Friday, August 31, 2007

Poetic Justice


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

Today's the Day

My mom arrives this afternon for an 11 day visit, so if I'm a little MIA, that's why. However, we're sure to have some excellent photos to share come the weekend. We're planning to take my mom to Dunnottar Castle tomorrow for her first glimpse of the magnificent ruins there and then Saturday we're headed to Braemar for the famous Highland games. The Queen is at Balmoral Castle right now and often attends the games. I'll be sure to say hello for all of you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today we arrived in Aberdeen. I have contemplated writing this entry many times. Such a momentous milestone deserves a special post, but I find that as I sit here to write some sort of summary of the past year words fail. I feel as though I have lived an entire lifetime in the last twelve months. How can that possibly be encapsulated in a few hundred words? I have said to Trey many times that I know this experience has changed me forever. I just don't know yet how. I have a lifetime ahead to figure that out, but in the meantime, I know I am not the same person who stepped off that plane more excited and scared than I've ever been in my life.

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

Open Day

While taking a walk with Davis up to the post office this afternoon, I noticed the campus was a-buzz with activity and people. The summer is generally dead around here, except for the week students re-sit for exams. It's a peaceful, quiet time that makes you forget the litter and noise that invariably follow the rabble. I know classes don't start for another 4 weeks, so I wasn't quite sure what was going on until I saw the sign for Open Day. At first I thought Open Day might be the first day of orientation for Freshers, but it seemed too early for that. Plus, the students I was seeing were YOUNG. Now, I realize that every year I age one year while the age of Freshers remains the same. However, it wasn't just their obvious physical youth; it was their palpable greenness. They all seemed so uncertain and tentative, lacking the eager enthusiasm of those who have just shaken off parental supervision for the first time. Sure enough, when I got home and looked up Open Day on the University's website, I discovered that it's intended for prospective students hoping to enroll the following year.

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

Cheers!

Cheers is so much for than a toasting exclamation here. Its broad-reaching semantic domain renders it more like the UK version of the Hawaiian "aloha", a word packed with meaning and goodwill. You hear it all the time, walking around town, in the grocery store, as you exit the bus. It can mean hello, goodbye, thank you.

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

Talk Talk

It's the end of an era -- the BT era. Our woes with our telephone and broadband provider are well-documented. As exhibit A, I present to you an article in the Times last week detailing one BT customer's experience on hold over a three day period which totaled 20 hours! While it's fair enough to question the sanity of an individual who willingly sits on hold that long (think Phebe on Friends), the plausibility is very real. I know you probably don't believe any company would make a customer wait that long, but I do because I have experienced it FIRST HAND. I have spent countless -- I repeat, countless -- hours on hold with incompetent "tech support" regarding our troubled broadband connection. It took us three weeks to even get internet when we first arrived because of an alleged "tag" on our line, whatever that means, and every time I called to get the situation straightened out I got a different story with a different projected time frame. BT is notorious for poor service and high prices, the perfect combination, but since they own ALL the telephone lines in the UK, they're not going out of business anytime soon. However, we have discovered a new telephone and broadband service provided through a company called Talk Talk, which after I calculated the difference in the two plans, will be saving us about $700 a year. Get this -- all international calls are FREE! Needless to say, we have switched over, and as of September 6th we will no longer be customers of BT. We have shaken off the BT shackles and are ready to "talk talk"!

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

Photo Preview

I took some new photos of the boys yesterday. Here are my favorites of each of them. The rest are in the Holloway Boys album.


Foot in Mouth

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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.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Grampian Police

Today we got a very unexpected notice pushed through our letter slot, an "assault and theft enquiry", from the Grampian Police. Apparently on Wednesday, a man forced his way into the home of an elderly woman living a few blocks from here. He pretended to offer goods catalogs and, once inside, assaulted the woman and stole her handbag. The letter gave a description of the perpetrator and requested any information local residents might have that could lead to the apprehension of this individual.

