31 Oct 2012

Our Stuff

Stuff 7A few weeks ago we had a very happy reunion around here. 

I mentioned here how we have been waiting for our things to arrive from America for weeks.  Almost 6 weeks after we arrived, to be exact.  When the crates arrived and we started to unpack them it was like Christmas for us all.  My running shoes and boots when I had been wearing flip flops exclusively for weeks!  Warm sweaters and (more of) Chris' dress clothes for work!  Hannah's crib and our nursery glider!  A few pictures and personal items to help it feel more like home!  And, oh yeah, the kids' toys.  

Flatlivingroom 28Before the crate arrived, we had this modest toy box that was less than half-full of the few random things that they had carried on the plane or we had picked up once we were here.  But with so many other "start up" things to buy, loads of toys was obviously not a priority.  Particularly when we could borrow stacks of book at the library, and the weather was warm enough that we were spending a few hours each day at one of the local parks.  But still, kids need a few toys.  Actually, I see half of the "toys" in there are actually "house things" that I let them play with in the absence of their actual toys.

Flatlivingroom 29When Chris set the tub of toys down in the living room, it was a toy explosion!  Both kids reaching in, squealing over the things they hadn't seen in months, and immediately starting to play with everything all at the same time.  Then after a few minutes, they'd dive back in to see what else they'd unearth.  I didn't bother trying to reign them in a bit, I just let them spread out and enjoy it.  And enjoy it they did.

Stuff 2Stuff 3Stuff 1Stuff 4But there was nothing so sweet as Jayce's reunion with his various firefighters and rescue heros.  This stuff is serious.

Stuff 5Stuff 6Now that we have our stuff I'll finish posting about the rest of the flat.  I also got a box with a very pared down assortment of my DIY goodies, and I have been busy trying to put everything to good use.  More soon.

30 Oct 2012

Autumn and Firemen

Well, autumn has finally arrived around here.  Actually it has for the past few weeks.  The leaves outside the flat and all along the roads are yellow and orange, and some are still holding onto their green since it has been so wet and chilly.  Hopefully they'll still turn a nice bright color.

Autumn 1This time of year has me missing some of the traditions of home and of Lincoln.  Several people have pointed out to me that Halloween isn't celebrated as much here as it is in the states.  One person said to me, "That's your biggest holiday in America, right?  Halloween?"  No, it's like 5th or 6th on the list, right?  Just a dumb fun one.

But it made me realize that it's not actually the "Halloween Stuff" that I miss so much, aside from Halloween pjs.  I'm not big on decking my house out in Halloween decorations, baking spooky little treats or anything like that, but it's the small fall rituals that we have had as a family that I miss.  Going to the pumpkin patch, hay rides, carmel apples, fall festivals, apple picking and fresh hot apple cider, those are the things I love.  There are a few pumpkin farms around England where we could do these things, but without a car the closest one is 3 1/2 hours away, so we'll be skipping it this year.

Fireman 3But even though Halloween isn't emphasized as much as it is in the states, it's still a holiday we'll be celebrating.  And Jayce wanted to dress up as, what else?  A Fireman!  Better yet, Fireman Sam!!  His costume arrived last weekend, and it was just in time, because we've had so many fires in our flat ever since then.  Luckily he's always on the job.

Fireman 1He showed off his new costume last weekend to his cousin Hadley and Grandma Debbie on Skype, and we'll be headed out tomorrow.  Despite everyone assuring me that Halloween isn't celebrated very much here, everyone is having Halloween parties, so we'll have our pick.  There will obviously be pictures after that as well.  

Screen shot 2012 10 21 at 6 43 25 PMHappy almost Halloween!



23 Oct 2012

These Boops Are Made for...Cheering Up My Mom

Boots 1 2When we were packing up our house, we had the daunting and fairly exhausting task of trying to decide what we may or may not need in our new place, despite the fact that we had no idea when we would be leaving, no idea where we'd be living, and therefore no idea of what we would need to take with us.  We handled all of these unknowns by packing, comparatively, practically nothing to bring with us/ship over.  I mean, seriously, we had a big house full of stuff, we brought 1 suitcase each, and shipped 7 boxes.  That's it.
Boots 2When I was packing all of our clothes, I trimmed it down to the very basics, our favorites, for the kids just things that fit/had a bit of room to grow, and pretty much just removed all of our options.  I kept the summer stuff out to wear over the next little bit and then leave behind, and packed all cool weather things in boxes to be shipped.  I did this in July.
What does that have to do with this story right now?  Well, the things that we shipped ended up taking a lot longer to arrive than we had ever anticipated.  We just got our boxes last week, with our warm things, boots, winter coats, toys, etc-it's been like Christmas for us all!  But as you might imagine, we really could have used a lot of that stuff weeks ago, particularly with cool and wet England weather that we need to walk through every single day.
1September2012 KeepThese pictures of Hannah were on the afternoon of a TERRIBLE morning.  I was headed to a mall that I had never been to, on a bus route I had never before attempted, trying to get some cold weather gear for my girl in her stroller.  It wasn't raining when we left, but on the bus ride it started pouring!!  Then I had to get out, with no rain gear for either of us, and attempt to navigate a heavy stroller through the downpour and puddles, while wearing old navy flips flops that had no tread at all.  I was slipping all over the place, with no leverage to move her forward in her stroller, was freezing cold and soaking wet.  And I stayed that way for the next few hours, in the store, on the bus back home, until I could get home to change.  But I couldn't even change into my sweat pants because those were also with the things that were being shipped!  Sigh.
However, while we were out, I bought the kids some rain boots.  When we got home Hannah refused to take hers off, even when I changed her diaper, which was when I pulled out my camera.    She kept bringing them to me, saying "pease!!" then holding up her foot for me to put them on.  And she called them "boops."  And this little monkey cheered me right up.  
Other things that cheered me up that afternoon: a short nap under a warm blanket, a hot cup of tea, and the rain boots that I promptly ordered for myself once we got home.

