Jan 16, 2012

This Week in Super Gross

 This post brought to you by The Garbage Pail Kids

At 3:30, I finally drifted off to sleep. So yeah, insomnia and I are still pretty tight, (but I swear I'm this close to unfriending him on Facebook*).

At 6:30, Sam was screaming in the bathroom. Think of that music from the movie Psycho, but coming out of a 6 year old boy's mouth.

At 6:30.02, I was running to the bathroom door to fling it open, while my mind was speeding through the worst case scenarios:

There was someone in the bathroom with him. An ax murderer presumably.

He had somehow managed to summon Bloody Mary in the mirror, unlike all 10 year olds at every slumber party ever, no matter what they say.

Someone had squeezed the Charmin.

As it turned out, Sam had shut himself in the bathroom with a tiny mouse. The kid was traumatized, all whimpering and trembly. So of course  I said the most comforting words I could think of:

"Sam, did it come out of the toilet?"

You know, because of that one time I read about a rat coming up through someones toilet, and it was seared in the part of my brain dedicated to recalling horrifying possibilities at the exact wrong moment.

Thankfully, it wasn't a toilet mouse, but I certainly hadn't eased Sam's fears any, and by 6:35, the whole family was in our bed, wide awake. I don't know what happened to the mouse.

At 7:30, everyone was up again for school. Yay.

By 9:30, Nate and I had a falling out over some cereal, and we reconciled by crawling back into bed for a nap.

At 9:32, Nate breathed in my face, and I almost died. Ever since he was sick a few weeks ago, his breath has been toxic. It smells like a dog threw up, ate its own vomit, and then crawled into his mouth and died, right after ripping a big dog fart.

If only I could bottle some of that, I'm pretty sure I could kill that mouse.

Done anything gross lately?

*I don't know why Insomnia is a male, he just is.

Jan 8, 2012

Ye Olde Epic England Recap

Tower of London.

So we went to England. Had a blast. Said things like rubbish, and collywobbles, and pardon me, which way to the Ministry of Magic? And when people spoke to us we stared at them and said (loud and slow), "Sorry, we only speak English." We ate the fish and the chips. Dropped in on the Queen. Did the double-decker. Captured some castles. Wore our "Operation Revolutionary War: Mission Accomplished" t-shirts. The Brits LOVED us.

My brother John moved with his family to England about a year and a half ago, so our first stop was to spend Christmas with them in Coventry (coincidence: my family lived on Coventry court for over 30 years). John and Dakin were excellent hosts in that our daily quota for chocolate and delicious food was continually fulfilled, and then some. We all went down to London together, and enjoyed trying to keep 6 kids and 4 adults together throughout the City. With 5 potty-trained kids, we spent less time looking at tourist attractions than we did looking for a loo, which we always have fond memories of. We celebrated New Year's in London, and by celebrated I mean that we ate mediocre food in our hotel restaurant and then sat in our dark hotel room while the kids slept and we checked Facebook on our phones. And then we came home, but not before cramming in one last historic site just to ruin Mia's life.

Thanks to digital photography, we came home with no less than 6 million pictures. So be warned, there are a lot of photos following, and it's not even the half of it (plus, the formatting is all weird with the captions, sorry). There's a very good chance you will get bored, even if you happen to be my parents. But that's not to say it wasn't jolly brilliant (that's British for super fun, I think). 

We played the "how many people can we fit in a Volvo" game, and the answer is 10.  
Our favorite vacation past time: standing around looking bored in an amazing location. 1,000 year old castle ruins? Is that all? 
But really, one of these kids was not happy to be at an old castle. Hint: it's Mia.

Guess who also wasn't happy to have her picture taken at a castle? 
True story: we saw signs for a duck race and thought it would be fun to watch.  It seemed oddly quiet, and when the ducks came into view we found out why. Yes, it was actually a rubber duck race. Such tomfoolery! 

Nate and Elizabeth. I love their expressions. You looking at me? 
The view from Warwick Castle. Seriously, there are a lot of castles in the UK.
We talked Mia into going to the castle just for the Sword in the Stone exhibit, and then it was closed that day. I would say something derogatory about Fate here, but you know what they say about Karma. 
But for someone who hates castles, she loves old castle toilets.

You can't go to England without getting a picture in the old pillory. Ha ha, traitors! 
Releasing some castle angst.
All 10 of us took a train to London. It was just like going to Hogwarts. 

