Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bugs

This is total projection on Addison's part. He's the one who's actually terrified of bugs.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Let Another Man Praise You


Such wise words from the Proverbs, Addison is still learning. Modesty is not his strong suit.

By the way, I consider myself very brave to post a video with me in my JJs (as Addison calls pajamas), but I couldn't let a little messy hair prevent me from sharing this with you. I appreciate your forbearance.

Rain

It has been raining for two days straight without taking a breath, and by our best estimate we've received at least 3 inches -- at least that's what's in one of our trash cans. It's made Addison completely stir crazy, to say the least, rendered outdoor clothes drying impossible, and turned grocery shopping this morning into a soggy adventure.

Don't they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? In this case stronger and very, very wet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Holloway

Recently Trey taught Addison our last name, and in this video he demonstrates his Bond-esque penchant for leading with our surname.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

What a difference a year makes. Instead of a toddling 15-month old, we have a rambunctious two-year old. Instead of one child, we now have two. You can even see how short my hair was just one year ago. But the biggest change of all is where we're "celebrating" Memorial Day this year. As many of you know, Trey and I journeyed down to Washington D.C. many a Memorial Day in years past. We'd visit the museums and monuments and enjoy the mild Virginia air. With some sadness this morning I leafed through the photos from last year. This is my first patriotic holiday abroad. No American flags are flying. No one is grilling. No baseball games play on TV. It feels like any ordinary, chilly Aberdeen day. And in the midst of my sadness, I know that being an American is not tied to my location, for in my heart I am on a beach blanket at Barnegat Light, I am sunning myself in a backyard in Haddon Heights smelling the burgers and dogs sizzle, I am standing in front of the Capitol amazed at its size and presence grateful for all who have given their lives so that I am free. Happy Memorial Day to all of you...wherever you are.
Addison at the Botanical Gardens in DC.

Playing by a water fountain outside the Capitol.





Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Uncle Nate!


Uncle Nate turns 21 today, and in honor of such an auspicious occasion, I share with you this lovely blackmail photo from his recent visit. May you always pirouette as gracefully as you do here. Happy Birthday! We miss you so much, especially the little guys!

Laughing and Hiccuping

Hiccups are a frequent occurrence with Davis. Here is a great video we shot this afternoon of Davis laughing and then suddenly getting a case of the hiccups.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Welcome, Baby Ethan!

Congratulations to our good friends back home, Tom and Gwen, on the arrival of their second child, a little boy named Ethan Thomas. You may remember me mentioning them a couple months back. Their oldest, Abigail, was born on the same day at the same minute as Addison. Well, we didn't manage to coordinate Davis's and Ethan's births. Nevertheless, we rejoice with them and can't wait to meet their new little bundle when we return!

A Second Ambulance Ride


In his very short life, Davis has ridden in an ambulance twice now, and for all his laid-back, smiley disposition, he's given me more than a few proverbial gray hairs. Yesterday, as I was feeding him after his nap, he started coughing and choking uncontrollably. Both boys have from time to time guzzled their milk so fast that they've choked themselves a little. Nothing that a gentle pat on the back couldn't help. This was different, however. He couldn't stop coughing. It sounded wheezy and congested, and he seemed to be struggling for air. I panicked, but thank God Trey was with me when it happened. I have never met a calmer person under pressure. We immediately called our doctor who told us to take him to the Children's Hospital ER (or A&E -- Accidents & Emergencies -- as they call it here). I explained we didn't have a car and asked if I should call an ambulance. They said yes. So I did, and praise God, the first paramedic's car (seen above) arrived while I was still on the phone with the dispatcher. By this time, Davis's coughing had settled down and he seemed fine, but I was far from it. The paramedic checked him over. His color was normal, lungs clear, temperature fine. The ambulance arrived a few minutes later, and they told me that if I wanted to go to the hospital to have him checked over for my own peace of mind, they would take me. I said I did, and so we both got to ride in the ambulance for the second time in 3 months.

They checked his oxygen level, blood pressure, pulse, lungs, and gave a general physical exam. Everything was perfect. The doctor said that it seemed like it was just a choking episode and that I should keep an eye on it. By the time we arrived home around 7pm, Davis and I were both beat. He ate well and went to bed.

