jessica readily agreed, she loved playing with the girls. She came right over. She was such a great girl, Rachel knew she was lucky to have her. That was at 5 o'clock, she had thought at most her venture would take her two hours tops but here she was, it was 8:00pm. It occurred to her that going to the grocery store on the 23rd of December was not her best idea. Lucky for Rachel ADSA was open until 10 pm tonight, since it was Saturday. It is a good thing it wasn't Sunday or they would have to go without. On the other hand maybe it would have been better, at least it would have been much less complicated. She had waited for nearly two hours just to get into the car park and find a space. Apparently, she wasn't the only one who had let some last minute details slip.

She laughed as she thought of her silly predicament, and it was all of her own creating. It really wasn't that big of a deal, in fact she had almost let it slide this year but tonight she decided that the thought of a Christmas without it just didn't seem right. She wasn't even Dutch, but ever since she could remember her mother had made a Christmas Kringle as part of their Holiday festivities. It wasn't a simple feat to make either, it was a two day processes. But, she could stay up late tonight and make the dough. Tomorrow she would finish the job, leaving Christmas free for more important traditions.

Growing up, Christmas had always seemed like such a magical time of year. Her mother made it a point to make everything about the day extra special. Rachel thought about her parents back home and what they were doing. After Rachel had gotten married they had started a new tradition of only hosting Christmas once every other year which allowed all of the children a year to celebrate with their in-laws. In the beginning, Rachel hated the new tradition. But now that she was used to it she had to admit, it was nice to not feel like she had to choose between her in-laws and her family. It worked out to be a wonderful opportunity for her and Jacob to have Christmas in their own home without complicating it with travel. She wondered about what her parents did on their off year, did her mom still make as much of a big deal for just her and her father? She guessed that their celebrations were much smaller but knew they would include many things that Rachel had when she grew up. Even the trip to the grocery store on the evening of the 23rd. How could she have forgotten? It wasn't a tradition per se but inevitably every year her mother would be at the store just as Rachel found herself this year. Her mother never seemed to mind though. She loved shopping at Christmas. Sometimes Rachel had wondered if she “forgot” things as an excuse to go to the store one last time before Christmas Eve. As she thought about all those shopping trips she wondered if her mother was shopping right now. The thought made her happy, she was participating in another Christmas tradition without even realizing it. All of a sudden she started looking around and taking notice of all of the decorations that had carefully been placed in the store. Christmas was starting to feel a bit more magical than when she arrived.

Rachel always tried to make the day extra special for the girls. They spent every day in December doing something to lead up to the big day. Christmas crafts, caroling, delivering cookies, and doing service. She and Jacob had decided when Emily was just one year old that Christmas would not be about the gifts in their home. Sure, they hung stockings and gave a few gifts but they never over did it. Christmas Eve was always spent on a blanket on the floor where they had had what they referred to a “Shepherds Dinner.” They'd serve things that the shepherds probably ate at the time Christ was born, or at least as close as to what they ate as they could think of. It involved eating a lot of figs and nuts from old fashion dishes made of wood. “They probably were eating it the night when the angel came to announce his birth” they told the girls. It was quite possible they were. They still enjoyed opening gifts on Christmas morning, to be sure, but each of the girls only received 3 gifts, symbolic of the gifts the Savior was given. That was just Rachel's way of doing things. Because of this the girls had grown up without Christmas being about getting things, she could tell that it was even more magical for them than it had been for her. At least that is what she hoped. The best part of the day was always spent having adventures as a family. Sometimes they went places, like for a walk in the Moors, or just around town. When it was really cold or snowing out they would stay in their pajamas all day, sit in front of the window drinking hot chocolate and telling stories. Always about grand adventures, and always full of imagination.

