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We’re Baack!

You may recall that just over 3 years ago we returned stateside, sad that the adventure was over so quickly, but grateful for the opportunity.  Well, we are even more grateful now because we are back in the UK…I am at least.  Long story short, I received a very unexpected email in the fall that there was a new position approved.  I first checked with C on his thoughts honestly expecting him to shoot it down.  To my surprise, he said go for it.  After several weeks of conversations and deep thinking, I said yes!  Fast forward 2 long months and I boarded a plane to England.

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For various reasons, I am out here before the rest of my little family.  That is a blessing and curse.  First, it allows me to get things situated for everyone such as a car, a house, a bank account, etc.  It is nice to do those things relatively unencumbered by a toddler.  It’s also allowed me flexibility in doing all the tasks I need to start working including trainings, meetings, visiting random offices asking for things.  However, it also means I am alone in a different, albeit familiar, country around the holidays.  There are some people here from my first “visit” that I know, and they have been super helpful, but it isn’t the same as close friends and family.   I’ve also met some great new people who have provided tons of guidance and advice for which I am eternally grateful.

So, here I am, in my temporary lodging counting down the days until my people are here with me.  I hope to post semi-regularly depending on availability of topics and time.  Come follow our adventure (again)!

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Fall Family Fun

Despite the fact that mother nature still thinks its summer, our little family has been enjoying the various fall offerings around here.  Like every fall, we have attended numerous TCU football games.  It’s been a tough season with ugly wins and even uglier losses but we’ve stuck it out.  Last weekend we took Hannah to the game with us.  She hadn’t been all season and we really weren’t sure how she’d do.  She loved it!  Had fun at the tailgate sitting with the adults, eating junk food and raking in the oohs and aahs.  Then she enjoyed going into the stadium, seeing all the fanfare and cheering on the Horned Frogs.  As any true TCU toddler should be able to do, she said “Go Frogs” “TCU” “football” and “touchdown” quite well!  And she clapped, danced and cheered along with the crowd.

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The Arboretum hosts an amazing pumpkin patch every year complete with pumpkin houses, pumpkin carriages and all sorts of other pumpkin decor.  A few weeks ago, we joined friends for a Sunday morning (along with seemingly half of the metroplex) to see the pumpkin village.  It was a warm but nice day and we had fun taking various photos amongst the pumpkins.  We also took a break to sit and eat snacks including homemade cinnamon rolls and mimosas under the trees.  Despite the crowds we had a great time and hope to make a tradition of it!

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She was pretty upset that a stranger had mommy’s camera and was taking her picture with it :-D

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Hannah has really gotten into pumpkins this fall so on top of the Arboretum we took her to a local pumpkin patch that was full of pumpkins, cutout characters, mazes, bounce houses and more.  She was much more interested in the toys and play structures than the pumpkins.  She even tried out a bounce house for the first time and thought it was pretty cool despite her inability to actually jump. :-)

Playing at the pumpkin patch

Playing at the pumpkin patch

I've got this mom

I’ve got this mom

Bounce house fun

Bounce house fun

Mom and dad even got some quality time with just each other.  We took our first real trip away from Hannah since she was born.  Apparently all our trips prior to this point were with her (or me solo).  We dropped her off with the grandparents and hopped in the car for a roadtrip to the Texas Wine Country.  C’s aunt, uncle and cousins live that direction so we took the opportunity to visit.  The next day we spent time wine tasting a various tasting rooms along the main drag.  It was nice spending time just the two of us.  However, come Sunday afternoon we were so ready to see our munchkin again.

Wine, wine, wine

Wine, wine, wine

Our little picnic snack halfway through our wine adventures

Our little picnic snack halfway through our wine adventures

I kinda like this guy

I kinda like this guy

Last stop of the day - a little something for both of us!

Last stop of the day – a little something for both of us!

