8:21 PM

It’s so quiet. I’m sitting in the dark, in my bed. The baby is asleep next to me. Fynn is asleep in his room. I could go downstairs and do grown-up things (like laundry and dishes and more laundry) but no. I’m sitting in the dark, in my bed. Drinking wine. I’m also wondering if I will manage to stay awake through an entire movie? I am kinda hungry but really lazy. This never happens, this all quiet in the Macken house. I don’t know what to do with myself. So I’m just gonna sit in the dark, in my bed. And drink wine.

And Billy…this is for you.

Do Something That Scares You

I blogged a while ago about blogging more which has obviously not been happening.  I admittedly lack the discipline of a daily writing practice.  I am the same way with yoga,  I really want to be that girl but haven’t gotten there yet.  I have also blogged about how much I love the Fall and how it always makes me want to go back to school, and I’ve blogged about online writing courses and being a snob about DeVry.  As my Mom would say, I’ve been putting the same thoughts out there for a while and the laws of attraction seem to have delivered.  Next week I am going to begin a Stanford Continuing Studies course for Short Story Writing.  I don’t think of myself as timid or afraid or easily daunted.  I am deathly afraid of spiders and overflowing toilets, I have some more existential concerns about illness and death but to dwell on those fears seems futile and a colossal waste of my youth and my health.  I have learned however that I’m a little scared of writing fiction.  I have never tried.  I don’t think of myself as very imaginative and I am about to spend ten weeks in chat rooms with strangers whom I’m going to naively assume do write fiction.  But I need some discipline and some direction and in the vein of self-help gurus I am going to jump in headfirst and do something that scares me…at Stanford, ha!

Dirty Bertie the Class Bear

I was pretty sure that I had a few more years before I had to start doing Fynn’s homework.  He is still two months away from three, although lately I think he may be closer to a teen than a toddler.  The nursery school he goes to in Lower Beeding is adorable, overstaffed and full of enthusiastic teachers, there has been nothing not to love UNTIL….

Bertie the Bear

Bertie the Bear

Picking Fynn up from school yesterday one of the sweet teachers asked “If Fynn would like to take Bertie home for the weekend and keep his journal?”.  Fynn was busy playing with a tractor.  He cares as much for stuffed animals as I do about golf.  My immediate thought was if I could say no.  My second thought was yuck.  My third thought was, seriously, he can’t write, spell, read, take photos and have them printed…oh yeah that’s part of the deal.  And then I went back to yuck.  You know how kids get sick and make everyone else sick???  Well I’m pretty sure Bertie here is as good as Patient Zero.

Dirty Bertie the Coodie Catcher

Dirty Bertie the Coodie Catcher

But as I am not about to be a play-school mom flunky yet I smiled and took the damn bear.  Fynn doesn’t have enough vocab to effectively rat me out so I am confident in my ability to successfully cheat this assignment, except I really don’t want to touch that germ mobile.  I have my first outing all planned…

A Day At the Bear Wash

A Day At the Bear Wash

Meanwhile, Fynn keeps asking me “Where’d that come from?”.  Oh Fynn, here we go.

xx bad mom



Our official move to England was three weeks last Sunday and so far it has been fantastic.  Of course I am writing this from Ireland because when we are in Europe we find in near on impossible to stay in one place for more than two weeks but c’est la vie.  Our sweet converted barn is full of light and looks out on ponies, ponds and very friendly ducks.  Everyone speaks my language…even if I don’t always speak theirs i.e.; tea for supper, biscuit for cookie, crisp for cracker and petrol for gas.  Fynn loves his new nursery school and I love our new life.  With friends all around it is a stark contrast to our last few years in Maastricht.

So far I have had only one major hiccup and it involves online grocery shopping.  In the vein of “everyone is doing it”  I have tried and tried again.  What I keep getting are deliveries of the most random things imaginable.

First Attempt:
Breakfast sausage (I thought I was ordering normal sized sausage)
Bread (that we didn’t need)
The smallest bag of spinach possible
A pint of milk
4 packages of diapers (Instead of 2)
more cheese
more hummus

Second Attempt:
Blueberries (that I didn’t need)
Salmon for one
Bread (that we didn’t need)
The biggest bag of spinach possible
more diapers
more cheese
ice cream (how did that get in there?)
more hummus
brown rice
a giant bag of sweet potatoes

Third Attempt:
Paper towels aka kitchen roll
Toilet paper aka loo roll
Baby wipes (A LOT of baby wipes)
more bread
4 cans of chick peas

