Tuesday, 26 January 2010


We finally took a weekend-city break. Destination: Edinburgh, Scotland. The train ride was about 5 hours. We stayed in a serviced self catering flat. We were 5 minutes from the train station and two minutes from a grocery store. This all worked out nicely with the children in tow.

Edinburgh was a great city! The people were friendly. It was hilly but walkable. We walked up to Edinburgh Castle and down the Royal Mile. We toured a very good muesum - The National Museum of Scotland. There was very dense fog...

which finally lifted our last morning...the view from Calton Hill...

We enjoyed Edinburgh's Christmas on Prince Street Gardens.  There were reindeer, midway rides, a German market and delicious food vendors.  Scott Monument...

George was my heater...

Caroline's photography...

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Monday, 25 January 2010


We are thrilled to be Godparents for the first time. Oliver Thomas came to London to be baptized and celebrate his first Thanksgiving. Father Chris was patient and thoughtful. We celebrated with lunch at the Holly Bush pub.

Oliver is usually a happy boy but was fussy that morning. The candle caught his attention. Boys and fire.

Caroline carrying the gifts at Mass before the service. She did not tell us she was helping so we were surprised to see her walk to the front.

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Sunday, 24 January 2010

My Baby Blue

Georgie (Little Brent) playing...

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Saturday, 23 January 2010

Too Much

As the mother of a very gorgeous but very high maintenance baby:

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much - Mother Teresa

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Sunday, 17 January 2010

Why I Am

W hy I am the way I am? Genes. I'll blame it on the genes. This year I’d like to blog about some of my favorite genes. There are three in particular: the Travel Gene, the Food Gene and the Reading Gene.

The Travel Gene has been passed down from both sides of my family. I have been to 49 states. The only one I went to without my parents or grandparent is Hawaii. I love researching and planning trips. I love the journey. I love new places and discoveries. I love being in a place that does not know or care I am there.

The Food Gene comes from my Grandma’s side of the family. We love food and cooking. I love reading about food and recipes. I love shopping for food. I love preparing recipes. I love eating food. I am thankful I have a gene to help keep this love of food from showing up on the scales.

The Reading Gene is specifically from my Grandpa. He always had a book in his back pocket. I love reading and books. I love selecting books. I love talking about books. I love trading books. I love libraries and book stores.

I am excited to share my best in Travel, Food and Books!

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Saturday, 16 January 2010


During our US visit I was frequently asked the same three questions. In case you were wondering too:

When are you coming back?

We do not know for sure. The earliest will be the summer of 2011.

What is different in London?

Now that living in London is everyday life I do not notice the differences so much. I was hard pressed to put into words the differences. A big difference I notice quite often is when you go to the store to pick up any item you have to be prepared for the store to not have the item. For example, I go to buy mozzarella cheese. In order to avoid disappointment, I have a back up dinner plan because there is a very good chance they will not have mozzarella cheese on that day. In the US this rarely happens because if it occurred regularly the stores would go out of business and managers would be told off every time they were out of an item. The same holds true in restaurants. Always have a back up plan or two because they may not have half the item menu items available. At first this is aggravating. But once you are prepared then it is not such a big deal.

As a general rule strangers do not smile and speak to each other, especially on the bus or Tube. But I still smile and say hi.

How was it giving birth in London?

We have health insurance so it was basically the same. George was born at the “posh” London hospital. In Dallas the hospital would be considered yucky and I would have shopped until I found a better one. Medical care seems to be much less invasive. They always asked if it was okay to examine me. To which I really wanted to say, please do because I need to know what is going on and I am dying to know. In the US we like to hear numbers and stats – dilation, station. Only when I really pressed them to give me numbers would they actually disclose such information. After George was born and I was moved to my room the nurses came around at the beginning of the shift and I did not see them again. Also circumcision is not standard so I had to take a few extra steps to make sure it happened.

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Friday, 15 January 2010

George's Baptism

George was baptised at St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas. Deacon Ken was graciously accommodating of us. As you might guess, George cried pretty much the entire service. We are thankful to share the day with his Godparents April & Steve and their children Eva and Max, my parents, siblings Andrew and Katie, my Grandma and George's sisters. Since my Grandma said she would not leave the state of Arkansas, I am especially happy she came down. We celebrated with a Tex-Mex feast at La Hacienda!

The Godparents

Deacon Ken with George, Jody & Brent

Grammy and Grampy with George
(George's gown was made by Grammy and was worn my Mary Kate & Caroline too)

Uncle Andrew and Aunt Katie with George and Jody

Our FIRST Family of Five Photo

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5 & 6 Months

Five Months

Six Months

George is rolling back and forth. He is sleeping in his bed at night and naps. He is saying dada and baba. He loves his sisters. He enjoys being on Mommy's hip at all times. He thinks Daddy is pretty funny. He kicks all day long. He likes his toys. He wears 6-12 month clothes. He is the "slimmest" of our babies. He is a beautiful boy!