But the story doesn't quite end there. In the wee hours of this morning, around quarter of 5, Davis woke to eat, and while he was eating, he had another episode. I think he has a very bad cold that has come on suddenly. He's been sneezing frequently since yesterday, and his baby voice sounds raspy. Addison has never been one to get coughs. Like me, he tends to run fevers or have a runny nose. So bad "chesty coughs", as they call them here, are new territory. With his stuffed up nose and congestion, I think he's just having a hard time figuring out how to breath in between gulps of milk. Anyway, we are keeping a close eye on it, especially since he's such a little guy. Please pray for his swift healing!

On a related sidenote, I was able to find out from the paramedics who helped us yesterday the names of the two gentlemen who delivered Davis at our house. Since that day I regretted that we hadn't gotten their names. I so wanted to thank them for all that they did for us that incredible morning and give them a picture of the beautiful little boy they helped bring into the world, and now I can!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cry Me a River

There are days when I pull out the world's tiniest violin and commiserate over all the luxuries I've left behind. What do I miss the most you might ask. Is it the microwave, cell phone, dryer? Perhaps television or cable? No, the thing I miss the very most in the world is my beautiful black Escape with its snazzy moonroof and leather interior sitting patiently in a garage in Atlanta waiting for our return, and I've never missed it more than today when, on my walk back from the grocery store, shopping trolley in one hand, big bag of size 5 diapers in the other, thanks to an impromptu deluge that left the streets glistening with water, an 18-wheeler hit a puddle just as it passed, spraying me with a shower of oily, dirty rainwater.

Yes, one more tune on the fiddle, please!

Life with a Toddler

Most of the stories I post on here about Addison are humorous and lighthearted. You might even infer from them that he is just a precocious, curious, imaginative child with a big heart and a sweet face. I wish the story ended there. That is only part of the story. He is also bossy, selfish, willful, and sometimes very defiant. He feels things very deeply, experiencing high highs and low lows. One minute he'll be in tears that we're leaving the park or that Daddy has to go to a meeting. The next he'll be laughing hysterically that we're having pizza for dinner. Trey and I struggle to know how to help him temper his intense emotions, and I find myself often discouraged with his disobedience in the face of repeated instruction and discipline. How many times do I have to tell you not to hit other people, and yet you do it anyway? Actually, I know this isn't just life with a toddler. While the particular issue at hand may change, the overriding theme of rebellion against authority remains the same. It is disheartening and very humbling at the same time. Addison knows how to push my buttons like no one else, and I am seeing how I need to get my own emotions under control. I need to discipline in love, not anger. When the incident is over, I need to let it go, not hold onto it for the rest of the day. Sometimes I wonder who is actually growing more, Addison or me.

This has been a particularly hard week with Addison. Just as one example, we went to the park on Wednesday to say goodbye to some friends who are leaving Aberdeen for good and moving back to the States. While we were there Addison took the opportunity to collect a fistful of woodchips and promptly throw them in the face of a sweet old lady sitting on a park bench. In those moments, I want to shrivel up and die, disappearing into the cracks in the pavement. I know I am not alone. And in the spirit of trying to rear a polite, obedient, and delightful toddler, I share with you this news clip above (click on the picture to watch it), which Trey and I saw this morning about a toddler who ruined some sand art created by Tibetan monks over a period of two days.

See, just when you think you've got the worst-behaved child in the world, God gives you a glimpse into someone else's world. I do not rejoice in this mother's woes. In fact, quite the opposite. My cheeks burn red for her. I want to put my arms around her and say, "Don't worry, my dear. Before you know it, he'll be a teenager!"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Operation Fatten Up Davis

I did not mention Davis's 3 month well baby visit last week because I came home very discouraged after it. In the 4 weeks since his 2 month visit and shots he had not gained one single ounce. He weighed EXACTLY the same amount -- 10 lbs., 11 oz. -- dropping his weight down to between the 2nd and 9th percentile for boys. The health visitor was understandably concerned. He has continued to drop in percentile since his birth when he was at the 50th. For the life of me, I didn't know what the problem could be. I never had a supply issue with Addison. He gained a ton, weighing 1 1/2 lbs. more at 2 months than Davis does now at 3. But then I started thinking about the way that Davis nurses. I was following a similar pattern with him like the one that Addison had followed -- about 10 minutes on only one side at each feeding. So my new plan for the week ahead was to nurse at least 6 times a day for as long as he wanted on BOTH sides. For the first few days I felt very depleted, but my body adjusted and produced more milk for the increased demand.

