Friday, August 31, 2007
This afternoon Mom and I went to the big Asda in Garthdee to return a couple of items on the way down to see Dunnottar Castle. She waited for me in the parking lot while I went inside. As I came out of the store I noticed a huge billboard mounted on a truck advertising the "gentleman's" club Private Eyes when all of a sudden I heard a huge crash. The driver of the vehicle had attempted to enter the parking garage and the overhang was too low. The impact ripped a huge gash in the billboard. My mom and I loved every minute of it!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
That day is so full of memories forever emblazoned in my mind. I remember how chilly it was. We left a sticky 90 degree Philadelphia for a brisk mid-50 degree Aberdeen. I'll never forget the cab ride to our new home. I was so overwhelmed by driving on the other side of the road that I had to catch my breath several times. I kept feeling as if the cabbie were driving into oncoming traffic. I spent a good part of the day in a phone booth on King Street trying to get our home phone set up with BT and then trying to contact someone -- anyone -- back home to let them know we had arrived safely. My parents were on vacation and no one else was answering. What a lonely feeling. I remember standing in the phone booth slumped under the weight of knowing that not one single person on the island even knew my name. Later we got a few groceries for dinner at the Tesco. I can tell you every single item we purchased and how much we paid -- that's how clear my memories are of that day. I remember crying in bed that night overwhelmed with jet lag and total sensory overload, and I remember praying with Trey and finding comfort in knowing that we were embarking on this journey TOGETHER.
The next day dawned sunny and warm. Our luggage arrived. We got our hot water. We found the real grocery store and a place to buy a phone. We finally got in touch with family. Little by little life settled into normalcy. We made friends, found a home church, began our life here. One year later I feel as though I have been here for five. The buses are old hat. I know the street names. I finally think in pounds. I can understand the accent. There have been many hard days but many more good ones. This has been a journey of faith, a lesson in setting aside the comfortable and the known to embrace the unexpected and all the possibilities it contains. I now understand what it means to be the stranger, the loner, the foreigner. It has forced me to reach out when it was easier to remain safely in my bubble. It has also taught me to appreciate the simpler things of life -- a cup of tea on a cold day, a ray of sun after a shower.
What does the new year hold? I can only imagine, but I rest in knowing that while change and hardship are the plight of fallen humanity, I stand firm in the Rock who cannot be shaken, who loves me more than I can imagine, and who is doing amazing things in our lives.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Now before you jump all over me for saying they looked young, it takes one to know one. I am still getting carded when I try to buy alcohol here in the UK, a country with a drinking age of 18. I mean, c'mon! Are the two kids in the buggy and the rock on my left hand not evidence enough that I'm over 18?
Monday, August 27, 2007
I resisted it at first. I am a person of words, as you know, and embracing the vocabulary felt almost disloyal, but after a year here, I now find it liberating. I am bi-lingual. I can intersperse trousers with pants, tills with registers, lines with queues, nappies with diapers, biscuits with cookies, buggies with strollers. I do not have to give up one to embrace the other. And so just a few days ago, I said cheers for the first time. It felt natural, appropriate, easy, and dare I say it, cheerful. While my accent will always belie my roots, my word choices can help to bridge the gap.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
PS There may be a slight interruption in our internet service once we switch over, but I will give fair warning and probably trek over to the library for blogging anyway. The addiction continues.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I am very excited to try out Blogger's new video application, and it's debut was rather timely as just yesterday I shot several videos of Davis chewing on his toes. He is quite the contortionist, and whenever you change his clothes or diaper, he effortlessly lifts his feet to his mouth and sucks on his own toes. It is hilarious to watch, so enjoy these little clips.
Friday, August 24, 2007
While the account was certainly disturbing, especially since it occurred in such close proximity to our own home, we already knew that crime existed in Aberdeen. Unlike most major US cities though, Aberdeen does not see a lot of violent crimes with firearms, probably due to stricter gun laws. However, it still experiences a fair share of theft fueled by a thriving drug culture. The letter reinforced to both Trey and me the need for vigilance and common sense safety measures as we go about our daily lives in an urban setting, but it also encouraged us in the positive relationship that the police have here with the general public. Police officers are not just law enforcers. They view themselves as public servants. We have benefited on a number of occasions, particularly when we first moved here, from their directions and knowledge of bus routes. They are here to help, not just dole out tickets, a welcome and pleasant surprise.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Surely in the meantime, the few that have fallen onto our grass are ours, right?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
This past Sunday, after a day and a half of solid rain, the clouds parted, the sun emerged triumphant, and we piled the boys into the double buggy for a trip outdoors. I have mentioned Seaton Park many times before and have posted numerous pictures of the formal gardens, fields, and playground. This time, however, Trey captured some panoramic video of the park, which gives you a beautiful view of it this time of year. While so much of the US labors under intense heat and drought right now, we are blessed with abundant rain. If you can imagine this, here the grass in August is greener than it is in April.
