Monthly Archives: January 2009

A new look

I finally got around to putting a new look on my blog.  I spent entirely too much time pouring over designs and other stuff on thecutestblogontheblock. When I likely should have been working on updating my pictures on my website.  Oh well, I’ll get there.  For now, I’m very pleased that I have a nice new page to look at (I also updated the look of my website, I’m on fire!).

Doodle’s sleep is all messed up today because he decided to get up at 5:30 this morning.  We are not amused.  But it means that while he should have just started his afternoon nap, He’s been down for a while now and I can hear him working on waking up.  Poop.  I can’t wait to get the Rocket Scientist a bike this weekend so it will take him 10 minutes to get home at night instead of 40.  He thinks that means he can stay later at work, little does he know.   So a quick blog for the day.

Some odd things we’ve noticed…

“What’s for tea?”  Actually translates as, “What’s for supper?”  Huh, who knew.  I’m glad I found that out before I invited someone ’round for tea.  If you want to offer them an actual beverage of tea, you offer them a cuppa.  It made for some very confusing commercials on tv until I figured it out.

In this house, at any rate, you have to turn on your power outlets.

Apparently, it is fully recognized in this country that vehicles are much bigger, faster, and can do more damage than people, so they have the right of way.  And in some of the more touristy areas, they actually write on the street that you’re about to step into which direction to look for traffic.

To ensure that you don’t run out of hot water for your shower, it is equipped with an electric shower.  That is to say, it takes the cold water and heats it as it’s coming out of the shower head.  The Rocket Scientist was very excited about the prospect of long showers until he found out that the bathroom is much too cold for him to be naked and wet in there for any significant length of time.  (Sorry for the TMI)

That’s all for now.  I want to get back to my pictures.  I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and realizing that I have been far too selfish in not sharing pictures of my wonderful little man.  So here’s a quick teaser, more to come later:


To answer a few questions…

We have a family website that I have been very lax in keeping updated the last few weeks.  The first thing I had to do was update my blogs.  Thankfully very easy as all I had to do was cut and paste from here to there.  I’m also wanting to get back into keeping up with my blogging more regularly as I want a place to record all the fun and strange and unexpected things we keep coming across here in the UK.  First though, I thought I’d post the following ‘News’ item from my website as it sums up a few things of where we’re at currently.  I still have to tell the story of how we got here.  It’s coming, I promise.  And I have to go through all the pictures I finally downloaded off my camera.  Two months worth.  Looks like naptimes are going to be busy for the next few days.

Originally I started writing this great long post about our entire adventure, but it was bordering on the ridiculous in length so I’m just going to save this entry to answer everyone’s question: Are we there yet?

Yes, we are most definitely here. We arrived in our little house almost two weeks ago now and are settling in quite nicely. There have been some bumps along the way, but we’re getting used to things here and, as they say, getting it all sorted.

Now before you start yelling at me for having been here for two weeks and only just now  updating you, remember that we didn’t actually have internet for a whole week (I know! how did we survive?). I would say something witty about that being the longest week of my life, but Doodle was a week late, so…ya.

Now to answer the other question on everyone’s mind: Is it all very exciting and wonderful and all that? Well, yes…and no. It’s mostly very surreal, because it’s not like being on holiday where you are packing every day with sightseeing and activity because you want to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. In truth, I’ve seen very little of Oxford. The Rocket Scientist’s seen a bit more because he’s been to work. Our first Saturday we ventured into city centre a little bit and then out to the outskirts to hit a Babies ‘R Us and then last Saturday my husband’s cousins took us out to a pub in the middle of nowhere and then to the little town of Whitney to look at some shops. Other than that we’ve seen the same half mile stretch of road that runs from our house to the nearest bunch of shops half a dozen times or so as we keep running back and forth for groceries. (It’s amazing how quickly you go through food when you only buy what you can carry!)

But it is very exciting. I mean, dude! We’re living on a whole new continent, well, island really, but still. I’m starting to get used to the direction of the cars already. Sort of. They don’t look like they’re on ‘the wrong side’ so much now, but I still look the wrong way before crossing the street. I think. I get very confused about that. It’s fun to hear all the accents on the street, in the shops, and on tv, but my brain gets a little fuzzy after a while. As for my accent, well, it comes and goes. Mostly comes when I’ve spent the day with the tv on in the background for company and goes when the Rocket Scientist gets home and gives me the evil eye for talking funny. His cousins (who will be referred to as Pam and Duncan from here on out) don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with my accent. They think it’s charming, a bit muddled, but charming. At least I know I won’t be offending people too much.

