Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tenby / Carew, Wales

Sun:  We woke up to a beautifully clear day, so off we went to Carew to see another castle.  Aaron and I got there by car (two round-abouts, perfectly executed, thankyouverymuch!).  Josh, on the other hand, covered the 6 miles on foot.  Then he decided that wasn't quite enough, so ran on past, doubled back, over, up, and through until he got bored and decided that 12.5 would be plenty for one day.  A quick towel off and a dry sweat-shirt later, he was ready to join us.  Our self-appointed tour guide used the time to verify the posted signs and eventually determined that we should probably take the path toward the castle.
Just off the main path to our left, we passed the Celtic Cross that stands at Carew.  Carved in stone in the 11th century and standing 14 feet tall, the cross is quite spectacular!  


As impressive as the cross was, there was still a little matter of the castle directly behind us.

Unfortunately, upon reaching the reception, we discovered that despite the listed opening times on the website, the gates were firmly locked.   Our tour guide, not the least bit daunted by this change of events, picked up a stick and led us down the path towards the nearby tidal mill.

(This, by the way, this type of very solid stone wall is what potentially lurks under the ever-so-soft and gentle looking greenery that tends to (closely) line either side of the roads around here.  Not exactly a "soft" shoulder...)

The causeway leading to the tidal mill was undergoing construction (the tidal mill is closed during the winter), so we snapped a few more pictures and headed home. 

Mon:  Back to the school-work-cleaning grind.  Aaron rediscovered the dominoes after school and set to work creating pathways under, around, and through anything in his direct path.


Then Daddy rediscovered the dominoes when he got home from work

and pretty soon all three of us were busy making sure the no domino was left behind.

Tues and Weds:  Same old, same old.  Boys did their thing and I cut another minute off my 5K time.  Pretty impressive when you pause to consider the fact that the last hill gets at least 15 feet longer and steepens by at least 5% every time I run it.  My pride demands that the neighbors don't see me walk up it, though, so although it isn't pretty, I run all the way to the door!  (No, we're not going to compare notes on what I consider "running" vs. what Josh does when he is actually running.)

Thurs:  The CRB cleared me to work in a volunteer capacity at the school, so I spent the morning helping out in the library and then went to Saundersfoot with a friend for lunch at the Cliff Restaurant.  Ironically, Josh and Aaron presented me with an early birthday card that evening for a fabulous day of being pampered at the spa at St. Brides. Mmmmm... I think I could rather get used to that kind of irony!

Fri:  Almost didn't come quickly enough!  Another good run for me in the morning, then I spent the day finishing up the house chores so that we could play all weekend.

Sat:  We were hopeful that after having lived here for (almost) 5 months, we'd FINALLY have built up enough "history" to help us qualify for a proper cell-phone contract.  Sadly, our new iPhones will have to wait a little longer to come home with us.  After having spent the last 15+ years being people who show up on credit checks as a good risk, having no traceable identity really puts a damper on foolishly spending our money on things we already have the next-to-last-version of.  In our defense, the iPhones that we had in the States remain locked, despite having payed in full for the phones when we broke our not-going-to-work-in-the-UK-unless-you-want-to-pay-through-the-teeth-for-roaming contracts.  Josh has an almost useable Blackberry through work, but being a person with no identity, no job, and a visa that restricts me from getting a job, I only qualify for a pay-as-you-go phone that sometimes forgets how to make phone calls.  First world problems, I know, I know.  Still?  It kinda sucks.

Next week is starting out on a high note, well, for me at least.  I have no idea what the boys are planning to do once they drop me off to be properly pampered!  This week we'll leave you with this video as Aaron thought it would be a neat idea to show everyone what a waterwheel (like the one we think might be at the tidal mill in Carew) can do.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tenby, Wales

Wow, Saturday already?  This week just flew by and I don't think I picked up the camera even once!  We all stayed pretty busy this week, but in a "hey! Where did the week go and what exactly did we do?" kind of way.  I'll try to make up for the lack of photos in this post with next week's update.

