Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Wose By Any Other Name

Meet the two newest members of the family:

Thanks to my friend Jen, the girls came home with these beautiful betta fish last week. I didn't know much about bettas before these guys came home. They are originally from paddy fields, so they're used to very shallow water and are kept in ridiculously small cups of water in the pet shop:

This is how the bettas were first housed, until we splashed out on $1.22 bowls from the charity shop. Thanks to Raph for the photo, and for putting it on facebook......

 Although as LK said - paddy fields may be shallow, but they are wide so he felt it only appropriate to liberate them from their tiny cups. More to the point, I was worried that a fish just lying around in a glass would be accidentally picked up and drunk. Especially when you see the photo above.

Ok, I was worried that I would accidentally drink a fish.

Another thing about betas - it's the boys that are pretty. Pretty beautiful, and pretty aggressive. Their alternate name is 'Siamese fighting fish' something we have yet to put to the test as they're in their own bowls as a preventative measure. No fighting to the death for you my boys! These aggressive lads have been named by my two girls. Are you ready for it? Meet:



"Rainbow Unicorn"

or as Lucy says 'Wainbow Unicorn'.

If I was a proud male beta that would make me a tad aggressive too. Any comedy pet names in your family history? Lucy's original fish was called Rose 'Wose' but he swam off this mortal coil after only 24 hours, likely due to the ignominy of his name.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Boden! Or, Twee For Two

I love Boden. If at all possible I will sneak away for ten minutes with the Boden catalogue and daydream about fun prints, effortless style, and which three items I will purchase to make my fourth item free. Because free is all I can afford from the Boden catalogue.

Then a couple of months ago I was on a birthday shopping trip with a friend at Nordstrom, somewhere I only ever go to the use the loo, and two Boden dresses jumped off the rack and mugged me right in the childrens section. I swear. On sale, in my daughter's sizes. AND, in a blueberry print, perfect for our upcoming trip to Maine.

Now, the nice thing about living in Southern California is that - unlike your normal UK high street -  you are us unlikely to see a Boden print walking around as you are to see a pair of Marks and Spencers knickers. The chances of someone else wearing the same dress were slim to none, and the chances that someone else (my husband) knowing that I'd spent Boden prices on dresses, even when on sale, were negligible too. Hooray for me.
Here are my girls in a complete mockery of a Boden ad. 

Anna looks like she's got a serious case of rickets....or she's about to launch into some morris dancing. What is it about these two and not being able to smile at the camera?!

Anyway - the point of this is obviously not to prove how photogenic my children are (!) The point is they are in matching dresses. Something they get a bit of a kick out of, and I'm quite fond of the idea in a nostalgic kind of way. With a three and a half year age gap and Anna approaching eight, there's not going to be much opportunity for this kind of sisterly display in the future. They love wearing the same thing, and that's the important thing - BUT, I bumped in to the mother of an old friend of Anna's the afternoon these photos were taken, and she took one look at the two of them, gave me a knowing smile and said "I'm guessing someone's Grandma did that to them, am I right?" To which I could only give an embarrassed grin.

What do you think - matching dresses cute while it lasts, or too twee?

Friday, September 07, 2012

2nd Grade

2nd Grade has meant a lot of changes for Anna. Not least the fact that she switched schools completely unexpectedly one day before school started. It's a long story, but we were basically one of the last rats to desert a possibly sinking ship. It's been two years of clinging to a school that seemed hell bent on self-destruction, and we did not have any other options. She was on waiting list after waiting list, and my friends had learned not to bring up the subject of schools so that I wouldn't still be on the same subject three hours and two margaritas later.

Then suddenly, during our flight back from Boston we got a call that a space had opened up at the local Charter School. We took a chance, and poor Anna had to start a brand new school 24 hours later. Not a lot of time to prep her, but the 50% of her that is American shone through and she approached it as an adventure, and an opportunity to make new friends, while I, her English mother, agonized over my poor little snowflake's psyche.

She was fine. Is fine, and is loving it. Her first day was described to me as "awesome" and to my dumbstruck father-in-law as having gone "charmingly".

Then of course, there's the introduction of homework. Something she never had at her old school. One of the saving graces about this new school is that Anna knows another friend who goes there, and her Mum who is Lucy's surrogate mother (not really, but yes, really) can pick Anna up two afternoons a week. No small thing considering the school is a year's carbon footprint a week away. The Arctic ice shelf has started to disappear at an alarming rate since we switched schools.

After her first day my friend took her back to her house, and asked if she had any homework to do.

"Sure" said Anna.
"Well, do you want to do it while Sophie does hers?" my friend tried
"No. It's HOMEwork. You do it at HOME" was Anna's too quick retort.

I think she's going to be just fine.

Monday, September 03, 2012


Vacationland is Maine's motto, and we certainly weren't disappointed:

We picked blueberries, swam in lakes, took ferries to tiny Atlantic islands, went fishing on a lobster boat, and ate ice cream every day....It was as if LL Bean had created a picture-perfect Maine vacation. Plus the weather was superb. Thanks so much to LK's sister and Mum for hosting us so and showing us the sights.

Of course, perception is reality, and according to the girls, slightly different things resonated. When Lucy's preschool teacher's asked how her trip to Maine had been Lucy said "we went in Aunty Karen's car and had grape juice boxes" - so, yes, money well spent there.

The best was Anna though. She was shocked to hear LK's Mum speaking in her native tongue - Danish. With every guttural sentence heard, Anna's eyebrows shot further towards her hairline. It must have been very strange for her to hear her Nani suddenly speaking an extremely foreign language. Nothing we thought much of though, until we were talking to LK's sister later on and saying how idyllic a life in Maine seemed (when seen in bucolic August perfection instead of the driving Nor'Easter's of February...). Anna chimed in "Yes! We should move here! Then I wouldn't have to go to school!" We told her that school was mandatory wherever you lived, to which she replied "yes, but not if it's all in Danish!" Our perfect, quintessential Maine vacation, and our three year old liked the juice boxes but was afraid of lobsters, and our seven year old thought we were in Denmark.

Good times.