Monday, 30 May 2011


 We had a stake BBQ today. It was a bank holiday as well as Memorial Day, so both Americans and English were off of work and school.  They had bouncy castles, but it was so packed and my kids weren't having much fun because other kids were not being very nice.  The three youngest got their faces painted and that was, by far, the highlight of the activity. Goofy was a bunny, Minnie was a dog, and Bucko was a tiger.

On the way home, I asked PC if he would mind stopping by Morninghthorpe.  It was kind of on the way home. At least it was pretty close to Norwich which is where the stake activity was taking place.  My mom's family had traced their lineage back to Norfolk County, England. I kept asking mom where and she would say, "Norfolk, England." I had to explain that I live in Norfolk, but wanted to know where they had lived in Norfolk.  Anyway, we had traced the Howes line to Morningthorpe.  I had looked it up on google and saw it was a small village, but had an old church with one of the round towers which are notable to this part of the country.  I was excited just to walk on the ground that my ancestors had lived on.  Everyone stayed in the car while I walked around the church grounds. It was very peaceful and the weather was gorgeous. I didn't see any graves marked "Howes" but it was loads of fun anyway.  It was the smallest village I have ever been in in England, though. I'm not sure if it would even be called a village actually, but I don't know if there is a name for something smaller. On the way back, though our sat nav kept directing us down tiny back roads so it did take us a lot longer to get home. But I was so glad I was able to go!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Goofy kid

Goofy didn't come by his nickname by mistake.  He cracks us up so much. PC and I were up late playing Boggle (yay!) and Goofy had taken a long nap yesterday afternoon, so he was up late with us.  And playing the ipod, of course. He can't get enough of it!  Angry Birds, Need for Speed, and Preschool Lunchbox--the kid loves to play those games!  He still hasn't mastered all the sounds in the English language, however.  He still uses a "w" sound for a lot of "l"s.  "Actuwy" (actually) is my favorite.  And he's constantly asking for "popbunnymilk." Yes, he does put that all together as one word and it should be "pink bunny milk" which is, of course, strawberry milk.  (We had a friend in TX that called it pink bunny milk because of the Nesquick bunny on the carton and it has been pink bunny milk to my kids ever since.)
He's just such a sweet kid. I'm so glad he's part of our family.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Wales, Day 4

Last full day in Wales and we woke up to wind and rain.  So we headed down to Piggery Pottery and let the kids paint some pottery.  They loved it.  Tink painted a leaf, Bucko a dinosaur bank, Minnie painted a bunny, and Goofy did a shell.
 After lunch and a movie break (we hooked the kids on Back to the Future) we headed over to Bethania to hike up Mt. Snowdon.  We didn't make it to the top as that would have taken several hours, but we had gorgeous views of some waterfalls. 
 Tink mis-stepped into a puddle at one point.  After that she was very cautious.  Bucko was so sweet and would hold her hand and help her over any puddle or stream. 
After the descent, we stopped at the river by the car park and PC taught the kids how to skip rocks.  Tink and Bucko were both able to do it, but Minnie wasn't quite able to get it.  She will though.  Goofy again had a blast throwing rocks into the water.  He loved making the "biggest splash!"

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wales, Day 3

Wednesday we headed off to Caernarfon Castle, built by King Edward I. The birth of his son in 1284, who was the first English Prince of Wales, took place here. It was a very impressive castle with gorgeous ocean views.  To keep the kids busy, we walked through finding which room would be their bedroom if we actually lived here. 
We ate some sandwiches in the car and then went out for some ice cream.  One word:  MESSY!  Then we walked down to the beach. The kids loved looking for shells. Goofy entertained himself by throwing rocks in the water.  PC enjoyed the time by skipping rocks. 
We stopped at Tesco for some more food and petrol.  We decided it was just easier to make things at the cottage than to take the kids out to a pub.  So we got some pizzas and cooked them up for dinner.  (Just a side note on how expensive gas is here: It cost us 72 pounds to fill up and we were not even to 1/4 tank.  If you figure that out at the current rate, that is over $116!)  We headed out after dinner in another direction from the cottage. Poor Goofy took off running down the hill from the cottage and slipped in the mud. PC took him back to change his pants so he wasn't wet and muddy. There is a slate mine nearby and so we walked down to the slate mountains.  The sheep were everywhere, of course.
 Bucko especially liked to find the veins of granite in the rocks. It was pretty neat. Tink kept finding "Fairy Hollows"--places she thought fairies lived.  Minnie loved when the sheep jumped the rock wall! And Goofy was just happy to be part of it all, as were PC and DD.  Just enjoying the views.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Wales, Day 2

 Tuesday we headed to Gwydir Castle, which is supposed to be the most haunted house in Wales. It was pretty creepy. The floors were creaky and the peacocks kept making squawking noises, so it really did feel spooky. The first owner lived in the 1300's!  It was also the home of Catherine of Berain, and is the ancestral home to the powerful Wynn family.
 Then we headed down to Betws-y-Coed where we walked around and found a few fun spots. We loved this bridge across the river. The train was a fun ride for the kids.  Bucko tripped running up some steps and got a little scrape.  Sometimes those little accidents can be catastrophic in our family it seems.  Goofy already had a meltdown in a camping store.  He found balls and we refused to buy him any more because they are all over the house!  He threw a fit, of course.  Needless to say, we were really ready to leave this town.  We did stop at the information centre before we left and picked up a bunch of information leaflets about things to do in the area.
Lyn Ogwen is on the way back to our cottage and since Goofy fell asleep, DD stayed in the van with him while PC took the other three up the mountain.  The climb was pretty rocky where they went up, but the kids loved it. It is just so pretty.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Wales, Day 1

Taking the M6 toll road, we made it to Wales in 4 1/2 hours.  Not bad, we thought.  One pit stop and one movie (Despicable Me) made the trip really not so bad.  Minnie had the hardest time and kept asking every 10 minutes if we were in Wales yet or not.  We stayed at this quaint little cottage built in the early 1800's.  We had the family room which consisted of a double bed and 2 sets of bunk beds.  It had a small kitchen and the bathroom was right next door.  The first thing we noticed was that it was much colder in Wales than in England right now.  We unloaded the van and then headed out down the narrow lane to check out the surroundings.  First, there are sheep everywhere!  Goofy loved them. He kept "baa-ing" at them.  They all loved them, but I'm not so sure that the sheep loved them!  We ended up with a couple downpours and soon after we made it back to the cottage, it started to hail.  We really started getting worried that the whole week would end up cold and rainy!  It didn't, but even if it had, we still would have enjoyed the views. I loved the stone walls everywhere, the lakes, the mountains, rivers, and bridges.  It was gorgeous!

Friday, 6 May 2011

English vs. American lingo

Well, we've lived in England for almost 3 years now and there are certain words we use in place of the ones we grew up with.  There are even more that I do not use regularly but do not want to forget, so I'm making a list of the words and their equivalent in "American."  (Never thought there was an American language before we moved here, but my kids often ask, "Do they speak English or American?" So I now think they must be two different languages.)
 English vs. American
rubbish--trash or lies
rubbish bin/waste basket--trash can
trolley--shopping cart
brilliant/brill--awesome, cool
mobile--cell phone
phone/ring me--call me
the loo/toilet---bathroom
gorgeous--yes, we use this word, but would you use it to describe cookies or other things?
drop a penny--use the toilet
feeling poorly--sick
I have also noticed my kids using certain phrases now as well. For example, "I was nearly there" instead of "almost there."  "I'm going to tell off you" instead of "tell on you."
I know there are many more, but that's all I can think of for now.