Friday, September 29, 2006

My Soapbox

I have a confession to make. Turns out that I wasn't OK with not finding out the sex of the baby the other day. Wednesday night, while grinding my teeth in irritation, I went online to find out exactly where and for how much a private scan could be obtained. The place? Edinburgh. The cost? 95 pounds. I balked when I saw the sticker price, but then the next night I still couldn't stop thinking about it and shared my findings with Trey. His reaction? If you really want it, let's do it. In sum, I've booked an appointment in Edinburgh with BabyScanning. If you click the title of this post, you'll go to their website. They offer all sorts of packages starting on the high end at 230 pounds for a 45 minute appointment complete with a 15 minute DVD of your baby, CD with all the 3D images from the scan, 8 8x10 3D color pictures, etc. We're going for the most basic package which includes a 10 minute appointment, confirmation of the sex, and 2 black and white pictures for the road. The frills don't matter to me. I just want to know what we're having.

For some of you I know this seems a little silly, but hear me out. What exactly am I struggling with? Is it not knowing the sex? Well, that's part of it, but when I probed a little deeper, I discovered that the thing that bothered me the most was not even having the choice. Imagine it this way. What if I didn't want to know and I moved to a country where they forced you to find out. How crazy would that be? Well, for me it feels the same, and as a red-blooded American who gets misty-eyed at Lee Greenwood's "Proud to Be an American" everything in me revolts against not having choice, not having the freedom.

*taking a bow and stepping off my soapbox*

So in the end we've scheduled a private scan for October 27th. We're going to take the train down to Edinburgh and visit a book fair during the day (my appointment isn't until 5pm). Yes, that's right. We're dovetailing the trip with a little book excursion for Trey, who, coincidentally will be celebrating his birthday that weekend.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Aberdonian

Today I had my first encounter with Aberdonian, the Scottish dialect spoken in Aberdeen. I was on my way to a friend's house with Addison when an older lady on the street came over to me and struck up a conversation. She had just come from the Tesco and had a bag from the nearby pharmacy. She proceeded to explain to me why she had gone to the pharmacy. Something about her hand and the doctor and bandages, but I literally only understood every 5th or 6th word. You have no idea how weird it is to be hearing English and not understanding it. The words coming out of her mouth were as strange as a foreign language. I just played along like I knew exactly what she was saying. I could tell by her facial expression and tone that it was bad whatever it was. She seemed satisfied with my sympathy and we went on our merry way.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Boy or Girl?

Today was my 20 week scan. A new friend of mine who lives just a few blocks away and has a daughter the same age as Addison offered to watch him for us since our instructions specified "do not bring small children". After dropping Addison off, Trey and I walked to the bus stop to catch the #6, a bus that only runs every 30 minutes. We waited about 40 minutes for it to finally show up. We didn't know exactly which stop to get off at and with a dubious, "I'll try to remember to tell you," from the bus driver when we inquired if she could tell us where to disembark, I asked a fellow passenger who, much more in the spirit of this land, willingingly obliged. The hospital is quite a bit older than the one where I had Addison, but the staff were quite friendly and the ultrasound equipment seemed fairly up-to-date. This is my favorite picture of the bunch. You can see the rest by clicking on the link in the right sidebar. There were signs everywhere warning not to even ask the technician about the sex of the baby. I'm quite certain our tech knew. She was a lovely lady who just happened to have family back in the Philadelphia and NYC areaa. At the beginning of the scan she definitely lingered at the tell-tale area, and I thought I saw boy parts. Of course, I can't read an ultrasound to save my life and for all I know I was seeing the umbilical cord. After the scan was over and we returned to the ante-natal clinic for the results, Trey discovered an interactive machine in the waiting area that showed you all sorts of ultrasound pictures of the heart, spine, limbs, and sexual organs. After I saw the picture of what the girl parts look like, I wasn't so certain any longer. I think it's now very possible that what I was seeing was an umbilical cord. So I'm back where I started. Boy? Girl? Literally only God knows...and probably the tech.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Somewhere over the Rainbow

The western sky last night.

