Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beachy Head

Beachy Head, besides being a popular place to commit suicide as we were told by a number of locals, is also a beautiful range of white cliffs above the Channel. It is also dang windy! We had to hang on tight to Esmé to keep her from blowing away--and she loved it!

As a break from house hunting and car hunting, we drove an hour and a half here to the coast and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon. We ate a fresh hamburger, fries, and cakes at a cliff side restaurant and took in the scenery.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Brief Report


We have arrived in England. I can hardly believe it. Sometimes I get used to the idea and sort of forget, then we start driving and almost get broadsided in a roundabout and I remember, Oh yeah! we're in England!

First off, despite my smile above, I was totally terrified to fly with my babies across the ocean. Thankfully, though, it went well due in large part to Roo who countered my mania by being cool as a cucumber, or more so if that's possible. We were walking down the jetway when the reality of our situation hit me and I had to start blinking back the tears. We got settled in our seats, took off, then the baby started fussing and the tears got tougher and tougher to hold back. I could tell Roo was watching me, but I didn't want to look like I was falling apart. But, good man that he is, he insisted on taking the baby and went and stood by the lavatories for a long time until she fell asleep, much to the dismay of Steven, the flight attendant. I just loved him (Roo, not Steven) so much right then. I also thought, what a better way to spend father's day than for him to be confined for nine hours with his two crying babies! Meanwhile, our guardian angels, Roo's parents, were corralling Esmé (a feat!) on their row. They all saved my life and I feel so so so blessed!

Then we got to England and I couldn't stop smiling. I'd kept my expectations really low so I wouldn't be disappointed, but that hasn't been a problem--it is gorgeous, lovely, and delightful for the most part. The countryside is heaven. We are staying in a temporary house until we move into our permanent place, and it has this nice conservatory (it's pronounced 'conservatree') where we enjoy the English weather.

 One day we got lost on a drive through the country and ended up passing through more lovely scenery than I even realized existed. Rolling hills, stone churches, soft blossoming bushes, hedgerows, great trees, picturesque farms and estates. Unlike getting lost in Houston, not once did I fear we might get jumped.

We've done LOTS of house hunting. Today we finally found a place, and to celebrate we ate dinner at a lovely old roadside pub--very chic/18th century-highwayman feel to it, exposed beams, union jacks etc.

England is as lovely as I could have hoped. The truth is, though, at night when things are all quiet we miss our family and friends and the feeling of security that comes with being at home. Right now we're still in the process of establishing 'home' again and that can be a bit scary. So can driving. But that's all part of the adventure, I guess.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fun with Cousins

Swinging at the park with cousins Ruby and Peter

Drinking from the splash pad

Love that face!

Peter and Esmé...drinking from the splash pad again.

Esmé and Ruby engrossed in Sword and the Stone


Ruby and Penny

We are so proud of Jordan, Amy, Ruby, and Peter for making it all the way to Houston to visit us! We can't wait to see them next time in England! We love you guys!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Penelope's Blessing Day

A massive thank you to Amy for taking these wonderful pictures of Penny's special day, and to Jordan for participating in the blessing. We were so grateful to have some family with us that day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Our Imminent Move

In twelve days we move to England.

The reality of this struck me recently. We know we won't have much space in our new house, so only things of high importance can come with us. Most of our appliances aren't going to work there, so we've started the process of ridding ourselves of them. On Saturday we started emptying the closets and listing the items in the kitchen that will not be making the trip with us. And it felt strangely bittersweet. I've never been one to blend much, but the realization that I'd be leaving behind my blender actually made me sad. And not just my blender, but my waffle maker, two crockpots, an ice cream maker I always looked forward to using but never got around to, our trusty toaster, my hand mixer. These were mostly things we'd gotten for our wedding eight years ago. And for eight years we've toted them all over--Provo to California to Pleasant Grove to Salt Lake back to California then back to Pleasant Grove then on to Houston. There they sat in all of our kitchens, just waiting to blend or toast or mix. They were the familiar fixtures of my domain, and here we were after eight years, abandoning them. I felt like the pioneer woman who transported her beloved piano all the way from the Old World, only to drop it forlornly on the Plains somewhere because it became too much of an inconvenience and it made the oxen tired. Saturday, I sat in my living room thinking of all the items of our life we were leaving behind; I pictured my blender bobbing somewhere in the Atlantic, a fixture of our old life with no place in our new life.

A little dramatic, I know. But moving to another country can have that affect on one.

So can selling a house.

Let me walk you through yesterday:

First of all, the house was a disaster. Imagine everything everywhere, then times it by two. I get a call that we have a showing in 2 hours. 2 hours seems like a long time to clean up, but with 2 babies to take care of and having a landfill inside your house, 2 hours is pretty skimpy. I'm rushing to clean up and jam out the door just in time. It's 12 pm. None of us have eaten lunch and baby is screaming in the back seat of the car. So I feed her in the Kroger parking lot and skim samples in the store for Esme's lunch. Cheese and granola bar.

I load the groceries into the car. I load the kids into the car. I load the watermelon into the car. We're starving so we jam home.

I get a phone call. There's another showing in 30 minutes. Great.

I jam even faster home. Swing up to the garage and push the garage door opener. It doesn't open. I push it again. Nothing. I say angry words. Still nothing. I leave the car idling in the driveway, run inside into the garage, pull on the pull-string to turn on the light in the pitch-dark garage. The string breaks. More angry words.

I dash back out to the car. Turn it off, load the kids into the house, load the groceries into the house, load the dang watermelon into the house, regretting having bought it with every step. Did I mention it is hotter than the center of the sun outside?

We get inside and I'm busy getting us fed knowing we have only a few minutes until we have to be gone. I decide to check the breaker box to see if that's why the garage door won't open. So I dash outside and shut the door behind me. No evidence in the breaker box of mischief, so I dash back inside, except I can't open the door.

It's locked. Esme has learned just now how to turn the deadbolt. I'm locked out. And I can see through the window my baby on the couch crying, and my toddler jumping on the piano bench and laughing at mommy.

This is just one of many instances of stress associated with selling a house (and having children). Thankfully after long moments of panicking, I found my keys in my pocket. And the garage door wasn't broken after all--we figured out what was wrong later. And we rescheduled the showing so we could all take naps, so the story has a good ending.

The best ending of all, however, will be when we sell the house and lock the front door and head out to our exciting new English life, blender-less though we may be.