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

Whose Apple Is It Anyway?

Our next-door neighbors have a lovely apple tree in their back garden. I've been watching the abundant fruit grow and ripen for months. They are just now reaching that sun-kissed peak of perfection with rosy cheeks and shiny skin. Oh, how I long to pick some and bake an apple pie! You see, half of the tree hangs over into our back garden. So here's my question. Are those my apples? I mean, are my neighbors really going to jump into my garden to get them? What I need to do is just ask if they mind if I pick a few. I doubt they will care.

Surely in the meantime, the few that have fallen onto our grass are ours, right?


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Bumbo

I present to you the Bumbo, baby seat extraordinaire. It arrived yesterday in the mail, our latest effort to help Davis strengthen his neck and minimize the time he spends lying on his back. The Bumbo is all the rage right now, and I must confess I resisted it at first. I mean, come on. It seemed like another gimmicky baby item that everyone managed to live without since the dawn of mankind, but, like cell phones, now no one knows how the human race survived prior to their invention. However, Davis can't sit for long periods of time unassisted and freaks out after 30 seconds on his tummy, so we needed to find a contraption that would help him with the "tilt" and thereby give his head a chance to round out. Enter the Bumbo. It is made out of a cushiony material so that it is sponge-like and flexible utilizing the child's own weight as the seat's stabilizer. It completely supports the back, front, and flanks so that a child still learning to sit won't topple in any direction. So far it is a hit, and the added bonus, which I had not anticipated, is the way it facilitates playtime between the two boys. Priceless.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seaton Panoramic


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

Half a Year

Despite the strange way we perceive and remember the passage of time, Davis has actually been with us for six months. In some ways it seems just yesterday I was sharing his crazy birth story and then in other ways I struggle to remember a day before his twinkling smile and fuzzy hair. He could quite possibly be the easiest baby ever. Trey and I both thought Addison was easy, but I now realize that's because one or both of us could constantly tend to his needs. I now see that the truly easy baby is the one that goes with the flow without the constant attention that first children demand.

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

L Plates

Shortly after we arrived last year I started noticing large red Ls on the rear windshields of some cars. For a long time it completely baffled me until I started noticing the same type of Ls on the many driving school vehicles you can find around town practicing parallel parking on a side street or slowly and carefully proceeding along King. I found out later that these Ls are given to practice drivers before they take their supervised driving examination, a test I've been told which has a 40% first-time failure rate. The testers pride themselves on their high standards. Driving is a very serious business over here. None of this jump in the car with a parent, practice for a couple of weeks, take your test, and you're good to go. Most drivers receive between 20 and 50 hours of driving school instruction before taking the three exams required to get a full license. What blew me away was that they test you not just on following the rules of the road but also HOW you drive a manual transmission. For example, you can rack of "faults" (you are allowed up to 15 during the exam without failing) for not shifting into or out of the right gear, using your brake to slow down instead of downshifting into second, keeping your foot on the brake while you are stopped (you're supposed to shift into neutral and put on your parking brake), using the standard US turning technique of hand-over-hand (you're supposed to shimmy the wheel between your hands keeping them in the 10 and 2 position). Goodness gracious! I've been driving for almost a decade and I would surely fail. Most people here, and in the rest of Europe for that matter, drive manual transmissions (they don't call it a stick shift). If you take your test on an automatic, you will be licensed to drive ONLY automatics, whereas taking your test on a manual enables you to drive both types of transmissions.

