Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fall and Freedom

As I write this, I am sitting in Bent's Garden Center...alone.  That means, I drove...all by myself :)  And to top it off, I didn't hit anything or stall out on my way here!  Woohoo.

So I have looked around, without children pulling at me.  And now I sit with a vanilla latte and cheese scone.  I don't have to share my scone or latte (Evie girl loves her some coffee and tea!).  Can you tell I am a little bit excited about this???

So let me take some of this time to update the ole blog :)

In random thoughts of course....

*Fall is in the air here.  The leaves are changing and I have a vest on.  We have had some cold mornings, but there have been many days lately where the temps have risen during the day and it's been quite nice.

*Evie celebrated her 3rd b'day a couple weeks ago.  I took pics, but my hard drive is full, therefore I can't upload pics from my camera.  It's on the to do list to clean off my hard drive...eventually we will get to that.  She had a blast on her big day though.  We had friends over and had pizza and "Peppa Pig" cookie cakes and "Muddy Puddles" (meaning chocolate pudding with fun toppings).

*We went yesterday and looked at the preschool we hope to start Evie in beginning in Jan.  She will get to go 2-3 days a week (and it's free to boot!).  She loved looking around and had a hard time convincing to leave :)

*Silas turned 6 months old last week!  He is such a sweet easy going baby.  We are delving slowly into foods for him.  Most days I just give him something at dinner time (evening meal--called "tea" here).  So far he has had avocado, banana, and sweet potato.  He is getting better at eating and seems to love everything so far.

*Sarah Kate is doing well at school. She was commended yesterday and was "star" runner for running club this week too!  She loves running club and seems to do quite well :)  We also do "cookery" club and she enjoys that :)

*Silas was baptized on Sunday.  Michael got to do it and that was so precious.  I teared up of course :)  We have a video of it if anyone wants us to send it to them we are happy to share :)

*This Tuesday, Michael and I are going to take our "theory driving test".  I guess I should be studying right now, but I will get to that later...

*There is Christmas stuff coming out in all the stores.  It's too early.  Just my random thoughts on that :)

That's all I got right brain is too tired to think of what else I could update on...oh well :)

Off to enjoy a little more strolling around Bents, then *hopefully* a nice drive home!

Thursday, September 10, 2015


So I have so many posts I could many things I haven't blogged about, but that is just how it goes these days.

I am good at doing random posts, so that is how we will do today :)  That is how my brain works with so much going on and such little time to spend on here.

*I have a driving lesson today.  This will be my 3rd.  While I have driven about 16 years, I haven't driven in the UK and haven't ever learned how to drive a manual.  So I get lessons.  Driving here is much different and takes learning for sure.  You are on the other side of the car, driving on the other side of the road and that really can mess with a girls brain!  Then there are so many roundabouts and different signs to learn how to navigate.  There are pelican crossings, toucan crossings, zebra crossings, etc. etc.  All I need to know to pass the theory test and hazard perception test then take the driving test.  So far my lessons are helping.  I am getting out on the road more with Michael with me and practicing what I am learning.  I have only stalled out a **few** ish times :)

*SK is back at school (started last week) and is now in Year 3 (which would be 2nd grade in the states).  She is loving being back with her friends and is doing well so far it seems with what they are working on in the classroom.  Next week, school clubs start and she is pumped to be able to participate in clubs (she started too late in the year after we got here to do them last year).  She will be doing gymnastics and running clubs.  Then she and I are doing a parent/child cookery club, which sounds fun too!  The girl will be busy this fall I think!

*Silas is now 5 months old!  He is such a sweet baby boy.  He is wearing 3-6 month clothing and some 6 month things like sleepers (the boy is tall!)  He will occasionally still sleep through the night, but most nights lately will wake 1 time for a little feed).  He rolls like a champ both ways.  He is pulling himself to sitting positions when he sits in our laps, so I am guessing he is nearing sitting up on his own.  The boy is quite the drooler.  I put bibs on him most days to save his shirts from being soaking wet.  He loves batting and playing with toys now, which is fun.

*Evie girl is nearing her 3rd b'day.  She is quite the handful most days with her spunky spirit and strong will.  She will scream and throw fits most days.  She is getting more and more into playing pretend.  She dances and sings around our house everyday and has the best giggle around.  She loves shoes and loves going to get her sister from school.  She doesn't nap, but will occasionally fall asleep in the stroller (pram) on the way to get her sister from school.  She still refuses to potty train.  I haven't had the energy to fight that one more yet.  She will get there eventually right??!!

