Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowmation Day

That's my clever conflation to placate both camps -- the Halloween revelers and the Reformation Day adherents. What started as a glorious, warm autumn day has turned into a drizzly one, so trick or treating seems unlikely at this point. However, before nap time and for purely photo-op reasons we dressed the boys in their costumes -- fireman and ray of sunshine -- and took the obligatory pictures. At least it looks like we went out for candy. The rest of the photos are in the new Halloween 2007 album. Here are my favorites.

I think they're in love with each other.

The boys with mama.

Fireman Addison


Our little ray of sunshine.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cats

I grew up in a dog household, and besides a suspicious distrust of the independent feline, I am, in fact, fiercely allergic to them. So imagine my surprise when my dear sweet boy Addison fell in love with the many cats that have overrun our back garden. Yes, we are a veritable sanctuary for every brand of stray cat you can imagine. Come to think of it, I'm not sure they actually are strays. More likely, they are of the roaming, outdoor variety as they seem amply fed, content to sun themselves on our patio rather than forage for scraps. Addison is completely enchanted with them and will sit for many minutes on end (an eternity for a toddler) watching these creatures lounge on our back steps waiting for an invitation to enter. One of Addison's favorite books from the library right now is called I Like Cats. Not sure how I feel about this book, but before I offend my potentially cat-loving audience, let me say that I am softening to them since they have become such a fixed part of our house's landscape. This allergy-ridden dog-lover may learn to like cats yet.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Standing

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While Davis has yet to roll from his back to his tummy, here you can see him practicing his standing moves. His balance is still iffy, as you will humorously observe in the second video, but not too shabby for a kid who at 8 months old still manages to fit into some 0-3 month trousers. (In all fairness, UK baby sizes run bigger.) One of the things he is teaching me is that babies are every bit as unique and individualistic as adults. He follows no cookie-cutter mold but does things in his own timing and in his own way.

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Reading Together

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The other day Trey and I sneaked up on the boys during one of those priceless and totally unscripted moments that sends you scrambling for the camera before your cover is blown. They were sitting side-by-side in the living room and Addison was reading to Davis from a stack of books, the one in hand specifically about God creating the word. (If you listen carefully, you'll hear Addison pointing out the stars to Davis.) There was something so sweet and utterly poignant about these two young souls sitting next to each other bonding in such a simple and yet profound way. It was a Normal Rockwell scene just waiting to be painted.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Scrum


Every Wednesday afternoon at the University is devoted to the games played by the many sports clubs on campus. In fact, no classes are held during that time specifically for that reason. Right now is rugby season, and yesterday Trey went up and got some incredible footage of a game. This clip begins with a scrum and culminates in the white team scoring a goal. Of course, I did a little reading to learn more about this very English game which seems to resemble American football. The most interesting thing I found out about the game is that the ball cannot be passed forward. It can only be passed even or back or kicked forward. Of course, this makes it much more of a running game, or as Trey would say, three yards and a pile of dust. Oh wait, wrong sport.

McNative American

Since we're on a roll here with Mini Cooper Guy, let me introduce you to McNative American. Yes, this uniquely clad individual is a cross between William Wallace and Sitting Bull. The neo-mullet and fur pelt are definitely reminiscent of what most politically incorrect Americans dub "Indians" while the kilt and accessories are altogether Scottish. We see this man everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. Walk around Aberdeen for an afternoon, and you are guaranteed a sighting. I believe all of our house guests have spotted him at one time or another. In fact, this photo is compliments of my brother David while he was here in the spring. McNative American (pardon my Grey's Anatomy mcnaming) is a stoic and solitary individual who commands attention wherever he goes. The dignity of his bearing and the iron in his gaze, which sadly you can't see in this picture, make you feel as though you ought to bow as he passes. I so wish I knew his story. I have heard that he is some sort of activist for Native Americans who have Scottish heritage. Apparently, when many Scots settled in the US they got rather amorous with some of the locals fathering children who were equally Native American and Scottish. I have heard that some of these Native Americans want to claim Scottish citizenship. Who knows how much of this is lore and how much is fact. Regardless, this clansman ranks high on the list of colorful characters populating Aberdeen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mini Cooper Guy