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

The Boardwalk Chapel

Some of you may know that both Trey and I served on staff at the Boardwalk Chapel in Wildwood, NJ during separate summers ('95 and '99). In fact, it was the summer of '99 while I was on staff that Trey and I began dating, so the Chapel holds a special place in our memories. I just came across this video on YouTube dedicated to this year's staff explaining the hope and message of the gospel presented every night there, a beacon of light to the lost.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hen Night

Several weeks back I mentioned that I would blog about the hen night, the UK's version of a bachelorette party. On my way to Tesco the other night a huge stretch Hummer with a load of crazy, drunken broads popping their heads out the windows and moon roof reminded me of that promise. Hen night is serious business here. They don't do showers or registries or bridesmaids' luncheons. No, instead they do the hen night (incidentally the bachelor party is called the Stag Night) and even the most buttoned up and proper of them discards her inhibitions and proper manners for a night of naughty fun. You can find hen night paraphernalia at any pound store -- items I can't really even enumerate here beyond fuzzy handcuffs and bunny ears. Were you to saunter down Union Street on a Friday night you too would probably encounter a limo or two with a hen party in tow going to a club or strip joint.

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

Coke House


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.

First Few Bites

Yesterday afternoon Davis tried solids for the first time. The pictures are good and I've put them in his album, but this video takes the cake. It's hilarious. Every time I watch it I laugh at the face of utter disgust Davis makes. We'll keep trying.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Mom, the Author

The irony of doing an English degree for me was that it killed my love of reading. For years afterwards I only read sporadically allowing many months to pass between books. I have finally rediscovered my love of reading and in the most unusual way. It started a few months back when I would get totally bored nursing Davis. With Addison I could always turn the TV on and veg, but not here. I needed to find an alternative. A friend had loaned me several books before Davis was born whose covers I had not even cracked. One day I picked up one of the books just to pass the time, and now, 3 novels later, I'm on a roll. I just finished Chocolat the other day and realizing that I didn't have anything new to read made a quick trip to the library hoping to find In Cold Blood after watching Capote. Our small local library branch didn't have any Capote (I'll need to visit the main library for that), but they did have the next book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series that I've been reading. Then something else caught my eye, Susan Fletcher's Oystercatchers.

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.

The High Chair

Thanks to Pop-pop, Davis now has a brand new high chair that arrived in the mail yesterday. I am so pleased with the quality. It's very sturdy and solid and the wood finish perfectly matches the decor of our kitchen. More importantly, though, the wood should be easy to wipe down and keep clean. Here are some pictures of Davis test driving it. We plan to start solids with him next week. Messy food photos to follow.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Welcome, Baby Elliot!

We send our warmest congratulations to the Wood family on their new little addition, Elliot James Leldon. He was born yesterday morning weighing a healthy 8 pounds, 4 ounces and measuring 20 1/2 inches long. I went to see him and Marieke at the hospital today and they are both doing so well. Just as I was leaving big brother Patrick and big sister Betsy arrived looking so proud and excited to see their new baby. I truly believe that the birth of a child is one of the happiest events this side of glory.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward." Psalm 127.3

The Beatrix Potter Obsession


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

The Resemblance

Trey asked me to post these pictures he took of Davis and me this afternoon. He, as do many other people, thinks that Davis looks a lot like me. The rest of the photos are in Davis's album.


The Fighter's Prayer


"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.

Mommy's Little Helper

One of the latest joys in Addison's development is his eager desire to help Trey and me with daily tasks around the house. It started with something as simple as him putting Davis's diapers in the trash can. Now, he will fetch things for me too. On Tuesday when the grocery delivery arrived, Addison started lugging bags from the foyer into the kitchen. He was so excited to assist. Then he wanted to empty the bags and put the items away. I was pretty amazed at how he knew where certain things went. He also likes to load the washing machine. I can give him a full laundry basket, and he'll put all the clothes into the washer, insert the detergent tablet into its drawer, close the washer door (we have a front loading machine), and turn the dial (with assistance). The funniest example happened a couple of days ago when he got hold of a stray wash cloth and pretended to "scrub" the kitchen floor using his foot. Trey captured a few moments on video. Don't they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? I think we have a neat nick in the making.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

756*

Last night Barry Bonds set a new record. He hit his 756th home run and now stands as the all-time leader in that category. There have been many discussions in the Holloway household about this impending moment, mostly about what a sad day it will be for baseball. Bonds's record is almost unquestionably the result of steroid use. Despite his great talent, it is unclear whether he would have broken Aaron's record without the help of performance enhancing drugs. We all saw the effects. His head and feet grew two sizes. His formerly lanky body swelled to age-defying proportions. His batting statistics dramatically skyrocketed. A great player became a super-human player. Fellow ballplayers and coaches remain mum, honoring the unspoken "good ol' boy" oath, but a few brave investigative journalists have spoken quite candidly on the subject.



