Friday, August 30, 2013

On England...

So I thought I might take some time on this blog to do a little explaining about where we are going and why and etc...
I think I will answer some of these questions over the course of the next few blogs and maybe have Michael chime in too :)

So first....
Where are we going???

First off, we aren't actually going to London.  That is what we have gotten a lot of lately.  We are going to the northwest area, which is about 3 hours away from London.  The church that we are going to work alongside is in Culcheth.
Here is a little map to help give you an idea of where:
If you can see the dots for Liverpool and Manchester, imagine us going right in between those 2 dots.  Does that help???

Culcheth is a small village (the whole village being 1 square mile or so), with about 11,000 people living there.  It is a cute village and we loved how you could get to everything by walking.  When there in March, we walked to church, to the kid's school, the grocery store, the pub, and anything else too.

We are looking at moving into Leigh, which is about 3 miles away from Culcheth.  You can get to Leigh via bus or drive, but bus will be our main means of getting around for the most part (or trains when going further away).  Leigh is larger with about 43,000 people living there.
This is the pedestrian street where you find all kinds of shops and such...

When we were there in March checking out Leigh...

95% of the population in Leigh were born in England, so most of the people we will be surrounded by will be from England, whereas if we were in London there would be more of a varied range.  

I found this chart interesting as well:

I will wait until the next post on talking more about why England, and more about what this chart above says about the state of England and where it is headed...
Or maybe I will let Michael talk about that :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The fall semester is officially underway!  It is hard to believe we are entering our last year here in St. Louis and graduation is only 9 months away.  Bittersweet really.  But so exciting too.

Our semester is going to be insanely busy, but good.  And before it gets too busy, here is a recap of our time in AL and FL...

I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but our time was well spent visiting friends and family.  It was great to catch up with so many people!  We also had many opportunities to talk with people about our calling the England and raise awareness of what we are going to do there.  We will give a better update soon on where we are at with our support raising, but for now, let's just see some fun pictures from our time down there :)

 holding her cousin, Olivia for the first time!
 Swing time!
 Silly time with Papa!
 Cousin Olivia...I could eat her up!
 Haven't seen the beach in 3 refreshing!
 Cheese with Mimi!
 First time seeing the ocean...she loved it!
 Cousin fun!
 Man we have a cute little girl...
 Playing with Uncle Michael :)
 Out one night :)
Mesmerized by the beach while we wait on dinner!

It was a sweet time to hang out with family and friends.  We are excited to get moved back to AL in May and get to spend more time with everyone before we get moved on across the pond!  
Off to get the day going...more blogging hopefully to come soon.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

11 Months

Today our sweet Evie is 11 months old!  I can't believe we are only a month away from her turning 1!  We are still getting settled back in from our 2 week trip to the south (will have to do a blog about that later...), so my brain is not fully functioning it feels like but I will try to recall all that she has been up to for the last month....

*She is cruising around furniture and all with ease now, but not walking just yet :)

*She can let go of whatever she is holding onto while standing and stand for a few seconds or more sometimes before grabbing back on or sitting down.

*Sleep is still not going great, but we are working this week on a little training...

*She is a great eater most of the time.  She is getting more into getting finger foods or whatever mommy or daddy is eating.  She can handle little bites of things like eggs, noodles, cheese, or different fruits.

*She loves to scream.  And scream loudly.  It might be cute at times, but not so much when you are in a restaurant.  We have been working with her trying to teach her to say "more" in sign language.  We did signing with SK and loved it, so we have been trying to do the same with Evie.  She would much rather tell us she wants her next bite by screaming at us.  So before we left for our trip, Michael was feeding her and she kept screaming at him.  He proceeds to tell her "no" while shaking his head and showed her how to say "more".  Well she proceeds to shake her head back at him...So now it has become something she does anytime she hears "no".  Like when she is crawling to the plug outlets in the wall...she will crawl to it and shake her head "no" because she knows that is what we are going to say.  She thinks it is fun....

*She still just has her 2 bottom teeth.

*Last night at bedtime we were sitting in the couch reading our bedtime Bible story and saying prayers together, then it was time to give goodnight kisses.  Evie was so sweet giving kisses to SK.  She loves her sister so much and it is precious to see :)

*Naps were def. off during our trip, but she typically still does 2 naps a day and goes to bed by 8 each night.

On to the pictures, right!!??!!

Classes officially started yesterday for Michael, though he didn't end up having his class meet.  So today starts up our fall semester really.  It is going to be a busy semester for sure, but it will be a good one too.  I am auditing 2 classes, one with Michael tonight and one on my own tomorrow.  I will start SK with her schooling next Monday.  And then there is the ballet classes that I am teaching and SK will do ballet and gymnastics.  Whew.  Fun times ahead :)
I know I need to blog about our trip to Alabama and Florida, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.  It was a great trip getting to see a good number of friends and family!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why we love St. Louis...