Mini Coopers are almost as ubiquitous here as the pound itself, owing no doubt in part to their fuel economy. Like their VW Bug counterpart seen more frequently in the US, I probably would have classified these vehicles as "chick-mobiles". My unfair categorization has been shattered, however, by Mini Cooper Guy. We're not sure if he's a student although he would certainly fit the profile, and I do believe I've seen stacks of overpriced textbooks piled on the rear dash of his car. If he is a student, it is unimaginable when he studies since every possible moment is devoted to restoring the Mini Cooper you see pictured here. When we first spotted this hunk of junk last winter, Trey immediately expressed sympathy for Mini Cooper Guy. His first impression was poor college student, struggling to make ends meet, can only afford banged up tin can for transportation, but as we all know, first impressions can be deceiving. Over the course of the past 9 months or so, Mini Cooper Guy has been restoring this vehicle -- replacing parts, tinkering with body work, repainting the exterior. We have watched with admiration as this tiny jalopy has been transformed to her former glory. The funniest part though is Mini Cooper Guy himself. He completely breaks the mold of a typical Mini Cooper owner. He's well over six feet, begging the question of how he fits into such a compact vehicle. Instead of being primped and stylish, he sports long shaggy hair and matching beard with baggy, drab-colored clothes. Nevertheless, we applaud his fine efforts and appreciate the flavor he adds to our fascinating experience here.

The driver-side door before priming and painting.

Working on said door.

Mini Cooper Guy, just part of the landscape.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Thrill of Victory

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You know the old saying, "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat." Just reverse it, and that was yesterday. When I was feeling at my lowest, a complete, pathetic excuse for a mother, Davis started clapping for the very first time. It was a much-needed gift, a gentle reminder that the beauty of life is in the varied up-and-down landscape of this journey. Miraculously, I was able to capture his clapping on video to share with all of you.

The Agony of Defeat

Potty training kicked my butt yesterday. There is no elegant way to soft peddle it. I was not prepared for the ass-whooping that I got. Slowly, little-by-little it wore me down until I was nothing but a sniveling shadow of my former parental self. The final straw was an unfortunate incident involving a nameless bodily excretion, a tantrum, and my living room carpet. Call it the perfect storm.

I was awfully tempted not to mention the events of yesterday on here -- just skip right over it and pretend it never happened. In fact, from the beginning I was loathe to inform you all of potty training at all for fear that if it didn't work out I would look like a fool. I am proud and fiercely competitive. I want to be right. I want to be the one who potty trains her son in 3 days with no accidents before his third birthday. Yeah, what reality do I live in? I learned several very important lessons yesterday. One, Addison is not quite ready for potty training, but more importantly, I am not ready. I cannot handle the stress right now. I had no idea that the training part of potty training actually referred to the sanctification of the one doing the training and not the process of teaching the child to toilet themselves. By mid-afternoon my nerves were frayed, my patience had evaporated, and I was in dire need of a Scotch.

The second lesson, success is not achieved overnight. It happens in baby steps. Positively, Addison managed to go 3 times on the potty. It was not accident-free, but it is a small step in the right direction. Trey and I had a long talk about it after I threw up my hands in defeat and put a diaper back on Addison. He knows the perfectionist that I am and loves me anyway. He let me cry and rant, and then he wisely said, "It doesn't matter when Addison gives up diapers. Every child is different. It will happen. Don't put pressure on yourself. Let's revisit it after we get home from Christmas." That's all I needed to hear. I wanted to know that I wasn't a complete failure, that I wasn't the first mom to ever go through this, and that we would succeed at some point.

So here I am, eating humble pie, crying uncle -- pick your cliche. Potty training is on hold for now, and we are all relieved.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bid Us Godspeed

Today we begin potty training, so please bid us Godspeed. Before we began I had to make a few commitments since we are taking the "cold turkey" approach. I will do nothing this week except potty train -- no outings, no house cleaning (oh darn!), simple meals, blogs after bedtime (this is the hard one). I'll let you know how it goes. We are armed with underwear, Smarties, and stickers. I am prepared to be doing lots of laundry this week. Oh dear...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Before I Forget