The result was that this morning at his weigh-in he had gained 5 1/2 oz., which is considered right in the normal range for a breastfed baby. I am going to bring him back for another weight check in a week and a half just to make sure that this progress continues. I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief now. Nothing makes you worry like your kids!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"T" on the High Street and Such


Yesterday Trey went to his first Old Aberdeen Community Council Meeting held at Dunbar Hall (named for Gavin Dunbar, one of the University's most distinguished chancellors and Bishop of Old Aberdeen). We received a flyer in the mail earlier this week and he was intrigued by the issues brought up -- how to prevent traffic on the High Street, the indecorous nature of the "T" advertising Tennent's beer newly hanging outside St. Machar Bar, the necessity of double-decker buses that run past the University, the parking problem created by the students, drug trafficking outside St. Machar Cathedral and Seaton Park, etc., and he wanted to attend in order to get a real flavor for life here.

There were about 50 attendees at the meeting, which was intended to give the inhabitants of Old Aberdeen a venue for "airing their grievances" to the newly elected Council Members. The residents seem to truly appreciate the historic character of Old Aberdeen and desire to preserve and protect its heritage. Sadly, they have the sense of being "swallowed up" by the University, which owns most of the property in Old Aberdeen, and they feel that the University is not always careful to maintain the historic integrity of its campus.

It will be very interesting to see what ultimately comes of the issues raised by the residents, and I have little doubt that the lone American student in attendance last night will continue to go.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Songbird

This is a video I've been working on for a little while for Davis and Addison. I just put the finishing touches on it this morning and am so excited to share it with you. Yes, it's incredibly sappy, but what can I say? I love these two little boys so much. They get me in touch with my inner sap. The song is called Songbird and is one of Addison's favorites, the reason I chose it. He calls it "Ashu", which translated means "I love you" and refers to the chorus of the song.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Annual Interview

I am happy to report that today Trey had his Annual Interview with representatives from the Divinity Department, and it went extremely well. They are pleased with his progress thus far and have encouraged him to keep the pace going.

Thus, Trey's first year is concluded, and he is now in his second.

Passport Photo

This could quite possibly be the cutest passport photo ever. Trey and I took the boys out to Cults today to the one and only photographer in Aberdeen who does passport photos to US specifications. We are working on Davis's declaration of birth abroad, social security card, and passport. The paperwork is complete. Now the photos are taken. All that's left is copying our forms of identification (marriage certificate, passports, etc.) and purchasing a Royal Mail special delivery envelope to be sent back to us once his official documents come in. Our plan is to mail everything down to Edinburgh tomorrow, and then travel down to the US Embassy there for the in-person interview with Davis in early June.

Since I have extra pictures after everything is sent off to the Embassy, should I submit a few to Scottish modeling agencies?

Bedtime Routine

I've mentioned Addison's bedtime routine before. Here is a little glimpse into what it's like.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wild Child

This is why I'm so tired at the end of the day.

The Highlands Re-revisited


No matter how many times I visit the Highlands, I never tire of the rugged, untamed beauty of its ancient landscape. Once again, David took some amazing photos, which I've put into a new Highlands album. Be sure to take a look, especially since interspersed throughout are pictures of Addison and Davis, perhaps not rugged in beauty but certainly untamed in behavior.

Swinging

Addison's all-time favorite park activity is swinging. He would let you push him for hours if you could hold up that long. Here's some video of him on the swings at Seaton Park being pushed by Uncle Nate.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow


This morning at 7am a cab came and took away the Uncles. Addison was in tears. It's always so hard to say goodbye. As many times as we've done it now, it never gets any easier. I thought this picture really captured the melancholy of saying goodbye.

You will notice that the date on this post is 5/19/07, which is not actually the date that Nathaniel and David left us. I wrote this blog after midnight (crazy, I know). They actually left on 5/18/07. Either way we still miss them.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thomas and Friends

Addison discusses with me the various characters on Thomas and Friends. As you can see, the obsession is out of control.

I Did It!

You can add one more item to the list of things I never thought I would do, but I now have done (think giving birth at home). Yesterday, I drove on the left side of the road for the first time, and I survived! It was actually surprisingly easy. I didn't realize how much I've switched over to the UK way of driving. My only problem was that I kept reaching for the seatbelt over my left shoulder. Doh! The Uncs and I drove out to the Highlands for a little day trip with the wee ones. We had a great time. It was pouring down rain when we left, but just as we were leaving Aberdeen, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and the temperatures started to climb (a bit). We enjoyed a leisurely picnic lunch outside in Ballatar and then pushed on a little further so they could really see the mountains. It was beautiful. And for a bonus we got to see baby lambs everywhere. Dave has been the designated photographer for this whole trip and I plan to confiscate the hundreds of pictures he's taken and post them here in the next few days. He's also the one taking all the great videos I've been posting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Orange!