We may or may not have stopped at the baby store and bought a new diaper :-)

We may or may not have stopped at the baby store and bought a new diaper :-)

Grabbed cocktails at this super cool place with an amazing patio!

Grabbed cocktails at this super cool place with an amazing patio!

And you can’t celebrate fall without Halloween, right?  Several of our neighbors go all out decorating for Halloween with large inflatables, pumpkins, cutouts, lights…you name it.  So all Hannah has been able to talk about is Halloween!  She finally got to dress up and go trick or treating tonight and really seemed to love it.  However, after several houses she was done and ready to go home.  Then of course, about 5 minutes after being home she was ready to “find” Halloween again.

Our little cheerleader :-D

Our little cheerleader :-D

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She wasn't afraid to go up to doors and say "Happy Halloween!"

She wasn’t afraid to go up to doors and say “Happy Halloween!”

Checking out her loot

Checking out her loot

Of course, fall around here also means a big birthday.  But more on that in a separate post.

Cheers

Anybody Home?

Oh hey!  Anyone still out there reading my tiny corner of the internet?  If not, I wouldn’t blame anyone seeing as it’s been over a YEAR since I’ve blogged.  Yikes!!  I have the usual excuses: work, child, husband, life, lack of motivation, etc.  However, we are coming up on Hannah’s 2nd birthday and I started going back through photos of the last year.  I quickly realized I have TONS of photos but not many documented stories behind them. Sure I remember a lot of the memories just by looking at the pictures, but let’s be honest, that won’t always be the case.  So it’s time to start documenting again and I’m going to do it here.  If you want to follow along – fabulous!  If not, that’s cool too, it’ll serve as my own little journaling space.  :-) It’s getting late at night and I’ve been up since before the sun so I’m not posting anything of substance tonight, but check back in a few days to see what I have come up with.

Cheers!img_0190

From Sydney to Columbus

After we got back from our Australia and New Zealand tour we attempted to settle back into our routine again.  It took about a week of midnight play sessions and zombie-like days for all of us to adjust to the time zone but we managed!  The next big trip on the agenda came in mid-July and was just Hannah and I going to Ohio to visit one of my dearest friends from the TCU days, Emily.

We flew up on a Thursday and Hannah did pretty well.  I had the option to upgrade to a first class seat for a small fee which I decided to take advantage of.  I thought it would be nice to have the space and food seeing as Hannah was traveling as a lap infant.  However, it wasn’t really worth it.  I didn’t get the chance to eat because I was either entertaining her or trying to not wake her up.  I did, however enjoy some nuts and a warm chocolate chip cookie!

Playing in the airport playspace

Playing in the airport playspace – this little girl adored Hannah

Thank God for a carrier and a baby who enjoys being worn! Best travel tool ever!

Thank God for our Boba carrier and a baby who enjoys being worn! Best travel tool ever!

Em has a daughter, Grace, who is a few months older than Hannah and I was so excited for them to see each other again. Our last visit with each other was Emily’s visit when Hannah was only weeks old.  Obviously much had changed in the months since then!  At first Grace wasn’t too sure about this smaller version of herself taking her toys, crawling around her house and stealing her mom’s attention.  By the end of the weekend though she warmed up a bit.

Hannah and Gracie

Hannah and Gracie

Our first day was low key as we had arrived later in the afternoon.  We let the girls play while the mommas caught up on life and gossip.  We stayed up way too late just chatting.  The next morning we planned to have lunch then take the girls to a splash pad.  We hadn’t really planned well and didn’t bring any water friendly clothing or swim diapers.  That didn’t stop us from letting them get into the fountains though!  Grace loved it!  Hannah was pretty excited too, but was a bit hesitant about the water shooting up from the ground.  After the splash pad we headed down the road to COSI which had a great play space for younger kids.  The girls crawled all over sticking various toys in their mouths, nearly avoiding getting trampled by other children, going down slides and various other activities.  They also had a water play area with a few water tables, one specifically for infants.  It was so great watching them explore and have fun.  We may or may not have played a little long distance prank on C involving a fake x-ray and dress up bandages…. 😉

Splash pad fun

Splash pad fun

Gracie loved it!

