Friday, 29 June 2012

6 Months Later...

It is hard to believe that 6 months ago, we were packing up to move here.  I had never seen our house, our vehicle or the kids' schools.  I was 31 weeks pregnant with no doctor and no real plan of where to have the baby.  There were so many unknowns and even more things to learn.  But now, looking back, time passed quickly.  Here we are 6 months later settled in our house, saying goodbye to our kids' teachers for the summer, and enjoying our sweet baby girl, Cora.  All of those things that seemed so different and new are just part of our normal life and routine now.  I don't even have to think about driving on the left side of the road.  I am used to doing laundry in the kitchen and taking it out to the dryer in the garage, even if that means I have to go out in the rain.  Speaking of rain, we no longer hide inside when it's raining.  Our wellies are broken in, and we learned that as long as it is not pouring, we can play in it.  It is truly amazing how quickly we adjust.

After 6 months, I have to I gaining or losing?  Wow, you might think I am quite brave to write about my weight on here.  HA!  I am not talking about my weight, but rather about gaining or losing life experiences.  During these 6 months, I have missed out on so many special events with my family.  I missed my Goddaughter, Lily's, first birthday party (although I was able to Skype when they sang to her).  I missed having my sister tell me in person that she was expecting a baby.  I missed seeing the new houses that my brother and sister recently purchased.  I missed celebrating Easter with our families, getting pictures with the Easter Bunny and hunting for eggs with the cousins.  I missed Mother's Day and Father's Day get togethers with our families as well as several family birthday parties.  I also missed out on keeping up with family and friends simply due to the time change making it difficult to talk.  It just makes me wonder if I am going to look back someday and regret living so far away.   

I have to look at all of the experiences I gained too.  I learned what it was like to move to a different country...that's a big one!  I experienced maternity care from a midwife and delivery in a birthing center.  I learned how to drive on the opposite side of the road.  We've been able to explore new places and visit castles.  We enjoyed a visit to London with my parents.  We got to travel in the Eurotunnel, visit Paris and enjoy Disneyland for a week.  I made new friends that I never would've met.  I know what it feels like to be the one with an accent.  I now walk to places much more than I did in the past.  And although we missed out on family time in St. Louis, we strengthened our own family relationship through all of this.

Just as I tell Dylan and Amelia, it is not about who wins or loses.  It's about having fun when you play the game.  I feel the same way about living here.  I need to make the best of it while we are here.  Sometimes I wonder why God brought me here, but I may not find out that answer for many years to come.  It is often when you look back on something that you realize why it happened.  So we will continue wearing our wellies, exploring places we've never been and making memories with our children.

Is it too early to start a countdown?  Our plan was to be here for two years.  Eric started on October 1, 2011.  So that makes 9 months down and 15 months to go.  That's not too long, and it will fly by quickly.

Tomorrow morning, we depart for St. Louis.  I believe 6 months is the longest I have ever been away.  Our parents visited and met Cora, but she will finally get to meet her aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.  I cannot wait!  Tomorrow will be Cora's first plane ride and the longest day of her life.  Literally, we add 6 hours to our day tomorrow.  Please pray for safe, on-time travels with well-behaved, happy and quiet children.

Father's Day

In the U.K., Father's Day is celebrated on the same day as in the U.S.  Mother's Day, on the other hand, is celebrated in March here in the U.K. and in May for the states.  I'm not sure why there is a difference.  Either way, we get to celebrate DADS! 

One of the things I miss the most is getting together with our families on special days like Father's Day.  Everyone brings something, and we hang out, swim and usually barbeque.  It's always fun seeing everyone and sharing that family time.  Since we have no family around, we made the best of it with just the five of us.  We made Eric breakfast in bed, went to church and spent the afternoon at the adventure playground.  It was a fun family day, but we did miss our extended families. 

I love the ideas on Pinterest!  I just wish there was a Hobby Lobby or some sort of craft shop here.  These were the only colors of cardstock I could find.  Not my first choice, but it still turned out cute.  Notice how close in size Amelia's hand is to Dylan's! 


Some updated pictures for Daddy's wallet...since he still has baby pictures of Dylan!

Daddy wanted to spend the day at the Adventure Playground again.  Dylan and Amelia were thrilled!  They are getting very brave, and their balance has improved already.  They were much more confident this time.

Cora had just fallen asleep in the stroller, so we just did the big kids and Dad.

Mommy got up there and gave it a try.  Whoa!  Amelia was way ahead of me!  I was slow, but I made it to the big slide.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!  We love you!

Monday, 25 June 2012

More From Nana's visit...

After being on the go over the long weekend, we decided to spend Wednesday at home.

Such a happy baby after her morning nap!

Cora's first time in the exersaucer!  She loved looking around at all of us.  Thanks, Nana, for getting it wiped down for her to use.

Such a sweet big brother!

Here is a cute video of Amelia getting Cora to smile at dinner...

I was watching the kids and Nana from Dylan's window.  They were having fun trying to keep away from Nana.  I think she got her workout!

We went out to dinner on Wednesday.  Amelia wore her Dorothy costume, complete with braids and sparkly red shoes.  Wouldn't it be fun to be 3 again?

On Thursday, we went to Bath.  I found that no matter what time of day, no matter what day of the week, there is always traffic in Bath!  The 25 minute trip took closer to 45 after all of the traffic.  We ended up taking the double decker tour bus since it was pouring down rain.  Bath has the closest "real" stores for shopping.  With three kids and a rainy day, we only made it to 2 stores.  I do not remember how long it took us to get home, but it felt like FOREVER, especially with a baby who was hungry and kids who needed to go to the bathroom.  There are no places to even pull over and stop in the city, and even if there were, we were not even moving.  We talked about taking the train into Bath next time to avoid the traffic.  

On the double decker tour bus in front of Bath Abbey

Rainy day in Bath                        Bath Abbey

I've got her, Mom.

Poor Dylan came down with a stomach bug which left us home on Friday.  I was able to do a few quick errands with NO KIDS, so that was a treat for me.  On Saturday, we took Nana to Lacock Village.

They waited patiently as we changed Cora...outfit #2 already and we had just arrived!

Harry Potter was filmed at the Abbey (in background)

The little shops were very unique.  This one has products made from wool.

People still live in this village...even with the small doors!

Time for a treat from the Lacock Bakery

Signing the guest book and enjoying our bakery treats

Notice the cushions hanging in the pews.  This was what they used before kneelers.

Fun at the playground!
Sweet Cora watching the kids on the playground

Their favorite time of the night...books!
Nana got to know many of their favorite books and characters including Pinkalicious and Franklin.

Planting flowers with Nana

Riding bikes again
Watching the big kids ride bikes.                                     Look at those blue eyes!

We walked to McDonald's and enjoyed dinner and ice cream with Nana.

Oh it's never easy to say goodbye.  We truly had such a great time with Nana here.  She saw the kids' schools, went to church with us and got a little feel for our life here in Chippenham.  We had 10 days of fun and laughs, and then the tears came when we said goodbye.  At least we will see her again in just 3 more weeks.

Thanks for a great visit, Nana!  We love you!