A rare moment where no one had to go potty.

Sam was super excited about Big Ben.
Riding the London Tube at rush hour. That's Mia and Nate at the bottom of a pile of commuters. 

Yes, we rode the bus.

Buckingham Palace.
Look closely at Nate. He is starting to come down with a fever. He pretty much slept in that stroller for the rest of the trip. Unexpected bonus: the 3 year old was our best behaved child on the trip.

Me: Hey kids, this is where the Queen of England lives.
Sam: You mean this is her house?
Me: Yep.
Sam: Good, because I have to go potty.

Another awesome looking-bored photo in front of something cool.  Oh, is that the Tower of London? Yawn.
This is what I look like while saying the word "schedule" sarcastically, in case you were wondering.  
We occupied Occupy London.
I got busted after taking this picture in St. Paul's, but they can't stop me from putting it on my blog. 
Climbing to the top of the dome. 
View from the top.
Harry Potter Tour (yes, we did). 
Diagon Alley, except not really. 
I love that Kings Cross Station did this. 

Countdown until London becomes even more crowded. Have fun with that London! 
Speaking of the Olympics, we were staying just a kilometer away from the 2012 Olympic site.  If my brother had been there, he would have googled something on his iPhone and found out what that red thing is, but being us, we just stood there and went "uh, der." 

My old college roommate, Farhana, who lives in London because she's cool like that.
New Year's Eve on the Big Red Bus. We seriously know how to party.
Nate sleeping at dinner one night. Is it bad that I kind of like it when my kids get low grade fevers? 
Hey kids, look at that old thing! Amazing, right Mia? 
Sam however, actually enjoyed most everything and begged me take pictures of him, like this one. 
And Nate kept begging to go home, and when we finally got there, this is what he did. 

Blimey, are you still here? 

Jan 5, 2012

Happy New Year, With Love, From Amsterdam

Here it is, our Holiday newsletter:

2011 "In quotes"

"I'm watching a lot of TV!" 
-Nate, demonstrating his knack for blunt honesty. With the bulk of our year spent preparing for, recovering from, and adjusting to an international move, Nate did watch an inordinate amount of television, or as some kids might call it, "winning."

"Speaking of waffles, I need a Kleenex." 
-Sam, demonstrating his knack for being completely random.

"Yes, mom is crying again, but she'll stop eventually."
-Mark repeatedly said this during the month of August. To say that our first month here was a little rough is like saying childbirth is a "little painful." (It's much better now.)

"No, not another castle!" 
-Mia, indicating just how charmed she finds her new European life to be, or not.

"Is there chicken in this salmon?" 
-Sam, our sometimes vegetarian, is a little unclear on the concept of seafood/poultry differentiation.

"I want to be a helper at Target when I grow up!" 
-Mia, aiming for greatness.

"They're not mad at you; it's just Dutch. That's the way it sounds."
-Donna, reassuring Mia and Sam during the first week of Dutch Immersion school. Let's just say it's not the most soothing of languages.

"It's like all you ever do is make dinner!"
-Sam, protesting the injustice of being asked to set the table. It's rough being part of the 99% (of people who never make dinner in our family). 

Finally, "We miss you all, and wish you a wonderful 2012."
-Donna, Mark, Mia, Sam, and Nate

British Museum, London


Nate (3), Mia (8), Sam (6)

Jan 3, 2012

Refrigerater Gone Bad

We just returned home from a bit of a jaunt to England, and came home to a fridge full of rotten cheese and milk. Oops. But we also came home to an entry full of Christmas cards. Our mail slot is in the front door, and so our mail literally sails into our house and lands right on the front mat. If you mailed us a card, you have no idea how happy it has made me (and this is not intended to be a guilt-trip if you didn't), especially since I didn't think we would get more than 2 here in Amsterdam.

If there is anything you would think I would make fun of, it's Christmas newsletters right? But I confess, I love them. So thank you for sacrificing that extra stamp, and for giving us something far better to come home to than the stench wafting from the Coleman. It might not ever recover.

Sadly, our letter this year will be electronic, though I wish I could send you all a card that would land right on your door mat. I hope to post it soon, right after I tackle that fridge. And then I might just make a resolution to post about our trip to England. Spoiler alert: it was smashing.