And the eastern sky.

Learning the Hard Way

Today I learned several valuable lessons:

1) Gas stoves and flimsy frying pans do not mix when making french toast. Invariably you will create a cloud of smoke, which in an unventilated kitchen will most certainly set off all the smoke detectors, none of which have OFF buttons. The ironic part? The food didn't burn, just the pan itself. I'm sure that little tidbit was of no interest to the neighbors who were serenaded both last night and this morning, and I have now added more fuel to my son's loud noise phobia. Great.

2) There actually is a reason no one else leaves their clothespins out on the line between drying sessions. I had no idea what that reason was until this morning when, after a couple of very damp days, I discovered that now all my clothes pins have black stuff growing on them.

3) If your clothes are dry, pull them off the line IMMEDIATELY. You never know around here when a big ol' rain cloud will roll in and re-drench them, which, incidentally, means you have to re-dry them. Ugh.

And you thought it was just Trey who came here to study...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Skype

You will notice the new little icon on the right-hand side of the blog just above all the pictures links. This is my small way of promoting Skype. Here's the basic gist. Skype allows you to use your computer like a phone with phenomenal rates that totally beat out the big phone companies like BT and Verizon. If you click on the title of this blog, you will go directly to the Skype website, but in the meantime let me highlight a few of Skype's awesome features:

1) Skype to Skype calls are FREE! See the details here: http://www.skype.com/products/priceoverview/?currency=GBP&vat=NO
2) Skypeout calls (Skype to a non-Skype landline) are super cheap. For example, it only costs me about 2 cents a minute to call the US. Check out this link to find your rates: http://www.skype.com/products/skypeout/rates/all_rates.html?currency=USD

Now, I have not yet had a chance to test Skype out. I'd love for any of you to be my guinea pig and give it a shot. It's downloaded on my computer and waiting to be christened. My username is hollowayb.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rain

So today we set off for church in weather that might be described as stereotypical Scottish weather. The sky was overcast. The air was damp and chilly. A slight mist coated our faces, but very quickly what started out as mist progressed well beyond that status. Suddenly we found ourselves huddling under a tiny umbrella trying to dodge the drops and the cobbles and the cars on the wrong side of the road. We decided our valiant effort was fast becoming a fool's errand and ducked under the cover of the nearest bus stop. The first bus that pulled up wouldn't take us. Three buggies already on board, not a seat to be found. So we waited for the next bus eyeing our watches as the time ticked closer to 11. We finally boarded the next bus, soggy but grateful and arrived at church with 5 minutes to spare.

See, just like they always say here, "It all works out in the end."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More Pictures

Instead of putting the pictures into the body of each blog entry, I've decided to put links to my different Photo Albums at Facebook. The photos don't import very neatly into the blog, and I'm sure you all would love to find the pictures easily by just clicking on a link instead of hunting through old blog entries. This will be a little bit of a process since we have taken hundreds of photos (about 450 to date) so far and I want to organize them into categories that make sense.

Pictures of the Beach




Friday, September 22, 2006

Pictures at last


Here are some recent pictures of Addison. The one on the swings was taken at Seaton Park, one of our favorite places to go with him. It is an award-winning park here in Aberdeen with beautiful formal gardens and a great playground for kids. This other picture is just a goofy shot that I think is so funny. He found my headphones, and as with Addison and all electronics, he knew exactly what to do. I can only imagine what "tunes" he's hearing in his head as he pretends to listen to some music. Looks like something very deep and soulful.





This is a picture of our house at 30 Orchard Road in Old Aberdeen as well as a shot looking up our street. I've also included a couple of pictures of NBC, the Northern Bowling Club, which is located directly across the street from our home and has been described in a previous blog entry as a playground for seasoned citizens.

We Have Internet!

That's right, folks. I am blogging from the comfort of my own home. The wireless router arrived at 3:30 this afternoon, and I just got finished setting it up. Praise God for these small victories!