Jacob would be working late this evening and it looked like he would be working most of the day tomorrow as well. She didn't mind too much as she hadn't been able to finish everything she wanted to do for him. She hadn't yet decided what she was going to make for him this year. She was almost at the till, only 4 people left to go, she started to relax even more. Then, she realized she had forgotten to grab some milk and she took a deep breath and got out of line to head to the dairy aisle. Silent night was playing on the sound system and she thought about the first Christmas she and Jacob had spent after they were married. They had managed to scrape together enough money to get gifts for their families but realized they had no money for gifts for each other. No matter, they decided the most important gifts are often the ones that are homemade. It had been 10 years since that first Christmas and even though they now had money the tradition of making gifts for one another had continued. She thought about all the gifts they had made, the picture books, the stockings, and the poems. The most romantic thing that Jacob did for her was 4 years ago. Jacob had given her a voucher for a “surprise worth waiting for.” She loved surprises. She didn't know it at the time but this one was to be redeemed the day after Christmas. Jacob came home early from work to watch the girls. He sent her out to lunch with her friends, It was so nice to have a relaxing day with friends after a hectic holiday season. The thought of that gift alone made her smile. But, the real surprise came when she discovered that what she thought was just an opportunity to go out to lunch AND a movie with friends (a fabulous gift in and of itself), was really a ruse for a romantic evening that he taken a month to plan. He sent the girls to his mother's for the night, it was the first time they had ever had the girls stay anywhere but with them. He cleaned the whole house, including putting away all of the Christmas gifts that were strewn about when she had left home earlier in the morning. When she arrived home, he sent her straight upstairs to the bath he had drawn, it smelled of lavender and had flowers floating on the top. The room was lit with candles, and the final ingredient he explained was “a lot of love”. That was just the beginning. He cooked a gourmet dinner of coconut couscous and grilled chicken. He had even made cheesecake for dessert, yummmmm. He had set the table with the nice linen and fine china. Served the meal with a bottle of sparkling juice, what great surprise indeed!

She had been trying to think of what to make him this year and had come up empty. It would come to her though, she wasn't worried, sometimes her best ideas came at the very last minute.

Another hour passed before Rachel made it to the front of the line, yet again. When she saw the time she started feeling stressed. Jessica needed to get home, the girls were very late to be put to bed, which would make for a very grumpy Christmas Eve. The house was a mess. On top of all of this, she realized that in her rush, she hadn't eaten dinner and now she was getting a headache. She was exhausted. The thought of making the Kringle became much less appealing.

When she reached the house a little after 9:30 she was surprised to see Jacob's car in the drive. He was home 2 hours before she had expected him. She felt more stressed as she realized that she would not have any time to make him a gift with him home. Not to mention the Christmas Kringle, the thought of which was becoming less appealing by the minute. Christmas was supposed to be a time of joy, why did she feel so stressed! When she walked in, the house was a mess, but the girls were a sleep. Jacob met her at the door with a hug and a kiss. He asked her if she was hungry, he led her into the kitchen, where the dirty dishes were piled in the sink, and gestured for her to sit at the table. He looked exhausted. He had only arrived home at 8:30. He thought Rachel could use some help when he had called to talk to her at eight and Jessica answered the phone. He had finished up the last few things and then headed home. He and the girls had walked Jessica home, and paid her for her time, double her pay and then some as a Christmas bonus. He had put the girls to bed. He went to the stove and served up two plates of his specialty, Macaroni and Cheese and hot dogs. He served it with water. She smiled at Jacob and as they started to eat, both exhausted from the day, she thought it was more delicious than anything she had had in a fancy restaurant, maybe it was because she was so hungry.  It was probably because it was made with so much love, it not only fed her body but her soul.

After they ate, he did the dishes, and she cleaned the house. She went to bed without making the Kringle after all, but it didn't seem necessary anymore. Christmas would be Christmas without it. In fact, in later years she would look back at this night, at this moment, as one of her favorite Christmas gifts ever.

The next day she did figure out what to get Jacob. On Christmas morning he gave her a big kiss after he opened his gift from her. It was just a simple piece of paper that said, “To Jacob, Thank you for the most romantic Christmas ever, All my love, Rachel.”

Monday, November 30, 2009

Officially a Soccer Mom!

Check out the newest soccer player in the family... our very own Socatot!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am thankful to be a VERY important person

I realized this morning as I was paged to come into work at 3:40 am, that I am a VERY important person.

Now, I must admit it is nice since I work from home that I don't have much a commute but these are the things that I realized in the wee hours of the morning:

1) I am not a talk show host, but I get probably more applause than Oprah every day.
2) I am not a psychologist, but I can calm great fears with a simple hug.

3) I am not a doctor but I can stop pain of a head injury, fall, or cut with some simple first aid of TLC and if the situation calls for some serious medication, I know that sometimes a treat is in order.

4) I am not the President, but I can make a law immediately when required.