It is hard to believe we are less than 10 months away from being done here in St. Louis.  We have loved exploring this city for the last couple of years.  There are a multitude of things that are awesome about it, so I will give you a list.  And this should serve as a reason that if you haven't come to visit us up here yet, you still have a little time left to come :)

1.  Forest Park

Forest Park is amazing.  Imagine it being like Central Park in NYC.  It is huge and is where you will find the Art Museum (FREE), Science Museum (FREE), History Musuem (FREE), and Zoo (FREE).  You will also find the Muny, the outdoor amphitheater where they do awesome plays during the summer months.  Michael and I just went a couple weeks ago to see Les Mis.  There are free seats in the back, but you can also buy tickets starting at $5 or so.  There is also the World's Fair Pavilion, which Michael and I went to a few days ago on a date.  We actually started our date at the Art Museum which just recently opened a new wing (amazing...), then went to the pavilion to sit and chat and snack on some wine, cheese and crackers, and chocolate :)  We just so happened upon a guy who was sitting out there practicing his flute for a wedding the next day.  He was amazing and provided great background music for our little date :)  And the view there is pretty cool.  Then there is the boat house where you can rent paddle boats to ride around the park if for fun.  They are constantly having all kinds of events out at the park too.  There is Shakespeare in the Park in early summer which is where they do a play outside of the art museum for free and have all kinds of cool stuff going on with that (and it's free).  Then the have hot air balloon races in the fall and a thing the night before where you can go out and see them glowing at night and walk around and look at the balloons.  Then it is always fun to just go and picnic out at the park and play on Art Hill, or in the winter time that is also the spot to go sledding.  The Zoo has concerts on the weekends in the summer.  And throughout the year, if you go to the zoo the first hour it is open you can ride the carousel, get in the children's garden, and get in to pet the stingrays all for free (which typically cost extra after the first hour).  I could go on and on about how awesome this park is...

2.  Trader Joe's

SO I know this isn't exclusive to St. Louis, but we didn't have one in Birmingham.  If you haven't ever been to one, you should.  I love just about everything there.  Just a few of my favorites...
*Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup
*Caramel Sauce
*Chocolate mints
*Cookie Butter
*Vanilla or Chocolate Icecreams
The prices are awesome and the food is divine...

3.  Parks

There are so many parks here in St. Louis.  We haven't even made it to all of them.  There are just so many parks that have great playgrounds and/or splash pads.  There are ones that have great little ponds too.

4.  Farmer's Markets

There are a multitude of these as well.  Our favorite would have to be Tower Grove, which is closer in to the city.  Great vendors and there is a great playground and water play thing for the kiddos as well.  It is in a cool park as well where you can find fun places to picnic too.  There are other markets as well that are great too.

5.  Botanical Gardens

This place is huge and beautiful.  It is not free most days, but on Wednesday and Sat. mornings it is free, so that is when we always go.  There is a fun children's garden.  And they do free concerts out there one night a week in the summer where people can get in free and bring picnic stuff and sit and listen to a band and take in the beautiful scenery.

6.  Downtown

Of course there is the arch to see.  There is also CIty Garden where kids can splash around in the water.  Also downtown you will find the Cardinal's stadium.   Then there is the City Museum.  We went there our first summer here and it was really cool.  You can google it to find out more about it, but well worth the money to check it out.

7.  St. Charles

This is a cool little town just north of where we are (about 20 minutes away).  It was part of the Lewis and Clark trail.  So it has a cool park area by the river (Missouri I believe...).  It has a cool historic street by the river that is old cobblestone and has some really cool shops and restaurants.  They are always have cool things going on out there throughout the year too, like street festivals and such.

There are still things we haven't gone to yet that are on our list of musts before we head out of town next year.  We still need to go to Purina Farm's (which we hear is pretty cool), the Anhauser Busch Brewery, Cathedral Basilica, and many other things that just aren't coming to mind right now.

Doesn't this make you want to come check out this cool city with us???? :)

Oh, and the food here.  While we do miss having a good ole meat and three kind of place and some good bar-b-que, there is some really cool places we have discovered to eat at.  Some of our favorite places would have to be Ted Drewe's (frozen custard), Dewey's Pizza, anything at "The Hill" (an Italian area where there are all kinds of Italian places to eat at), the Spaghetti Factory (SK's favorite), Cafe Ventana (where we go when we have a hankering for beignets), Scottish Arms, Bailey's Chocolate Bar, Bailey's Range....I could keep going, but I will stop cause I am getting hungry now...

Long enough post right.  Just had this on my mind this morning, and thought it might be fun to look back on :)  And mainly to convince you to plan your visit up to see us!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Flags and Stats...

Sk woke up today and wanted to make an "England flag"...
This is what she came up with:

I thought it was too cute not to share :)

In other news, we took the girls for their check ups at the doctor today.  SK's 5 year and Evie's 9 month (yeah, I am a little behind...).
Evie weighs a whopping 16 lbs. 11.5 oz!  That put her in the 18%, which was a big jump for her since at her 6 month, she was only in the 4%.

Sarah Kate was 35 lbs!  And right on track with everything :)

Off to get ready for date night with the hubs...

Then to the farmer's market in the morning!  Yeah for weekends!