Sunday, 14 October 2012

Autumn? Is That You?

Finished cake went down a treat! Before the family got a taste...
This week has been a very home-based week, and much cooler too (a little bit like a fake Autumn...) with me being put to the test as a nanny, giving my cousin and cousin-in-law time to enjoy themselves on a well earned holiday. With the grandparents here at the beginning of the week, we celebrated the eldest's birthday as family (see photos of the finished cake, two gallons of ice cream and his awesome ‘OPEN’ neon sign which Meg and I brought back from the Antiques fair for him) and decided to take the two youngest boys to the Museum of Natural Science in Houston’s Downtown Museum District on Monday as school was shut for Columbus Day (happy you-were-discovered-day America!)

...and after.

Such an antiques find! He loved it.
The museum itself has a huge planetarium, museum halls and a butterfly centre – all of which were brilliant, though I am a sucker for museums anyway. The butterfly centre was absolutely beautiful especially in the morning sunshine, and the butterflies themselves were so docile and precious. The Palaeontology hall was very impressive, even more so than the Natural History Museum in New York which has a huge collection of dinosaurs – this one was definitely a highlight for me.

The exhibitions on science in action, the Incas and Aztecs, and getting lost on a non-existent floor were very interesting too, even if science isn’t really my thing. However, the science really interested the boys. Through looking after them, I’ve now learnt the difficult art of taking young children to museums; never take them to one that you wish to look around yourself as you do, inevitably, end up chasing them around the exhibitions instead of enjoying them yourself. But hey, I had a great time with the boys and was very kindly taken out to lunch afterwards so had a wonderful family day out.

Outside the butterfly centre.

Doing Science.

Pretending to be intellectual.

Outside - it was cool enough over the weekend for me to wear tights as it got down to about 18 degrees? Unseasonal for Texas. But, not to fear, it's gone back up to 28/29 now.

The rest of the week saw me reading at home, cycling to the Library a few times which, in 30+ degree heat and sunshine, and measuring 3 miles in distance, is no mean feat. With Meg I experienced the wonder that is Costco; a personification of the large, kind of outrageous nature of America, which is a warehouse turned huge supermarket, which to enter it you have to have a membership card. Everything was sold in bulk and we found a pile of pop-tarts (horrific) as tall as me, if not taller! Being 5”3 that’s not really a challenge. We bumped into a few people we knew and I made awkward conversation whilst holding a frozen chicken.

On Tuesday evening I went to the local book group to discuss, 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' with several older women, the youngest of whom was English and was running the session! It was incredibly fun and having a natter, or good old fashioned mother's-meeting as we Brits would call it, was lovely especially as we were talking about one of my favourite books.

Anyway, with the adults out of town I have had plenty of time to read, experience American TV which is awful, and gather myself after having been here over two weeks, almost three – can you believe it? So much has happened to me, and I’m ready to face anything and everything over the next few weeks. I’ve made a list of things to do before I leave, including the Ben and Jerry’s cafe I spied downtown, and the other museums, art galleries and shopping – I have yet to experience one of the largest malls in the US which is right here in Houston! Hopefully I’ll be cleared by the security system too and I’ll be able to begin volunteering at the local Elementary school to further my experiences here. 

Who needs this many pop-tarts?!
Summary of my week; getting the boys off the school bus/home alive and reading on the front porch.
Ps, today there’s a severe weather warning over our county with warnings of thunderstorms, torrential rain and tornados. Welcome to the Gulf Coast! And, I had doughnuts for Breakfast which were a massive treat. I know, I couldn't believe it either. This week has been a great week for food, with me trying (and adoring) pumpkin pancakes and maple syrup for the first time, a recipe which I am definitely taking home, and Cavatelli. Beautiful.

The boys said that these were, and I quote, "the best doughnuts in the world!" and they were not wrong.


  1. Oh wow, it sounds as if you are having the most wonderful time! It sounds like such a great experience, I can't wait to read more of your adventures :) xxx

    1. It was brilliant, thank you! xxx