There are so many things that happen in the course of a day, and I'll think to myself, "You need to remember this always." But our lives are busy, and more often than not, I forget and move onto the next thing. Today it happened again, and it brought to mind some of those special moments that too often slip into the black hole of forgotten memories. In many ways this blog is my boys' baby book, even though I already keep one for each of them. Here I write out the daily anecdotes in much more detail, and ultimately I plan to supplement the growth-and-teeth-chart filler of your standard baby book with these priceless accounts of daily life. So here are a few things I don't ever want to forget:

All parents spell to keep their kids from understanding the things they say. My parents did it to me, and I now in return do it to Addison. Except today was different. While drinking a cup of milk and enjoying a biscuit after his nap, Addison said to me, "I want to go to Peerkay." "Peerkay?" I replied, "What are you talking about?" "Peerkay," he repeated with emphasis. "Do you mean Peter Kay? Whose Peter Kay?" I asked looking at Trey, searching for some help. Neither of us knew what he was talking about when all of a sudden I had one of those parental epiphanies. "Do you mean P-A-R-K?" Oh, yes, he did. Can you believe it? He has cracked our code -- at 2 1/2 no less. Now what??? German? Latin? I give up.

Allow me to introduce "stenkelow". What, you ask, is stenlekow? Well, you are not alone because Trey and I were asking that very same question for many weeks this summer. You see, Addison was given a wooden drum by some friends of ours who moved back to the States in May and had to clear out a lot of the toys they had collected while here. One day Addison came to me and said, "Where's stenkelow?" "Stenkelow? What's stenkelow?" I asked. He had no answer. For weeks it went on with him periodically asking me this enigmatic question. Finally, one day he pointed to the drumstick that went with the drum and said, "There's stenkelow." Apparently, he had bestowed the drumstick this odd title. It has now become a joke between us. We'll say, "But where's stenkelow?" and he'll laugh and say, "It's not a stenkelow. It's a drumstick!"

The stories abound once children start talking, but that doesn't mean the littler ones don't have something to say. When I carry Davis down the stairs, he gets so excited and starts calling out and giggling and making happy noises. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why and then it dawned on me. The stairwell is echo-y and the altered sound of his voice delights him no end. Who says 8 month olds aren't clever?

Play Time

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This first video I took a couple of days ago while peeking around the corner of our living room doorway. I love how Addison is oblivious to being filmed but D spots me right away. The second video shows Addison trying to feed Davis a sticker. C'mon, man! Let's get fruit and veggie purees a little more firmly established before we move onto stickers, OK?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes

It is with great nostalgia, even a tear in my eye, that I present to you Addison's new Bible storybook, The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes. It arrived in the mail a few days ago courtesy of Amazon, and we are already up to the reunion between Jacob and Esau. I was very eager to incorporate Bible reading into our nighttime routine. I love Curious George and Madeline as much as the next adult, but they were ready to be set aside from the nightly ritual. Addison is at the perfect age to begin soaking up the love of our Savior and the wealth of wisdom found in His Word, which brings me back to my own attachment to this particular book. You see, when I was a little girl I can vividly remember my dad reading the stories from this very book to my sister and me at night as we lay snug in our beds. Our copy became so worn over the years that its binding broke and pages, well-loved and oft-read, fell out. I knew there was only one Bible storybook that would do for my boys, so you can imagine my delight upon finding the old 1956 edition, the very one I knew so well, after searching online. The day it arrived I was completely overwhelmed by the flood of memories that washed over me as I pulled it out of its bubble wrap. Each turn of a page is like accessing my own treasure trove of long forgotten childhood memories. I can recall each picture with remarkable clarity cherishing the dear impressions those colorful images and simple stories made on my young mind.

And now, more than 20 years removed, I lie at night snuggled under the covers with my toddler, enjoying the sweet and precious promises of our Lord, and the words of the Apostle Peter ring in my ears:

"For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." (Acts 2.39)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Wetter, the Better

I love this time of year. There is something magical about a chilly autumn breeze tinged with the smell of fireplaces and burning leaves. The skies seem bluer, the air clearer, and the colors are an amazing array of auburn and fire and sunshine. Although it heralds the advent of winter, a time of gray dormancy and bleak barrenness, there is something magisterial in nature's last gasp. She certainly goes out with a bang.

In a sweet twist of irony, the rubbish summer we had here in the UK with persistent rain and cool temperatures is directly responsible for the gorgeous autumn we're experiencing. I found this article from Monday in the Daily Mail.