22 Oct 2012

At the Playground, Ya Know? (And a Walk to Richmond)

Recently Updated7Plaay groooooound. 
(Chels, a little 90s, just for you.)
Richmondwalk 19Anyway, I've said before how quickly we slipped into a new normal around here, and one of those ways is the half a dozen trips we have made to this wonderful playground in Richmond.  It's just across the bridge from all of the shops and food, so it is a perfect way to appease the littles, and the husband, before or after a little shopping trip.
We typically take a quick bus to Richmond, but a few weeks ago a friend mentioned that there is a really beautiful walk that you can take along the Thames that leads you straight over to the park. So we were on it.  
Richmondwalk 3It was just before the leaves started to change, and it was totally beautiful.
Richmondwalk 5Richmondwalk 1There was a similar, slightly less wooded area across the river, and both sides were packed with people on their bikes, families, runners and lots of babies in strollers.
Richmondwalk 7Richmondwalk 6Richmondwalk 8At one point we passed a private estate with a (locked) ornate gate leading directly to the path and the water.  Chris pointed it out to me, and mentioned that he bet there was a pretty expensive house on the other side of the gate.  A woman passing by who heard his comment stopped to inform us that it was for sale a few years ago for 8 million pounds.  And that Brad Pitt had looked at it, but apparently it was too small for him, which she scoffed at, and then kept moving with her dog.  
Richmondwalk 9The weeping willows shaded us from the condos and houses on the other side of the trail.  Not that it mattered because those condos are stunning and only add to the view.  But so did the trees.  Eventually the path veered left and we arrived at one of our favorite parks.
Richmondwalk 11Richmondwalk 15Richmondwalk 18Richmondwalk 17We played and played, and eventually made our way over and across the bridge to run our errands.
Richmondwalk 23Richmondwalk 24Richmondwalk 25I've mentioned before that almost as soon as we moved here we decided that we'd like to move to another area, not because we dislike our current place, but because we love another one. Richmond is usually the area we've had in mind, if we can find a way to afford it.  Maybe you can see why?

19 Oct 2012

London With Kids

A few weeks ago, we jumped on the train after lunch and went into downtown London for the afternoon.  Chris and I have spent several days in London, so we didn't really have a particular list of things we wanted to see or do, just wander around a bit, sightsee, and periodically let the kids out to play.  So that's exactly what we did.
Recently Updated2Centrallondon 4Centrallondon 5Centrallondon 6Jayce was very curious, but unsure about the various people that are painted up like statues, so he gave one some change so that he could get a picture with her.  Even after she proved to be friendly, he still hadn't made up his mind.
Centrallondon 8Centrallondon 13

Centrallondon 9Centrallondon 14Centrallondon 11We walked along the river, and Jayce pointed out, "This is London, just like in the Olympics!" which I thought was cool.
Centrallondon 28Centrallondon 15
Centrallondon 21Centrallondon 25He had to endure more pictures, of course, but this one was while he was still on the stroller, so it required even less effort than usual on his part.
Centrallondon 32We made our way towards this park, stopped to feed the wildlife, and then feed ourselves a little bit.
Centrallondon 37Centrallondon 36Centrallondon 38Centrallondon 39Centrallondon 41Centrallondon 42Centrallondon 43The park had a few little play areas, so we hung out there for a bit to let the kids explore and stretch their legs.
Centrallondon 49Recently Updated5I spy my girl and my boy...
Centrallondon 57Recently Updated4Centrallondon 58Centrallondon 59Then we moved on and circled back towards the river.
Centrallondon 60I got Jayce this book before we moved here, so we had to go visit the Lion.  
(Ps-Look at the building in picture above and on the book cover. I didn't even do that on purpose.)
Katie
Centrallondon 62Recently Updated3Centrallondon 66
Then back across the bridge by the Eye.  It was a bit chilly, but a BEAUTIFUL afternoon.
Centrallondon 68Centrallondon 69Centrallondon 70
The last time that we went to London, I was pregnant with Jayce, so it seemed slightly surreal to be back with him as a boy.  I had imagined before that we would bring him at some point, but I never guessed that it would be this early in his life.  What a blessing.
Centrallondon 71Centrallondon 72
We ate dinner in London, then headed home, and were in just before the kids' bedtimes.  The ease of "an afternoon in London" still seems crazy to me.  Crazy and wonderful.

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