Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hang On Baby

Five years ago today I agreed to meet a stranger for lunch. Today that same person is sitting next to me in our recently purchased 1993 turquiose, diesel minivan. There is a constant rattle somewhere in the dash that seems to increase in intensity the faster you drive, the speedometer doesn't work, and the dual sunroof overhead might offer a splash of luxury if it were to function, but it doesn't. I have two beautiful daughters happily along for the ride in the backseat. As we make our way down the heavily congested narrow streets of London my ears are drawn to the lyrics of the cheesy love song playing on the car stereo. "Hang on baby. I'm gonna give you more than you ever dreamt possible." The DJ cuts in during the chorus and with a British accent says, "hope all you ladies out there are enjoying this." the chorus repeats, "Hang on baby. I'm gonna give you more than you ever dreamt possible." I soak it all in. That meeting five years ago has given me much more than I ever dreamt possible.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My mom left for home two days ago. She flew over with us and stayed for a full two weeks to help us get settled. Boy was she a life saver to have here. She entertained little girls, cleaned, shopped, changed diapers, read books, played with toys... she did it all and kept everyone happy.

While she was here we did some traveling. We spent several days seeing the sights in London, and then went to Bath, Stratford-on-Avon (the birthplace of Shakespeare), and Warwickshire. Here's some pics from our travels:

Stratford-on-Avon
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Stonehenge
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Bath
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Kensington Palace
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St Paul's Cathedral
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A Good Day

Today made up for all the hard days we have had in the last several weeks. This morning I talked to an adult at the park. Marta. She's from El Salvador and has lived her since the 70's. She recently retired from 30 years of teaching at a university here. She was at the park with her two year old grandson. I hope our paths cross again.

This afternoon we met some friends of some friends. The are the family that just moved out of our same flat, and are moving to Germany on Monday. She had loads of info about the area to share. Libraries, playgrounds, playgroups, buses, doctors, discount stores - I can't wait to get out and explore somewhere other than the park across the street.

She has a five year old daughter who happily entertained Antalya for several hours while we visited. The highlight came when I heard the two little girls in the bedroom laughing out loud together. It does this momma good to see her girl interacting with another child!

Life is Good!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life With a Two Year Old

We have a great park about one block from the flat. Antalya loves it. Although I'm discovering that actually making it to park with both girls by myself is quite the task. Here's how this morning's attempt went:

ME: Antalya, do you want to go to the park?
no reply
ME (several minutes later): Do you want to go play on the swings at the park?
A: ya
ME: ok. Let's go get your shoes on.
Five min later Antalya finally has socks and shoes on. I leave the room to put the baby wrap on and get Victoria. We are all set. I grab the keys to the flat and tell Antalya it's time to go. She doesn't come. I go to get her and find socks and shoes off. I remind her she needs them on to go to the park. She picks up her rainboots and says "boot". It's a sunny day outside, but I just want to go, so we put the rainboots on. We finally make it down the two flights of stairs and out the door. Antalya heads the fish pond right outside our building (see video clip in previous post) . We spend several minutes walking around the pond. We take the steps out of the pond area, but Antalya heads the wrong direction.
ME: The park is this way. Do you want to go to the park?
A: Ya.
We turn around, but then Antalya heads for the pond again. Several minutes later we are back on our way to the park. Antalya spots a door to another building in the complex. She knocks on the door. When no one answers she asks me for a treat. I explain that I have no treats.
ME: Do you want to go home and get a treat or go play?
A: Play.
Next she heads for a car. I remind her it's not ours and she can't touch it. So she turns around and heads to the fish pond. After a total of about 15 minutes outside, she sits down and takes her boots off (they are really uncomfortable to walk in very long).
ME: You need to wear your boots outside. Do you want to put your boots back on and go play at the park or go home?
A: Home.
So I pick her and her boots up. With Victoria strapped onto my front and Antalya riding on my hip we go back up the two flights of stairs into our flat. Maybe after lunch and a good nap for both girls I'll be up for another attempt at the park this afternoon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Home Sweet Home

As promised I finally got some pictures of our flat. I decided it would be easier for a certain grandpa to get a better idea of where his granddaughters are living if I did it in video format. So, Dad these are for you! Rest assure that we are taking very good care of your granddaughters and keeping them very safe from the dangers of big city living!

We love our new home. It's small, but has everything we need. It's away from the street, in a beautiful apartment complex, we have three grocery stores within a 1/2 mile, a big park one block away, and three blocks away from the underground station.
video video

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Getting Here

What we left with...
I wish we could say we arrived with all we left with, but two bags are still MIA. We are crossing our fingers that they eventually make it back to us!

The flight. Easier than I expected! Strangely both the girls decided they would only sleep in the other's car seat. But sleep they did, and this mom was very grateful.


Jet lag. We've had lots of bright eyes in the middle of the night and lots of this during the day. Gratefully, I think we are over the worst.


We found a place to live on Friday, moved in on Saturday, and are working on getting settled. I'll post pics of our "flat" soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I awoke this morning with all four of us cuddled together on the king mattress on the floor in an empty room with just a single blanket thrown over us. Today is the day! Our flight to London leaves in several hours. As I was lying there while everyone was still sound asleep I couldn't help but look around at the bare walls and the emptiness of the room and think about the day we moved into that apartment over four years ago. Jason and I were newly weds. The future was wide open and we felt like we could conquer the world as long as we had each other.

Who knows where the future will lead us. But this morning as I lay reflecting on where we've come from and where the future might take us I was happy with the knowledge that whatever happens - the four of us are in this together. We are a family! And tomorrow when I wake up on a different continent I will still have the people I love the very most by my side.