*It has turned cold here.  Like I have worn a cardigan or sweater everyday lately.  A couple mornings ago we went out the front door to take SK to school and could see our breath.  We have had to run our radiators.  Today is a bit warmer (high of 72 I think).  Better get used to the cold and dreariness right?  :)

That's all I got for now.  How about that for a quick random update...maybe that will just be the theme of how this blog looks for this season of life.  I think I end up stressing over wanting to do better than just a random update, and then don't end up doing anything at all on here.  I think I might do better if I just give in and do it this way and not give up since I don't have pics uploaded or better organized updates.  Take me or leave me...but this is how it goes these days.  3 Kiddos and life here keep me busy.

Maybe I will come back sooner and update again with some more random goodness....

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Random update...

I know I have become a slacker in the blogging dept.  No need to try and excuse myself right?  Life is crazy and this is just a back burner thing I wish I had time and brain energy to spend time on.  Oh well...

Let me just give a random update...

Sarah Kate is in her last week of school here and then will go on summer break, which will last 6 weeks.  I am excited to have her around more and take a break from rushed mornings trying to get all the kids ready and out the door in time to walk her to school.  She is excited to get into Year 3 after the break :)

Sarah Kate really did great transitioning into the school here.  It has been crazy for me to see how well she has picked up and caught up with what they were learning here.  The school here is at a different pace than where we were in the states.  For instance...she had to catch up with her "numeracy", where the kids in her class were already doing times tables, multiplication, and division!  Then in her handwriting and literacy, where the class was writing stories in paragraph form using adverbials and chronological order and such.  She really has done awesome in working hard to catch up!

She has loved making friends here too.  Yesterday she even got to have one of her classmates over for a playdate after school.  The girl is our little social butterfly for sure!

Her accent is sounding quite "British" at times as well.  She will ask me questions and her inflection at the end sounds like a little British girl.  I think it's cute :)  And she will say words more and more that they pronounce differently or use differently.  For instance...the word "tomato" is pronounced differently here and she says it that way.

On to Evie.  This girl is a mess...She is cute, but a mess.  She will have her fair share of fits each day and is slowly learning to not scream at mommy if she doesn't get her way.  I have tried to convince her it is time to be done with nappies (diapers), to no avail.  She has no shame in wearing a diaper or wetting her underwear if we try that.  She can't be bribed or anything!  She says, "I don't want chocolate!" even when I try to bribe with chocolate.  I decided after trying really hard with her yesterday and having multiple clean ups (even having to clean the couch) that we will wait a bit more.  I ain't got time to deal with that craziness right now.

Silas is doing well.  He is 3 months old now!  Hard to believe.  He had "jabs" on Monday so has been little more needy the last couple of days, but overall is an easy baby.  He normally sleeps through the night waking around 6 a.m.  The last couple of nights he has woken 1 time for a feed, but that hasn't been his norm and I am blaming that on the shots hoping he will go back to sleeping through soon.  He is a great nurser now too.  I have no idea what he weighs now, but hope to take him tomorrow to a clinic they have 1 time a week where I can have his weight checked.  They just don't seem to check weight here near as often as they do in the states.  He is in 3 month clothes now and fills those things out with his length.  I think he is going to be tall :)

What else have we been up to...

My brain is tired.  I guess I can blame it on lack of sleep the last couple of nights.  Our days just seem to always have big lists of things that need to get done, but only so much actually gets checked off each day.  Michael had to build a gate for our driveway, which took all day on Sat., but thankfully now, we have a gate so I can send Evie out to play without her being able to run to our front yard/road.  We have recently discovered that our fridge is not properly cooling.  We knew it didn't feel cool and our milk and such were going bad very quickly.  We put a fridge thermometer in and it is reading 12 degrees Celsius.  That's not good.  Finally got a hold of the letting agency on Monday morning, then they had someone come out this morning to look at the fridge to see if it could be repaired or just need to be replaced.  It sounds like it will have to be replaced, but we have to wait to hear back from the letting agency after they talk with the landlord.  All that to say....things take forever to get done here.  So for now, I only buy what we need each day and a small carton of milk so as to not have to throw out milk after a day or so.

We are hoping to go to Wales on Monday for a little day trip (Wales is only about an hour away from us) and see the coast.  Maybe I will get a chance to blog about that...maybe.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sarah Kate turns 7!

First I will start by saying the common saying, "I can't believe my baby is 7 today."  I really can't.  She has done a lot in these 7 years and I am so proud of how well she has done with adjustments with so many moves and settled in so well to her new home and life here in England.  This year, I wanted to let her have a fun birthday party to invite her new friends over and get to know them better.  So we planned a girly tea party.  It was fun to plan with her and also to learn some cultural differences along the way too.