Sun:  Took a drive into Pembroke Dock to do some shopping.  This bears mentioning because I was the one who did the driving and no one got hurt or was even mentally scarred by the experience. :)

Mon:  Back to school for Aaron, back to work for Josh, and the ravages of the lazy weekend to clean up for me.  Josh's presence was required at dinner with the work delegation in town from San Antonio, so Aaron and I put together a lasagna, played a few games of mancala, and finished off the puzzle.  Josh brought home a bag full of goodies from San Antonio... apparently he caught grief for his prizes, but the possibility of homemade corn tortillas and chicken smothered in proper BBQ sauce more than made up for it.

Tues:  More of the same... this time Aaron and I made breakfast for dinner and enjoyed it while watching The Incredibles.

Weds:  Work + school + laundry = must be the middle of the week!  I managed to cut a couple of minutes off my 5K time (it became embarrassingly apparent that I may have indulged in too many mince pies over the Christmas break, so I've been run/walking around Tenby in the mornings after I drop Aaron off at school).  I had intended to take the camera along so that I would have at least a few pictures for this post, but was rather glad that I didn't when I saw my final time.  I sort of remember this feeling -- this "hey!  I like running!" feeling from the days when I was training for the half marathon.

Thurs:  Aaron brought home a reminder from school about "Cake Friday" -- a great little bake-sale/fundraiser that the Friends of St. Teilo's organization (similar to PTA) organizes and runs for each of the classes.  The proceeds of each event are earmarked for a particular class and the parents of the class are responsible for bringing in the goodies to be sold.  This week his class was the lucky recipient, so Mama had some baking to do!!  We threw together a rather tasty looking banana bread and some not-quite-so-appealing chocolate chip cookies.  Although Josh assured me that the cookies tasted fine, we decided that the bread would be our contribution.

Fri:  I met with the Friends (see above) group for coffee.  After agreeing to take on the role of secretary, I headed home to mix up some lemon bars and chocolate chip cookies for the bake-sale.  The cookies and lemon bars were snatched up before we made our choices, much to Aaron's dismay.  He perked up when I reminded him that we still had the cookies from the night before and managed to put together a tasty selection from what was still available to take home.
Cake Friday Bounty!

Sat:  Aaron woke up early and pulled Josh out of bed to go watch The Incredibles.  Again.  We hung around for most of the day, checked off the chores that hadn't made it to the top of the list during the week, and finished up the day with Josh making pasta carbonara for dinner.  The plan is to start tomorrow out with a run, then head over to Carew to check out the castle there.  If all goes as planned, we'll have plenty of pictures to share next week!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tenby / Pembroke, Wales

Sun:  As promised, we made our way to Pembroke to play in the park. We haven't found too many parks locally (none within walking distance) with play structures, so it was a real treat to have the whole place almost entirely to ourselves!  After climbing and swinging and spinning and jumping and going over, under, up, through, and around, we wandered over to the adjacent field to practice some of the football skills that Aaron had picked up in his camp last week.
I do exist!

Afterward, we walked up the hill and into town to recharge.  After our Sunday Lunch at The Royal George, we wandered around the corner and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Pembroke Castle.  There is a fun virtual tour of the castle here and this site has even more (and, quite frankly, better) pictures along with a summary of the history of Pembroke Castle.  

Looking back at the main entrance... the town of Pembroke lies beyond the stone walls.
Leave it to Aaron to find the only electrical
outlet in the place. 

This was perhaps the most astonishing "room" that we encountered during our visit:

This is the Wogan Cavern -- an enormous limestone cavern in which tools from the Middle Stone Age and Roman coins have been found.  The Normans, who later built the stone fortress above, probably used this cavern as storage for supplies and boats.  

Josh gives you an idea of the vastness of this cavern! 

