Sunday, February 15, 2015

I'm BAAA-AAAAACK!

Hopefully!

My goal this month is to set aside a weekly time to blog, and the plan was for that to be on Friday evenings when M is doing his Young Men duties. I thought that would be a good time, once I got the boys down to bed. Didn't work out this week since J didn't fall asleep until after 10 p.m. on Friday. So this is not THE time, but it is A time, which is better than nothing.

So many things have happened. I don't even think I finished blogging about our trip last spring!

A quick recap, for posterity's sake:

April: Recovered from our trip. M interviewed for a job in England and received an offer! (photos here)

May: Went to a fun homeschool conference in Virginia Beach with my fun sister-in-law. (photos here)

June: Tore my ACL jumping on the trampoline with M and L. Spent the rest of the month on crutches. Welcomed a sweet new baby nephew to the family! (photos here)

July: Celebrated L's sixth birthday. Graduated from crutches and slowly learned to walk normally again. Spent lots of time at the physical therapist's office. Took a road trip to Tennessee to visit my Grandma and Grandpa, and another one to upstate New York for the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Also hit Niagara Falls on the Canada side, which was country #4 for the kids. My brother, his awesome wife, and their two adorable kids moved into our house to wait for their house to be ready. After a little adjustment on the kids' part, we all had a grand time! Whew! That was a busy month! (photos coming soon)

August: Flew to Las Vegas (because we're frugal), then drove to Utah to visit M's parents and Grandma, and to be there for my brother's wedding. J fell in love with his new aunt, and still (six months later) refers to every woman in a wedding dress by her name :) Came home and decided we had to get down to business, and get ready for an overseas move. Celebrated J's second birthday. (photos coming soon)

September: My brother and his wife were finally able to close on their house (YAY!), which meant they had to move out (BOO!). We missed them so much! Made some progress on the mile-long list of house projects until the second week of September, when I suddenly lost all motivation and wanted to do nothing but sleep about 14 hours a day. After several days of that, I discovered I was pregnant! A happy surprise, even if the timing meant I couldn't finish my list! Basically slept the rest of the month. Started with our new homeschool co-op, which was awesome. L took classes called Knights and Castles and The Art of Science. I taught one called My Amazing Body for 5-7 year olds. Also, took an awesome three-day trip to Colonial Williamsburg. (photos coming soon)

October: I can't even remember! What happened in October? Probably good stuff. (photos coming soon)

November: Crunch time! The kids spent a few days visiting my parents so we could get stuff done around the house. Luckily by this time I was just about out of the first trimester haze. I'm so lucky I don't get sick. The tiredness is really not that bad, just makes it hard to get things done, and things really had to get done! We swapped some furniture in and out, decluttered a lot, tried to get and keep things organized, finished painting various spots around the house, put our house on the rental market, and then the movers came to pack everything up the week before Thanksgiving. Then we spent the weekend with M's family at a rental house in Massanutten Resort, which was a blast. The kids had so much fun together, and so did the grown-ups! From there, we went north to visit my family. All my siblings came too, and we all spent the week together, playing games, eating delicious food, laughing, and watching movies. It was so good to see everyone before we left. (photos coming soon)

December: The first week of December, we stayed in a hotel near our house, tying up all the loose ends, and saying goodbyes to a few friends, and then we were off to England! The kids were great travelers, and slept as much as you can on an overnight flight. We landed at Heathrow, and then a driver picked us up and took us to our temporary flat about two hours' drive to the west. We were met there by our wonderful sponsors, who had set everything up and gone grocery shopping for us and everything. They had also answered all our questions and given us so much good advice in preparation for our move. It was great to finally meet them and feel like old friends. (photos coming soon)

I think I'll stop now, and hopefully next time, I'll pick up from there.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

January 2015

In January:
  • we bought a car - and couldn't believe it took three weeks from the time we chose the car until we could finally take possession of it! 
  • we braved driving on the other side of the road, which was quite harrowing at first
  • we nursed (and nursed and nursed) kids and mommies with colds, coughs, ear infections, etc. 
  • we played at home and took walks in town. When we walked, we often passed the office for our temporary housing management place, and J loved to look at the photos of our house - "Dat's MY kitchen!" :)
     
  • January was the month that L really became a reader! I often found him in his favorite spot - sitting in front of the warm radiator with a book.


  • we looked at lots of houses and debated the pros and cons of the various options
  • we chose a house and prepared to move
  • The cutest thing that happened was a trip to Wick Grange Farm, which is about 45 minutes north of us in Worcestershire (they really do pronounce it woo-ste-sure). Isobel, the owner of the farm, plans lovely days throughout the year for home educated children, and I'm so glad we found her! On this particular day, we got to feed baby lambs.
First they mixed up the lambs' milk. These particular baby lambs were orphans, so Isobel fed them by bottle three times a day. 


L climbed right in there, and the lambs crowded around. They couldn't wait for their own bottles!



J hung back a bit, a little wary of the lambs. Not wary at all, however, of this John Deere tractor.


After a while, we took the lambs up the hill to play and chase each other, and J warmed up to them here.



After we brought the lambs back to their place in the barn, Isobel saw J staring longingly at the tractor and offered to let him sit inside. It made his whole day!

  • we took a beautiful drive to the nearest Air Force Base where we shopped at the commissary and went bowling. Somehow J won, beating the runner up by 9 points and the loser by 21! :)

  • we spent a Saturday visiting Tewkesbury Abbey and a cute little railroad
  • we took a weekend trip to London to see a few of the sights

     We splurged on room service, since our room was covered by points.
     We took a river cruise to get to the Tower of London.



     Changing of the guard.



    No pictures of the jewels are allowed, but we did get to photograph this crazy dragon made out of armor!



  • we celebrated M's 34th birthday!