Let's see....

So we decided on a tea party where we were hoping to have a garden (back yard) party where to kids could play and do everything outside.  But we live in England, so in typical fashion, it rains yesterday.  Party is therefore set up inside.

SK invited all of the girls from her class and 1other friend (Ansley--from our church, who is a little older).  SO the total # invited was 13.  That's a big #, but we ended up with 8 girls total, so more easy to handle :)

We started out the party with "Musical Statues", a common game here.  I knew the game from teaching ballet, but I knew it as "Freeze Dance".  So it goes like this:  All the girls dance to music and when the music stops, you freeze.  If you don't freeze or wiggle, you are out.  Repeat, till 1 is left and they are the winner.

After dancing, we had set up our dining room cute for a little tea party for the girls.  Each girl got a plastic goblet that we let them decorate with jewels and ribbon and markers.  I didn't think that would entertain very long, but it did.  And the cups turned out so cute!

Next came the food.  The food we made (per SK's request) was chicken salad sandwiches, doritos, and fruit).  If you are American, you know what chicken salad is, right?  Not a dish made here though, so I had to explain a bit about what it was and if they didn't like it, they didn't have to eat it.  Then we had "lemonade" to drink.  Once again, if you are stateside, you think---lemons, sugar and water right?  Here, lemonade is more like sprite.  It is fizzy.  So we explained to the girls that we had "American lemonade" and "British lemonade" and let them choose :)  Then for dessert we had scones (that a sweet friend from our church made and came to help with the party!) and dirt cake.  The girls had never heard of dirt cake, so that was fun to explain what it was to them and have them try it.   I stood to the side and listened to the girls discussing amongst themselves the dirt cake.  Once conversation went like this:
"This cake is FANTASTIC!"
the girl beside her: "No, I am telling you...this is not fantastic, it's brilliant!"

It was hard not to just chuckle at hearing these sweet little British accents all in my dining room surrounding my big girl chatting over dirt cake and calling it "brilliant!".

Finally we played a game called "Pass the Parcel".  I had never heard of it, but it is a common game played here at kid's birthday parties.  So it works like this:  You wrap a "prize" with wrapping paper--our prize being a chocolate bar.  Then you wrap something else (we chose little gummy packs) in layers over the chocolate bar (think of an onion with layers of gummies).  Then you play music as the girls sit in a circle passing the "parcel".  When the music stops, whoever has the parcel, gets to unwrap a layer.  The music starts again and you continue till you get to the final layer (the prize) and when the music stops, that person holding the parcel gets the "prize".  It was fun :)

After that the girls went up to SK's room and played.  All in all, I would say it was a successful party and fun for us to get to meet the girls that I had heard SK talk about from her class.

Today is SK's actual birthday.  It is also a school day.  Since she has been homeschooled until this year, it means this will be the first year I won't be with my birthday girl all day.  Momma is a little sad about that, but know that SK will have a fun day at school.  She has requested pancakes and strawberries with powdered sugar for dipping for dinner.  Then she wants chocolate milkshakes for dessert.

Off to get moving for the day and wake my birthday girl soon!

Here are some pics from her party!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Typical day...

I thought it might be fun to share what a typical day looks like here for us in England.  While there are many days that aren't "typical", here is what a day looks like that we don't have sometime out of the norm to do....

Michael normally gets up first (esp. depending on when Evie--the early bird--wakes) and gets himself ready for the day and gets Evie breakfast.  I will feed Silas and get myself going for the day.  We have to get SK ready for school and all the kiddos dressed and fed.  If it's not raining, I will take the laundry outside and hang it to dry (we don't have a dryer).  I put dishes away that were washed from the night before (No dishwasher either).  Michael heads off to the church office to get to work and I head with the kiddos to take SK to school.  It is .8 miles to her school from our house, so that ends up being about a 15 minute walk each way.  I might stop in a the cafe and say hi to whoever is working and get a latte depending on how Evie is doing.  We normally have to stop by the grocery store to get food for lunch/dinner for the day.  Then we head home to do things around the house/have lunch/naps/etc till it's time to go get SK from school at 3.
When SK gets home, she practices piano and does any homework she might have then we have dinner together.

Here's where things get more interesting for our life here though...I can't drive here yet.  First obstacle is we have a stick shift, which I don't know how to drive (I am learning slowly, but limited on time for Michael to take me to a parking lot to practice) and second is learning how the roads work here.  Not only do we drive on the other side of the road from what we are used to, but there are so many signs that are different and figuring out the roundabouts--which are so crazy to me!).  So all that to say, if I need to go anywhere outside the village, I either ride the bus or Michael has to take me.  Thankfully I can take the bus to Leigh which has more shops and such or to Warrington, but when I take the bus I also have to be able to carry or fit in the stroller whatever I am getting.  So for  I needed to get out this week to get things for SK's b'day party which is this coming Sunday.  I had to have Michael take me.

