A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

lunchtime at school...

I volunteer to help out with lunches at school once every two weeks. There are no hot dinners so it's just to set up, help the little ones open things, empty the bins and clean up at the end.

I have been doing it for a year, so Charlotte is used to seeing me in there and it's not that exciting for her anymore. But this year the day care kids (Toby's class) are eating their lunch in the gym too.

The first time I worked this year his teacher spotted me and walked over to Toby, covered his eyes and told him to turn around for a surprise.

The look on his face was priceless!! He was sooooo made up to see me there. He kept saying "You didn't tell me Mummy!" He was telling his friends that his Mummy was there to help.
And for days afterwards he would repeat the story of how his teacher had a surprise and it was me.

It was a moment that I hope I never forget.

I miss picking him up from the day care (he goes to preschool in the afternoon and walks out with his sister and a teacher) when he used to see me through the window and run to the door shouting "My Mummy is here!" and then run and jump up into my arms. I'm always around so sometimes I feel they take me for granted. Don't get me wrong - I am so happy that I can always be around for them. But the look of sheer joy to see me when he wasn't expecting to was such a gift.

He puts a smile on so many faces - I can't believe I get to call him my son and see that beautiful smile everyday!

Here he is with our Thanksgiving turkey - he was determined to hold it!! :)


Monday, December 8, 2014

fall festivities...

So what happened on our return from the UK?

Recovering from jet lag for one! ;)

September was back to school and Charlotte's birthday.


The gals on our court arranged a back to school breakfast out on the street. It was pretty cool! Kids and parents from all over the neighbourhood came to our court for cereal and donuts, coffee and orange juice. The local firetruck also turned up to the delight of all of the kids (and Moms!).

Breakfast on the court

The firefighters parked in front of our house

We had a fun day in Chicago to celebrate Charlotte's birthday. Lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and shopping at American Girl and lego. The city was really busy so we left early and stopped at the beach on the way home. A play in the fountains and dinner at Silver Beach pizza was the perfect way to end a great day (their gluten free bbq chicken is our new favourite!)



We also had a pizza dinner in the court to celebrate the first day of school. It was actually Charlotte's birthday that day so we brought the cakes outside and feasted until late! There are plenty of kids in the court for ours to play with. It's the perfect place for little kids to grow up! We even had a fire pit one evening and the neighbours set up a projector on the side of the house for the kids to watch a movie!

Charlotte performed in her Fall show at school - she was so radiant and grown up. We've been practicing her poems in the car on the way to school so it was amazing to see her on the stage performing with her friends. Their school does a great job with performing arts and building up my shy girl's confidence.

All dressed up, ready for the show

September also brought the High on Kalamazoo Balloon Festival. I took my 'proper' camera this time and love how my photos turned out! You know how much I love bright colours and the sky was the perfect shade of blue! The balloons flew right over our heads and we could shout to the pilots!






October went by in a flash! I couldn't even tell you where the weekends went! I think we mostly spent them unpacking and trying to get the house straight. We didn't do any of the usual fall activities until cousins came over for Halloween. They spent a few days in Chicago then came to stay with us. We took them to buy pumpkins from Gene, trick or treat at the Kellogg's office, we carved pumpkins at home, chilled out in the hot tub and watched the school Halloween parade. We had a big Halloween party where all of the families on the court came to ours. The Dads braved the sub zero temps to trick or treat with the kids whilst the Moms stayed at home to answer the door. The little kids only managed a small amount of trick or treating but the older kids were out for almost 2 hours!
Our kids loved hanging out with the girls - so much so that when we were waving goodbye Charlotte turned to me and said "Mummy is this how I will feel when Granny and Papa leave? I'm so sad I feel like going and sitting in my room for 10 minutes". This life is hard on them emotionally but they are learning to be tough little cookies.

Trick or treat at Kellogg's

Dinner at Clara's


Granny and Papa came over for thanksgiving this year and gracefully offered to give us a break for a few days. We didn't argue and after some research, chose Sedona in Arizona as our mini break destination. Sun, desert and red rocks. Stunning!! (I'll post some photos later) We had breakfast in bed, hiked out on the rocks, chilled out, ate lunch, did another hike, napped, ate dinner and then went to the spa for a pamper. Bliss! The sun was shining which was great given we'd left Michigan in a snow storm!
It was so peaceful to sit up on the rocks and look our over the surprisingly green landscape.

Thanksgiving was lovely and relaxing and fun and we had so much to be thankful for this year. We gathered branches from the yard, printed off tags from the Jones Design blog and made a thankful tree. I loved reading out everyone's notes after dinner. The first one Toby wrote said I'm thankful for... "My Charlotte" and Charlotte wrote the last one "My God" :)

On Granny and Papa's last day we went to the Christmas Barn to pick out our tree. I love that place and it was fun to take them there. And so we move on to Christmas and one of our favourite times of year :) Christmas is another post - I've rambled on for long enough! :)