My apologies

I wish to sincerely apologize for my sour tone in the "I hate BT" post. As Trey would say, "Try to stay positive." Still no wireless router so far today, but according to Parcel Force, it is out for delivery and we should have it by 5pm today. Hmmm...like I said, I'm not holding my breath. Well, it better come soon because the UK is celebrating a nameless banking holiday for the next two days and the library will be closed.

Stay positive...stay positive...

The Red Fleece

OK, I could not resist sharing this story with you. This morning after breakfast I had a small pile of Addison's clothes to put away in his dresser. He was following along behind me as he usually does, and when he saw the pile of laundry in my hands, he started to whine. I didn't think much of this as I sorted our the various piles for the differents drawers -- pajamas, shirts, trousers (they don't call them pants here -- pants are underwear). As I put his shirts and sweaters in their appropriate drawer, Addison's whining became full-fledged crying. No, to be more precise, he started flipping out. He grabbed after his red fleece and held it to himself with one hand while tugging at the pajamas he was wearing with his other. Aha! I got. He wanted me to put the red fleece on him. As soon as I did, all smiles again.

Isn't he a little too young to have a favorite outfit? Hmmm...perhaps Trey has been teaching him lessons behind my back. I recall a story about a certain purple tie-dye shirt that Trey wore for days on end as a young lad. And so it begins.

Trey Update

So far I have given you no updates on Trey's work here in Aberdeen, the main reason for this whole adventure, largely because there wasn't much to say yet. We've spent the last three weeks trying to get acclimated to our new surroundings and enjoying family time. However, Trey has started to work on his research again (he's been doing informal research on his topic for about the last year at home) and today he got to meet his advisor. There was a lecture and light refreshments for the post-grad students this morning up at King's College, and it was a great opportunity for Trey to meet some fellow students and faculty, including his advisor, Nick Thompson, who invited him to lunch afterwards. Please pray that Trey's research would go well and that he would continue to build good relationships with his fellow students.

Trey also registered yesterday, or really I should say almost fully registered. I can't even begin to explain the processes and unending lines he had to be a part of only to find out that he can't "fully" register until the check comes in from good ol' Sally Mae. He said that in one line the person looked at him like they had never even heard of a US student loan. Ugh...very typical. But after a few hours and some unflagging American persistence he finally got his student ID card and can now use the library.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I hate BT

Quick update for those of you who read this everyday. The wireless router did not arrive today. Supposedly it's in the depot in Covington and should arrive in Aberdeen tomorrow and be delivered to us tomorrow. I'm not holding my breath (otherwise I would have fainted by now). BT is of course British Telecommunications...the worst, I repeat, worst company I've ever had to deal with in the world. More on the whole rotten situation tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Freshers

They've arrived. And for those of you who, like me, are wondering the first time you hear this term, "What in the world is a fresher?" it's what we in the States call Freshman. Yes, you see packs of them now roaming around what just a week ago was the quaint campus of King's College. Not so quaint right now with countless flyers for free Ipods and an upcoming band showdown stuck all over every tree. They swarm together looking for the nearest pub or a late night snack at Tesco Express (the Scottish version of Wawa). Trey was utterly disgusted the other day when he went on a walk up High Street (what he calls the "Dr. Holloway Constituational") and found the quad at King's covered in garbage left over by students snacking on it. He said to me indignantly, "They don't deserve to study here if they're going to leave trash all over the quad." Sigh, I don't think they screen for litter bugs in the application process. Hopefully, this will all come under control once classes begin and the "Freshers" are up to their eyeballs in assignments.