High temperatures during the summer lead to moisture loss, forcing vegetation to drop leaves early on.

But this year's damp conditions have allowed the trees to retain their leaves while they transform into various firey shades.

Now for the bad news...The article says meteorologists are predicting torrential wet weather across the UK over the next couple of weeks along with winds topping 50 mph. So the leaves won't stick around for long. However, I refuse to let my spirits be dampened. At this moment (as it was yesterday), the sky is azure, the sun is shining, and I'm about to hang some wash in the crisp autumn air (we'll see if it'll actually dry).

I've posted some recent autumn photos in the album of that name so that you too can enjoy a taste of the colors all around us.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Kid You Not

While Aberdeen is one of the wealthiest cities in the UK, it still has its share of beggars. Ever since my Rutgers days, I have turned a blind eye to those who ask for money. Call me heartless, but I refuse to be an enabler, and especially as a poor college student, I felt that I was more in a position for them to give me spare change. One of the "benefits" of living in a more socialist country is that the underprivileged have all their needs met -- food, clothing, shelter, healthcare. So those who beg for money on the street corners do so to support drug habits, alcohol addiction, etc., not to buy a meal as is sometimes the case of those who beg in the US, and to illustrate that point let me share with you what happened to me today on a quick errand to Morrisons.

There is a spot right by the pedestrian street access to Morrisons at which a beggar often keeps sentinel. You will encounter a regular rotation of characters. In fact, there seems to be a "begging network" if you will. One woman in particular is the queen of this spot and today as I passed her, she whipped out her cell phone and started talking on it. It was all I could do to restrain myself from saying, "If you have a mobile, you probably don't need my spare change."

Does that seem unreasonable?

Monday, October 15, 2007

No, Thank You!

Addison's new favorite saying is, "No, thank you!" On the face of it you'd think we'd be congratulating ourselves on what a polite and well-mannered little boy we're rearing when the reality is that he just uses it to back-handedly establish his own will. Clever boy.

Case in point. Yesterday while I was changing his diaper after he woke up from his nap, I started telling him about how we're going to begin potty training very soon. He smiled as sweetly as ever a child could, gazed up at me with his saucer-sized eyes, and firmly said, "No, thank you!" I should have been incensed by his insolence but I was trying too hard not to laugh.

Oh dear. Do you think there's any way I can get him completely housebroken before the new carpets go in?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Thumb

Having never been a thumb sucker myself, I am fascinated and delighted that my youngest has joined the ranks. Very early on -- just a few weeks old -- he showed signs that he was searching for it. Lacking the requisite coordination to successfully plant his thumb into his orifice, he reluctantly accepted the binky. This continued for a couple of months, but it was very clear to me that he wasn't terribly interested in it. UK note: pacifiers are called dummies here, which I think is hilarious. Somewhere around 3 or 4 months old, Davis was able to get his thumb into his mouth, but it was still random and inconsistent. Around 6 months old, however, it became a regular part of his routine, especially when I would lay him down to sleep for naps or at night. Now its presence is a prime indicator of how tired he is. He also uses it to soothe himself or occupy his mouth in between bites of solid food. Not sure if it's because the experience exhausts him or stresses him out. Regardless, it is the cutest thing to watch, and I have been trying desperately to catch him in the act. Little stinker that he is though, whenever he sees me with the camera, he obligingly removes his thumb and smiles. What a cooperative child although frustrating when I'm trying to capture a candid moment. I finally succeeded yesterday. Here is a sampling. The rest are in the Holloway Boys album.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Magpie

I make no claims to ornithology, so when I spotted this beautiful bird sometime last year I was stunned by its striking appearance but uncertain how to find out what kind of bird it was. What I did know was the person who could tell me -- my mother. Her bird book is well-worn with dates written in the margins of its lovingly dog-eared pages. (I dare you to ask her about the kinglet that would make its annual appearance when I was a child.) Sure enough, when I described the physical features of this bird, she said, "Sounds like a magpie." I looked it up online, and indeed, that is exactly what it was. Impressive since, as it turns out, magpies do not even live in the region of the States where we're from. Apparently they are a Western bird.

