Wednesday, June 18, 2008


It all started last Thursday, when the teacher who I help run Film Club with said to me, "Is your hairdresser open tomorrow?"

Completely flummoxed by the question, I didn't know what to say. After all, I just had my hair cut, and I even recently purchased a HAIR STRAIGHTENER, which, believe me, was the source of much mirth and merriment in the house. In any case, my friend went on to explain that BBC's Newsround would be visiting our school Friday. 

The boys were beyond excited. You would have thought that Christmas arrived early. As anyone Of A Certain Age (read 8-14) in the U.K. knows, Newsround is the children's BBC news program broadcast every day. 

We thought about what we would say. We thought about what we would wear. I'd like to say that I brushed the boy's hair in anticipation, but we only do that twice a year on school picture day (whether they need it or not).

We got to our school's ICT suite at the appointed time and met Helen, the reporter, and Ushma, the camerawoman. They were incredibly nice, and seemed genuinely chuffed that the children were so excited to meet them. As a journalist, I have to say they were incredibly skilled in making sure that all the children got a chance to be on camera, and also had a really good manner with them all, while also getting the story done.

All in all, they spent more than an hour and a half at the school, filming interviews, reaction shots and introductions. Helen and Ushma carefully explained that even though they were there a long time, it wouldn't all be on newsround. As it was, the report lasted about a minute long (which in TV time, isn't half-bad.)

I didn't have anything to do with who they picked to talk to, but Thing One was interviewed and they used his response (see below). They also did a pretty cute shot of kids reacting to the movie, which included Thing Two, but they ended up not using that. During the shoot, I was busy trying to stay out of the way, while also fetching cold glasses of water and opening and shutting the blinds on demand. (As I actually used my hair straightener that day, I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't get interviewed. But it's all about the kids. Really.)

When the big day came, we....missed it. We only found out that it was broadcast Tuesday morning, when a boy from the school walked up to Thing One and said, "I saw you on telly this morning." His mother later told me she thought her son was kidding when he saw his schoolmates on TV. "You know how it is," she said. "You're trying to get them ready and out the door. I didn't actually believe him."

Since we don't watch TV on school days (that's right. I am a Mean Mother) I had no idea that Newsround is on several times a day. What do we know? We watch the news reports on the Interweb. In any case, my friend the computer whiz was able to download the video from yesterday. It'll be up on this site until the BBC lawyers find me. 

Needless to say, we were thrilled with our one minute of fame. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Young Love (or a story that will make you say, "Ahh.")

Thing Two's life is a constant pursuit to keep up with Thing One. So when Thing One's thoughts turned to love recently, so did Thing Two's. When Thing Two's friend Esme gave him a magnetic dinosaur for his birthday, his most favourite present of the day, that was nothing short of a sign to him that they were meant to be together forever. 

On Sunday, we were discussing our upcoming sojourn to the U.S., when talk turned to Kennywood. For the uninitiated, Kennywod is a fantastic amusement park in Pittsburgh. To our globe-hopping children, Kennywood is in the top three of the most wonderful places on Earth, with Legoland U.K. and Disneyland Paris taking the other two spots.

"You know, on the day Dad and I got married, we went to Kennywood in the morning, rode all of the roller coasters, and then went to get ready for the wedding," I told them.

The boys pondered this (with a great deal of pride, I'd like to think). Thing Two then pipes up, "You know, when I get married, I'm going to take my Esme to Kennywood so WE can ride the roller coasters."

"That's such a good idea," I said. "But does Esme know how you feel about her?"

Misunderstanding the question, Thing Two responded, "Esme makes me feel that when I look at her, it makes me happy."

That's a sentiment that's good enough for a greeting card.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Past Month: An Update

We've been busy, as per usual. But lots of things have happened that I wanted to write about, but haven't had a chance to yet. So to whet your appetites (or at least keep track for myself), here are some of the things I might get a chance to write about soon:

• We are proudly Car Free, and have been for more than a month. Long live Gazerbeam (that's what we called the old car). The sale couldn't have come at a better time, with oil inching toward $150 per barrel. But truth be told, we haven't missed him much, and we haven't neede to use the car club we joined yet.

• We got to see Bruce Springsteen in London! Utterly phenomenal, even (a) if the sound system could have used some work; and (b) we realized how old we were by looking at the OTHER people attending the concert. Bruce even played my most favourite song of all time, "Born to Run." (See the complete set list here.) Many thanks to our friend Zim, who alerted Mr. MarathonMum to the concert when tickets went on sale in December, as he knew of my previous disappointment.

• We had one of our nicest family holidays ever, in the Lake District. It had something for everyone: Beatrix Potter, boats, lakes, an Arts & Crafts house, mini-golf and LOTS of hikes. Fantastic. See picture above, of the boys at the Arts & Crafts house (Blackwell) and Lake Windermere behind them. We will return for sure.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

This is what I"ve been doing all day

There's any number of things I had to do today, but auntly duty called. Proving that ANYONE can have a blog, I present to you Flat Stanley Around the World.