5) I am not a warrior, but I am pretty sure that if the situation called for it Icould defeat dragons or monsters without a problem.

6) I am not a comedian but, I can get my audience to laugh with simple jokes that most people probably wouldn't get.

7) I am not a great chef, but I can get a toddler to eat and eat well (which can be a great challenge for even the most seasoned of cooks!)

8) I am not a professional singer, but I can move a person to dance, calm down, and play games when I sing some simple songs.

9) I am not a professional teacher, but I have a full time student who learns new things 24 hours a day.

10) I am not a movie star, but I can't even go to the bathroom with a fan in tow.

11) I am not a great director, but I produce several movies a month.

12) I am not a great photographer, but I make sure to keep a camera close by so I am always ready for a photo shoot.

13) I am not a great athlete, but I run around all day long.

14) I am not a great bowler, but get an applause every time I roll the ball down the lane.

15) I am not a great inventor, but I created a whole person on the first try and she turned out to be a just wonderful.

16) I am not a hospital worker, but rain or shine sick or healthy I am essential personnel (even when I sleep)

I am trusted completely, loved unconditionally, inspired constantly, and needed always. What greater thing is there to be grateful for on this day of Thanksgiving than the gift of a child. Indeed, I am a VERY important person, because I am a Mommy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Drew's 29th Birthday

A little late in coming but since it hasn't been a whole month yet, it is still on time, right.  Brides have an entire year to send cards!  A month for a birthday is pretty reasonable. And with 5 days to spare!

This year for Drew's birthday I was inspired by a friend of mine who got her father 60 presents for his 60th birthday!  I thought this is a great idea!  Then I started gathering gifts.  Nothing expensive mind  you as we keep a limited budget for gifts.  By about gift # 10 I was starting to regret the decision but it ended up turning out all right.  There were a few pretty lame gifts like windshield washing fluid and nails.  But I was able to come up with a few good gifts as well.

The biggest hits were a calling card I made for Drew that he has wanted for a long time.  Thanks to our friend Pearla who designed the Team Mudgett Logo, I was able to put it on a "business card" (I cut them out of card stock) and they read "Another problem solved by Drew Mudgett."   Strange as it is and as it sounds he has wanted calling cards like these for a long time.  He has only had one given back to him.  That is the problem with computer problems you don't always know when they are fixed sometimes they still end up broken, so he was able to give it back to said person later in the day.TEAMmudgettwtitleBIG (Small)

The other gift that was a pretty good hit was the Drew Mudgett's guide to everyday.  The new Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy came out right before his birthday (a big present).  So I thought, how hard can it be to write my own hitchhikers guide to the galaxy for him.  Its not Shakespeare but its kind of fun.

His really big gift, which we bought in March was tickets to see the NFL game played in London this year.  His father got a ticket from us for his birthday as well.  His parents and our little crew headed down to London for the weekend.  Drew and his father really enjoyed the game even though they were not fans of either team, they enjoyed having the opportunity to watch an American football game!

We were able to go and see the play "Wicked" with the theatre ticket voucher Drew's parents gave us last year for Christmas.  They were also kind enough to take Anna with them during the play, it was pretty exciting to have a theatre date!  What an AWESOME play it was!  I had heard it was good, but I LOVED it.

Now, while I am not a huge fan of big cities  (with the exception of hanging out on the mall in DC, and of course Paris!) I told Drew if we can go to play we would love it make it a tradition!

Next year though, I may just stick to the ticket being his only present.  Probably not, because it is just too fun find and making gifts.  I know, maybe one gift per decade would do.  Yeah, three seems much more manageable!  One down, two to go...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

