The kids and I just returned from our two week vacay in California. We saw all of our family there, and as many friends as we could. I wish I could have seen everyone, but CA is a big state and it was a whirlwind of a trip as it was.
We were able to celebrate in person as the twins turned one, have a much needed sleepover at Nana's house with Nana and the puppas, enjoy the heat and sunshine in Corona with Uncle Steve and Aunt Nicole, have a birthday party to celebrate Darian's birthday coming up, go to a Halloween party with our playgroup friends, trick-or-treating with more friends, and rounded out the trip with more cuddles, hugs and kisses from Aunts Shelly and Jill and the twins. Mommy got in plenty of retail therapy, and even had a little side trip to Vegas to watch her BFF Erynn tie the knot!! It was a great trip and it definitely wore us out!
To top off the tiredness, upon returning to Oxford we got the keys to our new house and started moving in all of our things. As the movers brought in each box and bag, I started to wonder who all that stuff belonged to; it certainly seemed like more when it was time to find somewhere to put everything away than it did when I was packing up a month ago.
The new house is great. We have an assigned parking spot out front, and a nice manageable yard in back. There are only two floors, so we feel much closer and I like sleeping on the same level as the kids. The kitchen is so tiny that we bump into each other all the time, and we went from 5 drawers and 12 cabinets to 3 and 6. Yikes! My brain already hurts from the clutter, because I have to have so much stuff on the countertops. The trade off is that we have a large living/play room/dining room. (Well, UK large, anyway) I am still working on unpacking the boxes, so I will post pictures as soon as it is presentable!
But being back here a few days after having been in CA for two weeks, I have been mentally creating the following list. I figured you would all be curious, so here it is!
What I miss about CA:
-family and friends are obvious
-the weather (duh)
-my puppa dawgs (arf arf)
-familiar stores and convenient shopping
-super fast and efficient washing machine (not to mention huge for huge loads!)
-super duper dryer (even though I didn't think to take it out and shrunk my favorite sweater. But then I left it in the cab in Vegas, so it's gone now anyway. :o( Guess I better go shopping!! )
-my pediatrician and health insurance (Maxwell was sick the whole time, and we had to just wait it out because I was unsure how it would work for us there now. He is better, but it sure would have been nice to take him in to see Dr. Saifee.)
-the ice maker and cold, filtered water dispenser from the fridge. Oh, and getting LOTS of ice in your beverages when eating out
-Venti Black Iced Tea from the Bux. They don't do tea iced over here.
-Needing to wear my sunglasses because it is sunny, not just windy.
-My tv shows. Although we now have the channel that gets me Glee and Modern Family. Yay!
-All of the different choices and options when at the grocery store, which also could be a negative. There is SO MUCH of everything in the US!
-Lower tax on everything I bought.
-Space. Everything is bigger at home: houses, showers, beds, closets, streets. We went from a CA King bed in Burbank, to a UK King (almost a US queen) in the first house. Now we have what I can only assume is a double bed and David and I may begin sleep wars soon. And/or we will test out Shelly Pearson's question about how we learn not to fall off the bed. :o)
-In & Out. :o)
The things I DON'T miss:
-the heat. Man, that took me by surprise the day it almost reached ninety degrees in Corona!!
-Driving everywhere. I don't know much about the public transport in LA, so I can't say it sucks. What I can say is that everything is so spread out, and I felt like I spent a LOT of time in cars.
-Along those lines, traffic. Oh, 5/405/91 how I loathe thee.
-Processed food. I feel like I eat better here in the UK, and that there isn't as much crap (either available or) in the ingredients of the food.
-Rude flight attendants. Maybe we were spoiled on our Swiss flights to Barcelona, but the service was a MILLION times better on those flights (and the British Airways flight that we took in May) than the US flights (cough cough Delta sucks cough cough).
-Taking off my shoes at the airport. You don't have to do that at London Heathrow.
-Allergies. And the Santa Ana winds.
Things I appreciate/missed about the UK that surprised me:
-the weather. GASP! Did she just say that?? Yeah, it's mild here. I like that. Rain/gray? Not so much.
-the seasons. While we were away it turned to fall! The drive back to Oxford from the airport took my breath away. The fields and hills were green and lush, and the trees were red and golden and beautiful. It was lovely.
-No dryer. DOUBLE GASP! Well, I wouldn't have ruined my favorite sweater (before I lost it) had I left it here in Oxford where it rightly belonged. Also, my jeans felt WAY too tight after I dried them.
-Walking. My friends Jamie and Aine and I had a convo about why we don't walk more there, especially when the weather is so nice. We agreed it is the heat and the fact that everything is so spread out. But here, I walked two miles with Darian in the stroller with the rain cover on today while it drizzled on us. No biggie.
-Kindness of drivers. I wouldn't be able to pull out of our own street, or into the lot at Maxwell's school if someone wasn't nice enough to pause and let me in everyday. And they do it with a wave and a smile. Nice. I turn on my turn signal on the freeway in CA and the other drivers laugh and speed up. Jerks.
The other things I missed were no surprise: I missed David more than I can say, my new friends, Maxwell and Darian's classes and school. I miss the Abbey Road house already, but I know that we are going to make a lot of fun memories in this house, and that this will feel more like home as we get settled and make it our own.
Pictures to come, friends. For now I need to get these kids up from their nap. I think they are confused because it is 430pm and as dark as midnight outside right now.