Birthday Week

It has been 3 months, to the day, since we arrived in London. I expected 3 months of Hell. I was right on target. This last week has been a bit better and I actually told Chad, “I like where we live” yesterday. Yesterday was the first time for me thinking, “We are really going to miss this house when we are gone.”

I started a weekly order of local organic produce. The contents change to whatever is in season. I have always loved going to farmers markets, now I have one delivering to my door! Along with a weekly delivery from the supermarket it is a pretty nice way to eat (and shop). For the Americans: imagine shopping bags delivered right to your kitchen, color-coded by what goes in the fridge or freezer or pantry.

We had a gardener come in and do an overhaul to get everything back to a maintainable level. What a difference! The garden is so much more inviting! I now have a bit more knowledge of what to do with the plantings to keep it looking nice. Also the doors all have handles and latches, so the kids can enter and leave the backyard. It’s the little things.

Wednesday was Alden’s 3rd birthday. I took the kids to an indoor soft play place in Alexandra Palace Park. They loved it. Although I think they enjoyed playing in the sandbox while the weather misted on them more than inside on the slides and climbing structures. He requested Macaroni and Cheese for dinner. I don’t think he minded too much that it didn’t come out of a box and wasn’t bright orange.

To help celebrate Alden, Chad and the kids made a countdown chain until his birthday. Chad also printed out at least a dozen pictures of Alden and taped them up around the house. I have loved seeing his infectious smiling face all over as I go about daily work. Last week Eden got in trouble for being mean to Alden, so I made her find something nice to do. She asked Alden whether he wanted her to make him a card or do a job for him. He said, “I just want you to play with me and with Jasher, OK? That will be fine.” So cute. Eden is his best friend. He gets discouraged when the big girl wants alone time. His communication skills have really blossomed recently.

Friday the kids and I spent a day in the park. My friend Lucy came with us for a bit and treated me to cake and her wonderful company. The kids did a messy craft session there. They were so proud of their fun artwork! After, we played in the sunshine and ate popsicles.

We had a party for Alden on Saturday. Our friends Ollie and Rebekah with their kids Aura and Jesse came over. Alden couldn’t wait for presents and just dove right into opening them without waiting for anyone. By the time Ollie and Rebekah got to our family room, Alden had already opened their gift. The nut even snuck off into another room and started opening his other presents without us. It was fine though because he tried to open a kite that was protected by really strong packaging for shipping. It would have taken him all night without our help. He loved his helicopter. We ate lots of strawberry cake and then the kids beat the colorful homemade elephant piñata to pieces. Our neighbor friends came over to help beat up the poor elephant as well. The time passed so quickly with the kids playing so well and the fun conversations with our friends. We ended uphaving them stay for an inpromptu dinner. I have decided that salad spinners are one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

We had plans to celebrate Jasher’s birthday after church today, but it was just too HOT to make his giant cookie we had planned to celebrate with. (He still hasn’t been digesting milk very easily so we are playing it safe. We’ll try giving him ice cream in a month or two.) Instead we packed up a picnic dinner and went to the park to try out Alden’s new birthday kite. I do not think anyone could be unhappy watching that cute boy joyfully running about towing a flying colorful kite. Pure magic.

Posted by on July 7th, 2013

A week in the life…

We had some visitors earler this week. J.Paul and his parents Pat and Linda Neely came to dinner. Minutes before they were expected to arrive and before Chad returned from work I managed to slip on the last of our many stairs and twist my ankle. I could feel the crunch inside. Yuck. I did my best not to drop Jasher then I scooted over to the freezer for some ice and then to the couch to elevate. I haven’t done something like that since I was a kid. Ouch! It never really swelled. But I have had to baby it for the rest of the week.

Chad and I went to an information night at Rhodes Avenue Primary School, where Eden will begin fulltime school this fall. We were so impressed by the facilities and the ciriculum. It is all play based learning and it shows! She is going to be so spoiled by the schooling there. We are really excited for her.

Thursday, Chad got to do a grown up field day rather than work. Lucky guy! It sounds like it was a great time. He could use more of that. He was so tired by the time he came home but it was a good tired.

My ankle is doing much better. I don’t have to hobble quite so much. We played in the garden yesterday and I got to use our manual push mower to mow the foot tall grass. It was great fun to be outside with all of the kids playing and working together.

We have been calling my parents daily for the last while. Dad is dealing really well with the chemo and stem cell transplant so far. I am so proud of him. What a hard thing to do. I need to just give them a quick call more often. It feels so nice to see them or hear their voices more often.

Posted by on June 28th, 2013

Not a time for catch up

So much keeps happenning and Chad and I have ideas for things we need to write down to remember all of the time. But it is never convenient. There are still so many things “to-do” and we still only have energy for something effortless and mindless when we are too tired to work on that to-do list. We’ve really liked watching Breaking Bad episodes.