The Beach

Yesterday we went to the beach. Our stated mission was to find Trey some more large stones to act as bookends in our house. I can't wait to post the pictures because it was one of those beautiful days that words really can't describe. It was really windy back in the city, but once you got on the beach it was actually calmer. The sand in Aberdeen is a goldeny-brown, I guess hence the name "The Silver City Beside the Golden Sands". The wind was lifting the foam of the waves and spraying it into the air. And best of all, when we got Addison out of his buggy (I'm trying really hard here, folks) and onto the sand, he squealed with delight, "Waddy!" Needless to say, he made my day. Oh, and we did find Trey his rocks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Zubby

In case you haven't already figured it out, that is Trey's latest nickname for Addison. The list is longer than you can imagine and well-documented by Trey's request in the baby book. I know most of you love little Addison updates, so I thought I'd fill you in on how he is doing these day. Today we went to the Old Aberdeen Medical Practice for Addison's Meningitis C shot -- the only shot they give here that they don't give in the US. He took it all in stride and disliked being held down more than he disliked the shot. Typical.

He has cut 3 teeth since we've arrived, poor kid. I think there are more under the surface because he's still practically chewing his right hand raw. We will all be happy when teething is over.

His favorite word right now is boy, which he says with great relish to distract me from disciplining or reprimanding him. He drags out the pronunciation so it's more like boooooyyyyyy. It's so cute I can't help from laughing, which he knows and uses to his advantage. What a little stinker. I think he got it from me saying, "Silly boy!" And now, if I say silly, he'll finish off my sentence with, "Boooooyyyyyy!" He is such a ham.

He's found a little entourage of older boys to follow him around at church. They think he's great and he loves the attention. And of course, as ever, he's found lots of pretty ladies to cuddle up to in the creche. Ever the lady's man!

And finally today is the day the bottle goes in the trash. I have a feeling the next couple of days are going to be most unpleasant. Trey gave him his farewell bottle this morning (only because he forgot today was the day) but that's it. He is way too old to still be drinking from a bottle. At this point it's a battle of the wills. I have a sneaking suspicion who I think will win. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yorkshire Pudding and Tatties

Tatties are potatoes for those of you, like me, who upon hearing such a delightful and inexplicable word thought it had something to do with ratting on a sibling. Today's blog entry is so named because those were two of the scruptious foods on yesterday's menu. As I previously mentioned we were invited over to the home of a family in the Gilcomston South Church and we were served a traditional English (but we pretended Scottish) meal with delicious roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, tatties, peas and carrots, cheesey cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. What an amazing feast! I ate and ate and ate. And then there was dessert with a homemade plum crumble made with plums from the tree in their backyard (we were sent home with a bag of them!), STP (sticky toffee pudding), and a chocolate-chestnut refrigerator mold. All of it was so good. We were barely finished our coffee from dessert when it was tea time and we were given more cake and, of course, tea. These people know how to eat!

For those of you unfamiliar with Yorkshire pudding, as I was, let me fill you in. It is made with a batter which looks just like pancake batter. It's poured into a muffin pan and placed in a super hot oven. The batter puffs up really high as it bakes so that the finished product looks more like a cross between a muffin and a biscuit. They are completely delicious, especiall drowned in gravy. And I honestly have no idea why they call them pudding because they are not one bit like what we think of as pudding -- Jello.

And not to disappoint, we did go to the German fair on Saturday. It was mainly food, which was just fine with me. Trey got an apple tart. I got a small cup of King Prawnies (shrimp) in garlic, and then Trey and I split a huge Bratwurst hot off the grill. It was to die for. I've been dreaming about it in my sleep...So as you can see the weekend was basically one big food fest. Don't worry. We will definitely walk it off.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Seven Seals a-Sunning

That's right. Yesterday the three of us went for a walk in a totally new direction, north to the Bridge of Don and we discovered seals! What a sight! We came up to the bridge, which is about 1/2 a mile from where the River Don empties into the North Sea, and I leaned over the railing to survey the landscape. Up the river bank I could see these large whitish-gray objects. They weren't shaped like logs although they were the length of logs. My first instinct was that they were seals. But seals, I thought, in Scotland? That just sounded odd to me. All of a sudden one started to wiggle along its stomach. They were alive and they were indeed seals (seven of them). What a funny sight! Sadly, we did not have our camera with us, but I promise we will go back and try to take pictures next time. I sure hope they're there.