America the Beautiful, Land that I love

A few weeks ago my husband got approved to go to a training back home.  That was on Wed.  On Thursday, I bought a ticket, and we flew on Friday.  Nothing like a spur of the moment trip across the Atlantic!   It was LOADS of fun!  Unfortunately we could not take the same flight as his company paid for his and we had to pay for mine.  I wasn't as nervous to make the 15 hour venture as the only adult with Anna this time, as I was last time.  It went really smoothly.  In fact, on the long flight over we were given a seat in the bulkhead (which they normally do for families with infants).  The flight attendant said that since the flight was not very full I could move to one of the seats with two seats available if I wanted to.  That sounded great (two seats for the price of one!).  Well, we moved after take off, and once we moved, I offered our seat in the bulkhead to the lady sitting next to us.  She was actually traveling with the woman who was sitting next to us in the bulkhead and readily accepted.  That is right we ended up with 3 seats to ourselves!  When I put the arm rests down I could stretch out all the way with Anna!  She only took a 45 minute nap during the entire (which was much longer than she slept traveling at 6 months) She timed it perfectly.  It was during meal time so I even was able to eat my own food!    We stayed with my parents for a week.  We were able to do all kinds of fun things!  Going home really reminds you of how much you miss everything.  It was wonderful for Anna to get to spend so much time with my parents.  We were able to go and see Drew's grandparents which was wonderful.  We also were able to spend a lot of time with our good friends the wheelers.  They have a daughter 6 months older than Anna and it was as though they had played with each other all the time.  They became instant BFF's.  It was adorable.  They were making each other giggle in the car rides.  They were playing hide a seek, chasing each other around, so cute!  We thought it was wonderful.  Drew and Joe have been best friends for a long time, its great that his wife and I get  along swimmingly, and now the girls do too!  Drew has nicknamed Anna "Boca" for a long time.  That is the name we use most often when we call her.  Emmeline (Joe and Alissa's daughter) kept saying Bokey after she left Anna on the first day.  Alissa was wondering what she was trying to say, then it dawned on her.  She asked if she was talking about Boca, indeed she was.  She reportedly walked around saying "Bokey, bokey, bokey"  On our last night there my parents took Anna and I (Drew had to fly back home the day before)  out to dinner at a place called "Hanks" it was great food and cool that they had a "Hyattsville burger"  I didn't get one but I had a bite and it was great!

After we left my parents we traveled to Detroit to see my sister Denise and her family.  It was great to be able to meet baby Grant and spend time with all the boys as well.  I have really missed seeing them grow.  Anna loved spending time with her cousins.  I think she loved waking up in the morning and having a house full of kids to play with!  Jackson would spin her around, which she thought was hilarious!   We were able to go to the pool, watch Jackson play soccer, and do a little shopping while we were there.  Denise showed us around her neighborhood and took us to her old old.  I got pretty emotional as I was leaving (also a bit stressed with the upcoming journey).  I think what did me in was the extra long hug Jackson gave me.  It is really hard not to see all the little milestones in the kids lives.  A few days later Denise called me to tell me that even though she didn't realize Luke even knew my name, he kept walking around the house saying "Kimmy gone"  how sweet!  Don't get me wrong we do love the opportunity we have to live in England.  But parting truly is such sweet sorry.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Horrors of Socialized Medicine

Warning, this information may be disturbing to you.

So for all of the political upheaval about health care in the US.  I thought I would share a bit of our experiences with socialized health care.  It might disturb you because so far we have NOTHING but good things to say about the care we have received while living in England.

This post comes from our most recent experience which happened on Monday the 14th Anna had an allergic reaction after eating some Chinese food.  She started coughing and sneezing, which I didn't think much of because she had a runny nose for a few days previous.  We were discussing it and then I said it came on pretty quickly for a cold.  Then when I was getting her ready for bed Drew noticed that she had a rash all over her body.  So we took her to the hospital.   We only had to wait 15 minutes from the time we arrived before we were in the back talking to the health staff.  They gave her a teddy bear!  The first doctor that examined her was (Katie, I believe, all of the ER doctors went by their first names)  she said that she was pretty sure it was an allergic reaction and had the nurses give her some antihistamine.  But, she said she would like another doctor to look at her to get their opinion.  The second doctor said the same thing and that they want to send her up to pediatrics just to make sure everything is alright.  By that time her rash was going and she was much more relaxed.  She did throw up twice in the ER but had perked up significantly by this point.  After we saw the 3rd doctor, she said that it probably was an allergy but very rarely a virus can do that and sometimes even with an allergy when the medication wares off the reaction can spike again so just to be cautious she wanted to keep her over night.  I felt good about that seeing as I had been hospitalized at least 5 times in my life and I find it very comforting to know that there are doctors and nursing waiting to help if there is ever a problem.  The nurse or "room service" as I believe she called herself, welcomed me to the "bed and breakfast" and gave me towels, sheets, blankets, pajamas, toothbrushes for both me and Anna, and a sandwich for me.  The sandwich was not tasty being about 2 am at this point, it was probably made several hours before, darn socialism!  Anna slept very well and woke up very happy.  This is a picture of our room.