Gracie loved it!

Hannah took just a little more convincing

Hannah took just a little more convincing

Our little head injury patient

Our little head injury patient at COSI

Fun on the playmats

Fun on the playmats

Water table

Water table

She had to go all the way to Ohio to sit on a saddle for the first time

She had to go all the way to Ohio to sit on a saddle for the first time

Having fun with Ms Gracie

Having fun with Ms Gracie

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After all that excitement we were all pretty tired.  It was a low key night back at the house with takeout food and a rousing game of Phase 10 after the girls were asleep.  Party animals, I know.  However, the next morning we were treated to some delicious homemade cinnamon rolls thanks to Emily’s stepmom (who runs a fabulous bakery out of her home).  We were more than happy to taste test her newest product before it hit store shelves!  We needed full bellies for our afternoon at the neighborhood pool.  Their town has a really neat pool complex with a zero entry pool and play area for younger kids, full lap pool and lazy river plus lots of grassy sitting area and picnic tables.  We spent several hours in and out of the water and we all had a great time.  Hannah crashed when we got back to their house taking a much needed nap.

Takes me back to college

Takes me back to college

Holy deliciousness batman!

Holy deliciousness batman!

Excited for pool time!

Excited for pool time!

She loved the water

She loved the water

Yep, that's my daughter trying to take out one of my best friends' daughter... proud mama here...

Yep, that’s my daughter trying to take out one of my best friends’ daughter… proud mama here…

Love love love

Love love love

See?  They do like each other

See? They do like each other

Em and Gracie

Em and Gracie

This is what exhausted looks like

This is what exhausted looks like

That evening Matt, Emily’s husband, showed off his grilling chops and helped us make a great summertime dinner which we enjoyed on the back patio.  Hannah woke up from her nap in time to enjoy some of my grilled chicken then play with their water table.  After dinner she had her first experience with a swing.  She wasn’t too sure about all of it and whined nervously until we took her out.

Swinging

Swinging

Our final day was spent shopping.  We started off browsing at Paper Source which is a dangerous place for me then hit up a few other stores.  I also made it a priority to get ice cream from Jeni’s because ice cream….

She really really wanted to try that ice cream but I selfishly kept it all to myself

She really really wanted to try that ice cream but I selfishly kept it all to myself

Hannah's first trip to Jeni's, but definitely not her last

Hannah’s first trip to Jeni’s, but definitely not her last

After a nap it was time for us to head home.  Our flight back was blissfully uneventful with the exception of Hannah throwing her food packet at the poor gentlemen next to us about 3 times despite my best efforts to catch it.  Thankfully he was a pilot and very sweet.  As always, it was so fun spending time with Emily.  I’m so happy we have girls close in age and can’t wait to watch them grow up together.  I only wish she lived in Texas :-)

Flying home

Heading home

Hello! Hola! Ciao! Guten tag! Bonjour!

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Oh hi there!  Yes, it’s been a while.  As a matter of fact it’s been more than 6 months since I’ve visited this space.  Why the radio silence you ask?  Well I have a ton of excuses and no excuses all at the same time.  Mostly I was exhausted in the day to day operations of handling a newborn on top of visitors, holidays then heading back to work.  I wasn’t sleeping much and downtime consisted of sleep or watching mindless TV (Real Housewives, anyone?)  That left little time for reading or writing.  Recently, while on vacation, C asked me if I was going to start blogging about our adventures again.  I had honestly considered giving up on this blog just due to lack of time and desire to blog.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to begin again.  If nothing else, it’s a good way to record big events and memories.  I also envision sharing it with Hannah some day, seeing as I have failed miserably at filling out her baby book.

