We made it back to the US of A in one piece!
What a fantastic trip back to see friends and family in England. As ever we didn't manage to see everyone and that makes me sad but we did really enjoy the time we had with those we were lucky enough to catch up with.
A day or a few hours is never enough to catch up on 6 or 9 months of life, but it's better than nothing and I cling to those precious moments, soaking in the little ones, laughing with friends, treasuring time with family and making the most of every single minute we have there.
There were quick visits like lunch at a friends' house as we made our way up the country, an early morning visit to a slimming class, coffee with friends in a very busy Trafford Centre and a couple of hours in a play centre with 'ante-natal families'. We stayed with Jeremy's brother and family on the Wirral so we had a lovely amount of time with them. All of the cousins loved playing together and their house is gorgeous. It did mean an hour or more in the car to see people in Manchester but so nice to come back to a home in the evening.
We've tried staying in cottages and rental property on our previous trip but this was so much better. Big thanks to them for having us and lending us their wonderful home!
I miss all of my friends and family but it's especially hard to see the little ones get so big between visits.
My very good friend had a baby at the beginning of the year and although I met him when he was just a few weeks old, I really don't know him. I was nervous to meet him and hoped he wouldn't cry when I held him. But what a little star - he was all cuddles and smiles and made me a very happy lady!
Even though we have not been back for 9 months, it's a sign of lifelong friendship when you can walk in to a friend's house and fit back in. Sit in their kitchen and chat whilst they make you (a very delicious) dinner and the hours fly like it's only been 10 minutes.
I don't hugely miss England (and all that rain) but sometimes I wish I could just pop into a friend's house for a cup of tea and a chat. Spend one evening in the pub with friends, laughing like we did 15 years ago. Give each of those precious children a kiss and a squeeze.
Facebook and Skype help to bridge the gap but I am so grateful for home leave.
I'm not sure if Christmas is the best time to do a home leave trip. It's a busy time of year and the 2 weeks we had flew by. I am already looking forward to going back again at Easter.
Of course we are all now absolutely exhausted and in need of a holiday to recover from the holiday but it was worth it! I have so many memories I want to capture on here so I will do that in another post.
For now I am hoping to be able to make dinner, get the kids to bed and collapse into bed myself by 8pm! Jet lag is still taking it's toll and I think it will be next week before I can stay up past 9pm!