November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, okay. I'm a little late. Never mind that - I come bearing gifts!

And food!

And lots and lots to be thankful for. Including lovely friends and virtual family.

November 20, 2011

Hyvää Joulua.

So it begins.

As there is no Thanksgiving in the UK (What?! No Indians? No pilgrims? What do they do with all the cornucopias?), the bleed into the Christmas season starts fast and early. It was actually several weeks ago, in an emergency trip to the Kingsland KFC bathroom with Noah, when I first heard Mariah Carey's dulcet tones richly declaring all she wanted for Christmas was me. It was moving beyond belief.

Nevertheless, I was able to hold out until today to visit my first [of many planned] Christmas markets. Truth be told, it was actually Donal's idea to go to this Finnish Fair. Since it was super-easy to get to and I had no prior engagements, I agreed. I've not yet been to Finland, but feel I got a little taste today...

...and it tasted like cinnamon rolls. The most delicious cinnamon rolls God ever put on this earth.

Father Christmas was also patrolling the party, but as I was standing in the mammoth cinnamon-roll queue, all I saw were these sweet little guys. (The lady with the broom? Santa obviously outsources the domestic chores.)

There was also this little dude - a straw ram. I have no idea if, or how, rams are significant to Finland, but I don't currently own any sort of ram decorations and I'm a sucker for a little local, crafty art, so I actually bought this one.

Now - forget Christmas. Let's enjoy Thanksgiving...!

November 18, 2011

So f*cking crafty.

I've spent the week gettin' my craft on. I'm not the best, most dedicated, or creative crafter in the world, but it's fun and I enjoy it. I get a lot of ideas from Pinterest and Craft:. If you haven't checked them out, I highly recommend them as pleasant and diverting ways to pass a few Internet minutes.

I can't divulge too much (as all these handmade goodies are being schlepped out as Christmas gifts) but, Dude, look what I made:



A few posts ago I mentioned a new little brother had arrived. Today I met him.

I love him.

I'm sure I'm not imagining the wink and smile...?

November 12, 2011

Lord Mayor's Show.

We went to the Lord Mayor's Show and Fireworks today.
I've only just figured out what the Lord Mayor of London does. He's certainly not The Mayor - the guy on TV who tells us all about budget cuts, chief of police nominations, and bicycle schemes. From what I can gather [from a quick look to Wikipedia], the Lord Mayor is a Ye Olde* guy who just has jurisdiction over the City of London; that means he's the big dog in 1 - out of 608 - square miles. Rock on, Boris, I think you're safe.
Regardless, Boris doesn't get a parade. Or the chance to ride in a golden chariot that's stored in the British Museum for the rest of the year.
Since we had to wait around a bit for the fireworks**, we also had an excuse to see a little bit of London at night. Living here isn't all bad...
St Paul's Cathedral
The Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern
*I don't normally go for pub trivia, but the first Lord Mayor was nominated in 1189. Think about that. What was your city doing 800+ years ago?
**No, I did not tell the boys they were going to see yet more fireworks. Yes, I am still accepting nominations for Mother of the Year.

November 7, 2011

Little brothers.

A new little buddy arrived into the world today. He's a bit early and a bit unexpected, but it's pretty exciting to have him here nonetheless.
I mentioned the arrival of little Rory to my own bebes and while Elliot was totally indifferent, Noah took to the idea like a duck to water. Immediately began the conversation of how he wanted a baby brother in *his* house. 
I tried to stress how messy and noisy babies are but he was totally undeterred; he "would give the baby milk and a dummy". I pressed upon him that my superhero and fireman playing time would be severely restricted. He didn't mind; he'd "give the baby his own toy to play with." But Noah, I've given away all the baby things (helpfully pointed out by Elliot, actually); "that's ok, Mom - we can go to the shops to buy new ones. And borrow nappies from Fiona."
What the what? How is it, above all other considerations, that this one conversation with a three year old has me cautiously rethinking my childbearing plans? I was resolute! I gave away everything! Two is enough! Right...? Right. Right! Right...?
BTW - the only thing that helped me escape the conversation with Noah was the notion that a) bebes take a loooong time to come, and b) you might get a sister.
Sweet bebe Noah
Sweet bebe Elliot

November 5, 2011

Night Owls IV.

I didn't expect there to be a fourth Night Owls installment. But there is. I made my poor, little, timid children go to a fireworks display - again. I learned my lesson, though... This time I didn't tell them there would be fireworks.
Instead I told them we were going to a museum. (A slight misstep - the Royal Gunpowder Mills is not a museum, it's an "important heritage site". But damned if I was going to explain what an "important heritage site" is to my 3 and 4 year old while *also* trying to dodge the inevitable realization they'd be attending another fireworks display.) I told them the museum might have special things going on and, upon arrival, they were *very* pleased to see the mini festival complete with a circus-style trampoline, cotton candy, and a lucky dip [of crap toys]. They were even more pleased to eat a nutritiously ambiguous dinner of hamburger and chips from the carnival van. I let them enjoy this and kept stchum on the fireworks.
Brazier for lighting sparklers
Actors depicting the Guy Fawkes story
Merry Go Round
Cotton candy
And then, well, because we were at the Gunpowder Mills, they started shooting guns. Really loud, olde-tyme guns which must've used all the gunpowder they'd saved up from the Crimean War surplus. And, well, that didn't go over well with my timid children. Their eyes widened, their hands flew to their ears and thus began the chant of "I wanna go home." [sigh]
Sorry, boys. Have I mentioned I *love* fireworks...?

November 4, 2011

Night Owls III.

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
I forgot how much I *love* fireworks.
I forgot how uncool it is to be *so* excited at a school event. (A *primary* school event.)
I verbally "beeped" at the best fireworks. If I had a cap-gun, it would've expired 2 minutes into the show. For those related to me, you'll know what this means. You, and even those who aren't related to me, will be appropriately and justifiably embarrassed.
So, yes, tonight was Elliot's school's fireworks / bonfire (sans actual bonfire) night. They had a disco, drinks (Capri Sun and Heineken), and outdoor entertainment. It was the best night I've had in a long time. It was loads of fun*.

*for me:

(Noah was so stressed out by the noise he had to totally and completely Zen out.)

November 2, 2011

Night Owls II.

Tonight we got out the sparklers. Sparklers and other fireworks come out at this time of year for Bonfire Night. Oddly, this night celebrates a dude - Guy Fawkes - who tried to blow up Parliament. Go figure. 
The sparklers were fun, regardless of any political connotations. And it was Donal's first time with them! (Initially, he was so apprehensive he put on garden gloves before lighting them. Tee hee.)

November 1, 2011

Night Owls I.

I'm a morning person. It's a rare day that I'm not in bed by 10:00 and asleep by 11:00. (I love to read and try to get in at least a chapter a night.) My kids, by design or default, are also morning people. They are awake by at least 6:30 and sometimes much earlier. Needless to say, they're also ready for bed pretty early.
This week will put us through our paces.
Last night, of course, was Halloween. Its our first one at home and I'm pleased to say trick or treating seems to be on the rise in the UK. (In previous years I'd been told by some wet-blanket-parents they would never send their kids out "begging for food.") We met up with some friends and went out en masse to the neighbors. Should you ever come trick or treating with us, here are some key notes for the night...
<BR>'s important to choose wicked-cool costumes;
...only go to houses with jack o'lanterns or other decorations in the window;
<BR> prepared to sing for your food;
and... don't set your expectations too high.

Tomorrow... fun with sparklers!