So where do we begin?  Well, I haven’t decided if I am going to try and do a series of catch up posts or not.  While figuring that out, I am going to pick up with the most recent events in our lives, most notably a little trip to Australia and New Zealand.  Stay tuned!

Catching Up

I’ve got some catching up to do!  I’ve been working like crazy since we got back from vacation and this week is no exception.  However, I’m working the night shift tonight, so I have all day at home by myself – what does that mean?  Time to update the blog (and maybe get a few things done around the house).

I’d like to say there’s been lots of exciting things happening around here, but with all my working, there really hasn’t been.  Just after returning from Hilton Head I worked a stretch of 11 of 13 days.  When those days are 10 or 12 hour shifts, it gets really stinking tiring.  I had two whole days off last week and it was great!  Now I’m working on a stretch of 8 in a row.  I know it’s crazy, but I’m getting overtime which equals extra money for baby stuff.  And now is the time to do it since I’m actually feeling pretty good.

Last week after work I met up with some girlfriends for our bi-monthly girls dinner.  It was pouring rain that day so I left pretty early from home expecting a long trip to the restaurant.  Well, I made good time and had about 30 minutes to kill so I stopped off at Pier 1 “just to browse”.  Ha – famous last words, eh?  I did find this super cute wire Eiffel Tower that will be perfect for the nursery (we’re thinking some travel accents, but not an all out travel theme…still working on that idea).  It’s technically a jewelry holder but I’m thinking it would make a great simple accent piece or a bow/headband holder.  We met for dinner and, as always, it was a great time.  The restaurant was okay, the service spotty at best, but when you have good company, it doesn’t matter so much.

C took of a day off work last week to coincide with one of my days off.  It meant we got to hang out and do some fun things with just us.  We drove to a peach and blackberry farm out in the country where you can pick your own peaches and blackberries.  Since he was willing to drive 1 1/2 hours to appease me, I decided to let him off the hook and not actually pick the fruit.  We did browse their impressive farm store and picked up some great things such as juicy fresh peaches, beautiful blackberries, a fried chocolate pie (OMG so good!), fresh homemade wheat bread and a few other things.  After our trip to the country I dropped him off for a lunch with his Fantasy Football league buddies to talk about the upcoming season and I had an hour or so to kill.  I was supposed to get my state inspection done, but it was too long of a wait so I went across the street to Gap instead and did a little damage on the credit card.  I picked up some great baby clothes all on sale/clearance.  My favorite part of my purchase?  A super cute outfit including a Paddington Bear shirt, jeans and red cardigan with matching red bear beanie.  The little one is going to look so cute in it!!  And in all fairness, it was my first big shopping trip for baby.  After lunch, I managed to convince C to go to Buy Buy Baby and work on our registry – he was quite a great sport.  In return, we went to the movies that night to see Divergent which he’s been wanting to see since he read the books last year while in England.  It was a great day together.

Finally, an awesome, exciting, fantastic thing happened just over a week ago.  Em and Matt had their sweet baby girl, Grace!  She’s such a beautiful baby and I know they are great parents already.  I’m so excited for them, totally in love with her already, and cannot wait to meet her when I go to Ohio in a few weeks!

I have some baby updates, but I’m going to wait to post until after my OB appointment this week.  And I still need to post about our Hilton Head trip – maybe this week if I can force myself to sit down and do it!

Happy Monday y’all!

Weekend Shenanigans

Last weekend was great to say the least.  I’ll be so bold to say it was one of the best in a while.  I had the day off Friday and C took it off to spend the day with me go to the TCU regional baseball games.  We loaded up and headed to Ft. Worth for somewhat of a mini getaway.  We got in early enough to grab a great parking spot and walk to lunch.  Walking to lunch seemed like a great idea seeing as it wasn’t that far away and a little exercise never hurt, right?  Well over 1 mile each way in the afternoon sun with significant humidity was less than ideal walking conditions.  Anyhow, we chowed on some delicious burgers and even shared a shake before making the long trek back to the stadium for some baseball.  Despite the heat it was a fun afternoon and evening filled with baseball, made even better by TCU’s win.

