31 March 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

Just a quick story that was too funny not to share...

William tattled on Sam that he was playing the Wii without asking. Trying to be funny I said, "Tell him to come here because I want to hang him by his toenails." William's way-to-excited-for-my-comfort response was, "With a rope?!"

Hope this gives you a laugh, too. Happy Spring!


29 March 2010

Gem of the Day

I saw a book about parenting "tweens" that pictured a porcupine on the front cover. It amused me at the time but now it is hitting home. I have two "tweens" in the house, Sam and Mary Elizabeth. Of the two, Mary Elizabeth has the most prickles. Daily, I feel the pokes of those prickles in the form of sighing, eye-rolling and general disgust with life as she knows it. It is hard to remember the sweet little girl who always enjoyed playing dress-up, twirling around the house and tea parties. I know she is there but she sure does a good job of concealing it.

Emme, as we call her, is very emotional and passionate. I looking in a mirror? (No comments from my own mother necessary!) The other day when Emme was going on and on about some flagrant injustice like the price of Rice Kripy treats at the snack sale, Sam commented, "Boy, Mom, she sure is your daughter." Sam then reminded me of my harping on a questionable answer at a quiz bowl tournament in which he participated. Bringing it up had me responding- "Well, clearly it should have been ..." and "It is absolutely ridiculous that...". To which Sam plainly said, "See what I mean?"

All this emotion and passion between the two of us, can definitely make it difficult as we navigate the rough waters of the next few years. Any mother who has been through it knows that feeling that you can't do anything right. You don't know anything. You don't understand. I can really take this to heart instead of giving her a little space and taking it with a grain of salt, like I should. It isn't pleasant to be swept up in an hormonal tidal wave. Some days, I feel as if I have been beaten on the shore, unable to get my bearings.

There are times, however, that Mary Elizabeth is her old self, kind and carefree. Today, we were heading to a Mother/Daughter day hosted by the Catholic Church to discuss growing up. Well, at least I was headed. Emme, on the other hand, was being "DRAGGED there". I managed to ignore her whining. In the car she proclaimed this gem. "Mom, I think we make a cute pair." Wow! It took my breath away. I started to protest and say something like, "Well, it sure doesn't feel like that most of the time.", but I stopped myself. She had given me a gift. I kept my mouth closed and graciously accepted it. I realized I shouldn't get caught up in the rough waters or let them toss me about. I simply need to use little gifts like these to help me keep my eyes on the prize.

And what a prize she has always been!

25 March 2010

Happy, Happy Bunny

I enjoy picking out treats for the children's Easter baskets every year. As we have added kids, the task becomes more daunting. Trying to remember who likes Hershey's Cookies N' Cream versus Milky Way can be a real challenge. I am thankful to have Sam and Mary Elizabeth aware of the charade so I can ask them for last minute help remembering everyone's favorites and "must have's".

The other day, in a desperate attempt for help, I told the kids that the Easter Bunny would probably like a little help and asked them to list the items they were hoping to get on Easter morning. Annie asked if I thought the Bunny could get Worcester crisps. In the UK, potato chips are called crisps and they have the most amazing flavors like prawn cocktail, thai sweet chili, pickled onion, worcester sauce, and roasted chicken-with or without lemon and thyme, imagine that! I was thrilled to hear this question because I had been searching the web for British food in the US. I had found a treasure trove of websites and was excited about placing an order.

I can't wait until Easter Sunday when they find Walker's crisps and Mr. Kipling's Victoria cakes (yes, named for Queen Victoria) waiting for them. There are a few other odds and ends like biscuits, a big box of our favorite cereal, a chocolate bar for me and some tea, of course. Since the company is based in Pennsylvania, the shipping was reasonable and so was the shipping time. Shopping on the website was wonderful, like visiting England without leaving the comfort of my living room. If you'd like to get a feel for grocery shopping in England, check it out:

Another taste of England I am quite thankful for are the connections on Facebook. I have been keeping my knitting friend up to date with the progress, or lack thereof, on my gingerbread man. Remember him? Well, I did find a knitting group here in New Orleans so he WILL get finished and I WILL post a photo. Notice the conviction in my tone?! I came across this video on my friend's Facebook page and wanted to share it with you. It is a lovely look at the little piece of England I was fortunate enough to call home for a few months. Enjoy!