Monday, August 20, 2007
We took him to the health visitor this past Thursday for his 6 month check-up -- no injections, thank goodness. He is still a little half-pint, weighing only 14 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 25 inches, but this little package is chock full of goodness. Leslie, our health visitor, was amazed at the fact that he can sit completely unassisted for several seconds without toppling over. His balance is quite developed. She was also impressed at his fine motor skills in reaching for objects, handling them, passing them back and forth. He continues to have a bit of a head tilt towards his right shoulder, most probably a result of his fast delivery. Consequently he still struggles to lift his head completely when on his tummy, tiring easily since he's using half his neck muscles. A second result is a slight flat spot on one side of his head since he tends to lie in one particular position when he sleeps or plays on the floor. We spoke with the physician about the situation, and he is fairly confident that this will correct itself in time. Some of you may remember that Addison had incredibly bowed legs when he was born. Today, they are almost completely straight, and we followed a similar approach -- wait and see. These things have a way of righting themselves.
Just like with the bottle, Davis still refuses to eat solids. Apparently, he is strictly a boob man. I tried again yesterday, and you would have thought I had offered him maggots by the great offense he took at the proffered yogurt. He spit it out, gagged, and started to whine. I'm kind of at a loss. You can't force feed them. I think I'm going to wait a week and try again. At this rate, Davis may be only eating breastmilk at his first birthday. On the bright side, he is sleeping amazingly well. He goes anywhere from 12-14 hours at night and then 2-3 hours in the morning, skipping his afternoon nap altogether. I can't complain about the strange distribution of sleep though. When you can put a child to bed at 6pm and not hear from them until 8am, you have a gem.
In the meantime, our Leaning Tower of Pisa as Trey has dubbed him, continues to forge a strong bond with his big brother. Nothing brings me greater joy than to see the two of them playing together. The transition to sharing a bedroom has gone so well, and I know it won't be too long before we have to go in there and tell them to "stop talking and go to sleep!"
Friday, August 17, 2007
The other thing that has taken some getting used to is the relationship between pedestrians and motorists. Here cars ALWAYS have the right of way. I am used to being able to step into a crosswalk and traffic is required to stop. Not so here. All I can say is pedestrians beware!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The bubble gum pink limo above is the very one (thanks to the Hollywood Cars of Aberdeen website) I see around Aberdeen not too infrequently. Notice the steering wheel is not on the UK side as is also the case with the stretch Hummers. I have to laugh. Only we could come up with a vehicle so garish, but in all fairness, they gobble it up.
Monday, August 13, 2007
It's happened already. In just a few short months of taking video footage, we've already started to lose track of all the clips. I have every intention of posting them here, and then one thing or another comes up and the priceless moment gets buried in a file somewhere. The up side, however, is that when you scan back through and find a forgotten gem, it is like finding buried treasure. This is one such clip I rediscovered this evening. Trey, watching over my shoulder, asked me to post it here most especially because it shows Addison getting a rare taste of Coke. For those of you who weren't aware, Trey is a die-hard Coke supporter first because of its "superior" taste and second because it's an Atlanta-based company. "We will have no Pepsi in this house!" In fact, the commitment has gone so far as to deter our patronage of fast food restaurants that only serve Pepsi products. For my part, I was originally a Pepsi drinker, but I have since been converted, and as is evident here, it's Addison's favorite as well.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
My mom never told me she was a published author. The odd part is that the title sounds just like something my mom would write about with her love of the sea. I'll let you know what I think after I finish.