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In the morning she headed to the play room and enjoyed all of the toys and the outside play area as well.

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The doctors said she seemed to be doing very well and that because she was better, she needed to be put to work.  They put on a medical coat and set her to work. =)

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They did want to do some blood work which was very traumatic for Anna.  They couldn't get a vain at first, then I realized that whenever I need to have blood taken I am always poked and prodded a ton until I remember that the veins in my hand are the ones that seem to work the best.  So, I told them to try her hand.  They did and out spurted the blood.  Then, I felt pretty proud of myself and I remembered something my mother said a nurse had said to her when I was in the hospital.  The doctor was asking what my temperature was and my mother put her hand on my head and said 103.  They took my temperature and it was 103 and the nurse said "Never Question a mother!"  They weren't challenging me or anything but, I still felt pretty good about it (other than the fact Anna was clearly in pain and did not enjoy having blood work done).

They want her to come in for allergy testing and they could see her Thursday of that week!  More waiting!  But I decided to wait until we get back from America, its gives us something to look forward to=).

I just received an email from my friend who had an appointment on Monday, they want her to wait until Wed.  for testing as well!!!  There are definitely things that people wait for in the UK but when there are serious problems things happen quickly.  For all the negative press it gets, there are loads of great things that happen every day.  Think of one of the greatest minds of our time, Stephen Hawking who was diagnosed with ASL at age 21, said "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS; I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived"

As for the other experiences we have had, we found having a baby there wonderful and intimate.  Yet competent and with all the amenities of a high class hospital.

The day to day primary care doctors are wonderful.  We really have enjoyed everything.  Oh, and we heard on the radio before we left that they will most likely be changing from having everyone see the closest doctor to allowing people to see whichever doctor they want.  NHS has gotten a lot of bad press lately most of it but if you look at how satisfied people are actually reporting their services with the NHS you will note that:

Of hospital inpatients, 92% said they were satisfied with their treatment

87% of GP users were satisfied with their GP

87% of hospital outpatients were satisfied with the service they received

70% of Accident and Emergency department users reported being satisfied

The system has its problems sure, but I prefer NHS to US medical care thus far.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Coming out of her shell

Anna woke up one morning about a week or so ago and decided that she was going to come out of her shell a bit more.  She has started waving and saying hi to everyone, doesn't even matter if you are in a car.  Sometimes it doesn't even matter if anyone is around she just wants to make sure that people feel acknowledge where ever they are.   The other day she had a one baby parade in our neighborhood.  She was on her bike riding down the road and doing a Miss America wave to everyone!

As an extension of that she also feels that is what is yours (regardless of who you are) is hers and of course what is hers is well, hers.  This is most especially true of food.  However, she won't just take food from people.  She works hard to try and get them to give it to her.  Sometimes this is done charmingly.  Such as smiling and asking with a gesture.  Other times it is down right begging.  Her social skills are pretty interesting.  Ever since she was very young she would laugh to get people's attention, very cute.

Anna is very affectionate and cuddly, well toward me.  She doesn't really cuddle with Drew unless she is super tired or sick or upset or scared.  However, she used her social skills the other evening as he was putting her to sleep.  We usually stay in her room until she is close to being asleep or has fallen asleep.  When I put her to bed she cuddles with me and falls asleep.  When Drew puts her to bed he is not allowed in her bed most of the time or really to even  touch her much.  So sometimes he ends up surfing the internet on his phone while she is falling asleep.  The other night he was pleasantly surprised when she came and cuddled up with him.  She lay her head on his chest and then with a coy little grin peaked over at his phone to see what was going.    Drew caught on right away and put her right back down, but you have to admire a girl for trying.

Along with all this has come a fierce independence and a load of opinions.  Anna needed a new pair of shoes last week.  So, we set out shopping.   When I realized that places charge 25-30 pounds for a pair of baby shoes!!!!  Well, I was hardly going to pay more for her shoes than I would for my own.  But, I learned something as we went shopping.  Anna has strong opinions.  There were some shoes she refused to try on.  If I insisted she would resist and refuse to step down on the ground.  Then there were other shoes that she LOVED, laughed when she saw them.  Once they were on she watched herself in the mirror and jumped and danced around.  Drew brought her a few pairs home from the thrift shop, those were promptly thrown and forgotten.  I ended up find a pair at a local grocery store (the big ones sell clothes too) for only 6 pounds.  She didn't love them, screamed when I put them on her, but, once she saw them in the mirror she was happy with them.  I didn't expect a 14 month old to have some many opinions!

