Where does the time go? They grow up so fast! Enjoy it while you can....
Almost a month ago I posted my last blog, and I immediately started to write another one about what we did our first two months here. Yet every time I tried to sit down to write I got sidetracked and blogging was thrown to the wayside. So the last few days I have been rewriting this blog that began over a month ago, to get us up to date on the current goings-on here in the UK.
It really did take me a few weeks to feel like this was for real and not just some strange vacation where we don't really go anywhere or see or do anything special. We had been here in Oxford less than 48 hours when David had to go back to work. The first few weekends we were together were filled with monotonous things like grocery shopping and driving lessons and laundry. Oh, the laundry. I think everyone has heard enough about all my laundry woes, so we'll just skip right over that one...
When we had been here four weeks, I finally had the proper identification and paperwork to get a cell phone. That helped me feel more connected, as I could take photos on the spur of the moment and load things to my facebook page more easily. Even if my blogging hasn't been as regular as I would like it to be in the future, I have been doing my best to keep everyone informed of what we're doing by posting updates and pictures and now videos as often as possible. I love my new phone and the quality of the photos and videos that it takes! (And if any readers out there play Words with Friends...my name is UKJen2011-2014) Just sayin'.
So what DID we do those first two months?? (Now it's been almost THREE months. I can't believe it!) Like I said before, I had to remind myself that we weren't here on vacation. We live here now. So what do we do on a regular basis? Not much different than what we did back in Cali, that's what! For starters, David still goes to work Monday through Friday and the kids and I are on our own like always. So the first few months I was figuring out what to do with them!
On Monday mornings we go to the community centre around the corner for Monkey Music. Darian is in the class fit for Maxwell, so she is the youngest one (and it falls right at her usual morning nap time), so she doesn't participate that much. Neither does Maxwell for that matter, but I know that it is sinking in, because they both love the songs and have been singing them at home all summer!
I found a really amazing playgroup for us to go to on Tuesdays. It is at a church just down the river about a 1/2 mile, so we walk along the bank and go play for a couple of hours in the morning. There are play groups all over the place here, and you can probably find one to go to on any given morning. From what I can gather, they are run by moms and they just put out a bunch of toys and activities, and for a small donation you can have a snack, drink some tea and let the kiddies play for a bit! All the while I have met some very friendly moms there who were extremely welcoming!!
On Wednesdays we go to TumbleTots for Maxwell. Right now Darian gets 45 minutes of Mommy time while her big brother is in class, because Maxwell's class is not a Mommy & Me class. He gets dropped off like a big boy, and has the best time! I just love watching and peeking at him through the windows!
(Until he catches me!!)
Thursdays are normally our "at home" day. Darian gets a proper nap in the morning, and we play here. I get some laundry done and we sometimes have our lunch as a picnic in the garden. Or we'll walk down to the playground at the community centre. And Fridays have started to become our day to go into the city centre and do some shopping, people watching, and trip to the library to read some books and maybe bring some home. We have also had a few playdates with new friends sprinkled into that routine!
As far as anything new happening with the kids, one of the biggest things with Maxwell is that he is officially potty trained! The first two days were a little frustrating for us both, but then you could almost see the light bulb go off above his head and he just GOT IT. He still wears a pullup at nap and bed times "just in case." He even now says that as he pulls it up! Most days they are dry and I can hold onto them like underpants and use it next time!! The second thing is that we've gotten rid of the paci for good!
We phased it out ages ago, so that it stayed in his bed and was only for when he was sleeping, but with the move and transition we held of on both the potty training and paci to make sure he was secure and comfortable here. We haven't had any issues and he only asked for it the first two nights and has been fine ever since! Lastly, we have started using big boy toothpaste, and he gets to spit it out and rinse at the sink just like Daddy. His teeth looked better to me after the very first day, and I feel better about him getting the fluoride, especially here in Oxford where the water is so different. And I don't know if it is because the paci is gone or if this would have happened right now anyway, but lately I have really been noticing that the gap between his two front teeth is really disappearing!! And it hasn't happened yet, but come September 5th, Maxwell will be starting preschool four mornings a week! He will be going to the North Oxford Fieldhouse Montessori Nursery!! More on that to come, I am sure!
For Darian, the differences are a little less obvious. Unless you look at her hair! She now lets me put it in pony tails and pig tails on a regular basis, and I swear it has grown several inches since we left CA. She has finally pushed a new tooth through, so she has the front four both top and bottom and four molars. She is still going to need eight more teeth before she's all done, so the fun is still to come (I hope she isn't as awful during the eye teeth as her big brother was!!). Little miss is still little, but she is starting to thin out a bit and she seems longer without her pudgy baby belly. Her vocabulary is definitely growing, but Mommy is still the most fluent in Darian-ese. And she is starting to get an attitude and definitely has a mind of her own! This little little isn't going to let anyone push her around!!
"Is that it?" you may ask. "We already know this."