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

The Accent

One of the personal obstacles I wrestled with as Trey and I made the life-changing decision to come to Aberdeen was the prospect of Addison picking up a Scottish accent. How you talk is one of the hallmarks of where you are from, an identifying marker that lets those around you know, "I'm from Brooklyn. I'm from Wisconsin. Yo, Adrian, I'm from south Philly." Although I look like everyone around me, the minute I open my mouth here, people know I'm a foreigner and I get the usual questions, "Where are you from? Are you here on holiday?" And then the inevitable, "Why Aberdeen?" (more on that in a future blog)

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

Breakfast at Tiffany's and Inflation

Today has been one of those quintessential movie days. Rain, rain, rain, but thanks to Tesco's free 60-day online movie rental trial and a few DVDs from the library, we were well stocked for just such an event on this first day of vacation. So far we've watched Breakfast at Tiffany's and Capote, an ironic and totally unintentional coincidence of selection. Tonight we may dive into Memento. I can't tell you the last time we spent a day watching a bunch of movies. There is something deliciously unproductive and intemperate about it and yet altogether satisfying and truly relaxing. In fact, I was so lazy today as to completely put off blogging until almost dinner time. Scandal!

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

Happy Birthday, Pop-pop!

Happy birthday, Pop-pop, who today turns 85! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful grandfather and great-grandfather in our lives. We wish we could be with you today to celebrate. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, and we can't wait to see you at Christmas!

Two Down

In the wee hours of this morning Trey completed his second chapter. Ever the modest, self-effacing historian, he wouldn't want me to say anything, but I know so many of you pray for him and want to know how his work is progressing. We give thanks for all of your support and encouragement. Trey has made great strides in the months that we've been here, finishing 2 whole chapters in less than a full calendar year. He plans to take a few days off with us to catch his breath and recover a little. Writing really wipes him out. But then it's back to the grind stone. He plans to jump right into writing chapter three. Crazy, I know, but good crazy!

Friday, August 3, 2007

20 for 20

Yesterday, to my great delight, I discovered that Addison has finished cutting all 20 of his baby teeth. He got 2 of his 4 two-year old molars back in May, and since then I have periodically tried to check while he was brushing his teeth or laughing with his mouth wide open to see if the other 2 had finally popped through. He's been a slow teether (not getting his first tooth until almost 9 months old) and a grumpy one, so I have definitely been looking forward to this milestone. In the beginning it was easy to see when a new tooth cut through, but over time, it's become more and more difficult and the baby book has often read "noticed on mm/dd/yy" instead of a precise date.

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

Double Trouble

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?

Zoning out.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sarah, This Is For You

After my post "Tan Hands", my sister asked for photographic proof. I never got around to it, but yesterday it struck me again how tan all of our hands are I guess because we were all in short sleeves for the first time in a long time. Addison's hands show it off the best, so I snapped this photo as evidence. He also has a tan nape of the the neck and strips across his feet from his sandals. Odd Scottish phenomenon.

The Tide of Change


The photo immediately above was taken last June in Cape May, NJ, when Addison was 16 months old. The photo at the very top was taken yesterday at 2 1/2 years old.

I am perpetually amazed by how fast they grow. You blink and the time is gone.

Things I Learned in Edinburgh

I promised a fuller account of our time in Edinburgh now that you've seen the pictures and video, but as I began contemplating what to say, I knew I didn't want to string together an interminable narrative, "...and then we did this...and then we did that..." Snooze. Instead, let me share with you a series of lessons learned.

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.