And to answer the last question (well, usually the first that people ask): Doodle is doing great. He’s settled in really well, only took a couple days to fully adjust to the time change (thank You, God!). We pretty much stayed in the house all of last week so we could establish a schedule and I have to say he’s been napping better here than he was back in Chicago. Two full hours in the morning and a good hour and a half or more in the afternoon. Now we just have to get the night-times back in order. He does sleep, from about 7:30/8 to 7 in the morning (kid is like clockwork with his mornings within 5 minutes of 7am every day), he just wakes up half a dozen times a night. We’ve given him a lot of grace though considering all the upheaval he’s had for the last two months. But all that is about to change. Pray for us, we’re weaning off nighttime feedings starting this weekend. If you don’t hear from us for a few days (or several) you’ll know why.

So I hope that answers some questions, at least for now. I’ll try to be better about updating in the future as we settle in.

The Great Meltdown

What did we do before internet and mobile phones?  What was life like when one had to rely on archaic ‘landlines’ and ‘snail mail’?  I really don’t know.  For as long as it has taken us to get ‘back on the grid’ I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken to reach people with a home phone – which we won’t have for a week more or longer – or by post – which, granted we could have mailed a letter exclaiming our safe arrival the moment we set foot on British soil, they might have even gotten it by now.  How did people do it back then?  I suppose there would not be the expectation of keeping in touch.  People would say things like, “Have a safe journey, send us a letter once you’ve got settled”.  I suppose they’d be quite pleased to hear something within the month.

As it is, I have friends texting me the moment we’ve said goodbye saying “miss you already” and others writing on my facebook wall chomping at the bit to hear if we’ve landed and do we absolutely love it here.  I’m realizing when I left Canada for Chicago, I was really ready to leave, ready to put the old stuff behind me and set off on my new adventure.  There were a couple friends I was sad to leave, but I wasn’t leaving behind a life, I was on my way to find one.

Well, be careful what you wish for.  I found one and now I’ve had to leave it behind.  Not that I’m not excited to be on another new adventure, but I’m feeling a bit more lost this time ’round, a bit more…out of place.  Granted, there’s a bit more in the way of culture shock with this move and there’s the having to adjust to a new and drastically different time zone as well, but still.  I took for granted how much I did/talked to/planned with/thought about all the other people in my life in Chicago.  Perhaps I just had a bit more of a selfish existence in Canada, we’d only recently been married, and with the exception of work there was not a lot of involvement in things.  So much has changed.

It’s not just the Rocket Scientist and I this time either.  That’s the biggest shocker.  When we moved to Chicago, every night after dinner, we would go wander around downtown, just walking up and down the streets, seeing what was around.  On weekends, we would pick a new part of town to go explore and find something to do out there. We got to know the city very well, very fast.  We were much more mobile then than we are now.  It might be a bit different if it were summer and warmer out.  It’s such a production to get everyone bundled up and make sure the little man has his sweater and coat and hat and boots and oh dear we’ve lost his mitts so we’ll just put socks on his hands and maybe we should bring a blanket as well cause it’s windy and what if it rains.  Ack!  What I wouldn’t give for August.  But even so, if it were just the Rocket Scientist and I we would have spent entire days already just walking all over the city and getting lost and finding our way again and sleeping like logs at night.  Not that I would trade Doodle for anything but I might go stir crazy pretty quick if we don’t find something to do outside the house.

Oh, and something to do that doesn’t cause The Great Meltdown.  I guess I just assumed that Doodle would be mostly unaffected by the change, that he would react to things here the same as in Chicago.  Ya, I’m an idiot.  Not only is he in the umpteenth strange house for the umpteenth time in what has been a very long month and a half, he also does not have his own bed and hasn’t except for a few days around Christmas for all that time.  Add to that the fact that he has been teething almost non-stop since the end of November.  Add to that he’s also learned to crawl and so has many more places he would like to go and is often thwarted in his attempts.  Add to the much more frequent falling that goes along with said mobility.  Add to that all the myriad of new people that have been passing through his life, clamouring for attention and the absence of a lot of the ones he was accustomed to.  I’m sure there’s more.  What you get is a baby who used to be hailed as “such a happy baby” by everyone who met him to a quite cranky little boy (unless he’s getting his way, then, yes, he is quite a happy baby) who gets very upset at being told he can’t do something, go somewhere, or put something in his mouth, who won’t eat much except for bananas and breastmilk, who is once again waking up every two hours (if we’re lucky), and demands to be in sight of mommy almost without exception.  I was talking to my mom about this last night and she said, “Ah, so he’s entered his terrible two’s a little early has he?”  Oh God help me.  I’m not kidding, please, if you pray, pray for me.  I suddenly have no idea how to handle my son and I can’t abide the idea of just giving him everything he wants and yet I know that he needs a lot of grace because he’s going through as big of a change as the Rocket Scientist and I are but he has no understanding of what’s going on.  I have no idea how to balance that.  Especially when I’m so tired and stressed myself.