But there lies the issue I had to deal with. Yes, we moved to England. Yes, it is REALLY cool. But I have to still remind myself that it isn't a vacation. I had to get over the fact that I felt guilty we haven't really done anything unique to the fact that we live here. Our weekends have definitely been full, but we are doing things like exploring the city, going to you-pick-em farms, petting "zoos", and parks. We have two toddlers to entertain!
But we have three years to explore, and the exploring will begin soon enough! Right now it is still an adventure for me to drive to a different grocery store and peruse all the aisles of new and different foods. I like that I can walk to town to do my errands. I like that there are old men walking around or riding bikes with backpacks, or older women walking around in dresses and shoes with heels! Or young girls with tights...there is a serious tight obsession here. I like the obvious love of 80s music in this country and how I have to really focus and listen when talking to someone because even though we speak the same language, so much of what is said around me sounds so foreign. I like that people stop to let you go in front of them (when driving) with a wave and a smile. I LOVE being called "Love." I like (yes...you are about to read this correctly) washing the sheets and hanging them on the line to dry. For some reason the sheets I like...I still wish I could tumble my clothes!! I like that we rarely watch television and that I have been reading so much and David and I play Yahtzee and Scrabble at night, or wash the dishes in the kitchen while dancing and rocking out to aforementioned 80s music. I like that David started taking the bus to work and actually enjoys it, and that he is able to run again (he runs home to us every night!!). I like our new adventures with food and the fun and interesting things I see at the market that I am not brave enough to try (Prawn Cocktail potato chips, anyone?). I like our garden and mowing the grass and going out back to the river to feed the ducks or go for a walk. I like that we seem to generate much more recycling here than rubbish...I feel much greener (probably has a lot to do with so many less diapers now that Maxwell uses the potty!). While I don't like the time difference 99% of the time, I like that sometimes when I get up in the morning, people I love are just shutting down for the night and I can get in a quick hello. I like the "post" and how it still scares me sometimes when it comes flying through the door. On that note I like getting mail and packages, so keep 'em coming! :o) I like the money here. I really wish that dollar coin took off back in the US. It is so much fun to pull out my little coin purse to pay for something small, or to hand Maxwell and Darian each a two pound coin at the fair and say that they can spend it on whatever they want. I like (GASP!) how mild the weather is. Don't hold me to that statement come winter when I am complaining about the rain and cold, but right now it is definitely tolerable. :o) On that note I like our Wellies. I like the fresh, clean air, not just after it rains but ALL THE TIME. I like the double decker buses and cool looking taxi cabs. I like sitting in our garden room when it is raining. I like that we have already had one guest and that more are on the way (the more the merrier!!!). I like Dave's job, where he rarely works late and rarely takes out the laptop at night or on the weekends. I like to window shop at shoe stores. Oh how I wish my feet could stand up to the wonderful shoes that they have here. I may have to start breaking them in and get out of my tennies and flip flops....
But of course, there are things that aren't my favorite. I don't want them to weigh me down though, so I'll keep it short and sweet. I miss my family. And my extended CA family, my Weekday Moms and friends. I miss Griffin and Tucker. Oddly enough, I really miss them at bedtime. I used to hate that Dave let them sleep in the bed, but now I miss those warm cuddly tooshies by my back every night. And I miss my "stuff." My rocking chair, my kitchen and laundry room and dining room, my big CA King sized bed, the double sinks in the bathroom. My ice maker and big kitchen sink. TiVo. Target. Oh, how I miss Target. (I am sure Dave doesn't!) I miss the YMCA and the familiarity and comfort of HOME. My drive-thru Starbucks. Old Navy and the other shops where I used to get the kids' clothes. I miss sitting on my mom's patio with Shelly and Mom and Jill and Dave and all of our dogs and babies running around among us. While I like the mild weather here (so far) I miss the heat of summer and going outside to go swimming or to be in the sun or to the beach. I hate all the bugs and spiders and miss having screens on the windows!
The most important thing is that I LOVE David, Maxwell, and Darian so much. I am loving this time with them. Because until we really make friends or connections here, it's just us. While the kids and I are somewhat busy with activities and playtime out and about, we are home a lot more than we used to be. The days that we don't go out aren't endless like they used to seem. Some days I rarely look at the clock. Because we want to explore, we do make an effort to get out every weekend and do something new. Off to a new park, or a new farm, or to explore Oxford. We've gone to several different railway centers, we've gone for a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy. We drove into London to see dinosaurs at the 02. We had lunch with some friends in their home that was built in 1480. I got to see Harry Potter in the theatre, and to see some spots around town where they filmed parts of the series!
All in all, it has been a pretty amazing (nearly) three months. I am looking forward to all the visitors we are expecting (Gaga and Papa come in just four weeks!) and all the travel we plan to do. Spain! Greece! Italy! Scotland! Germany! France! Turkey! Iceland! Poland! Ireland! Switzerland! Norway! And so many more...my list is endless and there is no way we will be able to see it all. I can only hope to scratch the surface.
Now if someone would just buy that silly condo, we could get started...