It just adds to the craziness of how we accomplish things each week.  Thankfully, we can get most things we "need" each week from shops here in the village.  I have also had a bit of a hard time adjusting to not being able to just jump in the car and go somewhere with the kids while Michael works.

Now yesterday....yesterday was just crazy.  We made plans to go to Leeds (about 1 hour from Culcheth) to see Jevon, a young man in our church who has been off at University.  He was having his Senior Art show and we wanted to go and see his work.  We made plans to drop SK off at school at 8:45 and be back by 3 when she gets out.  We thought that should give us time to see the show and have lunch then drive back.

Well...that didn't happen.  There was an accident on the motorway (Interstate) which shut it down for practically the entire day.  We were able to find our way to Leeds with another route, but ended up taking almost 2 hours to get there.  We thought we might be alright on the way back and surely the roads would be clear for our return home...we were wrong.  We got back in the car about 2:30 (we had made arrangements for someone to get SK from school and watch her till we got back since we saw we weren't going to be back by school pick up time).  Wanna know what time we arrived home?  8:30.  Yep...6 hours later.  At one point, while sitting stopped on the motorway, we began to wonder if we would run out of gas, since the gage was reading so low and we were barely moving.  On top of that there were 4 adults in the car, only 1 phone left with any charge...

It was an interesting, long day.  That is one way I can sum it up.  We were all so tired by the time we got home.  Of course we rush about after getting home to get kids in the bed and bring the laundry in from outside (which was wet since it ended up raining while we were gone) and get it hung inside to dry.

I did end up with a fun surprise waiting on me at home from a dear friend.  She had ordered me some Kraft marshmallows and had them shipped to me.  I can tell you...that small act of love and care meant so much to me after such a long day.  So I gobbled up a handful and then headed to bed.

Well there ya go.  Just wanted to share on here what life is looking like here these days.

Maybe more blogging will happen soon.  I have said that before though haven't I?  :)

SK is having a birthday party on Sunday.  She has invited all of the little girls in her class over for a tea party.  I am excited to get to meet her friends and celebrate her!  Pics will come from that too hopefully!

Friday, June 5, 2015

2 months today!

I realize I haven't blogged in a month and there is much more I could blog about that has been going on this last month, but today--my little man is 2 months old.  And that is what I want to write about.

As a thank you for feeding and caring for him for 2 months, Silas gave the gift of sleep :)  I sit here this morning after a full nights rest.  I put Silas down last night at 9:30 and he woke at 5:30.  SO, thank you son for such a thoughtful gift.

What else can I say about him....

Let's do a random list, since it is still early and I haven't had my tea or coffee quite yet.

*He sleeps so well at night.  While last night was a winner, other nights aren't that bad really.  He has really only waken 1 time a night since the beginning.  His norm lately has been to lay down sometime between 9 and 11 then wake around 3:30 to 4:30 or so for a 30 minute feed then lay back down till about 7 or later.  I can't complain.  Now during the day, he doesn't really take amazing naps unless he is in the wrap, which he is most days.  That mostly is my doing, just because we are on the go most days.  He gets in the wrap every morning to take his sister to school then errands and all.  I call it his "happy place".  So on days that we are at home, he doesn't sleep as well if I just put him down.  Sometimes if I am really trying, I can swaddle him up and get him to lay down, but most days I don't try.  I kinda like the cuddles too.  And if he sleeps that good at night for me, I don't mind holding him during the day.

*He is quite the smiler now.  His whole face lights up when he smiles.  Melts me.

*His sisters love him to pieces.  They each want a  turn to hold him before they go to bed.  SK is great with him and is actually pretty helpful holding him while I wash dishes or go to the bathroom.  Evie on the other hand needs a little supervision.  She tends to get too excited and squeeze him a little too much :)

*I think he likes his baths.  He likes when I pour water all over him.

*So far (knock on wood), I haven't been peed on while changing diaper.  I have however had some pretty major pooping incidents we shall say.  One morning I was changing his diaper in our bed and I will just say that I have never seen poop fly so far...that was fun to clean up.  Then while in London he had a pretty gross pooping incident in the National Gallery...that was fun too.

*He likes to be swaddled at night.

*He was weighed last week by the health visitor and was a whopping 3.76 kg, which I converted to be 8 lb. 5 oz!  The week before he weighed 7 lb. 6 oz, so that was a big jump that week.  He is officially now on the percentile chart :)  We were thankful for such a good jump in weight.

