Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Coming Home

We've been back in London for a week now. It was a long (and I mean LONG) flight back to England. At the time it felt like the absolute worst flying experience yet, but now that I have had a few days to recover and look at it in comparison to the other times we have crossed the ocean in the last 10 months, I think it might of actually been the easiest trip yet.

That's not saying much taking into account the additional 3 hours we spent sitting on the tarmac in Atlanta waiting to take off, and the few hours that both girls were completely unconsolably crying. Granted, that might be a slight over exaggeration, but it sure felt like they were crying for hours.

Anyhow, I'm just glad the traveling bit is over and our little family is all under the same roof again. Although it felt really strange returning home to London after being away for six weeks.

When I first entered our flat it all felt a weird dream. It didn't feel like "home". It was as quiet and as clean as the first day we moved in. But slowly as the afternoon went by little things reminded me that we were indeed home. Little things like:

The familiar smell of chlorine when I filled the tub for the girls
My favorite bowl of yoghurt and museli
Hearing Jason sing "There's a hole in bottom of the deep blue sea" to Antalya.
Listening the laughter from the bedroom float down the short hall and into the kitchen where I was washing the dishes.
The familiar way that when it was nap time Jason quietly took Antalya to bed while I sat in the same spot where I have nursed Victoria to sleep everyday since she was just a few weeks old.
The way I quietly tiptoed through the flat so as not to wake the little ones from their sleeping slumber.
And finally as I curled up next to Jason's warm body to take a much needed nap.

And then I felt it. I was home!

And then we hit the ground running. Our niece, Laci, flew over with me and the girls to help me survive the flight (I couldn't have done it without her), and so the very next day we switched into tourist mode to show her this beautiful city. And we've been very busy. Buckingham Palace, changing of the guards, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, Southbank, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Stonehenge, Windosr Palace, Whipsnade Zoo. We've got just under two weeks to see the rest of the things on our list.

The day we drove out to Stonehenge was absolutely beautiful. As we were driving I was thinking about how unpredictable life is. Thirteen years ago I learned about Stonehenge in a art history class and decided I had to visit their before I died. Now, here I am living less than two hours away and on my third visit to the mystical place.

On the drive back to London I was taken with the beauty of the scenery. Big blue sky, huge fields of golden barley, and green trees. I tried to capture it, but holding my camera out the window with the car going 75 mph down the motorway didn't quite capture what I was hoping for, but you get the idea.

With every golden field we passed it hit me more and more how much I have fallen in love with this country. It feels like home. And although I know the day will come when we have to part and return back to our homeland, for now I am happy just being here. When the day does come to say goodbye, I know part of my heart will forever stay here in England.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Night and Day

My two girls are about as different as night and day. In fact, about the only thing they seem to share is an incredibly strong will.

Tonight we lit fireworks in celebration of Pioneer Day. Here's their reactions.

Victoria ooo-ed and awed, and clapped after each one:IMG_8561

Antalya cried, yelled "scared" and "loud" over and over, and then clapped after each one because she was so glad it was over:IMG_8560

But despite their differences there is one thing they both agree on.
Giving kisses is the best!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Heart Mountains

I couldn't leave my mountainous Utah without spending some time on a mountaintop. Since the thought of carrying both my girls up a mountain seemed a bit too taunting I talked my parents into taking the easy route with me yesterday. With a short drive up the canyon, and an even shorter ride on the tram, we were looking out over the valley from 11,000 feet.
It's hard to believe our six weeks have flown by so quickly. The girls and I head to the airport Monday morning, and by Tuesday morning our family will be complete again and all under the same roof. I can't wait to see Jason!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Remembering Brit

Today my heart is in Alaska where family and friends are gathered to remember Brit. To me, she was more than Jason's niece - she was a good friend, and although I have absolute faith in the resurrection and the knowledge that I will see her again, I will miss her so much until that day comes.

I didn't meet Brit until she moved to Provo after High School graduation to attend BYU, but as soon as we met I felt like we had always been family. And she quickly became a very tangible part of our little family. We were blessed to be the closest family she had while attending college and we would see her often when she would stop by for dinner, or to do laundry, or to hop on our computer, to babysit or just to hang out. In fact she was such a part of Antalya's life as a baby, that Antalya created a sign for "Brit" that she would sign whenever she saw her.

When we planned a two week vacation to Chile a few years back, we were thrilled when Brit decided to come along with us.

I will miss her enthusiasm and energy for live, her positive attitude, her absolute faith in Jesus Christ, her example of love and kindness, but most of all I will just miss HER. I will miss our long chats in the car while driving, or in our kitchen as I fixed dinner, or sitting on our couch as Antalya played near us with toys. She always inspired me to be a little better and try a little harder.

I love you Brit. Until we meet again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Not a Day for Celebrating

Today was my sweet Victoria's 1st Birthday, but it hasn't been a day of celebrating.

This morning I received the news that my amazing niece, a person who was full of so much goodness and light, was stabbed to death last night in a park near her home. I am heartbroken over the loss, and the pain her family is going through, and the thought of someone enacting such cruelty. Brittni was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. Every conversation I ever had with her left me wanting to be a better person, to see more good in the world, and to have more faith in what I could not see. I am only calmed by the knowledge I have of Jesus Christ and the reality of the atonement. I know that although we are all hurting right now, Brittni is happy and well and having a glorious reunion with loved ones beyond the veil of this life. But, oh, how we are going to miss her until we can see her again.

As if that wasn't enough to emotional drain me for the day, my Grandpa has landed himself in the ICU tonight and is unresponsive. The family is all gathered and we are just waiting.

My heart is full of sadness tonight.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Tricks and Airplanes

Look who's mastered getting around on her own two feet
We've been at a family reunion the last three days, and somehow seeing all her cousins walking around was motivation enough for Victoria (or TriTri as she is more commonly called these days) to decide she is done with scrapping her knees on the ground.

We've been here in Utah for four weeks now - that's four weeks that we have been away from Jason, and I must admit I am getting anxious for us to all be back together again. Tonight while I was reading stories with Antalya she got a really sad voice and said "daddy". I asked her if she wanted to go see daddy and she said, "yes, home". It was so sweet. I wish I could see into that little mind of hers, or give her words to help her express what she is feeling, because I know there is so that she feels that just can't be expressed in the very limited vocabulary she has. We (I) talked for awhile about going on a big airplane and then being home and seeing daddy. She got excited and signed "eat". Apparently all the treats and snacks is what she remembers most about the nightmarishly long day we spent on airplanes getting here. Unfortunately, all the snacks in the world don't make traveling that long with children any easier for me. Luckily I've got two more weeks to gear up for the flights - and the thought of Jason on the other side to see me through.