Everyday Reading

October 20, 2014

Baby #3

Periodically, someone asks if we're going to find out whether we're having a boy or a girl.

And the answer is yes.

I'm not the kind of person who is interested in it being a surprise in the delivery room.

What I don't usually say is that when I went in for my 14 week appointment, I had an ultrasound and the tech was pretty sure she knew what we were having.

But, because I was only 14 weeks along, she could only tell me with 84% accuracy.

So, we've waited to announce until we had a second ultrasound.

Last week, I finally went into a doctor here in London (check out this reception at the doctor's office! I've never been to a doctor in the U.S. with an office like that), and had that second ultrasound.

And the doctor confirmed what the tech in Arizona had guessed two months ago.

All three of our children will be born in different states (assuming I don't go into labor at 33 weeks when we're visiting Austin).

All three of our children will have different birth months (we've got a nice spread of February, May, July, September, and December).

All three of our children will have middle names that start with C (middle names are easy - first names are the worst. We have no names, boy or girl).

All three of my children have a boy cousin on my side just a few weeks older than they are.

And all three of our children are girls.

Now that we know with more than 84% surety, I can't stop looking at my two little girls and imagining them with a third tiny sidekick.

And I just can't wait.

As the oldest of three girls, I am so so happy that I'll have three little girls of my own.

October 17, 2014

London Adventures: Diana Memorial Playground


If there is one thing I've learned about London, it's to ignore the weather forecast and just make plans anyway. 

On this particular morning, it was supposed to rain, but when we got up and got dressed, it was fairly warm and clear. 

So off we headed to Kensington Gardens to check out the Diana Memorial Playground

And. . . we're pretty much ruined for U.S. playgrounds forever. 

This really is one of the best playgrounds I've ever seen (I kept wondering if Prince George ever actually gets to come play on the playground built in his grandmother's honor). 


The centerpiece of the park is this huge pirate ship, surrounded by sand and then with a huge rock and water section where you can pump water, make little rivers, and float tiny boats. Since it wasn't particularly warm or sunny, we tried to avoid the water. 

There are also a number of smaller sections, each kind of tucked away behind various shrubbery and fences. Every time we thought we'd seen the entire place, we'd stumble on another part. 


For a while, we all stuck together in the main part, with Ani digging in the sand and making a long train of sand hills, while Ella explored the pirate ship (and Bart and I enjoyed the plentiful seating), but eventually we split up to explore the various sections.



I loved this section with the giant teepees, while Bart and Ella checked out a section with various musical instruments, including panels you could step on to play notes.


Bart, who loves to climb any tree or structure available (a trait he's passed on to both girls), successfully scaled this . . . I have no idea what it was. Ani was suitably impressed. 


Our last stop in the park was the toddler section, with tiny huts, a wooden wagon, some ride-on horses, and a seesaw.


Before we came to Europe, the girls had never even seen a seesaw, but they are everywhere here, and the girls are huge fans. Especially when Bart is around to really give them a fun ride.

(Ella's headband was a birthday gift from Landen, who sells them in her Etsy shop. I need to convince her to send Ani one too, because as soon as Ella puts it on, Ani tries to grab it off her head and wear it herself) 



It was starting to approach lunchtime, so we decided to continue our Diana theme and head to the nearby Cafe Diana, which Bart's family has long loved. We sat outside and ordered some delicious pitas (Bart's chicken tikka pita was especially fantastic). The promised rain finally rolled in and we were glad our table was covered (and that we'd packed the rain cover for the stroller).

We made a quick dash down to the Tube and arrived home in time for naps and quiet time.

The thing I love most about London is that there is always, ALWAYS, more to see and do. I can't believe how fast our time here is going.

And how many things I'll never have time to write about here, like tea at Harrods this week, or visiting the Science Museum and the Natural History museum, or checking out the Portobello Market on a Saturday morning.

London really is my favorite city in the world.

October 16, 2014

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

It's no secret that What Alice Forgot is one of my favorite books.  I've read it twice, and enjoyed it both times (and raved about it here).

Then I read her next book, The Hypnotist's Love Story, and was definitely underwhelmed (I actually can't remember almost anything about that book now, except that I didn't really care for it).

The Husband's Secret shot her into the spotlight last year when it became a #1 New York Times best-seller and landing on all sorts of Best Books of the Year lists, and I liked that one better, although still not on the level of What Alice Forgot.

Now Big Little Lies is out (it came out in July - it took me a while to work my way to the top of the holds list), and I think it's her next best after What Alice Forgot

It made me laugh, it made me think, and I ignored all sorts of vital tasks to finish it in two days (the sure sign of a good book for me).

It also had the same sort of amusing humor, true-life situations, and slight absurdity that made me love What Alice Forgot.

It's one of those books where you don't want to know too much about it going in - half the fun is watching it all unfold and wondering how exactly things are going to work out.

The main thing you need to know is that a parent died at trivia night at the local elementary school. The big questions are was it a murder? Was it an accident? And, through 95% of the book, the big question is WHO DIED?

The story introduces the death at trivia night, then jumps back about six months, working its way toward the big night. Interspersed with the story are interviews with various parents making accusations or denying any involvement with the mysterious death.

There are three main characters, all of them mothers of kindergarten students.

There is Madeline. Her youngest child is entering kindergarten, but her main focus is on her oldest daughter, Abigail, from her first marriage. Her husband walked out on them both when Abigail was just a few weeks old, but now he's happily remarried and he and his wife live with their kindergarten daughter in the same village, which means Madeline is constantly running into them at school. Worse, Abigail is hugely taken with the new wife and increasingly seems to prefer her dad's family to Madeline.

Then there's Celeste. She's beautiful and also ridiculously wealthy. Her kindergarten boys are super energetic little guys and from the outside, her life looks just about perfect. But, to no reader's surprise, there's more going on behind closed doors than meets the eye.

And then there is Jane. She's a super-young, single mom, and just moved to the village with her only child, Ziggy. He gets accused of hurting another child during kindergarten orientation and instantly, some of the powerful parents in the kindergarten class are turned against both Jane and Ziggy.

The story alternates between the three of them as you find out more about their lives, their children, and what they're keeping to themselves.

It's an absorbing book with lots of plot lines, and I basically loved every minute of it.

I'm not much of a plot guesser (I like to pretend it's because I'm such a fast reader, I have no time to be guessing, but I'm fairly sure the reason is that I'm just not all that clever), and I had no idea who was going to end up dead. If you've read it, I'm terribly curious about whether or not you guessed ahead of time who it was.

Digital copy checked out from my library

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