The Other Baby

Here's an update on the other baby -- the one we haven't met yet. As I mentioned a few entries back, I have been in contact with the midwife. She actually came by the house last week for our first visit. What service to have the health professional come to you instead of you waiting forever in a crowded reception area or in a paper gown in a cold cell they call an exam room. The midwife stayed for about an hour and went over all the details of having a baby in the NHS (National Health System). As you probably are aware, medicine here is socialized and therefore fully covered by the government (really the taxpayer's pounds...I almost said dollars). I have heard both good and bad about the system, but I have to say, so far, my experience has only been positive. Our local GP Surgery -- what they call the local doctor's office -- was well-run, efficient, and friendly. I was able to book appointments within a day or two of registering in their office. The visiting nurse came out to meet Addison right away, and I was able to meet with the midwife, despite her load of 120 patients, within a few days.

So back to the baby. I got to hear a very strong heartbeat after more than a month without hearing it. What a glorious sound! I am scheduled to have a scan (ultrasound) in about 2 weeks, but unfortunately the Scotland NHS policy is not to reveal the sex of the baby. Trey is betting that he can work a little Yankee charm on the tech and get her to cough up the info. I am not so hopeful. I have heard different explanations for why they will not tell the sex anymore (this is a fairly new policy). The midwife told me it was because someone sued over an inaccurate prediction despite the caveat they always give that they are not 100% sure. One of the American women I've met who had a baby here a couple of years ago and is expecting herself in April told me it was because certain ethnic groups want children only of a certain sex and will abort based on the prediction. I'm not sure what to believe, but I have prepared myself that this may be a surprise.

I'm feeling the baby kick every day now. They are very low, so I don't think the baby is in a head-down position yet. I'm also quite a bit smaller by my estimation than I was with Addison. The benefit of all this walking, I guess, is that I'm staying much fitter than last time. I don't really watch what I eat, although we're not eating out at all, but I think I'm just burning calories left and right walking all over creation to do the normal, ordinary things of life.

One other note, the Maternity Hospital where I will deliver is not too far and is reachable by the Number 6 bus although I promise that when it comes time to deliver I'll take a taxi and not the bus. What a story that would be!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Germany Visits Scotland

Check out the Castlegate webcam and you will see firsthand the German Festival of the Sea in action. It is a 10 day outdoor market mainly focused around fish, but there are tons of other booths, including an onsite bakery where you can smell the woodburning stove right next to the stand. There are several beer pavilions, some candy shops, a creperie, and a little tent full of amber jewelry. We stopped by today on our way down to Asda (British Wal-mart) and surveyed the landscape. They were just opening up and the air was thick with all sorts of smells -- meats and sweets and beer. Tomorrow we're planning to go down and enjoy a nice German lunch. I'll tell you all about it afterwards. Oh and I hear they're planning a German Christmas market in December. Who knew Scotland would include 2 free trips to Germany?!?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Coffee Clatsch

Today Addison and I attended our first Coffee Clatsch together. The minister's wife of the Gilcomston South Church (the church we've been attending -- see the link) invited us to join her and four other ladies for coffee. The day dawned and it was perfect Scottish weather for such a get-together -- rainy and dreary. We can hardly complain after all the days of sunshine so far. It was lovely to spend time with these women, and you would have thought by the constant flow of conversation that we'd known each other forever. The children played happily with the toys, and we enjoyed warm beverages and interesting conversation. It's so good to feel at home when you're so far from home.

And just to whet your appetite, prepare yourself for an upcoming blog about a traditional Scottish meal. This Sunday afternoon we've been invited to lunch at the home of another family in the church, and I just learned today that we will be served a traditional roast and Yorkshire pudding. I can't wait both to eat it and share the experience with all of you!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

NBC is right across the street from me

That is the Northern Bowling Club is right across the street from me. I mentioned this wonderful little diversion in my blog yesterday, and in the spirit of generosity, I'm giving you two blogs today for the price of one. (I think blogging is my new obsession.)