Eden is a little girl. She is getting so grown up. She just looks bigger. She is getting to be a great negotiator and I am sure she is starting to manipulate us too, even though I like to think we are too consistent for her to get anything out of it. She will start Reception here in the fall. Whereas in Murray, Utah she would have missed the cutoff for Kindergarten here in London she will be going to school full day. It works out for everyone since she is SO ready. Our neighbor just said that the other day when Eden spotted her in the back garden little miss Eden wanted to have a proper conversation. She mentioned that she kept feeling like she was talking to an 8 year old as opposed to a 4 year old. She also likes to make rules and launch into long-winded explanations. One might start something like, “Oh, I have a good idea! Let me tell you what we’re going to do. First, you are going to stand on that side of the room. I’m going to stand on this side of the room. I’m going to say ‘red light’ or ‘green light’ or ‘orange light….'” Eden loves being like mom. She sets out her clothes, is developing a very distinctive style and loves putting on makeup. The move has taken a toll on her. In some areas she has regressed and it is proving very difficult to regain lost ground. She has a super pouty face that she sometimes puts on, and you can see her shoulders slump down, to let everyone know how sad she is. Alden, in trying to copy her, will sometimes mess up a word and say, “But that is FAIR!” A lot of that has to do with how chaotic life has been for the past few months. I am sure a big part is how distracted Chad and I have been with all areas of adjustment. Then of course, Eden just doesn’t want to be bothered with somethings so she isn’t motivated to make changes that are harder in the short run even if they make things better in the long run. Chad and I spend a lot of time talking about and trying new things to help her out. Eden is making some new friends among our excellent neighbors and hopefully we’ll get her involved in some out of the home activities soon. She sure misses her cousins and friend McKaila though and we hear plenty about all her plans to have them come visit or for us to go on all the sleeping plane and the other plane to go see them. She keeps offering to pick people up from the airport if they will go get on a flight to London right away. We had promised her a “moving party” so she could have friends over. We did that yesterday with two of our neighbors. Eden drew rainbows and taped up balloons and ripped up crêpe paper into confetti for decorations. She has been so excited talking about a party. We can’t get enough of this sweetie. She loves spending her quiet play time during naps making little pictures, notes and surprises for the members of the family.

Alden is changing so much these past few weeks! It is hard to beleive Chad was concerned about his communication development a few months back. He constantly surprises me these days with the ideas he is able to express. (“I slept so soundly! Jasher didn’t even wake me up! I have a lot of energy!”) He is a cheerful goofy crazy boy. Besides him wanting me to apply my makeup to him (“Is this boy makeup?”) and requesting bright red nail polish he is all boy. I do not know where he learned it but our house is a completely different place with him around. Everything is a shooting device. People are dead all the time, there is a lot more action involved in playtime. He must be my child because his decible level is way up there. There seem to be a few volume controls but the default setting is really really really loud. REALLY loud! I keep telling him, “You don’t need to shout.” He loves being silly and loves his sister. Recently they strted doing sleepovers. We catch them setting up tents and forts on their bunkbeds and sleeping together. I love that they are such great friends. They are sure going to miss eachother this fall. Alden has been getting a handle on potty training and gets very excited for his candy rewards. All of the in-and-out of pants means that he never seems to be fully clothed anymore. He is always just running around in his diaper. It makes trying to get out of the door a little challenging, it requires a whole wardrobe change. Alden has been super snuggly lately. He loves to just come and give big hugs and hang out on our laps for awhile. Alden is a great sharer. He is always seems to be giving his last bite or snack or whatever to who ever stands in need. He loves make beleive games right now. In fact almost every tube ride we seems to be making a cake complete with cleaning the mixing bowl. His favorite cake to make on the tube is chocolate mint.

Jasher clearly a different little baby than the one we brought with us to London. He loves to play games and imitate now. He likes trilling his lips with his fingers and clapping. He loves chasing after Alden and Eden all over the house. He is a master at staircases with all the practices over our 3 1/2 floor house. He still has an asymmetric crawl where one leg is extended behind him so he can use his foot, and on the other side he uses his knee. He is starting to take some steps on his own and preferring 2 instead of 4 for some things. One is when you are sitting on the floor he will stand up and walk right into your arms and give you the biggest most snuggly hugs. Oh! I love his hugs! He likes to nestle right against your neck or cheek and hold really still. For a few weeks he was having fevers and pain every night because of new teeth coming in. That stopped two weeks ago.

One thing we like about this area we’re living in is the family neighborhood. Everyone has kids. There is a school at the end of the street that has 90 4-year-olds in attendance, and every one of them lives within 0.26 miles. We also love walking more, to places like the local bakery. There are a few huge parks right around the corner from our house. The house has a pretty inconvenient layout, with all the stairs and half-floors. The structure is about a century old. All the paint layers keep the doors and light switches from working smoothly. There isn’t a bathroom on the first floor. But it has ample space, so we got a big bed and we can all share the bed in the morning. Most rooms have lots of windows so there is plenty of light.

Posted by on June 9th, 2013