our girls

Happy Mothers Day

A recent episode of The Apprentice brought up the question of the apostrophe in regards to a day. Is it Happy Mother's Day, Happy Mothers' Day or Happy Mothers Day? Watching the episode, I was firmly on the side of the third option (not even discussed amongst the contestants). Now that I type it myself, it feels less obvious. Still, I'm sticking with it. It is not one mother's day, it is not a day belonging to many (or all) mothers. It is the day OF mothers, making it Happy Mothers Day. Feel free to disagree, because that's not really the point of this post. My mom is.

My mom (Hi, Mom! Happy Mothers Day!) has never been that enthused about Mothers Day. Instead of thinking of the day from a mother's perspective, she thinks of it as a daughter. A daughter who lost her mother too young. As a self-centred child, I thought this was a bit silly. After all, she had me! Now that I have two glorious daughters of my own, I get it. Andrew forgot today was US Mothers Day, but it never occurred to me to tell him. Today isn't about me; it's about my mom.

And speaking of glorious! I have met some amazing moms in my time: Mama Gloria who raised four tornados of little boys into wonderful grown men, all on her own; my friend with seven children who gives so much to them and always finds a way to give more; and my dear friend Anna who saved her daughter's life so many times in a harrowing ride to the hospital. All these amazing moms, and I got the best of the bunch.

My mom is so strong, so brave, so sweet, kind, funny, beautiful, generous, impulsive, conservative, cautious, sensitive, hyper-sensitive, adorable and annoying. She's perfect! Well, she's imperfect, which makes her the absolute perfect mom for me. From my child-centred universe, that's the best there is!

I love you, Mama!

PS Wikipedia disagrees with me

Achieving

I just got back from Buffy's second swimming lesson in nearly a year. She was stellar. She loves the water. She is still a bit nervous about sticking her whole head in the water, but she doesn't mind lying on her back or water in her ears. Based on our experience with Katie-the-cat, this is huge progress.

Katie has her swimming lessons Saturday mornings (at 8:30!), and she's been doing really well, too. I like these lessons most of all because I don't have to get in the water. The best part, of course, is watching Katie in her lesson. At some point she just forgets I'm there and starts interacting purely as Katie with the teacher and other kids. It's fascinating, and although I always bring a book, I never crack it open. I infinitely prefer The Katie Show.

Sunday will be Katie's first ever piano exam. It is informal, and there's no offical certificate on the cards. The idea is simply to get her used to testing conditions. Counting time to settle in, stretch her fingers, set up her music, play her two pieces and receive feedback, it should take about 30 seconds. I can't wait!

We Love You No Matter What

Katie: Bock-bock! Buffy, I'm a hen-hen chicken

Buffy: I a cock-cock chicken!

Not Gross, But Not Good for the Instestinal Tract Either

"It's yummier than gross!" -Katie on her lunch

"Be quiet Katie! I'm constipating!" -Buffy at play

Christmas

Christmas has come and gone making all of my planned "Christmas Is Coming" posts irrelevent. Suffice it to say we made it through Christmas and have come out the other side relatively unscathed. Despite Santa's careful planning, some presents did not arrive in time (guitar) and last minute substitutions had to be found (High School Musical DVD). Desperation rarely shows off our best colours, and Santa is no exception. Katie also threw a spanner in the works by changing her request at the 11th hour from fairy wands (tick) to an inflatable rubber ring for swimming (um, where is Santa going to find one on the 24th of December?).

Katie was less pleased by HSM than anticipated, but more pleased with her fairy wands and tights. The two biggest value hits were the plastic horse and car I bought for 20p each in a second-hand toy sale. You can't beat that, and I may plan to shop more second-hand next year. Not that things are that tight, but why spend more if you don't have to? Buffy's best present was the impulse-buy wooden skittles set from Daddy. That has brought hours of fun to all of us, and we're very impressed with Buffy's hand-eye coordination.

Also impressing us this Christmas were Katie's culinary skills. We took out a children's cookery book from the library and made nearly everything in it. We gave away the biscuits and truffles as presents and copied the recipies into Katie's recipe book. I hope to give the girls their own recipe books when they go off to university. They'll be armed with several dozen recipies they already know how to make, which should help carry them through into adulthood. Already Katie could throw a pretty jamming dinner party featuring smoothies, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and snowball truffles.

Yesterday Andrew's family came over to celebrate Christmas again. The girls made out like bandits with an exciting array of books and toys. Granny knocked my socks off with a desk and chair set for Katie. I thought it was a good gift, but as she explained her plan for holding up the keyboard and later as a private study place for Katie, I realised it was a truly inspired gift. I can't wait to assemble it and put it to good use.

Today Buffy and I will be left to our own devices as Andrew and Katie head out to see The Nutcracker. Katie has done everything possible to prepare to enjoy the show. She listened and danced to the music last night, she's read the story several times and just now she finished drawing an excellent picture of a nutcracker. She insisted on signing it "by Catherine, on my own". I tried not to say anything about "Catherine", but I couldn't. I asked her to write "Katie" instead. She insisted, I relented, and now both of us feel worse. We had a similar argument this morning about which dress she'll wear to the ballet. I want her to wear the gorgeous one that is very Christmassy and won't fit next year. She wants to wear the new one from Granny. Both are great, but one she can wear anytime. Still, I let her win. Dammit if she isn't growing up and having more of these "opinions". Remind me this is a good thing.

I think I'm going to go play some skittles now.

Cheers-giving

We celebrated Thanksgiving 2007 the best we could over here in Merry Olde England. I contacted the lovely Joy at Munchkins to organise a Thanksgiving meal for kids. Munchkins offers children's cookery courses, and Joy was up to the challenge of devising a menu for our ex-pat kids and their friends.

While Joy researched, planned and shopped, I sent out a few emails trying to build up interest. After a month's effort I had five bookings. I sent out a few more emails and our numbers shot up to 11, then 15 then 19! I started to worry instead that we'd have to turn someone away. We didn't in the end, and it all went beautifully.

The children were a diverse group of girls and boys of varying ages and from different schools. Even better, there were quite a few nationalities and cultures represented. All that diversity gave it a true Thanksgiving atmosphere. We all sat down to work. (Buffy's version of sitting and getting down to work involved a lot of standing on chairs and spilling of milk.)

Within an hour the children made:
homemade lemonade
turkey and cranberry balls
stuffing and cranberry balls (for the vegetarians)
cornbread muffins
mashed sweet potatoes
and itty bitty pumpkin pies

YUM!

The kids were amazing, the food was delicious, and it was a really fantastic English Thanksgiving. I'll post pictures as soon as I get them sorted.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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