We have magpies all around us here on Orchard Road. They roost on the ridgepoles and in the gutters of the surrounding houses, standing out against the slate shingles with a shock of white feathers along their wing and belly. What drew me to the bird was its beautiful iridescent blue wing and tail feathers. They are about the size of a crow but so much prettier. As I navigated online for more information I found that, in general, the magpie is associated with death, the devil, and witchcraft. In fact, in old Scottish folklore the magpie supposedly carries a drop of Satan's blood under its tongue. Good grief!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blurb

I'm working on a new project. Since the earliest days of Trey's and my courtship when we wrote emails back and forth amassing an extensive correspondence, I have longed to document our life moments. Hence the annual Christmas letter, baby books, and now the blog. One of my favorite things to do is read back through the entries from a year ago, reminisce, savor, relive.

Trey has encouraged me to "publish" the blog in book form, self-publish that is. Anyone who knows him at all knows his love for leafing through a volume, smelling the pages, feeling the texture of the paper, soaking in the tactile experience. A computer screen can't quite capture that. And so with his prompting several months ago I began searching for a way to translate this blog into physical form. In the midst of various Google searches, I happened upon a site called Blurb, a company that specializes in the art of self-publishing. What really caught my eye was the free software they offer which converts and autopopulates blog entries into book pages. This is exactly what I wanted. With more than 400 entries to my name, I couldn't imagine the extensive man hours required to copy and paste everything, but with Blurb, it's as easy as a few clicks of the mouse. That may be a bit of an overstatement because now of course I'm working on formatting each page exactly to my liking. My background in advertising and marketing is serving me both well and ill here. Each page must be perfect, a slow and painstaking process that I'm convinced will be worth it in the end.

Now before you dismiss self-publishing as the modern narcissism, a combination of self-obsession and inflated aggrandizement propelled by technological advancement and instantaneous results, let me offer this. People have been keeping diaries for time immemorial. They sat for painters before there were cell phone cameras or photography of any sort. Come to think of it, they even scrawled their images on caves and catacombs before there were painters. There is a visceral human need to document, to transmit a legacy which will outlive its progenitor, a need predating the internet or digital photography. Blogging is the journaling of today with one major difference. It is read in real time rather than when the author is cold and in the grave. It creates immediate community and interaction. I just want to take the medium of the current era and wed it to the time-honored format of yesteryear. Book meets blog.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Teaching Fellow

Yesterday marked the first of Trey's crazy Mondays this semester. Now that school has been in session for a couple of weeks and he is starting to get a feel for what his schedule is actually like, it became abundantly clear that it's better to kill one day than to partially maim several. What do I mean? Well, rather than bore you with the minutiae of his previous schedule, let me share with you what Mondays now look like:

11:00-12:00 - Reformation in Scotland lecture
1:30-2:30 - Latin I tutorial
2:30-3:30 - Ancient Greek tutorial
3:30-4:30 - Greek III/Latin III tutorial
4:30-5:30 - Logic tutorial
5:30-6:30 - Philosophy of Religion tutorial
7:30-8:30 - Latin II tutorial
8:30-9:30 - History of West. Philosophy Modern tutorial

It is a gruelling pace. He pops down during the marathon tutorial sessions for bathroom and Coke breaks, a quick kiss, and then back upstairs to teach some more. It's a wonder he doesn't lose his voice or his sanity. Although Mondays are intense to say the least, cramming everything into one day frees up the others, excluding Wednesday when he leads a 2 hour tutorial at the University for his Scottish Reformation course, for lecture preparation and dissertation research and writing.

Needless to say, we're both relieved when the day comes crashing to an end and some well-deserved veg time is certainly in order.

An Apple a Day

The last apple has just fallen from our neighbor's tree. These past few weeks we have enjoyed a cornucopia of apple delights -- pies, sauces, baked varieties not to mention just plain bites. (I did not intend for that to rhyme.) Last week Trey took one of our tall kitchen chairs out back and harvested about 20 beautiful apples that spilled out of our fruit bowl and lined the kitchen window sill. Believe it or not, there were still apples he couldn't quite reach. So in honor of the magnificent job she did bearing us sumptuous fruit this season -- her first fruit-bearing season we have been informed by our neighbor -- I proudly present you some photos of her bounty. Here's to next year!

