Thursday, June 30, 2011

Swinging with Papa

Nothing can elicit a smile from Antalya quite like when Papa swings her in the backyard.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Coming home is like hitting play on a movie that had been paused. It doesn't feel like we missed anything, and somehow we are just picking up right where we left off. It makes London feel almost like a dream, although I know that just a week ago it was our life and all the girls really new.

In many ways it feels so good to be back home, but then there are moments when I have to stop the tears because my heart aches for England - for the simple life we had, our friends, the noise of the city, the High Street shops, the sights and smells, walking to school, and so many other things.

So before I begin journaling our adventures here in Utah, I want to finish with our last memories in beautiful England.

Our last Saturday in London we had a great get together with some of our friends from our church. Not everyone could be there, but we had a great time with those who were. We miss our little ward and all the great friendships we formed there.

The day before we left, we had to say goodbye to all our friends from Antalya's nursery school. On that day, story time was all about Antalya, and Jason, Victoria, and I got to be there.
They looked at Antalya's book that documented some of the things she has done these past two years, and then sang some of Antalya's favorite songs.

We love these amazing ladies who have made such an impact on Antalya and helped her grow and develop so much during her time at nursery.

And then we took our final walk home. This walk from our house to the nursery has been the biggest part of my life with the girls during our time in London. We walked the path twice a day, five times a week.

Every day we would make the same pit-stops. The first stop was to walk on the wall.

Then Victoria would have to give two kisses to the elephant flower stand - one kiss in front, and one in back.

Next was the run through the woods (a line of trees with a small path running behind the trees), followed by jumping practice on the steps.

Then after a quick rest on the grass, the girls would usually ride in the stroller for the rest of the walk home.

That afternoon we said farewell to our not so beloved van. Although we don't miss how unreliable it was at times, we do have many fond memories surrounding that vehicle.

And then it was done - our bags were packed and we went to sleep for the last time in London.

The next morning, after a quick sandwich on the balcony for breakfast we were on our way (can you believe this picture was taken at 5:45am? I miss the early morning sunshine we had there).

The flight went reasonably well. We were so blessed to have an angel sitting right behind us that was so sweet to the girls and was happy letting them climb over the seat and sit with her when they needed a break from us.

And before we knew it, we were at Papa's house. And the girls haven't stopped since!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Beginning of the Farewells

The time has come. And whether I'm ready for it or not, in a few days time our two year adventure in London will have ended. I'm trying to feel excitement about going back home, but right now I think the having-to-part emotions are running a bit deeper.

London has become our home. The English have become our family. But now it is time to say goodbye. I know the Lord will continue to guide our path the way He always has. And wherever the journey of life takes us next will soon feel like home.

Today we said farewell to the toddler group at Antalya's school. Victoria and I have been going to the group since it started in January, and have made some great friends.

We will miss seeing their smiling faces every Friday.

And I will miss these amazing women who juggle work and being a mom, and are filled with so much patience and love for their children. Each of them is truly an inspiration to me. Every week I leave wanting to be a better mom. So, thank you ladies! It's been wonderful!

We had planned to have a farewell picnic in the park today with some of our friends from Antalya's school. As luck would have it, the weather was great all morning until school got out at 11:30. Then the clouds starting rolling in, and just as we all made it up the big hill and crossed the street to the park the rain started.

Luckily I had parked my car at the park this morning thinking that the girls would be too tired after playing to walk home. So we rushed into our van to stay dry while we waited the rain out.

After 10 minutes, the rain wasn't letting up, so we decided to just make do and have our picnic in the car. The kids loved it. We put the seats down, spread out a picnic blanket, and had the most memorable time crammed into our car, munching on sandwiches, while the rain poured down.

It was a special treat that Antalya's amazing aid from school got to come along with us. I owe so much to this wonderful woman! She is so patient and loving, yet firm when need be. Antalya absolutely adores her (and Victoria does too). Every morning when we get to school Antalya hangs up her coat, finds her name and puts it on the peg, and then runs off to find Michelle, saying "chell, chell, chell" as she runs through the classroom. Once she finds her, she rushes into her arms and gives her a big hug.

We had a lovely time, and I was so touched that these wonderful friends came out to be with us, despite the awful rain and cold.

I think it is fitting that for our last picnic in England we would have a downpour. It made it all the more memorable (and I must admit, it was much more relaxing for me to have my girls confined in the car instead of running all over the park).

Friday, June 3, 2011


The week has flown by in a big blur of sleepless nights, crying fits that seems to last for hours, yucky colds, long exams, death-defying plummets over crib railings, long afternoon naps, and packing suitcases, with a few intermittent trips to the park thrown in to keep the sanity.

So to celebrate the fact that it is Friday and we have successfully made it to the weekend, the girls and I took a morning adventure to Highgate Wood - a park we haven't yet explored.

It's a straight shot from our house on either the bus or the train. Victoria has been wanting to ride the train for the last couple weeks, but since it's almost a mile walk to the train station, I decided we would take the train there, and then the bus to come home (since it drops us right outside our door).

We took our time getting to the train, stopping along the way at all our usual stops (it's the same route we take to Antalya's school everyday). Victoria was so excited when we made it to the train (you'd think this girl had never ridden the train before), but she played it cool sitting in her own seat for the entire 10 min ride.

The park was beautiful. But then again, all English parks are truly amazing. It's one of the things I will most miss about living in London. I loved walking through the wooded area, but Antalya all too quickly spotted a bright colored something in the distance and took off at mach-speed through the trees in hopes it was a playground.

The girls were happy to play while I chatted with a friend. It was like a little piece of heaven. I can't remember the last time I sat down on a park bench with a friend and was able to hold a conversation. Only once did I walk search the entire playarea in a bit of frantic wondering where Antalya had run off to (she was there the whole time, just hidden from my searching eye).

When we had had enough of the playground, we headed back to the wooded area for some climbing.

And then after a quick stop for ice cream we were on the bus back home - dirty and a bit tired, but happy!

And now for an update on all of us:

Jason is three exams down, two to go!

Sunny has surprisingly convinced her body that sleep isn't really all that necessary and is managing to get the house organized and things packed (hoping to be completely done and ready to go by next Saturday).

Antalya is finally on antibiotics for her sinus infection and eye infection. She was able to sleep last night, so I think we are on the mend (although watching Monsters Inc and eating popsicles at 1:00am was memorable, it's not something this momma enjoys on a regular basis).

Victoria has decided she is ready to be a big girl (despite my wishing that she would stay in a crib for another year). I took the side rail off her crib this morning and she was thrilled. And today instead of going down for a nap she got to sit on the couch with Antalya and watch a show. I was pleasantly surprised when this happened: