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!