It is actually an outdoor bowling club much more akin to botchee (I know I'm butchering the spelling) ball than pin bowling. There seem to be a number of rules associated with being a member:

1) You must be at least 55 preferably with salt and pepper hair. Even better yet you should be completely white.
2) You must wear gray flannel slacks and white shirts or windbreakers.
3) If you are a man, you ought to wear a white riding cap.

The groundskeeper is this lovely old gentleman, and every time I see him out there gardening I get a little misty-eyed missing my dad. Why, you ask? Not because of their age. This gentleman is at least 10-15 years older than my father. But because this Scottish chap gardens in dress clothes. That's right. He wears gray flannel dress pants, suspenders, a light blue, buttondown collar dress shirt, and a tie to cut the grass, prune the hedges, and water the flowers. I knew there was a genetic reason my dad did this. It's in the Scottish genes.

The Art of Understatement

Yesterday the three of us took a walk into the city center for a little more sightseeing. While Trey was snapping numerous photographs, I sat on a city bench with Addison at Castlegate, a pedestrian square at the center of town where the two major thoroughfares Union and King converge just soaking in the beauty of this unusually mild Scottish September day. To my great amusement I spotted a bakery in a little row of shops -- Chalmers Bakery. Their tagline?

One of Scotland's Better Bakers

Every ounce of American advertising blood in me revolts at the unwillingness to "toot their own horn", but that is why I love it here. There is something completely endearing about such a charming understatement.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/11 - Five Years Later and an Ocean Away

This blog was posted on 9/11/06 but accidentally was deleted in blog posting confusion yesteday. I'm reposting it because it's special to me even if it is out of chronological order.

There are no American flags flying here. No one is talking about it on the streets, "Where were you when you found out about it?" and I doubt there will be much on TV about it although not having a TV we are isolated from any programming at this point anyway. However, I woke up this morning with 9/11 on my mind.Yesterday at church, Trey and I met our first Americans since we arrived here, and oddly enough 9/11 came up. The words didn't even have to be spoken. Two fellow university wives were speaking with each other about when their next get-together would be. The one said to the other, "It's tomorrow night, right?" And the other replied, "No, it's on the 18th. Tomorrow is the 11th." The first paused and said somberly, "Oh...right." The little group of us standing there all knew what "the 11th" meant.Right before Trey and I left for Scotland we went to see Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. Despite my initial misgivings and unwillingness to see its counterpart United 93, I decided that this was a movie I really wanted to see. The reviews were very positive and I felt it was something I needed to do. I was not disappointed. My eyes never dried from about 20 minutes in all the way until the end. It brought back memories of that crystal clear blue sky day in early September when the temperatures were warm, school had just started, life seemed good. And in an instant it all changed. The minute it happened we all knew we were living history. We knew our children and grandchildren would ask us after learning about it in history class, "Do you remember 9/11? Where were you?" much the way I did with my parents and the Kennedy assassination or my grandparents and Pearl Harbor.Every one of us has been affected in some way. We may not have known anyone at the Pentagon or in the Towers, but 9/11 was a collective American experience. We now stand in longer lines at the airport with tighter security regulations. We now have words in our vocabulary like dirty bomb and Al Qaeda. We are a little less trusting, a little more suspicious. But I am convinced that 9/11 wasn't actually a surprise attack. To be sure, we were surprised -- we, the invincible, the unsinkable. But to our great God, this was no surprise. He wasn't caught napping that beautiful September day. No, He was on His throne.And as I write this today from thousands of miles away I know that the same God who is sustaining me and my family in these uncharted waters is the same God who is watching over our nation. Why did God let it happen? I don't know. We probably never will know, but we rest in His promise that all things work together for the good of those who love Him."He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?...For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8.32, 38-39

Our House

It occurs to me that I haven't really told many of you about our new house. Let me begin by saying that we love it, and in the absence of any downloadable photographs (still blogging at the library), you'll have to rely upon my powers of description.