Play ball!

Play ball!

It wasn't pretty, but TCU pulled out the win

It wasn’t pretty, but TCU pulled out the win

Because we had plans to attend the next day’s games then go to a charity event Saturday night in Ft Worth we got a hotel room and stayed overnight.  Saturday morning we had breakfast before heading back to the hotel so I could nap while C worked out.  Yep, I took a nap less than 2 hours after waking up – I consider it a perk of pregnancy.  After nap time we got ready, checked out of the hotel, grabbed some BBQ for lunch and went back to the baseball field for another game.  TCU wasn’t playing and it was hot and sticky, so we only stayed until the 5th inning.

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Then it was time for an evening benefitting a local non-profit.  Our night included an outdoor concert, food trucks, booze, a photo booth and good friends.  Several friends were there so it was fun catching up with everyone.  The food wasn’t too bad either!  C ended up making friends with the guys running the BBQ stand and they ended up watching the TCU game on his phone.  I finally had to pull him away in the 14th inning to make the trek home, as I had to be up for work the next morning. I finished off the weekend at work but it was all good because on Sunday we managed to book the beginning of an epic trip for next spring (more on that later).

Enjoying the night out

Enjoying the night out

The girls (minus Kat)

The girls (minus Kat)

Yes, there are 4 men huddled around a cell phone to watch the baseball game...

Yes, there are 4 men huddled around a cell phone to watch the baseball game…

Overall it was a great weekend, which was good because this week is crazy busy!  I’m working six days in a row (mostly 10 hour days but finishing with 2 12-hour shifts), we find out if Goober is a boy or girl (and get to check on the rest of their anatomy), then we get to go on vacation!

Week 6

Obviously, this is not a current post – I wrote this 7 weeks ago but still wanted to share.  I wish I could say I have more of them from before the announcement, but well, nope I don’t.  I’m planning to do a 13 week update and posting it tomorrow so I’ll just recap the last 7 weeks then.  In the meantime, enjoy…

Today I am 6 weeks pregnant.  Yikes, that’s the first time I’ve written it down and it’s a little crazy!

Around November, C and I decided we were just about ready to start a family.  Without going into detail we decided to stop preventing pregnancy and see what happened.  Well, in the middle of the night on Valentine’s I couldn’t sleep and decided to pee on that infamous stick.  It didn’t take long for those 2 pink lines to appear.  And let me just tell you the results didn’t exactly help me fall back asleep!  To make sure I ran out to the store before C woke up and bought another test, plus a gift for him.  The other test confirmed (this time with the word “pregnant”) and I was freaking out a little.  I had bought C the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” so I wrapped it up with the positive pregnancy test and handed it over as his belated V-day gift.  He opened it, looked at the movie, looked at me with wide eyes and said “really?”  As I nodded yes he got this huge smile on his face.  I told him about the two positive tests and my projected due date.  We decided to celebrate by watching the movie, exciting kids aren’t we?

I wish I could said these last two weeks have been filled with joy and excitement.  They have been, but at the same time we’ve both been a bit nervous and anxious.  Coming from the medical field, I’ve seen too many miscarriages for my liking.  I’ve also seen more than a handful of ectopic pregnancies.  I couldn’t help but worry that every little twinge or cramp I felt was a sign of impending doom.  We had a heart-to-heart and decided that we would expect, hope and pray for the best and not spend time worrying about the what-ifs.  For the last two weeks its been a little surreal.  I know I’m pregnant but I don’t feel pregnant, which I suppose is a good thing.  Well, that all changed this week, and I’m definitely feeling the effects of all those hormones.  The worst of all?  The last 2 days I’ve been getting some pretty significant waves of nausea.  I feel fine in the morning but come around 2-3 I get super nauseous.  To the point that I couldn’t even stomach the thought of making dinner.  Thankfully I haven’t actually gotten sick, but I won’t be surprised if that comes soon.