In one way it’s like Christmas when that Ocado truck pulls up because I have no idea what’s going to come out.  You do the ordering a day or two ahead of time and with mom-brain it may as well have been last year.  On the other hand if you noticed my deliveries there is really nothing to eat.  I mean I love grilled cheese as much as the next girl but they do not a balanced diet make.  So I have learned I am a tactile grocery shopper, I like to browse and I need the pressure of having to get home to make me focus.  If I could become as proficient at online groceries as I am at Amazon anything then maybe we’d have more to eat than bread and cheese and vodka (which when I see it written doesn’t sound so bad).  In the meantime, potty training will have to wait for at least two hundred diaper changes…that shit (literally) was expensive.

xx n

Remember When…

Dear Fynn,

Sometimes I think I liked you better when all your food was pureed and you were strapped down to eat it.  Daddy started the day by breaking up your Weetabix which resulted in a solid twenty minute tantrum in which you refused to get off the kitchen floor.  When you stopped fake crying and hyperventilating we started over with whole Weetabix and our morning went smoothly from there.

As I write this we have been having an hour long negotiation over your lunch.  You played with your soup for a solid twenty minutes and are just about to put the last piece of grilled cheese in your mouth (going, going, gone!). You keep asking if you are done and I keep replying you must finish half the sandwich to which you reply “Ahhh man”.   Now you are sitting crossed legged in your high chair devouring pineapple….nope you’re done and running out of the kitchen.

At this rate you’ll be starving by 4pm but alas I’m not worried you’ll eat your shoes before then.  You used to love butternut squash soup, or maybe you hated it but you had no words and couldn’t get away, either way those meals were a lot easier.  The flip side is now you look at me over your plate and say “Ahhh man” and shrug which is hilarious and if I laugh you tell me to stop because “it’s not funny”.  But dear Fynn, it is funny and sweet and messy and sometimes exhausting and I love you.

xx Momma


Last Thursday I went on a mission to Ikea.  Mission is the only word to describe both getting there and shopping there.  The first twenty miles were on the motorway and took about twenty minutes, the last seven miles took forty and were hell.  I watched a huge truck t-bone a car the size of a lady bug in a slow speed crash.  There were traffic lights that were green for all of thirty seconds.  In Purley the roads get so squiggly I think the major intersection was paved around a couple of buildings.

Stressed from the drive and tight on time I ran through Ikea like a finalist on Supermarket Sweep.  I weaved and took shortcuts and nearly ran an old lady over.  But here’s my question for Ikea stores the world over:  Why build twenty-six checkout lanes if you are only ever going to open two.  There are express self check out lanes for customers with ten items or less…which begs a second question: Who manages ten things or less in Ikea?  For the rest of us three dozen shoppers with carts full of flat pack step stools, bendy straws, bedding and the like there were two checkers working.  It drives me bananas.  This store is twelve miles from the center of London, it’s Ikea, it’s guaranteed to always be busy.

Thirty minutes later I had paid and made a solemn promise to myself to never shop there again.  I will however let them deliver.


From Wednesday

We are spending the next six months in England.  Handcross, West Sussex to be precise.  Precision I’ve been quick to learn in the last five days is less intersections and numbered addresses more familiarity and landmarks.

Directions go like so:

Go out the gate turn right, then left at that little fork in the road.
Take that till you get to the pub on the right, take the left fork.
Keep going thru the next roundabout, past the school and at the pub turn left.
Follow that down two miles or so and you’ll come to a crossroads, go left.
The grocery store is up on the right.  You can’t miss it.

Famous last words.  I need a GPS to go buy a GPS.  What I have learned is that Amazon Prime has nothing on these British companies.  After a failed attempt to find a TomTom it was suggested I order it online for next morning delivery….this was at 4pm.  My TomTom arrived at my front door at 9:57am the next morning.  Incredible.  I ask where the nearest grocery store is, my friends look at me with dismay….they all shop online and schedule delivery.  Done.  Milk, eggs, chicken, toilet paper, toasted sesame oil, diapers…it will all be here tomorrow between 10am and 11am.  I scheduled a “green delivery” meaning there are a few of us in the neighborhood with scheduled deliveries and it saves fuel and cuts down on emissions when we all click time slots together.  Incredible.

We’ve got friendly ducks and two ponies outside our windows.  Marmalade and Tiger Mouse are furry little Shetlands who love carrots, escaping and Fynn.  Stale bread gets fed to the ducks.  There are fish in the ponds.  There are so many dandelions floating through the air it looked like snow today.  It has been gloriously perfectly sunny since we landed on Sunday but tomorrow the forecast is “hard rain all day”.

We speak the language.  The grocery stores have Cholula (both original and chipotle).  I’ve got an Audi A6 stick shift that has a tape deck and a six disk changer!!!  So far so good.


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