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Globetrotting II

We repacked our bags, spent the night at home and met Brent at the airport for part two of our travels. More miracles occurred on this flight too...

I find it interesting to point out George was 3 months old before he set foot on the soil of his country of citizenship. Admittedly I was a bit teary when we touched down. At times I feel displaced and wonder where I belong. I consider myself a world citizen. But I am an American, which is another post altogether! If you know Mary Kate you can see how tired we were...

I felt as if I had never left. The big cars were normal. The big roads were normal. The sense of space was normal. Driving for the first time in 10 months was normal. Northpark was normal. It was little things that struck me as strange. Walking up big stairs. The big glasses of soda full of ice. The big bowls of chips and salsa. Being rushed away from tables in restaurants.

The next 10 days were a blur of activity. We split the time between Dallas, Oklahoma City and Malvern – I was really teary when we entered the state of my birth. We had drinks, dinners, Chick-fil-a, George’s baptism, shopping, Brent went into the office, Tex-Mex, dentist appointments, playdates.

In Dallas, we stayed with our sweet friends, the Merrifields. It was as if we were coming over like any other time. They were so flexible with our hectic schedule. We still did not get to do or see all we wanted to do or see. I am sad to now notice I only took a few pictures.

By the time we made it to Arkansas we were exhausted and retreated to my Grandma’s house. The trip made me realize coming back once a year is not enough. So we are coming back in April and July this year. It was so good to come home!

The girls claimed to love all the trip! One highlight was shopping at the American Girl store.

Caroline's early 6th birthday present: Kit

Our American Girls with their American Girl dolls.

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Thursday, 7 January 2010

What Would You Say

A couple of months back this was my Facebook status:

Dear Concerned World Citizen: the blanket over the infant carrier is to protect my baby from YOUR germs. He can breath just fine. Under no circumstances are you to remove the blanket and touch my baby. Now he is sick and can not breath. Thanks for NOTHING!

The blanket over the carrier or stroller has received even more comments than "you finally have your boy". You would think there is a plastic bag over his head. Also I have received more "advice" with George than I ever thought possible. The advice tends to be very passive aggressive - these gems usually concern him being cold or getting the slightest bit wet from rain. My favorite is when he is screaming and they say oh he is hungry. How the heck would you know lady? Or when they stop and stare when he is screaming. What other than a screaming baby do they think they might see?

Again I say...thanks...for NOTHING!

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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

So Much to Say

So I'll start with an easy one...

Junior helping Mummy wash his nappies

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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Say Goodbye

I did not write a letter this Christmas. I did not feel inspired and I have written all year on the blog. When you are in the midst of living life many times you can not see beyond yourself. But as the New Year rolled around I heard so many comments of good riddance. I thought I was the only one.

With joy comes trials:

Living in Europe – joy. Adapting to a new culture – trials.

George’s healthy and safe birth – joy. Fear and anxiety George would not arrive safely and healthy – trials.

Internet access from home – joy. Internet installation – trials.

Finally selling the Florida house – joy. The process and consequences of selling the Florida house – trials.

Now for the year in review:

January – welcome 2009 on our first night in London.

February – Understand how one might loose mind during the endless dark, wet and gloomy London winter days.

The girls visit Paris for the first time via the Eurostar.

Find out we are having a boy.

March – Culture shock hits hard. I read the books. I was prepared and thought it would be mind over matter. I mind and it matters.

Miss Henry dreadfully.

April – A terrible busy season does not end and extends to May.

Our first visitors arrive! We are so happy to see them. They bring seasoned salt and mac & cheese.

May – My sister visits. She brings more mac & cheese.

Babymoon in the Cotswolds.

Spend a week on the Cornwall coast.

June – My dad and brother visit.

July – George is born.

Brent’s dad and step mother visit.

Brent is out of town 7 of the first 10 weeks of George’s life. We all survive. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

August – George wakes up and does not go back to sleep.

Two families we know visit the US for the summer and do not return to London. Wonder if we might be next.

September – School is back in session. Mary Kate is in year 3 and Caroline year one.

Another sister and her family visit. She brings a suitcase of mac & cheese.

October – We visit Dubai.

We return to the US for the first time! It is glorious and hectic.

November – Brent and I are Godparents for the first time to Oliver Thomas! He comes all the way to London to be baptized.

December – We celebrate our first Christmas in London.

We visit Malta.

We are ready to take the New Year by storm!

At the end of it all I feel content and grateful. Our home is warm, generally happy and has plenty of food. Brent and I both have jobs and we happen to like them. We have family and friends we love and love us in return. Most of all, as the season of Christmas reminds us: we have peace and hope which only comes through Christ.

May 2010 be healthy and happy for all of us!

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The Best of What's Around

George is not wearing a dress...it is a smock with bloomers.

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