Friday, August 10, 2007
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward." Psalm 127.3
We've moved into a new phase, obsession to be more accurate. This past Christmas Addison received a box set of the first 12 books in the Beatrix Potter series from Nana and Papa Fletcher. He has recently rediscovered them, and since we judiciously removed their dust jackets to avoid ripping and tearing, Addison has not let the books leave his side in days. He carries the box wherever he goes. His toys have been neglected. In fact, we haven't had to pick up the living room in quite awhile. The noise level in the house has significantly diminished as he is lately found sitting on the floor with a stack of pint-size books, gently flipping through the pages and "reading" to himself. The video above was taken this morning before breakfast. Addison sat down next to Davis and proceeded to read to him The Tale of Two Bad Mice. Listen carefully and you'll hear him mention Tom Thumb several times. At this age, the memory capacity is astonishing. Yesterday, Trey read Madeline's Christmas to him, leaving off the last word in each rhyming couplet. Addison without fail was able to provide the missing word. We were both floored and realized we're entering into that phase of language development where we have to be very careful what we say in front of him. He understands and picks up far more than we realize.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
"Precious Father, why have you given me this desire to wrestle and then made me such a stinky warrior?" ~Nacho
Trey and I just finished watching Nacho Libre and this line had us in stitches. It is one of those bizarre and seemingly pointless movies that just works somehow. If you want some mindless fun in the vane of Napoleon Dynamite, you'll love Nacho.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I am not adverse to records being broken. In fact, the year Bonds broke McGwire's all-time record for home runs in a single season, Trey and I were "lucky" enough to see him hit one of them at the old Vet Stadium, and I was cheering, in ignorance of course, with the rest of that normally brutish crowd. My only condition is that records be broken fairly, and so on this sad, sad day in baseball, I find consolation in knowing that A-Rod is hard on Bonds's heals having just broken the 500 mark at 32 years old, the youngest player in baseball ever to do so, and when he breaks that record, I will be cheering.
In the meantime I leave you with the incredible play-by-play call and montage from Ken Burns's Baseball series commemorating the moment when Hank Aaron broke the Babe's record and hit his 715th home run. I get chills every time I hear it. 756 stands with an asterisk in my record book. Hammerin' Hank, you're still the leader!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Language acquisition is one of those topics that completely fascinates me. What little I do know of it from my own study of linguistics reassured me that whatever accent Addison picked up while here would be completely and quickly lost once we returned home. Interestingly, though, Addison hasn't picked up any trace of an accent. In fact, our landlords with whom we've become friendly, visited us last week and after chatting with Addison declared their surprise at how "American" he sounds. "Are you keeping him away from the natives?" they asked.
Addison, who has turned into quite the chatterbox (no surprise there), primarily talks with Trey and me, and, since he doesn't go to preschool here and we don't have a TV, the only place he hears anything but an American accent is once a week at Sunday School, not enough to infuse his nascent vocabulary with a Scottish brogue. I have to confess that this has come as a bit of a pleasant surprise to me since I fully expected the opposite. But let me not get ahead of myself. In time he may one day turn to me in the grocery store and say, "Mum, let me push the trolley up to the till."
Monday, August 6, 2007
While we were watching Breakfast, we, of course, had some questions that could only be properly answered by turning to the omniscient internet. I had to find out what in the world "$50 for the powder room" really meant and Trey wanted to know what $1000 in 1961 was worth. We got answers to both. As I suspected, $50 for the powder room is a euphemistic reference to Ms. Golightly's profession, that oldest one of them all, and $1000 back in 1961 would be worth almost $8000 today. How did I manage to discover that? Well, through this wonderful inflation calculator which you can try here. Ever wonder what your parents paid for a loaf of bread back in the day or what the average car of yesteryear would cost now? Go ahead and see.
From the film alone, I discovered that the $10 Paul is willing to spend at Tiffany's is about $70 and the $750,000 that Rusty Trawler owes is more than $5.2 million today. Interesting.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Ah well, at least Addison has finished teething before Davis has started, which is more than we can say for potty training.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
I finally got a couple of pictures of the boys together yesterday that turned out pretty nicely. I definitely sense a co-conspiracy. What do you think?
And a couple other great ones just for good measure. The rest of the photos from yesterday are in the Holloway Boys 2007 album. They're all mainly of Davis because I can't get Addison to stay still long enough to take a picture.
The drool king.
Hanging with Baby and really going after that thumb. Can you say teething?
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
1) Never, I repeat, never trust the BBC's weather forecast. When they say it's going to be sunny and 62, what they actually mean is rainy and 55.
2) It is a Herculean feat worthy of an Olympic medal to change buses, personally transferring luggage, carry-ons, and double buggy, without forgetting one or both children in the process.
3) When eating at a restaurant with wee ones, take the outdoor seating option if available. It will make it a more pleasurable dining experience for all involved.
4) Ice cream tastes better when you can share it with your toddler.
5) Buggy rain covers are life savers. Umbrellas are useless.
6) Children do not chew carefully if they are over tired.
7) You do not have to pay an £11 entrance fee or stand in a 1/2 hour queue to enjoy an ancient site.
8) Walking around all day is the very best sleeping aid.
9) Sunshine is more brilliant after a day of rain.
10) Vacation is fun, but there's no place like home.