Here is a perfect example of the difference between my two boys. In this video Davis is just chillin' in his baby seat enjoying the rocking motion provided by Uncle Dave. Addison, on the other hand, is arguing with Uncle Nate insisting that the lemon in his hand is actually an orange.

Video of Davis

This video was taken by David on Saturday.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day (one day late) to my mom, Susan, and Trey's mom, Jan! I forgot to get Mother's Day cards here back in March when the UK celebrated "Mothering Sunday," so I had to get generic "Just For You" cards. Next year I'll try to remember to get them ahead of time. Trey, on the other hand, scored big time when he went Mother's Day shopping for me. He boldly asked the sales lady if they had any Mother's Day cards, and she said she'd check if there were any left. He got the VERY last one, so I did end up with a Mother's Day card -- and a beautiful orchid and knitting book.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Unca Date

That's Uncle Nate and Uncle Dave, our Brangelina if you will. For the past week I've been telling Addison that Uncle Nate and Uncle Dave are coming to visit him on Saturday. He can say their names perfectly well indepent of each other, but when I try to get him to say Uncle Nate and Uncle Dave together, it comes out "Unca Date".

Of course, their much-anticipated visit means that the blog may be a little neglected this week, but never fear. It is sure to result in lots of pictures, which I will eagerly share with all of you.

I Just Can't Help Myself

I fully admit it. I am one of those shameless moms who likes to show people photos of her kids. So I hope you'll pardon me while I post more pictures of Addison and Davis. They are in their respective albums, but I'm also posting my favorite one of each of them here (and a rare one of Addison with me).



The Twins Again


The picture of Davis, on the left, was shot Sunday. The one of Addison, on the right, was taken at the EXACT same age at my sister's graduation from Gordon College in May 2005. They are actually not wearing the same outfit, but the light blue hood and angle of Davis's face in the photograph caught Trey's eye yesterday, and he asked me to draw up the picture from Sarah's graduation. I couldn't believe he remembered there was one so similar of Addison. When we compared them side-by-side, I was totally blown away. The main difference between them is their weight. Davis is significantly lighter.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tan Hands

This is a phenomenon that you get in Scotland when you don't have a car. You're out and about a lot, but you're mostly covered up because it's cold. So what gets sun? Your hands. I noticed this the other day on myself, and it looks really odd. My arms are as white as can be, but my hands are brown (my face is getting browner too). Strange.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Getting a British Passport

Lately, I've been researching whether Davis is eligible for a UK passport since he was born here. Under US law, anyone born in the US, even to an illegal immigrant, is eligible for citizenship and therefore a passport. Since a student UK visa is twice as costly as a UK passport and doesn't bestow the same kind of privileges, I thought it was worth looking into. Sadly, I found out yesterday that Davis is not currently eligible for a UK passport. The law states that anyone born in the UK after December 31, 1982, is not automatically eligible for citizenship just by virtue of being born on British soil. You must also have one parent who is either a citizen or a settled resident (i.e. has no restrictions on how long they can live in the UK or their employment here). The man I spoke to at the passport agency did tell me that Davis may be eligible to become a naturalized citizen. I need to look into this further. Although in the meantime for our travel back here after our Christmas trip home he will need a visa to reenter the country, it still might be worth getting him a British passport for the simple fact that it will allow him completely unfettered travel in Europe (thanks to the EU) for the future. He may not care now, but when he wants to backpack through Europe for 6 months after high school graduation, he will be eternally grateful!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Kind of Day I'm Having

Let me paint you a picture.

There is wash on the line hung during a sunny, breezy morning. A rain cloud blows in fast right after lunch and soaks the partially dried clothing.

That's the kind of day I'm having.

Monday, May 7, 2007

X ,Y, Zed

Interesting tidbit. The British do not have the same name for the letter "Z" as we do in the US. They call it "zed" (reminds me a little of the German "tset"). Yesterday in church, our minister used the expression "x, y, z" in illustrating a point, but he said "x, y, zed," which sounded so odd to my unaccustomed ears.