Finally, Anna has  fiercely independent and I would add determined.  If she sees something she wants don't try to take it from her or you will suffer a complete melt down.  For example, we were doing some ironing and she got a hold of one of her hangers.    I didn't like her having it, but we watched her closely with it.   She even insisted on sleeping with it, we got it back in the middle of the night as she was still clutching it in her hands after she had fallen asleep, sheesh!  Another example is food, some people say never wake a sleeping baby.  I might add, never try to take food from a 1 year old.  On Saturday we were at an activity where they had ice cream on sticks.  I got one that I was so kindly going to share with Anna or in her eyes (see her feelings on possessions above)  she had ice cream that she was not going to share with me.  I was able to get about 3 bites with screaming, she ate the rest, after eating pizza!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It is a winner!

A few years ago my sister in Law came up with a system of for rating toys called joy units.  She used this in terms of Christmas but it can be applied all year long for a full discussion of Joy units please see the following link: The reason I bring it up is because this week we scored  BIG with joy units.  I had taken Anna to a local indoor adventure play place called "Winkies" it is a really fun thing to do inside on a rainy day.  Cheaper than the pool and for Anna she can stay as long as she wants for under 3 pounds.  Once we got to Winkies she seemed very unsure of the whole place, we went right when they opened.  It looked alright nothing too impressive, but after about 10 minutes Anna was hooked!  She had such a great time!  She loved the climbing and the slides and the ball pits, but her favorite thing was the little cars that you can get inside and "drive" (really be pushed by yours truly), she stayed in there for at least an hour ~ no joke.  When I finally decided to leave at lunch time after 2 hours of being there, she was not happy at all.  She was pretty easily distracted and fell asleep in the 5 minute drive home, slept for about 3 hours! I didn't get any pictures at Winkies but we went to another indoor adventure place (Kidzplay) and here are some pictures from there: happyinballpit (Medium) drivingacar (Medium)

[flv: 320 240] Earlier in the week we had gone to an animal farm.  She is not too keen on the animals themselves but she loved the baby ride on tractors and cars, again not wanting to get off. This is the bravest she has been with animals to date: [flv: 320 240]  annaontractor (Medium) annawithhatontractor (Medium) annaontractorwithmommy (Medium) Here are some videos from the indoor play area at the farm [flv: 320 240] [flv: 320 240] So, after these two experiences I got to thinking that she would probably really love to have a little car herself.  I try not to buy her too many toys (as we already have quite a few, not much room, and for many other reasons).  But, I decided to check on Ebay and see what I could come up with.  I found a great little 4 wheeler with a parent handle (so I can push without leaning over).  It was located in york just 30 minutes away.  I decided to place a bid, we won it for just under 7 pounds  or two trips to Winkies!  Well, when we picked it up (Sat morning), we let Anna go for a ride around the neighborhood where we bought it.  She cried when she got off and we had to put it in the trunk.  Then we went off to the National Railway Museam, which is kind of like the new air and space museum near Dulles airport, only for trains of course.  Neither Drew nor I are very interested in trains but it was still a really neat museum.  It has all kinds of trains.  They even had a story time, which Anna learned some motions from and loves doing now.  Then there was the miniature train ride which was a blast as well.  All the while, Anna was able to ride around the museum with her new wheels.  We all had a great day. When we got home, Drew needed a nap after a long week, Anna was too excited to nap.  So,  Anna and I played downstairs.  What did she do you might ask?  She climbed onto and off of her new car and moved different parts around for 3 hours!!!  Then we took it for a spin outside to the neighbors house, who invited us in, but Anna was not about to get off of her bike merely to visit a friend. [flv: 320 240] [flv: 320 240] On Sunday we had much more of the same completely in love with her bike.  So I would say this bike has been worth at least 50 joy units for less than 7 pounds!  Great deal if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Eyes Have It and the BIG W