So today, we tried to go grocery shopping and Doodle started fussing, and not even that much, but suddenly I just couldn’t think straight, couldn’t wrap my head around trying to figure out what to buy when everything around me looked so foreign, how to get what we needed without spending too much money, how to cook with things that I’d never used before, and how to do that while getting Doodle to sit in his stroller (pushcart here) quietly and not need my constant attention for once.  In the end, I couldn’t do it, I took Doodle and we went home, leaving the Rocket Scientist to try and buy what we needed but only as much as he could carry because there’s still a good 5 block walk from the bus to our house.  What a disaster of a day.  I suppose I should stop hiding in my room and go downstairs and see what groceries he managed to get home.  I’m just not sure if I’m ready to be mommy again.

Okay, so now that that depressing post is done, my next one will hopefully be about our action-comedy-adventure trip to the UK.  Full of plot twists, tears, surprises, and chuckles.  Stay tuned.

Uh…Happy New Year, I guess…

So it’s ridiculous, I know, that I haven’t blogged in forever and even forever ago was to simply say I haven’t blogged in forever.  I’ve had an excuse, really I have.  We are finally out of our, staying with our wonderful friends, whose wireless internet I cannot access.  Don’t ask, long story.  So I’m highjacking her internet straight from the modem for this short time so I can let everyone know (my fantasy life consists of a whole boat-load of lurkers out there) that I am still alive.

We made it out of the apartment.  It took professional movers the entire day to pack up all my crap.  Granted, I had managed to pare it down quite a bit.  We got it down from 500 cubic ft in our estimate to 335 actual cubic feet.  Whew!  I wonder if I’ll even remember what all is in there by the time it arrives.  It’ll be like Christmas all over again.

We spent New Year’s Eve in our friends apartment, splayed out on the couch, completely exhausted from that day’s cleaning, packing up the remainder of things that were coming with us or getting shipped air freight, and driving out to our friends in the ‘burbs.  We watched the ball drop in New York and called it a night.

My mom was with us for another 4 days and we managed to do a lot and even relax a little during that time.  It was much harder to see her leave this time.  Before, it’s always been a bit of a given that we’d see her again in a few months, now that we’re going to be so much farther away, that’s not so sure a thing.  Doodle will have changed so much by the time she sees him again.  I’m just so glad that she was able to be with us during this time and help out so much with him.

Doodle had his 9 month check up yesterday and he’s still in the 90th percentile pretty much across the  board.  Apparently he should be leveling out now a bit.  I hope so, it would be nice to not have to buy new clothes every two months for this kid.

So now it’s 6 days and counting (7 if you look at the day we arrive as opposed to the day we leave).  Starting to get excited.  The biggest thing for me right now is just that we’ll be able to settle down and get my poor little man back on a schedule.  This last month has been really hard on him, he rarely gets sick and he’s had a stomach bug twice and now has a cold, mostly with the congestion in his chest.  Poor little mite.  And to avoid keeping entire households awake that have been kind enough to take us in, he’s been sleeping with me (did I mention the Rocket Scientist is on night shifts all this time?) and being nursed a couple times a night.  I look forward to getting him back on a schedule and getting him to sleep through the night.  We had been doing so well before all this moving around started so I’m confident we’ll get back to that pretty quickly.

Last thing before I head to bed:  Teeth!  Little man has been teething non-stop since the end of November.  His bottom teeth broke through sometime in October, then he had a bit of a break, end of November saw his top teeth come through, the fourth while we were in Calgary, and now he already has two more teeth on the bottom (that’s 6 in total for those of you keeping track) and now he’s working on the 7th up top with the 8th not far behind.  At this rate, he’s going to have a mouthful by the time he’s One.  Wow.  And I told you about the crawling right.  He’s getting to be quite speedy, and bold.  Yikes, have to do a bit of baby-proofing on the new house.  I’m also starting to get a little excited about all the shopping that awaits us, just don’t tell the Rocket Scientist ;).