Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Harvest Assembly

Taryn had her first assembly at school yesterday.  I found out about the assembly 5 minutes before it started thanks to another mom.  Since I'm not working, it was no big deal!  I realized what a blessing it was to be able to stay and not being concerned about having to follow a strict schedule with not much flexibility and hurrying from one place to another.  Last night in her prayers, Taryn thanked God for letting Jillian, Sebastian, and me go to her assembly.  Its those moments that fill my heart.

They have been learning about harvest time.  They sang two songs and it was so sweet.

Jillian waiting for Assembly to start.

Fruit Stands

We are settling into our routine.  Tuesdays is the day that we have no extra activities planned and the little ones are home from school.  We drop Taryn off at school, go to the park, then head to the fruit stand before going home for lunch and naps.

We love the fruit stand and are so excited to see what we are going to buy each week.

There are three fruit and vegetable stands within walking distance of our house.  This one is the largest.

Sebastian and Jillian get excited to start picking out fruits.

Sebastian always runs to the grapes.

Jillian is collecting all our fruit.
The best part is the price!
You can only buy so much because it goes bad quickly,
but we were able to buy all that fruit for
7 pounds which is equivalent to a little over $12.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Its beautiful!  I love Autumn.

I love the changing of the leaves, wearing scarves, the beautiful dark flowers, and the cooler weather.  Living in El Paso and San Antonio, I never really experienced the changing of seasons.  There is such a warmth in coming inside, wrapping up with a warm blanket, and drinking a cup of tea.

 However, Jason doesn't feel the same....

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Reflection of a Challenging Day

Today was the day that I struggled as a Stay at Home Mom.  I've been loving it and the interactions with the kids are intriguing and amusing but today it was just challenging.

I was longing for intelligent conversations with adults that had nothing to do with kids or about kids or to kids.  I wanted to not have to repeat the same thing for the 100th time or answer the question why, or listen to fighting.  My patience was wearing out and I wanted to scream too.  The kids were just as frustrated with me, there were tons of temper tantrums, yelling, and stomping.  I knew this day would come but I didn't know how awful it would make me feel.

I just broke down and started crying, what kind of example am I being for my kids?  How are they suppose to learn to deal with frustration if I can't?  What is my outlet for frustration now?  There were so many questions and moments of self doubt as a mom today.

As I sit here reflecting on the day, I want to do better next time.  I want to have more patience and I want to be a better example.  Even with a horrible day like today, I don't want to trade the time with the kids.  I'll get better at this and they will learn that we all make mistakes even Mommy but we get to start over tomorrow.

This picture pretty much sums it up....

Parks, Parks, and More Parks

Since we have a tiny garden that needs lots of TLC, we love parks.  We explore them during the week and have added them to our daily routines.  There are tons of parks and each park seems to offer something different.  I'm sure it is similar to any large city that doesn't have backyards but for us its a new adventure.

Our first weekend here, the Turnman Green Park and Church had a carnival.  It was so much fun and so easy!  It was insane, there were no lines.  Basically, each parent walks up to the ride and puts their child on then they come around and take your ticket.  As long as their is space for your child, you are on the ride.  There was no telling the kids, stop, wait your turn, please don't push.  The parents just all nicely put their kids on the ride and then moved on to the next.  Also, they didn't seem concerned about height or weight or anything.  If you pay for a ticket, you ride so Jillian rode her first roller coaster.  Part of the carnival, was this ridiculously large blow up Minion slide, Taryn is still talking about the slide.  By the way, Minions are HUGE here!

We also play soccer at Turnam Green park on Thursdays.  It a large open space that is about a 5-10 minute walk from our house.  We go here after school sometimes too.

We also went to the Diana Memorial Park in Kensington.  The kids loved it!  There is this huge ship that you can climb all over.  There are tons of little playgrounds surrounding it.  There is definitely not a shortage of entertainment for little ones.  Also, if you talk to local people, they are so proud of the playground.  It is really interesting to hear them recommend it as THE playground to take your child to.

We also went and explored St James Park near Buckingham Palace.  It was perfect with the sun shining and the leaves starting to fall.  It is amazing to live in a climate where you actually have a fall.  We wear long sleeves and a light jacket.  I have a feeling that the cold is about to come though.

There is a park that is close to the little ones school which is Chiswick House and Park.  It is amazing!  It has tons of trails and a stream that runs through it.  There are lots of ducks and squirrels. There is also a new cafe and playground with toilets (very important with little ones)!

We have several playgrounds and parks close to our house too.  The little ones go on Tuesday mornings after we drop Taryn off at school.  If its a nice afternoon, we try to go to the playground after we pick Taryn up too.  They kids love it!

We have many more parks to explore!  The parks are definitely our saving grace.  The kids love them and exploring.  It gets us out of the house and away from the busy streets so they can run, play, whatever they want.  The English allow their children to be much more independent and they don't watch them as closely.  We are having to learn to let our kids explore on their own more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

School, Internet, and Utilities

Yay, we finally have internet!  It is a forever waiting game here, just like the U.S. but the difference is that they still didn't come to the house.  They mailed us the equipment then Jason got to set it all up.  I think he actually was really glad because he knows exactly how everything is hooked up.   Of course, none of this could happen until we paid for a TV license.  If you have a free minute, you should google it and read about a TV license, its kind of interesting.

Other utilities for the house have been interesting too.  Since the house and garden are so small, the water company bills you in advance for the next 6 months.  We paid 230 pounds for water from October to March.  Electricity gets set up and you put an app on your phone so you can send them your meter readings every month.  Once you send your readings, then they send you a bill.  It is crazy!  The other thing that is interesting about utilities, it is in your tenancy agreement that you will use the same utilities as the previous tenant that was established by the owner.  If you wish to change, you have to ask permission in writing to switch companies.

Registering for school is a whole different experience.  There are two type of applications, the one where you apply in January for schools in September and an in year application that happens after the first deadline.  Since we came to London after the deadline, we had the privilege of filling out an in year application.  The in year applications are mostly based on vacancies and the schools with the best ratings are typically full and extremely hard to get into even if you house is located in their catchment area (similar to district lines).  We ranked our schools from 1 to 3 and then you are put on a waiting list for the schools above the one you actually get into.  It took me forever to understand the process and I'm not sure I really understand it.  The exciting news is that I get to go through it with Sebastian as he gets ready to go to reception.

Here is a quick overview of how school works here: they can start nursery at a state school when they turn 3 or they will subsidize your private nursery expense then at 4 they go to reception that helps prepare them for primary 1 which is equivalent to kindergarten, totally easy to understand, right?!?!

The good news is that all the kids are in school (Sebastian and Jillian go two times a week), we have internet, and our utilities are turned on!