We have had several new developments in this past few weeks.
First off Anna is now in her own big girl bed (really just a mattress on her floor).   She loves it though and sleeps like a doll. This was all part of the big "W" process. That's right as of last night Anna is officially weaned!!! We have been working toward this for a few months, dropping feedings here and there. She was down to nursing once a day, that was at about 2 am. We were going to stop that next week, when Drew is finished with his finals. Then 2 nights ago Anna just slept through the night! It was great. Last night she woke up and I went in and all she wanted me to do was give her a little back rub for a minute. It was great! I think she will be done with her night wakings in the next few months as well.
As for the Eyes, there are three things that have to do with eyes that having been happening for us lately. The first is that Anna's new favorite game (it is actually about a month old, and she isn't as interested in it now) is called blind walking. She likes to put purses, dish rags, shirts, you name it, over her eyes and walk around. Then she gets really unhappy when she crashes into the wall (what was she expecting?). The next big development is that she had her MMR last week and is now covered in spots. It has to do with her eyes because the spots on her face have become rather plentiful and are now almost underlining her eyes. So, we had to post pone family pictures (that were scheduled for Friday) again. They have been postponed for one reason or another by the photographer several times. Now when we were all set, we had to postpone it - go figure!

The Third and final Eye related event is a BIG one. Anna said her first word other than mama and dada! It was facilitated by moving into her own room on her own bed, because when she is going to bed I lay down next to her and she tends to poke me in the eye. Then last week I kept saying "eye" every time she did it, and she said it back. She says it with quite an accent most times (I can usually get her to try a few times and she will say it correctly) but it is very exciting!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Our Trip to Paris

We Arrived Friday night last week pretty late.  We stayed at a 4 star hotel I booked through price line and it was AWESOME!  We were on the 23rd floor with a view of the Eiffel tower and the arc de triumph.  The room was very nice as well.

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This is the View from our room

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Here is Anna ready to start our trip!

  On Saturday, we spent some time relaxing walked around the mall that was connected to our hotel (the metro was also connected to our hotel as well!)  We grabbed some breakfast and headed into town.  We went to Notre Dam and the Sacre Cœur  I loved the Sacre Cœur one the most.  It was beautiful.  Anna walked at least 3/4 of the way up herself (with a little help for balance).

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Notre Dam

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P7250075 (Medium) The stairs

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Anna walking to the top!

On Sunday we went to church and then headed to the grounds outside of the Louvre to see the tour.  We had to wait quite a while but Anna made everyone's wait very enjoyable.  She had a ton of admirers and was acting rather adorable, (like usual) because of it.  The riders came into town and passed so quickly!  Then we walked to down to another part of the course and got to see them pass about 5 more times (if you don't know they ride around the Louvre and the arc de triumph 9 times, so it’s a nice place to see everything because they keep passing buy.  Lance Armstrong came in 3rd and his team captain Contador came in 1st.  A Brit won the stage for the day, so people here are pretty happy about that.  After the Tour we walked around for a bit and then headed back to the hotel. 

P7260088 (Medium) On the way to church

P7260100 (Medium) A little picnic after church

P7260121 (Medium) Waiting for the tour

P7260144 (Medium) The Tour

P7260150 (Medium) End the long day with the BEST bath EVER!

On Monday we went shopping at a French version of walmart and bought loads of supplies. We were out shopping for a long time and I had the feeling that we should go to the Louvre before shopping, but we stuck with our original plan. 
P7270164 (Medium) Ready to go shopping! Show me the toys!

P7270167 (Medium) The Grand Arch near the shopping center

P7270166 (Medium) Lunch after shopping

We didn't get back to the hotel until about 4:00 and then decided to just wait on the Louvre  At about 4:40 I remembered that the Louvre was closed on Tuesdays!  So we got ready again and rushed down town to get to the Louvre at 5:30 in time to rush to the Mona Lisa and appreciate the art as we ran by.  We didn't get to see much.

P7270172 (Medium) ANOTHER TRAIN RIDE! Our dash to the Louvre

P7270181 (Medium) The Mona Lisa

We tried to get over to the Egyptian exhibit they let me in then, closed it on Drew, so I turned around and did the noble thing and stayed with my family. 

P7270197 (Medium) Our picture outside the Egyptiain Exhibit, a blur just like the whole ordeal!
But, hey, we are going to see the real thing in January so, no big deal, we will make sure to get better pictures then!