The very first tiny fruit making an appearance this spring.

Mid-summer fare, not quite ready for consumption.

A casualty of the Aberdeen wind.

Ripe and ready to eat.

Pie, anyone?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sting

All week the Grampian Police have been staking out High Street just before King's College Chapel catching would-be violators of the motoring ban on said street. You can see from the photo that they've set up a little police van just hidden from view by an administrative building. I'm assuming the van is for the usual tea break. As unsuspecting dupes enter the cobbled street, a uniformed officer casually saunters out to intercept the vehicle. The first week of classes they set up the same covert operation only handing out warnings. This time it's the real deal. It's like Christmas, except Santa wears a fluorescent green vest and hands out traffic tickets. As you watch the faces of the motorists further up the street, they look glum, dare I even say POed.

You may remember from a previous blog that traffic on the historic High Street is an issue of great concern to residents of Old Aberdeen. First Group, the bus service here, runs a double-decker bus along the street to the great annoyance of residents, and really it is a little bewildering to see a huge, teetering bus lumbering over the ancient cobbles, usually only filled to half capacity. Couldn't a smaller bus do or a different route be found? That aside, private motorists, save for a few exceptions like authorized residents and merchants, are strictly prohibited from driving along High Street, and yet many do it anyway as a shortcut to avoid the traffic on King Street and the congestion of the St. Machar roundabout. Trey spoke with one of the officers about the situation, and she said that really the city needs to erect pillars that would prevent cars from entering altogether. Of course, that would pose an impediment for the bus service and folks who actually live on the street. I'm not sure there is any perfect solution, a classic scuffle between ancient and modern.

At least right now, score one for ancient.

PS This is my 400th post. Here's to 400 more!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Royal Mail Strike

Yesterday at noon the Royal Mail went on strike...again. All summer they have been going on random 24 hour walkouts, but this one is a little different. It will last for 48 hours and then start back up again on Monday morning for another 48 hours. I didn't really know what the dispute was all about, and so this morning I went on a little fact finding mission and found the following from the BBC.

What is the dispute about?

Essentially, it is over pay and potential job cuts.

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) has rejected a 2.5% pay offer and warned that Royal Mail's modernisation plans will lead to 40,000 job losses.

Postal workers' pay should rise to the national average over the next five years, the union argues, but Royal Mail says this would amount to a 27% increase which it could not afford.

What does Royal Mail say?

Royal Mail says that it has been losing business to its rivals since the postal market was opened to competition, and urgently needs to modernise its business practices.

Since the liberalisation of the UK postal service in 2005, there are now 17 other companies competing against Royal Mail, especially in the more profitable business mail sector.

The Royal Mail says it has already lost 40% of this corporate market to rivals.

In order to compete, it has to modernise, Royal Mail argues, saying failure to do so has already cost it government deals and, recently, an £8m contract with online retailer Amazon.

The company says it is investing £1.2bn in modernisation to ensure it can compete more effectively against its rivals.

I had to laugh because my first response was, "Well, then everybody can just pay their bills online, or use FedEx and DHL." Such an American way of thinking. I have struggled at times with the employee-oriented versus consumer-oriented ethos in UK business. It's great if you are the employee and stinks if you're the customer. Policies and regulations are designed to protect the welfare of the worker. As a most basic example, you will notice that security signs posted in grocery stores or the airport will read, "Surveillance equipment is in operation for the safety of our employees." I'm used to such signs saying "for the safety of our customers". I do appreciate the Royal Mail. However, I wholeheartedly embrace a free market system of competition which improves service and benefits the consumer's pocketbook. If the procedures of the Royal Mail are outdated and modernization may cost jobs, so be it. Those jobs will be absorbed into other areas of the economy as we have seen in other industries. Do we really want to go back to the days of counting on the abacus and ploughing by hand? Perhaps the Royal Mail workers would prefer to deliver the post by horse and buggy rather than truck. To oppose progress is penny wise and pound foolish and could ultimately render such historic institutions as the postal service completely obsolete.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Breakthrough

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Since August 12th we have been trying to get Davis on solid foods with little success. The first few attempts met with surprised horror. Subsequent tries encountered stubborn refusal. He would clamp his little lips together creating an impenetrable barrier and frustrating me no end. For six weeks I tried -- when he was both hungry and full, when the food was hot, cold, room temperature, runny, thick, and medium texture, every variety you can imagine -- cereal, fruit, veggies, yogurt, toast, biscuits, pretzels, even ICE CREAM (out of desperation).