Another interesting thing to note about their alphabet is the way children learn it. Unlike the US, where children learn the ABC song, here they teach children the sounds that the letters make before they teach them the names of the letters. So "A" is an ah, "B" is a buh, "C" is a kuh, and so on. Once they've mastered the phonics, then they learn the real names of the letters.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Don't Know Jack

One of the great challenges of living abroad is learning to live without or find substitutions for the grocery items that you know and love from home. To name a few -- canned pumpkin, corn meal, corn syrup, maple syrup, chocolate chips, GOOD peanut butter, Reese's products (like the cups and the pieces and such). Another item I discovered that they don't have here is Monterey Jack cheese and neither do they, therefore, sell its spicy cousin Pepper Jack. Sad face. However, about a month ago, to my great delight, I discovered that our grocery store, Morrison's, was introducing this new-fangled cheese so loved back in the US. Before stocking their shelves with it and in an effort to educate their buying public, they actually had a stack of informative leaflets complete with the cheese's history, picture, and a recipe for good measure. I found it rather amusing and have reproduced it here for your enjoyment (click on the images to enlarge). I have just learned myself that Monterey Jack cheese was developed by a Californian Scot named David Jacks, hence the name of the cheese. See, the Scottish are great for so many reasons, right?



Friday, May 4, 2007

And the Winner Is...

...the Scottish National Party. The elections were yesterday and the SNP gained the most seats (15) while Labour and the Liberal Dems each lost. I wish I knew what this meant for Scotland, but I don't. Sadly, I'm merely proud of myself for knowing the names of 5 major parties. It's such an interesting system.

In other fascinating polling news, a man smashed a ballot box with a golf club in Edinburgh. How appropriately Scottish. He was promptly arrested.

Oh, and this will sound familiar to you:
The number of spoiled ballot papers has increased dramatically. Possible reasons for this increase include the design of the ballot papers, confusion due to the new STV voting system introduced for council elections, or ballot papers being rejected by the new electronic vote counting machines. The new machine voting has not gone smoothly, with many counts abandoned during the early hours of Friday morning before all results had been counted. There have been calls for an independent enquiry into the implementation of the new voting system. A BBC Scotland political editor has described the situation as "a disgrace".

Can you say hanging chad?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sleeping Baby


I have updated both Addison and Davis's photo albums. Check them out for the latest pictures. While uploading them, it dawned on me that lately we're only photographing our children while they are sleeping. Hmmmm...not sure what that means.

Transformation

The mower is working and last night Trey re-cut, or rather properly cut, the front and back lawns. It was so refreshing to garden together for the first time, nothing too big to handle, an excellent diversion from our normal daily tasks. Here are the true before and after shots of the backyard.

BEFORE

AFTER

For Your Amusement

Like I said, bizarre sleep postures seem to be Addison's forte. Oh, and to put your mind at ease, after snapping this photo, I gently pushed his legs back through the bars and repositioned them. Although, to be honest, I think he was perfectly comfortable.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

You Know You're Getting Old...

...when you look out back at the college girls sunning themselves in bikini tops in 48 degree weather and you think, "You're crazy! Between the risk of hypothermia and skin cancer, I'm not sure how you got into University."

Addison's Lexicon

For a long time now, Trey has been after me to write a blog about Addison's lexicon. You know, all his little sayings that are so priceless but far too quickly forgotten in the warp speed with which children grow and change. This is by no means exhaustive, but is just a little list of some of the funny things he's saying these days.

Unchoo way - You'll never guess what this means. It originally started out as "unchoo", which meant "I want you". But Addison randomly decided to change it about a month ago, and so now when he wants to hug you or wants you to pick him up, he says, "Unchoo way."

Ashu - I love you. Not even close to the original, but there you have it.

Is this the guy? - Addison said this for the first time a week ago on Sunday while we were taking the bus home from church due to the rain. He looked at Trey and just like a little adult he pointed to the bus driver and said, "Is this the guy?"We both cracked up. I think what he means is, "Is he a man?" He calls every male he sees "a guy". It's hilarious.

Hoy, hoy - Whenever we go to the beach, Addison runs down all his "Nemo" related vocabulary -- Dory, Nemo, Marlon, shark, and of course, hoy. "Hoy?" you ask. Well, late in the movie there is a scene where a bunch of sea gulls are all vying for a lone crab and they say, "Mine! Mine! Mine!" But Addison has interpreted it as "Hoy!" Just as well. I don't need him learning the "m" word just yet.

Buzz ear - I've mentioned before that Addison calls Buzz Lightyear, Buzzy, but he also calls him "Buzz ear". He's the master of dropping off syllables.

Well, that will do it for now. As I continue to think of new ones, I'll post them here.