*He has never been measured for height (something not done here I guess), but he is tall.  His newborn clothes still fit, but he is getting tall for some of his sleepers.

Overall, he is a pretty easy baby.  He will sit in his bouncy seat contently for long stretches of time.  He doesn't really fuss to much as long as he isn't too hungry or needing a nappy (diaper) change.

IN other news, Michael is in London till tomorrow for Presbytery.  We are missing him around here, but glad for him to get to spend some time with other leaders of IPC churches here in England and other parts of Europe.

SK is loving school still and Evie is doing pretty well here at home.  I will try to blog agin soon about how everything else is.  Life has been crazy for sure as we settle in to this "new" norm.  I guess life has just been crazy and busy and not left much time to sit and reflect on all of it and how to put it into words on here.  I should though...

I put some pics on Facebook yesterday, so look there if you wanna see those :)  --meaning I am too lazy to upload some on here this morning.  Off to start the day!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

1 month old!

It's hard to believe this last week our baby boy was a month old!  We have loved this first month with him and are soaking in these newborn cuddles.
Last night as Michael and I were eating a late dinner, Silas put on quite the show of smiles for us.  It was the most smiles we have gotten yet.  I still need to get a good pic of him smiling, but haven't had my phone close enough to snap a pic yet.
He is still a great sleeper at night, only waking sometime around 3 or 4 a.m. for a feed.  Sometimes he has a hard time being laid back down after that, but I can't complain after he gives me a good 5-6 hour stretch to start the night.

We have occasionally gotten some nice days here lately (mixed in with some rainy, cooler days of course).  It has given us the itch to do some outdoor gardening, which is so fun for us.  We haven't owned a house in 5 years, which means we haven't really done any gardening other than a potted plant maybe or being a part of the Covenant Community Garden while at seminary.  While we still don't own a house, we are still enjoying being in a house (as opposed to an apt. with no yard really) and having a yard we can get our hands dirty in.  It is fun also to learn about what plants do well here and finding varieties of plants that you can't really find in the states.

What else have we been up to....

Sk is still loving school and doing well.  She is having to do a little bit of work at home to get caught up with her classmates in areas like handwriting (there are quite a few letters they do different here) and math.  She is doing great overall though and I am so proud of how well she is doing.

Evie is starting to get better about pitching fits and such (being a 2 year old...).  She is a silly little girl and we love her to death.  She def. can put a smile on your face with her goofy looks she will make at you and her sweet giggle.

I have been reflecting more this week on things that I have started missing from the states and also things that I love about being here.  So how about a list...y'all know I love me a good list :)

Things I miss:

*Being able to drive---We have a manual car here (which is very common here and finding a 7 seater automatic is very very difficult).  I don't know how to drive a stick :(  So Michael has taken me out 1 time so far and we are planning to do more teaching times soon.  And then there's the whole driving on the other side of the road thing too that I have to figure out.

*Hot sunny weather.  We get occasional days here where it is warmer, but not hot really.  I don't think I will be wearing shorts too much here.  I want a good hot day at the beach (white sandy beaches specifically).

*Chick-fil-A.  I would love to have a spicy chicken sandwich, with extra pickles, fries, a milkshake and a lemonade.  Oh, and CFA sauce.  mmmm....

*Trader Joes- y'all know I love me some Trader Joe's.



Now how about some things I love:

*I love riding in the car to go places and driving through such quaint villages with amazing gardens and lovely English houses.  I love the farms covered in Rapeseed everywhere right now.  It really looks like someone took  highlighter and drew all of the field.  It is stunning.

*I love that we can walk to so much.  I love walking to the cafe for breakfast them walking over to the butcher to get meat to make burgers tonight.  I love the quaint little shops in our village.  I love that we walk SK to school.  I love the abundant supply of footpaths here.

*I love looking out of my back window and seeing our laundry hanging out on the line to dry.  It has been an adjustment to not having a dryer, but I truly love it now.

*Fish and Chips.

*The endless supply of cool places to go on date nights.  Michael and I have date night every Thursday night.  That might sound extravagant to some, but it truly has been essential for this adjustment to life here in England.  It has been so needed for us and been such a huge blessing to us that we have had Emma Rose here to be willing to help us make date night happen each week.  And it has been fun to go and find some cool places to hang out for date nights.

*Food here.  I really do love so many of the foods here.  The cheeses I can get here are amazing and so yummy.  There are loads of good yummy foods here.

I will stop there for now, but hope to keep sharing on here more about life here and things I love and things that I miss too.  It's fun for me at least to write it down.