Mon:  Aaron took full advantage of his last day of winter break and used up all but 15 minutes of the screen-time he had earned for the week.  We made grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast, popped two different kinds of popcorn (buttered and sweet), and hung out in our jammies until nearly noon.  For lunch Chef Aaron created his "Year Starter and Ender Sandwich" -- a tasty little concoction of bread, turkey, butter, turkey, bread, turkey, butter, turkey, bread, turkey, butter, turkey, bread, turkey, tomato, lettuce, butter, turkey, sugar/brown sugar, and bread in that order.  After a couple of trial runs (parsley, salt, pepper, and lemon juice didn't make the cut), it was decreed good enough to earn a space in his recipe book. 

Tues - Fri:  Back to school for Aaron!  He was all smiles both at drop-off(s) and pick-up(s), so I'm guessing he really meant it when he told me the Friday before that he was "ready to see all my friends because you're just a little bit boring sometimes, Mommy."  I took full advantage of having some time and the house to myself and got through the last of the boxes of stuff that we brought with us because we just couldn't imagine living without the contents.  Almost 5 months later, most of those oh-so-important items were given a permanent home in the storage room (aka the not-quite-big-enough-for-a-car garage).  

Sat:  Today was a lazy, hang around the house day.  It was cold(ish) and fairly windy -- the perfect day to stay inside with a cup of tea and a puzzle!  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tenby / Carmarthen, Wales

Welcome to the new(ish) site.  Along with the unpacking of boxes and readjusting our family habits these past 4 months, I've been struggling to figure out what goes where, story and thought-wise.  I'm still playing around with the layout (both figuratively and literally), but for now this is the landing spot for the communally shareable but not, perhaps, communally interesting.  Put another way, this is where I will put the bits and pieces in which both my mother and mother-in-law might be interested -- pictures from trips, weekly updates of our oh-so-exciting lives, and anything else that fits under the heading of "JoshandSusanandAaron".  Facebook goes back to being the forum for quick quips and general shout outs and for stalking the lives of everyone else.  My personal blog goes back to being personal.  And I think the blender will go back to the shelf under the microwave.  I'll update Facebook as I put something new up here.

Some of you playing along might recognize some of the earlier posts since this site started out as a way to chronicle Josh's climbing trip in Ecuador during the summer of 2009.  Go back even further and you'll find that I've begun adding in the pictures and stories of some of our even earlier adventures.  The final product, I hope, will be something we three can look back on as a sort of memory book.  That is assuming, of course, that I keep it up and that there is at some point an end to the traveling.

So, without any further introduction or explanation, here's the first of our weekly updates:

(Sat)Sun:  We all managed to stay awake until midnight this year!  At about 11:45, we bundled up and walked into the town center to experience our first New Year, Tenby style.  Midnight marked a balloon drop from an enormous netting stretched across Tudor Square, followed by a fireworks extravaganza.  Surrounded by faces peering happily up into the night sky, the feeling that 2012 is going to be a very special year was palpable.
Another good sign for the New Year?  The entire family sleeping in past 9:30am!  Meltdowns following the up-all-night revelry were kept minimal and only one of us had to take a time out before early bedtime was declared at 7:30pm.

Mon:  We packed up and drove into Carmarthen to see Arthur Christmas.  Well worth the drive -- we all enjoyed the story, though it's entirely possible that one of us enjoyed more than his fair share of the popcorn.

Tues/Weds:  Aaron attended football(soccer) camp at the Leisure Centre.  In the evenings, we finalized dates for a trip back to the States in February (hooray!).

Fri:  Aaron showed off his Welsh skills at dinner in a local restaurant... after ordering a cheeseburger and asking for ketchup for his chips(fries)

Sat:  Josh ran through the nearby country side while Aaron and I walked down to the beach in search of seashells.  I promised one minute of screen time for every shell we picked up... 130 shells later, I decided we had enough to get started on our little project and Aaron was more than happy to spend some quality time collecting coins and stomping on turtles with his best friend Mario.

Tomorrow we're headed to Pembroke to play in the park and visit the castle where King Henry VII was (apparently) born.