20 March 2010

What's Next

It is so good to be writing again. Why do I put this off time and time again? It is certainly not for lack of material. As I go through the day, there are so many thoughts that come to mind that I want to share with you. Sometimes, I wish I could shut my brain off. Unfortunately, my fingers aren't as quick as my mouth and life gets me side tracked. Not to mention, I am the queen of procrastination. Okay, maybe just a princess. Don't want to be too hard on myself.

In response to the last post, a friend asked- So, what's next for the Zeldens? Well, I'll tell you. We are moving this summer. Where? Not 100 percent sure. Mark's Louisiana business is shrinking while his DC business is growing- slowly, but growing none the less. We aren't willing to live in New Orleans and have him commute to DC as we did in the past. Mark and I LOVED England and would happily go back there or another place in Europe should an opportunity arise but for now it is likely we will move back to Washington.

Today I heard one of my favorite songs on the radio. It was popular when we moved back from DC 11 years ago.

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.

So make the best of this test and don't ask why.
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time.

It's something unpredictable but in the end there's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

Suddenly, all the feelings came rushing back. Telling friends goodbye. Packing up our tiny apartment. Driving home to Lu-weena, as Sam called it. I certainly had had the time of my life. Mark and I began our married life, moved three times and had two babies during our six years in DC. We made wonderful friends and took advantage of all that the area had to offer like apple picking in the fall and cherry blossoms in the spring. As much as I enjoyed it and as painful as it was to leave, I was happy to be going home. The song describes that difficult time we all have on the cusp of change, when you are too busy looking back and feeling sad to turn and face the road that lies ahead. Once you do, the fun begins. Relationships renewed. A home town waiting to be rediscovered. We have enjoyed every minute of living here and hope to return. New Orleans has been and will always be our first love. For now, however, we are on that cusp again. This time it is a little easier to look forward. Friendships to renew and so much to share with the children. As in the song, we are just waiting for God to "grab us by the wrist and direct us where to go".

On another note, I am happy to know there are still many of you out there who are willing to read. The investment I made in the blog has yielded great returns. I appreciate all your comments and feedback. Today I was pleasantly surprised to discover a new reader. I was also blown away by the concern and friendship he expressed. I came across this quote recently and jotted it down because I liked it so much.

Unless some people see the face of Christ in you,
they may never see the face of Christ.

Thank you friend, for giving me a glimpse of Christ today.


18 March 2010

Hello, is Anyone There?

It's me, again. I was playing around on the computer and hooking up with some British friends on Facebook. I just LOVE having British friends on Facebook. Funny thing is, they even SOUND British when you read their posts. It makes me smile and it makes me miss England. Anyway, one thing led to another and I ended up reading some of my last posts. I have been meaning to write a "wrap up" post. One final, definitive, thought-provoking post about England and our time there. (Final? Definitive? Thought-provoking? Geez! A little too much pressure for one post, don't you think? Enough to stop anyone in their tracks.) I know you weren't out there holding your breathe, waiting for me to write but I still felt like I needed to end it. As far as the blog is concerned I am still in the Charlotte airport on the verge of being home.

Ah, home. Saints-mania and Mardi Gras. That about sums up the entire first month back. Throw in finding out I was pregnant then suffering a miscarriage and you can see that I have been a little pre-occupied. You know, I didn't want to be in my early forties and pregnant but the minute someone says you can't have something, it sure makes you want it even more. God works things out for the best, however. Times like this make you trust Him and Him alone.

The most difficult thing about being back is the loss of my closest friends. Three friends didn't understand our going to England and have just stopped being my friend. They were friends from the kids' school and part of my life almost daily. I can't put in to words how much it hurts. There are times when a memory crosses my mind or I see something that reminds me of them and I just ache. I don't feel angry. Sometimes I just want to cry like a baby.

Most of the time, however, I am happy to be home. With the kids back in school, it is just me and Elise all day. What a treat! She is my little buddy and I don't know what I would do without her. The other day she looked up at me and said, "Mama, you are my friend." I melted. Right then, right there was all I needed.

There is so much more to say but I am getting tired. I just wanted to say hi and get writing again. It can be hard to begin. That's what I wanted to do tonight. Just begin, again.

Not sure if you care to read about what is happening in my little life now that I am home. Thoughts occur to me all the time and I think about sharing them with you. Hope you will stick around a little longer with me to find out where my life is going. Stay tuned...

One last thing...It never gets old thinking, WOW! We are the Super Bowl Champs!

Missing England tonight,