At this point the baby is the size of a sweet pea, or only 0.25 inches – pretty tiny, no?  The heart is formed & beating and the eyes, cheeks, nose and chin are forming.  Hard to believe something that small can be developing so many things at this time.  And in just a week it will double in size.

I’ve been wanting to tell every soul I know about our news, but we’ve decided to wait and tell close family and friends until after our first doctor’s appointment the 2nd week of March.  At that time I’ll have an ultrasound, blood work and exam, plus I’ll meet my OB for the first time – hope I like her!

The secret is out!

After a long 8 weeks, we were finally able to spill our crazy exciting news to the world – we’re expecting!  I say 8 weeks because that’s how long we’ve known, but I’m actually 12+ weeks along at this point.

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We found out at 4 weeks that I was pregnant but had to wait an agonizing 4 more weeks to see the OB.  At that visit we got our first picture of Goober (the name we’ve chosen for the baby until the sex is determined).  It looked just like a gummy bear with a little heart beating around 150 times per minute.  It was honestly very surreal to see it up on the screen and know that tiny thing was in my womb and growing at an insane rate.

Everyone has been asking how I’ve been feeling and to be honest, I’ve been pretty crummy.  Tired, nauseous and moody.  Thankfully, I got meds to help with the nausea which has made it bearable, but not a cure by any means.  Over the last few days the nausea has subsided significantly and I’ve even gone a few days without meds, so I’m hoping that means I’ve turned the corner.

Thursday brings another ultrasound and doctor’s visit and we’re pretty excited for another glimpse at Goober.  Now that I have something exciting to blog about, I’ll be posting much more often, I promise!

A To-Do list of sorts

As 2014 begins, many people are making resolutions.  I’ve never been really big on New Year’s Resolutions, partly because I’m too lazy to come up with them as well as actually complete them.  Why set myself up for failure, right?  Well, this year I decided to set some goals, create a to-do list, I suppose.  Who knows, maybe I’m just putting a different name on the old resolution trend.  So here goes nothing:

  • Make croissants…from scratch.  Bonus points for also making pain au chocolat

 

  • Remember each immediate family member’s birthdays and acknowledge them (before their birthday).  This includes my siblings, parents, in-laws, nieces and nephew.  I have let myself get away from sending gifts, let alone cards or making phone calls, and it bothers me to no end.  So, I’m making a list, putting it on every calendar I can grab and making it a priority

 

  • Find joy in something every day.  This is partly inspired by a movie we saw last year called About Time.  Part of the message from the movie is live each day seeing or making the best of every moment.  I often let myself get bogged down in the minutiae of life like traffic, the piles of laundry waiting to be washed, or the fact that I need to stop for gas and figure out what’s for dinner.  I want to focus on admiring the sunrise on the way to work or the smell of a candle burning.

 

  • Explore more of the good ol’ USA.  After traveling the world, and Europe in particular, we want to see more of this beautiful country of ours.  We have some things in the works and others are mere ideas at this time.

 

  • Spend more time cultivating important relationships.  I know it may be cliche, but I have some fantastic friends and family.  Recently, I have let some of them fall by the wayside and it makes me sad.  So I want to work on strengthening those again.

 

  • Plant something.  I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a garden at the house, but it overwhelms me.  This year I’m going to bite the bullet, create (or buy a prefab) raised bed and plant something – perhaps peppers and tomatoes to start?  I might not actually get to harvest anything, but I’m going to give it my best shot!

 

  • Put pictures on the walls.  I only have one wall in the entire house where I’ve actually hung photos.  After we move back in, I want to put pictures, art or something on a wall in every room.  Particularly, I have big plans for the office and have gradually been collecting decor.  I’m pretty excited to execute my vision.

 

  • Make my own butter

 

Whelp, there it is – my 2014 To-Do List!  Here’s hoping I can accomplish it all and then some.