Our house is a granite building attached on both sides to equally adorable, cottage-like houses. Our front garden (what we call the front yard in the States) has a number of bushes and a small patch of grass with a large bay window that looks out onto it. Right now our hydrangea bush is in full bloom and I'm really enjoying the purpley-pink blooms this late in the season. We have a few concrete steps that lead up to our front door. The front door opens into a small vestibule where we have been keeping Addison's buggy (aka stroller). It gets used a lot!

The vestibule opens into a hallway. On the left is the living room -- just about my favorite room in the house. It has a lovely gas fireplace with a mantel featuring many framed photos from back home. (We brought them. They didn't come with the house.) We separated a brown leather sectional to create 2 sofas in the living room. In addition we have a couple of chairs, a coffe table, two end tables, and wardrobe that doubles as the phone's hiding spot. I think we're going to have to find a new spot for the phone, however, because the wardrobe also muffles the phone's ring, and I have missed many a telephone call while in the kitchen doing dishes or reading upstairs in our bedroom. The ceiling is very high and has a mini-chandelier hanging from it. In the late afternoon the bay window, which faces full west, gets so much sun that the room becomes a virtual solarium. We have a lovely view of the outdoor bowling club across the street with its perfectly manicured lawn and flowers. We get such a chuckle watching the bowlers and the "lawn care professionals" (more on that in a later blog).

Down the hall a little further on the left is the kitchen, my second favorite room. It is bright and airy because it has no cabinets over the counters. Instead one whole wall is nothing but cupboards providing us with ample space for storing things. We have an L-shaped counter that doubles as a breakfast bar with three very high chairs pulled up to it. It's perfect for us, especially since we didn't bring Addison a highchair. He is still able to sit right at the table with us and meal times have turned into a wonderful family time for all of us. There is a large window over the kitchen sink that looks out into the back garden. In the morning, since it faces full east, the kitchen is very inviting and cheery. The back garden is actually mainly concrete, but it does have our invaluable drying carousel (see Midwife post).

The first floor also has our bathroom with a super-sized tub, toilet, sink. Not much else to say there -- only thank goodness it's a shower/tub combo and not just a tub!

Upstairs there are 2 bedrooms. The front bedroom is Trey's and mine. It is very large with a Queen-size bed and huge wardrobe where we each have our own closet! What a blessing after fighting over closet space for almost 7 years. Our bedroom also has a desk for Trey and doubles as his office.

Addison's bedroom faces the back of the house. It is also quite large and contains a Queen-size bed. We're using the desk in that room as his changing table. Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention. He has a dresser and a wardrobe that we put in his closet to create more floor space in the room.

On the third floor there is a loft-type bedroom. We have not reassembled the bed up there since we've arrived. It's small but has a lovely skylight. Also, I should mention that we have a basement. We are going to use it for storage as it's really not adequate for spending quality time down there. The ceiling is super low. Trey can't stand up straight in it and it needs new lights.

I promise to post pictures of the house as soon as we have the long-awaited home internet access (9 days and counting!), but I hope in the meantime this will give you a mental picture of our cozy abode.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

The midwife called while I was hanging the wash

I literally said this the other day to Trey and his response was, "Wow, except for the calling part that sentence sounded positively medieval." Yes, that's right. I have a midwife and I have no dryer so I hang our wash to dry. I actually really enjoy it. Interesting fact about air-drying laundry -- it dries stiff not fluffy. Hmmmm...the joys of medieval living!

Friday, September 8, 2006

What happened to the "ch"?

I haven't completely decided what kind of information I'm going to include in this blog. It will definitely contain family news, but I would also like to include little anecdotes from our adventures around town. I'm sure they will make you all smile as much as they do me. Here's an example.

Many of what I would call the "hard-core" Scottish people I've met...and let me clarify what I mean by that...they have THICK accents...do not pronounce "ch" like we do in the US. So, for example, our street is not Orchard Road. It's Orcard Rd. So, I ask, what happened to the "ch"?

Another interesting tidbit. They actually do say "wee" here. I have already lost count of the number of times tweed-jacketed elderly men who have stopped us along the street to coo in their Scottish brogue over Addison, "Oooohhhh, looooook at the weeeeee man." (This is my attempt at imitating the Scottish accent in writing.)

