Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day in England? Just a Pinch.

Cultural Note:

So, yesterday I (Jon) was in class.  After noting the date I was writing into my notes, I remarked (before we started) to my professor (an Aussie who has lived most of this life in the UK) and the other students (2 from the USA, 1 from Canada, 1 from Germany, 1 from Australia, 3 from England) that today was going to be St Patrick's Day.

There was a very minimal amount of acknowledgment about the veracity of this statement so I followed it up with an observation,
"It doesn't seem like St Patrick's Day is celebrated as much here as in the US."
(I had noticed how there isn't green everywhere and big sales on Guiness or stuff like that.  No sign of an impending party anywhere!)

Professor Barton agreed,
"You might find more of it in someplace like Liverpool where there are more Irish immigrants."

"Hmm!" I said, "That's interesting!  I had never realized how much Irish culture has impacted American culture."
(I realized at that moment that the UK has cumulatively been through hundreds of years of war with the Irish, so celebrating their nation may seem a bit odd?  I think there are still parties here but perhaps this history tempers the excitement.)

(There was a pause--as there often is in British conversation--to weigh the merits of such a statement.)
Then, my fellow American, Orrey, spoke up [correct me if I'm wrong Orrey but this is the way I remember it]...
 "I guess you don't do the pinching thing here."

Prof Barton looked a little stunned and quipped,

"We have laws about behaviour like that!"

We all had a big laugh and started class.  I'm not sure the other non-North Americans had any idea what Orrey and I were talking about!  I wonder what they think of us now??

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Can't Believe....

I am going to be the mother of 4 boys. 4 BOYS! 4!

We got the ultrasound today to check and see that all is well with Baby Cinco and to find out what it is.

Here's how it happened....The sonographer was looking around and taking measurements. She just happened to land on a shot where we could see the legs straddled in a "v-position" and there was the penis sticking out for all the world to see. Since I've already had 3 boys, I knew what to look for. I looked over at Jon and said, "Oh my gosh--It's a boy!" She didn't even have to tell me. She confirmed my announcement by saying, "Aye-It's a lad alright. He made no mystery about it. That's for sure."

Many of you are wondering how I feel about that. Well, I am thrilled that as far as anyone is able to tell, the baby looks healthy. Sure, I am a little sad that I won't have a daughter and all the wonderful things that go with clothes, wanting me at the birth, the mother of the bride etc. But, I also know that this little boy will fit right into our family and it will be impossible to imagine our lives without him. So, I'm truly happy and I know that this boy is a gift that has been given to us. We will love him forever.

It does give me pause to think about what a responsibility it is to raise 4 boys who will become men who (I pray) love and follow Jesus. I am already praying for the wives of my sons--that I will have a good relationship with them and be a great mother-in-law. I've learned a lot just by watching my own mother in law be such a great one! And maybe at least one will invite me to the birth ;).

Early on in the pregnancy when I was so worried about having another miscarriage the Lord gave a verse to Jon:

1 Corinthians 2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has ever conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

I wrote it on a big piece of paper and put it on the ceiling above my side of the bed. Every time I have worried about the baby, the birth, or have felt fear I have remembered that verse. This baby is being knit together by our heavenly Father who loves him and already has great things prepared for him, me, and our family. I know it doesn't mean that nothing could go wrong--but it is a word from the Lord and has been comforting for me. So far, each baby has had a whole Psalm to be prayed during the pregnancy but I wonder if this baby will just have this verse.

Having another boy does make some things a little simpler--I have lots of boy baby clothes in storage back in the US. We have the toys. I know what to expect (MORE WRESTLING---Lord help me!) What potty training a boy is like, their love for sticks and holes. (seriously--read that link--really funny post by one of my favorite bloggers)

Things that aren't so simple....

1. We have to confront the whole circumcision thing again. Not looking forward to that at all. It is not common in the UK and you have to pay out of pocket. There are not many places (if any) locally to go either. I heard about one option in our town--but it sounds a little sketchy.

2. We have to pick another boy name--+ 2 middle names. We've already used 9 names with the other 3 and now we gotta come up with 3 more that fit all our criteria??!! I really enjoy the whole process--I just don't think it will be EASY.

3. I am seriously outnumbered in my house! My strategy is to get a girl dog when we go back to the US. Her name will be Darcy. And I'm considering adding on a second girl dog just for some balance. Although I do like the idea of having a boy and girl dog whose names are Mr. and Mrs. Darcy....but that's another post. 5 men and 1 woman. 5 to 1. I guess I better learn to love the smell of boys dorm rooms--cuz I think my house will start smelling like that in about 10 years!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs OR......

Yummy cupcakes?

I made these for our weekly potluck on Sunday. The theme was Italian so these seemed appropriate. Someone saw them from across the room and thought it really was some kind of spaghetti muffins with meatballs on top! I had always wondered what kind of event I would take some spaghetti and meatball cupcakes too--and now I know!

They are pretty easy to make--especially if you have a boxed cake mix (they don't really sell those here so I had to make from scratch). I got the recipe from the book Hello Cupcake!

I brought the book with me to England and I was considering taking it back to the States on our next trip because many of the cupcakes require US candy that is impossible or difficult to find in the UK. After making these on Sunday though, I may keep it here for a while. The book does offer some good ideas for inspiration.

When Little Boys Are Sick...

They fall asleep in the hallway while mommy is taking a shower. He snuggled with his favorite stuffed puppy and his favorite lego guy and crashed.

Poor guy slept on the floor for about half an hour and then got up and fell asleep in my arms. He uses that puppy as a pillow in his bed and it gets carted around the house--so of course it makes sense that he would use it to sleep on for his makeshift bed late in the morning.