In the end, after another unsuccessful battle a couple of weeks ago, I tearfully told Trey that I needed to take a break. All I was doing was stressing myself out and making no headway with him. The good news was that at his last weigh-in he had continued to gain weight on breastmilk alone even jumping a couple of centiles on the growth chart. So I continued to give him his daily vitamins (pronounced with a short "i" here to Trey's great delight...yes, that's how he, and now Addison, pronounce it now) and decided to revisit solids after a couple weeks' holiday.


This past Monday I started back up again meeting with similar results, but at least my mind frame was refreshed. I tried jarred baby food for the first time just to see if maybe he hadn't liked the homemade for some reason. Tuesday was a little better. By the end of the feeding session he was tilting his head back and allowing me to "pour" the apple and pear pudding (as they call it here) down his throat. But Wednesday was the charm. I asked Trey to feed Davis thinking that perhaps part of Davis's resistance was the fact that I'm the booby lady. And wouldn't you know it, after a few unwilling bites from Trey, Davis started opening his mouth like a hungry chirpy bird. I literally started jumping up and down with glee and then jumped in there to try my hand at it. He continued to take the food from me as well. I had to get it on video for all of you because it was such a moment of triumph. I know it seems trivial, but isn't parenting simply a succession of seemingly trivial victories that ideally culminate in happy, well-adjusted, contributing members of society?


This was one of those moments.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Glories of Autumn

The first two days of October have been amazing -- classic autumn days with rich azure skies and brilliant fall folliage. Yesterday we took the boys to the park in the late afternoon and I captured a number of pictures of the changing scenery. Here are a few to whet your appetite. The rest are in the Autumn 2007 photo album.

The view down University Road.

A blooming rose from an obliging garden. I love how the colors of the rose reflect the colors of the season.

The sparkling River Don. Because of the amount of rain we get during the year, the water is often muddy, but yesterday it was crystal clear.

A fisherman along the river bank.

A blush of color in Seaton Park.

Addison protesting to having his photograph taken. Isn't it hilarious how low he wears his hat? He has to tip his head up in order to see.

D, smiling on cue.

Belly Laughs

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Ahhh...the simplicity of childhood. Something as silly as imitating a dog's woof holds so much humor and delight. This is a video from yesterday bearing weighty evidence that Daddy always has them laughing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Photographic Dilemma

This morning as I was running around the house getting the day started, I put Davis down in the living room with a toy car to keep him occupied. When I returned to the room a few minutes later, I discovered that Addison had brought Davis his basket of baby toys and was playing with him. I don't think anything could have brightened my day more, and I just had to snap a picture for you guys. Plus, it's been awhile since I posted any new photos of them.

Next Friday we venture into scary territory -- professional photography. We've lined up a sitting with the same photographer who took Davis's passport photo.

I'm sure Davis will do fine as the picture from this morning is ample evidence -- Davis obediently holding his smile for the delay of our digital camera, Addison having long since looked away. Davis smiles on command, doesn't wander off, and is generally cooperative, one of the blessings of his age. Addison is another story. Gone are the days of willing poses and cued grins. There was a time, case in point this photo for Christmas 2005.

I've been trying to figure out just exactly how to get our 2 1/2 year old bundle of energy to sit and smile for the photographer. Hmmm...I know this sounds crazy, but I'm considering bringing his portable DVD player and playing funny bits from his favorite movie. Yes, I'm that desperate. I most certainly DON'T want a PixiFoto repeat. Any other ideas? Bribery might also be a good option.

The Finished Product

At long last here are the promised photos of our hallway and stairwell with a nice side-by-side comparison from last year.

OLD STAIRWELL (view from the landing)

NEW STAIRWELL
OLD HALLWAY (view from the front door)
NEW HALLWAY
OLD HALLWAY (view of the front door)
NEW HALLWAY
The main difference is a perception of what is actually a small space. It looks brighter, more open, and best of all, brand new. We talked with the owners on Sunday, and they are working on getting the carpet lined up. It should happen within the next few weeks.