Anna fell asleep the second we got to the museum and woke up in the gift shop on our way out. 
P7270205 (Medium) Anna still sleeping!

When we left the Louvre is when we went to get hot chocolate at Angelina's. Which is world famous (apparently) the best Hot Chocolate I've ever had. They make it from Cocao from all over the world. 6 euro a cup, but totally worth it! 
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Then we rode on the ferris wheel over looking the Louvre it was pretty neat. Much more relaxing than rushing to the Louvre.
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  We walked around for a bit and then Drew asked what I thought about heading walking to the arc de triumph.  My feet were completely sore, so of course I said yes. 

We stopped for a crepe along the way, it turned out to be more of Anna's crepe, but we each got 2 bites. It was an applesauce filled and delicious!

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It is quite a hike!  But we made it down there and went to the top, I felt very triumphant. 
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Dancing on the way into the Arc



On top of the Arc


I ended up falling and hurting my ankle at coming out of the toilet at the top the the arch, so I was kind of limping the whole way back to the hotel.  I knew it wasn't a bad injury and the next morning it felt fine again (I was so lucky!). 

Our last day there we went to the Eiffel Tower. 
P7280275 (Medium) Its not as big as you might think (J/K)

Wow that takes forever!  Anna was not happy by the time we finally went up, but she did settle down for the view which she enjoyed. 
P7280285 (Medium) The family at the top!

Of course the first thing she tried to do was to hang her feed through the bars.  The bars are just far enough apart that she could slip through them if she did it just right so she was not happy when I wouldn't let her do that.  After the tower we headed on a cruise down the seine. 
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But Anna had a lot of fun running through the chairs, we stayed on the inside of the boat because is was a bit too sunny and hot above deck for us, we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves (except for a little spanish boy that Anna loved playing with!)
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We were pretty wasted and hungry by this point, but I didn't want to get food near the Eiffel tower figuring it would be very expensive.  Our last stop of the day the the Jardin de Luxembourg.  So we got on a train and headed down there.  Apparent we got on the wrong train, so at the next stop we switched.  The train we got on the second time turned out to be an express train that also didn't stop at our stop but instead took us a half hour outside of Paris!  Then we got off the find the correct train, the platform said the train we were on was the correct train, he asked a man who had stayed on it.  The man showed him his badge (he worked for the trains) we asked him if it went to the our stop and he made a phone call and said yes it does.  Then people outside of the train convinced us he was wrong and that we were on the wrong platform etc.  So, we ended up getting off the train, then a lady ran up to us and said no, it is the right train, so we got back on it again!  We should have just trusted the man, because it took us right to our stop.  We found the first place that was opened and sat down for our big meal!  It was delicious! 
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Then we walked around the gardens which were beautiful. 

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We watched some people play some kind of game where you throw balls at another ball.  It was interesting.  I wanted to buy a few pictures of the Sacre Coeur so we ran down to Notre Dam because there were a lot of gift shops there.  They all had pictures of tons of other places but none of that one!  On the way there, we saw this shop and thought you might enjoy it,
P7280336 (Medium) Middle of Paris, who knew how popular the Redskins were!

I was pretty disappointed that we couldn't find the picture.  It was 8:30 by this point and many of the shops were closing.  So, Drew said that we could go back to the Sacre Coeur and see if the shops there were opened.  We rushed over there and much to my delight they were!  We were able to get the pictures and a shirt for me and one for Boca (Anna).  We also got to see them close the church for the night.  We had made it that close!  Then we walked down to the metro which was really crowded because they had just closed the church grounds.  We got some delicious ice cream and waited for a few trains to pass.  I was SOOOO happy that we were able to do everything we wanted to do on our trip! 
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Anna decided to relax and catch up on a bit of reading after our adventures.
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We took a cab to the Eurostar the next morning, which proved to be a much better way to travel than the airplane at least for Anna.  Much less of a hassle and much more to look at.  It is a really nice train.  Anna did great on the trip.  She lost it when we got on the train from Leeds to Harrogate.  Which is when we broke out the big guns and gave her  a lolly pop.  I had one two.  She lost it again when she decided she wanted to have two, we wouldn't let her, we are only so nice.  Your mom picked us and the train station.  And that was that!  We got Anna a cute little French hat and scarf so she is pretty stylin.  you would be proud.

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