The sound is positively musical. I could listen to it all day. It has a rhythm, cadence, and beat totally lacking in the nasal American accent. I'm seriously thinking about adopting it as my second language.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Addison

Many of you may be wondering how Addison is handling all these changes. In some ways, I'm not really sure he realizes that he is thousands of miles away from home. Wherever mommy and daddy are he seems to be pretty happy.

The plane ride itself was challenging. After spending several hours in the Philadelphia airport, including an hour waiting in line to check our luggage and then almost having 2 bags turned away because we were over the "new limits", Addison was definitely getting antsy. Security is always a lot of fun with a stroller and toddler in tow. Take off your shoes. Hold your boarding pass. Lay everything flat on the conveyer belt. Then make sure you haven't forgotten anything once you're deemed bomb free.

Our plane was delayed in taking off for about a half an hour...30 minutes too long as it turned out. For two hours Addison squirmed and cried and fought sleep like a banshee. Then finally around 9:15 EST he conked. He slept for the entire rest of the flight (thank the Lord!) awaking only as we deplaned in Heathrow.

Heathrow was interesting to navigate. It's almost a city unto itself. We had to take a bus what seemed like several miles to get from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1. Once there we had to...yes, you guessed it...go through security again. Except this time it was a little more intense than Philadelphia. Then we had to go through customs to make sure we were in the country legitimately. We finally found our gate and tried to keep Addison happily occupied while we awaited our little flight up to Aberdeen. Once on the plane he quickly drifted off to sleep on the chest of his sleeping father.

Once in Aberdeen, we were informed that only 2 of our 9 pieces of luggage made it up from Heathrow. We held our breath. The two pieces that made it were...drum roll, please...the carseat and the stroller. If I had to choose, those are the two I would have chosen. The rest of the luggage was delivered to our house later that evening minus the pack'n'play. So we had the interesting task of getting Addison to fall asleep in a strange room for his first night's sleep on a real bed. He did pretty well until the following morning when -- KERPLUNK -- I heard a bang in his room and then his cry. Yes, he fell out of bed. He escaped with just a minor rug burn to his temple, but it was a rather rude way to wake up. (The pack'n'play arrived the following afternoon.)

So the trip itself was quite an adventure for Addison, but all in all, he's been most accommodating. He's enjoyed several rides on the bus, a new nursery (or creche as they call it here) with lots of toys and kids, large fields at the university to run off steam, many sightseeing adventures, and a new house with all sorts of things to get into. He loves the washing machine and pretends that he's putting clothes in it and turning it on. He hasn't quite figured out the UK outlets (thank goodness). They're much harder to plug things into than in the US.

Yesterday he came down with a cold. That always comes with its own pleasures -- trying to wrestle him down to wipe his slimy nose. I don't think he hates anything more than having his nose wiped. But he's learning new words everyday -- doggie (which sounds like doddie), birdie (which sounds like bobbie), hair (which sounds like haar), boy (which he is immensely proud of and says A LOT throughout the day). Like all of us, he has his moments of utter meltdown, but all in all he is doing amazingly well. Jet lag was just a blip on the radar.

I think the biggest struggle will be finally trying to wean him off that blasted bottle. I have no excuses left. The plane ride is over.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

We're Here

So I am currently writing from the Linksfield Public Library, our local library. Home internet access has proven rather elusive. We're still working on it. In the meantime, this is the next best thing although this library's internet access doesn't want to cooperate with my email...hmmm...still working on that one as well.

In the meantime, let me tell you that the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and there are bees everywhere. Well, it wouldn't be September without bees, right? Yesterday was our first complete washout day, but it left the skies sparklingly clear with temperatures in the high 60s. Our plans for this afternoon include walking into town to Marischal College (pronouned Marshall) and visiting the Marischal Museum. It's supposed to be full of ancient Scottish artifacts and photographs.

I promise to post regularly once we get internet access at home. In the meantime, this will have to do.